Best gazebo 2021: The best tent canopies for camping trips or garden get-togethers Leave a comment

The best gazebo is everything that a cramped tent isn’t. Wide, weatherproof and freestanding, a good gazebo is a great addition to your camp setup and a must-have for anyone hoping to host a party in their back garden during the warmer months.

Many camper vans and tents, especially large family ones, have add-on porches or gazebos designed specifically for that model, but we’d argue that a freestanding gazebo is far more versatile. The best gazebos can be used to create a shady porch, a communal living space between tents in which to eat or relax, a playroom for kids if the weather’s bad, or just a bit of shade at a summer party.

Like a good tent, the best gazebos should have plenty of room for happy campers or guests. They should have a waterproof outer layer to keep the elements at bay and, if necessary, a design that doesn’t sacrifice airiness or breathability when zipped up. Unlike heavy tents, gazebos are lightweight and don’t take up much storage space, so they’re a great way to expand your campsite (or garden) without needing to lug around heavy equipment.

We’ve selected some of the best freestanding gazebos on the market and have included an option for most budgets. Before we launch into our recommendations, however, we’ve put together a brief guide to buying the best gazebo for you.

Best gazebo: At a glance

How to choose the best gazebo for you

What features do I need?

A camping gazebo is far simpler to shop for than a big family tent. Standing room is essential, so check the height of the model before you buy. If you want to use the gazebo as more of an extra tent or as somewhere to hang out in bad weather, look for one with a sturdy floor of coated nylon, plus unzippable walls with windows or mesh panels.

If you’re keen to use your gazebo as somewhere to escape the sun or to relax as a group, a curved ceiling-only design will be perfect. Look for an easy-to-pitch gazebo with four poles and plenty of guy ropes, pegs and straps for stability, as gazebos can easily become loose in strong winds. The metal components should ideally be made of stainless steel.

What size is best?

Pick a gazebo that can accommodate the size of your camping gang. There are huge gazebos that you can fit big gatherings underneath, as well as smaller designs ideal for getting a family of four under. The larger the gazebo, the heavier it will be and the longer it will take to erect – big gazebos usually require at least two people to put up.

If you’re camping or wild camping alone and are looking for a simple rain shelter, a small tarp that’s close to the ground is a lighter and easier-to-erect option. The pitch times suggested by manufacturers are usually optimistic, so expect a bit of trial and error the first time you erect your new canvas palace.

READ NEXT: The best tents to buy

The best gazebos you can buy

1. All Seasons Gazebos 3 x 3m Pop-up Gazebo: The best for garden parties

Price: £160 | Buy now from Amazon

With no poles to slot together, All Seasons promises that it will only take you a couple of minutes to get this foldable gazebo up and ready to go – and once you’ve got the roof cover on, you theoretically never have to take it off again. This makes it a great option for assembling in a hurry when the weather turns sour.

It’s built with a heavy-duty frame and a fully waterproof PVC canopy roof, and many Amazon customers refer to its durability in British weather conditions. You can adjust the height of the gazebo (maximum 3.2m) too, and the included guide ropes and pegs give it that little extra stability during blowy conditions.

For a traditional village fête look, we like the gazebo in neutral beige, but it also comes in a range of other colours if you want something that will stand out in your garden. This gazebo covers an area of 3m² and doesn’t come with any side walls, but if you’re looking for something with more space or better protection from the elements, All Seasons manufactures a range of other models, too.

Key specs – Main material: Polyester, steel frame; Weight: 21kg (approx) Height: 3.2m (at highest setting)

2. Eurohike Universal Tarp Shelter: The best for wild camping

Price: £40 | Buy now from Go Outdoors

This cheap and cheerful tarp is excellent for adding porch space to a smaller tent, creating a temporary shelter on a hike or erecting more weather protection on a wild camping trip or at a festival. It’s small and lightweight enough at 2.2kg to stick in your rucksack and is fully waterproof.

The Universal tarp is easy to pitch and fits snugly around any tent door, as well as working well alone. It doesn’t offer any standing room, although it’s comfortable to sit under. It’s a bargain for smaller tents, or for adventures off the beaten track where you’re carrying your camping gear in a backpack.

Key specs – Main material: Polyester; Weight: 2.2kg; Pitch time: 5mins; Height: 195cm

Buy now from Go Outdoors

3. Robens Prospector Tarp: The best for glamping

Price: £186 | Buy now from Trekk Inn

Got more of a glamping vibe going on with your camping setup? The smart Robens Prospector is made of tough canvas and works perfectly as both a free-standing shelter (which would look good in any garden) and as a porch for a bell or safari tent.

You can also use it to connect two tents together so that they face each other with a sheltered entrance and communal area between them. The canvas may look pretty, but it’s also tough, breathable and water-resistant. The Prospector tarp is quick and easy to pitch, too.

Key specs – Main material: Polycotton; Weight: 9.7kg; Pitch time: 15mins; Height: 230cm

Buy now from Trekk Inn

4. Decathlon Quechua Arpenaz Base M: The best for family camping

Price: £100 | Buy now from Decathlon

In what looks like a hybrid between a tent and a gazebo, this sheltered living area is ideal as a dining area or an outdoor playroom for children. It’s designed to hold six people, although these numbers are overstated more often than not, so we would suggest three or four people for a comfortable experience.

With four walls, you get significantly more protection against the elements than you would with an open gazebo. Indeed, the Quechua Arpenaz Base is waterproof, wind-resistant and offers UV protection, making it great for camping trips where you’re faced with all manner of different weather conditions. If things get too hot in the summer weather, there are plenty of openings – including a back wall panel that can then be pitched to act as an awning – and each opening has a mosquito net to keep insects at bay.

Key specs – Main material: Polyester; Weight: 8kg; Dimensions: 625 x 625cm (living room), 57 x 18cm (cover); Height: 215cm (overall), 170cm (door height)

Buy now from Decathlon

5. Berghaus Air Shelter: The best inflatable gazebo

Price: £349 | Buy now from Go Outdoors

The gazebo is often the last thing to be pitched at a campsite, and is traditionally one of the most fiddly, but Berghaus is aiming to change that with its easily inflatable Air Shelter.

With just one inflation point, all you need to do is pump, and in a few minutes you’ll be rewarded with a generous shelter from the sun or rain that simply needs pegging down for safety. When you’ve finished with it, dismantling is even easier, with the spring-loaded quick-release air valves allowing you to quickly deflate the frame at the touch of a button.

Made from 6,000mm HH polyester and featuring taped seams, the Air Shelter offers the same level of weather protection as many tents, and it will take hours, if not days, of relentless rain before the fabric gets saturated. Two sides feature doors with full-length mesh panels, the other two have windows and curtains, and the roof has skylight panels, giving you a wide range of options for adjusting interior lighting conditions. 

Key specs – Main material: Polyester; Weight: 11.1kg; Dimensions: 300 x 300cm (living room), 75 x 35 x 34 cm (cover); Height: 220cm (overall)

Buy now from Go Outdoors

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