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AR Guide to: the best tents under £250

From one-person bivvies to eight-person gazebos, there are hundreds of thousands of tents out there to choose from.

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Whether you want to go camping with the family or to a festival, you’re going to need a high-quality tent. Not only do you need to stay dry and warm, and have plenty of space, but you shouldn’t have to break the bank just for a holiday or a gig. The good news is that there are lots of great tents available for under £250. Keep reading to find out about everything from travelling, festival, and hiking tents to family tents.

Snugpak Ionosphere - 1 Person Tent

If small and compact is what you’re after, then look no further than the Snugpak Ionosphere. Although it only fits one person, there is a surprising amount of room due to the fact it is long and quite wide. At 92” L x 34.6” W, almost anyone can lie flat out without touching the front, back or sides of this tent. And, with just under two feet of width, there’s enough space to store your luggage without limiting your comfort.

Image courtesy of Snugpak

Another impressive feature of the tent is its weight. At a trail weight of 1.2kg, it’s relatively light and easy to carry regardless of the activity. Mainly, it’s because the Snugpak uses a two-pole system with DAC Aluminium Poles to stop it from taking up too much space. Not only is it cosy and lightweight, but it also holds up in inclement weather thanks to its 5000mm PU coating. Plus, Snugpak is a trusted brand that has been serving campers for decades.

As a result, this one-person tent is excellent for travellers or anyone going on a hiking or cycling adventure. Attach it to your bag or bike so that you don’t feel a thing, and then erect it in under fifteen minutes.

Eurohike Pop Up - 2 Person Tent

The Eurohike two-person tent has all the specifications you need. With a 185T PU fabric flysheet, it keeps you off the ground and out of the rain and mud. The frame is 8.5mm fibreglass, making it durable enough to withstand harsh weather conditions. And, it’s 122” L x 50” W x 43” H, so it’s big enough to fit two people and their bags and equipment efficiently.

Eurohike Pop Up

However, the stand out feature of the Eurohike Pop Up is the fact that it’s easy to put up and take down. All you need is to throw it on the ground, and it pops up into a readymade home for the length of your trip. Plus, it comes with hassle-free instructions so that folding it up and putting it away isn’t as tricky as it is without other pop up, cheap tents. Because it can be pitched in seconds, it’s a perfect partner for festival-goers who want to enjoy a weekend without any stress. 

All you have to do is remember to take it home with you at the end of the event.

Coleman Waterproof Darwin - 3 Person Tent

This easy-to-pitch three-person tent is a classic. Thanks to its traditional dome style, it’s very spacious and fits three people without much effort. There is also a porch on the outside that is ideal for cooking, drinking and staying out of the weather. A tip: buy a small gazebo or awning and attach it to the porch to add more space and make things twice as comfy. Also, it should mean that storing luggage isn’t a problem. You can even take more because you’ll have the extra room.

Coleman Waterproof Darwin

There’s no reason to worry about the sun because the Coleman Waterproof Darwin is UV resistant. Plus, it comes with closeable ventilation openings, depending on your needs. Weighing in at slightly under 5kg, it’s a little on the heavy side, so it’s not great for travelling or cycling trips. But, if you can manage the weight, the Waterproof Darwin is a reliable partner as it’s useful in all weathers.

Festival-goers might like this cheap tent option, but it’s best used for family holidays and short trips. After all, it’s roomy, has plenty of luggage space, and the porch accommodates a small table and stove for cooking and eating. There is a two and four-person option, too, so you can tailor the tent to your exact needs.

Skandika Nordland Tunnel Tent - 4 Person Tent

It’s often the small details that make a cheap tent a quality one. With the Skandika Nordland Tunnel tent, you get all of the mod cons for your camping pleasure. Sure, the main things are taken care of - it’s spacious, weatherproof, and pretty straightforward to pitch with a little know-how. On top of that, however, the Skandika goes the extra mile. For example, the groundsheet is sewn-in to prevent damp or creepy crawlies from getting in the tent. Also, the entrances are covered in mesh to stop mosquitoes from annoying you all day and night.

Skandika Nordland Tunnel Tent

Height-wise, it’s one of the biggest cheap tents on the list. There’s a peak height of 200cm, which equates to 78 inches. For imperial campers, that’s six-and-a-half feet, meaning the majority of people can stand up inside this tent without any problems. Just be careful to mind the lantern hook that’s there for night time accessibility. Families that want more freedom can put up the divider so that there are no awkward moments. A repair kit is included in case of accidents and quick fixes.

All in all, the Skandika Nordland is an excellent piece of equipment for families, especially ones that haven’t camped before. Why? It’s because there’s a lot of space, and the fact it comes with all the amenities you could ever want on a camping trip to make life ten times easier. Bigger families can purchase a six-person option.

Vango AirBeam Portland Tent - 4 Person Tent

Wouldn’t it be great if you could find a four-person tent that was as simple to pitch as a pop up? It would take the hassle out of family holidays and extended breaks! The good news, folks, is that it isn’t a pipedream any longer with Vango’s patented AirBeam technology. On the market since 2011, it’s been helping people take the stress out of pitching a tent for eight years. The process is straightforward: attach the pump to the nozzle and start pumping. One person can put up this Vango AirBeam Portland tent in less than ten minutes. Talk about easy.

Vango AirBeam Portland Tent

But, it doesn’t sacrifice comfort for the sake of accessibility. Although it’s a four-person tent, the Vango AirBeam is designed to pack away without any fuss. The Sentinel active fabric helps by providing a waterproof rating of 3000mm HH while keeping the total weight under 9.5kg. Vango has another trick up its sleeve, too. The windows can be clear to let in light or blacked-out to ensure you get a sound night’s sleep and don’t wake up super early in your Queen-sized bedroom.

As well as a size 400 for four persons, there’s also a 500 size for five persons. Like the 400, the 500 comes with all the same features, including a double-action pump to erect the tent.

Coleman Octagon Tent - 6 to 8 Person Tent

Sometimes, small and medium-sized shelters don’t cut the mustard. In this scenario, you need a cheap tent that’s big enough to sleep six to eight people and offer superior comfort. Whereas most tents say they can and don’t deliver, the Coleman Octagon tent is different because of its 360-degree structure. Shaped like a dome, it’s a freestanding tent that provides fourteen feet of length and width, more than enough for six to eight people’s worth of stuff. The height is as impressive at over seven feet. That means you get panoramic views and the ability to stand up at the same time.

Coleman Octagon Tent

For a large tent, it isn’t tricky to pitch either. The Coleman is colour-coded, so all campers need to do is follow the blue, red and brown labels to erect their makeshift home. And, it is like a house because it comes with a unique door that opens and closes on a latch. Access-wise, there isn’t a more welcoming or hassle-free tent on this list, and it’s thanks to the door. With all the room, you don’t have to use it for camping purposes only. Although it’s perfect for glamping, Coleman Octagon tent is an ideal playroom for kids.

Of course, camping is its main purpose, and fellow ticket holders at festivals will go green with envy. You can use it as a socialising point during the day, and throw up the divider at night and enjoy some peace.

Camping accessories

Tents don’t always come with everything you require to have fun. Here are two cool and essential add-ons that you should consider buying before your next trip.

Coleman Gazebo Event Shelter

A gazebo might seem like an indulgence, but it’s a necessity for the weather. This event shelter, for example, protects against the sun. Even 50-degree temperatures and above don’t pierce through the UV canopy. In warmer climates, you need to be able to enjoy the weather without taking any risks, and the Coleman gazebo is an ideal partner.

Coleman Gazebo Event Shelter

Don’t worry if you’re holidaying in the UK and don’t expect to get any use out of it - it’s perfect for rainy days, too. At twelve feet by twelve feet, the marque is spacious enough to sit down and survey your surroundings if you’re sick and tired of being in the tent all day.

It’s also a fantastic addition if you expect to socialise with your friends and family. Users of this gazebo can easily host a barbeque at a campsite or a festival with the marque as shelter.

WolfWise Camping Toilet/Shower

For many, the worst thing about camping is the toilet and shower facilities. Yes, there might be plenty to go around, but some people find it hard to get over sharing with a campsite full of strangers.

WolfWise Camping Toilet

The WolfWise camping toilet/shower provides you with all the privacy and cleanliness you need when camping. It’s a pop up, which means it’s simple to erect and even more straightforward to use. You never have to worry about showers or toilets again, which can be a load off your mind if you go camping regularly.

How to choose the perfect tent

Even with a guide like this one, picking a tent isn’t an easy process. The first thing you need to consider is the size. Having enough room to sleep, store your gear, and move around is a necessity if you don’t want to feel suffocated during your trip. Usually, it’s better to go off the length as it means you can stretch out without banging your head or feet. If you’re unsure, the best cheap tents offer bigger options, so go one size up.

Weatherproof features are also vital. Staying dry and warm means keeping out the rain, which is why you need to measure a tent’s waterproof capabilities. However, don’t forget about its ability to withstand strong gusts of wind. Lots of campers have been caught out by windy conditions because the material and guide ropes weren’t strong enough.

Accessibility is a factor to consider - you don’t want to have to go outside to change clothes - as is the event. For a weekend festival, you can get away with a one or two-person tent, whereas a four to eight manner is more suitable for family holidays and extended breaks.

Hopefully, this review of eight of the best tents under £250 helps gives you all the inspiration you need!

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