When you think of camping in the desert, usually your first thought would be ‘I need a canvas tent‘. Here’s why:
- The desert can be cold and warm so having a canvas tent will cater for both scenarios.
- Canvas tents offer insulation
- They are breathable
- Canvas tents are strong and durable.
- Withstand strong winds
Although canvas tents are a great choice of tent for desert camping, not a lot of them are freestanding. If the terrain in the desert is soft sand or there is heavy rain then the stakes might not stay in the ground.
Canvas tents are heavy therefore, you need to ensure that the stakes are securely set in the ground, in case of strong winds or even a sandstorm, it might be worth getting some longer stakes just to be safe.
That said, you can use a canvas tent on the sand, just make sure that you use the stakes and guylines, and if possible get a freestanding canvas tent.
Personally, you can’t go wrong with a canvas tent such as the Kodiak range or any Coleman tent as long as you are prepared with long stakes, guylines, rainfly cover and ensure it’s poles are strong you should be fine.
Here’s a summary of what to look for:
- Long stakes and guylines
- Strong steel poles
- Durable thick material
- Breathable and temperature regulating
Here are some handy tips to consider if you’re thinking of camping in the desert:
- Check the weather beforehand: If it’s forecast bad then it might be worth rearranging and rescheduling for when the weather conditions are more friendly.
- Pitch location: Think about where you pitch your tent if there’s shelter nearby consider setting up there to break the wind.
- Terrain: Consider the terrain you pitch on, if it’s too soft you may need to bring extra stakes to secure it in the ground.
- Keep warm at night: Bring a thermal sleeping bag and warm clothes for the night time.
- Tell someone where you are: You can never be too safe, so always tell somewhere your location.
- Sewn-in floor: Protect against snakes, scorpions and spiders with a sewn-in floor.
If you follow some of these simple steps, along with choosing the right tent, all this will result in a successful camping experience in the desert.
Here are some important factors you should consider when looking to purchase a tent for the desert.
Sewn-in durable floor
You should consider getting a tent with a sewn-in floor, especially camping in the desert. This will ensure the ground is completely enclosed and sealed to keep out snakes, scorpions, and spiders that you might find in the desert.
If your after some ventilation consider a tent with mesh walls and keep all your belongings inside the tent and sealed again if possible. The last thing you want is spiders in your shoes or clothes.
Wind, sand and dust-proof
To protect against strong winds make sure your tent has durable steel poles, this will prevent bending or snapping and will withstand winds of 35+ miles per hour. Another way to protect against strong winds is to get a windbreaker, that will sit in front of your tent providing an additional layer of protection.
If you expect any sand storms on your camping trip, then you should consider a tent with solid windows as this will keep sand from blowing in the tent.
The only small issue is, most of the tents that have solid windows are tunnel tents, which are not freestanding. So, if you do decide to go down this route make sure you stake them down into the ground securely.
Finally, think about where you pitch your tent, if there are any mountains or anything that can block the wind, you might want to consider pitching next to it, this will provide you with a strong layer of protection.
Type of tent
What is the best type of tent for camping in the desert? Personally, it all depends on where you’re going, how long for and what the weather conditions might be like. I would recommend a canvas tent such as the Kodiak Canvas Tent, yes it’s heavy, however, the quality is outstanding and will withstand heavy rain, strong winds and sandstorms keeping you safe.
It also regulates the temperature too, so it will keep you cool in the day and warm at night. Just remember to bring extra stakes to really secure your tent, and guylines if needed.
Here are some of the popular types of tents to consider for desert camping:
- Canvas Tent
- Canvas Bell tent
- Shift Pod tent
- 4-season Backpacking tent
Depending on which tent you get or even the weather conditions for when you’re camping, it might be worth bringing some extra stakes so you can well and truly secure your tent into the ground.
This is particularly useful if you have a heavy canvas tent or a non-freestanding tent, also if the desert sand is soft. In strong winds, without additional stakes and guy lines for support, your tent may blow over or get damaged.
Having a breathable tent is something you should definitely look for in a desert tent. During the day it will get extremely hot and having the ability to let fresh air flow through the tent will keep you cool. There are lots of other advantages too, such as reducing condensation.
- Vents: Canvas tents are usually breathable anyway like the Kodiak tent, however with any tent, it’s always great to have added ventilation such as roof and floors vents.
- Mesh: Some tents allow you to remove the outer rainfly to reveal panoramic mesh walls and roof. Careful in the desert though with the wind and sand
- Windows and doors: Breathable mesh windows and doors are great in the day too.
- Folding sides: Bell tents allow you to roll the side of the walls up halfway to allow air to flow right through the tent.
Having a breathable tent will help with this, but it will be scorching hot during the day and very cold at night. Therefore, you need a tent that will keep you cool in the day and warm at night. Canvas tents are great for this.
Having thick durable materials will help prevent your tent from getting ripped on the potentially rough desert terrain. Moreover, they will protect you from strong winds and heavy rainfall keeping you dry and safe. Most importantly getting a good tent is an investment, so getting a high-quality tent will ensure it lasts you many more desert camping trips.
Space and head height
When camping in the desert you want to be as comfortable as possible, therefore, get a tent that you feel comfortable in. If you tall, get a tent with good head clearance or if you a family or a group go for the larger Kodiak tent or Bell tent. The last thing you want is to feel confined in the desert. Unless your going wild camping on your own then a 1-person tent would suffice.