10 Best Kayaking Tents Reviews|Lightweight and Compact

10 best kayaking tents

Hi, kayak enthusiasts, we are back again with another Outdoor Stuff Guide for you who want to enjoy a nice camping night under the stars with a lightweight tent that you can load on your vessel. Just to let you know an ordinary tent will not be the best solution because you will need a lightweight, waterproof and easy-to-set-up tent. Hence, our group tested and reviewed 26 tents and now we are able to compile this guide with the best kayaking tents that will fit your paddle needs. 

Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Tent for Kayak Camping

best kayaking tents

Who says that you cannot take your tent with you on a kayaking trip? Of course, it is something different than backpacking and this may be new to you, but nothing is impossible. Imagine visiting different camping sites with your kayak and enjoying nature in different locations. Whether you have a fishing kayak or a recreational kayak, you probably have enough space to take your tent and some supplies with you.

It goes without saying that you cannot bring a huge tent but a one, or a two-person tent would be ideal in this case. If you have a tandem kayak you have to get a two-person tent. 

To our way of thinking, waterproofing is a factor that every paddler should seriously take into consideration. All tents are waterproof but not all can withstand a heavy rainfall! 

Let’s go through our buying guide to help you pick the best kayaking tents without spending an insane amount of time online. 

Picking the Best Kayaking Tent According to Your Needs

Table of Contents

Firstly, kayaking is much different than other outdoor activities and you have to come up against harsh weather conditions, humidity, cold, and damp. If you take a closer look at the available tents on the market they are not all suitable for kayakers because some of them are not waterproof or they are too heavy for your vessel. 

Consequently, you have to look for specific key points before you order one. The key factors that we will analyze are waterproofness, setup, capacity, and weight. The best kayaking tents should follow our guidelines. Please take a look below.

Waterproofness-Material| Water Resistance Ratings

Undoubtedly, with so many options out there and so much technical language, it is almost impossible to choose the right waterproof tent. We have done really good research before compiling this guide. Waterproof ratings can be confusing.

Waterproofing is usually presented with numbers like 1200mm or 2000mm. So, what are these numbers?

In a few words, the number stands for the amount of rain before the material stops to be waterproof and the unit of measurement is mm(millimeters). 

Another thing that you should definitely keep in mind is tent material. You should pay close attention to this factor because some tents are made of materials that absorb rain-water and become really heavy! 

You should choose nylon or polyester tents and definitely avoid canvas cotton tents. Of course, each material has pros and cons but since you are a paddle you will need a nylon tent and preferably a UV resistant material. Nylon is also extremely lightweight. 

What is Hydrostatic Head-Waterproof Rating Explained

Hydrostatic head is how waterproof your tent material is and it is measured in mm. Let’s look into the details.

Imagine that we have a small square of tent material and we place a glass tube on the top with a hollow bottom. Look at the infographics below it will help you create the image in your mind. On the tube, we mark out an mm (millimeter) scale from 1000 up to 5000. We start pouring water into that tube and we keep going until the material leaks. This is the hydrostatic head! How much water can the material hold until it starts leaking. For example,e if we fill it with water and it will start leak after 3000m, we can assume that the material is up to 3000mm waterproof. 

So, you probably believe that a 5000mm tent is better than a 3000mm, but this perception is wrong. Waterproofness also depends on the material and the number of layers. Most tents have double layers and also feature welded corners to protect you from the rain and we ground. Generally speaking, a 3000mm tent will definitely keep you dry. 

hydrostatic head

Tent Capacity| Tandem or Solo

Since you are looking for the best kayaking tents you have two or three choices. If you are traveling alone you should choose a one-person tent which is a compact choice or a two-person if you are traveling with a friend. On the other hand, if you need more space you could choose a three-person tent but you should always take weight into consideration. 

A three-person tent can be really heavy 5.0 lbs up to 5.6 lbs. and we would not recommend such a big tent if you have an inflatable vessel. Honestly, hard-shell kayaks are more stable and they can handle more weight. In our review section, we included 1,2, and 3 person tents so you can choose according to your needs. 

Our last option, is a pop-up tent which we recommend for those you have a one-person kayak with a large storage space due to the bulky construction.

Pack Weight VS Trail Weight

This is probably the most important thing that every paddler should consider. You have to take into consideration that you will move from one camp location to another and you need only some essential stuff on your vessel that does not weigh you down. 

If you have a sit-on-top kayak it will be more difficult to carry a heavy tent because they are more unstable than sit-in yaks. Overall, the best kayaking tents should be lightweight and also come with a transportation bag. 

When it comes to selecting the perfect kayaking setup, figuring out how much space you need can be tricky. Before you select any tent, you should know your kayak weight limits and also consider the other stuff that you would like to pack (cookware, sleeping bag, fishing gear, extra clothing). 

The truth is that all brands use different terminology when it comes to weight and most brands refer to weight as “pack weight” or “packed weight” or “trail weight”. 

  • Packed or Pack Weight: This term includes all components of your tent like stakes, poles, mesh, cover.
  • Trail Weight: Trail weight includes the minimum weight of your actual tent without any poles or stakes. 


The most realistic terminology is packed weight. No matter how light your tent is, you should always check that your weight, your tent weight, and your stuff weight does not exceed the kayak’s weight limit.

Tent Setup

After a long paddling day, you just want to throw your tent in an open place, get into your tent, stretch out, and enjoy the evening. However, if you have a tent that needs hours of setup, your camping expedition will turn into a nightmare. Hence, you should choose a tent that needs only a few minutes to set it up or an auto-setup tent also known as pop up tents. 

The best kayaking tents feature a simple construction and frame (mostly free-standing frame) with only two poles and a few stakes. The tents we listed out sport a quick installation. Exhaustion is not the only problem sometimes. Harsh weather conditions could make your trip a nightmare as well. 

So, you probably believe, why I just don’t pick a pop- up tent? Hm, good question but a pop-up tent has multiple downfalls. First of all, the fold up to a bulky carry bag-shape and it is not really convenient to store in your kayak unless you have a sit-in kayak or a mesh storage space. 

Another thing that we don’t like about pop-up tents is that they are not as waterproof as normal tents. On the other hand, pop-up tents have less gear so you will not forget any part somewhere. 

10 Best Kayaking Tents Tested and Reviewed by Experts

When you go out to buy a tent, there are many aspects that you should keep in mind before you select the perfect tent. You cannot just grab any tent you see. You will have to read the specifications and features one-by-one and analyze this information according to your needs. However, we know that this could take hours so we tested some products for you and listed out the 10 best of them. 

We will go through these reviews which are based on our detailed buying guide above. Let’s dive in.

1.TETON Sports Quick Tent Rainfly Included

Key Features

  • Locking Hub 
  • Breathable Mesh
  • 4.6 lbs one-person-6.3 two-person
  • Lightweight
  • Improved Pole System
  • Includes Rainfly
  • One or Two person tent



The first option on our best kayaking tents list is the Teton Pop Up tent which comes in three colors and also includes a clip-on rainfly to keep you dry if it rains. This tent is designed for everyone who wants a quick adventure with his/her kayak. The tent is not only waterproof but also breathable thanks to the innovative mesh cover. 

Personally I love the fact that the tent’s top is full of mesh so you can enjoy a nice camping night under the stars. Moreover, you will not have to worry about getting wet because the package includes a waterproof rainfly (1200mm) that fully extends to the ground. 

The pack weight for the one-person tent is 4.6 lbs and for the two-person tent, it is 6.3 lbs. Hence, they are both lightweight and we can ensure you that it will not affect the stability of your kayak. 


  • Lightweight (both options)
  • Sturdy Material
  • 1200mm waterproof
  • You can camp under the stars


  • The zipper could be more durable
  • Tall people could find the tent too short

2.Bessport Camping Tent Green.Grey or Orange

Key Features

  • Ultralight  4.4 lbs
  • Reinforced floor material
  • Includes convenient transportation bag 
  • Spacious Interior
  • High-quality material protects you from heat or cold
  • Durable Zipper
  • 3000mm waterproof
  • One Person Tent



We chose to include this tent in the list with the best kayaking tents because it is a VFM choice for every paddle who needs a tent that will last many years. The spacious interior is very convenient as the interior floor dimensions are 87.8 x 33.5in which is more than enough for one person. 

You can set it up in less than 2 minutes thanks to the pre-attached poles. Surprisingly, this tent is thermally heat-sealed and also wind resistant. Even during harsh weather conditions, you will not face any problems. 

Lastly, we also liked the fact that this tent sports an excellent ventilation system. The upper mesh panels which are not too high and not too low in order to give you the privacy you need without sacrificing fresh air. 


  • Incredible ventilation system
  • Roomy design ven for one person
  • Affordable
  • Easy Set-Up
  • Reverse Stitching to keep water out of the tent
  • Absolutely Waterproof


  • The bag can wear out after some years

3.MOON LENCE Camping Tent 1 and 2 Person Backpacking Tent


Key Features

  • 190T PU material
  • 2000mm waterproof
  • Uv Resistant
  • 5.2 lbs 
  • Two doors
  • Floor Size 86.6*55.1in
  • 2-Person Tent



This tent is slightly heavier than the other options on our list, but it is a two-person tent with huge space and multiple mesh storage. The reinforced stitching makes it more durable and it is also 2000mm waterproof. 

We would recommend this tent for every outdoor enthusiast who needs a tent for almost all seasons of the year. There is enough space for two people and what I liked the most is the protective rainfly which covers the tent and protects you from moisture or rain. 


  • Transportation bag which fits in every kayak
  • Protective and waterproof rainfly
  • Aluminum poles
  • 2 D-shaped doors
  • Affordable price especially for a 2-person tent
  • Excellent 190T PU material


  • Slightly heavy
  • Takes a bit more than 10 minutes to set up

4. BFULL Camping Tent Double Layer Family Tent

Key Features

  • 5.73 lbs weight
  • Absolutely Waterproof 3000mm
  • Excellent Customer BFULL service
  • Airflow inside the tent
  • Inner mesh which keeps the insects out and fresh air in
  • 2-3-person tent



Undoubtedly, there is nothing more beautiful than camping under the stars, moving from one campsite to another with your kayak and enjoying different activities like fishing or bird-watching. Thanks to the BFULL tent your dreams will come true because it is the best option for every outdoor fan. It is a high-quality mesh tent with a durable rainfly and a convenient carry bag. 
It is perfect for two or three campers and fully weather-protected. The fact that it is a roomy tent makes it great for everyone who hates small tents. Personally, I need some space to stretch out.

Furthermore, it might be a big tent but it is not heavy if you consider that it is made for up to three people. The poles are made of fiberglass which is a light and durable material. It is a great tent for 3 season use and what I liked the most was the strong zippers and the inner pockets where you can store your smartphone, keys or fishing gear. 


  • Roomy Tent
  • Easy set up within a few minutes
  • Full Mesh lets fresh air come in and insects out
  • Budget tent


  • Floor is quite thin



Key Features

  • 2000m floor coating
  • Mesh pocket above your head
  • 4 lbs packed weight
  • Half-mesh design
  • Reinforced Rainfly
  • Able to withstand bad weather conditions
  • One-person tent



Our next selection is the ALPS tent which is the best kayaking tent for one person. It features a free-standing design and also offers an overhead storage pocket so you can grab quickly things like your smartphone. 

Another thing we liked is the 75D 185T poly taffeta floor that will protect you from wet surfaces. Enjoy a nice kayaking and camping expedition with the right gear. If you are looking to invest in a tent that will last many years, you should definitely consider the ALPS one-person tent.

Whether you are kayaking or backpacking, you will need something lightweight and the total weight of this tent is 4 lbs. Additionally, the package comes with a rainfly for full weather protection. When we tested this tent we were hit by a harsh rainstorm and thankfully this tent protected us. 


  • Sturdy frame
  • Hard taffeta floor
  • Lightweight for kayaking and backpacking
  • Extraordinary design lets you stretch out


  • Slightly expensive for someone who needs a budget tent

6. FLYTOP 1-2 PERSON Backpacking Traveling Tent


Key features

  • 5.9 lbs weight
  • 4-season tent
  • Windproof and waterproof 35000mm
  • Floor Dimensions 59 x 83 in
  • Nice blue color which reflects light
  • 1-person tent



The FLYTOP tent is the best kayaking tent when it comes to winter trips! The sturdy construction and 210T PU3500MM anti-tear rainfly covers the tent and makes it absolutely waterproof and creates a barrier during you and the outdoor conditions. If you are looking for a budget tent, you should take a closer look at this option.

In addition, the floor is 4000mm waterproof so you don’t have to worry about leaks or punctures caused by rocks. It is a simple construction and the package contains 8 aluminum pegs, 2 wind ropes, the tent, the rainfall, and the carry bag. Whether you have a hard shell or inflatable kayak, the tent’s weight will not affect your vessel’s stability. 


  • Bargain Tent
  • Waterproof 
  • Easy to set up due to the simple construction and design
  • Built-in storage pockets
  • Noticeable color so you can be spotted during the night


  • Low quality poles

7.Coleman Sundome Tent 2 Person

Key Features

  • Weatherproof
  • Excellent if you are camping during severe winds
  • Maximum airflow
  • Sports E-Ports
  • Incredible Price
  • Reliable Brand
  • 1-Year Warranty (limited)



Without any doubt, the list’s number one option with the best kayaking tents is the Coleman Sundome. It is a two-one-person tent and we had the privilege to test it first. The outstanding durability makes it the perfect tent for every outdoor enthusiast. 

First of all, the corners of the tent are welded and the frame is able to withstand 35 plus mph winds. It is covered by a 1-year warranty but I am are that this tent will last for years. For enhanced airflow, the tent sports big doors and you can even bring electricity within the tent thanks to the E-Ports. 


  • Easy access to electricity cords
  • Excellent Ventilation
  • Reinforced Floor
  • Sturdy Frame
  • Budget-tent
  • Fits 1 queen size air bed


  • Could have more pockets inside

8.Winterial Easy Set Up tent Orange


Key Features

  • 4.4 lbs weight
  • 2 Person tent
  • Roomy interior
  • Pack Dimensions: 23.8 x 4.4 x 4.1 inches
  • Compact design when folded makes it perfect for kayaking



Are you looking for the best kayaking tents? Do you need a three-season tent that will fulfill your needs? If yes, you should take a closer look at the Winterial tent which is similar to the Coleman Sundome tent but slightly better. 

You can use the tent all year long thanks to the sturdy rainfly which will protect you from wind, heat, and rain. The package includes two aluminum poles and four metal stakes. It offers superb ventilation thanks to the large mesh doors. You can also get a nice footprint sold by the same company to extend your tent’s lifetime but believe me it is not necessary since it is made of high-quality materials. 

Setting up the tent takes about 10 minutes and you will not have to put extra effort. We know that after a long kayaking trip, you just want to take a short nap or relax in your tent. Furthermore, the rainfly features two side openings which let fresh air come in even during heavy rain. 



  • Extremely Lightweight 
  • Roomy Tent
  • Beautiful Design
  • Orange color 
  • Solid zippered doors


  • Slightly expensive

9.Coleman Dome Tent

Key Features

  • Block lights almost completely
  • Roomy Tent for two-three people
  • DIMENSIONS: 9 x 7 ft. with 4 ft. 11 in
  • 1-Year Warranty
  • Sturdy Frame able to withstand strong winds
  • Convenient transportation bag
  • Reliable Brand



Our top pick if you are searching for a family tent that has ample storage while being lightweight like a feather. What I liked the most is the fact that the upper material blocks the sunlight 90% so you can enjoy a nice morning. Personally, I hate when there is direct sunlight in the morning and I need a good sleep before I start kayaking again. 

Even more interesting is that the corners are totally sealed to protect you from rain and the wet floor and the mainframe supports clips to secure the rainfly. Moreover, if you like camping during the summer and you hate when the tent heats like an oven you can always take a portable air condition or connect it to a power supply through the e-ports! Click here if you want to learn more about camping air conditioners. 


  • E-Ports
  • Outstanding Ventilation
  • Protects you from the sunlight
  • Ground vent and two windows


  • Expensive tent

10.Portable Pop Up Super Quick Set Up


Key Features

  • Auto Setup Tent
  • Pack Weight 4.4 lbs
  • Guarantee
  • Carry bag
  • 1-2-person tent



Our last choice is one of the best kayaking tents when it comes to set up speed! The tent opens up in a few seconds and you are ready to crawl in and relax. No stakes, no poles, just a simple tent! 

So you are exploring different campsites and you find a nice place. The only thing that you have to do is unzip, throw the tent, and the tent opens!

This is by far the most convenient tent for a paddler and we would also recommend it for beginners. Another fact that we liked is that you have to carry less gear. Being a paddler myself, I’ve forgotten multiple times a stake in the ground and left the campsite. The material is high-quality nylon and there are also two mesh windows to enhance the airflow within the tent. 


  • Quick Setup
  • Breathable Tent
  • Less Gear (no poles, no stakes, no pegs)
  • Excellent Price
  • High-quality nylon


  • Not suitable for heavy rain
  • Folds to a round carry bag which is not really convenient for kayakers unless you have a mesh storage space 

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

Q: Is a 3000mm tent more waterproof than a 2000mm tent?

A: Technically yes, but waterproofing also depends on the tent material. Sometimes a tent with a low hydrostatic head rating can be better than a tent with a high rating. Some tent companies just test the upper layer of the tent (rainfly) and totally ignore the floor and corners. If you want a really good waterproof tent you should look for a 2500mm-3000mm rating with sealed corners and a reinforced floor. 

Q: What is the perfect tent weight for a paddler?

A: If you are a solo paddler, a 4.0 lbs-4.6 lbs tent will be the best option. Consider that you will also have to pack some cookware, clothes, food and you should never exceed the kayak weight limit. 

Q: My tent has a weird smell. How can I get rid of it?

A: Since you are a kayaker you know that you have to dry out your gear before storing it. If you camped during rain and packed your tent without air drying it, it is highly possible that moisture developed on the walls of your tent. Remember always to dry out your tent. Personally, after every kayak trip, I rinse my tent and let it dry before putting it back in the carry bag.

Q: Should I select a tent with a rainfly?

A: It goes without saying that a sturdy rainfly will not only protect your tent from heavy rain but also create a barrier between you and the wind. Another fact that you should definitely consider is that the rainfly will extend the lifetime of your tent. You don’t have to choose an expensive tent for your camping trip. Just take a look at our options above. 

Final Verdict-Best Kayaking Tents

Finally, we can ensure you that with these options you will experience the best camping adventures without facing any problems. We cannot choose the best option for you because it depends on many factors like kayak capacity, weight, or conditions. However, the editor’s choice if you are looking for a one-person tent is the ALPS Mountaineering LYNX tent which is really durable and also waterproof.

The best kayaking tents are listed above. 

Camping also depends on the campsite you are going to visit. If you click here, you will find some of the best US Campsites for every taste. 

It is not all about the gear, enjoying nature is the most important part. We are here to test different outdoor stuff for you and you can simply enjoy your trips! We are testing the products and not just writing reviews. if you have any questions about a product, please do not hesitate to ask us. We would be more than happy to help you.

best kayaking tents