If you're the kind of person that likes to go camping or backpacking with a group, then a 1 man tent is not the best choice. 2 man tents are good, but can get cramped with two bigger people, and do limit your options for larger groups. A 3 man tent, however, is a good choice because you can use a 3 man tent as a roomy 2 man tent, making it a versatile option. The jump between 3 man tents and 4 man tents, in terms of weight, is also usually quite big, so you're often better off with a couple two or three man tents, rather than one 4 or 5 man tent.
3 Man TentWhat to look for when you are shopping for a new 3 man tent.
- Lightweight - First and foremost, if you're going to be carrying your tent around in a backpack then you should do yourself a favor and get a lightweight 3 man tent, rather than a heavy one. That, or make sure 1 of the 2 other people sleeping in the tent ends up carrying it. There are plenty of very good lightweight 3 man tents, a few of them listed below.
- Season Appropriate - Not all three man tents are made equal. Some are just fine for summer conditions, but would likely be damaged or inadequate for harsh, bad weather like in winter. Likewise, a good four season tent will weather a storm well, but will be overkill for a summer night.
Best 3 Man TentA few of the very best 3 man tents currently on the market.
- Tarptent Rainshadow 2 - If what you're looking for more than anything else is to save on weight, the Rainshadow is a great choice. It's made by a small tent manufacturer that specializes in lightweight tents, and at just 2.5 pounds, or 1.13 kilograms, you wont find any 3 man tents lighter than this. It's a simple single walled design, with plenty of airflow. You have the option to use two trekking poles as the main supports for the tent, which is great if you use trekking poles. Otherwise, you can order a front pole from Tarptent.
- Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3 Tent - If you're looking for a more conventional dome tent, then the Fly Creek is an excellent choice. It won the 2010 Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice award, and for good reason. It weighs just 3.18 pounds, which is 1.45 kilograms, so not quite as lightweight as the Rainshadow above, but this is a two wall, freestanding tent, so you cant expect it to compare.
- Mountain Hardwear EV 3 Tent - For 3 man camping in winter, you will need something a little more substantial than either of the tents above, and the EV 3 is a good choice. It's a single wall tent, but comes with 2 doors and vents along the top to provide plenty of ventilation. It also has a low, sloping profile to help shed wind, and plenty of poles and guyline tie out spots to shed wind. It weighs a full 7.05 pounds, or 3.2 kilograms, so not nearly as lightweight as either of the two above, but then neither of the two above would survive the kind of windstorm that this tent would shrug off.