5 Best Tents for Rain: Waterproof & To Stay Dry

best tents for rain
If you’re in a hurry and want to find the best tent for rain, then we recommend the Ayamaya Pop Up Tent.

If you’re looking for the best tents for rain, there are a large number of different tents available. Tents are for different seasons as well as the size of the group. There are a few features to consider. For example, the waterproof rating, double or single skin as well as extra accessories. This might include a tarp or rainfly to keep you extra dry. This guide will help provide you with the information you need to select the best tent for rain.

Are tents waterproof? How is this measured?

All tents are different. Some tents are more waterproof than others. The waterproof rating for a tent is the Hydrostatic Head rating. This shows you how well it will keep out water. This rating is in millimetres. It is usually between 1,000mm (the lowest level considered waterproof) and 10,0000mm.

With a higher Hydrostatic Head rating, the tent is more waterproof. This rating uses a hydrostatic head test. This measures how tall a column of water your fabric can withstand before leakage occurs. If a tent has a hydrostatic head rating of 6000mm, then your tent fabric can hold a column of water that is 6000mm tall. You will find that most tents start at 2000.

Please find a helpful chart from Evo.com’s waterproof ratings.

How to choose the best tents for rain?

It’s important to look at the Hydrostatic Head rating of the tent you are purchasing. If you have concerns about the weather, look for a tent with a higher rating. This will keep you peace of mind that you will stay dry on your camping trip. For a tent to resist light showers the HH rating needs to be around 1000mm.

What are the benefits of having a tent for rain?

best tents for rain waterproof

Have peace of mind

Having a waterproof tent will give you a great level of comfort. You don’t have to worry if you see rain in the forecast. With a waterproof tent, you have peace of mind that you will stay dry no matter what happens.

Stay warm and dry

If you experience a big storm during your trip, you will have a warm and dry shelter to go to. If you’re anticipating camping in wet weather, here is how to camp in the rain (without being miserable) from Outside Online.

Save your trip

I remember being on trips long ago where the water crept into my tent. It starts at 4.00am with a damp feeling at the base of my sleeping bag and onto my toes. I felt next to me only to realize a big puddle in my tent and all over everything.

These situations only result in a cancelled trip and wasted time. We went home disappointed after staying in the car for the night. This can be a huge disappointment for everyone on your trip.

What features should you look for in a tent to keep you dry?

Hydrostatic Head Rating

Double check that the rating of your tent is a high enough range to keep you warm and dry. I recommend a rating higher than 2000mm.

The best tents for rain have a rainfly

If you want to stay dry, look for a tent with an adequate rainfly. A rainfly is the waterproof outer layer of a doubled-wall tent. It acts as an added layer to keep the outside world out or your tent. The rainfly should come down the sides of the tent rather than only across the top. Rainflies are waterproof and will help to add an added level of protection.

Ventilation

If you’re stuck in a storm, it’s important you are still able to breathe while waiting out the storm in your tent. This is why ventilation is something to consider. If you buy a tent with a rainfly, you can crack your windows open during a downpour and stay dry at the same time.

Fabric

Most tents consist of nylon, polyester, cotton and canvas fabric. Nylon and polyester tents offer a lower level of insulation compared to cotton. Although a heavy material, cotton is a great insulator and also absorbs water. This helps with any condensation issues in the tent.

Space

If you are anticipating rain, then you will need to use your tent as shelter during the storm. Make sure your tent offers a comfortable level of space to wait out the storm. It is also helpful to get a rainfly that adds extra sheltered area in front of your tent so you can stretch out a bit.

How waterproof should a tent be? What is the best hydrostatic head rating for a tent?

For your tent to be waterproof it needs to have a hydrostatic head rating of 1000mm at least. A Hydrostatic Head rating from 2000 to 30000 should be enough to help keep the rain out. Keep in mind, they don’t take into account wind driven rain which could affect things.

How to keep your tent dry in the rain?

waterproof tents in rain

Invest in a waterproof tent

The first step is investing in a good waterproof tent. If you are looking for other ways to keep dry you could also add a ground cloth or ground fly. It’s also recommended to add an extra tarp above your tent to keep the rain out.

Get a warm fire going

If you want to stay warm, keep your campfire going before you expect any rain. The fire is likely to resist rain and give you some extra heat for the evening.

Create the right angles

Finally, consider the right angles with your camp setup. The angles of the ground and also of your tarps – these will all affect how the wind will drive the rain. Consider setting your tent on a slight angle. The water will flow past it instead of pooling underneath you.

You can even put your campfire on a slight slant so the water doesn’t collect under the coal bed. You can also set your tent up with guylines and keep them at opposing angles. It’s best to put tension on both sides of the tent.

Your tent shouldn’t be facing the wind. You should also consider keeping your camp away from a body of water. Consider where flooding will go to keep yourself safe and dry.

Should I put a groundsheet or tarp under my tent?

Yes, a ground sheet is a great way to keep water out. This acts as a barrier between the bottom of your tent and the ground. This allows water to flow under or around your tent without seeping into your tent space.

This item is important for staying dry. If you don’t use one and it rains then it likely you will wake up wet and unhappy. An alternative to a groundsheet is an old tarp that is larger than the footprint of your tent. You can construct your tent on top of the tarp and fold the excess underneath the tent.

Tarps can also go above your tent as an extra barrier from the rain and wind. You can set one up with a para-cord string.

Should tent footprint be smaller than the tent?

Yes, a tent footprint should be smaller than the base of the tent. This is so the water doesn’t collect between the footprint and your tent. This could defeat the purpose of it! the footprint should be 2 inches smaller than the bottom part of your tent.

Are any tents waterproof?

No, not all tents are waterproof. Check the waterproof rating before sale. You can also waterproof a tent if you choose with waterproofing products.

How to waterproof a tent?

It’s a good idea to waterproof your tent before going on your trip. Most tents are waterproof, but adding an extra layer will give you added confidence. Before waterproofing, make sure your tent is clean. Choose a warm and dry day to waterproof your tent. Seal the seams to keep the moisture out. You can also add a coating to your rainfly and remove any excess coating. Let your tent dry out completely before packing it away.

How does fabric affect the waterproofing and insulation of a tent?

Nylon, Polyester, Cotton & Canvas Fabrics

Most tents consist of nylon and polyester fabrics. Many family tents are polyester. Backpacking tents are usually nylon.

Both of these fabrics resist water. Polyester’s water resistance increases with a higher thread count. Both fabrics will not be completely waterproof unless coated with waterproofing products.

Compared to cotton tents, polyester and nylon tents are not good insulators. This means it can often get too hot in the heat and offer a low level of protection from the cold. This is because the material doesn’t breathe as well, meaning condensation can build up.

If you see any tents advertised as canvas it means that it’s made of cotton material. Although a heavier material, cotton and tents offer a greater degree of insulation. This means you are less likely to overheat when it’s hot and also have less condensation issues in the tent. Cotton also offers UV resistance as an added bonus.

It’s very important to “weather” a cotton tent before use. This means leaving it out and spraying it with a hose before a trip. This will allow the canvas to expand and you will experience less leaks when camping. Keep in mind, cotton tents are usually more expensive and require a lot more maintenance. They should not be covered with waterproof coating because they need to stay breathable.

Are single skin tents waterproof?

Yes, single skin tents made from a single layer can still be waterproof. Usually these tents contain breathable fabrics to help with ventilation.

Are pop up tents waterproof?

Many popup tents have a lightweight polyester fabric that is water resistant. They are usually not fully waterproof and not made to withstand extreme weather conditions. Some pop up tents offer a highly waterproof finish.

I recommend setting up a rain tarp over the top of your tent for added protection.

Best Tents for Rain Reviews

1. Coleman Sundome Tent – 2, 3, 4 & 6 Person

This is a 9’x7′, dome tent part of the Sundome series of tents from Coleman. Depending on which tent you buy, it can accommodate up to 6 happy campers. There is a large door for easy entry and exit with a hooded fly to provide ventilation when it rains. A large hooded rear window also provides airflow for cross ventilation.

 

Pros

  • WeatherTec System – welded corners and covered seems to keep water out
  • All main fly and floor seams factory sealed
  • Heavy duty 1000D polyethylene bathtub floor for extra durability
  • Welded leak proof seams on flooring
  • Coated polyester fly and wall febrics (450mm coating)
  • Enhanced ventilation – large windows and ground vents to push warm air up and out
  • Storage pockets – sewn into tent walls
  • E-port – extension cord can go through the e-port for electric power inside the tent

Cons

  • Not for cold temperatures. More appropriate for warm weather with mesh sides.
  • The windows make the tent more exposed

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

2. TOMOUNT 8 Person Tent

The TOMOUNT 8 Person Tent is a solid and portable option with a carry bag. The tent offers an easy setup, with a few simple steps to having your tent ready to go. It will also help keep you dry. With professional water testing, the waterproof index is over 4000mm. It is designed to be more wind-responsive with redesigned poles, making it idea for more extreme weather conditions.

 

Pros

  • Separated room with curtain
  • Roomy for 8 people
  • FIve large mesh windows
  • Professional waterproof and windproof with waterproof index of over 4000mm
  • Easy setup in ten minutes
  • Smooth and two-way zip

Cons

  • Although it’s an instant tent it is still a lot of material. May need more than one person to assemble.
  • Difficult to get the tent back in carrier bag

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

 

3. MOON LENCE Camping Tent 2 Person

This tent allows you to relax in comfort and enjoy with confidence. With the durability and strength of the stitching, you don’t have to worry so much if there is rain. This tent has a 2000mm resistant rainfly and all-round mesh fabric for the inner tent. The lightweight nature of this tent also makes it easy to transport and ideal for a lightweight trip.

 

Pros

  • Roomy 2-person tent All-round protection with 190T PU material providing 2000mm water resistance and UV resistance.
  • Rainfly for a double layer to provide stronger protection.
  • Breathable and stable. Easy to set up.
  • Risk free purchase – 30-day money back guarantee and lifetime warranty.

Cons

  • Does not come with footprint/ ground cover
  • A little difficult to get back into the small case
  • May experience condensation

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

 

4. Coleman Montana 8-Person Tent

The Coleman Montana 8-person tent gives the opportunity for some extra sleeping space. It also has an extended door awning for a dry space to keep gear and enter the tent. If it rains, there is a rainfly and also a WeatherTec system to help keep you dry. There are also angled windows which you are able to keep open if it rains for some extra air.

 

Pros

  • Spacious 8 person tent with room for three queen size air beds
  • WeatherTec system with patented corner welds and inverted seams to keep water out Extended door awning. Keep shoes and gear dry.
  • Quick set up – under 15 minutes.
  • Carry bag for easy transportation

Cons

  • Not for extreme weather May take a few people to construct with size

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

 

5. Ayamaya Pop Up Tent


The Ayamaya Pop Up Tent offers you a high degree of waterproofing. It has a 4000MM waterproof PU-Coated oxford groundsheet. The double layer design helps to prevent condensation while you’re sleeping. It also offers added ventilation with two front doors, a rear hooded vent and four side windows. The unique vestibule design gives added room for gear, shoes or even a large dog.

Pros

  • Spacious enough for 4 to 6 people with vestibule Unique double layer to help prevent condensation
  • Easy setup with pre-assembled poles
  • Added ventilation – two doors, hooded vents, four windows
  • Extra waterproofing – PU3000 fabric and heat sealed seams Waterproof index – 4000mm waterproof PU coated oxford groundsheet and 3000mm waterproof PU-Coated polyester fabric roof

Cons

  • Rainfly is extra purchase
  • Thin fabric – less desirable for very extreme weather

>> Check Price on Amazon >>

My personal recommendation

A waterproof tent can make your camping experience a lot more comfortable. This is especially when it’s raining hard. Not all products are the same.

If I had to pick my favourite tent for rain from those listed above, I would choose the Ayamaya Pop Up Tent. It’s easy setup and double layer design are great features for keeping you warm and dry. The ventilation in the tent is also ideal for camping in warmer months. It also offers opportunities for camping with more people with a spacious interior.

A few extra steps before your trip will go a long way. Adding extra waterproofing to your tent will help you out. I recommend investing in tent accessories such as a tarp and rainfly. The more your prepare, the more comfortable you will be on your next camping trip away.

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Amy Pritchett

Amy Pritchett

If you truly love nature like me, you will find beauty everywhere.

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