Camping is a joy. It’s a fantastic way to spend time with friends or family—until the bugs come out to play. They get in your food; they get in your hair, they sting. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could be outdoors without bugs shooting up your nose?
The best screen tent for camping does precisely that. You can see and feel the elements, but pests can’t touch you through the bug-tight mesh walls.
The best camping screen houses include:
Capacity: 6–8 | Weight: 14lbs | Dimensions: 13’ (W) x 9’ (L) x 6’9” (H) | Bag Dimensions: 32” x 12” | Doors: 1 | Price: $
- Large enough to place over a pre-installed grill or picnic table.
- Wide door for moving furniture in and out.
- Easy assembly.
- High ceiling makes it fantastic to cook in.
- Doesn’t withstand wind.
- The stakes are short.
Let’s say you and your family have the perfect tent, you’re in a prime location and the view is second to none. It’s dinner time and… there are flies on your burgers and wasps chasing down your honey-mustard dressing.
The YDYL screen house is an excellent solution for your camping trips.
The canopy tent fits six to eight people, proving there’s ample interior space to place a fold-out table and a few chairs. Put a portable gas grill on the table, and you’re ready to cook.
The ample ceiling height ensures there’s no way a spark could set the place alight, and there’s plenty of room for smoke to rise and escape through the polyester ceiling. If you’re looking to cook in an instant screen house, those are the features you’re looking for!
Some quick tips to keep in mind for safety when cooking in screen houses:
- High ceilings, wide ground space.
- Avoid open flames as much as possible.
- Place a flame retardant mat under the grill or stove.
You also have the option of assembling it around a camping stove. They’re tailor-made for camping trips and should pose minimal safety threats, but still keep precautions—including around a cooking device’s smoke output.
The large door that opens to the width of the screen house will also help you get the smoke out if needed. However, it also closes up and keeps you safe from bugs and other pests.
It has no floor, so if you’re not using a portable grill, you could easily assemble this around a pre-installed grill on the campsite. It’s even large enough to assemble around a built-in picnic table, and its shape allows for it, too.
Found this screen house to be sturdy and durable during our 30 day camping road trip. It was big enough for every picnic tables we encountered. Highly recommended!
Being rectangular and assembled from corner poles, there’s nothing to get in your way when placing it around or over an object. Just ensure there’s soft ground nearby to stake it, and you’ll be fine.
However, the stakes are a little short, so consider replacing them. Customers found they popped out of the ground easily, and they won’t withstand wind at all. Some found that even a light breeze can have the tent folding in, so consider staying in calm areas and camping in breeze-free weather.
Capacity: 6 | Weight: 15lbs | Dimensions: 10’ (W) x 10’ (L) x 7’ (H) | Bag Dimensions: 39.3” x 2.4” | Doors: 2 | Price: $
- Easy one-person assembly.
- Can be placed on top of pools or hot tubs.
- Plenty of room to stretch your legs.
- Light enough to lift and place on top of furniture.
- Difficult to take down.
For an instant screen house that’s highly versatile and easy to set up, the Alvanator works well. It’s a simple pop-up style screen tent that requires no stakes, yet it shouldn’t blow over in the wind. Its rounded shape helps it stay stable.
There are also guylines and stakes to use if you end up in heavily windy conditions, but they’re not integral to its instant setup.
You can use this screen tent in a range of situations. Place it over the picnic area on a campsite, set it over a bench or furniture you bring, you could even place it over a kiddie pool or hot tub should the campsite have these features. The pop-up portable 6 sided hub gazebo screen tent is large and round, and the bottom sits on top of things well.
The two large doors ensure you always have an easy passage in and out of the tent, no matter where you place it.
Its large four to six adult capacity makes it an excellent family tent. Two kids and two adults have some legroom to stretch out and relax, communicate well and have some fun. You can easily fit a table in it so you can set up card or board games, undisturbed by bugs, harsh sunlight and wind.
The fun doesn’t stop at camping. The Alvantor screen house room is a wonderful pop-up to place over your backyard furniture if you want some UV protection, rain protection or to keep bugs away—screen houses are ideal tools if you don’t have a porch.
Love the ease of set-up and the size of this screen tent. Getting it back in the bag is another story. I was afraid to push and twist too hard fearing it might break. It’s a bit complicated to fold back up and I’m thinking next time I’m going to leave it in a larger loop and not put it back in the bag. All in all though, well made and easy set-up.
The only downside is taking it down. It only takes a little force to get it up—a 75-year-old female customer states she had no problems with that part of it.
However, smaller people found it difficult to fold down again. It offers some resistance, with some customers needing their entire body weight to get it to shut down.
Utilize your partner if camping as a family—and if you’re the only adult, you may want to hunt down other campers and ask for their assistance.
Capacity: 6 | Weight: 3.94lbs | Dimensions: 10’ (W) x 10’ (L) | Bag Dimensions: 17.01” x 11.89” x 4.61” | Doors: 2 | Price: $
- Light and easy to transport.
- Fits any standard 10 by 10 foot slanted canopy.
- No way to stake it down, so it may blow over in the wind.
- Poles sold separately.
If you’re looking for a budget screen tent you can assemble quickly, the Quest is an excellent tool. It’s nothing fancy—perfect for people who don’t care about extravagance, but very much care if there are bugs in their face or food.
The Quest canopy tent comes with a wide door you can utilize for putting furniture through or having your kids run in and out with ease. You can use the screen tent with the curtains swept back or pulled right, so you have some or total protection.
However, there’s one downside to this budget buy. It doesn’t come with poles so you’ll need to purchase the frame separately. If you already own a 10 by 10 slanted leg canopy, it’ll fit that with no issues.
This is also the screen tent to choose if you want to move it around easily. Say, the sun shifts, or you’d like to take your relaxation over to the picnic area.
Camping aside, this would also be a great screen tent to take to a festival. Its inexpensive nature means it’s not such a tragedy if your fellow festival-goers tear it down in their drunken antics. Plus if the frame lives and the net dies, you can replace the latter without the former.
Nice set up, just don’t let water build up on it. It will not hold up very well.
It’s an all-around versatile screen tent you can use on many occasions, just don’t expect the world from a screen tent of this price—you won’t find fancy features like 2x double-thick fabric, or a waterproof roof.
You also can’t stake it down so it’ll fall over in windy conditions, and the mesh isn’t the strongest around.
Capacity: 1 | Weight: 2.5lbs | Dimensions: 3.25’ (W) x 6’ (L) x 2’9” (H) | Bag Dimensions: 26” diameter | Doors: 1 | Price: $
- Flat when folded, so it fits in a tent with ease.
- Great for kids.
- Fits on top of a cot.
- Affordable even on the tightest of budgets.
- The zippers sometimes stick.
- Difficult to fold down.
Is the screen tent more for your kids, not for you? This one will suffice. It’s small and simple but efficient and would make a wonderful den for a pair of toddlers to play in without getting dirty. It’s also great for kids who want to hunker down and do some coloring or drawing while on a camping trip.
This screen room is the first of our picks with a floor, making it an excellent tool to stop the little ones playing in the mud and dust. It would also suit a backpacker who’s taking a break for a few minutes and wants a camping shelter from nature.
You can throw it up on a whim with the easy setup. Once up, the floor zips to the netting to prevent crawling critters as well as flying ones.
You could also use this as additional protection inside your main tent for someone with a harsh fear of bugs and spiders.
Let’s say you’re a budget camper and you really can’t afford to upgrade your old, worn tent. Alas, your old tent is always leaking and letting in the terrifying flying machines.
Pop up the screen tent, slide your sleeping bag inside and you’re safe. It’s more cost-effective than a whole new tent. It even fits on top of camping cots.
It won’t even take up much room when you’re done using it. It won’t fit in your luggage, but it folds down flat and is extremely light for easy transportation.
That said, it’s an annoyance to get the folding right. The manufacturer repeatedly states you’ll need to watch the fold-down demo videos multiple times to get it right.
A bit tricky to fold up. But after looking at the supplied instructions carefully, I was able to fold it. I haven’t attempted the folding option to make it smaller. But for my son on his Scout trips, the larger size is not an issue since this will be trailered along with all the other gear a typical Troop takes! Some of the other boys were envious of the copious amount of room he had inside. It did overhang a standard cot a little on the sides, but it didn’t seem to bother him at all.
The doors with zippers can also be a pain at times, so watch out.
Capacity: 6 | Weight: 32lbs | Dimensions: 11’ (W) x 9’ (L) x 6’8” (H) | Bag Dimensions: 41 x 10 x 10 inches | Doors: 1 | Power Cord Vent: Yes | Hydrostatic Head Rating: N/A | Price: $
- Separate sleeping areas.
- Hinge-style door.
- It can get chilly.
Perhaps getting a family tent and a screen tent to use together doesn’t sound fun for you. What about a camping tent with a screen room instead? You fill two needs with one product that’s great for small families with two young children, and perhaps a dog.
Avail of the two sleeping areas inside by night, and when day comes, move into the screen room for some fresh air and stunning views.
One standout element, other than this being a canopy tent with a screen room, of course, is its fantastic door. If you decide you want to brave the wild outdoors, after all, it’s easy. The door is on hinges so kids can run in and out with ease. Plus, it’s great for carrying toddlers through.
Neither the screen room nor the sleeping area is great for cooking, though, if that’s what you’re looking for. The screen room has a relatively low ceiling so it’d be risky to whip out a grill in case it spits and sparks.
But if you have a small hot plate? That’d work. There’s a power cord vent in the tent that’ll let you power it so you can cook up or heat some small dishes that way, and get some hot food into you to contrast the chill in the tent.
See, that’s the downfall of the Coleman screened canopy tent. It’s wonderful on warmer summer nights but if you camp in spring or fall, you’ll feel quite a chill.
I’ll second the weather master, been using it for car camping through the last 3 seasons and it’s been awesome. One modification I made for the screen room is that before I put the fly on I’ll take 2 medium size tarps and bind them to each other with 2 long (5-6 ft) bungees and have them drape along the outside of the screen room. Then I stake the back corners of the tarps into the ground adjacent to the second set of poles back.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Screen Tent/House?
A screen tent or house is a tent-style enclosure that’s entirely mesh. It’s basically a see-through tent that’ll be no good in heavy rain or snow, but is wonderful at keeping bugs out of your face as you hang out during the day. It also offers some shade and UV protection.
Depending on the size, these beauties are great for sitting in a circle and playing a game with family, having beers with friends, fully enclosed in mesh.
Can You Cook in a Screen Tent?
You can cook in a screen tent, but be wise about it. Choose a tent that’s tall and wide. You need room for the smoke to curl upwards and escape, and sides far away enough that any spitting or sparking doesn’t reach them.
That’s for cooking with a grill, though. You can cook using a hot plate in smaller screen tents if you wish.
Which Screen Tent Offers the Most Protection?
The screen shelters for camping above offer premium-quality protection and use bug mesh that keeps even the tiniest of clitters out. Instead, we’ll be looking at how versatile that protection is.
The Alvantor Screen House offers the most protection if we look at it that way. You can use it at home, out camping and even place it on top of round pools and hot tubs with no issues. The corners sit tightly against the sides of the tub without cutting off any of your pool space.
That said, the SansBug 1-Person Pop Up offers more protection as far as bugs are concerned. As it’s the only one with a floor, you’re safe from crawling and burrowing critters. However, it’s a little on the small side for most peoples’ needs.
Can You Get Sunburn Inside a Screen Tent?
Screen tents offer some shade and UV protection, but its rays can still reach you—especially on sweltering days.
You can most definitely get a sunburn through a screen tent—you can even get one through thin regular tents. Always wear sunscreen and sun hats if you wish to protect your face further. A screen tent may make you feel cooler, but it’s not your saving grace from sun-related ailments.
How We Decided
The best screen tents more or less do a similar job and there aren’t many fancy features to take into account. However, how did we choose the list of the best ones above? These screen houses had some criteria to meet.
What’s Its Capacity?
Winner: YDYL Screen House
You want to fit the whole family and some furniture into the best screen houses, so the YDYL has to win. This screen house room has the largest capacity out of the best screen houses in this review.
Is It Portable?
Winner: Quest Mesh Screen Tent
When the sun moves or you want a better view, sometimes you’ll want to pick up and move your screen tent to a new area. The Quest Mesh tent is perfect for this. It’s a simple shape with basic poles you could easily grip so you can lift it and carry it to its new location.
Can You Cook In It?
Winner: YDYL Screen House
You can cook in any large pop-up screen tent, but the YDYL is wonderfully tall and wide, with plenty of space to fit the family around a table. This makes it the best contender for cooking among the other best screen houses.
Are There Any Additional Features?
Winner: SansBug 1-Person Pop Up and Coleman WeatherMaster with Screen Room
For the most part, in these best screen houses, all you’re seeing is a basic screen house room. However, one of them goes a little beyond the rest. Since the SansBug has a floor, you’re safer there than in any of the other screen tents.
This pop-up screen tent also fits on a camping cot, which is an added bonus.
You can’t ignore the Coleman screened canopy tent either, though. If anything is an additional feature, it’s a tent attached to the screen house. The instant screen house Coleman has to offer is wonderful for families in need of a new tent, or an extra one.
How Tall Is It?
Winner: Alvantor Screen House
You want an instant screen house with some room to stand—you don’t just sit and lounge in screen houses. The Alvanator portable 6 sided hub gazebo screen tent is the tallest of our picks, so it’ll accommodate everyone except the basketball players.
How Easy Is It to Set Up?
Winner: Alvantor Screen House
Given that a 75-year-old can set up the Alvantor on her own, we have to say this is one of the best screen tents as far as setup is concerned. We wish it were as easy to take down, though!
The Final Screening
The YDYL Screen House is the best instant screen house of this group. The screen tent is tall and wide, highly versatile, great for cooking and hanging out in alike. It’s relatively portable on a calm day, but on a windy one you’ll need to stake it in—don’t forget to replace those stakes with long, sturdy metal ones.
If you’d rather a rounded tent you can use while camping as well as at home, the next best screen tent is the Alvantor Screen House. It’s a wonderful, round shape, doesn’t blow over easily and it can sit on top of furniture and hot tubs with no issues. All around a high versatile instant screen house.