5 Best Tents for Desert Camping (For ALL Budgets)
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Picture yourself camping in the desert surrounded by nature in complete silence and being able to stargaze at night.
It sounds incredible, doesn’t it! Camping and backpacking is an existing outdoor activity for all to enjoy, however, one incredible place that goes under the radar is desert camping.
If you’re thinking of doing a spot of desert camping then you’re going to need a strong durable tent that can withstand strong winds, potential sandstorms and help you stay cool in the day and warm at night, such as the Kodiak Canvas Deluxe (Amazon).
With so many factors to consider and so many tents on the market, it can be difficult deciding on which tent is best.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a great guide with everything you need to know and a list of the very best tents for desert camping that will keep you safe in challenging conditions and terrains.
Let’s get started…
Top 5 tents for the desert
That was a brief overview of our top 3 tents for desert camping, now let’s take a look at all of them in more detail below:
1 Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe
The first tent that makes our number one spot is the Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe tent. It is made from a durable duck canvas material ensuring excellent protection from harsh weather you may encounter in the desert, such as high winds and desert storms.
This tent is ideal for blocking out dust, with its strong materials this 4-season tent is suitable for any terrain and it will provide much-needed shade and shelter from the strong desert sun. You’ll be kept cool in the day and warm at night in this tent.
As amazing as this spacious tent is, it’s on the more expensive side due to its high-quality materials as it will last you a lifetime, so it’s an investment worth making in the long run. Rather than paying out on replacements every year!
- Height: 6.6 feet
- Weight: 79 pounds
- Floor Area: 10 x 14 ft
- Packed Size: 30 by 16 inches
- Material: Hydra-shield canvas and polyester-reinforced vinyl with welded seams
What I Love
The first thing I love about this tent is its spacious interior. It has a 10 x 14ft dimension which can easily fit up to eight people inside. You can also say that this tent has a lot of ventilation, having two doors and four large windows, both of which help in keeping the tent cool during the day. Moreover, it can go against strong winds and protect the people inside with its large awning.
- Spacious interior
- Lots of headspace
- Easy to install
- Lots of storage pockets
- Protects from strong winds and dust
- Heavy due to its thick durable materials
The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow tent is very much ideal for desert campers who are in groups of five to eight who want to stay together in a single tent. It is durable and good enough for desert camping in the strongest winds. This tent provides great ventilation that will help during extreme heat. It comes in earth colors that add to its appeal in using as a camping tent in the middle of nature.
2 Kodiak Canvas Swag Tent
Best 2-person tent:
If you’re thinking of doing a spot of wild camping in the desert then there’s no better one person tent for the job than the Kodiak Canvas Swag Tent (Amazon).
For campers who plan to stay in the desert alone, the Kodiak Canvas Swag Tent is the perfect tent to consider. It’s versatile, portable, and comfortable for any person to use. Apart from that, it’s a compact tent that comes with a foam mattress pad that is easy to roll for further portability.
The durable canvas material will protect you from high winds and dust. This is the perfect tent for getting away from city life and enjoying the wilderness and silence on your own.
When it’s time to move, this portable swag tent rolls up nice and neatly ready for the next adventure.
- Weight: 17.5 pounds
- Dimensions: 6.8 x 3 feet
- Material: premium-grade, Hydra-shield 100% cotton duck canvas
What I Love
I really love the idea of bringing a very portable tent that already comes with a cot. With it, I no longer have to bring any other kind of bedding to ensure a comfortable rest. This particular tent has good ventilation that makes it perfect for the hot weather of the desert. It uses a high-quality premium-grade Hydra-shield 100% cotton duck canvas that you can surely rely on. It also comes with storage pockets so you can organize your stuff despite the small space.
- Very easy set up
- Waterfight but breathable
- Strong durable materials
- Comes with a sleeping pad.
- Not freestanding design
It’s a very good tent to bring to the desert, especially if you want to keep moving easily. It’s compact and has good durability to withstand the strong winds and rough terrain of the desert. It also features temperature management which is very fitting for desert camping.
3 Coleman Instant Tent
Fastest set up time:
If you’re looking for something that is more lightweight, portable and easier to set up then the Coleman Instant Tent (Amazon) is an excellent choice. You’ll have this tent set up within in incredible 60-seconds!
You might be thinking that an instant tent won’t be able to withstand desert camping conditions, however, that is not the case. As with all Coleman tents, they are high-quality tents at affordable prices.
This tent uses the WeatherTec system which will keep you fully dry should there be heavy rainfall overnight, and has a thick durable frame to withstand strong winds. The tent can be staked down even further too, offering even more resistance to desert winds and dust storms. The reflect guy-lines will keep your tent visible at night.
- Height: 6.7 feet
- Weight: 41.9 pounds
- Floor Area: 14 x 10 feet
- Material: Polyguard 2x Double Thick Fabric
What I Love
Campers will love the tent’s ability to keep them dry inside with its WeatherTec system. It’s also spacious enough to fit eight people comfortably inside with two queen size air beds. Another thing I really like about this tent is its ventilation that features large screened doors and windows. Lastly, the entire installation can only take you 60 seconds which is perfect for those who like to set up and pack up as fast as they can.
- Durable and waterproof construction
- Resists strong winds
- Spacious and well-ventilated
- East installation
- Made of thick durable material
- On the bulky side to pack
The Coleman Instant tent is perfect for campers who want to spend as little time as possible setting up their tent. It comes with a double thick material that makes it suitable for windy weather and rough terrain. Its ability to stay dry in may not be necessary for the desert, but its well-ventilated feature is, especially for campers who want to stay cool during the day.
Overall, the Coleman Instant Tent is a very good time-saving and compact tent. Its ability to be set up in about 60 seconds enables you to spend more time enjoying nature rather than setting up a tent.
4 Dream House Luxury Outdoor Tent
Screened porch area:
If you’re after a bell shaped tent for your desert camping trip then the Dream House Luxury Tent (Amazon) is a great choice. Much like the Kodiak tents, this will also protect you from harsh desert weather like dust storms and strong winds.
This is a 4-season tent that features a heavy-duty groundsheet which allows you to fully roll up the sides providing excellent ventilation, which is much needed in the desert. The strong cotton canvas fabric provides a 3000mmm waterproof coating and a taped seam should it decide to rain, you’ll be fully protected.
Glamping is the first thing that will come into mind with this luxury bell tent from Dream House. This is ideal for desert festivals and families looking for lots of space. The tent is also equipped with screen meshes that will protect you and other campers from insects such as mosquitoes.
Along with its natural beige color, it is designed to fully make you feel the incredible ambiance of desert glamping.
- Height: 6.56 feet
- Weight: 84.6 pounds
- Floor Area: 3 meters in diameter
- Material: Cotton
What I Love
One of the things I love about this tent is that it gives that glamping feel that’s not common in most tents. Apart from that, it has a waterproof construction which makes it useful even in the wet season. Its ability to adjust to temperature is also something to love as well as its generous netting provision to allow campers to really feel the nature without worrying about bugs.
- Waterproof and windproof
- Designed for all 4-seasons
- Comes with mosquito nets
- Spacious interior
- Can adjust to the temperature
- to do…
- May wobble in extra strong winds
The Dream House luxury bell tent is good for glamping in the desert, particularly in deserts with moderate winds. Its screened doors and windows definitely help in keeping the tent well-ventilated and the campers cool, especially during the day.
5 Coleman Signature Tent
Instant set up:
The Coleman Signature Tent (Amazon) has strong steel poles creating a tough frame resisting strong desert winds and the color-coded pole attachments make set up a breeze, you’ll be done in a matter of 15-minutes.
It also features the WeatherTec System ensuring your kept dry and protected from strong winds. Other features include a taffeta 68D water-resistant rainfly with taped seams and a 68D polyester floor and walls.
This spacious tent will easily fit in two queen-sized beds and includes a room divider if you wish to split the rooms up, there’s also plenty of internal storage too. So if you’re looking for a non-canvas durable tent for camping in the desert then this will do the job comfortably.
- Height: 6.10 feet
- Weight: 45.6 pounds
- Floor Area: 13 x 13 feet
- Packed Size: 85 by 30 cm
- Material: polyester and polyethylene
What I Love
One of the things I love about this tent is its ability to provide you with a panoramic view of the outdoor through its multiple easy-to-roll panels. It’s a very high-tech and luxurious camping tent which will cope with tough terrain and strong winds.
Instead of rolling the panel to enter the tent, you can just pull its hinged door for easier and smoother entrance and exit. It’s also fire retardant which means that its material has the ability to stop or slow down the spread of fire. Another thing I like is its built-in divider which you can easily pull down for privacy. The best thing about this is its ability to be pitched without the flysheet to let the cool breeze come in, especially in dry and hot places.
- Spacious interior
- Good head height
- Fire retardant
- Durable weatherproof materials
- Offers panoramic views
- Heavier than other tents
- Set up is a little longer
This tent is definitely a good tent to use for desert camping. It is sturdy enough to withstand the strong winds and rough terrain, yet it’s ventilated enough to keep you cool during the hot day. It’s also very spacious, allowing a good number of campers to fit comfortably inside.
What type of tent is best for desert camping?
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
Tips for desert camping
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.
Criteria for Evaluation
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
Extra long stakes
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.
To summarize, desert camping is an incredible experience, but it’s important that you’re properly prepared, and this all starts with having the right tent for the occasion.
Choosing wrong can completely ruin the whole trip, a poor quality tent will lead to rips, tears and being uncomfortable due to being too hot in the day or too cold at night.
Anyway, here’s a quick recap of what I think the most important things are you should look for:
- Breathable: Keeps you cool in the day and warm at night, also stops condensation
- Top quality thick materials: Prevents rips, tears and steel poles protect against strong winds
- Bring extra stakes and guylines: Keeps you tent extra stable against sandstorms and strong winds
- Wind, dust and waterproof: A 4-season canvas tent will help protect against these factors
- Comfort: Ensure you tent is big enough for you and there’s storage options.
If you follow these tips, then you can really go wrong. I hope you have enjoyed this post on our tents for desert camping. If you have please share it with your friends and family.
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