The Best Backpacking Tent for Heavy Rain

Tent in rain
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I’ve been camping numerous times, but one experience is still bright in my memory.

We were in the process of packing our gear, when we decided to turn on the TV and look at the weather forecast for our trip. Bad news. Showers were expected in the region, with heavy rain crossing our path during our first night.

Needless to say, we all looked at each other while contemplating on what to do. Should we cancel the trip? Maybe wait for the weather to clear up? Or should we just give it a chance and go anyway?

We were optimistic, and perhaps a bit naive, as we opted to go anyway. After all, what would be the worst thing that could happen…? Well…

At first it felt cozy to be inside the tent with heavy rain outside, but once it started dripping onto our sleeping bags at 3 AM, we immediately regretted our poor choices of tent and timing. We ended up packing our gear at 4 AM, completely soaked, and then ran to our cars to get out of there.

Luckily we didn’t hike too far away from our cars, but imagine if we packed our backpacks and headed 10-20 miles into the wild… With a leaking tent… Trapped in heavy rain.

If you want to avoid this scenario, you should choose your next tent wisely, before going on your next backpack trip. I’ve gone far and beyond to find the best backpacking tents that will actually withstand heavy rain, because I wouldn’t want the above mentioned scenario to happen again – not even to my worst enemy.

So read on, and you’ll find some of the best tents for your upcoming backpacking trip below.

Besides picking the best tent for heavy rain, you might also want to keep yourself hydrated with the best collapsible water bottles, and if you’d like to stay comfortable inside your tent during the rain, you should opt for one of the best lightweight air mattresses.

One-Person Backpacking Tent for Heavy Rain and Wind

Winterial Single Person Bivy Tent

  • Great for long-term hikes
  • Durable design works well in harsh weather
  • Weighs only 3.3 pounds total

If you’re going on a backpacking trip with a group of friends, yet still want the privacy of having your own sleeping area, this lightweight bivy sack is a perfect alternative to a regular tent.

Although this isn’t technically a tent, it still functions as one, and it’s perfectly capable of enduring heavy rain on a long backpacking trip.

One great thing about the Winterial Single Person Bivy Tent, is how compact it is, and if set up properly with the foot end pointed towards the wind direction, you won’t have any issues with the tent bending and acting up in heavy winds either.

The tent has an internal frame consisting of just two aluminum poles, that are highly durable and easy to assemble/disassemble. The internal layer is a mesh that keeps bugs from getting to you at night, and the external layer is a waterproof rain-fly that will keep you dry through even the heaviest rain.

Comfy Two-Person Backpacking Tent for 3 Seasons

Featherstone UL Granite 2-Person Lightweight Tent

  • Perfect shape and size for 2 persons
  • Built-in hook for hanging storage
  • Mesh interior provides lots of ventilation

The Featherstone two-person tent is great for backpacking, and it even holds tight in heavy rain. As long as you set it up properly and take good care of it, this tent will give you lots of great memories when backpacking through the beautiful nature.

Because of its colors you’re easily visible from all angles, and that’s a good thing. Especially if you’re out and about during the wee hours.

While the tent is able to withstand heavy rain, it is still well ventilated because of the breathable mesh fabric surrounding you on the inside, and this system will also keep condensation on a minimum.

There’s a hook on the inside of the tent, which makes you able to hang a lamp or small storage basket for items such as mobile phones, cameras, etc.

Two-Person Backpacking Tent With No Poles

OneTigris Backwoods Bungalow Shelter 2.0

  • Perfect for forest camping
  • No poles needed
  • Doubles as a shaded seating area

This tent it one of the best options if you’re planning on beating the heavy rain and keep yourself dry throughout the night.

Because of the design it opens up the entire side as well, giving you a nice large shaded area to keep you dry when sitting near the camp fire. This is especially neat when you’ve been hiking for the entire day, and just want to sit down for a while before going to sleep.

The OneTigris Backwoods Bungalow Shelter 2.0 doesn’t have any poles, which means it has to be tied to trees standing nearby. That means you have to stay near trees when you’re camping overnight, but for most parts of the country this is not an issue. Trees provide a bit of shade from wind and rain anyways, so it’s a win/win.

Because it doesn’t require any poles to be set up, you can easily pack the tent into your backpack, and it weighs only 3.2 pounds.

This tent is a true winner for all sorts of weather, especially heavy rain, wind, snow, and much more. And the best thing? You won’t even feel weighed down by this tent, because of how light it is.

Spacious Four-Person Dome Tent With Smart Storage

ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 4-Person Tent

  • Perfect for a group of friends
  • Weights only 10 pounds
  • Storage pockets inside to keep you organized

If you’re a group of friends on a hiking trip, this spacious tent is a great choice. It is perfectly capable of withstanding heavy rain on your backpacking trip, and it fits up to four persons with no issues.

Weighing just over 10 pounds, this tent is among the heavier models, and therefore best suitable for short backpacking trips into the wild. However, since you’re probably a group of people bringing this tent, you can just share the load amongst you.

The tent consists of an internal frame of flexible poles, an inner fabric with mesh openings for proper airflow, and a rain fly that will withstand even heavy rain.

Inside this tent you’ll find a sleeping area that’s 8’6 wide, and 7’6 long. The height of the tent is 52 inches, and there’s a small vestibule that provides a bit of dry storage for boots and other equipment.

You’ll also have a built-in storage basket called a “Gear Loft”, and in this area you can store your cellphones, cameras, and other sensitive electric equipment.

General Buying Guide for Backpacking Tents for Harsh Weather Conditions

  • What’s the deal with coatings? Tents have a rain fly that’s usually made of nylon, and in order to make it waterproof it’s usually coated with polyurethane. The coating is measured in millimeters, but this doesn’t necessarily mean anything. A tent can have a 10,000mm coating, and still leak. It’s all about the overall quality of the coating, and you also have to keep in mind that a thicker coating weighs the tent down and makes it heavier.
  • How do you avoid condensation? This is an issue in all sorts of weather, but some tents are better at dealing with condensation than others. Keep an eye out for tents that have internal ventilation openings, that you can open and close whenever you like.
  • Poles or no poles? This depends on the area you’re hiking through, of course. But most people going on backpacking trips actually prefer tents with no poles, because they are easier to carry and set up. Poles are also prone to breaking in harsh weather, and trees are usually more durable than both fiberglass and aluminum…
  • What if there’s a hurricane coming? Well, you shouldn’t be camping during a hurricane, but if there’s a – figuratively speaking – “hurricane” in the area, and you know it’s coming, you should probably avoid seeking shelter inside forests. You never know what comes down during the night, and there’s no chance you’ll hear it. If you fint yourself in a harsh situation, you should either call for help or set up your camp ground out in the open where there’s no risk of getting hit by objects falling from above.
  • Okay, but in really windy conditions, what should I choose? In windy conditions you should choose the smallest tent possible. If you’re backpacking through a mountain area or a bare landscape, you might experience strong winds during your trip. Small tents are generally better to withstand the winds, especially those shaped like tunnels (bicy sacks, for example).
  • Don’t forget to pack your multi-tool. You may need a proper multi-tool at some point, and it’s such a small tool you would regret it if you didn’t bring it. Multi-tools are great for all sorts of tasks, and it may come in handy if something breaks during your trip.
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