You would think that being waterproof is a pretty standard tent requirement, right?
But, unfortunately, there are a surprising number of tents on the market that you wouldn’t want to get caught in a storm in.
So, which tents are actually waterproof?
I’m going to tell you!
This article lists 12 of the best waterproof tents available in 2020.
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- TOP 12 Best Waterproof Tents of 2020
- Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow 4-Person Tent
- The North Face Wawona 4 Person Tent
- MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Tent
- Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 Tent
- Marmot Limelight 2 Person Tent
- Kelty Late Start 2 Person Tent
- Browning Camping 4 Person Glacier Tent
- Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tent
- ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 2-Person Tent
- NTK Cherokee GT 5 to 6 Person
- Coleman Hooligan 2-Person Tent
- Coleman 8-Person Red Canyon Tent
- Finding a Tent with the Right Features
TOP 12 Best Waterproof Tents of 2020
Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow 4-Person Tent
Review: We couldn’t make a list of waterproof tents and not add a canvas option to the mix!
Kodiak is arguably the best producer of canvas tents out there so you can’t go wrong with a Kodiak tent.
Canvas tents are a great option as the material is durable and naturally waterproof while also being breathable. You can rest assured that the interior with remain dry and warm even in the harshest weather.
The only downside is the packed weight and size of a canvas tent.
But if you’re up for investing in a beautifully made tent for car camping that will last a lifetime, then the Kodiak Flex-Bow is the perfect 4 person tent.
- Hydra-Sheild 100% cotton duck canvas is waterproof, moisture-wicking, and insulating of warmth and sound.
- 6’1” ceiling height is tall enough for standing so you won’t get cabin fever if you’re stuck inside for a few days of bad weather.
- Four large mesh windows allow for plenty of ventilation and some views while keeping you protected from insects.
- 2 large doors allow for easy access.
- Extremely durable and storm proof, this is a 4 season waterproof tent that will put up with the worst weather with ease.
- Packed size and weight are the only real cons here. It will take up some space in your trunk and you won’t want to walk too far with it (weighing in at 54.5 lbs. this is NOT a lightweight tent).
The North Face Wawona 4 Person Tent
Review: For a lighter weight and more transportable option, the North Face Wawona is about as waterproof as it gets in the tent world.
It’s a single walled construction, so a less common set up compared to the standard mesh-inner and rain fly combo. But it is extremely weatherproof and probably one of the most waterproof family tents available.
Like all tents, it would benefit from a footprint, but this tent will still be waterproof without one.
- Easy-pitch color coded design.
- Large roof vents help prevent condensation.
- Spacious vestibules for gear storage and indoor/outdoor living.
- 5.6’ peak height provides standing room for most people.
- Lightweight – 13 lbs. for a 4 person tent.
- Single walled tents are more prone to condensation than double walled.
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Tent
Review: The MSR Hubba Hubba is the best lightweight, waterproof tent for backpacking. It is actually designed with rain in mind as the “StayDry” doors have gutters to channel away water while you enter and exit.
It has a spacious interior so you won’t go to stir-crazy waiting for the storm to pass. The strong aluminum poles and sturdy configuration also make this a resilient tent in windy conditions.
The coated nylon rainfly is durable and waterproof while mesh panels on the inner allow for good ventilation.
- Freestanding design makes it versatile and easy to set up.
- Very lightweight (3.8 lbs.) so the ideal tent for backpacking in rainy weather.
- Cross-ventilating rainfly helps to keep condensation and moisture away from your living space.
- 2 StayDry doors have gutters for dry, rain-proof access.
- Capable of standing up to a good amount of wind.
- Packs down small into compressible stuff sack.
- It’s a versatile 3 season tent as the rainfly can be rolled up to expose the mesh on clear nights for views of the stars.
- Footprint needs to be bought separately, and is recommended for optimum waterproofing.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 Tent
Review: The Big Agnes tents are very popular for their liveability, always having an optimum space to weight ratio so you won’t feel cramped or claustrophobic.
The Copper Spur is no exception, being a lightweight but spacious tent for 2.
It is also ideal in all weather. Its low profile makes it able to handle wind. The fly and floor are rip-stop nylon with a 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating.
- Steep walls maximize the usable interior space.
- All seams come ready taped for ultimate waterproofing.
- 2 large doors and vestibules for easy access and gear storage.
- 3 lbs. 1 oz. is very light weight for the living space available
- Plenty of interior pockets make it even easier to organize your stuff.
- Zip down doors don’t keep the rain out as well as D shaped doors.
- A little pricey, but I think the quality justifies the price.
Marmot Limelight 2 Person Tent
Review: Another top of the line brand, Marmot is known for its super reliable tents. The Limelight is a waterproof 2 person tent, ideal for more extreme camping conditions.
At just over 5 lbs. it’s about as heavy as you’d want to go for a backpacking tent, but the extra weight is worth it for the fail-safe weatherproofing (and it can be made lighter by leaving the footprint at home).
It has 2 large doors and vestibules which score massive points for convenience, and it’s made of highly durable 100% polyester which is more waterproof than the usual nylon.
- Comes with fully taped seams.
- Easy pitch set up with color-coded poles and clips.
- 2 doors and vestibules.
- Footprint included.
- High bathtub floor and full coverage rain fly.
- A little heavy and bulky for backpacking.
Kelty Late Start 2 Person Tent
Review: A slightly more affordable alternative, the Kelty Late Start is an upgraded Kelty Salida. It’s a solid, mid-range backpacking tent that won’t let you down in bad weather.
It has a full coverage 68D polyester rain fly, which along with the high bathtub floor, has a 1800mm hydrostatic rating.
At 4 lbs. 8 oz. it’s a reasonable weight for 2 people backpacking, though you wouldn’t want it to be any heavier.
- Easy, color coded set up.
- Rainfly is rated at 1800mm.
- All seams are factory sealed.
- Excellent value for money.
- Full coverage rain fly and vestibule for gear storage.
- Only one door and vestibule.
- Lacking a little in ventilation.
Browning Camping 4 Person Glacier Tent
Review: Another great option for families, the Browning Camping 4 Person Glacier Tent is a highly weatherproof option for camping trips where any kind of storm could come your way.
It’s a cross between a dome and cabin style tent, with steep walls which provide maximum internal space, and a full-coverage rain fly which creates 2 big vestibules.
It sets up into a freestanding design with 2 strong aluminum poles and the mesh panels in the roof help to optimize air flow.
- 2 large vestibules provide plenty of space for gear.
- Full-coverage rain fly.
- Steep walls provide plenty of living room inside the tent.
- 6’ peak height provides standing room inside.
- Nylon Oxford bathtub floor is extremely durable.
- Ventilation could be better.
Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tent
Review: Teton have got a winner here with their Mountain Ultra tents which are all spacious and comfortable no matter which size you choose, and for a pretty good price.
Gear storage is easy with 2 large vestibules and plenty of interior pockets. The pole configuration makes for a very stable tent that will stand up to bad weather.
It is easy and quick to set up which is a bonus in bad weather. And, at a 3.8 lbs. trail weight, this tent is lightweight enough to take backpacking too.
- Different sizes available (1-4 person) to suit all needs.
- The micro-mesh material helps to keep you even drier through maximizing ventilation and preventing a build-up of condensation.
- 150D Oxford foot print included to increase the lifespan of the tent and help prevent moisture entering through the groundsheet in heavy rains.
- Easy set-up is suitable for camping beginners or one person.
- Vestibules make it easier to keep the interior of the tent dry by leaving your wet gear under the fly.
- Bath tub floor could be a little higher to prevent breezes and splashes entering the tent.
ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 2-Person Tent
Review: Alps Mountaineering make great quality mid-range tents. So, they’re slightly more affordable than the tents above, but still very reliable, making them excellent value for money.
The Meramac 2 person tent is a nice lightweight option for car or motorcycle camping (although at over 7 lbs. it is definitely not light enough for backpacking).
It is easy to set up and take down, has 2 doorways for easy access, a gear loft to help with gear organization and a full-coverage rainfly with a 1500mm rated coating for waterproofing.
For optimum waterproofing, you’d do well to pair this with tent with a footprint or some form of additional ground sheet.
- Rain fly can be propped up as an awning over the tent’s zippered door.
- The fly and the floor both feature factory sealed seams.
- Large mesh side panels provide a nice amount of ventilation without letting rain in.
- Good value for money.
- Too heavy for backpacking.
- Footprint is sold separately.
NTK Cherokee GT 5 to 6 Person
Review: NTK make affordable, weatherproof tents that are perfect for car camping families and groups.
The Cherokee doesn’t have a full coverage rain fly, but the large D shaped door zips closed which combined with the high bathtub floor and overhanging fly, makes for a very waterproof set up.
The only downside to this design is the lack of enclosed vestibules to keep your gear dry.
It comfortably sleeps 5 people, although since you’ll need space for some gear inside, you’re better of banking on 2-3 people.
When the skies are clear and the weather is nice, this tent easily converts into a well-ventilated summer or spring tent. It’s versatile, spacious, and most importantly, waterproof.
- Ring and pin system makes it easy to set this tent up.
- Handles strong winds and rain well.
- High bathtub floor and overhanging rain fly.
- Strong, sturdy poles.
- No vestibules for gear storage.
Coleman Hooligan 2-Person Tent
Review: Coleman is one of the best known camping tent brands in the U.S. Their tents receive mixed reviews when it comes to quality and waterproofing, which is understandable for a more affordable brand.
But, some of their tents seem to hit the mark and be eternally popular and the Hooligan is one of them.
It’s one of the few Coleman tents with a full-coverage rain fly. This means it’s both weatherproof and and provides a vestibule for gear storage.
It uses Coleman’s Weather Tec System which means it has inverted seams, a strong frame, storm flaps over the zippers and a waterproof floor.
- Includes an enclosed vestibule for gear storage.
- This tent uses a quick pop up dome design with snag free pole sleeves.
- The rain fly is full coverage.
- Weather Tec System provides reliable weatherproofing.
- Good value for money.
- Too heavy for backpacking.
Coleman 8-Person Red Canyon Tent
Review: Coleman’s Red Canyon Tent is a great option for larger families or groups. It can sleep 8 people, or 4-5 with gear, and has interior room dividers that provide privacy and help to separate off your living area from your sleeping area.
Like the Hooligan, above, it utilizes Coleman’s Weather Tec System which means it has inverted seams and welded floors for optimum waterproofing.
- Rainfly features awnings that cover mesh vents in the tent. This provides protection from rain without blocking the airflow within the tent.
- Tent comes with removable, adjustable divider walls.
- 6’ center height allows for standing room for most people.
- Fast Pitch set up with color coded poles.
- This is a very heavy tent that isn’t suited for hiking or backpacking. You’re definitely going to want to drive this tent to the campsite.
Finding a Tent with the Right Features
Finding a reliably waterproof tent is not as simple as it sounds. Some tents can be notoriously leaky, while others, though waterproof, lack ventilation and result in wet walls due to condensation built up.
It can be hard to find the perfect balance!
But there are a few key things to look out for which will help a lot.
The following features come together to help create a tent that is waterproof enough to keep you dry when the heavens open.
The Perfect Rain Fly
The rain fly is one of the most important parts of your waterproof tent.
A full-coverage rain fly usually provides the best protection against bad weather. Partial coverage rain flies can work well, but in extremely windy weather it’s easier for the rain to blow up and under the fly and enter through the mesh panels of the tent inner.
Similarly, some tents offer vents in the rain fly, but you’ll need to make sure that these vents aren’t so big that wind can force rain into tent that way.
Tent floors should ideally follow a bathtub design where the floor material extends part way up the wall of the tent so that the seam is not flush with the ground.
This also means that when paired with a full-coverage fly, if the rain is so heavy that it bounces off the ground and under the bottom of the fly, it likely won’t bounce high enough to reach your tent walls above the top of the floor material.
Many tents would benefit from being paired with a footprint from both a weatherproofing and long term durability perspective.
But, footprints are often sold separately so they are an added expense, and if you’re backpacking, they add weight to your load.
Sealed Seams and Waterproof Coatings
The majority of tents worth their salt with come with factory sealed seams and a waterproof coating on the fly.
However, many campers choose to add their own seam sealant and waterproofing treatment as an extra precaution if they know they’re likely to encounter bad weather.
This can transform a tent from being mostly water-resistant, to reliably waterproof and can be a good option if you’re on a budget and need to go for a more affordable tent.
For a guide to the best waterproof tent sprays, have a read of this article.
Protecting Your Gear
If you’re bringing a lot of gear that you can’t afford to get wet, you’ll need to make sure you get a tent large enough to accommodate both the campers and the gear.
Although, don’t go overboard with the gear – do your research, understand what you actually need. There are a lot of gear myths out there.
In severe storms, vestibules and awnings may not be enough to keep your gear dry.
You’ll have more peace of mind knowing that everything you don’t want to get wet is safely stored away in your waterproof tent with you.
Overestimate the space you’ll need, and buy a tent made to accommodate an extra camper.
Balancing the Priorities
Last but not least, I get it. Being waterproof isn’t your only tent criteria. It’s a really important one but there are also many other factors that will inform your tent choice.
So, at the end of the day, it comes down to balancing your priorities.
For example, you might want a cold weather tent that is also waterproof. This is a fairly easy combination as most really waterproof tents don’t have heaps of ventilation so they’ll also be warmer.
Check out more of the best cold weather tents here.
Alternatively, you might know you want a cabin tent, or even the best waterproof pop up tent.
While there are some amazing cabin tents on the market, the latter is a slightly trickier mix of priorities, I’ll admit, as most top-rated tent brands don’t make pop up tents. But, we have some great options on this list that might help you out.
What is the best waterproof tent?
This depends on the number of people in your camping party and whether you’re backpacking or car camping.
All of the tents in the list above are excellent choices with the Browning Glacier, The North Face Wawona and Marmot Limelight being clear leaders.
How do you know if a tent is waterproof?
All tents should be at least water-resistant, but to get an idea of waterproofing, look for the hydrostatic rating in mm. Ideally, you want a minimum of 3000mm.
Is 3000mm waterproof enough for a tent?
This depends on what kind of weather you’re going to be encountering. But excluding any serious storms, 3000mm should be enough for most rain events where there isn’t too much wind involved.
Is 10000mm waterproof enough for a tent?
A 10,000mm hydrostatic rating is far more than you would need for most tents. But remember that hydrostatic head isn’t the only factor that’s important. The design of the tent as a whole and the quality of the seam seals will also play a big role.
How can I make my tent more waterproof?
Sealing the seams and adding a waterproof coating to the outside of your rainfly can help to make your tent significantly more waterproof.
But how you set up the tent also makes a big difference. Make sure you use all of the guy lines, stake them out the right distance from the tent, make sure they’re nice and taut, and make sure the rain fly isn’t touching the tent inner except at the poles.
Do you need to waterproof a new tent?
If you’ve spent upwards of $200 on your tent and it’s from a reputable brand, then probably not. But if you’ve purchased a mid-range or entry-level tent, it’s safer to waterproof it yourself rather than relying on the factory job.
That wraps up this list of the best waterproof tents of 2020.
Even though I’ve only listed one tent under each brand (with the exception of Coleman), all of the brands above make excellent tents and most of their offerings will be suitably waterproof.
I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve had any experience with any of the tents on this list, particularly in the rain!