The 10 Best Tents Under $100
10. Alps Mountaineering Taurus 2
9. AmazonBasics Pop-Up Canopy
8. Eureka! Solitaire
7. Coleman Sundome
6. AmazonBasics 8-Person
5. Coleman Hooligan 2
4. Alps Mountaineering Lynx
3. Winterial Bivy
2. GeerTop 4-season
1. Coleman Instant Cabin
Gotta Get Away
It seems that people in the workforce these days are working harder than ever — longer hours, more take-home tasks, fewer vacation days — yet we also seem to have wages that are relatively stagnant when compared to the increased cost of living, which only leads us to work longer and harder to make ends meet. The generation that graduated from college into the financial collapse of 2008 is struggling, and the effects of that downturn can still be felt by anyone who doesn’t have an enormous stock portfolio to fall back on.
With all that work and stress, it’s more important than ever that we find the time to get away from it all, to unplug from the toxic landscape of social media and the 24-hour news cycle. One of the best ways to do this is to head out into the wilderness. Camping has the ability to reconnect you with that part of yourself that is innately human, the instinctive part that’s deeply rooted in our animal nature. Even on manicured campgrounds surrounded by other campers and even glampers, there’s a sense of survival, a renewal of everything that makes you feel alive.
Of course, if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, or if you’re saving up for something that’s rather important to you, you might not have the extra money to burn outfitting yourself with a slew of camping equipment. After all, getting set up from scratch can be expensive. In addition to a tent, you’re liable to need a good backpack — with either an internal or external frame —, some basic wilderness tools like a knife and a compass, a camping stove for food, a water bottle or canteen, and the proper wardrobe to keep you warm or dry. That all adds up fast.
If you can afford to save a little money here or there, you should. What you shouldn’t do is sacrifice your comfort or safety, however. That’s why the tents on our list here are so effective. They’re reliable in all sorts of weather, and they’re all surprisingly inexpensive.
Which Budget Tent Is Right For You?
Choosing the right budget tent for your next camping excursion is likely to have more to do with the kind of camping you prefer than anything else. Once you have figured out exactly what you need your tent to provide you with, you can then start to evaluate more peripheral features that might just narrow your search down to the perfect option.
If you like to rough it, for example, a small, simple tent that is just large enough to contain your body and maybe your pack is probably all that you need. Most of the tents in this price range tend to be on the smaller side, so locating a diminutive model won't be a problem. If you need a larger size to accommodate you and a fellow camper, you can probably expect to miss out on a few other features that fall by the wayside in the name of that extra space.
Some of those extra features include simple, pop-up frames that makes setting up your tent much easier. If you’re used to setting up more traditional tents, and you don't mind the extra work that they take, then you can choose a tent with a simpler frame and reap the benefits of extra features like decreased pack size or rain covers. And speaking of rain, not only is a rain cover important in the event of a downpour, but if the area in which you're camping is prone to sudden changes in the weather, you're going to want a tent that you can set up quickly, as well. Again, this delicate balance among size, features, and price is something specific to your needs.
A Brief History Of The Tent
If you were to try to imagine tents before the beginning of recorded history, you would begin to picture something akin to a Native American teepee. To some extent, that understanding of the development of the tent as we know it is fair. Native peoples of the Americas and other people the world over have been lashing together bits of wood and animal hide to use as shelter for thousands of years.
More proper tents, like the ones that we would recognize in the design our current models, have a slightly more recent history. These were not tents set up to house individuals on camping excursions, but rather large enclosures designed to shelter important military figures during the height of the Roman Empire. Roman soldiers had tents that could contain their sleeping quarters and all the room that they needed to prepare for battle. Soldiers in the lower ranks often shared tents that were even larger than this, as they were intended to accommodate a significant number of bodies.
Extraordinarily simple tents consisting of little more than a few sticks into sheet of cotton became the norm during the American Civil War. These tents could be thrown up at a moment's notice, and they were lightweight and easy to carry around, but like most things about the Civil War, they were awfully crude.
It wasn't until the years following the Second World War that a boon in individual camping excursions and a general increase in the popularity of the wilderness lifestyle gave birth to an outdoorsman's industry that continues to thrive to this day. The ensuing decades saw the development of synthetic waterproof materials that have revolutionized camping as we know it. Those developments, and an increasing interest in the outdoors have improved the quality of manufactured tents while also decreasing their price point.