Which tunnel tents are best?
Regardless if you’re going camping, backpacking or to a festival, the most important tool in your kit is a tunnel tent. The difficult part is determining which tent suits your needs.
Tunnel tents are an excellent option for those camping with family, friends or people who want a little bit of extra space. These tents are aptly named due to their tunnel-like structure once they’re pitched and set up.
If you’re looking for a perfectly spacious, aerodynamic and durable cover to keep you warm, check out the Snow Peak Amenity Dome Tent.
What to know before you buy a tunnel tent
Nature is finicky and can change from a bright, sunny forecast to heavy gale winds in a matter of minutes. That’s why many campers insist on using tunnel tents on their trips.
In addition to their durable structure, tunnel tents also have excellent ventilation due to their tubular shape. That supports appropriate air circulation to help prevent condensation from forming into ice in cold weather.
To make your tunnel tent as wind-proof as possible, you must set it up in the direction of the wind. If possible, look for an area with enough shelter to hide your tent from any windbreaks. In situations where you have to set it up in an open area, pitch your tent parallel to the direction of the wind.
On top of that, ensure all stakes are firmly in the ground, there is a minimum of two guy lines to heavy, immovable objects and that all sides of the tent are touching the ground. Tunnel tents are straightforward to set up, and taking a few extra minutes to ensure it’s secure and in the right direction can prevent a disaster on a sudden windy night.
Rain can also present a problem with tunnel tents, with heavy rain potentially causing the water to pool in undesirable areas. However, it’s possible to mitigate this risk by looking for a tunnel tent that comes with a rainfly.
One of the reasons many campers prefer tunnel tents is because of the enormous amount of headroom and liveable space. That means you can get up in the middle of the night without tripping over other people.
The best tunnel tents are large enough to stand up in and even accommodate chairs, cots and a table.
Type of camping
The best tunnel tents are lightweight, making them possible to use on backpacking adventures, but the most spacious ones are too heavy to drag along on more than car-camping trips.
In general, when you go backpacking, it’s best to have the tent weigh no more than 3kg per person. However, when tunnel tents are made to accommodate large items like tables, chairs and cots, it makes sense to use them for car-camping trips where you know you’ll be in one spot the entire time.
What to look for in a quality tunnel tent
Most quality tunnel tents come with a rainfly. This is a vital piece of equipment that helps regulate airflow while avoiding condensation. Camping trips with good weather don’t necessarily require a rainfly, but having one on hand is always to your advantage.
Flooring and vestibule
In most tents, the heaviest, water-proof portion is the floor. Typically the flooring extends a few inches off the sides to help keep water out without requiring a special tarp to stay dry.
Tunnel tents differ from backpacking ones because of the large vestibule. These tents have separate sleeping and living areas where campers can store dirty shoes, bags, chairs and anything else they don’t want dirtying up their sleeping space.
Headspace and poles
One of the most uncomfortable things about camping in standard tents is bending or crawling just to get inside. Tunnel tents provide the perfect solution by being large enough for the average person to walk in like they are walking through convenience store doors. While taller folks may have to slightly duck, they won’t be subject to bowing to get inside.
Also, consider the materials used for the tent poles. The more affordable options will have fiberglass poles, while the higher-end ones are made from aluminum or carbon. This is important when you consider the durability and how they’ll last over time and under rough weather conditions.
Fiberglass poles are heavier than their counterparts while not providing the same amount of durability. The best choice if you plan on camping in windy weather is to find a tunnel tent that comes with carbon poles. However, that might be overkill if you’re camping in your backyard.
How much you can expect to spend on tunnel tents
Depending on the size, you can expect to spend $150-$800 for a quality tunnel tent.
Best tunnel tents FAQ
What are the benefits of tunnel tents?
A. There are numerous benefits to tunnel tents, but people buy them because of the spacious width and height, durability in heavy winds and overall versatility.
Can I find a free-standing tunnel tent?
A. If you search long enough, you might come across a free-standing tunnel tent. However, the majority must be staked down like other types. Some free-standing tunnel tents work by having a couple of ridge poles create tension to make the self-supporting structure.
What’s the best tunnel tent to buy?
Top tunnel tent
What you need to know: This dome tent is perfect for families of four that plan on camping in any weather condition.
What you’ll love: The Snow Peak Amenity Dome Tent features a full-coverage fly to keep out water with multiple entrances so everyone can get a good night’s rest without waking each other up. There are also two full vestibules to accommodate any indoor dining furniture and to store dirty shoes and bags.
What you should consider: This tent can’t comfortably accommodate more than two adults and two children at one time.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top tunnel tent for the money
What you need to know: This Coleman tent hits it out of the park for families or groups to enjoy nature while keeping the bugs out.
What you’ll love: The key advantage of this tent is that it features a screened porch so everyone can sit and enjoy nature without feeling cooped up in the tent and avoid unnecessary bug bites.
What you should consider: While it is spacious, it’s heavier than most tunnel tents.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This large family-friendly tent is perfect for groups requiring large amounts of space, a quick setup and separate rooms.
What you’ll love: The Ferrino Flow 4 features inflatable beams instead of poles, making it one of the easiest three-person tents to pitch. There are also three separate rooms, so everyone has their own sense of privacy, making it a true home away from home.
What you should consider: The Ferrino Flow 4 is on the pricier end of tunnel tents.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Christopher Lee writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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