The MSR Hubba Hubba 2 person tent being tested out camping in a forest

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Best Waterproof Tent for Heavy Rain

Best Budget Waterproof Tent
Overall Best Waterproof Tent
Best Large Waterproof Tent
Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tent (1/2/3/4 Person) MSR Hubba Hubba NX 1/2/3 Person Tent REI Co-Op Base Camp 4 / 6 Person Tent
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Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tent (1/2/3/4 Person) MSR Hubba Hubba NX 1/2/3 Person Tent REI Co-Op Base Camp 4 / 6 Person Tent
If you've got a tight budget and the Hubba Hubba is unaffordable, the TETON will keep you dry for a bargain price. If you’re facing heavy rain or if you plan on taking the tent out backpacking, the MSR Hubba Hubba is the cream of the crop. It's no backpacking tent but if you're wanting space for a family or group then this tent will provide great waterproofing and plenty of room.

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Last Updated: August 16, 2021

Welcome to our review of the best waterproof tent for heavy rain!

When I was a teenager I made the naive assumption of assuming that all tents are waterproof. After all – surely it’s the most basic requirement?

Fast forward to a night on a stormy island in the Scottish Hebrides with me sitting huddled in a pool of rain in my tent wishing the night would be over and regretting my foolishness.

Many years later I’m now ready to take my vengeance on unwelcome downpours ruining a camping trip and I’ve whittled down HUNDREDS of waterproof tents to bring you the best of the best.

If you’re in a rush then we HIGHLY recommend the MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tent which comes in 1, 2 and 3 person versions. This tent is the reigning (rather than raining!) king of weather defying, backpacking friendly trips and comes with a killer reputation among the backpacking community.

If you’re looking for something on the budget end or a tent that can fit the whole family, then keep on reading.

The best waterproof tents are:

  1. MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person TentOverall Best Waterproof Tent
  2. Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tent (3/4 Person)Best Budget Waterproof Tent
  3. REI Co-Op Base Camp 4 / 6 Person TentBest Large Waterproof Tent
  4. Coleman Evanston Dome Tent with Screen Room (6/8 Person)Basic Camping Tent

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Best Budget Waterproof Tent

Best Large Waterproof Tent

Basic Camping Tent

Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tent (1/2/3/4 Person)

REI Co-Op Base Camp 4 / 6 Person Tent

Coleman Evanston Dome Tent with Screen Room (6/8 Person)

Ranking2nd3rd4th
Rating /5

4.4

4.2

3.5

Waterproofing5/54/53/5
Available Sizes1/2/3/4 Person4 / 6 Person6 / 8 Person
Review

If you've got a tight budget and the Hubba Hubba is unaffordable, the TETON will keep you dry for a bargain price.

It's no backpacking tent but if you're wanting space for a family or group then this tent will provide great waterproofing and plenty of room.

Standard camping tents won't hold up in very heavy rain. But if you're just expecting a bit of rain during summer camping, this Coleman will be just fine.

Best waterproof tents compared

Overall Best Waterproof Tent

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Tent

If you’re facing heavy rain or if you plan on taking the tent out backpacking, the MSR Hubba Hubba is the cream of the crop.
Overall:

Pros

  • Good waterproofing on the rainfly and floor
  • Full-length rainfly to deal with horizontal rain
  • 2 vestibules to keep your gear dry too
  • Super lightweight and packs down very small in a bag
  • A durable and well-made tent

Cons

  • A bit pricey for those just going car camping
  • Not a lot of height to the tent

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent, which comes in 1 person, 2 person and 3 person models, easily storms its way to the top of this list of waterproof tents. It’s a well respected tent among the backpacking community for its performance in bad weather and super portability.

And when I say super portable – I mean it. The standard weight of the 2 person model of the Hubba Hubba weighs only 3 lbs 13 oz. That’s lighter than five cans of tomato soup and earns this tent the coveted ultralight label.

On top of this, it comes with a compression stuff sack which takes up very little room in your backpack.

It’s a great performer in the rain too. It comes with an adjustable rainfly that can be clipped up to the tent on hot days to keep the tent breezy, and you can easily pull fully down over the tent if it starts raining. 

Now MSR did get into a little trouble with their 2019 model as their newly patented system for helping the tent last longer by changing how the tent seams were connected ended up with waterproofing issues. But these have long since been fixed and the Hubba Hubba NX tent has returned to its former glory.

MSR has also thought about keeping your gear dry. The Hubba Hubba tent comes with two doors – handy when you’re with others. And over each door is a vestibule. We like keeping our gear and muddy shoes outside the tent but safe from torrential rain. 

The vestibules do also help circulate air inside the tent so that even when the rainfly is down, you don’t end up soaked through due to condensation.

It’s hard to find negatives with this tent. But if you’re planning to use the tent for casual car camping and just want something that will stand up to a bit of light rain, a cheaper option like the Coleman tent will suit you fine for a much lower price.

On the other hand, if you’re worried about potentially heavy rain or if you plan on taking the tent out backpacking, we highly recommend you check this tent out.


Best Budget Waterproof Tent

Teton Sports Mountain Ultra Tent (3/4 Person)

If youve got a tight budget and the Hubba Hubba is unaffordable, the TETON will keep you dry for a bargain price.
Overall:

Pros

  • Good waterproofing on the rainfly and floor
  • Full-length rainfly to deal with horizontal rain
  • Great value for money at a low price point

Cons

  • Some users have reported problems with the build quality
  • Heavy for a backpacking tent
  • 1 vestibule may be too few for backpacking couples

The TETON Sports Mountain Ultra tent comes in a 1, 2, 3 and 4 person capacity. 

The TETON tent shares many similarities with some of the other backpacking tents in this review. For instance, the 2-4 person models share the same 2 door setup as the Hubba Hubba tent.

And like the other backpacking tents, it comes with a full-length rainfly to keep away heavy rain (although no handy clip feature) and a mesh interior to help with ventilation.

But in a number of respects, it doesn’t quite match up to the Hubba Hubba tent. For starters, the TETON tent is 75% heavier than the MSR tent. 

Yes – you read that right! 

It’s clear there has been some cost cutting in the materials. Not that any of the materials are bad, debatably the thicker materials are slightly more durable. But these cheaper materials are certainly heavier and most backpackers would consider the 3 and 4 person TETON too heavy for backpacking.

It also does come with a vestibule, but only the one. This can be a bit on the tight side for space if you’re planning on keeping two large backpacks in the vestibule.

Finally, the build quality can be a little variable. I’ve had no issues personally but a few others have complained about tent poles breaking.

So why does this tent end up in second place? For the price, it’s an absolute steal. If you’re at the absolute budget end of backpacking and the Hubba Hubba tent is out of reach, then the TETON Sports Mountain tent has the essentials at a very reasonable price point.


Overall:

Pros

  • Full-length rainfly to deal with horizontal rain
  • A great waterproof tent for a group or family
  • Can handle chillier weather than other tents
  • 2 vestibules for storing gear
  • Loads of storage space with pockets and gear lofts

Cons

  • Some users have reported problems with the build quality
  • Far too heavy for backpacking – a car camping tent only
  • Extra insulation can lead to condensation problems in hot weather

The REI Co-op Base Camp tent comes in a 4 and 6 person model. It’s a roomy alternative to the backpacking tents in this list which are too cramped for groups or spreading out.

This is very much a car camping tent however. The six person tent weighs almost 21 lbs which is far too heavy for backpacking. But this is unsurprising given its size and choice of polyester fabric over ripstop nylon.

The REI co-op tent is unusual in its combination of both being a car camping tent and a tent that can handle heavy rain. It’s got plenty of room for most people to stand up in, with a peak height of 6 foot 2 inches (sorry tall people!). This can definitely help bring some additional comfort to the tent on camping trips. And if it does rain, you have more space to sit up and spread out.

It passes the waterproofing test and comes with a full-length rainfly and is the best tent in this list for when the weather starts getting a little chilly – it’s officially a 3-4 season tent.

However, this additional insulation which helps when it gets cold is not ideal for warm weather camping. The ventilation is not great and doesn’t match up to the mesh bodies of the MSR hubba hubba tent and the TETON tent. Beware of condensation issues if you fully zip up the rainfly on a hot day.

It does come with bundles of family friendly features for a waterproof tent though. The tent includes storage pockets and gear lofts hanging from the ceiling for plenty of space to store the family equipment. And the tent poles are color coded to help make the setup easier.

Overall, it’s rare to find a camping tent that can handle very heavy rain and the REI Co-op base camp tent is special in that regard. We wouldn’t recommend it at all for backpacking and you might want to consider one of the other camping tents for summer camping, but if you’re looking for a camping tent that can take a beating then this is the one.


Coleman Evanston Dome Tent with Screen Room (6/8 Person)

Standard camping tents wont hold up in very heavy rain. But if youre just expecting a bit of rain during summer camping, this Coleman will be just fine.
Overall:

Pros

  • Comes with a roomy screened porch to keep the bugs away
  • A good summer camping tent
  • Storage pockets for families
  • Very cheap

Cons

  • Poor performance in very heavy rain
  • Condensation can be an issue when the rainfly is pulled all the way down
  • Screened area can leak in water during rain
  • Will need additional waterproofing for peace of mind
  • Build quality is poor compared to the other tents
  • Too heavy for backpacking

The Coleman Evanston dome tent is a family classic from the well-respected brand Coleman. This tent comes in 6 person and 8 person models although these would more comfortably fit groups of 4 and 6 people respectively.

This Coleman tent comes with a huge screen room at the front. Ideal for sitting under on a sunny day to give you a bit of shade and protect you from the bugs. 

It also comes with a whole host of family friendly features. It’s got plenty of room on the inside, can fit two queen sized air beds if you’re looking for a bit of extra comfort and includes mesh storage pockets on the walls to keep flashlights, sunglasses and other gear handy.

However, this tent has the worst waterproofing in this review. Measuring this objectively is difficult since Coleman does not publish hydrostatic head ratings (i.e. waterproofing ratings) for any of their tents. Yes – not a single one!

But we know Coleman tents and we’ve heard thousands of similar stories that they can get a bit leaky in a heavy downpour. On top of this, the screen room is fully open with no way to shelter the side and stop the rain getting in.

So why did we include this tent in the review? Frankly, most campers don’t need a backpacking tent to deal with typical showers. If you’re just looking to head out camping in the summer and are facing a day or two of rain, then a tent like the Coleman Evanston will be fine.

We do recommend making a few preparations in advance if you’re facing heavy rain though. Firstly, you’ll want to bring along a tarp to wrap any gear that you want to keep in the screened tent. Preferably you should keep your gear in the car – and this definitely is a car camping tent coming in at 21 lbs for the 6 person tent.

Secondly, pick yourself up some tent waterproofing spray and give the tent two coats. Pay special attention to the seams as these are a classic spot for leaks. This will take a few hours of an afternoon.

And thirdly, make sure to set up the screened room facing away from the wind to help reduce the amount of water that builds up in the tent.

Overall do we recommend this tent? For heavy rain – no. Pick up the MSR Hubba Hubba if you’re expecting heavy showers or the REI Base Camp if you’re still wanting a group sized tent. But if you’re planning a bit of casual car camping during the summer, this Coleman tent is cheap and cheerful enough to work for you.


Buying guide to the best tents for heavy rain

There’s a lot of factors to consider when it comes to determining how waterproof a tent is. Some people are aware of hydrostatic head ratings, but this is only one part of the picture. 

Sticking a rainfly over a tent with poor ventilation will lead to an unpleasant indoor shower from the condensation that builds up over night. And a rainfly that only extends half way down the tent can lead to regrets when a heavy gust of wind leads to horizontal rain.

Tent waterproof rating (hydrostatic head)

The hydrostatic head rating is a measure of how water resistant the tent fabric is. In other words – it’s a waterproof rating. It measures how much water the tent can resist if you placed a column of water on the tent. This is why it is measured in millimeters.

The hydrostatic head rating of tents is measured when the tent is stretched taut as the surface tension gives the tent additional waterproofing. This is also why cheaper tents can start leaking water into the tent if you have gear touching the outer part of the tent, as the surface tension is broken and the waterproofing capabilities of the tent are reduced.

It’s not as simple as more is better for hydrostatic ratings. A standard umbrella has a hydrostatic head rating of around 450mm, so the MSR and TETON tents both far exceed this. And, even though the MSR tent has a lower hydrostatic rating, do remember that this is equivalent to the tent material withstanding a 1.2 meter column of water on top of it. Unless you’re camping in a river, this will be plenty.

Manufacturers tend to exceed the necessary waterproofing ratings as wear and tear – particularly from abrasion – can rub off the waterproof coatings over time and reduce the waterproofing of the tent. This is why tent floors often have much higher waterproof ratings while a rain fly often needs less waterproofing. And too much waterproofing can make tent fabrics more rigid and lead to poorer durability over time.

So despite the MSR Hubba Hubba tent having a lower waterproof rating for the rainfly, it will perform excellently in heavy rain AND last for ages.

TentRainfly waterproof ratingFloor waterproof rating
MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tent1200 mm3000 mm
TETON Sports Mountain Ultra Tent3000 mmN/A
REI Co-op Base Camp TentN/AN/A
Coleman Evanston Dome Tent with Screen Room (6/8 Person)N/AN/A

Wrapping up and keeping the rain away

If you’re wanting to avoid a night’s sleep in a very literal water bed, it’s a good idea to pick up a tent that can stand up to heavy rain.

And if you’re looking for the ultimate package – a waterproof tent that is super lightweight for easy carrying and keeps your gear dry too, we highly recommend the MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent.

Author at Wilderness Redefined camping website

James has been escaping to the outdoors for as long as he can remember. This first started in family camping trips but soon turned into adventure camps and hiking through the Scottish Hebrides. Now he has turned towards trying to make camping more comfortable and accessible.