Even the most rabid outdoorsmen will admit that rain is enough to spoil any camping trip. The best rain shells, gaiters, and all the best waterproof camping gear can only keep you so dry. But, it still pays to be as prepared as possible. Few things are as crucial for weathering a storm while camping as a proper waterproof tent. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best tents for heavy rain in 2021.
New for 2020, Kelty’s redesigned Late Start 1 takes everything that made its predecessor, the Salida, great and upgrades it. The 68-denier rainfly is entirely waterproof, plus 100% sealed seams help keep water out in heavy rain. What we love most about the Late Start, however, is that the freestanding design ensures it’s one of the easiest-to-pitch tents we’ve ever used.
Most campers don’t want or simply can’t afford to buy multiple tents for different seasons, different weather, or different hiking trips. REI’s Co-op Arete ASL 2 Tent is a two-person tent that’s versatile enough for almost any camping style. With more than 40 square feet of combined floor and vestibule space, it’s roomy enough for two people and their gear. Plus, the design is tough enough to tackle weather in any season.
Read More: Best 2-Person Tents
Mountain Hardwear has long been a favorite among hardcore backpackers and thru-hikers. Its Aspect 3 is a near-perfect lightweight tent that’s built to survive hard rain and weather. The included rainfly is silicone-coated on both sides, so it’s 100% waterproof. Plus, it’s a true three-person design that packs down small for ounce-conscious packers.
If money is no object and only the best brand name tent will do, there’s the VE 25 Tent from The North Face. It’s built to provide three campers with shelter in the most extreme alpine conditions. At around 10 pounds, it’s surprisingly lightweight for a serious all-weather tent. Additional features include glow-in-the-dark, color-coded zipper pulls, a cold-resistant “port window,” and a cut-in nylon bucket floor for extra structural strength.
Alps Mountaineering is well-known for making some of the easiest-to-pitch tents on the market. The Lynx 2-Person features a freestanding style that assembles in minutes, thanks to an aluminum two-pole design. The included polyester fly is water-resistant while adding twin vestibules for bonus outdoor storage space.
Finding a lightweight, backpacking-friendly tent for three that’s also water-resistant is no easy task. Exped’s Outer Space III is one of the best on the market, and it’s among the best tents for heavy rain, too. The exostructure poles (on the outside of the fly) provide incredible durability while also making this one a snap to pitch, even for solo campers. It’s exceptionally roomy with a 65-inch peak inside and more than 40 square feet of vestibule area for keeping gear and other essentials dry outside your tent.
For car camping and any time weight isn’t an issue, Eureka’s Copper Canyon LX is an ideal shelter solution. The 4-person camping tent provides plenty of room for an entire family and their gear to spread out. A cabin-style design and nearly vertical walls ensure a full-standing height of seven feet inside while also helping shed water in heavy rain. At more than 20 pounds, it’s the heaviest on this list. But, the dead-simple pitchability and roominess are enough to make us love it anyway.
For camping families on a budget, it doesn’t get much better than Kazoo’s 4-Person Tent. In hard rain, the sealed seams and 210T rip-stop polyester rainfly combine to provide heavy water resistance. Inside, the floorplan is roomy for up to four people, while the built-in “porch” provides additional storage space for hiking gear, wet clothing, and more. The best part about this one, however, is the price. It’s a steal at just over $100.
For families who value convenience above else, there’s Ayamaya’s Popup Camping Tent. The no-nonsense design features pre-assembled poles built-in, so the tent practically pitches itself in seconds. At 12.5 by 8.5 feet, the interior is cavernous, with room for up to six adults with sleeping bags or even air mattresses. When the weather turns south, the waterproof PU-coated polyester roof and heat-sealed seams help keep the inside bone dry.
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