Features to Look for When Choosing the Best Waterproof Camping Tent

We explore what features make up the best tent for rain and why they are important to keeping you confortable.

Posted by on

If you live in a part of the world which receives ample rainfall, or you were planning on camping out during the rainy season, you're going to need a tent which can keep you warm and dry. In this article, I will introduce you to some of the most important features to look for when you are shopping for a top rated waterproof camping tent. Also make sure to check out our recent post on a rain camping list so you're prepared for the worst when it rains.

Person hiking after rainstorm

Waterproof Fabric

A number of different materials are used to make the best waterproof and water resistant tents. Some examples of common fabrics include polyester, nylon, poly cotton, or PVC-coated canvas. A polyurethane coating may be applied to some materials.

It is important while you are shopping to be aware of the difference between the terms “waterproof” and “water-resistant.” A tent which is labeled as "water resistant" can to some degree keep out moisture. The degree of protection is significantly less than what you get with a "waterproof" tent, however.

Even so, it is also helpful to be aware that no material is 100% waterproof. If conditions are severe enough, water always wins. In regular rainfall conditions however, a waterproof tent should be sufficient to keep you relatively dry.

Sealed Seams

Pay close attention to this seams of the tent you are thinking of purchasing. Check to find out whether they have been sealed. Seams which have not been sealed may be weak points through which water may enter. Even a tent made out of awesome material will fail to keep you dry if this is the case.

Excellent Ventilation

While shopping for a waterproof tent, you are probably more preoccupied with keeping things out than letting things in. Nevertheless, it is vital to make sure that there is sufficient airflow in your tent. This reduces the build-up of condensation. If condensation is able to accumulate on the walls, it will drip down, getting you and your supplies wet.

Sturdiness

Rain is oftentimes accompanied by strong winds. If you are erecting a tent in a storm, you're going to want to make sure that it is rugged enough that it is not going to flap around a lot or collapse in on you while you are trying to sleep. This is a matter of not just convenience, but safety as well.

Lightweight and Easy to Carry

If you are going to be hiking any distance with your tent to find an ideal site to set it up, you should check how heavy the tent is going to be to carry. Also make sure that it can be collapsed and will not be unwieldy. That way, you will not become fatigued before you reach your campsite.

Tent on foggy, rainy day

Fast and Easy to Set Up

When you are caught in a downpour, already exhausted from a day of hiking, and there is mud welling up around your boots, the last thing you are going to want to deal with is a complicated set-up procedure to get your tent in order.

For this reason, I recommend that you pick a tent which has a simple, straightforward, fast setup process which a single person can easily carry out. That way, even if cold rain is pouring down on your head and visibility is low, you will be able to get your tent erected. Then you can get inside and dry off!

Bathtub Floor

A bathtub floor is simply a floor inside your tent which has low walls around it made of the same material. The idea is that these walls act as waterproof barriers to keep moisture from the ground from seeping in through the walls.

Vestibule

Tents which include a vestibule can be great for rain. The vestibule keeps the precipitation off your head, but it is separate from the main part of the tent. You can strip off wet clothes and gear here and change into something dry before you head inside. That way the interior of the tent stays as dry as possible.

Incidentally, the vestibule is also a pleasant spot to just sit and relax and enjoy the fresh air and the scenery. This is true regardless of whether it is raining or not, so it is just a nice feature to have.

Pockets for Storage

Where are you going to put all of your stuff inside your tent? You could set it on the floor and hope that it all stays dry, but even with great waterproofing, you probably will still get some water on the floor (you could track it in, for example).

Some of the best waterproof tents include pockets attached to the walls. These can be used to store all kinds of odds and ends. They stay off the floor, which makes it less likely they will get damp. It also gets them out of your way so that you can sleep more comfortably.

No Pooling on the Roof

Finally, while you are looking at all the details, do not forget about the big picture. Think about the shape of the tent. Does it have a flat roof where water will pool? Or does it have a dome roof or angled sides which will encourage rain to roll down to the ground? If water pools on top of your tent, it could seep through or even cause your tent to cave in on itself.

The Right Tent Pitched in the Right Spot Can Keep You Comfortable Even in a Downpour

You now are familiar with some of the most important features to consider when selecting the a great waterproof camping tent. Remember that even a high-quality tent will not keep you dry if you pitch it in the wrong place. Try and set it up where rainfall can drain down-slope, not in a low spot which gathers water.

It takes time and care to select the ideal tent and learn how to set it up and where. But that extra time and effort should pay off. When you finally do go camping in the rain, it should be a comfortable and enjoyable experience.