If you’re planning to go kayak camping, your ordinary camping tent simply won’t do. Kayak camping differs considerably from traditional backpacking and hiking, so you need to make sure you have the right gear with you so that your trip is nothing short of a grand success.

Today, we will walk you through exactly what you need to look for when selecting from the best kayaking tents, plus the top 5 best kayaking tents campers everywhere will love.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

What is Kayak Camping?

If the concept of kayak camping is new to you, here’s what you need to know. Kayak camping is exactly what its name indicates—camping in the great outdoors, using a kayak or canoe to get from one camp location to the next. Rather than using a car or backpacking from campsite to campsite, you use your trusty kayak to transport you wherever you need to go.

The majority of kayaks offer quality storage space, so you’ll definitely be able to fit more in your kayak than you would if you were backpacking. That said, you might not have as much storage space for your tent and gear as you would if you were car camping.

So, it’s essential to understand the key features to keep an eye out for when perusing the best kayaking tents to ensure you make the best choice for your grand adventure.

How to Pick the Best Kayaking Tent

When picking from the best kayaking tents, you’re going to be looking for different features than you would if you were purchasing a tent for traditional camping. When kayaking, you will always be facing damp weather conditions on the water, so the best kayaking tents need to be sturdy and waterproof enough to withstand these elements.

Also, the majority of kayak camping trips require 2 campers, so you’ll typically need to search for tents that hold at least a 2 person capacity.

Here’s what you need to know to make your selection from the best kayaking tents.

Camper Capacity

The first thing you need to consider when hunting for the best kayaking tents is the camper capacity you’ll require. If you’re going to be traveling on your own or traveling with a group where everyone will be handling their own tent and gear, tent capacity might not be as significant a factor on your wishlist. However, even if you’re traveling on your own, you might decide you’d like to have a 2 person tent to give yourself a little extra wiggle room and additional storage area for your gear.

Otherwise, if you tend to camp out with one or more other kayak adventurers, consider the size of the group you typically camp travel with. Then, select a tent that will provide enough space for everyone and their belongings while still leaving enough room to sit up and move around.

Is It Waterproof?

Since you’re going to be traveling from one campsite to the next via a kayak, it follows that the best kayaking tents are sufficiently waterproof to ward off moisture and dampness. Tents made of materials like canvas are not the best kayaking tents, because canvas soaks up the water quite easily, thereby becoming heavier and weighing the entire vessel down.

When looking for the best kayaking tents with waterproof designs, keep an eye out for sealed floors designed to deflect moisture and prevent it from seeping in through vulnerable areas. You’ll also want to look for a tent that comes with a rainfly as a secondary barrier against rainy conditions if you hit showers at the campsite.

The good news is, most of the top kayaking tent products include a rainfly with your purchase, so you won’t have to waste time searching for that component separately.

Consider the Tent’s Weight

One of the most important components you’ll need to take into account when perusing the best kayaking tents is the weight of the product. While your kayak will probably have enough space to bring more gear than you would if you were backpacking from campsite to campsite, you want to make sure the tent you select doesn’t weigh it down so much that the kayak becomes unstable.

The best kayaking tents are fairly lightweight, without sacrificing the key features and functionality that you’re going to need for this type of camping. Now, if you intend to camp with a group of people, you can easily distribute the tent’s components between your travel mates, so no single vessel carries too much of the load.

With that said, if you’re going on a solo kayaking adventure or with a very small group, finding a very lightweight model is going to be imperative. Consider the weight of the other gear you’ll be bringing besides your tent, such as your sleeping bag, camping cookware, and so forth. The best kayaking tents are sturdy enough to keep you secure on the road in tougher conditions while still being light enough that they could double as a backpacking tent if need be.

Look for a kayaking tent that comes in at a moderate weight range, somewhere between a heavy duty tent and a lightweight shelter.

Is It Easy to Setup and Breakdown?

No one wants to get to the campsite after a long day of kayaking only to grapple with their tent just so they can get a peaceful night’s rest. You never know what type of weather conditions you might encounter either that will make easy access to a secure shelter all the more imperative.

It’s non-negotiable that your pick from the best kayaking tents is easy to set up and break down, to save you time, trouble, and needless stress when you’re weary from the day’s adventures.

The Top 5 Best Kayaking Tents Reviewed

Take a look at the top 5 best kayaking tents you’ll want to consider before you embark on your grand kayaking adventure.

ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 2-Person Tent

ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 2-Person Tent

ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 2-Person Tent

A tent that is perfect for harsh weather conditions and environments

The ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 2-Person Tent has factory sealed seams, double wall and floor coatings, rainfly, and two large mesh windows for ventilation.

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Our first choice from the best kayaking tents is the Alps Mountaineering Taurus Tent, featuring a dome shape designed to hold 2 campers. We like the spacious dimension of this tent, coming in at 46 x 60 x 90 inches. We were very pleased by the durable fiberglass poles, that ensure the tent will stay strong and sturdy if rougher weather conditions hit without being so heavy that they overbulk your vessel.

Even more importantly, the tent is designed with wear-resistant polyester and taffeta sporting UV coating. The tent is ideal for 3 season use, so you can get plenty of camping trips from this single product. The Alps Mountaineering Tent doesn’t disappoint with its waterproof elements, sporting a rainfly that offers complete coverage for the entire tent structure. The floors feature waterproof seals as well to prevent any moisture leaking through.

The tent is super easy to set up, using an integrated clip system that secures the tent material to the poles. You can set up the tent in mere minutes and breakdown is just as easy.
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Pros

  •  Spacious interior
  •  Sturdy, 3 season design
  • Waterproof rainfly and sealed tent floor
  • Easy setup and breakdown
  • Pretty lightweight

Cons

  •  Heavier than some 2 person tents on the market
  •  Tent zipper is not as durable as some

Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent

Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent

Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent

A larger tent with space to store all of your gear

The Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent features mesh storage panels, mesh pockets, and 32 square feet of space covered by a breathable outer layer.

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We chose the Mountainsmith Morrison for our review of the best kayaking tents due to its huge interior space yet compact design. The tent features 56 x 43 x 92-inch dimensions, providing a total of 35 square feet of interior floor space. The first feature we noticed about the Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent is that it sports a durable rainfly with roof vents for enhanced air circulation.

We also liked the fact that while this 3 season tent offers amazing interior space, it packs down to a really manageable size that won’t be any trouble to transport in your kayak along with the remainder of your gear. The tent sports a packed weight of 4 pounds and 11 ounces. We also favor this choice from the best kayaking tents for its incredibly easy setup, sporting color-coding so you can assemble the structure with ease.
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Pros

  •  Large interior
  •  Really compact when packed up
  • Light packed weight
  • Easy setup with color-coded design
  • Durable rainfly with vents for air circulation

Cons

  •  Pricier option than some
  •  Could be a tight fit for 2 people plus all their gear

Slumberjack Trail Tent

Slumberjack Trail Tent

Slumberjack Trail Tent

A freestanding tent with a vestibule and rain fly

The Slumberjack Trail Tent has color-coded construction, fiberglass poles, rigid pole geometry, and secure anchor points that make it great for fishing, hunting, and hiking.

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Our next selection from the best kayaking tents is the classic Slumberjack Trail tent, designed for 2 campers with a user-friendly, freestanding design. We were pleased with the full coverage rain fly included with the tent, which keeps moisture out and ensures you’ll stay nice and dry when you turn in for the night. We also liked the handy storage space this tent has to offer, with a vestibule to stow your belongings in.

The tent material is designed from 75-denier polyester with a hydrostatic waterproof rating of 1,200 millimeters. We were very impressed with the taped seams and mesh panels for superior cross ventilation. The structure even sports noiseless zipper pulls, so if you need to step out of the tent for any reason during the night you won’t need to worry about waking your companions.

The pole structure of the Slumberjack Trail Tent is also on point, with fiberglass poles designed to hold up against a range of weather conditions. The tent weighs a mere 6 pounds and 5 ounces when packed, offering a total floor space of 33.3 square feet when set up.
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Pros

  •  Full coverage rainfly
  •  Spacious vestibule
  • 75-denier fabric with 1,200 mm hydrostatic rating
  • Noiseless zipper pulls
  • Very light packed weight for easy transport

Cons

  •  The poles can wear out with extended use
  •  The floor material could be thicker

Coleman Dome Tent for Camping

Coleman Dome Tent for Camping

Coleman Dome Tent for Camping

A tent that is perfect for camping in warmer weather

The Coleman Dome Tent for Camping features welded corners, inverted seams, and a rainfly to stop water from leaking in and getting your gear wet when you camp.

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The Coleman Dome Tent for Camping is one of the best kayaking tents on the market for its impressive 7-foot x 5-foot x 48-inch dimensions when fully set up. We liked the fact that the tent has a spacious door so campers can enter and exit with total ease. Plus, the structure also sports a very large window in the back which greatly increases proper airflow.

The floor of the Coleman Dome Tent for Camping is configured to a tub-like style, designed from 1000-denier polythene and integrated welded seams to ensure no dampness gets through. We were glad to see that the tent also comes with guy points so you can increase the stability of the structure if a blustery gale or rough storm hits.

For additional waterproofing qualities, the tent also comes with a flysheet manufactured from 75-denier polyester taffeta that repels water like a dream. The tent takes just 10 minutes total to set up. It also includes a rainfly awning to enjoy the shade from the sun or use as an additional barrier from moisture.
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Pros

  •  Very quick and easy setup
  •  Quality inside space
  • Large window for premier ventilation
  • Tub-like design with welded floor seams
  • 75-denier polyester taffeta flysheet

Cons

  •  The zipper can get stuck
  •  The tent corners could be more vulnerable to weather elements

Kelty Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent

Our Top Pick
Kelty Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent

Kelty Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent

A lightweight, durable, and compact backpacking or hiking tent

The Kelty Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent have Gearloft loops, folding poles, polyester walls, and a lightweight design that slips into your backpack.

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Our final choice from the top 5 best kayaking tents is the Kelty Salida Tent, featuring a very compact design with durable aluminum poles that fold with ease. The tent even comes with a roll top cube bag for transport that you can store in your kayak without fuss. One element that drew us to the Kelty Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent was its quality floor space of 30.5 square feet.

We also liked how much storage space this tent has to offer, with a 10 square foot vestibule that you can secure your belongings in overnight. The tent is very sturdy and waterproof, with taped seams that make the product an ideal fit for 3 season camping use. We like the dependability of the mesh/fabric material the tent is manufactured from, that offers long-lasting use while still providing fantastic cross ventilation.

Set up is a total breeze with this tent, as the structure includes large clips that secure the body of the tent to the pole frame and dual poles. You’ll also receive a UV resistant rain fly attachment with the Kelty Salida tent, that you can use to cover the structure and safeguard all campers inside if inclement weather hits.
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Pros

  •  Easily folded aluminum poles
  •  Very easy to transport with handy carrying bag
  • Large vestibule for storage
  • Mesh design offers superior cross ventilation
  • UV resistant and waterproof rain fly

Cons

  •  Condensation can gather in the case of very damp environments
  •  Pole tips are designed from plastic rather than aluminum

Conclusion

We were more than pleased with each of the top 5 best kayaking tents, as they fulfill a range of varying campers needs. However, our top choice from the group is undoubtedly the Kelty Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent. We loved everything about this tent, from its durable, foldable aluminum poles to its easy set up to the user-friendly carry bag it comes with that you can easily secure in your kayak.

The 30.5 square foot floor space is nice and spacious for 2 campers, plus the 10 square foot vestibule helps ensure you won’t be overcrowded by your gear when trying to sleep. The UV resistant rain fly attachment and taped seams offer just the waterproof qualities we look for in the best kayaking tents as well.

For a lightweight, portable, durable, and waterproof design that you can depend on for 3 season use, the Kelty Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent is our reigning champion of the best kayaking tents.

Julien

Julien

I’m passionate about all things outdoors, bridging the gap between generations and sharing my passion for hiking and camping. My goal is to spread the endless benefits of being outside, always striving for better performance, new challenges, and ways to explore responsibly.

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