Last Updated on 27/08/2023
In this guide to the best tent for hot weather, we share the coolest tents for summer camping this year. You will learn which tent has the best vents for extreme heat and which tent completely flips on its side to use as a sun shade throughout the day.
Summer is the perfect time to go camping. It’s hot, so you don’t need to carry a load of heavy clothing or sleeping bags, and you shouldn’t have to worry about rain, so you can enjoy being outdoors for the maximum amount of time. Plus, the days are at their longest in summer.
The problem is that in hot weather, it is often very humid at night, which can make it hard to get a decent night’s sleep. The problem is made worse when there is more than one of you, and the air is thick. Even without a sleeping bag, drifting off in a hot, sweaty tent is hard. That’s why we tested the best tents for hot weather to see which stays the coolest and which did not.
Best Tent for Hot Weather Summer Camping
Big Agness Salt Creek SL3 Tent
- CAPACITY: 3 People
- WEIGHT: 5.125 lbs / 2.3 kg
- PACK SIZE: 21.5 x 7 in / 55 x 18 cm
- VENTS: 1 Top Vent, 2 Side Door Clip Vents
- DOORS: 3 Doors
The Big Agness Salt Creek SL3 Tent is the best 3-person tent for hot weather because of the triple door design that allows for maximum ventilation. At night you can sleep with all the doors open for maximum ventilation, and then during the day, you can use two hiking poles to create a canopy for shade. The bug netting is ultra-fine, so as long as you keep the internal tent zipped.
This was my first time testing the Big Agness Salt Creek SL3 Tent, and it reached just over 90 degrees during the day and didn’t drop below 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night. The open design feels so much less stuffy than any tunnel tent because it encourages air to pass through the structure instead of lingering.
It is suitable for 3-season use, so it handles wind and rain very well but might get a bit cold in winter. You get 42 square feet of floor space and a maximum head height of 47 inches, which is plenty to sit up on top of an air bed. There are just two poles that are made from the rebound DAC Pressfit material for strength and flex, which makes setting up quick and easy.
How’s the ventilation? There is only one vent at the top of the outer shell and the bottom two; I wouldn’t really call vents per se. They are basically internal clips, so you can half-fold the doors on the side up to increase airflow without using privacy and protection. But, if you are okay sleeping with the external doors open, it is as if you were sleeping under a tarp.
Anything bad to say? There are two issues I found with this tent. The first was that the orange dye had somehow transferred onto the grey material, which didn’t fill me with a lot of confidence. The second is that the stuff sack started to rip at the seams the first time I put it away. The dye leading turns out to be a common issue and does not affect the waterproofing etc. And I just used an old stuff sack from something else, but some people might not be willing to do that.
VERDICT: The Big Agness Salt Creek SL3 Tent is perfect for summer heatwaves and humid nights camping when the air is thick, and there’s no breeze. Three doors on a three-person tent provide maximum ventilation and an exit point for everyone. The front door converts into a canopy for daytime shade. What more could you want?VIEW ON REI
WHITEDUCK Avalon Canvas Bell Tent
- CAPACITY: 10 People
- WEIGHT: 152 lbs / 69 kg
- PACK SIZE: 39 x 15 x 11 in / 99 x 38 x 28 cm
- VENTS: 4 Roof Vents, 12 Window Vents
- DOORS: 1 Door
The WHITEDUCK Avalon Canvas Bell Tent is the best canvas tent for hot weather because of how many windows it has around the entire wall structure. It also has 4 roof vents at the top so that hot air can escape and cool air can circulate through. Cotton canvas bell tents are in a different league from most lightweight tents in many different ways. The one difference that matters most in this guide is that they are notably cooler than thinner synthetic tents.
Because cotton canvas is thicker than a polyester fly sheet, it provides a deeper level of shade inside and keeps you cooler. I did an unofficial test with this tent in summer last year by putting my hand on the fabric in full sun and doing the dame on a synthetic tent to see if there was a difference. There was – the cotton felt significantly cooler to the touch both inside and outside.
Comfort-wise, canvas bell tents are pretty hard to beat. There is an abundance of headroom and space to sprawl out and walk around inside without disturbing your tentmates. Bug mesh lines all the windows and doors so they can be left open on a night, and then in winter, you can fit a stove in there using the stove jack at the top.
How’s the ventilation? With all the windows and doors open, the ventilation is pretty good. Being a bell tent shape means that hot air rises to the peak, at which point there are four vents. Then, when you open all the windows at the bottom, cool air can come in and flush out the stagnant heat.
Anything bad to say? Not really bad because you have to expect such a heavy-duty tent to be heavy, but man is a thing heavy. If you are using it for a festival or camping far away from your car, then I strongly advise getting a sack barrow or some wheels to move it. Thankfully you can carry the poles separately from the canvas. Oh, and it’s not cheap.
VERDICT: The WHITEDUCK Avalon Canvas Bell Tent is the kind of tent you might use on a safari or in the Sahara desert to escape the heat. It comes in a variety of sizes to suit your group size and ensures you the most comfort in hot weather. The shade this tent canopy creates is notably better than your average tent, and therefore, I would highly recommend it for summer camping.VIEW ON WHITEDUCK
Sea to Summit Telos TR3 Tent
- CAPACITY: 3 People
- WEIGHT: 4.62 lbs / 2.1 kg
- PACK SIZE: 19.3 x 6 in / 49 x 15 cm
- VENTS: 1 Large Top Vent
- DOORS: 2 Doors
The Sea to Summit Telos TR3 Tent is such a good tent to use in hot weather because, on sunny (or rainy) days, the entire tent flips 45 degrees on its side to create a gazebo-style canopy you can sit under. This used to be my go-to summer tent when the temperatures were pushing 90 degrees until I switched to the Big Agness Salt Creek SL3 Tent this year. It has some very clever features that show a tremendous amount of thought was put into the design.
The two big benefits of this tent in hot sunny weather are that during the day, you can flip the tent into a sun shade, and on a night, you can completely roll back the outer shell for some stargazing and maximum ventilation. And just in case it rains in the night, the outer flysheet is poised, ready to be put back down in an instant. To flip the tent into a canopy shelter, you need to remove the inner tent and use two hiking poles or the Hangout Mode Pole Set to create the props.
Some other cool features I love about this hot weather tent are the Lightbar which illuminates the entire tent with a single headtorch, and the way the stuff storage sacks clip inside the tent to become pockets for your valuables. Very clever.
How’s the ventilation? Aside from the two doors, you only get one ventilation port at the very peak of the tent. It is a big one, though, and does open up nice and wide to let any hot air out. You can pitch the flysheet slightly off the ground to improve airflow; however, I do think an extra vent or two would be nice. With the doors open, you get a lovely breeze passing through, which is just what you need on hot and humid nights camping.
Anything bad to say? Even though this tent is well suited for summer camping, one thing I always found this tent struggled with was condensation in the inner wall. I would often wake up with a few droplets of water on my tent floor, and the inner walls would be wet when I packed them away on multi-day hikes. This does happen with all lightweight tents, but I was expecting a little better from S2S.
VERDICT: The Sea to Summit Telos TR3 is one of the best Lightweight tents for hot weather, with a whole host of features you don’t see on other options. The stargazing mode and hangout mode are worth it alone. If you are afraid of getting too hot in your tent on a night, then this is one for you.VIEW ON SEA TO SUMMIT
DD Hammocks DD SuperLight A-Frame Mesh Tent
- CAPACITY: 1-2 People
- WEIGHT: 1.6 lbs / 730 g (not including pegs)
- PACK SIZE: 3 x 5 x 4 in / 8 x 13 x 11 cm
- VENTS: 4 Vents (every wall is a vent)
- DOORS: 3 Doors
One option for camping in extreme heat is to ditch the tent altogether and sleep under a tarp. The problem with that is that you then leave yourself open to biting insects, creepy crawlies, and other wildlife. You can use a bug net underneath your tarp, but I have never found these easy to set up or particularly effective (especially against ants). The better option is to use a mesh tent like this.
The DD Hammocks DD SuperLight A-Frame Mesh Tent is a super lightweight tent for hot weather that uses two hiking poles to create the frame and can be set up under a tarp. You can use it without a tarp on clear nights, too, and enjoy the stars as well as any breeze. On a hot night with little chance of rain, this is really all the protection you need.
The large single door on the front is perfect for easy access and using with a lean-to-style tarp shelter. Then you have a door on either end so that you can still get in and out if your tarp is set up in an A-frame structure. I love this, and I think anyone who has slept under a tarp before will appreciate it too.
How’s the ventilation? Just to explain, in case you can’t see the image above, the entire upper tent is made from mesh apart from the strips of polyester that run along the edges/corners. The floor has a nice bathtub shape to protect from any ground moisture, but you can think of the entire upper as one big vent.
Anything bad to say? The only downside to using this tent as a stand-alone shelter is that without a tarp, there is no UV protection and no shade to be found during the day, especially in the early mornings when the sun rises at 4 am. Maybe worth also repeating that this tent does require two hiking poles for the frame, but I see this as more of a benefit than a disadvantage.
VERDICT: If you like the versatility of tarp camping, the DD Hammocks DD SuperLight A-Frame Mesh Tent is the perfect companion for bug protection and use on its own in summer. You can feel a breeze from any direction, and there is zero chance of experiencing a tent that feels hotter inside than it does outside. So small and light, too, this might be the ultimate hot weather tent.
Coleman Octagon Tent For Hot Weather
- CAPACITY: 6 People
- WEIGHT: 45.6 lbs / 20.7 kg
- PACK SIZE: 33.5 x 11.8 x 11.8 in / 85 x 30 x 30 cm
- VENTS: 6 Large Windows
- DOORS: 2 Hinged Doors
The Coleman Octagon Tent For Hot Weather is one of the best tents for hot weather and camping in direct sunlight. It features blackout technology which not only blocks out 99% of daylight for late sleepers but also keeps the tent around 5°C cooler on scorching afternoons. So in summer, when the sun rises early and other tents start to feel like a sauna, this one allows you to lie in uninterrupted until a more reasonable hour.
There are two doors that are semi-rigid and have a hinge instead of reading to be tried back. This is such an understated feature that more tents should adopt. You get plenty of headroom (215 cm) to move around inside, and you easily fit an extra one or two people in at a squeeze if you had to.
How’s the ventilation? The ventilation comes from the six large windows on every other wall which have a mesh lining on the inside and open like curtains on the outside. With all of these open, plus the doors, you basically have 360-degree airflow, which you can enjoy all night long thanks to the comprehensive bug netting (small holes). Circular and octagonal tents with windows on every wall are hard to beat in terms of ventilation and airflow.
Anything bad to say? While I do love the doors, they can be annoying at times. Like when you need to quickly get in and out, but it’s zipped up… You have to open it fully to get in and out, which can get old fast. Also, when it is windy, they can flap about a fair bit if not properly secured.
VERDICT: For those seeking the best tent for hot weather, the Coleman Octagon 98 delivers excellent shade and ventilation. The darkroom technology blocks out the early rising sun and will keep it up to 5 degrees cooler during the day. Once you try this tent, it’s hard to go back to one without the same technology.
Big Agnes Wyoming Trail 2 Tent
Gazelle Tents T4 Hub Tent
- CAPACITY: 4 People
- WEIGHT: 30 lbs / 13.6 kg
- PACK SIZE: 8 x 8 x 67.5 in / 20 x 20 x 171 cm
- VENTS: 6 Mesh Windows
- DOORS: 2 Doors
The Gazelle Tents T4 Hub is probably the best pop-up tent for hot weather, and it’s tall enough to stand up in too. There are 6 large mesh windows on every wall (apart from the two walls with the doors), so you can open them up on sunny days to let air circulate from every direction. The canopy kind of overlaps the tent around the edges, which does a good job of creating shade below and will protect you in heavy rain. The canopy can be removed for even more ventilation at night.
This cabin-style tent has near vertical walls, so you get lots of internal space and headroom all the way to the edges with a peak height of 78 inches. The popup design is a little different from smaller popup tents but can still be set up in under 90 seconds and provides a very durable frame for such a big tent.
How’s the ventilation? Ventilation in this tent is well above average, with 6 mesh windows and two D-shaped doors that also have tight weave mesh bug screens. When you take off the canopy, the top of the main cabin is also made from fine mesh so that in extreme heat, you can sleep with the roof off, all the windows and doors open, and not get eaten by insects.
Anything bad to say? The tent is heavy, which makes it impractical for hikers and backpackers but other than that, this is an excellent tent for hot weather.
VERDICT: The Gazelle Tents T4 Hub Tent is extremely well made for a pop-up design and has so much space inside you never have to crawl around to get in and out. It expands in seconds, and after staking out the corners, you are good to go in just a few short minutes. There is a vent on every wall, and the roof comes off for those hot summer nights without a cloud in the sky.VIEW ON REI
KingCamp Automatic Pop-Up Double Layer Camping Tent
- CAPACITY: 3 People
- WEIGHT: 9.3 lbs / 4.21 kg
- PACK SIZE: 32 x 7 x 7 in / 81 x 18 x 18 cm
- VENTS: 2 Full Size Mesh Windows
- DOORS: 2 Doors
The KingCamp 3-4 Person Automatic Tent looks like a miniature gazebo and is like nothing else out there at the moment. Every wall completely opens up with two doors and two mesh windows. Then you have the extended front porch, which can be set up as an awning for extra shade during hot days.
The tent arrives almost pre-set up with the poles and tent fabric already attached. You simply open it up, give it a shake, connect the poles, and the tent is ready to be pegged down. I’m not sure automatic is the best word to describe this, but it is fast and easy, so we have to give it that.
How’s the ventilation? As you might expect from a tent that opens up every wall as a vent, you get almost unrestricted air circulation as if you were outside. However, with all the doors and windows zipped up, there is actually very little ventilation, and the tent becomes quite stiffy.
Anything bad to say? I wouldn’t want to be caught out in bad weather with this one. The frame feels less durable than others, and the fly sheet only covers the top and corners. The description of this tent says it can fit 3-4 people, but there’s no way with bags and boots too. It’s a 3-person, not a 4-person.
VERDICT: The KingCamp Automatic Tent is one of the best for hot nights when you open both doors and windows to let the breeze in. This doesn’t give you as much privacy as if you were to sleep like that in the Gazelle T4 Hub Tent, but it does provide maximum ventilation. The front door turns into an awning which only makes it better for chilling out during the day or for an evening when the dew is settling on the ground.
Guide to the Best Tent for Summer Camping
dCamping in hot weather can be brutal, and trying to figure out which tent is best for hot weather is almost impossible until you’ve done it a few times before. Because tents don’t typically have insulation, the only thing between you and the sun is one or two thin sheets of fabric, so they get hot almost as soon as the sun rises. Ventilation is imperative to circulate fresh air through a stuffy, humid tent, but what else matters?
Here are some of the features, attributes, and considerations we made when selecting which tents to recommend:
Day Time Living
Choosing a tent for hot weather means thinking about how you will be using the tent and where. If you plan on hanging out at the tent during the day, then two important features are UV protection and how good the shade is. Also, temperatures inside a tent will often feel hotter than being outside a tent, so the ability to create a shade awning with the doors is a huge plus point.
Night Time Comfort
Your tent will mostly be used at night time for sleeping in, not during the day when the sun is shining. So ventilation is probably the most important feature to consider with a summer tent. Also, bug netting goes hand in hand with vents because anywhere there is an opening, you want to protect yourself from mosquitos and alike. I use a CoolMax sleeping bag liner instead of an insulated bag which helps.
Vents on tents (nice rhyme) are crucial for circulating fresh air and allowing hot air, CO2, and condensation to escape in hot weather. The more vents you have in strategic positions, the better. If you are trying to see where the vents are on a tent, they are often hidden. Look under guyline flaps and roof panels, and you will often find them hiding.
Ideally, you want one or more vents at the highest point of the outer tent to release hot air and two or more vents lower down the outer tent to allow fresh air in. The more mesh panels on the inner tent, the better. See the Sea to Summit Telos TR3 Tent in the guide for an example.
Many times, outer vents can be opened and closed, so always make sure they are fully open when setting up your tent and again before bed.
Doors are basically just giant vents, so long as they are lined with bug mesh. In hot weather, I would always try and use a tent with two doors or more because no amount of ventilation works as well as leaving all your tent doors fully open to capture any breeze that you can. In tunnel tents especially, I find that a door at both ends seems to pull air through to keep you cooler at night.
The best type of tent door in hot weather is one that can be fully opened out and used as a canopy/awning during the day with the addition of two poles. See the Big Agness Salt Creek SL3 Tent above for an example. This allows for the widest opening and has the added benefit of having a shaded space outdoors on a sunny day.
If it weren’t for biting insects, I would probably just sleep underneath a tarp all summer long. But I hate mosquitos, sand flies, no-see-ems, and midges as much as the next guy, so I almost always use a tent with built-in bug mesh. In summer especially, they are out in their swarms and when you need to leave the vents and doors open on a night to stay cool, bug netting can make all the difference.
Here is a random selection of things I have to say about tent bug netting. The finer the mesh, the better. Mesh that is too close to zip will often get ripped if it gets caught in the tracks. You can repair mesh with a repair kit. You want the mesh to fasten all the way around and link to the floor to prevent other types of creepy crawlies from getting under the bug netting.
Not all tents produce the same level of shade. Typically, thinner fabrics will provide less shade. The difference might be unnoticeable between two polyester tents, but when compared to a blackout tent or canvas tent, you will instantly notice the difference in shade. The better the shade, the cooler it will feel, and the more protected you will be from the sun’s UV rays.
Also, the area of shade created is something we thought about a lot, especially for tents with large porch areas. If all the doors fix open to provide additional shade like a canopy, then you will be much happier during the daytime when temperatures are at their highest.
We chose not to include UV protection in the specs we provided because most companies don’t provide this information on the label or with the tent instructions. Some do, but most don’t.
I also believe that any tent with two layers will be a minimum protection of 25+ UPF but most likely 50+. This might not be the case, but I am very light-skinned, ginger with freckles, and I have never been sunburnt while inside a tent.
A single-skin tent with very thin material might be a different story, but again, I feel that unless it is see-through, it will block most harmful UV rays from penetrating.
The main two types of tent material are synthetic (polyester) and cotton canvas. Cotton canvas is 100% the better option for hot weather, but canvas tents are incredibly heavy and bulky, so they don’t make sense for hiking and backpacking. Cotton canvas tents are also much more expensive and require greater attention when storing.
We have spoken about the color of tents and the impact it has on them before. The key takeaways from this guide were that light-colored tents are best for hot weather because they reflect the most sunlight. Darker tents absorb more sunlight, and so can get slightly hotter during the day. Tent color isn’t something I would worry about too much, but if you have the option, then it makes the most sense for summer.
In hot weather, it’s always better to go bigger rather than smaller. A larger tent with more space to spread out is much better on a hot and sweaty summer night. It means you can stick your legs out of your sleeping bag without rubbing against your partner. A larger tent also feels less stuffy inside as there is more room for hot air to circulate.
I know I talk about pack weight in almost every guide I write, but for me, it is a big deal. If you are carrying a tent in hot weather, then you want it to be as light as possible to minimize the struggle of carrying it and the amount of sweat you produce. The more you sweat, the more you need to drink, the more you need to drink, the more water you need to carry. And so the result of carrying a heavy tent compounds in hot weather.
Again, pack size is always important to think about when buying a tent if you want to carry it in a backpack. Some large tents are simply too big for camping in remote locations, but for smaller tents, the pack size will determine how easy it is to carry.
Ease of Setup
Setting up a tent in extreme heat isn’t something you want to spend a lot of time doing, so the easier the tent is to put up, the sooner you can relax and stop working up a sweat. Pop-up tents are the most convenient but don’t always have very good ventilation, the Gazelle tent being an exception.
Freestanding or Not
In very hot weather, when the ground is hard and dry, it can be hard to get your tent pegs into solid ground without bending them. A freestanding tent will keep its structure even without pegs, so it is a good choice for summer camping.
Waterproofing and weatherproofing are important for any tent but far less important when choosing a tent for extreme heat. If you are expecting nothing but sun, then the season rating, waterproof rating, and full rainfly cover don’t really come into play. Most tents are 3 seasons anyway, but you might want to avoid the expensive 4 season tents and get something cheaper and more lightweight for summer.
How Do I Keep My Tent Cool During the Day?
Here are some tips for keeping a tent cool on a hot day:
- It may seem obvious but open all the vents and doors fully.
- Remove the inner tent so you just have the outer shell.
- Try and camp in some shade or at least near some.
- Use an electric fan or waft yourself with an improvised fan to cool down.
- A wet towel can provide some relief; at least, my dog seems to like it.
- Use a tarp over the top of your tent to block the sun and create shade.
- Camp near water.
- Face into the direction of the breeze to capitalize on it.
Alternatives to Camping Tents in Hot Weather
Tents offer the best all-around protection of any type of shelter for camping, but in summer, a hammock or tarp might be cooler to sleep in on a night. As mentioned earlier, biting insects can be a real pain if you don’t have the protection of no-see-em mesh.
Hammocks make an excellent alternative to tents in hot climates because they allow air to circulate around your entire body, even from below. This means the chances of you feeling hot and bothered as you struggle to fall asleep are less likely.
Sleeping under a tarp is awesome in extreme heat. It provides total ventilation at night and provides a massive amount of shade during the day. The other benefit is that it really brings you closer to nature without any walls boxing you in. The downside is that you are exposed to biting insects unless you use a separate bug net (which is annoying to use, let me tell you).
Under The Stars
Sleeping under the stars is as romantic and breathtaking as it sounds, but without any overhead protection, you are basically a buffet for biting insects. The other issue is that hot weather often brings in the evening due that will settle on your sleeping bag and can even soak it through. Even in the hottest climates, this might not be something you are expecting or prepared for.
Are Blackout Tents Good for Hot Weather?
Blackout tents are one of the better options for camping in the heat of summer. They have been found to keep your tent up to 5 degrees cooler in direct sunlight and provide next-level shade during the day.
Also, because the sun rises so early in summer, a blackout tent will block out the early morning light for a much longer lie-in, so you can feel more energized when you wake up.
We hope you found this guide to the best tent for hot weather summer camping helpful and agree with our reviews. Let us know your comments below.