There’s nothing worse than having a pleasant camping trip with family and friends disturbed by the arrival of mosquitoes. Or when your group is baking in the sun during a hot summer day, wishing they all had some shade. It’s times like these that you find yourself wondering what the best screen tent for camping is.
Screen tents come in many shapes and sizes, but all seek to provide the same values. They have screen sides that keep bugs out but still provide excellent ventilation. They have a canopy ceiling that protects against rain and provides shade from the sun.
If you’re looking to buy the best screen tent, you’re in luck. We took 25 screen tents and compared them by durability, price, and ease of set up to determine the top 4 screen tents in 2021.
Best High-End Screen Tent – Coleman Tent
|Max. Height:||8 feet|
If you’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to screen tents, look no further than the Coleman Screened Canopy tent.
This is an incredibly solid screen tent. It’s a bit heavy, but its weight only adds the stability this tent provides. The heavy-duty and durable steel spikes included with the tent provide extra security, helping to nail the tent to the ground firmly.
The frame and stakes aren’t the only heavy-duty parts of this tent. The tent material is made of double-thick, UV-protecting fabric. While other screen tents will deteriorate under the summer sun’s harsh rays, this tent is built to last. Not to mention the UV protection will also keep the inside of the tent much cooler than tents without material that’s built to block UV rays.
One of the only things we didn’t like about this screen tent is that it wasn’t exactly the easiest to set up. In fact, it takes two people to set up. It won’t take all that long to set up with an extra set of hands, but without a little help from a friend, you’ll be in for a struggle.
The price is one of the other downsides. It’s a pretty expensive tent compared to the other screen tents on our list. That said, you get what you pay for, and with this tent, you’re paying for quality.
Considering the strength and security of the frame and the durability of the tent material, the longevity of this tent could end up saving you money in the long run compared with a cheap screen tent that barely lasts a season.
Out of all the tents we tested, we’d recommend this tent for anyone who values quality above all else.
Best Magnetic Doors on a Screen Tent – Wenzel Magnetic House
|Max. Height:||7.5 feet|
Anyone who has used a tent with magnetic doors knows just how convenient this feature is. Think about the number of times you go in and out of a screen tent--it’s typically a lot. That’s because it’s typically the designated hang-out area being used by multiple people.
For the standard screen tent, this means a lot of zipping and unzipping. Not only is it time-consuming and kind of annoying to do, but it also means the zipper is likely to break sooner with that kind of continuous use.
Plus, you have the lazy and forgetful people who don’t zip up after leaving the tent, which lets all the bugs in!
All this can be avoided by choosing a tent with magnetic doors. They’re easier to open and essentially close themselves once you enter or exit. This means no broken zippers and fewer bugs.
As far as magnetic tents go, the Wenzel Magnetic House is our top pick.
It’s a very spacious tent, and with 7.5 feet of height, there’s plenty of headroom for even the tallest adults.
Compared with the Coleman, it’s 35 pounds lighter, which makes carrying easier. However, the lighter fiberglass poles and more fragile than the poles included with the Coleman tent. Because of this, we wouldn’t expect this tent to last as long.
Its lightweight frame also makes it less reliable in strong winds and heavy rain. If you’re looking for an all-weather tent that’ll last a strong storm, we definitely wouldn’t suggest this Wenzel.
The convenience provided by a magnetic tent is undeniable. The ease of entering and exiting alone is worth opting for magnetics over zippers. And at a budget-friendly price, you can’t go wrong with the Wenzel Magnetic House.
Best Screen Tent under $100 – Superella Screen House
|Max. Height:||7 feet|
|Extra:||All basic features for the price|
If budget is the primary concern, we’ve got a great screen tent for you! In our opinion, Superella is the best screen tent you’re going to find for the least amount of money.
For a screen tent under $100, we’d never expect to see UV protection. But with the Superella, you get all the benefits of advanced sun protection without the premium price tag.
UV protection doesn’t only increase the longevity of your tent, it makes for a lower interior temperature. This makes it an excellent option for summer campers looking to escape the heat on those hot days.
And speaking of hot summer days, this tent’s mesh is a perfect balance of ventilation and protection against bugs. Although the mesh is fine enough to keep even the smallest bugs from getting inside the tent, it still allows air to flow through the tent easily. So when the mosquitos come out but the heat hasn’t let up, you’ll enjoy the best of both worlds.
The low price tag comes with some drawbacks.
For instance, we would strongly caution you against using this tent in high winds. Once the winds pick up, the material is vulnerable to being torn or damaged. Plus, even though the tent’s lightweight makes it more portable, it further increases its vulnerability to strong winds.
It is also not capable of withstanding heavy rains, so be sure you look at the weather forecast before choosing to rely on this tent for shelter.
Compared to most of the other screen tents on this list, the Superella doesn’t have as much headroom. It does, however, have one of the larger footprint sizes.
Although this tent has its drawbacks; you can’t argue with the low price. It would make a great starter tent and is perfect for anyone looking for maximum savings.
Best Pop Up Screen Tent – Leedor Gazebos
|Max. Height:||7 feet|
|Extra:||Pop up design|
For those of you who hate how time-consuming and often difficult it is to set up and break down a tent every time you use it, you’ll the the convenience of a pop-up tent. Out of all the pop up screen tents we put to the test, the Leedor Gazebos is the most impressive.
Choosing a pop up tent means no complications figuring out which poles fit together and how the material attaches to the frame. All you do is simply open the carrying case, and the tent expands without any set up or effort. Once you’re done, it easily folds right back down into the carrying case.
The tent is very spacious, measuring out to a 10x10 footprint. You shouldn’t have any trouble fitting 4-6 people as Leedor advertises.
Considering its size, we were surprised at just how lightweight it is. Weighing in at 15 pounds, plus the addition of the carrying case with a handle makes it an incredibly portable setup. This is the type of tent you can easily bring along with you just in case the need for a screen tent comes up.
The unexpected arrival of mosquitoes is a perfect example of one of these “just in case” situations. You never know when these pesky uninvited guests will show up to your sunset bar-b-que or nighttime get-together, so having a screen tent on hand that can protect you is crucial. The Gazebos comes with a built-in net, specifically designed to protect you from mosquitoes.
The only thing thought this tent was lacking was some floor covering. For the price you pay, we would have expected to see this feature.
Overall, this is a tent made for people who value convenience and portability. So, if you’re looking for an easy-to-set-up tent, look no further than the Leedor Gazebos.
A screen tent is one of the best upgrades you can make to your camping setup. They allow you to hang out with friends and enjoy the outdoors while protecting yourself from bugs, sun, and rain. We understand how valuable these screened-in tents are to your camping experience, which is why we take the time to test the options available.
When it comes to quality and durability, you can’t go wrong with the Coleman screen tent. With its strong frame, heavy-duty stakes, and UV protecting canopy, it will keep you covered and hold up well over multiple seasons.
Before you decide which screen tent is best for your need, take a look at our buyer’s guide for some advice to make your choice easier.
There are a lot of options out there for screen tents. When it will help narrow down the choices comes to deciding the screen tent that makes sense for your purposes, there are a few factors that, if you take some time to consider.
Ease of set up
Some screen tents are easier to set up than others. Pop up tents, for example, take just a few minutes to set up and come preassembled, eliminating the need to piece together poles and string up the fabric.
Then there are larger screen tents with complicated frame structures and a bunch of disconnected poles and material. Even people with a lot of experience setting up tents can have trouble with some of the more complicated setups.
You need to decide how quick and easy you want it to set up and break down your tent. This will largely depend on your needs, camping experience, and how you’ll typically be using the screened in tent.
If you don’t have much experience setting up tents or plan to use your tent frequently and don’t want the constant hassle of a lengthy set up process--choose a quick and easy setup.
However, keep in mind that tents with a quick and easy to set up aren’t always the most stable or durable. So if you value these qualities, you may need to compromise with a tent that has a longer set up process. For instance, if you’re buying the screen tent for a particular event, it may be worth the extra set up time if it means you trust the tent’s stability.
A screen tent’s ability to withstand the sun can make a big difference in not only the longevity of the tent but also its performance.
When you use a screen tent frequently, it’s bound to be exposed to a lot of sunlight, especially if you’re like most campers who use them primarily during the summer. Over that time, the sun will deteriorate the fabric of the canopy and netting, even if it uses UV-resistant materials. Without UV-resistant material, however, the rate of deterioration will rapidly increase. So, if you want to get more than one season’s use out of your screen tent, the UV protection will go a long way to keeping it going longer.
The other value of UV protection is that it prevents UV rays from penetrating into the tent and provides more substantial shade. This means that when you’re taking cover under the shadow of your screen tent with UV protection, you’ll be less likely to get sunburned and more likely to stay cool than with a screen tent that lacks UV protection.
The only downside to UV protection is the cost. They’re more expensive, but if you plan on using the tent in the sun, it could be worth the extra money.
The screen tent’s weight could be an issue for you if you plan to move it around a lot.
Maybe you’ll be moving it from the campsite to the lake or beach every day. If you’re jumping around between campsites frequently and don’t want to lug another heavy tent around with you everywhere. In these cases, you’ll want to find a screen tent that uses a lighter-weight material, like fiberglass, for the frame poles.
On the other end of the spectrum, you may be more concerned about stability and wind resistance than with mobility. Screen tents that use heavy-duty steel poles for the tent’s frame and durable steel stakes to secure the tent are not only stronger, but they also weigh more which helps keep the tent from being blown around by the wind. If you don’t mind dealing with the transport of a heavier tent and prefer the peace of mind that comes with the extra weight, look for a tent that uses heavy materials in its construction.
One of the best parts of a screen tent is that it allows you to hang out with your group of campers and be protected from the elements. Screen tents can protect against wind, rain, and sun, but they don’t all perform equally in these various elements.
Protection against the rain can be a bit tricky with a screen tent. Protection will typically come from the roof canopy, so choosing a tent that uses a material with a higher waterproof rating for its canopy is crucial if water resistance is essential to you. The other consideration is whether you want a screen tent that has screen covers for the sides. Sometimes these are plastic, sometimes they are made of another synthetic tent material. They can be rolled down to block rain from the sides the wind blows into the tent.
If you’re looking for a tent that can resist strong winds, you’ll want a tent that uses sturdy steel poles and stakes. It also helps if it includes a generous amount of guylines so you can securely stake out the tent.
Protection against the sun means you’ll want a tent that uses UV-resistant materials and has a large canopy that provides ample shade. These features will help protect against deterioration as well as offer more efficiently cool shade.
Every one of these suggestions as to how to choose a more weather-resistant screen tent will likely increase the cost of the tent. You need to decide which features are most important to you and then find a screen tent that provides them within your budget.
Roll up for fixed sides
Full screens sides provide excellent ventilation as far as enclosed tents go. That said, some people like the option of having a completely open-air shelter. Some screen tents provide you the option to roll up and down the screen sides of the tent. This gives you the ability to use the screen tent purely for shade or light rain protection or roll down the screen sides to protect against bugs.
Depending on how you plan to use the tent and your preference for open-air vs. screened ventilation, this degree of customization may appeal to you. It may, however, cost you a bit extra. Although it depends on the model tent you buy, this feature will likely come at an additional charge, so you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth it for your purposes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can cook in a screen tent as long as you take proper precautions. You should make sure the stove is away from the sides of the tent to prevent the tent from catching fire. If you cook in an enclosed space like a tent, it is possible to get carbon monoxide poisoning which is extremely harmful and potentially fatal. So, if the screen tent has coverings that go over the screen to shield from foul weather or create privacy, make sure they are rolled up to allow full ventilation and prevent carbon monoxide buildup. You’ll also want to make sure any flammable material or combustibles are kept away from the stove and that there is always someone dedicated to watching the stove at all times whenever you’re cooking.
Yes, a gazebo can withstand wind as long as it has been designed with wind resistance in mind and is set up correctly. As is the case with all tents, gazebos have different levels of structural integrity and stability. Most gazebos should be able to withstand light to moderate wind as long as there is a way to stake it into the ground. If a tent does not have any way to secure it in one place, it will most likely not be able to withstand wind. However, many gazebos come with guy lines and stakes to prevent the tent from moving when the wind picks up. Choosing a model that has steel poles and uses heavy-duty steel stakes can dramatically increase the gazebo’s ability to withstand wind.
Screen tents are worth it if you enjoy time spent outdoors and protection from the elements. They will make it bearable to sit outside even when there are many mosquitoes and will provide shade from the sun on hot days. Although they don’t typically provide full protection from the rain, they can shield you from light to moderate rain. They do all this while still providing maximum ventilation and providing an open, airy feel. They’re especially worth it if you’ll be camping with a group and want a common, sheltered spot to hang out that’s, not in someone’s tent. If you think you’re camping experience would benefit from any of these values, you’ll likely find a screen tent to be a worthwhile purchase.