5 Best Tents For Desert Camping of 2024

Last Updated on 15/02/2024

Best Tent For Desert Camping

Looking for The Best Tent to Go Camping in The Desert?

These 5 best tents for desert camping promise to keep you protected from harmful UV rays and safe in a sand storm. In this guide, you will learn what to look for and how to avoid getting blasted by sand when the wind picks up.

Desert camping is like nothing else, and a night spent in the dunes looking up at the stars is the kind of memory that will stay with you forever. Choosing a suitable tent for the desert can be difficult if you are looking for one that will keep you cool at night and block the sun in the morning.

Camping in such hostile conditions can present some dangers if you don’t have the right tent. Two of the biggest potential threats when desert camping are the blazing heat and sand storms. Depending on which desert you are camping in, extreme cold at night can also be a factor when camping on sand.

With very little shade in the desert, a tent can be your only hope of escaping the midday heat. UV treatment and solar blocking technology will help keep you cool inside the tent, and it is important to remember that light colors reflect more sun than dark colors.

With the risk of sand storms coming out of nowhere in the night, you should seek a tent that doesn’t have open mesh panels on the inner tent. Mesh is a good thing on a hot quiet night so long as you can seal it off when needed, but in a sandstorm, there is no escape. Your desert camping tent should also be able to withstand wind, so strong but flexible poles are essential.

Top 5 Best Tents for Camping in the Desert Reviewed


Stout Tent Ultimate Series 5M Canvas Bell Tent

Stout Tent Ultimate Series 5M Canvas Bell Tent

 

The Stout Tent Ultimate Series 5M Canvas Bell Tent is not only the best-looking desert shelter on this listicle, but it is also one of the most comfortable in extreme heat. Made from 100% natural cotton canvas, this tent will keep you cool in the desert heat and provide protection even in places like the Great Basin. You will have the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had in the desert with this luxury desert tent.

The heavy-duty canvas will block any sand from blowing in and can be rolled up to provide incredible ventilation during the day. You can keep the premium mesh screen up for bug protection and still keep cool in the mid-day sun. With 227 square feet of living space, you can fit your whole family in here to take shade from intense UV rays.

An A-frame entrance keeps the shape of the tent in rain and wind, and the central pole will stay sturdy so long as all the guy lines and ground pegs are secure. The three-pole structure performs well in the wind thanks to the aerodynamic shape of the tent; however, we prefer the smaller tents in high winds.

As well as being the best tent for desert camping, the Stout Tent Ultimate Series is also the heaviest and has the largest pack size. The center pole disassembles, but when complete, it will reach just under 10 feet tall. You would struggle to hike this into the Mojave desert without a couple of people helping, so this is somewhat of a desert glamping option.

VERDICT: This tent is pretty massive, and unless you plan on camping in the desert for at least a couple of days, we would recommend something smaller. In terms of being the most suitable tent for desert camping, this tent definitely won’t disappoint. We love the Stout Tent Ultimate Series tent for extreme heat as well as backyards, festivals, and camping on sand.

 


Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh & Black Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent

Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh & Black Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent

The Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh & Black Waterproof Pop Up is one of the best tents for desert camping and is crafted to be ready to use in just a few seconds. The pop-up design is great for desert camping as it is fast to put up and can be fully sealed in sandstorms. FRESH & BLACK is Quechua’s patented exterior fabric that blocks out the light on the inside and is UPF 50+ to protect you from harmful UV light.

This special shell material helps keep the tent cooler in the scorching desert sun and will block 99% of daylight from penetrating the fabric. This means you won’t get woken up at the crack of dawn with blinding light and an intolerably hot tent. In the desert, there is no shade, so having this blackout technology is invaluable.

In terms of sand protection, the Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh & Black tent can be sealed up via the front door zip and by pegging down the side ventilation flaps. A benefit of using a pop-up tent for desert camping is that if a sandstorm does hit, you can be set up in a matter of seconds.

This desert camping tent has been tested in a wind tunnel to withstand winds of 50 km/h or gale force 6. Not only that, but it was also tested on a turntable to make sure that it didn’t matter what direction the wind was blowing. The tent structure will remain intact.

Weighing in at 7.3 lbs / 3.3 kg, this tent is fairly lightweight for a two-birth and is typically fastened to the outside of your backpack due to its wide pack size. When folded away into the carry sack, the pack size is 25.6 x 3.5 x 29.9 inches which is small enough to be attached with bungees to the gear loops on your backpack. Alternatively, there is a handle to carry this tent over short distances.

The inner dimensions are 125 x 210 x 98 cm / 49 x 83 x 39 in (w x l x h), which is plenty of space for two people as well as gear and boots. The side vents, as well as the wide front door, allow air to circulate so you can sleep with a breeze on your face.

VERDICT: The Quechua 2 Seconds Fresh & Black tent is the best pop-up tent for desert camping and is a great choice for couples heading out for 1 or 2 nights at a time. A big benefit of pop-up tents like this is that in the desert, you don’t necessarily even need tent stakes for sand. With your gear inside weighing it down, you can sometimes get away with no pegs.

 


Coleman Rocky Mountain 5 Plus Family Tent

Coleman Rocky Mountain 5 Plus Family Tent

 

The Coleman Rocky Mountain 5 Plus Family Tent is designed for five people and is conditioned to perform well in a desert environment. With two separate sleeping pods for 2 and 3 people, you can at least get some privacy from the kids at night. You also get a large porch area that can be used as a desert camp kitchen or as a living space on an evening to protect you from bugs.

Both bedrooms have blackout lining, which blocks 99% of daylight to give you a cooler tent and a longer lie-in in the morning. Tests have shown that this fabric treatment can keep your tent around 5°C cooler during the day. The combination of feeling cooler and blocking out the early morning sun is a win-win and should be at the top of desert campers’ wishlists. It also features UVGuard, which guarantees UPF 50+ protection against the sun.

The sleeping pods provide excellent protection against dust storms, and you won’t see any getting through the gaps. In the porch area, you may get an odd bit of sand in heavy storms, but for the most part, this tent can be sealed up very securely. The flexible fiberglass poles are designed to allow some movement in strong gusts of wind and will always revert back to normal when it calms.

Weighing over 16 kg with the pegs included, the Coleman Rocky Mountain 5 Plus Family Tent is not the kind of desert shelter you want to be carrying on your back. It is better suited to be used in the desert when you can drive right up to your camping spot and pitch your tent not too far from the car. The carry bag has two handles that allow a second person to help share the weight if needed, but it isn’t so heavy you can’t do it on your own.

Again, with a pack size of 70 x 32 x 30 cm, you won’t want to carry this on top of an already heavy backpack, so it is best transported on its own. It doesn’t take up much space in a car boot, though, and is easy to pack away. When planning to go camping somewhere remote with your family, more space is never a bad thing.

The two bedrooms and living area provide a whopping combined living space of 11.1 m², which is plenty of space for a family to enjoy while camping in the desert. Known to be 100% waterproof, this desert camp tent has a hydrostatic head of 4500 mm with fully taped seams and a sewn-in groundsheet for extra protection.

VERDICT: In this Coleman Rocky Mountain 5 Plus review, we found this to be a fantastic tent for camping in the desert with your family. The blackout technology helps keep the tent cooler on a hot day and provides unbeatable tent shade in direct sun. Separate compartments help with young children so that you can relax by the fire once they have gone to bed and not disturb them.

 


Naturehike Mongar 2 Person Backpacking Tent

Naturehike Mongar 2 Person Backpacking Tent

 

The Naturehike Mongar 2 Person Backpacking Tent is designed to be free-standing and be pitched without the shell to enjoy desert camping under the stars. With the shell off, the high-density mesh inner protects you from insects and creepy crawlies while allowing you to enjoy the view. If you have ever been to desert camping before, you know that there is nothing like a desert sky at night.

With six color options available, we recommend grey, which will keep you cooler than other colors when camping in the desert heat. With the outer shell on, the ventilation is limited, but if you are brave enough to sleep with it off, you will have open air above you. The material offers UPF 50+ sun protection and has a hydrostatic head of 4000 mm to keep you 100% dry in heavy rain.

While there is lots of mesh on the inside where sand can blow in, we found that if you peg the shell down close to the ground, you can avoid any small gaps for sand to blow in. The poles are made from professional 7001 aviation aluminum, which is designed to flex but never bend or snap if you are in a dust storm in the Sahara desert. Overall the Naturehike Mongar tent will provide excellent protection against dust, wind, rain, and sun.

VERDICT: At just 4.7 lbs, this is one of the lightest tents for desert camping we have seen and is definitely recommended for hikers who carry all their gear on their backs. The small pack size also lends itself to hiking through the desert as it can either be packed inside your backpack or strapped to the outside. The Naturehike Mongar tent is the most portable tent for camping in deserts and can be used all year round in other environments too.

 


BFULL Camping Tent for 2-3 Persons

BFULL Camping Tent for 2-3 Persons

 

The BFULL Camping Tent is a great little tent for desert adventures and has some amazing features that make it a top choice. The main benefit of the BFULL dome tent is that the gazebo top can be used on its own to provide instant shade without the stuffiness of a tent. It also has two doors that can both be opened to allow a breeze through, making it ideal for camping in extreme heat.

Inside the tent, the mesh vents are all at the top, which allows hot air to escape, and are high enough for sand not to enter. If you do encounter a freak dust storm, you will be safe inside thanks to the durable fiberglass poles and wind-resistant design. The basin groundsheet is sewn in to make sure no sand blows in around the bottom, even with the doors open.

With a pack weight of 7.4 lbs, which is pretty good for a pop-up like this, you are able to take this tent to places that you just couldn’t with a large tent. When folded away into the carry bag, it is only 30 inches long and so will fit inside large backpacks or straps to the outside. The inner dimensions are big enough for three adults but make a very spacious 2 person desert camping tent.

VERDICT: The BFULL Camping Tent with removable rain fly presents a whole new way to camp in the desert and take shade during the day. Much like a mini gazebo without the inner, this tent makes a versatile and effective shelter for desert camping. We think this is a super viable choice for wild camping in the dunes.

 


guide to sand camping

Does the Color of Tent Matter in the Desert?

Tent color can impact how hot your tent gets when camping in the desert. A dark-colored tent will absorb more heat than a light-colored tent, and so a white tent is the best for desert camping. A sand color tent will be the best for blending, and a bright-colored tent helps you to remain visible at a distance if you are in a remote area on your own. You may also wish to get a tent with blackout walls to avoid being woken by the early morning sun.

What Kind of Tents Are Used in The Desert?

Traditionally, canvas tents, along with wool and hide tents, have been used for thousands of years in deserts all around the world and are still used today. In the past, it was more common to have one big tent for all your group to sleep in together, but now you can get small tents that can stand up to the harsh elements. Mesh vents aren’t very fun in a sandstorm, but the main thing is you keep your tent secure.

Do You Need a Tent in The Desert?

While you don’t need a tent to camp in the desert, it can get freezing a night as well as leave your sleeping bag soaked from condensation. Also, if a sandstorm blows through in the night, all you can do is tuck your head inside your sleeping bag and brace yourself. So you don’t need a tent, but some sort of shelter is advised for spending the night in the desert.

What to Look for In a Desert Tent

Here are some of the features to think about if looking for the best tent for deserts:

Color

The color of the tent can influence how cool you stay, how visible you are, and how much light you block. Light-colored tents are best for the desert as they reflect the most light and heat which can build up minutes after the sun has risen. Canvas tents often come in a beige or sand color, which works well and stays pretty cool during the day.

UV Protection

Because the sun can get so hot in the desert, you need to make sure your tent has UV protection of at least UPF factor 50+. If your tent has an inner and an outer wall, you should be ok, as this will block 99.9% of harmful UV light. If you choose a lightweight single skin tent though, you will need to check this as there is nothing worse than waking up in a tent with sunburn on one side of your body.

Sealable Ventilation

Ventilation is key to staying cool when camping in the desert, but being able to seal them up in case of a sandstorm can also save you a lot of problems. Some vents can be opened with a zip and rolled up like a window, while others may have a velcro strap or guy line attachment you need to peg out. Our favorite desert tents have lots of ventilation on the inner tent and then a high bathtub floor to stop any sand from blowing in.

Windproof

While you might not get much rain in the desert, you can certainly get a lot of wind, and in the desert, that can mean sand storms. Sand storms feel like hundreds of tiny bullets hitting you from every angle, getting in your eyes, mouth, and everywhere else. Your desert tent needs to be strong and flexible enough to withstand a battering from the wind almost more than it needs to protect you from rain.

Size

Larger tents work best in the desert as they allow for better air movement and more shade during the day. They also enable you to fully spread out when everything feels sticky with humidity. On the other hand, small tents are low profile and can be easily tucked behind a small sand dune to protect you from the wind or morning sun.

 


Thanks for reading this far. We hope you found these reviews of the 6 best tents for desert camping useful in making your decision.

Gear Assistant
Gear Assistant

This article has been written and/or edited by Andrew N. 20+ years of hiking, mountaineering, and camping experience, with access to all the latest outdoor gear.

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