The Best Waterproof Tents: Stay Dry in Inclement Weather
These trustworthy waterproof tents will keep you dry on every camping trip.
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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON February 18, 2021
If you’ve ever camped in inclement weather, you know how critical your tent is in keeping you warm, dry, and well-protected. When a sudden rainstorm strikes or the weather becomes wet and moisture-heavy at night while you’re enjoying the great outdoors, you need to stay dry — otherwise, you and your gear may not be able to dry out until you leave. Even if you don’t expect wet weather or damp camping conditions, it’s important to ensure your tent is waterproof before you travel far from home. A waterproof keeps you dry in any weather, and it can provide you with an even more durable and secure shelter while you’re outdoors. Wondering how to find one? Check out our picks for the best waterproof tents right here.
An all-around weatherproof tent that protects while keeping you at just the right temperature.
- Protects against wind, rain, and more
- Sets up in 10 minutes
- Includes welded seams and a rainfly
- Stakes are a bit weak
A compact, lightweight, and affordable tent that’ll keep you dry anywhere.
- Weighs less than 5 pounds
- Lightweight yet sturdy poles
- Includes rainfly
- Zippers may not be the strongest
A high-quality pop-up tent that offers exceptional protection and sealing against water and moisture.
- Setup is almost effortless
- Extra-tough coated waterproof exterior
- Double layers of material prevent humidity and condensation
- May not be warm enough for winter
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Benefits of Waterproof Tents
- Keeps you and your gear dry. Under the cover of a waterproof tent, you don’t have to worry about getting wet — or your gear getting wet. It offers coverage and warmth, allowing you to have a sturdy shelter that won’t leak or ruin anything inside.
- Protects against all moisture. Most waterproof tents can handle water in all of its forms, from morning dew to light showers to heavy rainfall. These tents can keep you dry from the ground below and moisture that comes from above.
- Sturdy in inclement weather. Because waterproof tents are designed with rain in mind, these tents tend to offer increased sturdiness and protection in the face of all kinds of inclement weather. They can survive the elements that often come with rain, like wind, mud, and even humidity.
Types of Waterproof Tents
Pop-up waterproof tents are the simplest, easiest tents to manage. They don’t require complex tools or lengthy set-up processes — instead, they literally pop open and spring into shape. Built with pre-assembled and pre-attached poles on a sprung frame, these tents open to their full size and shape in just seconds. Pop-up tents save you the hard work of prepping and pitching your own tent. However, these tents do tend to be smaller in size.
Family tents are the most common kind of waterproof tents you’ll encounter. These are traditional tents with poles that require assembly. They offer enough room for a family, with space for anywhere from two to 12 people to sleep comfortably. Some family tents include separated “rooms”, or removable and optional walls that can divide a larger tent interior into smaller spaces for adults, kids, and couples. They’re the roomiest option, but they often require the most setup.
Backpacking waterproof tents are designed to be carried on your back for lengthy backpacking trips, so they’re very lightweight and can pack down into very small sizes. But they don’t sacrifice any strength or protection. Backpacking tents tend to be weatherproof, which means they’re both waterproof and wind-resistant — and they may even be able to handle snow. Sized for just one or two people, these tents are pretty slim on interior space and sleeping room.
As one of the leading outdoor brands and best-known names in camping gear, Coleman revolutionized camping with its first gas-powered lantern in 1900. With innovative coolers and durable tents — including waterproof options like the Coleman Sundome Tent — there’s a lot of reliability in Coleman products.
With a focus on outdoor products like tents, lanterns, fishing equipment, and sleeping pads, Night Cat is a newcomer in the camping space. But it’s a company that’s already standing out, particularly when it comes to tents. Two great waterproof options, the Night Cat Waterproof Camping Tent and the Night Cat Backpacking Tent for One, demonstrate the quality and coverage you can get.
As a brand that offers affordable camping gear like waterproof tents — items like the Campros 6-Person Camping Tent are a great example — Campros is a great option for campers who want to keep things simple. It’s also a reliable brand for larger groups, with a selection of tents that can fit a family with ease.
Waterproof Tent Pricing
- $50 to $75: For less than $75, you can find great budget-friendly waterproof tents. They tend to be small — for just one or two people — yet perfectly suitable.
- $75 to $125: Within this middle price range, you’ll find tents large and small, with quite solid levels of durability and quality construction.
- $125 and up: For $125 or more, you’ll find top-tier waterproof tents. These are the highest-quality options, with more features and specialized designs.
Tents typically come in two shapes: A-frame or dome. A-frame tents have one downside when it comes to rain and moisture. Their vertical walls and flatter ceilings mean water tends to collect overhead. A domed tent avoids this problem entirely. With a dome shape, these tents are a better choice for rainy weather. The water will slide right off the sides of the tent. Dome tents can also be more stable in windy conditions.
A rainfly is absolutely critical for any waterproof camping tent. These extra swaths of fabric are designed to be attached to your tent, offering an extra layer of protection in the event of sudden rainstorms. They help you and your tent’s interior stay dry, and they’re durable against all types of weather. Most rainflies cover the tent from the top to about halfway down the sides, covering the doors and windows to keep out rain.
Sealed seams are another very important feature if you’re hoping to stay as dry as possible. The seams of a tent, if not constructed properly, can let rain and water sneak inside — and it’s where most leaks form. However, if you opt for a tent with sealed seams, you’ll have sturdier, more waterproof seams. Sealed seams are either treated with a special coating or are heat sealed to meld the pieces of the tent together securely.
Water can also sneak in through your tent’s floor, especially if it’s quite rainy and damp on the ground. To prevent water from getting in through the bottom seams, opt for a tent with tub flooring (or a bathtub floor). In these tents, the waterproof tent floor is actually extended a few inches up the tent walls. That means even in swampy, muddy conditions when the water rises, everything inside the tent can still stay dry.
- Four-Season Tents Are for Winter Weather, Not Rain. While four-season tents might seem like the toughest, hardiest — and most waterproof — tents, they aren’t always. These tents are built for warmth in very cold weather and protection from winter weather, like snow and ice. This means they aren’t always waterproof or rain-ready.
- Don’t Forget About the Tent Material. The material a tent is made with is just as important as any other features. Tents typically come in single layer or double layer materials, which can have different effects on your comfort level. Make sure to consider whether a single layer tent with a rainfly or a double layer tent with waterproofing is best for you.
- Think About Setup. You might not worry too much about how easy or difficult a waterproof tent is to set up, but this is a pretty important factor. Some tents are more complex — and more time consuming — to set up, which means they take longer and may be more challenging to tear down too. If you need something that can be set up quickly, make sure to take that into account.
Best Waterproof Tent Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Rain often comes with wind, so make sure you choose a waterproof tent that can handle both. You can always swap out the included stakes for sturdier, more durable ones to help increase this.
- For the ultimate level of waterproof protection, consider a tent that features two layers of tent material and a rainfly. This will let you customize your level of protection with the rainfly.
- Extras, like an extended tent floor that makes for a covered entryway and windows with zippered coverings, can help enhance a tent’s waterproofing.
Q: What is the best waterproof tent?
We like the Coleman Sundome Tent, a waterproof option that’ll have you covered and comfortable thanks to its roomy interior.
Q: Are any tents waterproof?
Yes, plenty of tents are waterproof. To determine just how waterproof a tent is, you’ll want to look at factors like its material (and any waterproof coating), its seams, whether or not a rainfly is included, and if it’s able to withstand rainstorms both light and heavy.
Q: What makes a tent waterproof?
Certain design features — like sealed seams, waterproof or water-resistant material, and a tub floor — make a tent waterproof. These features all work to keep water from getting inside the tent, ensuring you and your stuff inside stay dry.
Q: Do tents lose their waterproofing?
Over time and quite a bit of wear and tear, tents may become less effective at keeping water out. Sealed seams can wear and even become unsealed. Waterproof coating on tent fabric can wear away. It’s a good idea to check your tent over after each trip so you can catch any potential issues as soon as they begin.
The Coleman Sundome Tent is our pick for the best overall waterproof tent, and it’ll keep you dry no matter where you’re setting up camp. Need a more affordable option? The Bisinna 2-Person Waterproof Windproof Tent is a fantastically sturdy choice at a great price. Let us know which tent is your favorite waterproof pick below.