If you are planning on going out to the wilderness, you are going to need a waterproof tent. You will use the product you choose for years, especially if you take care of it, so it is very important to choose the model that fits your needs the most. Waterproof Tent Guide is a resource that helps you make the best purchase possible.
There are all kinds of different types of tents on the market. Family tents are designed to provide comfortable shelter for the whole family. Backpacking versions are lighter, so that you can carry in on your back while hiking. Four season tents are designed to keep you warm during the winter. Mountaineering tents are ment to be used at high altitudes.
With so many different choices on the market, it might be hard to decide which one is the best for you. However there is one trait that all the best tents have, they are waterproof. The reason for this is that no matter how closely you follow the weather forecast, you might be caught off-guard by a sudden rain any minute.
The advantages of having a waterproof tent are clear. Rain can ruin your whole camping trip by making you wet and soaking your equipment. Imagine if you had a shelter that kept you dry no matter how much it rained. If you choose the right model, you can stay dry and spend the time in a comfortable environment until the weather improves.
Choosing the best model
What separates the top products from the rest? There are so may options on the market, it is very hard to choose. In order to find the model that fits your needs the most I suggest you look for tents that have all of the following features:
- a waterproof rainfly
- a vestibule
- a waterproof floor
- durable poles
- a window, or an inner wall made of mesh
- other features tailored for your specific needs
The rainfly is an essential part of a waterproof tent. Models with a rainfly are called a double wall tents. These models have an inner wall that provides structure while the outer wall – the rainfly – provides an additional cover that keeps the inside dry and prevents condensation.
It is easy to see why two layers of waterproof material can be better at keeping the interiors dry, than only one wall.
Condensation occurs when the humidity inside turns into liquid water as it meets the cool wall. The reason why double wall tents are less prone to condensation is because these products have a little space between the two walls. Even though the outer wall might cool down in the cold night air, but the air in the little space between the walls prevents the humidity from meeting the cold outer wall. Although the humidity might connect with the inner wall, that wall remains warm throughout the night.
Double wall shelters are also warmer. The second wall prevents the warm air from escaping from the inside of the tent.
The rainfly can be made of two materials, either coated polyester traffeta or silynylon. Coated polyester traffeta is a material frequently used for manufacturing waterproof gear. It is used for umbrellas and rain coats among others. Make sure that you don’t buy simple polyester traffeta rainflies, as this material is not waterproof. The polyester must be coated in order to be fit for manufacturing waterproof rainflies.
Silynylon is nylon that was soaked in silicone on both sides during the manufacturing process, hence the name. The silicone makes the nylon waterproof, and it also makes it more durable. Silynylon is a popular material for manufacturing all kinds of backpacking gear, as it is very light and waterproof at the same time. If you own a backpack, a bivy bag, or if you have ever been to an ultralight backpacking trip, chances are that you have come across silynylon at one point or another. The biggest downside to silynylon is that it produces poisonous fumes if it catches on fire, so no matter what happens, don’t inhale the fumes.
The vestibule is one of the key features of any good shelter for backpacking. The vestibule is an extension of the rainfly over the door of your shelter. It is basically an extra room that is separated from the inner part of the tent by the door. The vestibule doesn’t have a floor underneath it, so it is unfit for sleeping, and in most cases it is not big enough for such use either.
The vestibule is a must, because it serves as a gateway between the outside world and the inside of your waterproof tent. You can take off your wet or muddy gear inside the vestibule, so that you don’t bring any dirt inside, where you sleep. You can just leave all your gear and shoes inside the vestibule.
The vestibule is also the place where you can do all kinds of extra stuff. The vestibule is a good place to cook if it rains outside. Although make sure that the windows are open, so that you don’t die of carbon-monoxide poisoning.
The vestibule is extremely handy if you hike with your dog. Your dog can sleep in the vestibule, while you sleep inside your backpacking tent. If you leave the vestibule open the dog can go out freely if she needs to take care of business, and you don’t have to wake up every single time to open the vestibule.
I recommend you purchase a tent that has as many vestibules as many people the tent was designed for. Buy a tent with at least one vestibule if you go hiking alone, but definitely buy one with two vestibules if you are looking for a two person tent. More people need more space to stre their gear. Obviously a six person shelter won’t have six vestibules, but as a general rule of thumb the more vestibules, the better.
The floor is just as important as the rainfly. The floor stands between the inside of your accommodation and the water and humidity on the ground. Even if the rainfly is perfect, and doesn’t let any water in, if the floor leaks your outdoor home will not be useful.
The floor of a the products reviewed on this website are usually made of nylon. A special reinforcing technique is applied to the nylon that transforms it into a ripstop fabric. A special coating is applied to the ripstop in order to make it waterproof. Ripstop nylon is the material used for manufacturing hot air balloons, so it is very good at keeping the warmth inside.
The most important feature of the floor apart from its water repellent ability is its thickness. The thicker it is, the more it is going to be able to stand the damage that the stones and debris on the ground will inevitably do to the floor.
In order to prevent damaging the floor, it is a good idea to lay down a tarp underneath the floor. The tarp will prevent the ground from touching the floor, which will guarantee that the floor stays intact. Most tarps are cheap, and can be replaced very easily, but the same doesn’t go for the floor of your shelter. Once it is torn, or holes show up in the floor, it is very hard to make it waterproof again. Manufacturers offer special tarps for some models, but you can order tarps of all kinds and sizes, which are just as good as custom made ones.
The best and most popular floor is the bathtub design. This means that the floor reaches up on the sides of the wall, and it is sewn together with the wall. This is very handy, as if it rains heavily, and water collects into a puddle around your shelter the water won’t pour inside as the seam will stay above water.
As far as seams go, you should go for products that have inverted, factory-sealed seams. Inverted seams have the stitching on the inside, so water doesn’t pour in through the tiny holes of stitching. Factory-sealed seams are made by the manufacturer with a tiny piece of waterproof fabric double stitched between the wall and the floor in order to prevent the water from pouring in between the two layers.
The floor can be attached to the wall in one of two ways. It can be either standard, or it can be sewn-in. The air can ventilate between the floor and the wall if the floor is standard. Ventilation means that condensation won’t be a problem, but you might have problems with insects crawling into the shelter.
Sewn-in floors are better in my opinion, because you don’t have to fear insects crawling into the tent. Having a shelter with good ventilation becomes even more important if it has a sewn-in floor, because the air won’t be able to escape between the floor and the wall.
The poles add structure and stability to your tent. The poles are the pieces that keep the wall in a steady structure.
The poles can be attached to the wall in two ways. Either you have to insert the poles into tiny tunnels on the wall, or you can attach the poles to the wall with clips. The downside to inserting the poles into a tunnel on the wall is that you might pierce through the fabric if you don’t pay attention. The downside to a clip attachment system is that the clip might come off the pole during your sleep. If you had the rainfly on while this happened you would have to remove the rainfly, and reattach the pole. This whole process might take up a significant amount of your time, not to mention that it is quite unpleasant if it is raining while you do it.
Poles can be made of three materials: fiberglass, aluminium and wood. Most poles are made of fiberglass. Fiberglass poles are lightweight, and durable. Aluminium is durable, but not as light as fiberglass. Wooden poles break easily, so never use wooden poles. Most manufacturers sell poles on their own, so even if you have a product with wooden poles, you can easily replace them with fiberglass poles.
Most products reviewed on this website have shock-corded poles. These poles consist of multiple small parts, with a wire running through the smaller parts, that allows you to insert them together. Shock-corded poles are standard nowadays, it would be very hard to find ones with poles that are not shock-corded.
Great waterproof shelters all have at least one window. A window allows the air to ventilate. This is crucial as the humidity inside can escape, which prevents condensation. Not to mention that it makes your shelter much cooler during the hot days of summer.
It is even better if the inner wall of the shelter is made of mesh. This allows the air to move freely all the time, and you don’t have to spend time or attention opening the windows time after time.
The above are not the only features that the products reviewed on the website can have. They can have many other gadgets that can make the life of a camper a lot easier. These are smaller features, that are not essential, but they can be nice to have at times. You should not decide on which one to buy based on solely these features, but they should be taken into consideration. I advise you to take these into consideration if you have found multiple products that meet your needs. In such cases you should go for the one that has more handy gadgets which you are longing for.
One of such gadgets is an internal gear loft. This is a small pocket on the inside of the top of the dome of the shelter. It is perfect for storing a few small objects inside it, such as a flashlight, your cell phone or your wallet.
Another way to store a few objects inside are the pockets. Most products have at least one pocket on the inside of the inner wall. These pockets have a similar purpose as an internal gear loft, you can store a few smaller objects in them.
Some versions have a hook inside, on the top of the dome. The point of having a hook is similar as having an internal gear loft. You can hang your flashlight on the hook.
The best waterproof tent for you depends a lot on what you want to use it for. A backpacking tent is very different from a family shelter, not to mention how different the ones designed for kids are. All great products have the features covered in the article, don’t buy a tent that doesn’t have these.