While camping in the rain can be super annoying at times, the sound of rain bouncing of a taut tent rainfly is music to the ears. If only it would stick to raining at nighttime.
But unfortunately, many tents are geared up to handle heavy rain and whats even worse is that some manufacturers label these tents as water resistant only to discover once it’s too late that the tent leaks like a sieve.
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Which is why I have listed some of the best rain proof tents available on the market. To help you avoid the quite frustrating experience of having to gather your gear inside a tent that is leaking water everywhere. Especially being an 8 man tent. Kids are usually involved with tents of this size which makes the experience that much worse.
Before I reveal my list of the top rated waterproof 8 person tents, lets have a quick look at what you should look for when buying a tent that’s designed to repel rain, not welcome it in.
What To Look For When Buying A Tent For Rainy Conditions
It’s the little things that often get overlooked when buying a tent for the first time. These little things are what makes the tent so resilient to rain and water. So if your sole purpose is to buy a 8 person tent with the intention of camping in the rain, it’s critical you understand these little details. These include:
- Rainfly: The top coat if you will which covers the tent. This is designed to keep rain and water from pooling up on your tent. Most 2/3 season tents have mesh ceilings and some tents don’t come with a rainfly at all. So make sure you’re 100% confident the tent comes with a rainfly.
- The Tent Flooring: One of the most overlooked feature which is often referred to as a tent’s bathtub flooring system, or tub flooring. This is when the floor of the tent comes up about 6 inches up the walls of the tent. This stops water and moisture on the ground flowing into the seams where the walls meet the floor.
- Waterproof Rating: A tent’s rainfly, floor and seams will have a waterproof rating. This is often labelled as PU numberMM. The number followed by the MM means how thick the coating of waterproofing agent is. The cheaper tents will often have 1000mm coatings whereas the more higher quality tents will go from 2000mm to 5000mm.
- Seams sealed: Look for a description of the seams. For example Coleman have a line of tents with inverted or welded seams. This means the rain cannot even make contact with the seams as they have been either welded or inverted so the seams are on the inside of the tent. Regardless of what tent you buy, I highly recommend applying a coat of seam sealer yourself. It’s very easy to do and very cheap. But will guarantee you a dry nights sleep.
- Awnings: If the tent you buy comes with an awning, be sure that the awning slopes down away from your tent. Otherwise water can build up and create a pool of water above you.
The Best Camping Tents For Heavy Rain
The NTK Laredo is one of my favorite waterproof family tents, but for dealing with heavy rain the NTK Colorado GT trumps it. It’s not the biggest 8 person tent as it is a dome style tent, but the design and features of the Colorado GT make it one of the best tents for rain.
However, for a dome tent it’s quite large. You can squeeze 8 people inside this 10ft x 12ft (120ft2) tent if you have to. The ceiling height is high enough for people under 5’8″ to walk around without hitting their head. The benefit of the tent being a dome is the easy setup and the fact rain simply bounces off and rolls way from your tent. It doesn’t pool up on the top of like it could on a flat top cabin tent.
The Waterproof Features Of This 8 Man Tent
- Rainfly completely covers the tent and goes all the way to the bottom of the walls. No side ways rain can get in through this tent shelter.
- Creates a nice vestibule when rainfly fully down to keep boots and gear dry, yet outside the tent.
- Extra high tub flooring to ensure water on the ground can’t penetrate in through the seams.
- Mesh ceilings to prevent condensation building up when the rainfly is fully down.
- Floor material is quality and very thick with a anti fungal product used to keep it from growing nasties.
- 2500mm PU coated Rainfly 190T grade Polyester
Overall Great Bang For Your Buck
The Colorado GT tent is one of the best 8 person tents for camping in the rain, but it’s also a very affordable tent considering. I love the fact it’s a 2 room tent with 2 large doors. This makes sharing the tent much easier because you don’t have to shove past people to get to the door. It’s easy to set up and the Nano flex frame just takes this tent to another level. Highly recommended if you desire a waterproof 8 man dome tent.
Coleman 8 Person Montana Tent Review
The Montana tent by Coleman is a tent you can be proud to own. It looks elegant yet can handle some of the harshest weather Mother Nature intends to produce. A more spacious length design 8 person tent offering 16ft x 7ft (112ft2). While a more narrow design, you can still comfortable fit a few adults and a few kids as there’s space for 3 queen air mattresses.
While the rainfly doesn’t go all the way down the walls like the above NTK tent, the Montana offers a better entry and awning area. For the record you should spray the walls of your tent with waterproof spray to better protect if from sideways rain.
The awning protects you from rain when you are scampering your way back into the tent once it starts to drizzle. The wing walls in the entry area stop you from getting wet also. But because the overhead awning is part of the rain fly, you stay dry while entering the tent. However I do suggest you put a camping mat with drainage outside the entry so that any mud and water doesn’t get carried inside the tent.
Rain Resistant Features
- Rainfly does a decent job at protecting the windows and door, especially through the awnings. The rain will not run in through the windows due to the design of the rainfly. The windows can also be left open during lighter rain for ventilation and rain wont get inside.
- Welded corner joints of the tents floor.
- Inverted seams which is part of the Coleman WeatherTec system.
- Good size bathtub flooring.
- Hinged door makes it much easier for getting inside to escape from the rain.
Overall the Montana tent is a great design which offers plenty of space. Tall people over 6 foot will be happy with the 6’2″ tall ceilings. But the design of the awnings are what make this tent one of the better models out there for protection from the rain.
Do Note: The Montana also comes as part of the Coleman Elite series as seen below. This is an upgraded tent which has automatic rolling windows and a built in lighting system.
Waterproof 8 Person Tent With Screen Room
One of my personal favorite 8 person tents is the Wenzel Klondike. Why?. Because it’s a tent with a screened porch. Now before you run for the hills thinking a screen room isn’t good protection against the rain, fear not. The screen room has interior walls that can roll up to become part of the tent so you don’t get wet.
But if it’s not raining too furiously you can sit in the front porch and embrace the soothing sound of rain falling around you without getting wet.
The rainfly covers the screen room and this area also has a ground floor. So there’s no chance of getting wet in this awesome 11ft x 16ft (176ft2) tent. However, the rainfly doesn’t come all the way down the walls. So an extra coating of waterproof spray every year is a good measure to take. But the windows do have coverings so water can’t get in through them.
The Klondike by Wenzel also has a seriously tall ceiling. If you’re 6’5″ and under, you can walk around without bending over. There’s also storage pouches and even an electrical port so you can run your leads in and out of the tent.
Overall, the Klondike is a great cabin style of tent where roomy is your go to feature and having a relaxing porch to sit under while its raining sounds like heaven. It’s a simple design, but one of the rare tents to have a fully functionally porch area that can transform into a spare room.
Red Canyon Rain Proof Tent By Coleman
Weighing about 24 pounds, this unique design by Coleman known as the ‘Red Canyon’ is yet another quality tent for beating off the rain. The unique design and the way the rainfly slopes away from the tent and over the windows prevents rain from entering the tent.
The awning over the large hinged D shape door provides shelter from the rain when entering the tent to escape the drizzle. The awning is not quite as elaborate as the other Coleman tent (Montana), but is still a decent size considering.
The rain fly does however creep down the walls more on this tent. It cover 3/4 of the tents walls including the windows for ultimate protection from the rain. While the center has a 6 foot tall ceiling, the outer ends slope away and are shorter.
This design allows rain to run down the rainfly and over the edge to miss the bottom of the tent. This is where the bathtub floor design comes into play. If it wasn’t a tub design, the water running off the rainfly could easily soak into the seams of the tents floor. Which means you could end up with a pool inside your tent.
But the Red Canyon boasts a quality tub flooring system with the corners welded and the seams inverted so the water run off does not get into the tent. Truly a feature I 100% recommend on any tent.
A Little About The Red Canyon Tent
The Red Canyon is quite the spacious tent. Measuring 17ft x 10ft (170ft2). Although it is a longer design tent, tall people can still benefit from sleeping short ways as the shorter side is still an impressive 10ft wide. This is how you can easily cram in 8 people.
Believe it or not, but this 170ft2 tent can actually be divided into a three room tent, which is quite rare in a tent of this size. With this set up you can have 3 air mattresses set up including a queen in the larger center section. But if you want to have 2 queen airbeds then you will have to leave off the third wall divider.
The Red Canyon is quite well ventilated as well. So great during storms and heavy rain as moisture won’t build up. The ceiling is mesh and there are the large D doors and upside down U windows underneath the fly to allow air circulation.
Overall I find the red canyon to be one of the best tents for rain because of its unique rainfly setup and design. The design of the tent also makes it quite good for strong winds considering it’s a 6 foot tall tent.
Preparing Your Tent For Heavy Rain
Regardless of what the weatherman says, rain clouds for come half way around the globe just to rain on you. So it’s always best to prepare for rain in the off chance it does rain. There’s nothing worse then a wet and soaking camping trip with kids.
So make sure your dry goods and any products you simply can’t afford to get wet are packed into waterproof pods or storage bags. This will keep your belongings dry no matter how much it rains.
As for your tent, I briefly touched on it earlier. But I believe any tent, new or used needs to be waterproofed before you go camping. Because you are buying a new tent, this is not a hard or out of the way method of better protecting your family from the rain.
As I recommend setting up any new tent at least once in your backyard before hitting the road, this gives you the best chance to add an additional coat of waterproof to your tent. Seam sealer and waterproof are relatively cheap to buy and applying it is so easy your kids could help you with it. Give yourself 1 hour to set up the new tent and apply the extra waterproof coating so you can have the best tent for rain out on the camp site.