Best Waterproof Tent To Stay Bone Dry in Heavy Rain

We’ve looked at some of the best tents for rain to find the best waterproof tent on the market. Here are the ones we found to be the most efficient at keeping that rain where it belongs, outside…

In a hurry? Check out our top pick: NTK Cherokee GT Dome Camping Tent

In this article we are reviewing the following waterproof tents:

If you’re like me, as much as you enjoy being out in the fresh air, getting a good dose of sunshine, and frolicking with all the cute wildlife, you also want to be comfortable. And that means staying dry. Nothing is worse than trying to fall asleep in a damp sleeping bag or having water dripping onto your head all night.

To avoid these unpleasant experiences, you need to do your due diligence and find a good waterproof tent. That means looking for heat-sealed seams, bathtub style floors, and a durable tent that won’t tear or leak. Here are a few tips on what to look for in the best waterproof tent and a few reviews to help you find the right tent for your needs.

Best Waterproof Tent Reviews

1. Best Waterproof Lightweight Tent - ALPS Mountaineering Meramac

ALPS Mountaineering Meramac camping tent

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When it comes to judging tents, we start by looking at the ease of set up. The Meramac tent features a free-standing two-pole design that uses connectors made of aluminum to hold the poles together. Aluminum is a great material since it won’t rust like steel. The poles are also a size larger than you typically see so you get a stronger tent that can take on some bad weather. All you have to do is attach the clips to the poles, and your setup is fast and done.

So, I know what you are thinking, what about its water resistance? Constructed with sealed seams on the fly and the floor, this weather-proof tent also features a urethane coated fly that includes a pole for an awning over the entrance. Plus, the Meramac is made of strong but lightweight polyester that can breathe through the uncoated side walls keeping you cool and comfortable.

Another feature that we love is that there are two doors. Not only does that eliminate those awkward moments of crawling over your tent mates to go to the bathroom, but it also gives you more ventilation on those muggy nights. Other features that we really appreciate are the durable zippers that are a size larger than normal for added durability. Plus you get lots of storage options with a gear loft and mesh storage pockets.

Specs
  • Sleeps: Up to 2
  • Seasons: 3
  • Doors : 2
  • Waterproof rating: 1500mm
  • Center height: 4ft
  • Dimensions: 5′ x 7’6
  • Weight: 7.5 pounds
Pros
  • Easy setup and take down
  • Rainfly is also easy to attach
  • Great ventilation for screens on all four sides
Cons
  • The floor ould be more heavy duty
  • Isn’t that roomy for two people

2. Best Waterproof Backpacking Tent - TETON Sports Mountain Ultra Tent

Teton Sports backpacking tent

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Our next tent has a one-person set up that is super easy. This baby is made for rugged conditions complete with a watertight Oxford bathtub floor that extends up on the side to keep water out and has seams that are heat-sealed. The TETON also packs down tight. We love tents that pack down easily so you don’t have to wrestle to get them back in their bags.

Not only is this a waterproof and lightweight tent, but it has an incredible ventilation system that is built-in. And it comes with two doors. This micro-mesh tent has a full mesh top that lets you gaze at the stars at the end of the day. The rainfly also includes cutaway vents that are built in to give you even more air flow.

The aluminum poles are known to outlast their carbon-fiber competitors. The TETON also comes with a carry bag that self-adjusts on your shoulder so that it stays upright as you carry it out to your campsite. And, don’t forget the storage features. The TETON includes gear pockets that are built-in for all your essential gear such as your phone, keys and flashlight.

 

Specs
  • Sleeps: Up to 4
  • Seasons: 3
  • Doors : 2
  • Waterproof rating: 3000mm
  • Center height: 4ft
  • Dimensions: 8″ x 83″ x 59″
  • Weight: 9.5 pounds
Pros
  • Nice waterproof design with good airflow
  • Convenient roof pocket for phone and flashlight
  • Comes with a footprint
Cons
  • No windows just vents

3. Best Budget Waterproof Tent - Coleman Sundome

Coleman Sundome Camping Tent

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The Coleman Sundome is a classic tent that’s great for a family adventure in the woods or a fun weekend with friends. It comes with our favorite easy to set up feature including a fiberglass frame that is shock corded. The tent can actually be set up and ready to go in about 10 minutes. The continuous pole sleeves and the easy to use clips made set up simple and quick.

The Sundome gives you one door with a hooded fly that will keep out the rain while giving you much needed ventilation. In the roof, you will find mesh vents for extra ventilation as well as a ground vent. You also get a hooded window in the rear of the tent that is a decent enough size to give you the airflow you need for cross ventilation. As far as water resistance, the bathtub style floor is made of rugged polyethylene that comes with welded seams to stop the floor from leaking.

The feature we are most excited about is the Electrical Access Port to easily run AC power into the tent. Durable guy points keep this baby secure in high winds and storms so you can continue enjoying camping in any type of weather. Other features include a handy ceiling flashlight loop and instructions that are sewn into the carry bag to make sure you never lose them.

Specs
  • Sleeps: 2, 4, 6 models
  • Seasons: 2
  • Doors : 1 D Style door
  • Waterproof rating: 450mm
  • Center height: 4.11 ft
  • Dimensions: 9ft x 7ft (Sundome 6)
  • Weight: 8.8 pounds
Pros
  • Quick and easy set up
  • Handy cord access
  • Nice large ceiling screen panels
Cons
  • Would be nice if the entire door had a screen instead of just half of it
  • Rainfly isn't all over

4. Best Large Waterproof Tent - Coleman Red Canyon Tent

Coleman Red Canyon Tent

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Large enough for eight campers, the Coleman Red Canyon is perfect for family trips or a large group of friends. If you are like me and like sleeping on an air mattress, this baby can hold four without touching the walls. It also comes with removable privacy walls that you can set up to create up to three separate rooms. This is great when you need to create separate spaces between you and the kids.

With a strong wind frame, you won’t have to worry about this tent going anywhere. It uses a frame that has increased wind response, strong poles, and a zipper cuff created out of a weather-resistant fabric that gives you more protection from bad weather. The Red Canyon also increases its weather resistance by using inverted seams that hide the needle holes inside the tent.

I forgot to mention set up. The Red Canyon is another easy to set up tent that includes different bags for the stakes, poles, and tent. You will need a few people to help you put it up, and keep in mind it isn’t light. This is one of the few tents we didn’t mind the longer setup time since it more than makes up for it in its sturdiness and all the room you get. Plus, if you’re tall, this tent has a six-foot height in the center so you won’t have a sore back from bending over too much throughout your trip.

Specs
  • Sleeps: Up to 8
  • Seasons: 3
  • Doors : 2 D Style doors
  • Waterproof rating: 3000mm
  • Center height: 6 ft
  • Dimensions: 17 x 10 ft
  • Weight: 21.5 pounds
Pros
  • Sturdy and full of features
  • Tons of room for air mattresses
  • Detachable entrance mat/mud tarp for easy cleaning
  • Nice addition of mesh pockets and gear loft
Cons
  • Not that quick to set up

5. Best Waterproof Family Tent - NTK Cherokee Camping Tent

NTK Cherokee Camping Tent

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Not only do you get spaciousness and an easy setup with this tent, but the Cherokee is also durable and waterproof making sure that the weekend you spend with your family is dry, comfortable, and without tears. Especially your own. The dome shape gives you tons of storage and sleeping space. Plus, you get a lifetime warranty on the poles totally backing up their specially designed fiberglass compound.

The NTK Cherokee gives you enough room for your whole family or a large group of friends. It comes with a nice wide door that includes one layer of fabric and a completely separate layer of mosquito mesh. You also get extra protection from vertical rain with the rainfly extension and zip covers. And, can you believe it, this standalone design only needs two poles to build out the inner tent and one additional small pole to extend out the awning over the door.

Giving you a center height of 6.1 feet, most people can easily stand up inside the NTK Cherokee tent. You also get a room divider that is detachable so you can create two rooms when you need to put a little space between you and the little ones. Since this beauty was built to withstand the Brazilian Amazon, you get tons of fresh air flows through the micro-mesh fabric.

The floor is made with a material that is not only heavy-duty but also anti-fungus. It has a silver-coated inner layer that stops leaks and a unique bathtub style barrier so you don’t wake up drenched in the morning. The rainfly is also totally waterproof and features heat seams, a thermoplastic coating with UV protection. 

Other features include two 2-way D-style doors with zippers, a ventilated mesh roof, a gear loft, and a spacious utility pocket.

.

Specs
  • Sleeps: Up to 9
  • Seasons: 3
  • Doors : 2 D Style doors
  • Waterproof rating: 2500mm
  • Center height: 6.07ft
  • Dimensions:  6.07 x 10 x 11.81ft
  • Weight: 18.74 pounds
Pros
  • Great quality, fit, and finish
  • Very roomy and able to accommodate four cots
  • Nice double-sided doors
Cons
  • We couldn’t think of any

What to Look for in the Best Tents For Rain

Construction and Material

When choosing a waterproof tent, you want to make sure that moisture, water, or any other wet element cannot soak through it. The tent should have some outer defense shield, like a canopy, that can help ward off the encroachment of water. Plus, you need to make sure that it not only can hold up against rain but also a flood if your tent location is in a bad spot.

The material is an important thing to think about. Some materials like nylon and polyester have great water-resistant features that can withstand some pretty harsh weather. You can also look for seams that are welded to absolutely guarantee that water is not going to get in. Some models even have windows and doors that are water-resistant while other tents feature bathtub style floors where the edges are higher to prevent the onslaught of a torrential rain from getting in.

Ventilation

Haven’t I already said a tent is all about comfort? Not only are you comfortable when you are dry, but you are also comfortable when you are not hot and cramped. Make sure the tent you get is also well ventilated and can breathe well. Not only will these features help your comfort level during a rainstorm, but a lot of times you’ll find the subsequent day after a storm to be very, very hot. Becoming sweaty and yucky makes ventilation a necessity. Look for tents with good ventilation that includes multiple windows and large doors.

Water Resistance

Here we look at the key waterproof features you should be looking out for when shopping for the best waterproof tent.

Rainfly 

The rainfly is the waterproof cover that goes over the tent. A rainfly should be large enough to cover all windows including zippers to stop the rain from hitting the walls of the tent and infiltrating any openings.

Awning

Since most tent windows are made from mesh, there is a good chance that rain could get through the mesh. Using an awning in addition to the rainfly, will provide extra coverage and prevent the rain from directly hitting the windows. 

Welded floors

A welded floor will ensure there is no flooring material exposed to the elements and will prevent any seam leakage. 

Inverted seams

Water can get through exposed seams, especially in heavy rain. Inverted seams increase the waterproof qualities of a tent because there is no stitching at ground level and the needle holes are located on the inside of the tent which prevents leakage.

Bathtub floors

A bathtub floor is when the flooring extends up to the side walls of the tent. This is essential in wet conditions to prevent the groundwater to go over the flooring.

Durability

Sturdiness will also help your tent handle a strong rainstorm without incident. You know that at some point it is going to get punished by the wind and rain, and, if your tent feels wobbly or flimsy, you are going to feel stressed for the entire storm. Make sure to inspect all the parts of the tent, including the poles, stakes, and frame to make sure they are stable and strong enough to handle a good strong storm. Also, consider future camping trips and if the parts will corrode or rust over time which can weaken an otherwise strong tent. It never hurts to have a few spare parts with you in case something happens so you can stay nice and dry while you ride out the storm.

Waterproof Tent FAQs

Do I need to use a rainfly?

If you plan on camping in the rain, we highly recommend you use one. A full rainfly will prevent the rain from getting on the inside of the tent and will ensure you stay dry. Some tents may come with a rainfly but sometimes you may have to buy it separately. If you need to buy one separately, we would recommend you get one from the same manufacturer as your tent to make sure it fits properly.

Do I need to use a tarp or footprint?

A tent alone is designed to keep you dry but a footprint or a tarp create an extra barrier between you and the ground. If you are expecting to camp on a hard surface, a footprint will also protect your tent floor from potential damage, which would decrease its waterproofing.

Whether to bring one or not really depends on the expected weather conditions, the space you have and the weight you can carry.

We like to use a footprint in wet weather as we find it keeps the mud from getting under the tent. We also use those rubbery interlocking mats in front of the door to keep the entrance as clean as possible.

If you use a footprint, make sure it’s the same size or smaller than your tent floor to fully cover it. Otherwise, the water could run between the tent floor and the footprint which could affect its water-resistance capabilities.


Here’s how to use a tarp to cover your tent and make sure you stay completely dry.

Which is the best waterproof tent fabric?

When it comes to waterproof camping tents, the best waterproof fabrics are polyester and nylon. They are both synthetic fabrics that repel moisture and dry quickly.

In general, nylon is stronger and more tear-resistant than polyester. It can also absorb some water unlike polyester. Nylon tent materials are typically lighter and often used for backpacking tents.

What is a good waterproof rating for a tent?

A tent’s waterproof rating is measured in millimetres and usually goes from 1000mm to 10,000mm. The higher the number, the more waterproof a tent will be.

If you use your tent frequently, its water repellent coating may deteriorate overtime which could reduce its effectiveness, which will result in water being absorbed into the fabric rather than running off. You may notice that the coating on your tent is flaking off, which indicates you need to reproof it.

What’s the best way to waterproof a tent?

You can apply a waterproof spray and seam sealer on your tent. This will restore the water repellency whilst maintaining the breathability of the fabric. You should wipe your tent clean to get rid of any dust and residues before you apply the spray and sealer.

 

How do you pack a tent in the rain?

If it is raining when you are ready to leave, just pack up as normal but get the tent dried out as soon as possible. If you have a spare towel, try to wipe as much water and dirt off to keep the main fabric clean.

When you fold the tent, try not to get the inner wet so while packing away try to roll the tent in such a way as to maintain wet to wet and dry to dry, and store it in its storage bag.

If it’s raining heavily and the tent is super wet, we would suggest putting it into a garbage bag instead and keep it upright until you get home. It’s surprising how much water a wet tent can hold and you could end up with a trunk full of water.

How do you dry a wet tent?

The best way we found to dry a wet tent is to pitch it loosely with all door and window zips undone until it’s completely dry. You can also dry it out in the sun by laying the tent’s body and rainfly on the ground for a couple of days.

Final Thoughts

So, for us, the clear winner of the Best Waterproof Tent Roundup is the very roomy and sturdy NTK Cherokee GT Dome Camping Tent. First of all, it had us at easy setup, spaciousness, and its anti-fungus feature. Everyone knows that dampness can create some nasty things. It’s wonderful to know that nothing is going to grow on that floor the kids are about to sleep on.

Also, you get a lot of ventilation along with a floor that uses a barrier designed after a bathtub. You get to look at the stars in nice weather and have complete confidence that you will stay dry in bad weather. The design of this tent is incredible, we just can’t say enough.

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