If you are someone that loves to go camping, you are likely going to want to find a good camping tent that you can use. The key to choosing a waterproof tent to purchase and use is going to come down to your specific needs for the tent. If you are someone that typically camps with other people and perhaps an average size family, your ideal option would be a 6 person tent. Below, we will be going over some of the top things to look for when you are shopping for a 6 person tent.
- Water Resistant vs. Water Repellent vs. Waterproof
- How do you recognize a waterproof tent?
- Why is it so important to have a waterproof tent?
- What types of tents are available?
- Pitch your tent to improve the waterproofing
Top Things To Look For:
The size of the tent that you end up purchasing is likely going to make the biggest difference in determining how useful it is and how much satisfaction you are going to get out of it. If you have an average size family of 3-4 members, it is very likely that a 6 person tent is going to be the bare minimum that you should consider investing in. This will allow you to not only have enough room for everyone in your family, but it should also allow you to fit everything that you have to place in your tent without causing too much discomfort.
Another thing that you are going to want to look for and try to consider is the price of the tent. You want to find a tent that not only fits within your budget but one that is going to be a good value purchase. You don’t want to purchase a tent that is too high in price because that is only going to ensure that you do not get good value for your money.
Another major consideration that should be made when you are attempting to find and choose the right tent to purchase is the features or lack thereof that come with the tent. You want to try to find a tent that comes with the best possible features that you could utilize. Some of the features that you are going to want to try to find in a tent are waterproof material if it’s storage options and more.
Another thing that you should be considering when it comes to finding the best tent to purchase would be the reviews of the tent. You want to try to find the tent that has the best reviews, so you can maximize your purchase potential and find a product that is going to satisfy your every need. The better the product is reviewed by other customers, the better the chances you will end up satisfied with it.
Overall, there are a lot of things that you are going to want to do when it comes to finding the right tent to purchase for yourself and your family. By looking at the factors above, not only will you be able to identify the right one, but you should be able to get it for a good price as well.
For a special hiking experience, you could try hammock tents (see our selection), but these are usually for 2 persons at the most.
Water Resistant vs. Water Repellent vs. Waterproof
It feels like a gambling game when shopping for a waterproof tent. Product tags can be misleading and there are so many unfamiliar terms to deal with. Learning to make the difference between water-resistant, water repellent, and waterproof will undoubtedly ease the selection process.
A tent made with water-resistant fabric will offer level one protection. The fabric is tightly sewn in, offering an efficient barrier against water that will not go quickly throughout the tight-knit fabric. Many tents are made with synthetic plastics and no fabric at all. However, if you want a polycotton or canvas tent, you can start with a water-resistant tent fabric and improve its performance with various products (keep reading for details).
A water-repellent tent will offer level two protection. The tent might have a DWR tag, which means Durable Water Repellent. Therefore, the tent isn’t only water-resistant, but it also has a water repellent treatment on the outer surface. You can see water repellency as the “duck feathers.” Thanks to the water repellent, the water will bead up on the exterior surface of the tent and roll off.
The waterproof tent will provide level three protection—check out the label as it can be misleading. We want to highlight that nothing is 100% waterproof. However, with enough preparation, you and your friends and gear will remain dry after a long pouring day. Waterproof tents are made with sturdy fabric, an efficient rain fly, a bathtub groundsheet and an excellent layer of DWR. They are supposed to withstand continuous rain or heavy pressure for more hours than water-resistant and water-repellent tents would.
How do you recognize a waterproof tent?
When shopping for a waterproof tent, anything ranging between 2000mm and 5000mm will be a safe choice for rainy weather. Keep in mind not to get a tent below 1000mm. Even if the waterproofness grade is essential, you should also check out all the other parts of your tent. For example, the rainfly’s waterproofing might not be the same as the floor’s footprint.
The waterproof gear rating shows how much water the tent will withstand until it develops signs of leakage—a tent starting leaking on your face is not waterproof. Unfortunately, once a drop of water gets through the tent, many will follow and it won’t be long until you and everyone inside your 6-person tent will be wet.
It’s the same with the floor. If you need to install your tent during or right a shower, you will have to make sure that both the footprint and the bottom of your tent will remain dry. Don’t rely on it too much, even if you use a sleeping mat to protect you against a wet floor. You might catch a cold when you sleep on a damp surface.
Typically, a 2000mm to 3000mm is considered enough for a waterproof tent. However, if you plan to camp/hike in a region where you expect pouring rain, don’t settle for anything less than 5000mm for your tent. Some features on your waterproof tent will also make a difference. For example, a bathtub floor will be an excellent feature on a waterproof tent because it’s the type of tent floor that has thick/reinforced fabric. As a result, the floor will provide efficient protection against moisture oils.
Why is it so important to have a waterproof tent?
A waterproof tent increases your comfort at night. Water pouring down inside the tent is never good news, especially if all your gear and clothes get wet. It’s not that we’re fancy, but your health must stay dry when camping. After all, camping/hiking/backpacking is all about having an excellent experience, so what good is it if you wake up soaking wet?
Many waterproof tents are versatile and come with a detachable rainfly. The rainfly is a waterproof tent cover that you can remove when it’s not raining and want efficient ventilation inside the vent. Plus, you will be able to enjoy the surrounding views. Such models are excellent because they eliminate buying another tent for the hot summer days. Expect waterproof tents to be long-lasting because they’re made to withstand both hot and rainy days.
Many experienced hikers don’t compromise and always take a waterproof tent. Since there are so many models to choose from, we recommend you do due diligence before selecting your tent. There are many features to examine apart from the waterproof rating that gives the overall value for the tent. Make sure you know what you want and need from a tent. In the end, you want your tent to balance price, quality, and features.
What types of tents are available?
We will not go over the details on waterproof tents until you learn a thing or two about the basics. You should know that tents differ significantly, and knowing the facts will narrow down your choices.
Waterproof Tents by Season/Temperature Range
If this is the first time you look for a waterproof camping tent, you might get lost because of the camping tent lingo. The first thing to tell you is that camping tents by season have ratings between 1 and 5, according to the season you can use them for.
1- season tents
The 1-season tents are made to adjust to tropical weather conditions.
You can use a 2-season tent for spring and autumn because they can withstand a drizzle. Both 1-season and 2-season tents present a basic structure and efficient ventilation. Their ventilation is better than with other types of tents.
We want to highlight that one and 2-season tents cannot withstand challenging weather conditions and have little to no waterproofing. Unless you are 100% sure that you will camp in warm weather, you shouldn’t take such tents on your camping/hiking trips.
If you like hiking/camping all year round, you can spend the extra buck for a 3-season tent. These types of tents are excellent choices as they keep you and your family comfortable in both cold and warm weather. The 3-season tents will withstand rain and light snow, whereas the ventilation is good enough for a comfortable stay in the summer. The structure is solid and the mesh lining is thick so that a 3-season tent won’t fall on a windy day.
The main drawback about a 3-season tent is that it may not withstand strong winds and harsh weather conditions. If a heavy storm hits you when camping, the risk of getting wet is high with a 3-season tent.
Regardless of your opinion, a 4-season camping tent isn’t the winner of all tents either. It’s a dependable option for winter camping and the spring season, but it might fail on you on hot summer adventures. Unless it comes with the most efficient ventilation system, a 4-season tent will get you all sweaty on a hot summer camping trip.
While shopping, you will run into 5-season tents, the most durable tents out there. You can go hiking/camping with your friends even in the winter, on the highest mountains covered in snow—the 5-season tent will keep you all warm and dry!
Waterproof Tents by Shape
Ridge, dome, tunnel, and geodesic are the most common shapes of tents.
The ridge tent is the regular, most common shape of a tent that resembles a roof. Typically, the ridge tent is made with a canvas put over a central horizontal pole with vertical poles for best support.
You may know this type of tent as the A-frame tent; it has evolved in time as newer and better materials are used to improve its functionality. Modern ridge tents won’t fit more than two people, so they’re not a choice when you need a spacious 6-person tent. On top of everything else, the ridge tents are relatively short impede comfortable moving around inside.
Dome or half-dome tents
Most waterproof tents today are dome or half-dome shaped. They’re relatively easy to install, carry, and easily accommodate a large group (six-person or higher). The best part about the dome tent is that you can adjust its shape by adding/decreasing the number of poles.
The geodesic tent resembles the dome tent, but it has more poles than the dome tent. Many 4-season tents have a geodesic shape which gives them excellent stability, even in extreme weather.
Tunnel tents are longer than other tents and feature divided bedrooms for privacy and efficient space organization. Even if the tunnel tents will require some time and energy to set them up and it’s rather heavy to carry, it’s an excellent choice for family camping adventures. Also, the tunnel tent requires the proper space to pitch, especially when you need a 6-person model. When you go camping with your family/friends, privacy inside the tent can make the difference for the whole experience.
Best Camping Tents by Material
Polyester, nylon, and cotton canvas represent the most common materials for waterproof tents. Back in the day, tents were made of cotton canvas because it was insulating and breathable at the same time.
Another factor that weighs in favor of canvas tents is that you won’t need to use a waterproof spray because it’s naturally waterproof after you weather it. The downside with a canvas tent? The canvas tent is rather heavyweight, needs a long time to dry, needs regular maintenance, and it’s rather expensive.
Having said that, we have to talk about the polyester and nylon waterproof tents. Nylon and polyester tents don’t present the downsides that canvas tents have and come for lower prices. Nylon and polyester tents made with weather-resistant materials and sealant become just as reliable as canvas tents. Many campers go by polyester/nylon tents over the canvas models. If you go backpack camping, you will want a tent easy to carry around, such as a polyester/nylon tent and not a heavier model.
Waterproof Tents by Size
The number of persons using the tent and their average height is factors you need to examine when selecting your camping tent. You want everyone to move comfortably inside the tent and have space to store your essential gear overnight as well. You want comfort, but you cannot sacrifice the compact packaging that counts for portability or the lightweight.
All in all, selecting the best size for your tent can be a lot trickier than you think. We remind you that the sizes are typically based on a tight-fit accommodation. Therefore, if you want space to move inside the tent comfortably, you will need a bigger capacity. If you camp on your own, you will be fine with a one-person waterproof tent, but you will need to opt for a bigger and more spacious tent if you’re a tall person.
Don’t forget to consider your camping gear; a 1-person tent will be enough if you camp alone in the spring-summer. However, you will need to go up a size in the colder season when you have more camping gear to carry.
Pitch your tent to improve the waterproofing
If you’re new camping, you may spend a lot of time trying to pitch your tent. The situation gets even more challenging when you want to improve the waterproofing. Here are some tips to use when pitching a waterproof tent:
Pitch the tent on dry, high ground
Look for the highest and driest place when camping. Pitching on the high ground means the rain will run off around your tent and to the lower ground. Seek that the surface is as smooth as possible to reduce the risk of abrasion, making holes and leaks in the tent.
Protect the groundsheet with taps and footprints
The groundsheet/ground cloth might be detachable, seamless, sewn in, or nonexistent. No matter the type of groundsheet your tent has, you should use a tarp/footprint to protect it against dew, abrasions, and other issues.
Ensure efficient ventilation
Ventilation is crucial to prevent condensation from the moisture in your breath. You should keep the ventilation portals open when the rain isn’t pouring through.
Keep the rainfly tightly tie
You know you correctly pitched the rainfly when you throw a coin off and the rainfly doesn’t touch the interior wall. Give it a pressure test—it should bounce back against a hard blow from your palm.