9 best festival tents
From pop-up to inflatable options, take a look at our pick of the waterproof shelters for your summer adventures
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If you’re on the hunt for a tent to use at a festival, look no further. We’ve put tents to the test to find ones that are durable, waterproof, easy to carry and big enough to house you, your stuff and your booze.
A few tips to make note of before you buy; it’s usually best to go up a tent size. If you’re looking for a two-person tent, for example, buy one claiming to sleep three. Once you’ve added all your stuff, you’ll be grateful for the extra space.
If you’re only after a tent to last a festival or the summer, you don’t need to spend much – there are good options out there for less than £80. And if you’re heading abroad, opt for a tent with mesh material and a rain fly over the top. This allows for more ventilation, which you’ll appreciate when you wake up in a hot, humid tent.
So whether you’re heading to a UK festival or somewhere further afield, pick up one of these tents to ensure you stay dry and comfortable on your travels.
1. AmazonBasics Tent: £49.99, Amazon
This dome-style tent is marketed for four people but we think with your belongings and booze joining you it would fit three comfortably. It took a speedy 15 minutes to set up, we were slightly delayed by the unclear instruction on where to attach the poles in the rain fly (they slot into the two loops at either end of the cover, if you’re wondering). But the tent has good height and length for any tall sleepers and good ventilation – you can unpeg the rain fly on hot, humid mornings to allow more air through the mesh of the main tent. There are handy mesh pockets inside too so you can store any valuables and it’s waterproof. It also comes in a compact case so it’s easy to carry and transport on trains, planes or buses.
2. Vango Pulsar 300 Tent: £159, Cotswold Outdoor
If you’re new to camping but think you’ll continue to use your tent regularly, this Vango option is sturdy and weatherproof. Coming in a case that is best to transport attached to the bottom of a travel rucksack, there’s a tent and rain fly included. The bonus feature with this tent though is the undercover porch area – the rain fly extends beyond the tent to add an extra space to store dirty boots, bags and clothes. There’s a ground sheet supplied for this area too. It took us about 20 minutes to set up and sleeps three, although again we think it’s best to go down to two if you’re taking loads of stuff. It’s a spacious and well-designed tent though that would cope with harsher British weather conditions well.
3. Aldi Festival Pop-Up Tent: £17.99, Aldi
Aldi has launched a range of festival-style, pop-up tents just in time for the summer season. At under £20 they are a great option for festival goers who aren’t looking to spend much and who don’t need a tent that will last for years. We love this space-themed design as it’s easy to spot on a campsite and comes in a case that you can sling over your shoulder. It springs into shape once out the bag and you can use the additional tent pegs to secure it to the ground. It doesn’t feel as sturdy as some of the more expensive options on our list but it will certainly see you through a couple of nights camping. It’s also spacious, with a high ceiling, mesh inner door and inside pocket to store any valuables. Sleeping two, it’s available in other colours. There’s limited stock though so if this is the one for you, make sure you snap one up before they run out.
4. Go Outdoors Freedom Trail Apache 6 Tipi Tent: £89.99, Go Outdoors
For a more resilient tent that you can use again after a festival, the tipi tent from Go Outdoors is worth considering. It’s waterproof and stands up to wind – we pitched it on a particularly blustery afternoon. It’s fairly simple to set up; lay it out on the ground, loosely peg it down, erect and attach the pole inside the middle of the tent and then tighten the pegs. It does mean you’ll have a pole to contend with as you move around inside, which may get annoying, but it also means you can stand up in it (if you’re under 6ft). Sleeps four comfortably.
5. Mountain Warehouse Pop Up Double Skin 3 Man Tent: £49.99, Mountain Warehouse
This pop-up tent is easy to carry as it’s extremely lightweight and the carry case comes with a large loop handle that fits over your shoulder, leaving your hands free to carry your other bags. It takes only minutes to set up, the tent springs into shape once out the case and then you can use the ropes and tent pegs to secure it to the ground. It would fit three people but we’d recommend using it for two if you have lots of stuff. There’s an inner mesh layer and mesh door for ventilation and it also reduces the level of condensation in the tent. The instructions are clear when it comes to packing away too, which is a little fiddly but once you’ve got the hang of it, it will take only minutes too. Available in other prints.
6. Field Candy Glastocows Tent: £399, Field Candy
This Glasto-themed tent is ideal for festivals. It’s easy to spot in a sea of plain-coloured tents and is a great conversation starter with your neighbours. Sleeping two, it has a storage pocket inside if you want to keep any valuables safe, a mesh window and a lantern hanging point, as well as coming in a compact carry case. It feels durable and the weatherproof material is good quality, so it will last a fair few festival seasons, but comes with a reassuring two-year warrantee just in case. If this design isn’t for you, there are loads of other fun options to pick from, including leopard, watermelon, cheese and suitcase prints.
7. POD tents: From £499, Pod Tents
If you’re going to a festival in a large group, it’s worth considering this option. POD tents are designed for “social camping” so each tent can be connected via a tunnel, eventually building up to a whole network of tents and tunnels. However, each additional tent or tunnel comes at an extra cost so this is best suited to regular campers who will use the system after festival season is over. The tent on its own will sleep three comfortably and comes with an external rain fly for weather protection. Erect one tent in roughly 20 minutes.
8. Quechua 2 Seconds XL Air III Pop Up Tent: £89.99, Decathlon
Decathlon is known for its reasonably priced, quality camping gear so it’s a safe choice when it comes to buying a tent. This tent is simple to set up – unclip the fastenings and it will pop into shape, and if it’s windy you can secure it using tent pegs. It’s large for a three-man tent, so you can fit in three plus your stuff reasonably comfortably and the separate porch area is ideal for keeping dirty shoes and clothes away from your sleeping bag. There are pockets inside to keep valuables in reach and good ventilation to keep humidity to a minimum. It’s a little fiddly to put away but the instructions are easy to follow. This robust tent will also last for multiple camping trips so you can certainly get your money’s worth.
9. Heimplanet The Cave 3-Person Tent: £549.99, Surfdome
If you’re a keen camper and looking for something that will go the distance, try Heimplanet’s Cave tent. The company was created by two guys looking to bring something innovative and easy to use to the tent market and the result is this inflatable structure. Simple to set up (although you will need a pump), you unfold and inflate to create your new home. It feels surprisingly sturdy and there are pockets to store your valuables and a separate porch section for dirty boots. There’s enough space for three people and the eye-catching design means you’ll be able to spot it in the early hours of the morning after a drink or two. It is expensive though, so only invest if you plan on using this tent on regular camping holidays.
The Verdict: Festival tents
For festival camping, the AmazonBasics tent covers all bases. It’s a reliable, weatherproof tent that has plenty of room and is a reasonable price. A cheaper option, if you really don’t want to spend much, is the Aldi tent or if you want to be able to use it again and again try Vango’s three-man tent.