The 6 Best Kayaking Tents For Kayak Camping & How To Pick

by Jason | Last Updated:   April 11th, 2022
The 6 Best Kayaking Tents For Kayak Camping & How To Pick


You’ve just got your new kayak, and now it’s time to go on some kayak camping trips. The problem is you don’t have a tent to take with you.

A tent is an essential piece of kit for camping… In fact, it’s probably the most important thing you can take with you. And that’s why you need to make sure you get the best kayaking tent for the journey.

So, to help you out on your journey, I want to spend a few minutes talking about the best kayaking tents and what you need to look out for.

Sound good?

Great, let’s get started:

IN A HURRY? HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS…

Reviewing The 6 Best Kayaking Tents

ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 2-Person Tent

One of the best things about the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx Tent series is how straightforward it is to set up. It comes with two freestanding aluminum poles, making it extremely simple to put together.

It’s also extremely weatherproof. They claim it to be a three-season tent, which means it can withstand most weather variables; this is thanks to the 75D 185T poly taffeta floor and a polyester fly that protects the tent by resisting water and UV damage.

I also really enjoyed the storage options that came with the tent. They included a series of mesh storage pockets for quick access to your valuables. And they also added a gear loft which helps save floor space.

Overall, the tent is extremely lightweight, making it easier to carry around with you. It also packed down small, so it didn’t take too much room in the kayak. And finally, there were no problems setting it up; it’s a simple case of adding two poles.

Pros
  • Considering how well the tent performs, it’s exceptionally well priced, making it a great purchase.
  • The tent is well-sized, there’s more than enough room for two people, and it wasn’t challenging to get changed inside the tent.
  • It provides a lot of ventilation which is great when camping in hot or humid locations.
Cons
  • The vestibules are pretty small, so you can’t store much gear inside them, which might be a deal-breaker for some.

Coleman Dome Tent 4-Person Tent

If you’re looking for a tent that sets up quickly, the Coleman Skydome is an excellent option. After getting used to set up the tent a few times, you can get it down to a 5-minute setup, which is thanks to the pre-attached poles. 

Another great feature of the Coleman Skydome is that it can block 90% of the sunlight from coming inside. I hate being woken up in the morning due to too much sunlight, but this tent really helped prevent that from happening.

It was also great to see how roomy the inner tent was; the near-vertical walls alone provided 20% more headroom when compared to other dome tents. On top of that, they added a vestibule big enough to sleep one person comfortably, which is more than enough room for your gear.

Overall the tent is excellent; it’s got plenty of room and a few amazing features. But, it’s only a one-season tent, so it’s only suitable for summer use. It’s also pretty heavy, so it’s not something you want to carry around with you.

Pros
  • It’s very dark in the morning, so you can relax in bed for longer without being woken up by the sunrise.
  • The vestibule is protected with mesh, so it remains cool in the heat but keeps the pesky mosquitoes out.
  • It only takes about five minutes to set up, so you get to spend more time enjoying your camping experience.
Cons
  • The tent is pretty heavy, so you might find it quite tricky if you plan to carry it long distances.
  • It’s only a one-season tent, so you can only use it in warm weather, which could be limiting for some people.

Coleman Sundome 2-Person Tent 

It’s another addition by Coleman that’s made the list. The Coleman Sundome is a two-person tent that takes around 10 minutes to set up. They wanted it to be easy to put together so you could spend more time enjoying your camping trip.

They also designed it to be very weather-resistant, thanks to their WeatherTec System. The floors have been welded, and the seams have been inverted, which helps you stay dry when the weather turns.

Considering the tent only holds two people, it still feels exceptionally large on the inside. It’s 48” tall from the center, which gives you plenty of room to get changed. The downside is there’s not much storage space.

Overall it’s a great two-person tent and comes at an excellent price, so it’s great for someone on a budget. It’s even a three-season tent, which means you can use it for most of the year without feeling cold.

Pros
  • The tent is very well ventilated, which keeps you cool and reduces the build-up of mildew in your tent.
  • It’s incredibly cheap, which makes it a fantastic option for anyone that needs a tent on a budget.
  • It’s very weatherproof, so you won’t have any issues when the weather starts getting a little bit rough.
Cons
  • The storage bag feels a little too small, making it incredibly hard to get everything back inside. 

Clostnature Lightweight 2-Person Tent 

If you’re looking for a tent that can keep you warm all through the year, then this Clostnature lightweight tent is your best option. It has a four-season rating which means it can handle all weather conditions.

Not only can it withstand all weather variants, but it’s also extremely lightweight, which makes it incredibly easy to carry around with you.

One thing I like about this tent is how large the space feels inside. You’ll have no problem sleeping with two people or getting changed inside. But the best feature is how small it packs down, leaving you with more space inside your kayak.

Overall, this is a brilliant tent for people that spend their time in cooler climates and don’t want a big hefty tent taking up too much room inside their kayak.

Pros
  • It’s one of the best tents on the market considering the low price. It’s exceptionally well built and keeps you warm.
  • Considering how small the tent is, it’s surprisingly large when you put it up.
  • The snow shield successfully keeps the snow and cold out of your tent.
Cons
  • There’s not much storage space, making it more of a one-person tent if you have a lot of gear.

Featherstone Backpacking Lightweight 2-Person Tent

The Featherstone Backpacking tent is relatively lightweight, making them easy to transport and carry. It also works well in three different seasons, which means you can use the tent most of the year.

The weatherproofing is down to the seam-taped construction, preventing water from seeping into the tent. And on the floor, they designed it with a bathtub shape to raise the bottom off the floor and avoid leakage.

To make things better, they use a single aluminum pole structure, making it a lot easier to set up and put down. Not only that, but it makes it easier to relocate the tent without having to disassemble the tent.

Overall the tent is pretty good. It was straightforward to set up and didn’t weigh too much, making it easy to carry. The downside is there’s not much storage space, so if you’re traveling with a lot of gear, this tent might not suit you.

Pros
  • It’s incredibly lightweight and made with robust materials, so you don’t have to worry about sticking it in your backpack.
  • It’s a three-season tent and stays reasonably warm in cold weather, so it’s pretty good all year round.
  • The weatherproofing worked very well even when it was pouring down with rain; nothing slipped inside.
Cons
  • It’s pretty hard to get back inside the carry bag.
  • There’s plenty of room for two people but not much room for your gear.

Marmot Crane Creek 2-Person Tent

One of the best things about the Marmot Crane Creek is how lightweight the tent is. The tent only weighs 4.8 lbs and packs down extremely small, so it’s not going to take up too much room in your kayak.

I also really liked the weatherproofing that’s featured in the tent. They seam-taped the rainfly, which helps to protect you from the elements when things get worth outside.

It’s also designed to provide room throughout the tent. They featured dual D-shaped doors, which allowed two people to enter the tent. And inside the tent, you have plenty of room for storage and for two people to sleep.

Overall, it’s an excellent tent for anyone looking for a lightweight tent that can pack down small enough not to take up too much room in your kayak.

Pros
  • The setup is straightforward, so you don’t have to spend too much time messing around with the instructions.
  • The rain fly handles common rainstorms exceptionally well, so you never get wet.
  • The dual vestibules were incredible at storing your gear and gave you extra room inside your tent.
Cons
  • Some people have claimed the tent came to them damaged out of the box, so it’s something to watch.

Our Top Choice

Above I’ve given you six of the best kayaking tents to choose from, and if I’m honest, they all perform very well.

But, if I had to choose one, it would have to be the Clostnature Lightweight tent. It performs excellently in all weather conditions, thanks to its four-season rating.

It was also incredibly lightweight and packed down small, so you could also use it as a backpacking tent if you need to. 

I was also pretty happy with how much space it provides inside for two people. The downside was there wasn’t a lot of storage space. If you have a lot of gear, I’d use this tent as one person.

If you want to know how to choose the best kayaking tents, then don’t go anywhere.

Or, if you want some more information about camping in your kayak, then check out our kayak camping checklist, or you could check out the best kayak for camping multiple days.

How To Choose The Best Tent For Kayak Camping

I’ve given you some great options when it comes to the best kayaking tents. But how do you choose between them? 

Well, in this section, I’m going to be talking you through everything you need to know when it comes to making your decision. This way, you won’t be left out in the cold with a tent that’s not fit for purpose.

So, let’s take a look at some of the top considerations:

Price

When it comes to outdoor gear, you get what you pay for, and the same goes for kayaking tents. If you go for the more affordable tent, you might end up disappointed with the quality and durability of the tent.

And this ends up one way, a freezing night and spending more money on a new one.

That being said, everyone has a budget they need to stick to, which is why you have to plan ahead. 

If you need to go for a cheaper kayak camping tent, your best option is to check out the reviews and see what other people’s experiences are with the tent.

Another thing to look out for is the supplier’s warranty on the tent. This way, if it does break, you know you’re covered.

Capacity

One of the most important things you need to think about is the tent’s capacity. And to be honest, the capacity usually comes down to personal preference and how much space you need in the tent.

Some people like to travel with a lot of gear when they’re on a kayak or canoe camping trip, which means a one-person tent isn’t going to cut it. The extra space will allow you to store more equipment and be comfortable.

The other thing you need to think about is how many people you will be with. If you’re by yourself most of the time, you’re not going to need a 4-person tent.

Pack Size & Weight

If you’re camping in a canoe or kayak, how much the tent weighs might not be too much of an issue; after all, you’re not going to be carrying very far.

That being said, if you plan to go backpacking with the tent, you’re going to need to think about how heavy it is.

But, the one thing you will have to think hard about is the pack size. Kayaks don’t always have a lot of space inside. So, if the tent doesn’t pack down small, it will take a lot of space from your kayak, which you could use to store more camping gear.

Season Rating

The season rating tells you what type of weather your tent can deal with. And the good thing is, most people that go kayak camping won’t ever need a four-season tent, which is good for your wallet.

That is unless you’re venturing into Alaska or somewhere else notoriously cold.

For me, I tend to go for a three-season tent. It will give you enough protection for most of the year, which means you won’t need to buy a new tent.

One-season tents are okay, but you can only use them when the weather is out. If you try to use them in Autumn, you’re going to have a terrible experience.

How To Pack A Kayak For Camping

Most people think they can just put whatever they want in the kayak in whatever order they feel like, but this isn’t the best cause of action.

If the kayak isn’t packed correctly, you’ll find it very difficult to control due to the unbalanced kayak. And that’s not something you want on your kayaking trip.

Ideally, the heavier items should be placed in the middle of the kayak, preferably just behind the seat; this would be things like food. 

The lighter equipment like your sleeping bag and clothes should be towards the ends. Everything needs to be packed down low and centered from side to side to help keep the kayak stable.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Kayak Camping?

Kayak camping is an adventure that gives you the best of camping and kayaking in one fantastic experience. It allows you to get out on the water for the day and away from the stress of daily life. 

Once you’ve finished on the water, you get the chance to eat dinner and sleep in the wild under the stars.

When Kayak Camping Do You Put Your Tent Poles In A Dry Bag?

It’s not completely necessary to separate your tent poles from your tent, but it can help. If your tent gets wet, so will the poles, which will start the rusting process.

And this is why many people like to separate the tent poles and place them in a dry bag; this way, they don’t get wet.

Hey, my name's Jason, and before I was a writer, I worked as an outdoor activity instructor where I took groups kayaking and camping. Now I use my personal experiences to share tips and tricks I've learned over the years. For as long as I can remember, I've been passionate about the outdoors, and now I want to share that passion with my readers.