What is the best waterproof tent

Tents: tests & test winners

Whether as a couple, with family or in a group - durability, weather resistance, weight and handling during assembly determine the grade. We are currently showing you best tents on the market. For that we have Tests and opinions evaluated and added to an overall grade. The last test is from.

315 tests26,100 opinions

Advice: tents

Guest room to go: Usable tents from 200 euros

Key facts at a glance:
  1. Simple tents for summer camping are available from 200 euros. However, top quality is more likely to be found in the higher price ranks. The front runner in the test grades comparison is Hilleberg - at the same time also the most expensive provider.
  2. The dome / igloo tent is the proven and compact classic. Tunnel tents have steeper walls and thus make better use of the space.
  3. Watertightness: Tent skins with a water column of 3,000 mm are standard, professional tents for expeditions in stormy regions sometimes increase to 5,000 mm or more.
  4. You can find tents from sustainable production e.g. B. at Exped and Vaude.

Tents put to the test: the most expensive provider is also the best

If you can make small compromises when it comes to comfort, you can get solid all-rounder tents for two from 200 euros, for example at Vango. Particularly durable and well thought-out models can be found at Hilleberg. Even compact specimens can be found there, however, at around 1,000 euros. There are also good marks in the middle of the price, for example at Fjällräven. For pollutant-free tents, we recommend Exped and Vaude, for example.


Dome, tunnel, gable or geodesic?

Dome or igloo tents are good all-rounders. They are quick to set up, allow comfortable sitting in most cases and cope well with gusts of wind. Tip: Geodesic tents as a variant of the dome tents with their multi-crossed tent poles have more to offer against rough storms and blankets of snow. Tunnel tents can quickly buckle in a storm if they are set up across the direction of the wind, but they make best use of the area due to their steep walls. Gable tents are subject to all disciplines and have now been almost completely displaced from the market.

A little material science: polyamide or polyester - which is better?

One house, two doors: tents with access from both sides are the clear winners when you go to the potty at night. (Image: exped.com)

When buying a new camping tent, it is not just the type of tent that is decisive. On the contrary: Choosing the right material is almost even more important. Because this has a direct influence on the weight that the traveler has to carry and the weather resistance of the tent. In modern tents, the two plastics polyamide and polyester are almost exclusively used, with additional coatings made of PVC, polyurethane or silicone, depending on the manufacturer. But which material is best suited? Which is the cheapest option and which one offers the best weather protection?
The outer material is obviously the most heavily used material in a tent, as it is directly exposed to all weather conditions. The demands on the material are correspondingly high: it must be waterproof, have a certain tear resistance and be able to withstand the UV rays of the sun for a long time. In addition, heat and cold should not be able to deform the material. Outer tents in trekking and camping tents are therefore often made of either polyamide (nylon) or polyester.

Basically, polyamide / nylon has the advantage that the material is particularly light and inexpensive to manufacture. Bargain hunters often buy these advantages with a few disadvantages: The material expands when it is wet, which means that the tent fabric sags, possibly comes into contact with the inner tent fabric and has to be retightened. The UV resistance is also lower than that of polyester, as is the tear resistance, contrary to popular belief. However, these disadvantages can be counteracted with a correspondingly high-quality coating.

Polyester, on the other hand, is extremely tear-resistant, hardly susceptible to UV radiation and absorbs significantly less moisture. This means that the tent dries faster, which has a significant impact on the weight when you have to pack it up after a downpour. However, since polyester is quite expensive to manufacture, more and more manufacturers are turning to the cheaper nylon. In addition, polyester tends to make uncomfortably loud rattles in strong winds if the tarpaulin is not stretched tight enough.

Inner tent mostly made of polyamide

With the inner tent, creating a climate that is as dry as possible is the top priority. The material should therefore be permeable to air and water vapor. For this reason, polyamide, i.e. nylon fabric, is usually used for this purpose. The water vapor generated in the inner tent is transported through the inner tent fabric and condenses on the outer tent. Impregnation of the fabric ensures that condensation water that drips down cannot get back into the interior.

The floor of the inner tent, on the other hand, is exposed to completely different mechanical stresses than the rest of the fabric. Here you should pay attention to a particularly thick design, even if that means additional weight. But nothing is more annoying than a torn tent floor. Here, too, it is important to be absolutely watertight thanks to a suitable coating - even more so than with the outer tent. Anyone who has woken up after a rainy night in a spontaneously formed, 20 centimeter deep pond on the camping meadow, knows why.

The coating of the tent tarpaulin

A tent coating increases the weather resistance, tear resistance and UV resistance of the material. A coating is therefore very advisable, especially with cheap tent tarpaulins made of nylon. The cheapest option is a PVC or PAC coating. But the disadvantages do not make this seem advisable: The material is not very elastic and flexible, which is why it quickly detaches from the underlying tissue. In the long run, the two alternatives polyurethane and silicone pay off.

Polyurethane is well suited for coatings, it is very elastic and extremely cold-resistant. The material used in other branches of industry as synthetic rubber is therefore particularly suitable for camping with large temperature fluctuations and in frosty conditions. The alternative silicone, in contrast, is said to have a plus in tensile strength and UV resistance, but not quite as resistant in the cold.

Attention: Seam tape sealing is not possible on tents with silicone coating. In view of the fact that the seams are one of the most stressed areas of a tent, it is therefore advisable to additionally seal the seams with seam sealer. Cotton should be used as sewing thread: the swelling when exposed to moisture also seals the area. Nylon yarn is cheaper and is unfortunately often used in nylon tents for the sake of comfort, but does not offer this advantage.

Protection against moisture and fire

The waterproofness of the tent skins is given in "mm water column". According to the EU regulations, a tent with a water column of 1,500 mm or more is considered waterproof. However, the tent floor should have a significantly higher level of impermeability in order to remain watertight even in the event of point loads. A typical combination is "2,000 mm / 5,000 mm". The first value counts for the outer tent, the second value for the tent floor. For the tent floor, values ​​of up to 10,000 mm water column are not uncommon.

Protection against fire also requires special attention. All you have to do is tip the stove next to the tent or drop a butt on the edge - and the tent and its contents are destroyed by the flames in just a few seconds. Therefore, when making a purchase, emphasis should be placed on the reference to "Fire resistant". The tent material is then non-flammable and only melts on direct contact with fire (polyester) or burns at most with a very small flame, which usually goes out quickly by itself (polyamide / nylon). If the worst comes to the worst, this provides the life-saving time to leave the tent in good time and perhaps even to extinguish it.

Author: Janko Weßlowsky

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