SPOILER ALERT: Conquerwild named the Coleman Sundome Tent as the best tent for rain!!
When you’re camping, weather can be pretty unpredictable. You can never be totally sure if it’s going to rain or not. Sometimes, storms sneak up on us out of nowhere.
We shouldn’t let a little bit of precipitation rain on our parade. It’s totally possible to have a successful camping trip in the rain if you choose the right tent.
If you’re on the hunt to find the best tent for rain, there are a few key features to look out for. I’ve done my research, found the 6 best products on the market and reviewed each of them for you. Let’s get into it so that we can find a waterproof tent that works for you.
The Products I’ll Be Reviewing:
- Coleman Sundome Tent
- REI Co-Op Base Camp 6 Tent
- The North Face Sequoia 4 Tent
- Caddis Rapid 6 Tent
- NEMO Aurora 2P Tent
- Pacific Pass 4 Person Family Dome Tent
REI Co-Op Base Camp 6 Tent – Best For Beginner Campers
This Co-Op Base Camp Tent from REI is great for beginners and small groups of campers looking to shield themselves from the rain. It’s made completely from polyester with a full-coverage, UV resistant rainfly- So even when the sun comes out after the rain, you’ll stay protected. This 6 person dome tent also combats moisture coming from the ground, thanks to the 150D polyester, tear resistant floor.
For those of you who are claustrophobic, this tent offers 72 inches of standing room, which is fantastic for wet, rainy days when you’re stuck inside. In addition, it’s got a covered vestibule for storage (a huge plus when it comes to storing wet, muddy equipment). On top of that, the 2 wide-mouth doors make entry and exiting easy for everyone. I can also appreciate the mesh on the doors as well as the ceiling and ground vents- this makes it a great summer tent.
Overall, the REI Co-Op Base Camp 6 Tent has its few issues (as noted below in the “cons”), but when it comes to rain protection and user-friendliness, it definitely holds up as a worthy buy.
- Aluminum, color-coded tent poles.
- Large 110 inch x 110 inch floor plan.
- 3 season tent.
- Reflective accents to help you find the tent at night.
- Lots of storage pockets and hooks.
- 1500mm water resistant floor and rainfly.
- Mesh is solution-dyed, which helps to reduce energy and water use during the manufacturing process.
- No bathtub floor.
- Weighs over 20 pounds- it’s not lightweight.
- Tent doesn’t supply as many guy lines or tent stakes as it should. You’ll probably need to buy more.
Coleman Sundome Tent – Best Waterproof Tent
What would a tent roundup review be without at least one product from Coleman? Here we have the classic Coleman Sundome 4 Person Tent. This product is a staple for many campers, and it does an amazing job of keeping its occupants dry through heavy rain.
You can purchase this tent in any size from 2 to 6 person and in 3 different color combinations- but we’re here to talk about its rain blocking abilities. The Coleman has welded corners and inverted seams to prevent leaks- it’s a part of their “WeatherTec System,” which works super well in most of their products. Also, the 75D polyester walls make for a strong shield to the rain.
The size of your tent depends on which version you choose, but the 6 person variation has a floor plan of 10 feet x 10 feet with a 6 foot inch peak height! Quite spacious for a six person dome tent. Plus, the ventilation is great with mesh windows and adjustable ground vents. When it comes to weight (just over 16 pounds), this tent isn’t the lightest out there… but it’s not terribly heavy.
Overall, it’s hard to go wrong with a Coleman. This is a 3 season tent made with quality. It’s designed to fight bad weather at an affordable price. This is a phenomenal value in my eyes.
- Uses effective WeatherTec System.
- Has lantern hook.
- Moderately lightweight.
- Withstands winds over 35 mph.
- E-port for power cord access.
- Simple/quick setup (and takedown as well).
- Fiberglass poles are heavier and weaker than aluminum.
- Storage space is limited.
- Not the best for cold weather camping.
The North Face Sequoia 4 Tent – Best Summer Tent For Rain
You may be mostly familiar with their jackets and backpacks, but The North Face also makes great tents. Here, we have one of their best products with the Sequoia 4 Person Tent. It’s spacious, it’s convenient and (most importantly) it’s resistant to the rain.
While the rainfly isn’t full coverage, the tent’s double-walled design and water resistant coating make it resilient to moisture. At the same time, there’s tons of mesh, so this tent is great for warm weather camping. There are 2 doors, a gear vestibule, a 75 inch peak height and lots of other helpful details built in.
It weighs in at 13 pounds when it’s packed up, making it decent for backpacking- just like the Coleman Sundome, it’s middle of the road when it comes to weight. Also, the rainfly doesn’t cover the back door, which some people have an issue with. However, this is where the tent’s waterproof coating comes into play and saves the day. Very few customers reported leaks with this product.
Overall The North Face Sequoia is a pretty efficient 4 person, dome tent for the rain. It’s lightweight, sturdy and effective at keeping water out. It gets a thumbs up from me.
- Color-coded trims and aluminum tent poles for an easy setup.
- Moderately lightweight.
- 3 season tent.
- Great ventilation.
- Carry bag has a drawstring instead of a zipper, making for easy pack up.
- Mesh ceiling allows for stargazing.
- Roomy 96 inch x 90 inch floor plan.
- Not the best for cold weather camping.
- No bathtub floor.
Caddis Rapid 6 Tent – Best Instant Tent For Rain
Although cabin tents are generally less helpful when camping in the rain, the Caddis Rapid 6 Tent seems to be a great exception. The roof of this shelter is sloped just enough to prevent rain water from accumulating on it.
If you’re looking for something that you can set up quickly during a torrential downpour- this is probably your best bet. It only takes one person and about 5 minutes to get it ready to go. Since it’s a cabin tent with straight walls, it’s also the tallest tent on this list, with an 80 inch peak height.
Steel tent poles, a 190D polyester rainfly and a 210D polyester taffeta floor make for a decently weather resistant shelter. There’s also lots of storage space to use- you get a gear loft and a side storage compartment.
Overall, I’d call the Caddis Rapid 6 Person Tent a worthy choice for beginners and car campers. Although it’s a bit heavy, the easy set up is super convenient when it’s raining. I wouldn’t choose this tent for camping in a torrential downpour, but it’s good enough to hold its own during mild showers.
- Roomy 120 inch x 120 inch floor plan and lots of head room.
- Quickest/easiest setup on this list.
- 3 season tent.
- Power port allows access to extension cords.
- Full coverage, polyester rainfly.
- Well ventilated.
- Heavy (over 25 pounds).
- No bathtub floor or sealed seams.
- Several customers reported having issues with the zipper getting snagged on the fabric.
NEMO Aurora 2P Tent – Best 2 Person Tent For Rain / Most Lightweight Tent For Rain
If you’re camping in the rain on your own (or with one other person you don’t mind getting up close and personal with), the NEMO Aurora 2P Tent may be the best choice for you. Weighing in at just over 5 pounds, this shelter is surprisingly roomy. The inclusion of 2 exterior storage vestibules also frees up a lot of space on the inside.
The most common complaint among customers for this tent is the zippers. Each door only has 1 interior zipper, which isn’t quite as convenient as 2. Hopefully, the other features of this tent can allow you to look past that- like the vented, polyester rainfly. This keeps rain out and air flowing freely. The sealed seams on this thing will also prevent leaks, and the fabric is coated with a nice layer of waterproof polyurethane.
Overall, this is a super efficient 2 person tent. It’s roomier than most of its kind on the market and its aerodynamic dome design makes it great for wind and rain resistance. A worthy product in my eyes!
- Steep walls and vestibules to prevent water accumulation.
- Made of polyester.
- Roomy for a 2 person tent: 88 inch x 52 inch floor plan and 44 inch peak height.
- Aluminum tent poles.
- Lots of storage space.
- Polyurethane rainfly and tent floor.
- Not great for cold weather camping.
- The lack of zippers was a huge issue for many customers.
Pacific Pass 4 Person Family Dome Tent – Most Affordable Tent For Rain
When you’re camping on a budget in the rain, there may not be a better choice for you than the Pacific Pass 4 Person Family Tent. This shelter also comes in a 2 or 6 person variation, depending on your needs. One thing is for sure about this tent in all sizes: it keeps water out surprisingly well for the low price.
This affordable tent for rain comes in navy blue or orange, and it’s made of 190T polyester. The material is 1500mm water resistant and can handle some steady rain without leaking. It’s also got 2 adjustable windows for ventilation, and the ceiling is mostly mesh without the rainfly. Would I consider this a worthy tent for experienced campers? Probably not, but it’s fantastic for beginners or simple camping trips.
Overall, this dome tent may not have all the bells and whistles as some of the more expensive options, but it’s shockingly efficient for it’s price! It tackles almost all of the requirements for good waterproof camping tents.
- Most affordable waterproof tent!
- Roomy: 108.3 inch x 82.7 inch floor plan and 60 inch peak height.
- E-port for power cord access.
- Lightweight at 8.35 pounds.
- Easy/quick setup.
- Lots of interior storage space and a lantern hook.
- Not the most durable tent.
Waterproof Tent Buyer’s Guide: How To Find The Best Tents For Rain
If you plan on staying dry during your next camping trip, it’s important that you find a tent that can withstand the powers of Mother Nature. Remember, weather can be unpredictable. If you find yourself caught in an unexpected rainstorm, a raggidy, cheaply made tent just won’t cut it.
Finding the best tent for rain means looking for products with…
- An efficient design and shape.
- Water resistant/durable materials.
- Extra moisture protection like inverted seams, water resistant coatings, protected stitching and bathtub floors.
- An efficient ventilation system.
- A strong structure (sturdy tent poles).
- Other features that make for a quality tent overall.
We will dive a bit deeper into each of these categories soon. Before we do that, it’s important to take a look at your own situation.
Every single camper out there is going to face a different set of circumstances that make their needs unique. You will definitely need to take that into account before buying a product.
Think about how many people you’ll be camping with. Are you backpacking to your campsite, or driving? How much rain are you expecting during your trip? What other types of weather conditions are you expecting (extreme heat, low temperatures, violent winds, etc.)? What’s your budget?
All of these questions should help you get a better understanding of what type of tent you need. I recommend writing down your answers to each of these questions as well as any other special needs you may have. This should help you to narrow down your selection.
Choosing The Right Tent Shape For Rain – Types Of Waterproof Tents
The first thing you’ll want to consider before buying a tent is its type/shape. There are lots of sub-categories and classifications for tent shapes, but let’s discuss the main 2: cabin and dome.
When it comes to defeating rain, a dome tent is probably your best bet. These types of shelters have a curved top, making them more aerodynamic. This means that, even if it’s pouring out, you won’t have water building up on the roof. Dome tents are also better for camping with high winds.
Cabin tents are another popular option for campers. They usually have higher, vertical walls and a flat ceiling, which allows for more standing room.
On the down side, the flat roof of a cabin tent will usually allow rain to build up and put a lot of weight on the ceiling. This makes them less efficient for camping in the rain.
There’s also such a thing as an instant cabin tent (such as the Caddis Rapid 6 Tent). These shelters are super easy to set up in minutes. If you’re looking for something that you can assemble quickly while you’re out in the rain, this may be a good choice for you. Just remember that the flat roof may cause you problems in the long run.
Find The Right Materials
One of the most important factors in a rain proof tent is the materials it’s made of. You can buy the fanciest, most extravagant tent in the world with tons of glamping features… But it’s useless if it’s not made from quality, durable materials.
Polyester (or ripstop polyester) is a great material to go with. It resists water well, especially when it has a polyurethane coating on it. It’s also tear resistant and easy to maintain.
Nylon is another great water resistant material. It’s super durable and lightweight.
The denier rating of your tent’s material can be important as well. This is abbreviated with the letter D (for example: 68D polyester). It represents the thickness of each thread of fiber in the material. The higher the number, the better.
You may also want to look at the thread count of your material (abbreviated with the letter “T”). This represents the amount of threads per square inch in your fabric.
It’s All About The Rainfly
Think of the rainfly as your tent’s umbrella. It’s essentially a large piece of material that sits just above the roof and keeps rain away. Your rainfly should have a waterproof coating and it should cover the entirety of your tent.
If you’re inexperienced with camping, make sure your rainfly isn’t too difficult to attach. Some products come with color-coded rainflies that make them easier to attach.
Some tents have integrated rainflies. This means that they’re essentially built into the walls of your shelter and there’s no extra part to attach. I prefer external rainflies.
It’s also important to remember that the rainfly shouldn’t touch the tent itself when it’s in its resting position. If it does, the surface tension will be broken, making it easier for water to seep through.
Extra Protection From Rain – Seams, Stitching and Coatings
The material of your tent is important. However, if you truly want the inside of your tent to be dry, you need to look at the seams and stitching. These are the most likely places for leaks to occur in tents.
This is why you should look out for a few key things. Look for either inverted or pre-sealed seams to keep water out. Tents that have double stitching and welded corners can also be a huge help.
Another major feature to look out for: bathtub floors.
This is when the floor of your tent extends a few inches off the ground and up the walls. This is a great way to help prevent flooding.
Also, make sure that the zippers for your doors and windows are water-resistant.
Some tents (but not all) are pre-coated with a layer of DWR (durable water repellent). Even if your tent is pre-coated, I would still recommend adding your own layer. These coatings don’t last forever.
If you don’t know what to look for in a DWR, check out my recommendations for the best eco-friendly tent waterproofing spray here!
Breathability Is Important Too
One aspect that campers tend to forget to consider when buying a tent is breathability. This is especially true for waterproof camping tents.
Rain isn’t the only form of moisture you need to worry about while camping. If your tent doesn’t have proper ventilation and airflow, you’re going to find condensation building up on the inside walls. Lack of ventilation also leads to a hot, stuffy and sometimes smelly camping experience.
Look for a tent that has closable ports which allow you to stay breathable and dry at the same time.
Also, consider choosing a double-walled tent for extra ventilation. These will help increase breathability because air is allowed to flow freely in between the walls.
Choose A Tent With A Sturdy Structure
If you’re looking for the best tent for heavy rain, you’re going to need to find a product that’s strong and durable. There’s no point in buying a shelter that collapses at the first gust of wind.
Most of a tent’s stability comes from its poles (and the way that you secure it to the ground). In general, there are 2 main materials that most standard tent poles are made from: aluminum and fiberglass.
Aluminum tent poles are fantastic because they’re both lightweight and durable.
Fiberglass tent poles are a bit cheaper than the aluminum variation. Plus, they don’t corrode as easily. On the downside, they are heavier than aluminum and more likely to snap.
Seasonality Matters in Waterproof Camping Tents
Most tents have a seasonality rating. For example, it may be marketed as a “2 season tent,” or a “3 season tent.” You should pay attention to these terms, especially when you’re going to be camping in rough weather.
Most of the best waterproof tents are at least 3 season rated. These work well for most types of weather conditions. They do a decent job of standing up to heat, rain, moderately cold weather and even some hail.
If you’re camping in an extreme environment like the tundra, then you might want to look for a 4 season tent. These are great for battling high winds, loads of snow, lots of blowing sand and other things of that sort.
Other Tent Basics To Look For
Aside from being able to withstand rain and moisture, there are other basic factors to consider when choosing a tent. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Portability and Weight
No matter which product you buy, there’s one thing I can guarantee you: your tent is not going to carry itself. Transporting your tent can be an issue if you choose one that’s super heavy.
If you’re backpacking to your campsite, I would definitely recommend choosing a product that’s lightweight. The heavier your tent is, the more miserable you’ll be during your commute.
Before you hit the trail, you should take your tent out for a spin. Go for a walk around your block while holding it. Try going up and down some stairs too (or a hill). See if you can handle it.
When backpacking/hiking with a tent, I always like to take shifts with my fellow campers. I may carry the tent for a mile, and then I’ll switch off and let a friend carry it for the next mile. Figure out a method that works for you and your fellow campers.
If you’re driving directly to your campsite, then weight may not be as big of an issue for you. Either way, it’s good to choose a shelter that comes with a convenient carry bag that’s easy to carry and store.
Ease of Setup
Once you arrive at your campsite, you’re obviously going to need to set your tent up. Depending on your level of experience and the type of tent you choose, this can be challenging or super simple.
If you’ve pitched tents before, then you most likely won’t need much help. Either way, it’s always best to have others with you to help out.
Make sure you take the instructions with you and follow them as closely as possible. Don’t skip any steps, even if you think you’ve found a shortcut.
My biggest tip for every camper out there (especially beginners): practice setting up your tent before you go camping. Whether it’s in your backyard or your living room, it’s always a good idea to make sure you know how to set it up. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a campsite and realizing that you have no idea how to pitch your tent!
Plus, mistakes sometimes happen at the factory. You should check and make sure that all the parts to your tent are there in the package.
When it comes to setting up a tent in the rain, the easier and quicker, the better! For this reason, you may want to consider choosing an instant tent. These types of shelters take as little as 60 seconds to set up! On the downside, they tend to be a bit heavier than other types of tents.
Don’t Forget About Space
No one wants to be cramped up in a tent that’s too small on a rainy day. Make sure that the product you choose has enough room for you and your entire group.
Usually, tent size is defined by the number of people they claim to fit. For example: 4 person tent, 8 person tent, 10 person tent, etc.
Here’s a little secret: this unit of measurement is flawed and it’s usually inaccurate. If a tent calls itself an “8 person,” you’ll probably only be able to fit about 5 (maybe 6) people comfortably. I’d recommend subtracting 2 or 3 people from the measurement and judging from there.
Though it’s always best to just look at the actual dimensions of a tent and figure out how many of your fellow campers can fit.
If you’ve got equipment with you while camping, you’re going to need a place to stow it. Most tents have some sort of storage space for you to keep your stuff.
Here are some of the most common tent storage features:
Interior pockets: These are just about as basic as it gets when it comes to tent storage. The pockets (usually made out of mesh) are built into the tent walls and are only large enough to fit small items such as keys, wallets, phones, chargers, etc.
Gear loft: One of my favorite options for storage, a gear loft is essentially a hammock for your equipment. It’s a piece of material that hangs from the ceiling of your tent and holds small-to-medium sized items.
Vestibule: Some of the more advanced tents out there come with a storage vestibule. This is basically a sheltered area outside your tent. These are great for camping in the rain, because it offers an extra space to keep your wet, dirty equipment without taking up your sleeping space.
Tent bag: When all else fails, you can always turn to your tent’s carry bag to store your stuff. These are usually quite roomy and they do a good job at shielding your gear from the elements of nature.
Here’s My Advice: Tips For Camping in The Rain
A good, water resistant tent can only take you so far. Whenever camping in the rain, I suggest following these tips to make your experience more enjoyable and hassle-free.
Keep Your Belongings Off The Ground
Even if you buy the most water resistant tent on the market- mishaps do happen. No tent is completely foolproof when it comes to water (just read the one star reviews on REI or Amazon if you don’t believe me).
Sometimes, floods happen. It’s important that there’s nothing valuable on the ground when they do. Keep your clothes and electronics in their designated storage spaces or elevated a few inches off the floor.
Bring Spare Clothes and Other Protection From The Rain
When it comes to staying dry during your camping trip, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. Bring an extra pair of clothes for each day that you’ll be camping. There are few things worse than being stuck in freezing, wet, dirty clothes and having nothing to change into.
If you have the available space, bring ponchos, extra socks, weather jackets, umbrellas and other items of that sort.
It’s also best to avoid wearing cotton as an outer layer of clothes. This material has a tendency to retain moisture and will make you cold over time.
Choose Your Campsite Carefully
Before you pitch your tent, you need to be sure that you’re choosing the best possible location to place it. When you’re expecting rain, this can make a world of difference.
Pitch your tent on higher ground. Avoid valleys or bottoms of hills. This will help you to avoid flooding inside your shelter. Also, avoid camping at the edge of river beds or near any body of water. There’s always a chance of the water overflowing and causing a huge problem.
Check The Weather
My last (and probably most obvious) tip for camping in the rain is to always check the weather before your trip! Although weather predictions are not always completely accurate, it’s better than nothing!
Use a weather app to check the hourly forecast for each day that you’ll be camping. Also, bring a portable charger with you during your trip. This way, you’ll be able to keep your phone charged and see if the forecast changes during your time out in the wilderness.
All campers deserve to enjoy their time out in nature, whether it’s bright and sunny or overcast and storming. Having a successful camping trip in the rain requires that you have a great, water-resistant tent!
What makes for a great rainproof tent? – water resistant materials, protected seams, a sturdy structure, a quality rainfly, great ventilation and all of the other features I’ve discussed above. When you find a tent that meets each of these standards, then you know you’re ready to camp in the rain.
While all of the products I’ve reviewed work well, there’s one tent that seems to stand out the most as the best tent for rainy weather.
My Top Pick Is…
When it comes down to it, it’s hard to beat a Coleman in most regards. This tent checks off every box when it comes to the best waterproof tents. It’s durable and super rain resistant thanks to the WeatherTec System. It’s also roomy, easy to set up and pretty affordable. This is a great choice for your next camping trip in the rain.