In a hurry? Our pick for the best waterproof tent is the Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tent.
What is a camper’s worst nightmare?
Trying to sleep while your tent is leaking water… during the worst thunderstorm of your life.
Unfortunately, this scenario happens more often than we’d like.
That’s why to keep warm and dry, it’s critical to choose the best waterproof tent before you set out on your camping adventures.
How To Choose The Best Waterproof Tent
Not all waterproof tents are created equal.
Even though almost all tents on the market today will claim they are waterproof, they are not.
And while you can use a waterproofing spray to stop the rain from leaking in, it’s best to just buy a tent that’s waterproof right out of the gate.
There are several things you need to pay attention to if you want to avoid the rain during your outdoor adventure.
Some of the most important things are:
- Tent shape
- Design and construction of the tent
- HH rating
The shape of the tent has a big impact on its ability to keep out water.
Tents mostly come in two forms: A-frame and dome.
A-frame tents (also known as cabin-style) have vertical walls. They are great if you want more headspace, but that means that water will likely remain on the roof of the tent. After a while, the tent will slowly leak, as accumulated water weighs down on you
On the other hand, dome tents are shaped as, well, a dome! So, water slides right off the sides.
Dome tents are also superior when it comes to wind stability. Because of their shape, the wind will go over the dome which means your tent will be less likely to be damaged.
Tent Construction And Design
The quality of the tent’s construction is crucial to stay dry. It is the difference between a tent that will leak and break on your first night in the wilderness, and the one that will last you for years to come.
The first thing you need to pay attention to is the fabric of the tent. The best waterproof tents are made of polyester or nylon. When buying your tent, check and make sure that the tent you’re thinking of buying is made of those materials.
Next, you need to seal the tent’s seams – those are the points where tent materials are stitched together. Some tents come with sealed seams right out of the box, but it’s easy to do it yourself with a can of seam sealer at home.
Another important decision is whether to go with single-wall tents or double-wall tents. Single wall tents come with a single layer of fabric that’s both breathable and waterproof. They are usually lighter and more expensive than double-wall tents.
On the other hand, double-wall tents have two layers. One is an inner layer that is breathable and has great ventilation. The second layer is called a rainfly that is more durable and offers better protection during heavy showers.
Speaking about rainflies – a proper rainfly is a lifesaver during thunderstorms. That’s because they offer an extra level of protection against the elements. And, after the rain is gone, it can be removed so that you can enjoy stargazing.
Having vestibules and a storage area is essential if you want to keep rain and mud outside of your sleeping area. Choose a tent with a large vestibule where you can leave your wet and muddy shoes to dry off, instead of bringing them into the tent.
Lastly, you may want to look into getting a tent with tub flooring. In these tents, waterproof fabric is installed in the floor a few inches up the walls This is useful in cases where it rains so much that water outside your tent rises inside and swamps your gear.
Hydrostatic head (HH) is a measurement tent manufacturers use to calculate exactly how waterproof a tent really is.
Here’s how it works:
A manufacturer fills a tube with water and puts the tent fabric underneath. When the fabric starts to leak, the distance between the fabric and water is measured in millimeters. That is its HH rating.
Generally, any tent with an HH rating of over 1500 mm is considered waterproof – the higher the rating, the more water-resistant the tent is.
Proper ventilation is a necessary feature of every great tent.
Since rain is often followed by hot and humid weather, it’s important that the tent is properly ventilated so that you don’t feel suffocated inside.
Ventilation is also vital so that you can avoid condensation build up in the tent. A well-ventilated tent will also allow you to have a nice, cool breeze during hot summer nights.
When choosing a breathable tent, look for mesh fabric, multiple doors, windows, and air vents you can open without letting the rain in.
Best Tips For Camping In The Rain
Weather in the wilderness is unpredictable and a sunny day can turn into a cloudy one with heavy showers in the blink of an eye.
However, camping in the rain can be an enjoyable experience if you follow the Boy Scout motto – always be prepared.
Here’s how to camp in the rain like a pro:
First, choose your campsite wisely. You want to set your tent on the high ground so you don’t end up waking up in a pool of water.
Second, the most important skill you can learn is how to quickly set up a tent. Rainstorms can happen suddenly, and often you only have a few minutes to pitch your tent. Be sure to practice in clear weather conditions so you’ll know what to do when it starts raining.
Finally, you want to choose the right clothing and gear. Choose breathable fabrics for your clothing and tent, and be sure to pack a tarp and a rainfly in your backpack.
The Top 5 Best Waterproof Tents in 2019
Choosing the best waterproof tent depends entirely on you and your circumstances.
Are you a backpacker who likes to go hiking alone? A dad who likes to take his entire family camping by the river? A couple who wants to explore the forest together?
In each of these situations, you’re going to need a different tent.
That’s why we selected a wide array of tents to better aid you in making your choice.
ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent
Its free-standing, two-pole design means that setting up is a breeze. Plus, being made of the polyester fabric guarantees you’ll be snug and protected during bad weather conditions.
On the downside, it’s pretty small, so if you’re interested in having another person in your tent, you may want to look at other tents on our list.
- Lightweight – great for backpackers
- Set up and take down can be done in under 2 minutes
- Two vents at the top reduce condensation and keep the tent breathable
- The vestibule is large enough to leave your dirty boots and gear outside of your sleeping area
- Rain cover goes all the way to the ground and protects you during a downpour
- Small – only fits one person
- Floors are not that waterproof, so we recommend that you buy a footprint
Best for: 1-person hiking and lightweight backpacking.
TETON Sports Mountain Ultra Tent
Teton Sports Mountain Ultra 4 tent is a great option if you want a sturdy, well-made tent that will withstand rain, snow, and even hail.
It comes with a deep bathtub floor and its own footprint, which means you’ll be doubly protected against rain buildup beneath your tent.
This tent has one other great benefit – its walls are pure mesh. That means that during dry nights you can take the rainfly off and enjoy stargazing without worrying about bugs and insects.
- Great stability – can withstand winds of up to 30 mph
- Excellent insulation – you’ll be warm even if it’s snowing outside
- Has a deep tub floor to protect you from rain build up below the tent
- Comes with a footprint for extra floor protection
- Fits easily in the carry bag
- Considering that the walls are pure mesh, you need to put up the rainfly in order to be protected from the rain
Best for: People who are looking for a smaller tent they can share with one or two persons.
NTK Laredo GT 8 to 9 Person Tent
This tent is huge – it has 150 sq. ft. of space and 6’2’’ ft. height meaning even the tallest people will have an easy time moving around.
Now, this tent says it can fit up to 9 people. However, you have to remember that’s 9 people packed like sardines. If you want to go camping with the kids and have enough room in the tent for your gear and furniture, this tent is a good choice.
Finally, the Laredo GT has an HH rating of 2500 mm, a tub floor, and a rainfly that covers almost the entire tent, so you won’t have to worry about ever getting wet inside this tent.
- Size – 150 sqft. and 6.2 ft. height means you’ll have plenty of room
- 2500 mm HH rating means it will keep you bone dry even to the heaviest rainfall
- The rainfly goes almost all the way to the ground, ensuring your total weather protection
- A large portion of the tent is a mesh that provides ventilation while keeping the bugs out
- The tent floor fabric is incredibly tough and will withstand rough terrain
- It weighs over 20 pounds so it’s definitely better to use when car camping
Best for: Bigger families and people who need a lot of room.
Coleman Dome 4-Person Tent
Its patented Weathertec system includes features like:
- protected seams and floor,
- zipper protection,
- and wind-strong frame.
What that means is you’ll be safe and dry in case of rainfall.
Overall, it’s a good entry-level tent that is easy to set up, strong against rain, and light on the wallet.
- The most affordable option on this list – biggest “bang for your buck” you can find
- Quick and easy setup – you can pitch it in less than 10 minutes
- Mesh pockets are a convenient place to store your smaller gear
- Its windows and ground vent allow for amazing ventilation
- Bathtub floor means you’ll get extra rain protection under your tent
- Some people have reported water occasionally leaking in through seams – you might want to seal them yourself
- Can’t really fit 4 people inside – ideal for 2 people and their gear
Best for: People who are on a budget and looking for a basic tent.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL Backpacking Tent
Ultralight backpackers are often faced with a dilemma. They can choose a light, but claustrophobic tent with minimal comfort, or choose a bigger tent with bells and whistles that is going to wreck your back.
Luckily, the Big Agnes Copper Sput Backpacking Tent solves this problem.
Even though this tent weighs in at just over 5 pounds, it comes with a floor area of 57 sqft. and head height of 50 inches. That’s plenty of room for two people and their gear.
However, its price does reflect this so if you’re on a budget, we suggest you take a look at Coleman Dome Tent we covered earlier in this article.
- Lightweight – 4-person version weighs a little bit more than 5 pounds
- Roomy – 57 sqft. with 50 inches of headspace
- Two doors allow you to enter and exit the tent without disturbing other people
- Seams are already sealed which improves the tent’s waterproof ability
- Two vestibules provide extra storage space for wet and muddy shoes and gear
- Expensive – not for price-conscious
Best for: People looking for premium quality lightweight backpacking tent.
If you want a good waterproof tent that has the right combination of:
- affordability and
We strongly recommend the Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tent.
It has withstood harsh weather conditions while keeping its occupants bone dry. It comes with both a bathtub floor and a footprint, which give you extra protection against the rain.
We can safely recommend this tent to both beginner and experienced campers alike.