Most normal people — even hardcore outdoor lovers — don’t specifically plan a trip to camp in the rain. But nasty weather is a fact of life in the outdoors. Camp long enough, and you’ll inevitably find yourself huddled inside your tent, waiting for the worst to be over. You can’t completely dodge the rain, of course, but you can keep mostly dry with the right tent. These are the best waterproof tents for backpacking and camping in 2021.
MSR has been a perennial favorite here at The Manual for years. The brand always finds the sweet spot between design, innovation, durability, and affordability. The MSR Hubba Hubba NX is one of its most weather-resistant backpacking tents. It sleeps two comfortably, courtesy of unique pole geometry that provides 29 square feet of floor space and an interior peak height of 39 inches. When the weather turns nasty, the Xtreme Shield Waterproof Coating lasts up to three times longer than ordinary waterproof coatings. Plus, proprietary Easton Syclone Poles defend against breaking, even in strong winds.
Solo campers on a budget will find the best bang-for-your-buck value in Alps Mountaineering’s Lynx 1-Person waterproof tent. This is the brand’s best-selling model with a freestanding, two-pole design that sets up lightning-fast. Weatherproof fly buckles maximize protection and adjustability, while a polyester fly resists UV and water damage. It’s a steal at around $100.
Sea to Summit’s all-new Telos TR2 is fast becoming one of this year’s most award-winning tents. The unique design boasts unparalleled ventilation, space, and versatility. With a proprietary Tension Ridge, the interior is roomier than any comparable tent on the market. Aluminum hardware and a seam-taped PeU-coated rainfly guarantee rock-solid durability and all-weather performance. Plus, the clever design allows for setting up the rainfly first so the tent can be pitched and taken down out of the rain.
With more than a century in the outdoor game, Eureka boasts a deep catalog of almost every kind of outdoor product. Camp shelters like the brand’s Kohana 4 Tent perfectly blend versatility, durability, and affordability. The 4-person design features a square footprint and steep walls for a more generous interior living space. Ample storage pockets and dual vestibules ensure the whole family has room to store their gear out of the rain.
For hardcore minimalist campers, a lightweight shelter is a must. Stone Glacier’s SkyAir ULT Tarp is a featherweight camping tarp with a minimum eight-ounce trail weight that can pack down to just 8 x 4 x 4 inches. Using a standard trekking pole, it pitches easily without the need for traditional tent poles. Add the optional footprint, front vestibule, and bug mesh to upgrade it to a four-season, weather-ready camp shelter.
For cycling campers (or those who like a lot of extra storage space for their camping gear), there’s nothing better than a proper bikepacking tent. Big Agnes’ redesigned Copper Spur HV UL1 Bikepack Tent is a next-gen camp shelter with a boatload of clever features. The latest version boasts more interior volume and uses stronger, lighter, more eco-friendly fabrics. It weighs as little as 2 pounds 5 ounces and packs down small into the included compression stuff sack, making it a near-perfect shelter for two-wheeling campers.
With a solid history of crafting some of the world’s best sleeping bags and camping jackets, Marmot remains one of our favorite outdoor brands. Its tent offerings are no different. The Crane Creek tent features a lightweight, two-person design ideal for camping in the front- or backcountry. Seam taping and a full-coverage rainfly provide solid protection in wind and rain. Upgrade to the for a little more room.
Coleman is arguably the best budget brand in the outdoor space. The Coleman Cabin waterproof tent provides a generous 10-foot-by-9-foot floor plan with a six-foot center height — enough room for two queen-size air beds and up to six campers. Welded corners and inverted seams are designed to protect against water entry in even the roughest weather. The best part? It sets up in as little as a minute.
Hammocks have come a long way in the last decade alone. The best camp hammocks can even serve as all-weather shelters, protecting campers from rain, hail, sleet, and snow. As its name implies, Kammok’s Mantis All-in-One Hammock Tent is a complete, integrated system that combines a hammock, a bug screen, and a rainfly to “give you the ultimate hang” in almost any conditions. It’s as easy to hang as any ordinary hammock while providing versatile, three-season (even year-round) usability.
For ultra-minimalist thru-hikers and campers who diligently count every ounce in their pack, it’s hard to beat a well-made bivy sack. Outdoor Research’s Helium Bivy is an award-winning pico-weight camp shelter that’s not quite a tent but more than a sleeping bag. For hikers in the know, this is the model that sets the standard for pared-down bivy shelters. The newly redesigned model is 14% lighter than the previous generation with the same comfort, breathability, and bulletproof waterproofing.