A tent in the forest surrounded by trees

The 7 Best Waterproof Tents: Stay Dry on Rainy Days

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Some of the best memories in life happen when things don’t go according to plan. The ability to make changes on the fly and enjoy any situation mother throws at you is when the best memories are made. When unexpected rainfall hits you can grab your stuff and go home or hunker down and make the best of a wet weekend.

Hiding from bad weather under a tarp while wondering if your tent, sleeping bag, and clothes inside get soaked is miserable. It leaves you wondering why the hell you ever went camping knowing there was any chance of rain. A safe and dry shelter is a must have requirement for anyone who loves camping.

Whether you are an experienced camper or a rookie adventurer, finding the best waterproof tent will make rainy days a little more enjoyable.

Benefits of waterproof tents

Waterproof fabric has grown leaps and bounds over the last few decades and it shows in the overall quality of tents. The fabric used today to waterproof tents comes waterproof straight out of the box and doesn’t require too much preparation at home, as long as you pick a quality tent.

The days of scrambling to get an extra tarp over your gear when mother nature decides it’s time to rain are over. A well designed waterproof is designed to withstand rainfall and includes a rainfly for added protection.

Everything that you need to keep dry at all costs, things like a Kindle or cell phone, need a dry place to call home. You should be able to keep everything important inside a waterproof tent with full confidence that it will stay dry.

Seam sealant is always good to have as a backup. A tent with seams already sealed is the only way to go, but having a backup plan is never a bad idea.

Advantages of waterproof tents

  • No need to waterproof at home
  • Seams already sealed
  • Comes with a rainfly
  • Keeps everything inside bone dry
  • Works all year

A campsite in the rain with gear underneath a tarp

Tips on staying dry in wet weather

The weather has a mind of its own and no matter how many times you check the weather report there’s always a chance that it can rain. It doesn’t have to force you to pack up and head for the couch. Use these tips to stay dry on rainy days.

1. Choose a great tent

Your tent is the first line of defense in rainy weather. Finding the best waterproof tent that you can afford goes a long way in the battle against wet weather. Choose a tent that will guarantee everything inside stays dry no matter what the sky does.

2. Use high ground

Location is everything when pitching your tent. Avoid placing your tent in dips and low points, these are the first places that water builds up. You want to find high ground and pitch your tent away from the flow of rainwater.

3. Use tarps to cover the common areas

If you camp enough, rain is unavoidable. The last thing you want is everyone running to their tents to stay dry. Suspend a tarp over the common areas so that everyone has a dry place to chill out and relax.

4. Dress in layers

Using the proper gear and layers will keep you comfortable. A moisture wicking base layer and a waterproof shell layer is a good place to start. Be sure to pack a couple sets of each so you have a dry set to change into.

5. Avoid all cotton

Cotton is the worst material for wet and cold weather. It absorbs water at a high rate and once it wet, it stays wet. Opt for polyester, wool, or synthetic fabrics that wick away moisture and retain body heat.

6. Bring extra plastic bags

Large garbage bags are a great way to add another layer of protection to your gear and supplies that you want to stay dry. You can throw a bag around literally anything and the plastic should keep most of the water out.

7. Hang dry wet gear

Pack some twine to string across a couple trees and use this as a place to dry out your wet gear. When your clothes are wet it’s easy to toss them in a pile to take care of when you get home. Hanging clothes will usually dry within a day or two and you avoid that musty smell wet clothes tend to get.

8. Use a bivy sack

Bivy sacks are a lightweight and waterproof shelter originally used by climbers on multi-day outings. They are also another layer of defense inside your tent. You can set up a bivy sack inside your tent and place it around your sleeping bag. A dry sleeping bag is a comfortable sleeping bag.

9. Pay attention to the weather forecast

We all know that weather forecasts are not 100% accurate, however, they do give you a decent idea of what’s to come. Plan for the best and prepare for the worst.

10. Enjoy the experience

You may not be able to control the weather, however, you can control your attitude. Camping in the rain isn’t ideal and nobody prefers rain over the sun. Learn to enjoy the rain, dance in the rain, and laugh in the rain.

Blue tent in a grassy field on a cloudy day

Waterproof tent buying guide

Most tents come with some sort of water-resistant material, however, waterproof tents take this to the next level. We have put together a thorough list to answer any and all questions that you may have.

Are the seams sealed?

The first point of failure in waterproof tents is the seams in the fabric. Seams that are not sealed are the first place your tent is going to start leaking. Look for a tent that has the seams already sealed and it’s a good idea to pack extra seam sealant, just in case.

Does it have tub flooring?

You have probably seen tents that have a reinforced floor with a material that resembles rubber. This is what is referred to as tub flooring and it is waterproof. A reinforced floor that extends up a few inches from the ground on every side is going to protect the underside when water builds up.

Do I need a rainfly?

Yes, always use a rainfly. Most tents will come with one and a rainfly is another layer of defense. If you don’t have a rainfly or misplace it for some reason, a standard tarp will do the trick.

Should I use a groundsheet?

Always. A groundsheet is similar to a rainfly, it just sits underneath your tent. A common place for water to build up is underneath your tent and the last thing you want is water seeping in from the bottom.

Single or double walled?

Since we’re talking about waterproof tents a double walled tent is your best choice. All this means is that the tent has two layers, an inner layer for ventilation and an outer layer made of waterproof material.

Do I need a vestibule?

A vestibule is a mud room for your tent. It’s a place to take off your wet and muddy gear so you don’t track any mess inside of your tent. It’s a nice perk to have and you can always make your own with a tarp and a couple of sticks.

Ventilation?

Ventilation is important for all tents, however, it is especially important for waterproof tents. Due to the material waterproof tents are made of, condensation tends to gather on the inside your tent and having adequate airflow will limit water vapor build up on the inside.

Best waterproof tents

Here are our the 7 best waterproof tents to keep you bone dry all year long.

Coleman Sundome 2 Person Tent

Sale
Coleman Sundome 2 Person Tent
6,309 Reviews
Coleman Sundome 2 Person Tent
  • Dome tent with spacious interior allows you to move comfortably
  • Easy setup in only 10 minutes
  • WeatherTec system with patented welded floors and inverted seams to keep you dry
  • Large windows and a ground vent for superior ventilation

The name Coleman is synonymous with camping and their products are a perfect reason why. The Coleman Sundrome 2 Person Tent sets up quickly with continuous pole sleeves, meaning you only have to slip it in one time. With a little practice, you’ll have this tent up in under 10 minutes.

This waterproof tent uses a patented WeatherTec system with tub style flooring, inverted seams, and corner welds to keep you dry. It comes with a hooded rainfly that completely covers the windows and has a small awning in front creating a dry place for your gear.

The inside of the tent is deceptively large, measuring 7 x 5 feet. You can fit a queen size mattress inside comfortably and they also have 2, 3, and 6 person sizes.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to set up

Cons:

  • Poles durability
  • Windows don’t close
  • Seams need extra sealing

ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 3-Person Tent

Sale
ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 3-Person Tent
109 Reviews
ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 3-Person Tent
  • There's no assembly frustration with our Zephyr Tent series; this free-standing, aluminum two-pole design can be setup in no time
  • Polyester tent fly resists water and UV damage while adding two vestibules for extra storage
  • Great ventilation with two mesh doors and entire mesh walls
  • Fully equipped with #8 zippers, mesh storage pockets, gear loft, aluminum stakes and guy ropes

ALPS in another well known outdoor brand with a reputation for making great gear. The ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 3 person tent is more comfortable with two people, 3 people is a really tight fit. The setup and breakdown take 5 minutes on both ends after a few tries.

There is a slope to the roofline which makes for plenty of headroom inside. There are twin doors in the tent that make getting in and out super easy. The entire upper portion of the tent is mesh, so on a clear night, you have a great view of the stars.

The tub of the tent is made of reinforced material, it could be slightly thicker but it still does the job. The rainfly gives you another layer of protection and extends out to give you a vestibule outside of each door. The rainfly also buckles to the tent making it a more secure attachment than using cordage.

Pros:

  • Light
  • Quality hardware
  • Strong poles

Cons:

  • Small zippers
  • Light nylon in tub floor
  • Awkward rainfly design

Kelty Grand Mesa Tent

Sale
Kelty Grand Mesa Tent
185 Reviews
Kelty Grand Mesa Tent
  • Kelty Grand Mesa 2, this two person camping tent provides excellent value and performance for 3-season use, offers solid construction and functional design.
  • Freestanding design is easy to move around for ideal campsite placement, Includes Stuff Sack and Stakes.
  • Color-coded clip construction that eliminates the hassle of feeding poles through cumbersome tent sleeves.
  • Seasons: 3, Number of doors: 1, Number of vestibules: 1, Capacity: 2, Number of aluminum poles: 2

The Kelty Grand Mesa Tent is a 2 person tent with a solid build. You can fit two people inside comfortably, however, finding room for your gear will be a challenge. The color coded design means setting it up the first time is as easy as the fifth.

The seams are fully tapes on every location and the tub floor is made of thick waterproof material. It can withstand high winds and a moderate amount of rain comfortably.

The freestanding design makes setting it up and moving it around a surprisingly simple endeavor.

Pros:

  • Easy setup
  • Stays dry inside
  • Quality material

Cons:

  • Weak poles
  • Limited headroom
  • Zippers are flimsy

ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 3-Person Tent

Sale
ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 3-Person Tent
136 Reviews
ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 3-Person Tent
  • Easy assembly free-standing two-pole design with shock corded fiberglass poles
  • Polyester fly resists water and UV damage, while providing an awning over each door
  • Fully equipped with storage pockets, gear loft, stakes, guy ropes and two zippered window doorways
  • The ALPS Mountaineering Meramac Tent is on our best sellers list; a perfect tent for your next adventure

This tent has a freestanding design making the setup process quick. There are dual doors so you can enter and exit without disturbing your camping buddy. Both doors are zippered and the side panels are meshed as well, allowing the tent to breathe easily.

In terms of weather protection, there is a 75D 185T polyester fly with 1500mm coating for protection. The tub of the floor is made of 75D poly taffeta floor. Both of these design features mean as much rain protection possible.

It is marketed as a 3 person tent, however, you should always subtract one person to get the actual size. The rainfly doesn’t go all the way to the ground and the vestibules are pretty small.

Pros:

  • Quality material
  • Easy to setup
  • 2 door system

Cons:

  • Side windows don’t shut
  • Weak zippers
  • Thin floor

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Tent

Sale
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Tent
127 Reviews
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Tent
  • Lightweight livability in a 2-person, 3-season freestanding backpacking and camping tent that packs down small for backcountry adventures
  • Pole geometry maximizes space with 29 sq. feet of floor area, interior peak height of 39 inches, plus 17.5 sq. feet of vestibule area
  • Complete setup weighs 3.8 lbs. and packs down to 18x6 inches; minimalist setup option uses footprint, poles, and rainfly and weighs 3.1 lbs.
  • Tent body has two doors, mesh panels for breathability, and solid panels for warmth and privacy; rollup rainfly for stargazer view

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Tent is an extremely lightweight tent, coming in at just under 4 pounds. It’s free standing tent and extremely easy to get up, taking just a few minutes once you have pitched it a few times. The rainfly is color coded, so you don’t have to fumble around and try every variation, you nail it on the first try.

The rainly is made of 20D ripstop nylon and the floor uses 30D ripstop nylon. With the rainfly in action, this tent can handle everything from light to heavy rains.

The tent body contains two doors with mesh paneling for maximum ventilation. The rainfly rolls up while staying attached to the tent so you can peak at the stars in the evening. The tent comes with nearly everything you need… Poles, rainfly, guylines, and pole system.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Unified pole system
  • Good ventilation

Cons:

  • Can’t handle heavy winds
  • Rainfly doesn’t touch ground
  • Need a footprint

Marmot Tungsten 3 Person Tent

Sale
Marmot Tungsten 3 Person Tent
27 Reviews
Marmot Tungsten 3 Person Tent
  • Updated Color
  • Footprint included
  • Seam Taped Full Coverage Fly with Vents,
  • Free-Standing Design,

The Marmot Tungsten 3 person tent is a 3 person tent by name but more comfortable for 2 people. There are two doors on opposite sides making getting in and out in the middle of the night a simple task. The rainfly also provides a vestibule on both sides, providing a place for you to leave the dirt and mud outside your tent where it belongs.

The floor and fly of the tent are made of PU coated, 68 denier polyester coating with taped seams. The top of the tent is made with a mesh coating for clear nights under the stars.

The inside of the tent stays dry in wet conditions. There is not a lot of condensation build up and the tub base is sealed extremely well. Overall this tent is lightweight, easy to setup and holds up well in the wind.

Pros:

  • Color coded clips
  • Quick assembly
  • Footprint included

Cons:

  • Rare smell issues
  • Poles struggle in high winds
  • 6.6 overall pounds

Winterial 3 Person Tent

Sale
Winterial 3 Person Tent
80 Reviews
Winterial 3 Person Tent
  • FEATURES include: Rain Fly Vented Roof ,Two Durable ALUMINUM Tipped Tent Poles Screen and Solid Zippered Doors
  • EASILY holds 3 people. Comparable to Coleman and Alps Mountaineering
  • 4 Metal Stakes; Open Dimensions: 82 x 64 x 46 inches, Pack Dimensions: 23.8 x 4.4 x 4.1 inches / 4.4lbs
  • PERFECT for any outdoor trip, lightweight and is very compact when folded

The Winterial 3 Person Tent is ideal for use in Summer, Spring, and Fall. It is made of durable nylon material and made to withstand both high winds and heavy rains.

It includes a removable rainfly so you stay dry and can enjoy the sky on clear evenings. There are two good size screens on opposite sides that provide adequate ventilation so you don’t have condensation build up or muggy nights. There are also two large doors.

The setup is quick and easy, even for one person. The tent packs up nice and neat into a compact space, making this tent easy to pack anywhere. It’s good to have a groundsheet, however, that can be said for all tents.

Pros:

  • Great in rain and wind
  • Easy to setup
  • Easy rainfly attachment

Cons:

  • Tough to repack
  • Rare zipper issues
  • Small inside

Conclusion

Camping is a great escape and bad weather is something that happens from time to time. That doesn’t mean that you should avoid camping in the rain all together, however, being prepared for rain makes all the difference in the world.

Spend some time planning for the rain and make sure that all your gear is able to handle some rainfall. The best memories in life happen when we have the chance to make an otherwise miserable situation enjoyable. So take the leap, find the best waterproof tent, and get outside.

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