Nowadays, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a decent quality tent.
However, it is worth noting that there are a large number of cheap tents out there, generally in the range of $10-$30, with very dubious levels of waterproofing.
In this article, we review what we consider to be the best cheap tents currently available in Australia.
We have strived to provide you with affordable options that will keep you dry and safe in most conditions.
The tents below range in price, quality and size and hopefully our analysis will help you find the perfect tent for your next music festival, weekend getaway or family camping trip.
Our top pick: Coleman Sundome 6 Person Tent
Capacity: 6 Person (recommended 2-3 adults)
Weight: 13.5 kg
Pros: Easy setup, great breathability, reliability in bad weather
Cons: Higher price point than other budget options, not suitable for winter conditions
The Coleman Sundome range has been a centrepiece of affordable camping in Australia for years and we don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Sure you can find cheaper options in the super budget range. But, the ease of setup, reliability in bad weather, and overall quality combine to make this one of the best value tents on the market, and our number one choice in the cheap tent category.
This is a traditional dome-style tent, however with only two poles for the main structure and one additional for the fly, it’s a very simple and quick setup.
It should take around 5-10min for the structure and fly and the same again for the pegs and guy ropes.
The Coleman Sundome range, with its unique breathable ventilation panels and “half-flysheet” fly system, is designed for warmer conditions.
With its Polyester 68D outer and 11mm fibreglass poles, you should have absolutely no problems in heavy rain and wind.
This Coleman tent has a 1000D waterproof rating and a tub style, heat sealed, polyethene floor, which should keep you dry inside even in the worst conditions.
Runner up: OZtrail Skygazer 3 Dome Tent
Capacity: 3 Person (recommended 2 adults)
Weight: 3 kg
Pros: Easy set-up, lightweight, star viewing option
Cons: No storage outside of sleeping area
Easy setup, a sturdy traditional cross frame design and solid materials and weatherproofing combine to make the Skygazer one of the best budget options out there.
It is perfect for weekend getaways and festivals and the No-See-Um mesh provides views of the stars and excellent ventilation.
With its simple two pole dome design, this should give you not problems in set up or take down.
The outer fly is fully waterproof and is heat seam sealed. It also includes velcro straps to ensure secure fastening to the frame and storm flaps over the zippers.
The heavy-duty floor is in the bucket style common to this type of tent and great at keeping out any water or dampness. With its durable fibreglass poles, this tent should have little trouble in light to moderate winds.
With an internal area of 2m (W) x 2m (L) x 1.2m (H) this is the perfect size for a couple or single who need a tent for a festival or weekend getaway.
Note that there is no additional storage in the entrance way so all gear needs to be kept inside the main sleeping area.
Best for families: Wanderer Magnitude Dome Tent
Capacity: 6 Person (recommended 3-4 adults)
Weight: 15.46 kg
Pros: Two separate rooms, easy to set up and pack away, good waterproofing, affordable
Cons: Due to the height this tent is less suited to high winds
The Magnitude Dome Tent has two rooms, so it’s perfect for families or groups that want to split up.
This 6 person tent has a 2000mm waterproof rating, which means it can withstand even the wettest conditions.
The large windows and door allow plenty of ventilation, so you won’t get too hot during warm nights.
It’s also easy to set up and pack down, so you won’t waste time setting up your camp when you’re tired after a long day of travelling.
Durawrap fibreglass poles and a 180T Polyester fly make this tent sturdy and durable.
The front vestibule is great for storing extra gear like shoes or an esky, while the large front awning provides extra shade if needed.
Also great: Spinifex Vacay 3 Person Tent
Capacity: 3 Person (recommended 2 adults)
Weight: 2.7 kg
Pros: Very affordable, lightweight, vestibule for storage
Cons: Less durable than more expensive options
The Spinifex Vacay 3 Person Tent is a great choice for warm weather camping.
This tent is spacious enough to comfortably accommodate two people, and the front vestibule provides you with plenty of space for storing your gear.
You can easily enter the tent from the large front door, or enjoy a little fresh air during the night by opening up the rear roof ventilation port.
The Vacay 3 has internal measurements of 2m x 1.8m and is made from lightweight materials so is easy to carry at only 2.7 kg.
The PE bucket floor makes this tent suitable for camping in areas where rain or wet ground might be expected, and there is also an internal storage pocket where you can keep your smaller items safe and dry.
Budget option: OZtrail Tasman Festival 2P Dome Tent
Capacity: 2 person (recommended 1-2 adults)
Weight: 2 kg
Pros: Lightweight, easy set-up, great weatherproofing for the price
Popular with festival-goers and families for use as a kids tent and, the Oztrail Festival 2p Dome offers value for money like nothing else on the market.
Being a small, lightweight, two pole cross frame tent, even first timers should have no problem with setting it up.
Made from the same UVTex 2000 waterproof fabric as Oztrail’s more expensive tents, the Festival 2p Dome definitely punches above its weight in the weatherproofing department.
There are no obvious drawbacks here in terms of construction versus the competition, with a cross pole construction and fibreglass frame combining to provide more than adequate stability in moderate winds.
It also has a heavy duty bucket floor to protect you from ground moisture.
In addition to the usual internal organisation pockets and lantern hooks, the Festival 2P internal space is made from Oztrail’s No-See-Um mesh, which provides excellent ventilation and protection from bugs (great for summer festivals).
Also included here are velcro storm flaps from the more expensive Skygazer range.
The obvious downside of this tent is its size. With measurements of only 2.05m (L) x 1.5m (W), it will be cosy with two people.
Also, there is little room between the fly and mesh so ensure you don’t leave anything touching the walls during rain as this may result in a contact leak.
Upgrade pick: Coleman Instant Up 6P Silver Series Evo Tent
Capacity: 6 person (recommended 3-4 adults)
Weight: 15.3 kg
Pros: Fast and easy setup, spacious, value for money
Cons: Less suited to high winds
If your budget allows, we recommend the Instant Up Silver tent from Coleman. It features durable mid-level materials and innovative features with a reasonable price tag.
The Instant Up tent is packed with the latest tent technology, including a fully seam-sealed fly, patented welded floors, inverted seams, and a waterproof rating of 1500mm.
The Coleman Instant Tent is one of the fastest tents to set up currently on the market.
It’s currently available in the following sizes:
The unique hub design means this tent can be set up or packed down in just a few minutes making this tent perfect for those who want to get set up in a hurry.
The Coleman Instant Up tents are packed with features that make them not only suitable for a wide variety of weather conditions but also make them comfortable for extended camping adventures.
Key features include :
- Large windows will roll-up rear flaps to allow increased airflow
- Inverted seams to ensure rain is kept out
- Internal cord management
- Fully seam-sealed fly with large front awning
- Welded floors
- A sturdy carry bag included for easy transport
Easiest set-up: Explore Planet Earth Speedy Pop Up Tent
If you want to get set up in a hurry, this pop up tent from Explore Planet Earth might be your best option.
Like most pop up tents, the Speedy comes folded up in a circular shape, packed inside a handy carry case.
The user simply needs to remove the tent from the case, and it pops up instantly. Secure the four corners with the pegs provided and you are done.
Unlike many pop up tents, no corners are cut on quality, and if cared for properly the Speedy should provide you with many years of camping enjoyment.
The floor is made from durable Nylon boasting a 2000mm waterproof rating, while the outer is Rip-Stop Polyester with an impressive 3000mm waterproof rating and fully taped seams.
Waterproofing should not be an issue here, even in moderate rain. The inner is a breathable Rip-Stop Polyester.
A new feature on the Blackhole release of Speedy tents is the blackout technology. This material reduces the amount of light that enters the tent, keeping it cooler in hot weather and warmer in cool weather.
Features include reflective guide ropes, accessory pockets, fire retardant materials, and an internal lighting system.
A No-See-Um mesh provides ventilation, protection from bugs, and privacy, while side windows contribute to ventilation also.
We also like that EPE stands by this product with a 3-year warranty, providing peace of mind in case anything does go wrong.
Budget option: Hinterland 3 Person Dome Tent
Capacity: 3 person (recommended 1-2 adults)
Weight: 2.9 kg
Pros: Quick set up, cheap
Cons: No guy ropes
As the cheapest tent we review, the Hinterland tent is generally what you would expect for the price.
If you take care with handling and set-up, and avoid heavy rain and wind, this tent will be money well spent and will serve as a perfectly acceptable home base for a summer festival or kids tent on a family holiday.
If you can stretch your pennies a little further we recommend making a small upgrade to the Oztrail Festival range.
Cheap Tent FAQ
There are many factors that influence the price of a tent, including size, brand, and materials. For a mid-range 6 person tent (comfortable for 2-3 adults), expect to pay around $400 – $600.
If you really want to camp without one, you could use a tarp instead. This will provide some shelter from the wind and rain but it won’t be very comfortable or safe. Alternatively, consider purchasing a swag, which are easy to set up and generally very durable.
For easy set-up, we recommend the Coleman Instant-Up tents. These tents employ a clever hub design which means there are no individual poles.