The Perfect Tent for Inexperienced Campers

 

What It Is: A spacious two-person tent with a full-length mesh skylight from REI's lifestyle-leaning evrgrn brand. The three-season Starry Night uses more durable fabrics (75-denier canopy, 150 denier floor) than backpacking tents, but isn't so heavy that you couldn't carry it on overnight adventures. It includes a rainfly and a water-resistant tent body. And it's also roomy enough to squeeze in a third friend, if needed.

Why We Like It: The Starry Night is one of the easiest tents to assemble and break down that we've tested. When we hiked out for a night of beach camping with friends, it was up in a few minutes, and we'd already cracked a beer before our companions were settled. The simple, rectangular design is intuitive and packs neatly, whether you're traveling by foot or on four wheels. If you are car camping, the 37.5 square-foot floor is big enough for a full-size air mattress. Look elsewhere if you're planning multiday backcountry hikes, but the Starry Night is an ideal all-purpose camping tent for the rest of us.

Nitpick: The Starry Night weighs about three pound more than REI's backpacking equivalent, the REI Half Dome 2 Plus ($220). But that's the tradeoff for more durable materials and faster assembly.

[$200; rei.com]