If you’re a hunter or outfitter searching for one of 2023’s best hunting tents, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve been hunting and camping in the backcountry our entire lives and know firsthand how vital a proper shelter is at the end of the day. Hunting season can bring nasty, unrelenting weather, so when it comes time to hunker down and fill our tags, we do it the right way.
With fellow deer and elk hunters in mind, we scoured countless tents on the market and hand-picked the nine best shelters for all different hunting styles. From burly canvas wall tents with stoves to minimalist ultralight trekking pole shelters, our choices run the gamut.
Here you’ll find well-reviewed products from trusted brands like KUIU, White Duck, The North Face, NEMO, and Eureka! that won’t let you down in the field. These aren’t the cheap Chinese off-brand Amazon tents you’ll find on other “hunting” blogs.
As we analyzed each tent, we considered six vital factors every hunter should keep in mind before their purchase: capacity, weather resistance, weight and packability, floor dimensions, main materials, and price. Contemplating these details is essential to matching you with the proper shelter for the upcoming hunting season.
When you combine in-depth research with decades of personal backcountry hunting and camping experience, what do you get? This top-to-bottom list of 2023’s best tents for deer and elk hunters, of course.
Let’s dive in.
Best Canvas Bell Tent for Maximum Comfort
White Duck Regatta
Capacity: 4, 6, and 10-person models
Weather Resistance: 4-season
Weight: 51 lb, 66 lb, 83 lb
Floor Dimensions: 10′, 13′, 16.5′ diameter
Main Material: 8.5 oz army duck cotton canvas
If you’re an outfitter, camping in a group, or just want to be super comfortable, the White Duck Regatta canvas bell tent is exactly what you’re looking for. It’s durable, breathable, well-insulated, and has loads of room to stretch out. If you and your hunting crew crave maximum comfort, this is the glamping-style tent for you.
Available in three different sizes that sleep groups of four, six, and ten people, this heavy-duty canvas shelter is as cozy and spacious as you could ask for. It sports an integrated stove jack, meaning you and your buddies can crank out heat via a wood-burning stove when temperatures outside start to plummet. This bad boy is the most spacious tent on this list, and it’s not even close.
But because it’s made from burly army duck cotton canvas, it’s also far bulkier and heavier than every other shelter I recommend. A luxurious tent like this only makes sense if you’re setting up camp close to your rig and don’t plan on packing up until it’s time to go home. Run and gun backcountry elk hunters who move camp often won’t find this tent practical, but there are plenty of other folks who will.
- Pros: Extremely spacious and comfortable, durable, breathable, four-season weather resistance, compatible with stoves, perfect for large groups and outfitters, comes in three different sizes
- Cons: Very heavy and bulky compared to other options, tee-pee style makes ceiling a little low in spots, takes longer to set up than freestanding tents
Best Overall Hunting Tent of 2023
Eureka! Mountain Pass 3
Weather Resistance: 4-season
Weight: 6.4 lb
Floor Dimensions: 88″ x 78″
Main Materials: Polyester ripstop, polyester taffeta
Other Version: 2-person
Ringing in as our best overall backpacking-style hunting tent of 2023, we feel confident recommending the Eureka! Mountain Pass 3 to just about any elk or deer hunter out there. It’s spacious, easy to set up, offers sturdy four-season protection, and is relatively lightweight for its capabilities. For our money, this bad boy is the best value of the bunch.
Comfort and specs aside, we love this tent for its more subtle features. For starters, its (almost) blaze orange accents create excellent visibility for fellow hunters and campers. It rocks dual doors, handy removable side vents that enhance breathability, and a nifty gear loft to stash your essentials while you sleep. Its vestibules can even convert into an awning, expanding your living space significantly.
There’s not much we don’t love about the Eureka! Mountain Pass 3. It offers stellar weather resistance, is versatile enough to take pretty much anywhere, and is very reasonably priced. Whether you’re a no-frills car camper or like to hike deep into the backcountry to set up shop, it’ll serve you well as you try to fill your tag.
- Pros: Four-season weather protection, spacious interior, orange accents help visibility during hunting season, awning enhances comfort, relatively lightweight and packable for a four-season tent, very approachable price point
- Cons: There are lighter and more packable tents out there (but they’re significantly more expensive)
Ultralight Tent for Backcountry Elk Hunting
KUIU Mountain Star 2
Weather Resistance: 3+ season
Weight: 3.0 lb
Floor Dimensions: 84.5″ x 54.5″ x 44.5″
Main Material: Silnylon
KUIU makes some of the best hunting gear around, and their Mountain Star 2 tent lives up to their incredibly high standards. I’m an ultralight enthusiast and have been drooling over this tent for a while, I will likely pull the trigger on it once my tags come through for the upcoming Colorado elk hunting season.
2024 Update: Commenters below have warned against this tent. It’s worth reading about their experience with this model below.
This lightweight and efficient two-person shelter was engineered for elk hunters like me who venture deep into the wilderness to set up camp. With efficient carbon poles, this little beast weighs in at an impressive three pounds flat and packs down smaller than any other freestanding tent on this list. It utilizes cleverly placed tie-downs to anchor the shelter when the weather gets nasty and has spacious dual vestibules that allow you to stash your gear separately from the interior living area.
Though you can sit up and move around comfortably inside the Mountain Star 2, its interior isn’t quite as spacious as the Mountain Pass 3 I mentioned earlier. The price tag on this tent is also a tick higher, seeing as it’s made from more lightweight and high-tech materials. In my mind, it’s worth every penny for backcountry elk hunters who cover serious ground.
- Pros: Extremely lightweight and packable, multiple tie-down points help tent excel in challenging weather, asymmetric floor reduces weight, user can choose between carbon fiber and aluminum poles, stakes and guy lines are included.
- Cons: A bit pricey, not as much space to move around as other options
As-Light-As-It-Gets Trekking Pole Tent
Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 4
Weather Resistance: 4-season
Weight: 1.4 lb
Floor Dimensions: 111″ x 111″
Main Material: Dyneema composite fabric
Other Version: 2-person
Yes, the Mountain Star 2 tent I just mentioned is very lightweight and compact, but the UltaMid 4 by Hyperlite Mountain Gear completely blows its specs out of the water. Rated for four people (and four seasons), it boasts nearly triple the floor area and weighs half as much as the KUIU. Twice the capacity, half the weight, and four-season protection. Let that sink in for a minute.
How is this possible, you ask? For starters, the UltaMid 4 is made entirely of Dyneema Composite Fabric, a 100% waterproof material that’s far more lightweight than the polyester or nylon you’ll find in other tents on this list. This bad boy also needs to be pitched with a couple of trekking poles — which aren’t included in its stated weight — and it doesn’t come standard with a bug netting/floor insert, either. This space-age shelter is as lightweight and minimalist as it gets.
If you’re a backcountry hunter who piles on miles and wants to keep their pack weight as low as humanly possible, give the Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 4 a look. You’ll have to pay a premium for its futuristic fabric, though, so get ready to shell out a decent chunk of dough if you want to add this to your hunting gear list.
- Pros: The lightest and most compact four-person, four-season tent money can buy, made from DCF material which doesn’t sag in the wind, snow, or rain, very roomy inside, pyramid shape is more efficient than traditional dome tents
- Cons: Very expensive, doesn’t come standard with a floor or netting, no vestibules, means you must stash all your gear inside your living area
Budget Shelter for Deer & Elk Hunters
The North Face Stormbreak 3
Time to switch gears from an ultra-high-end tent to an ultra-affordable one: The North Face Stormbreak 3. This tent’s features aren’t going to wow anyone, nor should you rely on it in nasty weather, but it’s the most affordable freestanding shelter on this list. Elk and deer hunters on a budget, this tent is for you.
This serviceable shelter is quite simple to set up and will work out for a couple of hunters who don’t require all the bells and whistles to thrive. It has dual vestibules and doors, meaning you and your hunting buddy will each have space outside your doors to stash gear and won’t have to crawl over each other to go pee in the middle of the night.
At right around $200, three-person tents from trusted brands don’t get much more budget-friendly than The North Face Stormbreak 3. It’s a roomy, no-nonsense shelter that’ll keep you safe and dry when inclement weather isn’t much of a threat. Depending on where you plan to hunt, this could be the perfect refuge for you, your hunting partner, and your precious gear.
- Pros: Very affordable, well-reviewed, durable, easy to set up, very packable when split between two people’s packs
- Cons: Not meant for winter use, polyester will wet out and sag in high wind and precipitation
Best Hunting & Backpacking Tent Under $100
River Country Products Trekker 2.2
If you’re trying to fill your 2023 deer or elk tag on an extreme budget, the River Country Products Trekker 2.2 covers you. It’s an old-school a-frame-style trekking pole tent that rings in comfortably under $100. There simply aren’t any better shelters on the market at this price point.
This tent caught my eye when I was trying to help a friend pick out an affordable backpacking shelter last spring. It kept popping up as a top budget option on hiking blogs and has loads of stellar reviews on Amazon, so I suggested he try it out. He took it out camping several times in the Rocky Mountains last summer, and he’s loved it so far.
The Trekker 2.2 doesn’t use some of the higher-end polyester/nylon silicone blends of higher-end tents on this list, so it might soak up a bit of moisture during heavy rain and sag as a result. It only has one door, but that shouldn’t matter if it’s used to shelter a solo hunter and their gear (which is precisely how I think it should be used).
- Pros: As affordable as it gets, relatively lightweight for its floor dimensions, ventilates well, well-reviewed
- Cons: Only one door, material could sag in heavy rain
Roomy Eight Person Backpacking Tent
NEMO Wagontop 8
If you’re hunting with your family or a mid-sized crew and want a spacious standing-height shelter with multiple living areas, the NEMO Wagontop 8 fits the bill. Because hunting season is too short to crawl over your hunting buddies when you need to get out of the tent. Am I right, or am I right?
Make no mistake, NEMO designed this tent for pure comfort. It’s not meant to be an ultra-packable shelter for groups who cover big miles and camp in questionable conditions. Sure, it’ll offer decent weather protection, but it’s been known to struggle in high winds due to its tall and not-so-aerodynamic profile.
The NEMO Wagontop 8 is 26.5 pounds, making it relatively heavier and bulkier than other tents on this list. That said, it’ll allow much more room to stand up, walk around, and stretch out. Give this one a look if you don’t mind carrying around some extra weight in exchange for much-needed luxury at the end of a long day in the field.
- Pros: Very roomy and luxurious, campers can stand up and walk around inside, two rooms, huge vestibule expands living space, expansive windows
- Cons: Relatively heavy and bulky, will probably have trouble in high winds, and could be frustrating to set up the first couple of times.
Four-Season Winter Tent for Cold Conditions
Mountain Hardware Trango 4
Weather Resistance: 4-season
Weight: 11.5 lb
Floor Dimensions: 94″ x 94″
Main Material: Nylon, nylon taffeta
If you want to hunt in Alaska, the high Rockies, the Yukon, or somewhere else with notoriously sketchy weather, you’d better bring along a tent that’ll protect you no matter how bad it gets. For hunting destinations that send chills up your spine, pack a tent like the Mountain Hardwear Trango 4.
Mountain Hardware designed the Trango to protect climbers camping in unforgiving high-alpine conditions, and it’ll work perfectly for hunters in similar situations. Why? Because it rocks five ultra-strong aluminum poles, a heavy-duty nylon rainfly, and can stake down from over a dozen guy-out loops and anchors. Not to mention, it sports huge vestibules designed to stop pesky spindrift from entering the tent.
For most deer and elk hunters, a burly tent with insane weather protection like this would be overkill, but some of you thrill-seekers out there aren’t like the rest. If you’re the type who searches out tags in the most unrelenting corners of the earth, you’ll need a shelter that can match your toughness. The Trango 4 might be the one to get the job done.
- Pros: Extreme protection against gnarly weather, well-insulted, huge vestibules allow room for lots of gear storage, relatively lightweight and compact for its capabilities, leaves nothing to chance
- Cons: Quite expensive, would be overkill for most hunting applications
Snazzy Pop-Up Rooftop Tent
Roofnest Condor XL
Weather Resistance: 4-season
Weight: 160 lb
Floor Dimensions: 93″ x 74″
Main Material: ABS hardshell, poly/cotton blend
Unpacking tents, fumbling with poles, struggling with your rainfly, staking down into uneven earth, blowing up sleeping pads — this can all get old quickly. If you’d like to skip that racket for ultimate comfort and convenience, grab a rooftop pop-up tent like the Roofnest Condor XL.
This beast will allow you to camp wherever you park, pop up your shelter in under a minute, and sleep on a built-in foam mattress that feels almost as good as the one at home. It’ll also elevate you above the bugs and bears, offer insane four-season weather protection, and allow for excellent visibility from its large windows and awnings.
A high-end rooftop tent like the Condor XL will be a bit more pricey than your standard hunting tent, and for good reason. It’s meticulously constructed from high-end materials, set up in a flash, and is much more comfortable than a traditional four-season freestanding tent. If you can afford it, it’ll serve as an unbeatable base camp for your upcoming hunting season and beyond.
- Pros: Sets up in about a minute, mattress far more comfortable than an inflatable sleeping pad, windows, and awnings add to the ambiance, rock-solid four-season weather protection, will make your friends jealous
- Cons: Expensive, elevated tent makes for annoying midnight bathroom trips
Tents are great and all, but they won’t perform to their highest standards without a proper set of stakes. You could go in a few different directions in this department, so grab yourself a set from the options below that best suits your camping/hunting style.
Best Overall: MSR Groundhog
I recommend the MSR Groundhogs above all other tent stakes on the market. I use them when I’m car camping, backpacking, or elk hunting. They’re incredibly sturdy, grip most types of soil well, and are pretty darn lightweight.
Best for Loose Terrain: MSR Blizzard
If you’re anticipating camping and hunting somewhere with tough conditions to stake down, the MSR Blizzards are your best bet. Sand, snow, mud, loose dirt, you name it — these extra long and grippy stakes are built to anchor down into it all.
Best Ultralight Stakes: MSR Carbon Core
The MSR Carbon Core stakes were built for all the ounce-counting ultralight backcountry elk hunters out there. If you cover lots of distance and set up camp in a new spot every night, you need to keep your pack weight down, and this will help.
Once you get your tent and stakes picked out, there’s still more work to be done to dial in the rest of your camping kit. Here are a few more essentials that’ll make life inside your tent a lot more comfortable and enjoyable.
Sleeping Bag: Our Top Picks
Your tent doesn’t mean squat if you don’t have a well-insulated sleeping bag to curl up into at the end of the day. Check out our list of 2023’s best bags; we’ve recommended ten different products to keep you warm and toasty from early to late seasons.
Sleeping Pad: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm
If you’re not sleeping on a well-insulated pad, you’re cheating yourself. Inferior pads let cold air from the frozen earth below seep into your bag and sap your warmth. The NeoAir Xtherm won’t. It’s a high-end pad with the highest insulation around.
Pillow: NEMO Fillo
I toss and turn all night if I don’t have a comfortable camping pillow. Of all the options on the market, the NEMO Fillo is my favorite. It’s inflatable and has a built-in foam pad that delivers a soft and cozy place to lay my head.
There’s a slew of essential factors to mull over when purchasing your next hunting tent; carefully consider each of them as you decide. Your tent is arguably the most vital piece of your camping setup, so we thoroughly analyzed each of the following six factors while creating this in-depth buyer’s guide.
Capacity is a great place to start when picking out a tent that best suits you. How many people will be sleeping in your tent? How much gear will you need to stash in your tent? Will your trusty dog be joining the hunt? These are all questions you need to ask yourself when considering which capacity tent you need.
Though I usually hunt with a buddy or two, I need my own shelter at the end of the day. This is non-negotiable. I stash a decent amount of gear inside my tent and like to stretch out while I sleep, so I always camp in a two or three-person tent. For most deer and elk hunters who camp solo, I recommend staying in a two-person tent at the very minimum.
A one-person tent could get the job done if you’re an ultralight hunter with a minimalist setup.
There are two different types of tents on this list in terms of weather resistance:
- Three-season tents are rated to keep you warm, safe, and dry in milder conditions with non-threatening forecasts. They should hold up well against moderate wind and rain but aren’t recommended for use in harsh environments or winter conditions.
- Four-season tents are rated to keep you warm, safe, and dry in challenging conditions and volatile forecasts. They should hold up well and protect you in high winds, heavy rain, and snowy environments. They’re sturdier and more insulated, making them more suitable for the late seasons.
I mainly hunt in Colorado at elevations of 9,000 feet or higher. Snow can fall as early as the first week of September, and the weather can turn instantly, so I always camp in a four-season tent. The added protection is worth the extra weight in my pack.
But if I were to travel to Arizona for an early-season hunt, I’d pack a three-season tent. Since I’d be camping in relatively milder conditions, I wouldn’t need the extra strength and insulation that a four-season tent offers; it would be overkill.
Weight & Packability
If you’re packing your tent out and covering a decent amount of distance before you set up camp, you must consider the weight and packability of your tent. If you’re car camping or only walking a few hundred yards to set up camp, these two factors don’t matter as much.
As a backcountry elk hunter, I usually cover serious distances within my unit and often need to bring my entire camping setup along with me. That’s why I carefully consider how heavy and compact each piece of gear is before bringing it along on my hunt. A lightweight and packable tent will make a world of difference for hunters like me.
The specific floor dimensions of your tent are a more accurate representation of your living area than your tent’s capacity rating. Since they are measurable, they’ll give you a tangible representation of exactly how much floor area you’ll have inside your tent.
To visualize exactly how much living space a given tent has, measure out its floor dimensions at your home, mark them off with some string, and sprawl out within them. Do you fit comfortably within them, or do you feel cramped?
Also, consider the height of your tent, especially if you’re on the taller side. Sit up straight on your sleeping pad and measure how high your head reaches. If that measurement is comfortably less than the height of your tent, you’re in good shape.
All nine of the shelters on this list are made of one of the following materials:
- Silnylon: Silnylon, or nylon + ‘impregnated’ silicone, is one of the stronger materials on this list. In high wind and rain, it will sag and stretch slightly over time, but that is expected. Tents made of silnylon are very popular in the camping and backpacking community and tend to be moderately priced.
- Polyester/Silpoly: Polyester and silpoly, or polyester + ‘impregnated’ silicone, are typically heavier than silnylon but are also more abrasion-resistant and affordable. Polyester/silpoly absorbs water more than silnylon and DCF, which leads to more sagging and longer dry-out times. Tents made of polyester/silpoly tend to be more affordable than silnylon shelters.
- Canvas: Made from 100% cotton, canvas is exceptionally durable and breathable. When treated with waterproofing products, canvas tents offer excellent protection from the elements in all four seasons. Canvas tents are very bulky and heavy and meant for large groups and outfitters. If you’re hunting with a group, don’t have to travel far to set up camp, and want a spacious, comfortable place to camp, consider a canvas tent.
- Dyneema Composite Fabric: DCF is an incredibly lightweight and completely waterproof material used mainly for sailing and ultralight backpacking. It doesn’t stretch out like polyester or nylon but is not quite as durable. DCF tents are very expensive, and I only recommend them for serious ultralight hunters trying to cut significant weight from their pack.
Quality hunting tents are rarely cheap, so keep the price in mind while shopping for your next shelter. After all, you need to leave a little space in your budget for all of those other pricy hunting gadgets.
Therefore, we did our best to recommend a quality set of tents across multiple price points.
Did we help you find a hunting tent to keep you warm and dry in the backcountry for the 2023 elk and deer seasons? If so, we’re glad we could help. After all, we know how important a good night’s sleep is to a successful hunt.
We’re passionate outdoorsmen who’ve spent countless nights sleeping under the stars, and we take pride in giving solid recommendations to like-minded folks. We’ve learned firsthand how vital a proper shelter is to the overall camping experience.
That’s why we carefully chose the nine best tents from the industry’s most trusted brands. Can you go wrong with highly-rated gear from brands like KUIU, Mountain Hardware, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, and Eureka? We don’t think so.
So whether you came here searching for a heavy-duty canvas wall tent or a rock-solid four-season backpacking shelter, we sincerely hope we offered you a product or two that suits your hunting style. If not, email us or drop a comment below, and we’ll try our best to point you in the right direction.
Hunting season is fast approaching, and the time is now to get into one of 2023’s best tents for elk and deer hunters. Which shelter will you choose to keep warm, dry, and safe in the backcountry?
- Hunting Backpacks for Deer, Elk & Big Game
- Hunting Tents for Deer & Elk Hunters Who Camp
- Hunting Sleeping Bags for Deer & Elk Hunters
- Hunting Boots: Cold-Weather, Rubber, Upland & More
- Elk Hunting Boots: Reviews from a Colorado Elk Hunter
- Hunting Socks [Cold Weather, Heated, Stalking & More]
- Coolers for Camping [YETI, RTIC, Igloo & More]
Last Updated on January 8, 2024
Noel lives in Colorado and he spends his days traveling, hunting, hiking, backpacking, and skiing. For him, getting deep into the backcountry as often as possible is when life is at its best.