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.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research
Top 11 Picks
1. 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.Read more
The capacity is 8 people but bear in mind that three of those are expected to sleep in the mesh-screen porch.
There are 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 are 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.
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.
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.
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.
The Klondike looks and feels massive, and is an incredible value for what you get. It’s not the most technical of our picks, but stays dry and provides for large groups.
2. MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2
Roomy for a 2 person
The Hubba Hubba is immensely popular for its waterproof credentials and rugged strength. While it’s only a two-person tent, it will suit hardcore hikers it’s made for as it’s also lightweight.Read more
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 the tent. Packs up to a compact 18 x 6 inch pack, weighing 3.8 lbs.
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.
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.
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 weak points. The guy-lines are super-strong.
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.
3. Kelty Late Start
Easy to set up
Color-coded fly attachment
Can get a little stuffy
Kelty is a brand that brings camper quality products at a price point that won’t break the bank. If you want to stay dry and save money at the same time, this design from Kelty is worth checking out. It is composed of quality materials that are incredibly easy to set up and take down so you can get back on the trails.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that it is super easy to pack up with you on your next trekking adventure. The poles are made from durable and lightweight aluminum that folds down compactly to affix to your trekking backpack. It is composed of 68D polyester with a waterproof rain cover to ensure that you stay dry and comfortable.
What campers love most about the Late Start is that it boasts a color-coded fly attachment to make assembly quick and easy. There is no need to consult the instructions every time you want to put it up and take it down so that you can afford to sleep in without looking at that much daylight before hitting the trails.
This is a great option for campers that want to save a little bit of money without the fear of getting wet! Strong and sturdy materials ensure that it will keep you dry and comfortable during a midnight rain shower, and easy to use materials allow campers easy setup and quick takedowns.
4. NTK Cherokee GT
Large and accommodating
Great waterproof credentials
One of the strongest
NTK is an emerging, Brazil-based company, so they’ve got the credentials for all weathers - and this one is tough. While only billed as two seasons, it’s actually one of the strongest in its class on the market.Read more
NTK calls it an 8-9 person tent, and it’s nice that the variation is built-in there. The size might explain its near-true capacity - at 10 x 12 feet and a 9.6 feet center 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.
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.
There is one, full-mesh, D-shaped door and a mesh roof under the rainfly. 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 setup, ring and pin system, and is fire retardant to CPAI-84 standard. A great feature is the four, ten-foot-long guy lines, which are orange for safety.
The NTK Cherokee has room for everything except complaints, 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.
5. Eureka Copper Canyon
The Copper Canyon is pretty true to its four-person capacity, thanks in part to its cabin-style, allowing the all-important headspace.Read more
It’s 8 x 8 feet and has a massive 7 feet of standing space. However, 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.
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 that 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.
It features large, mesh windows on 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.
The frame is steel and fiberglass, with clips, pole sleeves, and a ring and pin assembly. You might find you need higher quality, T-shaped stakes, but at a reasonable price for the size, this isn’t too much of an outlay.
As close to home as you can get, if you’re after something sturdy and roomy - Eureka!
6. Coleman Evanston
Well-designed rainfly with vented windows
Not great in extreme heat or cold
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.Read more
t’s a 6 person, and also comes in an 8 person design. If budget and space permit, we’d go bigger if you are accommodating more people. However, there is room for two queen air beds and your gear.
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.
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 is weather-proof cuffs to stop the zippers from getting wet.
There is a small mesh on 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.
The poles are an aluminum 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.
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.
7. Teton Sports Mountain Ultra
See-through mesh panels
Difficult to zipper
If you need something that is lightweight and compact for your next backpacking trip, this design from Teton Sport is an excellent option. What makes it perfect for backpacking is that it has a compact design that makes it a cinch to carry, and campers also find that it is very easy to set up and pack away.Read more
The most notable feature of this design is that it has a waterproof rainfly that provides sleepers with 360 degrees of ventilation that keeps air from becoming too stuffy. Unlike other designs that only offer small windows to the world, this option has sheer waterproof materials that provide a full view of the world around you (while keeping the rain at bay!).
Small features are what make this option stand out from the pack. The inside provides campers with gear pockets to keep their belongings up off of the floor. Users find that this design is incredibly easy to set up and takedown, so you can spend more time enjoying camping!
Teton Sports is a trusted brand in the camping world for a very good reason. The Mountain Ultra is made from quality materials to hold up to some pretty nasty weather and hosts innovative features that you may not find in many of the other brands.
8. Moon Lence
Smaller than expected
What we liked most about this option from Moon Lence is that it takes weather-proofing very seriously! Not only is this option waterproof, but it also works to keep high winds out as well. It is composed of some pretty tough materials that make it ideal for serious campers. Plus, it comes in at a price point that won’t break the bank.Read more
This design is composed of a blend of 190T PU and 210D Oxford GroundSheet that works together to protect you from the rain and wind. Instead of utilizing an overhead vent (which can become leaky over time), it has a series of ground vents to keep rain and hot air out so that it doesn’t become too stuffy.
The best part about this design is that it pops up in a flash. Simply release the pop-up mechanism and you have a tent in under a minute! Campers also like that while this design is pretty roomy, it weighs in at just over 10 pounds so you can carry it to your favorite spot without weighing you down.
If you are in the market for something that is roomy and comfortable, this option from Moon Lence is a great option. We love that it comes in at an affordable price point that is perfect for a family of 4, and boasts smart design features to keep your family dry and comfortable no matter what the weather!
9. Coleman Cabin
Difficult to disassemble
Pack up your cabin and take it with you with this great design from Coleman. What we loved most about this design is that it’s not just waterproof, it’s weather-resistant as well. This unit will keep you dry as well as warm, even with blowing horizontal rain! Campers love that it is made from quality materials that hold up quite well over the years, and it also is a snap to set up.Read more
It is constructed using inverted seams as well as welded corners that hold up quite well to howling winds and heavy rain. This design keeps campers comfortable and dry using lightweight waterproof 150D Polyester. It also has vents for windows when the sun finally decides to make an appearance.
An integrated rainfly helps to lift hot air up and out, even when the rain is coming down. This means that the air won’t feel so stuffy as you’re sealed up inside nice and dry. Users also love that setup takes about 1 minute from start to finish, and the entire unit folds up compactly.
If you are in the market for a quality unit that is offered at a reasonable price point, this design from Coleman is an excellent choice. It is composed of quality materials that hold up no matter rain or shine and has a few features to make your stay just a little bit more comfortable.
10. Coleman WeatherMaster
If you are willing to spare no expense on a design that is roomy, comfy, versatile, and weather-resistant, you can’t go wrong with the WeatherMaster from Coleman. This design is made from some pretty tough materials that not only hold up to the rain but the wind as well. When the run decides to reappear, the weatherproof top reveals a lovely screen to take in the views.Read more
It’s important to note that while this beast is able to withstand some pretty rough weather 3 seasons out of the year, it comes at a cost. This design weighs in at just over 35 pounds, making it one of the heaviest options on our list. However, if you are willing to take on the extra weight, we feel that it is well worth it.
What makes the WeatherMaster equipped to handle heavy rain and wind is the strong steel poles and polyester taffeta 75D. It also boasts waterproof flooring to ensure that you won’t suffer from a soggy sleeping bag in the middle of the night! Set up may take longer than some of the other Coleman options, but we promise it is worth the time spent.
If you are in the market for something that is built for tough weather throughout most of the year, the WeatherMaster is one of your best options. While it may take a while to set up, serious campers find that there are few options that can keep you as dry and comfortable.
11. Core Instant Cabin
Easy to set up
Compact carrying case included
CORE H20 Block Technology
Thin floor material
Airflow makes it chilly
If you need something that is roomy and dry, the Core Instant Cabin is a great choice. It is made from strong and durable materials that are great in rainy and windy weather, and are made to keep you perfectly dry when the rain comes. Plus, it has key vents that help to circulate stuffy air outside so you can rest easy.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is the size. It measures to be 14-feet by 9-feet, which is large enough to comfortably sleep about 9 people. What campers like so much about this design is that it is able to be assembled quickly, and packs up compactly in the carrying case that is included with purchase.
It boasts CORE H20 Block Technology that works to keep rain and moisture on the outside so your family can stay nice and dry on the inside. Instead of utilizing an upper vent that pushes hot air out (and can sometimes be leaky), the vents on this design are at the base of the unit to limit the chances of leaking.
If you are in the market for something that is bigger without a huge price tag, this design from CORE is a great option. We love the smart design features that are made to keep you dry and comfortable, and it is built to last for years of outdoor adventures together.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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 that have dedicated ventilation points without creating openings that 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.
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.
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 the 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.
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.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Some 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.
Other Factors to Consider
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 are designed to be waterproof, will usually have some kind of sloped element, even if they are cabin-style.
Frequently Asked Questions
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?
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. A lot of 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.
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