Best Tents in NZ: buying guide

Whether it’s family camping, hiking or a mix of both, choosing a tent is about numbers, conditions and camping style.

Last updated: 14 February 2024

With the right tent, you're not just buying canvas and poles; you're investing in instant freedom. No more waiting for hotel check-ins or worrying about reservations – you can sleep under the stars, wherever and whenever you fancy. But with so many options to choose from, we thought we’d put together a buying guide to help you find the perfect fit for your camping adventures. 

What’s your tent style?

Whether it’s family camping, hiking or a mix of both, it’s all about choosing a tent for numbers, conditions and camping style. Here are your options:

1. Roof top tents

The best thing about a roof top tent? You get a higher vantage point. You’d be waking up to stunning views of landscapes, sunsets and starry nights. Mounted on the roof of your vehicle, they’re a great choice for off-road camping. And when unfolded, they transform it into a cosy sleeping space with a comfortable mattress inside. 

Browse roof top tenting listings

2. Inflatable tents

Without the hassle of traditional tent poles, inflatable tents make camping super easy. All you have to do is blow up the inflatable beams and pin the structure down. You’ll be surprised how these tents can be lightweight, yet incredibly strong and robust. Crafted from high-quality weather-resistant fabrics, they’re a great option for a comfortable camping experience. 

Find an inflatable tent on Trade Me. 

3. Pop-up tents

Want a super convenient camping experience? Pop-up tents are all about the instant set-up. They have a flexible frame that "pops up" into shape when released and the materials used are lightweight yet durable. That means you get a good balance of portability and strength — ideal for spontaneous trips where quick shelter is key.

Browse all our pop-up tents

4. Swag tents

Swag tents capture the essence of traditional camping. They are compact, single-person shelters made from durable canvas materials. Kiwi Camping's swag tents often feature a simple design with a built-in mattress, providing a comfortable and minimalist sleeping space. These tents are easy to carry, making them perfect for solo adventurers.

Shop our range of swag tents.

5. Canvas tents

Canvas tents are all about durability and breathability. Typically made from a heavy-duty cotton or polyester blend, these tents withstand the elements while allowing proper ventilation. Not to mention, their classic look adds a touch of nostalgia to your camping experience.

Find your perfect canvas tent

6. Family tents

With multiple rooms and high ceilings, family tents are designed to accommodate larger groups. Made from strong materials like polyester or nylon, these tents focus on keeping you comfy and safe from the weather. They often come with a rain cover to shield you during bad weather, making family camping a fun and worry-free experience.

Check out all the best family tents

7. Hiking tents

If you’re going backpacking and want to keep things light and easy, hiking tents are made with cool stuff like lightweight nylon and aluminium poles. In other words, they’ve found that sweet spot between being sturdy and easy to carry. 

Browse our hiking tent listings.

Different tent shapes

Tents aren’t all that classic dome shape. There are lots of options to choose from, each with its own benefits.

Bell tents

These tents have a cool vintage vibe, roomy inside, and a stand-out pointy top. Perfect for hanging out with friends or family – they're like your cosy camping living room.

Check out our bell tent listings. 

Dome tents

Shaped like a big, rounded bubble, these tents are super practical for solo adventures or small groups. Easy to set up and sturdy – a top pick for many campers.

Find your perfect dome tent

Pyramid tents

Think teepee but simpler. These tents are light and great for backpacking trips. Easy breezy and a hit with outdoor explorers.

Shop pyramid tents

Canopy tents

Need some shade for your outdoor bash? Canopy tents got you covered. From backyard BBQs to beach hangs, these tents are versatile and come in different sizes for all your outdoor plans.

See our canopy tent listings.

Best tent brands NZ

When you’re sleeping outside in New Zealand, you want peace of mind no matter the weather. These tent brands invest in quality materials, innovative designs, and rigorous testing:

Kathmandu tents

When it comes to Kathmandu tents, think rugged meets comfort. These bad boys are built for the Kiwi explorer who wants a reliable shelter without sacrificing style.  Crafted with high-quality materials, they seamlessly blend durability with a touch of luxury.

Shop our Kathmandu tent listings.

Torpedo7 tents

The epitome of practicality, Torpedo7 is like the Swiss Army knife of camping gear. Known for easy setup and hassle-free adventure — perfect for campers who value efficiency.

Check out Torpedo7 tents

Zempire tents

Want to make a style statement on your next camping trip? With innovative designs and premium materials, Zempire combines unique aesthetics with top-notch functionality.  

Coleman tents

Coleman tents are reliable companions for family camping. With spacious interiors and family-friendly designs, they’re all about creating comfortable spaces for shared experiences. 

Shop our range of Coleman tents.

Kiwi Camping Tents

With a Kiwi Camping Tent, you’ll be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way. Tailored for the rugged Kiwi terrain and all types of weather, these tents are all about resilience and adaptability. 

Find a Kiwi Camping Tent.

Macpac Tents

Macpac tents are the veterans of the camping scene. That means when you set it up for the night, you can rest easy knowing it’s been tested and proven in some of the toughest terrains. 

Browse Macpac tents.

OZtrail Tents

If you’re looking for something more affordable, these tents are the way to go.  OZtrail believes that everyone should have the chance to go camping, without breaking the bank — or compromising on quality. 

Shop all OZtrail tent listings

Pitch perfect

Now you’ve got the lowdown on all things tents, it’s time to hop on to Trade Me. Grab that perfect tent, toss it in your car, and let the adventure begin! 

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Written by one of our Trade Me Marketplace experts - providing you with the latest information to help you shop smarter in New Zealand.