If you already have some kayaking experience, you might be looking for the best kayaking tents. A good quality kayak tent will keep you safe in any weather condition. Whether you are a recreational kayaker or a more experienced one covering great distances in a short time, in both cases you will need a tent to take a break.
Finding the right kayaking tent for your specific needs can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for in a tent. This article will help you pick a kayaking tent that suits you best, so please read on for an in-depth exploration about:
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The 19 Best Kayaking Tents. At a glance, these are:
- Marmot Catalyst
- Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL
- REI Half Dome SL 2+
- Mountain Hardware Mineral 2
- Nemo Aurora 2P
- Kelty Late Start
- The North Face Stormbreak
- Big Agnes Blacktail Hotel 2 Tent
- REI Co-op Passage 2
- REI Co-op Flash Air 2
- REI Co-op Flash Air 1
- Black Diamond Distant Blue
- MRS Zoic 2
- Exped Outer Space II
- Yakima Skyrise Tent
- Kelty Discovery
- Jak Outdoor Luxury Garden
- Eureka! Solitaire AL
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What Are Kayaking Tents?
A tent, by definition, is a temporary shelter. While a regular tent might easily be selected by its size, a kayak tent needs to fit into the kayak when it comes to size and weight and should ideally accommodate two people. You also need to be careful not to load the kayak to the brim. Since each kayak is limited by the mentioned criteria, here is a list of best kayaking tents:
19 Best Kayaking Tents
1. Marmot Catalyst – The best stargazing tent!
This is a free-standing, two-door, spacious tent which has enough room for three people or two people and some extra bags. With an average price for the tent ($245), it comes with a footprint, is of good quality material and the setup takes about 5 minutes.
There are extra pockets inside for organizing your belongings and a lampshade pocket to provide light safely. The mesh fabric rooftop is see-through. Overall, this tent is a good buy.
|Fast to setup|
Waterproof and warm
Resilient mesh material
Footprint covers only the bottom, not the vestibules
Material not abrasion-free
2. Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL– Super light and storm-resistant!
Although quite expensive, this tent has some advantages. As the title says, it is UL-ultralight, because it doesn’t come with a footprint and the pole aluminum is feather-light. Not only is it easy to carry, but it is also very durable.
Because it has only one pole, it is light and easy to set up. The bad side of this fact is that it is not entirely freestanding, meaning not one of the best kayaking tents if your plan is to go camping on a sandy or unstable surface. The silicone-treated ripstop nylon will keep you warm in cold weather. It has 2 doors and 2 vestibules (most tents have only one).
|Footprint sold separately |
3. REI Half Dome SL 2+ – Best instant tent!
The sidewalls of this tent create a comfortable space for two 6 ft adults. Its fabric is durable, rain resistant and its production meets the sustainable ‘bluesign’ criteria. It has two large doors at the sides, which simplifies going in and out. Best instant tents, such as REI Half Dome SL2+ have color-coded poles, which make the assembly quick and easy.
Lots of interior pockets help you get organized inside. Overall, this tent was designed in a smart way. The footprint is also included in the price. Considering all the good sides of this tent, you get more than you pay for.
Lots of storage pockets
4. Mountain Hardware Mineral 2 -Super spacious interior!
This tent is easy to set up and the two large doors and two vestibules make entering and leaving easy. Once set up, it has enough room for two adults and additional gear. The ripstop polyester mesh is a durable tent fabric. However, this might not provide enough protection from cold or windy weather.
It is quite roomy inside, with enough pockets for storage on both sides. Not that color is important on a tent, but this one looks really nice.
Grey Ice Color
|Heavier than the competition (6lbs.)|
Best for warm weather (1 season)
Footprint doesn’t attach easily
5. Nemo Aurora 2P – Weatherproof and reliable!
Having the fabric strong enough to protect you from wind or rain, the fabric color also blends in with the environment. It is fast and easy to set up. Footprint comes with the tent, as well as reflective ropes and interior pockets.
|Entrances have only one zipper|
6. Kelty Late Start – Cheap and compact!
This tent comes at a great price but good quality. Pole pockets are color-coded, which makes the setup very fast and easy, even in the dark.
|Footprint sold separately|
For one person only
7. The North Face Stormbreak– Durable and reliable!
This small and semi-lightweight tent is fast to set up. The material is weatherproof and as the name says, storm-resistant. At the same time, there’s enough airflow. It has two big doors and plenty of headroom inside for two people.
8. Big Agnes Blacktail Hotel 2 Tent– A tent your furry friend would pick!
The tent has plenty of space for two people plus a separate entrance extension where you can keep your bags or your pet. Because of its size, it is a bit more difficult to set up than other tents. Also, when you include the footprint, it is not the easiest tent. On the plus size, the tent is spacious and durable.
|Footprint not included|
Setup not as fast
9. REI Co-op Passage 2 – Great tent for the price!
This tent is for two people or one person and some gear. It has two doors on both sides, which can be rolled up over the roof. The inside is spacious with good air circulation and small pockets at the sides. The attached footprint can be removed for washing.
|Pockets too small|
10. REI Co-op Flash Air 2– Hybrid single-wall design!
Being one of the lightest two-people tents on the market, it weighs only 2lbs. It is roomy inside and has two entrances and two vestibules. It is not freestanding, so needs a bit of practice while putting up. On the other hand, if you want a complete tent that weighs half of all the others, something needs to be sacrificed.
|Superlight – 2 lbs packaged|
No detached rain fly
11. REI Co-op Flash Air 1– The perfect tent for one person!
This one-person tent weighs only 1lb and fits well into a backpack. The material is weatherproof and keeps you dry in heavy rain. For a good price, you get the best kayaking tents on the market.
12. Black Diamond Distant Blue– The lightest one!
When it comes to lightweight kayaking tents, this is the best one. This tent is not freestanding and comes without poles, but it has adapters that are compatible with any trekking poles (which you mustn’t forget). It is ideal for one person, who doesn’t like to carry heavy stuff. But, it has only one door and so proper ventilation may prove to be an issue.
13. MRS Zoic 2– Warm and breathable!
Unlike many tents which have ventilation and condensation problems, this one avoids this because it is made of nylon micromesh. It keeps you warm on cool nights and ensures breathability at the same time.
The two poles make it freestanding but light at the same time. The wide floor creates enough room for two people and useful pockets to keep your belongings organized.
The fact that the tent is not seam sealed could cause a problem in heavy rain.
|Not seam sealed|
14. Exped Outer Space II – The tent with the nicest vestibule!
The ‘Outer Space’ provides plenty of space for two people. The one-pole system might be a little difficult for one person to set up, but it doesn’t mean it takes more time. The floor is waterproof and rectangular, having enough room for two sleeping mats. It has two doors and two pockets for storage.
Footprint not included
15. Yakima Skyrise Tent – Rooftop tent with kayak rack!
Of all the rooftop tents with kayak racks, Yakima Skyrise is the most recommended one. Users praise it for its quality and performance. The ripstop polyester fabric and waterproof coating make it the only tent suitable for all seasons. It has no footprint, but the floor is durable and abrasion-free.
The preset aluminum frame and adjustable ladder make the setup quick and easy. The floor of the tent can be tied down in bad weather. It weighs 101 lbs., so check whether your vehicle can support this tent. Inside, there is enough space for two people to sleep. With this tent, you’re ready for camping all year, anywhere.
Large windows for airflow
Waterproof and storm-resistant
16. Poler– Lots of room for one person!
One-person tents usually come small in size, but this tent is another story. It is nice and roomy for you to sit in it comfortably, with a peak height of 42 inches. It comes in 2 different colors (black and red), has one big door and one vestibule. It also has one eye-shaped window at the top for stargazing and airflow.
Repair kit included
|Footprint not included|
17. Kelty Discovery– Cheap but reliable!
Kelty Discovery is a two-person tent, which comes in a nice shade of blue. All parts are color-coded, which simplifies the setup. One door could be a problem for two people, but the dome-shaped design makes the interior quite roomy. It is completely waterproof and includes several pockets inside to keep your belongings organized.
Footprint not included
18. Jak Outdoor Luxury Garden– A bargain for two people!
This two-person tent comes with many qualities but at an unbelievably low price. The fiberglass poles can resist heavy wind and the material is waterproof and rain-resistant. It is firm but lightweight at the same time and the setup takes about 5 minutes. It is spacious enough for two people and has two doors to simplify getting in and out.
|Footprint not included|
19. Eureka! Solitaire AL– Great option for solo kayakers!
This tunnel-shaped one-person tent is perfect for kayaking because of its size and weight. Nevertheless, it is made of storm-resistant frames and a waterproof coating. Also, the price is reasonable for what it offers. The netting and outer layers are not of the best quality and do not keep warm. The interior is as it says, for one person only, so no bags fit well inside.
Small See-through mesh
Vestibule too small
How To Pick The Best Kayaking Tent?
There are several features you need to consider while looking for the best tent for kayak camping:
- Interior size– Is it for one person or two?
- Footprint for stability- Do you need to buy one extra or is it included?
- Weight – be careful, sometimes the packaged weight and minimum weight is not the same on a tent. Always check the technical specifications before buying!
- Is the setup fast and simple?
- Is it waterproof?
Kayaking Tent Accessories
Now that you have picked your best tent for kayaking, you will also need some less expensive but lightweight items to make your outdoor adventure safe and comfortable. There is nothing more annoying than setting up a tent and realizing you forgot your headlamp or lantern. Or even worse, you didn’t bring your water filter.
Here is a quick list of other useful camping items:
What Are The Benefits Of Kayaking?
There are several reasons why people prefer kayaking to other outdoor activities.
It is simple and easy to start. You do need to buy the necessary equipment in the beginning, but on the other hand, you don’t need to pay a monthly fee to get some fresh air.
Kayaking is physically demanding, so expect your legs and upper body to tone up.
And thirdly, kayaking is good for socializing, because it is mostly done in groups.
Which Season Is Best For Kayaking?
The mornings during late spring to early summer is the best time to go kayaking. Usually, these seasons are warm enough so that you don’t have to wear bulky clothing to keep yourself warm. At the same time, it’s not too hot and you don’t have to worry about keeping cool either.
Where Are The Best Kayaking Spots In The World?
Some of the world’s best kayaking spots are listed in this Booking com article.
Another article mentions celebrities’ favorite kayaking spots around the world. Most people generally prefer unspoiled landscapes and crystal clear waters, as for example, in:
Kayaking Safety Tips
Staying safe while kayaking is actually very simple. Before you start, you should be aware of your experience and stamina. Although you see many beautiful Instagram photos of solo kayakers, this doesn’t mean they’re actually alone nor should you ever go alone. It’s best to create a plan of your kayaking journey, so everybody knows where you are going and when you are coming back. Still, these items might come in handy:
How To Pack For Kayak Camping?
Although kayaking can be fun and relaxing, packing for kayaking can be a bit stressful. I recommend creating your own packing checklist, such as you do for any other trip. There are some essential items you should carry as basic equipment such as a dry bag or neoprene footwear. In this article, you can see an example checklist with some basic items.
Kayaking is a great outdoor activity for everyone, whether you plan it as a fun day activity with friends or you do it to improve your stamina. However, it needs to be done safely and well-prepared.
Of all the tents listed, my personal favorite is REI Half Dome SL 2+. Although being the pricey one, it has all the features of a good kayaking tent, making it one of the best kayaking tents. It is light to carry in a kayak, created of durable high-quality material, and has plenty of space for two people.
We hope our list of best kayaking tents will help you make a decision on which to pick.