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Published Jun 3, 2022 4:00 PM

Are you ready to upgrade to an 8-person tent after years of losing leg space (and sleep) to your growing kids? To help you choose, I tested some of the most popular options available and set them up side-by-side to see how they fared outdoors. After a long weekend of testing, here are my picks for the best 8-person tents available today: 

Things to Consider Before Buying an 8-Person Tent

Square Footage

As anyone who has bought a tent knows, the stated number of people a tent can fit and the actual number of people you would want to fit in a tent can vary significantly. And gear like sleeping pads and sleeping bags will quickly take up room. Check the dimensions of any tent you are considering to determine whether it will fit the family or group you will be camping with.

Ease of Set Up

Most 8-person tents require two people to set up, which can be a challenge for families with small children. In those instances, speed is king. One rule of thumb that can help you determine how long it will take to set up a tent is to look at the number of poles. Typically, more poles will indicate a longer, more complicated set-up time, while a tent with fewer poles should come together relatively quickly. 

Ceiling Height

One of the great joys of an 8-person tent is finally being able to stand up inside. The tents in my test had ceiling heights between just over six feet, all the way up to seven feet, but there was also variability in whether this height was at a single point or spread along the spine of the tent.

Packed Tents
Counterclockwise from top right: Ozark Trail 8-Person Modified Dome Tent, Coleman 8-Person Dark Room Skydome Camping Tent, Big Agnes Bunk House 8, NEMO Wagontop 8-Person Camping Tent, Eureka Copper Canyon LX8, and the Wenzel Klondike 8. Laura Lancaster

Packed Size

A large footprint unfortunately also means more space taken up in transit. If you have a smaller car, consider choosing an 8-person tent with a smaller packed size. 

Best Overall: Eureka Copper Canyon LX8

Eureka

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Key Features

  • Dimensions: 13 feet x 10 feet
  • Height: 7 feet
  • Weight: 33.5 pounds
  • Poles: 10
  • Packed Size: 11 inches x 29 inches
  • Doors: 2 
  • Windows: 6

Why It Made the Cut

A spacious interior and great weather durability made the somewhat complicated setup of the Copper Canyon LX8 more than worth it. 

Pros

  • Great livable space on the interior
  • Withstood both rain and wind on the testing trip
  • Lots of doors and windows

Cons

  • Most complicated setup in my test (fortunately the provided instructions were easy to follow)
  • Heavy

Product Description

I was a little skeptical when I first started linking together the poles of the Eureka Copper Canyon LX8. Six windows and two doors, with a rain fly that looked suspiciously like a camping canopy? With winds gusting during and after setup, I kept a close eye on this one. 

Eureka Tent
The family of three (plus one dog) who stayed in this tent noted that it was a similar square footage to the 10-person tent they usually used, just layed out in more of a squat rectangle than tents with similar square footage. Laura Lancaster
Inside of Eureka Tent
Three cots and a dog crate were swimming inside the spacious Eureka Copper Canyon LX8. Laura Lancaster

Even better, the ceiling height (seven feet) combined with the near-vertical walls on this one made it easy for the 6-foot 1-inch member of the family to walk around without having to stoop at the edges.

While the strongest winds during testing buffeted the sides of this family tent, it bounced back quickly without damaging the fiberglass poles. At one point the rainfly came unattached at a corner, but after a member of the testing group re-secured it with the provided velcro tabs (which I forgot to do during the initial setup), it wasn’t a problem. And the rainfly turned out to be plenty of protection against overnight rain once the windows were zippered up. 

Eureka Ceiling Test
Plenty of headroom in the Eureka Copper Canyon LX8 for those over 6 feet tall. Laura Lancaster

The only downside to this tent is that it is an usually complicated setup. Three fiberglass poles crisscross the ceiling and then connect to six steel poles at each end to form the walls (the tenth pole creates the awning over the doorway). The directions for this were reasonably easy to follow—it just took a while. While I was able to set up the body of this tent by myself, a second (taller) person was needed to add the rainfly. 

Best for Groups: NEMO Wagontop 8-Person Camping Tent 

Key Features

  • Dimensions: 15 feet x 8.3 feet
  • Height: 6.5 feet
  • Weight: 30 pounds, 3 ounces
  • Poles: 3
  • Packed Size: 28 inches x 13 inches x 13 inches
  • Doors: 2
  • Windows: 2

Why It Made the Cut

The longest 8-person tent in my test was also the only one I was able to completely set up by myself.

Pros

  • Large interior space would easily accommodate three Queen-size camping mattresses
  • Single person setup
  • Handled winds better than any tent in my test

Cons

  • Leaked (small, but still) in the rain
  • Expensive

Product Description

Given the massive size of the NEMO Wagontop 8, 125 square feet and over 6.5-feet tall, I was surprised that I was able to set this one up by myself. The hat trick here is that while other 8-person tents have a separate rainfly that must be secured to the tent after setting up the main body, the Wagontop 8 only has a separate rainfly for half of the tent (the other half is a solid 75D polyester along the top), and it’s attached to the center of the tent. But that isn’t to say that the setup of the Wagontop 8 was a breeze. The tent design here is unusual, and even after checking the directions it took me two tries to get the poles set up in the right direction. 

Nemo Tent Assembly
This is not how I expected the poles to look when set up correctly, but there you have it. Laura Lancaster

But once I had the poles up correctly, it was a cinch to snap up the body of the tent, thread the middle pole through the center line, and secure the rainfly over the top of the tent. 

This was the first tent I set up in my test, when the winds were gusting the most, and I was impressed with how the Wagtontop 8 handled the less-than-ideal weather. Even when the tent walls buffeted, the integrity of the poles held fast, not bending in the slightest. Given the weather conditions, I chose to secure several of the guylines of this tent in addition to tightening the rainfly flaps and checking that the stakes were providing sufficient tension.

Nemo Tent
The length of this tent made it a bit more difficult to find a flat space that would accommodate it. Laura Lancaster

Unfortunately, the position of the guylines were low enough that the solid ceiling portion of the tent (without the rainfly) continued to buffet in the wind. Fortunately, the winds died down before it was time to put our toddler to bed.

Inside of the Nemo Tent
Lots of space to spread out inside the roomy NEMO Wagontop 8. Laura Lancaster

The interior of the Wagontop 8 was impressive, wide enough to accommodate 3 Queen-size air mattresses, and my family of three was swimming in it (no complaints here). If you are looking for a true 8-person tent, this one is getting awfully close—my estimate is that you could comfortably fit 7 adults on single pads in this one.

Leak in Nemo Tent
While small, this leak was inches away from where my head was while I was sleeping. Laura Lancaster

While the Wagontop 8 handled the wind great, it did develop a small leak when it rained overnight, right in the center of the tent. During disassembly, the reason for this became clear: a sizeable amount of water that had pooled at the top of the tent poured off after I removed the center pole. I suspect that this leak might not have occurred if the tent had been pulled taut, but after three days of wind this tent had developed some slack, even with a number of the guylines up. Given the price of this tent, I would have expected it to handle the rain better, especially given that these were intermittent PNW showers, not a true downpour. If you expect overnight rain, be sure to check that the tent is fully taut before hitting the hay. 

Easiest Setup: Big Agnes Bunk House 8

Big Agnes

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Key Features

  • Dimensions: 12.5 feet x 8.25 feet 
  • Height: 6.75 feet
  • Weight: 22 pounds, 15 ounces
  • Poles: 1
  • Packed Size: 27 inches x 16 inches x 10 inches
  • Doors: 2
  • Windows: 0

Why It Made the Cut

The setup of the Big Agnes Bunk House 8 was so intuitive I didn’t even need to look at the directions. 

Pros

  • Exceptionally easy setup
  • Great carrying case design
  • Excellent protection against the elements

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Smaller footprint than expected
  • Difficult to regulate temperature

Product Description

One pole. Even as I was snapping it together I couldn’t believe it. Then I saw that there was color coding at the end of the poles that matched the webbing on the tent body, so I would know what direction to orient the pole (there was similar color coding on the rainfly). I assume that there are directions somewhere in the bag for this tent, but I’m serious when I say that you won’t need them. And the ease of setup alone makes this one of the best 8-person tents.

Big Agnes Tent
Memorial Day weekend is notorious for questionable weather in the Pacific Northwest, but the Big Agnes Bunkhouse 8 was ready for it. Laura Lancaster

This tent took a different approach to its guylines than other tents in my test. Rather than stuffed in with the stakes, these guylines were preconnected to the rainfly and operated on a simple toggle system (no knot tying required)—a detail I appreciated on my super windy testing trip.

Big Agnes Guylines
It’s a small detail, but the easy-to-use guyline system was a real game changer with the heavy winds on my testing trip. Laura Lancaster

When fully set up with the rainfly and guylines, this tent barely moved in the wind at all, and with the bathtub floor, there was no place where water could have snuck in, even during a heavy rainstorm. This bombproof design did have one drawback, however. The testers using this tent noted that even with just two people inside, it was quite toasty at night when temperatures dropped into the 40s. Since the tent body is essentially one giant piece of mesh, there were no issues with condensation, but this could get pretty stuffy with more than a few people inside.

Big Agnes Tent Test
A 6-foot 3-inch individual (pictured here) could stand upright at the tallest inside the tent, but would need to crouch closer to the walls. Laura Lancaster

Fortunately, like all the tents in this test, you’re not going to be able to fit eight people inside anyway. This tent, which has a similar structure to the REI Kingdom 6, would work best for groups of six or less. 

Best for Light Sleepers: Coleman 8-Person Dark Room Skydome Camping Tent

Coleman

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Key Features

  • Dimensions: 12 feet x 9 feet
  • Height: 6 feet 4 inches 
  • Weight: 20.5 pounds
  • Poles: 3
  • Packed Size: 27 inches x 10 inches x 9 inches
  • Doors: 1
  • Windows: 0

Why It Made the Cut

The Coleman Dark Room Skydome is indeed incredibly dark and easier than most of the tents in my test to set up. 

Pros

  • Dark interior is perfect for midday naps or camping during the summer solstice
  • Reasonably easy setup
  • Affordably priced

 Cons

  • Smaller than other tents in my test (would only fit two Queen-size camping mattresses)

Product Description

If you’ve ever planned to sleep in while camping, then woken up as soon as the sun hits your tent at five in the morning, then the appeal of the Coleman Dark Room Skydome is pretty clear. In the middle of the day, with the sun brightly shining down on you, you can go inside this tent and it’s pretty close to pitch black. Just a small amount of light sneaks in at the corners and around the edge of the door. It’s also much cooler than comparably enclosed tents. 

Inside the Coleman Tent
The far corners of the Coleman Dark Room Skydome were pretty dark. Laura Lancaster

This tent was also fairly easy to set up. The two main poles, which are attached to the far corners of the tent, simply crisscross over each side—a super simple design that will be familiar to anyone who has ever used a 2-person tent. Unfortunately, this design also comes with some limitations. At 108 square feet, this was the smallest so-called 8-person tent in my test. I would not recommend trying to squeeze more than four people in this tent, maybe five if you are exceptionally good friends. It also buffeted in the wind fairly significantly, although the fiberglass poles survived the encounter. 

Coleman tent setup
A very serviceable tent that does what it says it will do, even if it’s a little smaller than expected. Laura Lancaster

The final pole—a separate fiberglass section that holds the rainfly out over the door was surprisingly difficult to figure out, as there is very little indication on the tent where the sleeve opening is. I also noticed during breakdown that the attached poles made squeezing this tent back in its carrying case a little more complicated than tents where this isn’t the case, although it ultimately fit without too much of a struggle. 

Best Budget: Ozark Trail 8-Person Modified Dome Tent

Ozark Trail

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Key Features

  • Dimensions: measured: 12 feet x 8 feet; stated: 16 feet x 8 feet
  • Height: 6 feet 2 inches
  • Weight: 17.6 pounds
  • Poles: 5
  • Packed Size: 25.5 inches x 8.75 inches x 8.75 inches
  • Doors: 2
  • Windows: 5

Why It Made the Cut

Th Ozark Trail 8-Person Modified Dome Tent costs less than most two-person tents and is suitable for fair-weather camping.

Pros

  • Extremely affordable
  • Plenty of ventilation options
  • Smallest packed size in my test makes this easy to store

Cons

  • Not suitable for any kind of inclement weather
  • Tapered design means less usable space inside the tent
  • Smaller than other tents in my test (would only fit two Queen-size camping mattresses)

Product Description

If you’re wondering what kind of 8-person tent you get for a two-digit price tag, it’s more than you would expect, but probably not as much as you need (not unless you are certain calm winds and bluebird skies are in your future). While the setup called for two people, I was able to get the four poles of the Ozark Trail 8-Person threaded through the sleeves and clipped to the body solo, only needing a second person to throw the rainfly over. But then the stakes kept coming loose. As soon as I got one re-secured the next would pop up. And this continued to be a theme throughout the testing trip, every so often I would look over and a stake would be loose.

Ozark Trail Tent
Finally I got all the stakes in on the Ozark Trail 8-Person Modified Dome Tent. Laura Lancaster

Another design issue with this tent is the rainfly. Because it’s intended to just cover the windows of the tent, it had a tendency to slip out of place pretty easily (even when the winds were reasonably calm on the camping trip). This makes this tent a no-go if you anticipate any type of rain or inclement weather. 

Ozark Trail Rain Fly
A gap between the fly and one of the mesh windows would allow water to come into the tent during even a minor drizzle. Laura Lancaster

While this tent, when measured, was nowhere near the 16 feet advertised (I measured it at 12 feet) it would easily fit two Queen-size mattresses with room to stash gear on either side. If you’re an infrequent camper who doesn’t mind spending a little extra time on setup—and you are certain the weather will be clear—the Ozark Trail 8-Person Tent might be just enough to get you started at a bargain-basement price. 

FAQs

Q: How much do 8-person tents cost?

The cost of 8-person tents ranges from $100 to $800, with the price differential usually reflecting the quality of materials being used.

Q: How big is an 8-person tent? 

There is considerable range in the size of 8-person tents, from 130 square feet to 108 square feet. The use of 8-person in tents is meant to describe how many average-sized people could sleep in a tent if floor space was maximized. Unless you are looking to pack in a troop of Scouts, an 8-person tent is typically not large enough to accommodate 8 people.

Q: How many people does it take to set up an 8-person tent? 

It usually takes at least two people to set up an 8-person tent, due to the difficulty in securing the rainfly. The NEMO Wagontop is the exception to this, and can be set up by a single person. 

Methodology

I tested 8-person tents in tandem on a Memorial Day weekend camping trip in eastern Washington that saw wind gusts of up to 25 miles per hour and one overnight rain storm. Tents were left set up for a minimum of 48 hours with the top contenders in continual use for over 72 hours. I attempted to set up all tents by myself by following the provided directions. As wind was ongoing during setup, I was able to assess how these conditions affected the ability of a single person (I’m about five foot five) to set up the tents solo. Tents that I was unable to set up solo were completed with the assistance of someone who is six foot three. 

Snapped Tent Pole
One tent, the Wenzel Klondike 8, had a pole snap during setup. The broken pole was the fiberglass pole that was being used to frame the entrance to the tent. This tent was discontinued from the test at this point. Laura Lancaster

Final Thoughts

If you’re ready to upgrade your family camping experience with the best 8-person tents, the Eureka Copper Canyon LX8 is a great value that will easily fit a small group and handle questionable weather conditions. For larger groups, the NEMO Wagontop 8 got the closest of any tent in my test of actually fitting eight people, while those wanting an easy setup with exceptional weather protection should go for the Big Agnes Bunk House 8.

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