These words couldn’t be any truer, and with the right waterproof tent, these words could also prove to be quite comforting, exciting and cozy.
We consider a tent our home away from home. It’s your first line of self-defense, it’s your personal quarters.
And it’s your shelter, protection and comfort when you’re in the great outdoors.
A good, quality rainproof tent is an essential addition to your outdoor gear. Although it may be cheaper and seemingly more convenient to purchase an average, run of the mill weekend tent, when that unexpected torrential downpour creeps in like a thief in the night, you’ll start to rethink your decision.
Now, we’ve got good news and we’ve got bad news, so which would like first? Ok, we’ll assume you want the good news first. The good news is that all the weatherproof tents we reviewed and included in this article are rated 4-stars and up. The bad news is, you’ll want to buy them all.
As you may, or may not already know, at All Things Waterproof, what we do best is pester the critics and experts, gather as much information as we can on products and spend countless hours handpicking what we think are the best products on the market.
Our Editor’s Pick
This is a durable, waterproof, very spacious tent with rainfly and included footprint. It offers great waterproofing and is ideal for backpacking. It’s easy to setup and transport and makes a perfect 3-season tent.
Buying a Weatherproof Camping Tent – What You Need to Look for
Admittedly, there are some pretty cheap, plain Jane tents on the market out there that you could easily pick up and hit the trail with tomorrow. However, as outdoor enthusiasts we all know, or should know, to expect the unexpected when we’re dealing with the great outdoors.
If you possess a “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best” kind of mentality, then common sense would dictate that maybe you should trade in that plain Jane tent for something a little more resilient and durable. We know what you’re going to ask, “What’s the difference?” Well, let’s take a look.
Waterproofing and Hydrostatic Head measurement
It goes without saying that the number 1 advantage to buying a waterproof tent is that it’s rainproof. Duh! The majority of the best waterproof camping tents are constructed of nylon/polyester fabrics that stand up to the elements. Seam welded features are something you should look out for as they contribute to the waterproof attributes of camping tents.
Look for tents with a HH (Hydrostatic Head) rating of at least 2000 to 3000. The Hydrostatic Head is a measure of how resistant the tent’s fabric is to water pressure. For example a Hydrostatic Head of 3000mm means that the tent’s fabric can resist a column of water that is 3000mm tall. A higher HH rating means higher resistance to water. Watch this video for a more detailed explanation.
Most of these tents incorporate water protected entrances and have been actually water tested, so those are some additional features you can keep an eye out for. Some tent footprints provide additional waterproofing as well.
Materials – How Strong Is Strong?
Since your tent can be considered your home away from home, and as we mentioned before, your first line of self-defense, the durability, and construction of your tent is equally as important as waterproofing. There’s no use having a tent that will blow away should three little pigs attempt to seek refuge from a big, bad wolf in it.
Look at the types of materials the poles, stakes, and other assembly gear are made of. Determine whether or not you’ll have to purchase these items separately or if they’re included. If they’re already included, it might not be a bad idea to pick up a few spares should something go “snap” in the night. Additional things like a footprint can help protect the bottom of your tent, extending its life and durability, and protect it from added wear and tear from outdoor terrain.
Comfort & Ventilation
A promise might be comfort to a fool, but a good tent is comfort to a happy camper. It’s a good idea to have a tent that, although it’s waterproof, is breathable and well ventilated.
After a cold, wet night might come a hot, dry day, and you don’t want to be sweaty, clammy, and uncomfortable inside your tent in warm conditions. Some tents come with large doors and zippered windows that allow for great ventilation, and even a fly for stargazing and sky watching.
The weight of your tent is pretty important depending on the type of outdoor activities you’ll be doing. If you’re backpacking, the lighter the tent the better, since it’ll save you from expending much-needed energy hauling a heavy tent around. For straight-forward camping trips where you’ll be driving to directly to the location, the weight of your tent shouldn’t matter much.
Car-mounted tents similar to the Tepui Kukenam Sky Tent are a good consideration for these types of outdoor adventures. A lightweight tent doesn’t have to be a flimsy tent. In this article, we’ve reviewed many lightweight tents that can stand the test of time and elements, so do not think that it needs to be heavy for it to be durable. After all, especially in hiking and backpacking, the lighter your load the more comfortable and fulfilling your expedition will be.
Contrary to popular belief, size matters – with camping tents at least. It would be highly impractical and somewhat irrational to take an 8-person tent on a 1-person expedition – of course, there’s nothing stopping you, it’s a matter of preference.
On a serious note, choose the size of your tent based on your activity and the number of people going with you, especially if you’re a group of friends who go hiking and camping regularly.
It may pay off to pitch in (all puns intended) and buy a single 8-person tent as opposed to four 2-person tents -you get the picture. Apart from your group numbers, a spacious tent with plenty room and possibly a room divider can make for a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience.
Easy to Set up? Did This Thing Come With Instructions?
Last, but certainly not least you want to make sure the tent you’ve chosen isn’t near impossible to setup and pick down. If you find yourself studying for a structural engineering degree while setting up your tent, chances are it’s way too complicated to setup and you could’ve probably found an easier option like a waterproof pop up tent.
Luckily, the majority of tents we reviewed are easy to setup. You’ll find the easier your tent is to set up, the more time you’ll have to allocate to other activities, or the sooner you can enjoy hot chocolate under the stars.
The 10 Best Waterproof Tents – Detailed Reviews
1. Marmot Tungsten 3 Person Tent
Standing at 7′ high and 10′ wide, you can virtually throw a crazy, outdoor party inside this waterproof tent. Its No-See-Um mesh canopy keeps the bugs outside, two D-shaped doors make for easy entrances and exits, and two vestibules provide safe, dry space for your gear.
The floor and fly of this tent are seam taped and PU coated for optimum waterproofing. Fully capable of fitting you and 2 other people, however you will be much more comfortable with only 2 persons. Marmot did a great job with this tent, it earned our Editors’ Pick award and we give it our highest recommendation.
2. MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Tent
This ripstop nylon/nylon mesh, 2-person tent is ultralight and livable – almost livable enough to trade in your actual house. With loads of head and elbow room and two large side-entrances, this tent rates high on our list.
It features two StayDry doors with rain gutters, adjustable rainfly with a roll-up vestibule, and an optional stargazer (for those nights). An ultra-compact compression stuff sack makes transporting this tent convenient and easy. It’s a great choice for backpacking, camping, and hiking, and is one of the lightest of the tents we’ve reviewed.
3. Coleman Sundome 2-Person Tent
This tent is highly ranked in Amazon’s Backpacking Tents category, and we can see why. This dome structure has 1 door, sleeps 2 people (also available as 3 Person, 4 Person or 6 Person tent) and is durable, waterproof and well ventilated.
Its large outdoor exit features a hooded fly that provides ventilation even in rainy conditions, a rugged 1000D polyethylene floor, along with welded seams, provide optimum waterproofing. Mesh vents on the roof and a large rear hooded window provide additional outstanding ventilation.
It even has a port to run AC power and is one of the best value backpacking tents we’ve reviewed. This is definitely a good buy.
4. Kelty Dirt Motel
The new Kelty Dirt Motel is the new version of the Trailogic TN2. It is a lightweight, easy to carry on any trail, compact tent. Constructed of lightweight but durable sil-nylon with 2 oversized doors this tent features a stargazing fly that allows you to watch the sky from the comfort of the inside.
Additionally, it features internal storage pockets, fly vents and welded clear windows. This tent has a very spacious interior and comes with two vestibules where you can safely store all of your equipment and luggage.
5. Nemo Galaxi 2 Tent w/ Footprint
This easy-to-setup and easy-to-use tent is both durable and spacious. It features plenty vestibules for protected entry and storage of dry gear. Dual doors offer added ventilation with one or both open, full protection when closed, and with magnetic tie-backs, it’s simple to roll back your door and keep it out of your way. This is a great 2-person, dome tent that can withstand rain and freezing temperatures.
6. Weanas Double Layer 2,3,4 Person Tent
Weanas constructed a convenient and comfortable 3-season tent for rain and wind that is lightweight, easy to install and can withstand high pressure. Professionally water tested, the waterproof index of this tent is over 4000mm, and a strong skeleton and tent nails give it its windproof qualities.
A special UV coating and breathable nylon make it SPF proof in hot, sunny conditions. It features a brace window and 2 closable ventilation skylights. This waterproof camping tent is built for 2-4 persons and makes for a great backpacking tent, it’s pretty popular in Amazon’s Backpacking Tent category.
7. Mountain Hardware Optic 2.5 – 3 Season Tent
This tent is ideal for backpackers who enjoy roomy, spacious, and airy tent structures. With full-sized doors on adjacent sides and various vestibule tie-backs, this tent can have an outstanding 180-degree view. The canopy is constructed from poly knit mesh, while the floor and fly constructed from waterproof polyester and nylon respectively.
This is a great 3 person – 3 season tent that provides adequate room for you, one more person and all your gear.
8. Tepui Kukenam Sky Tent for 3 Persons
You ever get that feeling like you just want to be above everyone else, but in the most modest way possible? Well, Tepui Tents has made just what you need. The Kukenam Sky tent straps to the top of your car and allows you to camp above everyone else. There’s no longer a need to worry about rocks, dirt, and wet ground under your tent.
This rugged tent is constructed of heavy-duty polyester and cotton (with waterproofing treatment), with a cushy foam base and PU-coated canopy, this tent is made for all seasons. In warm conditions, an all-round No-See-Um mesh provides plenty ventilation, and the canopy is weatherproofed for rain, snow and wet conditions.
9. REI Kingdom 8 – Top Waterproof Family Tent
This 8-person tent comes with 2 huge doors, bug-proof mesh paneling, seam-sealed waterproof polyester rainfly and multiple interior storage options. A zip-in divider can convert this tent from 1 room to 2 rooms. Equipped with a weather-protective awning, this 3-season family tent includes a backpack carry bag. All in all a great quality weatherproof tent for the whole family for a affordable price.
10. Coleman 8-Person Instant Tent
Another 8-person family tent, with enough room to fit two queen airbeds. Large screened windows and doors provide an unbeatable view while keeping the critters out. 2 doors and 7 windows provide full ventilation, with a removable divider between rooms. An exclusive WeatherTech system with thick waterproof walls and welded floors keep you and your company as dry as a bone. This tent ranks very high in Amazon’s Family Camping Tents category.
Tips for Camping in the Rain – Using Rain Fly and Footprints
- Try to set up shop on as smooth, and debris-free a surface as possible. Try to avoid rocks and other debris that can puncture your tent material, and compromise the really cool features of your tents – like waterproofing, etc.
- Use the footprint included, or purchase one if it’s not included. A tent’s footprint can serve many purposes. It protects your tent floor from abrasion, avoids collection of water under the tent floor and can even provide a clean surface to break down and pack up your tent on.
- If heavy rain is expected, use a tarp or rain fly as an extra layer of protection. Attach the tarp to nearby trees or attach it to stable poles. Make sure to set up the rain fly in a way that the water will flow away from the tent and not towards it’s bottom.
- Try not to trek mud, dirt, leaves and other foreign object debris into your tent. If you can, leave boots and shoes outside or in any storage compartments your tent may have to offer.
- An ideal feature in a waterproof tent would be an SPF proof design or UV treatment as seen in the Weanas tent. After a while, the sun’s UVF rays can break down material, so this would be an ideal feature, however, if you can’t do any better, pitching your tent in a well-shaded area is also a great idea.
- In packing up your tent, avoid constantly folding on the same seemliness each and every single time as this will eventually cause the creases to become permanent and brittle.
Tent Care at Home – How to Keep Your Tent Waterproof
Like your home, your tent expects the best tender loving care that you can offer. A well-maintained tent can offer many years of homey service. Here are a few ways on how you can extend your tent’s life expectancy.
- Before you store your tent ensure that it is completely dry. The last thing you need is to go out on your next camping trip and set up a tent full of mildew. Before storing, unpack your tent and air dry it until it is absolutely dry. This is probably the most important point in tent-care.
- Clean your tent after the trip and before storing. A soft sponge, non-detergent soap, and cold water are the 3 essentials you need to give your tent a good wash. Household soaps with fragrances can attract unwanted critters on your next trip, and can render your tent’s durable water repellent coating useless.
- Apply tent waterproofing spray (DWR coating) to restore the water resistance of your tent’s fabric. Pay special attention to all the seams and especially the door zippers.
Learn how to waterproof a tent in 2 easy steps
It might be a good idea to set up your tent at home before you hit the outdoors to avoid any unwanted surprises, especially if it’s a new and unfamiliar tent. This also serves to let you know if you might need any spare parts, replacement parts or repairs to a tent you’ve already used.
Washing your tent in a washing machine and drying it in a dryer are an absolute NO. A washing machine can pull apart the seams on your tent and a dryer can even melt the materials and protective coatings that your tent possesses. Always hand-wash and air dry.
As your first line of self defense, you’ll need a tent built like a tank, to provide you with the strength, durability, security, and protection you need in the great outdoors. If you can find these attributes in a waterproof tent, then your outdoor experience will be nothing but awesome.
Further Reading: Best Tent for Family and Car Camping
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