Best Waterproof Tent

A waterproof tent? “Aren’t they all?!” I hear you shout. What’s the point if they’re not – who wants to wake up at 4 am to a sleeping bag full of water? Sure, all tents provide shelter, and mean you’re not sleeping out under the stars, however romantic that might seem. But the degree to which they’ll keep you dry, and the clever little features they’re packing can vary.

High-specification waterproofing doesn’t have to mean you’re staring at a lifetime of trips spent in an ergonomic, one person, minimalist capsule. Tents of all shapes and sizes can boast some of the best features out there, and certainly more than enough for leisure campers.

Whether you’re in need of something small and light for a solo trek, or a multi-room cabin for the whole gang, check out our picks and tips for staying dry.

Hubba Hubba NX
  • Hubba Hubba NX
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Highly waterproof
  • Lightweight
  • Price: See Here
Coleman Sundome
  • Coleman Sundome
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Storage features
  • Welded floors
  • Price: See Here
NTK Cherokee
  • NTK Cherokee
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Accommodating
  • Durable
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Waterproof Tent

 

 

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2

The Hubba Hubba is immensely popular for its waterproof credentials and rugged strength. While it’s only a two-person tent, this will suit the hardcore hikers it’s made for as it’s also lightweight.
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Capacity
It’s a 2 person tent, and generally at that size no one’s looking to try and fit any more people; you know what you’re getting with a two person.

Size and Configuration
The main tent are is 29 sq ft and, feels bigger on the inside. Unusually for a small tent, there’s also a 17.5 sq ft vestibule area. The 39 inch height means that you’re not standing up and walking around, but again, that’s not what you expect with this size of tent. Packs up to a compact 18 x 6 inch pack, weighing 3.8 lbs.

Waterproofness
There are a lot of features here. The all-over, floor-to-floor, rainfly is made of 20D Ripstop nylon; there are gutters on the patented StayDry doors; and DuraShield PU waterproof coating. It’s also a three season tent. The one let down is that there is no footprint included, so we’d advise that as an extra purchase. This is especially worth mentioning as the vestibule has no floor at all - so unless you’re planning on only storing things that you don’t mind being exposed to the ground, you’ll need something there.

Ventilation
The rainfly is adjustable, and can be removed completely to expose a 15D nylon mesh roof - great for stargazing, but particularly ventilation. There are two large side entrances, which are another nice surprise in a small tent. There are no windows, but as the whole roof becomes a breathable mesh, it’s not a problem.

Strength
The MSR scores particularly well here. With the advantage of coming with six MSR mini groundhog stakes, the stake of choice for many regardless of tent manufacturer, it stays where it is. You might need a couple more for particularly harsh conditions. It’s a one-pole hub system, which keeps the tent secure as it doesn’t have a lot of weakness points. The guy-lines are super-strong.

Summary
The Hubba Hubba really does deliver on being water and weatherproof. It’s a firm favorite, with a price to match. However, if this is going to keep you dry in the wilderness, it’s invaluable.
Pros

Highly waterproof

Strong

Lightweight

Roomy for a 2 person

Cons

Expensive

No footprint

Coleman Sundome

We couldn’t have a list of tents without including a Coleman - in fact we’ve got two. The Walmart-owned, affordable, consumer-friendly brand has been staking its claim in the market in recent years, and with good reason.
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Capacity
Being a four person, as usual it’s going to fit three comfortably. You could technically fit four, but that wouldn’t leave much, if any, room for the backpacking equipment you’re likely to have. However, there’s room for a queen and a single blow-up mattress.

Size and Configuration
Inside, it’s 9 x 7 feet with a tall 59 inch center height. There’s only one area, however, there are some space savers such as an interior hook, ground pockets, and a doormat. Folds up to a neat, 8 x 8 x 8 inch, 3 lbs package.

Waterproofness
There are some good features for a two season tent. It’s got Coleman’s patented WeatherTec System; and welded, 1000D PE floors. The bathtub style could extend slightly higher up the walls. The rainfly reaches halfway down the tent from the top, and covers the door at the top, porch-style. For a two season this isn’t too much of a problem, as should protect in the expected conditions.

Ventilation
This is a strong area, with more of Coleman’s patented technology. Cool-Air vented ports and Vari-Flo ventilation work hard to keep moisture at bay. There are also ground vents. The one, D-shaped, door is only half ventilated, in line with the position of the rainfly.

Strength
Again, as a two season tent, the Coleman Sundome isn’t for harsh weather. The supplied stakes are fairly thin. However, the Insta-Clip pole attachments and quick, ten minute set up will be great for stability and quick shelter on windy days.

Summary
Another very affordable all-rounder from Coleman, hiding some useful features under the hood. One of which is the particularly exciting zippered panel for accessing electrical ports! While this perhaps marks out the Coleman’s audience, it does serve it well.
Pros

Electrical port panel

Storage features

Welded floors

Lightweight

Cons

Rainfly is not all-over

Door is only half mesh

NTK Cherokee GT

NTK are an emerging, Brazil-based company, so they’ve got the credentials for all weathers - and this one is tough. While only billed as two season, it’s actually one of the strongest in its class on the market.
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Capacity
NTK call it an 8-9 person tent, and it’s nice that the variation is built-in there. In practice it does accommodate.

Size and Configuration
The size might explain its near-true capacity - at 10 x 12 feet and a 9.6 feet centre it’s spacious. The interesting thing is that it doesn’t look like a normal large capacity tent, it’s more like a traditional dome, just oversized. While there’s no vestibule, there is a detachable room divider inside and a lantern hook, utility pocket, and gear loft for saving space. It is understandably heavy at 18.7 lbs.

Waterproofness
This is one of the areas where the Cherokee comes into its own. It’s made of 190T PU laminated polyester, with a 2500 mm waterproof rating; the rainfly is double thickness; the stitching of the floor’s seams is high frequency and uses special threads for waterproofing; and a high-sided, anti-fungus, bathtub floor. The rainfly is all-over, but only partially covers the door.

Ventilation
There is one, full-mesh, D-shaped door and a mesh roof under the rainfly.

Strength
Another strong area for the Cherokee, the poles are extra-thick, nano-flex, double chrome-plated ferrule hardware with strong elastic cores. It’s also an easy set up, ring and pin system, and is fire retardant to CPAI-84 standard. A great feature are the four, ten foot-long guy lines, which are orange for safety.

Summary
The NTK Cherokee has room for everything except complaints, it seems, and fans love it. If you need a large, easy setup and takedown, traditional tent - you can’t go wrong with the Cherokee. It’s even got an ID label on the stuff sack for those busy trips.
Pros

Large and accommodating

Great waterproof credentials

One of the strongest

Cons

Heavy

Eureka Copper Canyon

Eureka Copper Canyon
Our first cabin-style, which can often have advantages for water and weather-proofing, but is it a eureka moment? For a tent with good waterproofing and a home-like feel yet quick setup, it just might be.
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Capacity
The Copper Canyon is pretty true to its four person capacity, thanks in part to its cabin-style, allowing the all-important headspace.

Size and Configuration
It’s 8 x 8 feet and has a massive 7 feet of standing space. However, at this size, the packed up size is too large for backpacking, at 15 x 10 x 22 inches and 23 lbs. There’s no separate vestibule, but there’s plenty of space inside. The gear pockets are placed higher up, which is useful, but those used to ground-level ones might miss those.

Waterproofness
It’s actually a three season tent, which is unexpected in a cabin-style as they’re not traditionally used for rugged camping. However, when thought of as a structure which is comfortable enough to stay in for multiple nights, it’s a useful second structure for at home or away. Eureka’s Stormshield polyester fly covers only the roof, but the clever feature here is that the roof is domed, so it doesn’t suffer the pooling common to the flat roofs of many cabin-styles. It also does well in avoiding sagging.

Ventilation
This is one area where the Coleman excels, with large, mesh windows in three sides, and a two thirds mesh door in the fourth. They’re all coverable and weather-proof, and stash in their own pockets so there are no extra ties and toggles. Without the rainfly, the roof is also mesh.

Strength
The frame is steel and fiberglass, with clips, pole sleeves and a ring and pin assembly, which all afford good strength. You might find you need higher quality, T-shaped stakes, but at the reasonable price for the size this isn’t too much of an outlay.

Summary
A nice, quiet, simple success, the Copper Canyon will certainly clinch it for some. As close to home as you can get, if you’re after something sturdy and roomy - Eureka!
Pros

Near-vertical walls

Great height

Strong frame

Cons

Heavy

No sections

Coleman Evanston

Coleman Evanston
Another pick from Coleman, and it could be the Sundome’s big brother, with the added features to take it to the next level, yet still at a very good price.
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Capacity
It’s a 6 person, and also comes in an 8 person design. As usual, if budget and space allows, we’d go bigger if you are accommodating more people. However, there is room for two queen air beds and your gear.

Size and Configuration
The main room is 10 x 9 feet, which is small for six people, being only a foot or two bigger than some four person models. However, in addition to this there is a 10 x 5 feet screened porch. The highest point of the main area is 5 foot 8 inches, so some will be able to stand. The Evanston packs up to a 28 x 10 x 9 inch, 21 lbs package. There are storage pockets off the floor.

Waterproofness
The rainfly covers the roof and windows, porch-style, and reaches to the floor at the corners. The porch does have a floor, but the front and sides are only mesh screens. The rainfly does shield it, but this area won’t stay as dry as the rest of the tent. The main material is 75D taffeta polyester and Coleman’s WeatherTec system, which stood up well in an unexpected flash flood. The bathtub floor is welded and seams inverted for extra protection. A nice feature here are weather-proof cuffs to stop the zippers from getting wet.

Ventilation
There is a small mesh in the roof, and half-height, zippered mesh windows on all sides. It keeps heat, getting hot with the rainfly on, but doesn’t excel in temperatures below 40 degrees.

Strength
The poles are aluminium alloy, have continuous sleeves to prevent snagging, and the cord inside is easy to restring if you need to. Sets up in fifteen minutes, which is great for a larger tent.

Summary
While not being one of the big names in outdoor gear, Coleman stands up next to them, and for the quality can rarely be beaten on price.
Pros

Large porch

Well-designed rainfly with vented windows

Cons

Not great in extreme heat or cold

Teton Sports Mountain

Teton Sports Mountain
The Mountain Ultra is quick, smart, sleek and light - the perfect backpacker tent. Teton Sports are for the hardcore, and focus their attentions on a small, efficient range of high quality tents.
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Capacity
The Mountain Ultra comes in four sizes for between 1 and 4 people. As this will mostly be one for backpackers and trekkers, you might be happy to save on space and stay true to size, as small as you can go. Just be mindful of how much space this will leave you for your gear.

Size and Configuration
The one and two person are around 7 x 3 and 7 x 5 feet respectively; while the three person is 7.5 x 6.5 feet; and the four person is 8 x 7 feet. Heights are around 3-5 feet across the range, so while they’ve got a nice size floorspace for their capacities, they’re certainly in the backpack rather than homestyle category. However, the ridge-pole system is designed to provide a wider roof. They’re lightweight, ranging from 3.3-7.7lbs, and pack up into to a very compact drawstring bag. It looks more like an elongated sleeping bag. This is great for transporting in a backpack. There is a vestibule or porch stretching over the front door.

Waterproofness
The design is seamless - literally as well as figuratively! This is good news for waterproofing, as seams are the weak points in even the most waterproof tent. The Mountain Ultra really does focus its efforts here with this three season tent. The rainfly provides total cover, and is made of 66D Ripstop, PU coated nylon with a 3000mm rating. There is also an included, 150D Oxford polyester footprint to support the high bathtub floor. Unsurprisingly, it held up well in thunderstorms without a breach.

Ventilation
Under the outer, the inner is completely mesh, accessed by cutaways in the rainfly. However, there are no windows once the rainfly is on.

Strength
Made from one interlocking pole for stability, the light aluminium poles have fast-release buckles for a quick 15 minute setup and five minute takedown. You might need to purchase longer stakes for particularly harsh weather.

Summary
Probably our pick with the most efficient design and features, and such a bonus that it comes in four sizes. It’s also very reasonably priced for the amount of technology it has behind it.
Pros

Superior waterproofing

Four sizes

Seamless

Lightweight and compact

Cons

No windows

NTK Laredo GT

NTK Laredo GT
NTK and its strong Brazilian roots makes another appearance on our list. It’s got the familiar specifications from the Cherokee, with a few added features to make it super-sized and weather-ready.
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Capacity
It’s 8-9 person and works pretty true to size.

Size and Configuration
The tent is 15 x 10 feet, with just over 6 feet of headspace. It’s got two vestibules, which leaves loads of room for gear and extra space with that amount of people. However, there is only one door, which is a shame on such a large tent, but means the vestibules aren’t compromised by door seams. There is also a gear loft, lantern hook and roomy utility pockets. Folds down to 6 x 15 x 10 inches and 23.5 lbs.

Waterproofness
As expected with NTK, there’s a double-layer, 190D taffeta polyester, PU laminated, 2500mm rated, full-cover rainfly. The seams are heat-welded PU as well, so there’s a lot going on to keep you dry. The bathtub floor is eight inches high.

Ventilation
The mesh vents are large, and NTK’s micro ‘No-See-Um’ technology. There’s a half window in the door, and without the rainfly is pretty much all ventilated roof. The double zippers can be stiff and tricky before you get used to them.

Strength
Like its sister product, the poles are nano-flex, shock-corded fiberglass. They’ve got improved diameter and double gold-plated ferrules. It’s three season so stands up as expected. The Laredo is actually still sturdy without stakes, but we’d always recommend using them, and you might want to get some stronger ones than those provided.

Summary
The Laredo is spacious, high specification and works well under the rain. It’s pricier but delivers good value and a surprisingly quick setup. It’s also got some sneaky hidden features like color-coded poles and a bright orange zip for ease of access.
Pros

Two vestibules

Strong

Sealed and heat-welded seams

Cons

Only one door

Marmot Tungsten 3P

Marmot Tungsten 3P
The Tungsten is another sleek and sporty design. Marmot are a more than 40-year established, trusted brand started by two trek-loving students. This tent caters for the hardcore market, with high-end specifications.
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Capacity
Although billed as a three person tent, typically it’s more like a two person.

Size and Configuration
The floorspace is 5.5 x 7.5 feet, with nearly four feet of headspace. It can be packed up to a tiny 22 x 8 inch size, although at a mid-range 5 lbs. There are two vestibules for extra space and storage, as well as pockets and a roof space for a lamp.

Waterproofness
As well as the 68D polyester taffeta and PU coated rainfly, seams and floor, there is also an included footprint. This is a bonus as there is no bathtub floor. However, the Tungsten bears out, staying dry in tests.

Ventilation
The Tungsten is well-ventilated, and has a great waterproof wall feature. It provides extra protection for ventilation on warmer nights and no moisture. There are also two doors and a mesh canopy.

Strength
The tent has a zone construction, which means that the poles are pre-bent for vertical walls and more room. The clips, poles and fly are all color-coded for quick construction, and the poles are Marmot’s HD Velocity 7000 series aluminium. The strap points are also reinforced, which is an often overlooked area. As usual, you might want to upgrade the stakes.

Summary
The Marmot Tungsten is a classic for the trekking crew, and while it runs at a slightly higher price, this is worth it for the quality.
Pros

Strong

Footprint included

Waterproof wall

Cons

No bathtub floor

Wenzel Klondike

Wenzel Klondike
The Klondike is one of our largest picks and really is for those that want a caravan-style experience. The screened porch is nearly the same size as the sleeping area, so there’s always lots of space and no need to store anything wet next to your beds.
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Capacity
The capacity is 8 people, but bear in mind that three of those are expected to sleep in the mesh-screen porch.

Size and Configuration
There is 90 square feet of space in the Klondike, and that’s without the porch. It certainly feels roomy, especially if you don’t fill it to capacity. There’s 6.5 feet of headroom in this classic cabin shape. It is one of our heavier models at 25 lbs but folds flat into its own carrying bag. There is also a gear loft for even more storage.

Waterproofness
The Klondike is a three season tent made of water-resistant polyester, and actually only uses a rainfly on the top of the roof, hardly extending down the walls. However, despite this, the mainly mesh porch can be covered and acts as a barrier. In tests, the inside of the tent stayed dry in excessive rain. The secret might be in its double-stitched, lap-felled (sewn folded over for extra protection at the join) seams.

Ventilation
The ventilation is extensive, with the mesh-screened porch and two large windows in the main body of the tent. There is also a large ground vent. There is only one door to the main area, and another to the porch, but it actually works in the Klondike’s favor as it provides a more protected sleeping area, buffered by the porch.

Strength
Often a tent of this style would be let down by its size, having more weak points, but the Klondike stood up well in 20mph winds and torrential rain over a few hours.

Summary
The Klondike looks and feels massive, and is incredible value for what you get. It’s not the most technical of our picks, but stays dry and provides for large groups.
Pros

Good value

Spacious

Cons

Heavy

ALPS Mountaineering Lynx

ALPS Mountaineering Lynx
Our final pick is the Lynx and represents a different market. While we’ve covered small tents, this one is specifically for one. If you’re in need of a good value, lightweight tent for solo sleeping, read on.
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Capacity
One! Really and truly, one of the only tents where you can’t quibble over the stated capacity.

Size and Configuration
The dimensions are 7.6 x 2.8 feet, so just in case you hadn’t already got the subtle hints, it won’t fit more than one! However, it’s a refreshing three feet high at its tallest point, so it’s much more ergonomic than a tent where you have to stay flat when inside. There is even an integrated vestibule, gear loft and pockets to maximize your limited sleeping space. It of course packs down to a small size and weighs around 3.5 lbs. However, many backpackers find it more efficient to take it out of its bag and carry in separate pieces as it can take up more space when packed up as one.

Waterproofness
The rainfly and floor are both 75D 185 thread count taffeta polyester for extra strength. The seams are sealed. It does well in weather from heat to snow, and is also UV protected. We recommend getting a footprint as well, and ALPS do a matching floor saver.

Ventilation
This might be the one area where the Lynx is lacking, there’s just the half-mesh door and mesh panels at the front.

Strength
The tent is sturdy for its size, and comes with five stakes and guy lines. The aluminium poles are from ALPS’ special 7000 series, and quickly clip over and together for easy set up in bad weather.

Summary
ALPS has only been established since 1993, but is ever-growing. The Lynx is clearly for a specific use, but if you do only need space for one, it’s the best that we found.
Pros

Good internal height for a small tent

Sturdy

Extra storage

Cons

Not much ventilation

Criteria Used For Evaluation

Waterproof Credentials

One waterproof tent isn’t the same as another. In general, yes, anything advertised as such and all of our picks will be efficient at keeping you dry, but they do this in different ways and to varying degrees. “Waterproof” is actually somewhat of a catch-all term which can mean a few things when it comes to protection against water. Strictly, if something is described as waterproof, like a bag or a watch, it means that it can be submerged underwater without being damaged or water getting in. Obviously, for a few reasons, this isn’t relevant for tents, however, “waterproof” has come to refer to how good the tent is at keeping rain out of the inside and keeping you dry.

Water-resistance, which might be familiar from small electronic devices and raincoats, refers means that the material on the tent is able to defend against water and penetration, but it doesn’t guarantee to let anything in. It just helps to stop the inside from being completely soaked, but with a large volume of water or after a long time, there’ll be leakage – both through seams and the material itself. It’s fine for drier climates, but unlikely to be enough if you’ve come looking for a waterproof tent, and as such all of our picks offer more protection than this.

Water-repellent is better, and much more likely to be the situation when a tent is described as waterproof. The fabric as a whole and/or threads themselves have been treated so that water rolls off. It actually is a semi-impermeable layer. This is the category that our picks are more likely to be in, and will handle repelling water to one degree or another; it’s this that you’ll be comparing. Water-repellent tents are going to be fine for pretty much all types of weather you would encounter.

Waterproofness, as discussed, is about submersion and should be completely impervious to water to be categorized as such. No water at all should be able to get through, and would only be necessary for extremely wet or humid conditions. If a tent needs to handle that level of water, it’s likely to mean that conditions are extreme in other ways in addition to rain which means that camping isn’t viable anyway.

Waterproofing Techniques

What you’re most likely to see is a nylon or polyester, polyurethane (PU) coated rainfly, which actually does the bulk of the protection against water. Other factors determining the strength of the fabric are denier (D) or a combination with taffeta (T) for extra strength. For regular or all-purpose tents, the rainfly may only be small and cover the peak of the tent. For waterproof tents, it may cover a larger area, or just the roof of a cabin-style, reach the corners, or extend all over and cover “floor-to-floor”. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need all over coverage, other aspects of the tent’s design must be taken into consideration as well. However, what is common to all of our tents, and most mid-range priced models, is that they have a shell or inner layer, and a rainfly on top. This is known as ‘double-skin’. Single skin tents handle repelling water, as well as all the other requirements we’ll explore, in one layer of fabric. Subsequently, they’re much more expensive.

One metric worth mentioning here is Hydrostatic Head Measurement (HHM). You’ll commonly see it expressed as a number of millimeters – usually in the thousands. It refers to a test which is done to test how water a fabric can resist. A tube is filled with water and placed on the material, and when water begins to seep through, the height of the water remaining in the tube is measured in millimeters. The fabric must have an HHM rating of 1500mm or more for it to be considered “waterproof”. Some say that this should be more like 2000-3000, as the average deluge in a rain shower has been measured at 2500mm. The HHM measurement means that the material can resist a column of water that tall.

Other features that you’ll see in the category of waterproofing are seam sealing, seam taping, or even seamless, and bathtub floors. These are all measures to reinforce weak points in the structure. All seams represent needle holes, however small, which mean leaks. Bathtub floors are the other main fabric element which protects. They’re often coated or treated as well, reinforced, and crucially, extend up and cover a portion of the wall. If you know you’re going to be in very harsh conditions, it’s worth carrying a repair kit for all parts of your tent as these features only protect you when they are working.

Design

All tent designs have pros and cons, and it’s more likely that other factors such as size and how much space and weight you can carry will dictate the type of tent you go for. Despite this, when it comes to waterproofing, there are a couple of features which may have a bearing. In addition to the treatment applied to the fabric itself, dome-shaped tents help water to run-off naturally, whereas flat roofs run the risk of collecting water on top. All our picks, being designed to be waterproof, will usually have some kind of sloped element, even if they are cabin-style.

Ventilation

Ventilation is crucial in a tent, especially in one in which you’re focused on sealing off all possible gaps. While you’re stopping water from getting in, you don’t want to stop all air from getting out. When a tent is filled with people, it will retain heat, which cools when it hits the tent walls and turns into condensation. You need to look for tents which have dedicated ventilation points without creating openings which will let water in. The inner layer of many tents is partly or wholly mesh, which aids breathability. Doors and windows are also likely to be zippered mesh panels. There may even be ground-level vents with a small, individual rain fly, like a porch roof, which allows air in and lets the water runoff.

Space

How much space you have will be a consideration with any tent. Whether this is about how big your party is, how much you can carry, or where you’re going to pitch, you need to think about the size of your tent. When it comes to waterproofing, this is important because you’re likely to have wet gear and wet shoes, so you need space to put this and keep it dry, as well as keep it out of your sleeping space. Consider the size of the tent in relation to how much space you’ll need for people, and how much space that will leave you for your gear – and whether you’ll want it inside the tent. There’s no point in a waterproof tent if you bring water inside on your clothes! Features like vestibules, gear lofts, utility pockets, and hooks can help save space and keep you dry.

When it comes to vestibules, porches, and screened off areas, bear in mind that barriers like this will also affect ventilation, so make sure all areas have adequate airflow.

Protection

If you’re looking for a waterproof tent, you’ll typically be using it in conditions where it’s not just rain you have to contend with – it comes with other elements. Your tent will need to be strong all round to survive bad weather. A common rating for this is a number of seasons. Two season tents can be used in Spring and Summer, so will protect against temperature drops at night, and as much rain as is likely to fall then. Three season tents are more hardcore and can stand to withstand much colder temperatures and much more moisture. Four season tents are rare and very expensive, as technically they should be able to keep out rain, wind, snow, extreme heat and anything else the sky can throw at it. The season indicator isn’t absolute, and many can handle more than they’re billed to, it’s just a minimum you can expect as a guide.

Another very important element of pitching a sturdy tent is stakes and guy ropes. These are invaluable tools in keeping your tent anchored to the ground. Even if you think it’s not windy, or your tent will be weighted down with people and gear, it can still roll and move. As much as anything, this will make the floor more susceptible to catching and ripping. Depending on the conditions in which you camp, you might like to get more specialized or more stakes than those provided with your tent. In a similar way, guy ropes will keep your tent anchored, but also taut, which will aid water run-off and prevent sagging. If possible, make these bright or add visual aids to prevent tripping hazards.

 

FAQs

Q:   What is a vestibule?

A vestibule is a small area at one end or side of the tent. They exist in houses and buildings as well, between rooms, but are not just the same as a porch as they’re enclosed. However, you will see the two words used somewhat interchangeably. In general, though, a vestibule is more enclosed, whereas a porch is perhaps mesh screened, or about being the opening to your tent. Vestibules are super-useful on tents as they provide an area to leave gear, and crucially wet gear, so that it doesn’t bring mess into your sleeping space. It’s also great to use as an entrance to remove or put on shoes and outerwear so that you don’t bring the outside in as well. They can create insulation and a barrier to the elements, which is useful, but beware that they may also cause condensation if they’re not well ventilated as they’ll stop the moisture from leaving your tent as well.

Q:   What is a rain fly?

A rain fly is, especially when looking at waterproof shelters, a crucial part of your tent. It’s the waterproof cover which protects the breathable, often mesh inner of your tent. Depending on the design, this will cover just the roof, a small portion of the dome, or be the entire outside of your tent and reach “floor to floor”. The exception to this is single skin tents, which do the breathable and protective jobs in one piece of material.

Q:   What is a gear loft?

A gear loft is a kind of what it sounds like if you think of the tent as you would a house! It’s a mesh or piece of material, usually stretchy, which is suspended in the middle of the “ceiling” of the tent, the upper corner or across the walls. It does the job of keeping dirty gear off the floor, saving floor space, and takes advantage of usually unused space. Contrary to what you might think, even tents with little height might have a gear loft. It’s usually more important to conserve floor space than headspace.

Q:   Do I need to stake my tent?

We always say yes. No matter how sturdy a tent is, or how mild the weather, there just isn’t really a reason not to – why wouldn’t you make it more secure if you can? It might seem as though When it’s full of people and gear it won’t move, but even if the wind doesn’t shift it, you might roll it when you move. Furthermore, many warranties won’t cover tents which have been damaged due to not being staked down. If the ground is too hard, there are anchors which can be used, or large rocks or solid objects to which to tie the tent. If you’re in the market for a waterproof tent, it’s likely that you’re preparing for bad weather, and that doesn’t just mean rain.

Q:   Do I need a ground sheet, tarp or footprint and which is best?

Like the stakes, we would always say yes. If it’s viable and not prohibitive in terms of space or cost, it’s always worth doing everything you can to keep your tent protected and clean. It’s not about the wet ground, but the sharp or rough ground that may rip your tent. The minute there’s a hole in your tent, no amount of waterproof coating will help keep you dry. Make sure that the footprint is the same size or smaller than the bottom of your tent. This will stop water from collecting between the footprint and the floor of your tent, which will compromise the waterproof nature of the floor.

Q:   What is seam sealant and do I need it?

Depending on the design and features of your tent, you may not always need it. If your tent’s specifications say that the seams are sealed, you won’t need to do this yourself on top. If it doesn’t, and you need your tent to be waterproof, or the seams wear away over time, it’s worth doing. However tight the stitching, or tiny the hole or thread, a hole or join is a breach in the waterproofing. The instructions on the seam sealer will tell you how to apply it. As an extra tip, add talc or baby powder once dry to stop the seams from sticking together when you fold or pack it.

Q:   Can I waterproof my tent with silicone spray?

Yes, if it needs it. Silicone won’t work if the material isn’t already waterproof. Waterproofing on the outside, which is the side on which you can use silicone sprays, is built into the threads. The other coatings are actually on the inside, and silicone spray won’t work here. If the waterproofing in the threads wears out over time, silicone will help the water to run off before it can pool and get through the fabric. Follow all the directions on the product.

Q:   If things touch the walls will the water come through?

Not if it’s a coated waterproof tent. Water will be stopped, and you aren’t able to breach that by touching it like you would with other fabrics which have been soaked; on those you’re breaking the surface tension and causing a drip. If you do feel moisture on the inside, it’s probably condensation. This is the product of heat in your tent then cooling on the waterproof inside walls. Make sure there is adequate ventilation to prevent buildup and drips inside.

Q:   How do I prevent mold and mildew?

There is no definitive way to ensure that you never get mold and mildew. In general, try and open up the tent and let it dry out when it gets wet, preferably empty before you fold it up so that there isn’t a warm and wet environment for the bacteria. If you do see mold, try and tackle it as soon as possible so that it doesn’t compromise the treated waterproof fabric. Use warm, soapy water, not detergent as this will also harm the technology, and possibly some lemon and clean gently with a sponge or cloth. Rinse with a hose and let everything dry out completely before packing up.

Q:   How do I clean my tent?

Similar advice goes as for the mold and mildew. But don’t let that be the only time you clean your tent! Dirt can damage the coating and threads and will invite bacteria which may lead to mold anyway. Use warm, soapy water (no detergents as they may break down the waterproof elements) and clean carefully. Never use a washing machine as it will strain and possibly rip the stitching and fabric. Allow your tent to dry out completely before folding and putting it away.

Final Thoughts

As with any gear purchase, you’ll want to consider the primary purpose when looking at waterproof tents. However, once you’ve identified a group which serves this purpose, there is a range of attributes which will affect your choice. Most campers will need a mid-range tent which will keep them dry – only a few trekkers need something extreme and lightweight. An adequate rainfly, sealed seams, ventilation and appropriate anchorage should be your baseline. Once you have that, you can start to think about what you need in terms of space, storage, and design.

Camping isn’t always sunny, and that’s why we love it! If we wanted constant conditions, we’d stay inside. Hopefully, this guide has helped you to choose a tent so that you can enjoy the best of the outdoors while your tent handles the worst.