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Best Tents for Camping with Dogs

Best Tents for Camping with Dogs

12 min read  •  By Wyatt West, Staff Writer & Outdoor Fiend, Timberdog®


Not to brag, but if you’re a dog owner, we think this is going to be one of the best tent blogs you’re going to come across in a while. It’s a distillation of the ton of the research we put into it, and we hope this will reduce your legwork considerably when searching for a tent, or give you a better picture of what to look for if we didn’t quite capture it.

We put our heads together at Timberdog to debate the best tents we’ve ever used to camp with our dogs (primary/empirical data), and I personally read over thirty blogs by other experts on the matter, while also consulting with everyday travelers to get their perspective (secondary research).

Unlike other articles, however, we won’t recommend the option of having a separate tent for your dog, as Timberdog prioritizes safety above all. We believe that your dog is family, and is safest inside the tent with you, where she can enjoy time with her “pack” and be kept close. However, as a compromise, we will recommend a few good options where your pup can have a dedicated and separate space within your tent, such as a screened-in porch, a separate room provided by a divider, or a vestibule area where she can stay shaded during the day.

While boiling down literally hundreds of tents, we gave the most importance to material durability, since wind, rain, and sharp claws can easily destroy tents, making for a miserable and potentially unsafe camping experience (we like sanding down our dog’s nails with Paw Perfect before trips, to help avoid tent punctures. After safety, we looked at ventilation - critical for keeping the tent condensation-free for you and cool for your pup. Finally, we considered the experience itself - from having enough space inside your tent and set-up time, to portability and just plain having fun. Finally, when researching the innumerable articles about tents on the internet, we are proud to have veered from much of the popular consensus, as we started to feel that many blogs had identical findings. We received no monetary compensation for the distillation of findings below.

Ultimately, no tent out there is going to be completely dog-proof. Dogs can panic or be rambunctious, and can create holes in your tent fabric. No matter what tent you buy, be sure you have pole splints and patch kits, in case your dog wrecks parts of your tent. We love Tenacious Tape, Noso Patches, and your basic pole splint. Of course, if you know beforehand that your dog is essentially a bull in a China shop, avoid tents that have a lot of mesh, as mesh is delicate and tears easily.

Overview of Best Tents for Camping with Dogs:

Type of Tent

Emphasis

Brand & Model

Price

Best Overall Tent

Comfort, Space, Budget, Set-up, and Safety

Coleman Dome Tent with Screen Room & Dark Room Technology

$70-340

Best Luxury Tent

Comfort, Aesthetic, and Amenities

White Duck Four Season Regatta Canvas Bell Tent

$800-1,000

Best Large Tent

Space

Coleman WeatherMaster 10-Person Tent

$300

Best Mid-Sized Tent

Space and Portability

Eureka! Jade Canyon X

$420

Best Small Tent (Ideal for Three-Season Backpacking and Bikepacking)

Ultralight and Portable

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 

Big Agnes: $550

Best Small Tent (Ideal for 4-Seasons and Mountaineering)

Light and Four-Season (Not Ultralight)

SlingFin Indus

SlingFin: $525

Best Roof-Top Tent

Overlanding, “Van/SUV life,” Adventure, Elevated Camping, No Pack In/Pack Out Required

For Luxury: iKamper SkyCamp 3.0

For Budget and Versatility: C6 Outdoor Rev Tent

iKamper: $4200

C6 Outdoor: $799 (and up)


Best Budget Tent

Beginner or Thrifty Campers; First Time Camping with Your Dog

For car camping or backpacking versatility: Kelty Discovery Trail Backpacking Tent

For more space and affordability: Coleman Skydome

Kelty: $90-140

Coleman: $70-84


BEST OVERALL TENT

Coleman rules. They’ve been doing the outdoors for over 122 years and are trusted for a reason. And other experts agree. We saw a lot of other bloggers give the Coleman Dome Tent with Screen Room (Evanston Camping Tent with Screened-In Porch) the highest marks for best overall tent, but I’ve camped in a similar tent that’s even better: Coleman Dome Tent for Camping with Dark Room Technology.

Both tents have the same space, configuration, headroom, setup, as well as the screened-in porch, but the latter has material that keeps your tent nice and dark - for sleeping in in the mornings and for keeping the tent cooler in hotter months. I’m not a morning person and definitely don’t enjoy waking up at 5:30 am out in the woods, when the sun is rising but it's not quite warm out yet. Ever since I invested a few more bucks in Coleman’s Dark Room Technology, I sleep comfortably until around 8 or even 9 am (note: it doesn’t block out all light, but blocks out a considerable amount).

The tent is supposed to be for 6 people, but that’s if you’re packed in with everyone sleeping in opposing head-to-toe direction, like sardines. I have used this tent for just me and my dog and it was very spacious, and I think it would still be very comfortable for two people and one dog. I like to keep the two human sleep areas toward the left and right side walls and have a large walkway in the middle, making it easy to walk into the tent, change clothes, rifle through backpacks, and stand up somewhat straight (center height is 5’8”). The middle area is also where I keep my dog and her bed, against the wall opposite the door (check out the RuffRest Ultimate Pet Bed by timberdog.com, it’s awesome). In other words, the view from the front door would show a sleeping configuration that looks like an upside down U.

Coleman’s famous bathtub floors have never let me down, either. I’ve been in some nasty storms with plenty of wind and rain, and though the tent shook and swayed, she stayed intact and dry. The morning after one of these storms, in fact, my friend and I woke up to discover that our tent had been in a massive puddle of water all night – but we had remained perfectly dry inside. 

There’s only one door (boo), but as long as you create a bit of space for a center walkway, it’s easily accessible by anyone in the tent. Screened windows are standard and some have complained that they are too high, obscuring the view from your sleeping area, but I don’t mind this, because I’m not camping to view scenery from inside a tent, and if you simply sit up, you can see everything. Finally, the screened-in porch is great for evenings sipping whisky, dining al fresco, or playing cards, but it’s not entirely rain-proof (the Evanston screened-in porch is no different). This is easily solved by guying a tarp over and around the exposed area. We don’t recommend doing this if no rain is in the forecast, however, as it will significantly darken the screened-in area and hide the view you’re supposed to enjoy from the porch.

For space, budget, comfort, set-up (they say it takes one person but I’ve always needed two), material, safety, and a separate area that can be used as a porch, vestibule, or dog area on warm nights, we give this tent 4.8/5 stars (I don’t think a perfect tent exists, but this is close). We love that it’s easy to get back into its bag – so critical on the last day of camping, when you’re tired – with a rip-strip to enlarge the bag, in case you can’t fit everything in. It’s a bit more expensive than its Evanston cousin, but we think the price difference is worth it when you get a better, deeper sleep and a less-heated tent. Its Darth Vadar looks are pretty cool, too.

PROS: Everything

CONS: Can require up to two people to set up, porch area not completely rain-proof, only one door, center height is 5’8” (not great for tall people)

BEST LUXURY TENT

The White Duck Four Season Regatta Canvas Bell Tent is what you’re looking at when you see Pinterest photos of people glamping. The double doors are wide and tall, so no ducking to get in, and it’s as big as a small house inside, fitting up to 12 campers. There is plenty of room for various configurations - two queen beds and two singles, or three queen beds, or several single cots, the list goes on. The material is cotton (army duck canvas) and is thus more natural than your average polyester tent and is thus more breathable, too. The PFC-free, eco-friendly polyurethane coating keeps the elements, mold, and mildew away, as well.

Eight windows on this octagonal beauty gives you 360-degree views, which also help with cross-ventilation (there are vents on the ceiling, as well). Ceiling heights of 8-12 feet mean you can fully stand up and walk inside. There's also an electrical outlet, pocket organizers and a stove jack, so you can keep a wood-burning stove inside. This tent has it all.

The only thing it doesn’t have is a discount. It is considered fairly-priced for its construction, size, and materials, but still comes in at $1-2k, depending on what size you get.

PROS: Beautiful, and great for all four seasons, including freezing temps. You can walk around inside and even hang up old-timey string lights inside for the full glamping experience.

CONS: Price, weight (50 lbs or more), set up - though easy, requires at least two people

BEST LARGE TENT:

What can we say, we’re fans of Coleman. They’re known for tents that can withstand strong winds and downpours, which is critical when you’re trying to keep friends or family warm and dry. We chose the WeatherMaster 10-Person Tent because it’s not only huge, but is a glamping alternative to expensive luxury options like the White Duck Regatta Tent we listed above.

One of our favorite features is the hinged door which makes it super easy to come and go, as well as a room divider for privacy or creating separate spaces. The description says it can fit three queen-sized beds, but we recommend two (and maybe a cot), for the sake of being able to maneuver around inside. The WeatherTec floor means extra toughness against dog nails (we do recommend cutting and rounding your dog’s nails before getting into any tent, however).

PROS: Hinged door - making it easy to take Fido out for potty at all hours of the day or night, WeatherTec floors, large space inside, room divider, 20-minute setup, and an affordable glamping alternative

CONS: No porch or vestibules, heavy-ish (36 lbs), not the best-looking tent (limited color options)

BEST MID-SIZED TENT

Eureka is often overlooked as one of the most innovative companies in the outdoor space, which is odd since they are as much of an American fixture as Coleman (Eureka’s been in the game for over 113 years). We love their Jade Canyon X model, which has a 7-foot center and one-of-a-kind, nearly-vertical walls, creating 30% more livable space than their competitors. Their lower step-in was also a favorite, due to the fact that most of us, at some point, have tripped coming and going from other tents.

Additionally, there’s an overhanging rain-fly (sadly, not much of a vestibule area), and no porch, but the lack of a porch is more than made up by the tent’s unique floor-to-ceiling windows, which give this tent the best panoramic views out of all the tents we’ve listed here, not to mention excellent venting. In fact, we recommend this tent for hot and humid weather, to protect your dog, as it’s got the best ventilation of all the tents we’ve tested.

PROS: Great ventilation, awesome/huge windows, protects well against wind/rain, a lot more space than similar tents on the market due to vertical walls

CONS: Pricy, often sold out (hard to find), and tall walls means more trouble in high-wind conditions. Remember to properly set guy lines on all the walls to give this tent more structure.

BEST SMALL (ULTRALIGHT & THREE-SEASON BACKPACKING) TENT

The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is it when it comes to backpacking. It’s one of the most popular backpacking tents (if not the most popular backpacking tent) due to its durability, ease of set-up, headroom, space, awesome features (like double awnings and plenty of pockets to store gear), and feather-light weight. The company also regularly listens to its community and consistently updates the design of the tent to make it one of the best ultralight tents in the world. 

Though this tent is crazy-expensive, we do not recommend economy tents on backpacking excursions, unless you are prepared to bring a heavy roll of duct tape along with your patch kit, and endure leakage, rips, broken poles, bugs, difficult setups, and a heavy pack. It’s dangerous to be caught in the elements, many miles from civilization, in a sub-par shelter, so we think the Copper Spur is worth the pretty penny to protect you and your dog. (Note, though this is a two-person tent, it will not fit two people PLUS a dog. It will either fit two people or one person and their dog).

Although Big Agnes recommends that you buy their footprint to protect the floor of their tent, I wanted something stronger and much cheaper, so I bought a small piece of Tyvek (available on eBay) and cut it down to size. It does the trick nicely, probably better than any commercially-made footprint could do. 

PROS: Two doors, two awnings, plenty of pockets, a lot of space inside compared to competitor backpacking tents, easy setup, and lighter than ever due to multiple redesigns. Great company.

CONS: Some people have complained that it doesn’t have the best ventilation; expensive

BEST SMALL (FOUR-SEASON & MOUNTAINEERING) TENT 

If you’re looking for a four-season and/or mountaineering tent, SlingFin’s Indus is the best. It can withstand snow much better than competitor tents due to bypassing typical polyurethane coatings and instead utilizing a non-hydrolyzing coat, which means it will never break down over time. SlingFin is also many times stronger than other tents in its class, due to the lack of a mesh inner tent and the addition of heavy duty poles. Finally, the thick denier of their fabrics and the fact that they use ripstop nylon means it’s far less likely to get damaged by your pets (in fact, users report that their tents can stand up to dogs and their claws better than most other tents). Their founder, Martin Zemitis, has three decades’ of mountaineering experience, and was previously the co-founder of Mountain Hardwear.

Slingfin is employee-owned and emphasizes creating tents based on the needs of their community, not shareholders. Their mission statement is pretty badass and may make you switch over to them for all of your backpacking and high alpine trekking needs.

PROS: Considered one of the toughest tents out there; small brand focused on the highest quality; better snow-resistance than other tents; practically dog-proof; four-season, and better priced than three-season tents

CONS: Due to heavier materials used, this tent may way down your pack a bit; not recommended for ultralighters unless they split the weight among themselves

BEST ROOFTOP TENT

Roof-top tents are becoming an increasingly-popular alternative to ground tents these days. They're a great option when it comes to comfort camping, overlanding, and adventure, and allow those who can’t drop tens of thousands of dollars on a Sprinter van to experience some “van life” themselves. 

We can’t jump to our reveal without a quick mention of the granddaddy of all rooftop tents, iKamper’s SkyCamp 3.0. It’s won numerous awards, utilizes top-of-the-line materials, is spacious (you can fit a king-sized mattress in there), and has a beautiful map of the world on one of its inner walls. But if you don’t need a large, fancy rig atop your car, and don’t want to spend $4200, we recommend a unique, lesser-known (and we think, more amazing) option, C6 Outdoor’s Rev Tent.

A triple threat, the Rev not only goes atop a roof rack, but can attach to roofs without racks, and can be set up in the bed of a pickup truck, as well. If you feel like camping on the ground, do so! The Rev can be placed on the ground and guyed down like any other tent. It is the most versatile rooftop tent on the market.

Additionally, it packs down into a very light 25 pounds, needs only one person to set it up, has a mattress that’s twice the thickness of SkyCamp’s, and, in my opinion, comes in cooler colors and design.

PROS: One of the most affordable options for a rooftop tent, ideal for 2 people or one person and their dog, thick and comfortable mattress, multifunctional - can either be a ground tent or roof top tent, easy on the eyes, and solid materials and seams make it a 4-season tent that can withstand snow. 

CONS: Poles are required for set-up, but they seem easy to slide through and you don’t have to take them out each time you pack down. No hard shell. Only sleeps 2.

BEST BUDGET TENT

For $90-140, we nominate the Kelty Discovery Trail Backpacking Tent. Yes, we said backpacking, as this tent is solid as a car camping option, but, being a Kelty, can withstand more challenging weather in the backcountry. It comes in a 1P, 2P or 3P option. The three-person tent weighs in at 5 pounds, 7 ounces, so it’s not exactly ultralight, but can become so if the weight is split between two backpackers and their dog.

It’s super easy to set up with only 2 poles and the rainfly covers the entire tent, providing some of the best protection we’ve seen for a budget tent. It also has pre-attached guylines, which are pretty handy. Even the stuff sack has a wide mouth, so you don’t have to struggle to stuff your tent back into it.

We especially love the specially-built fly vent inside the tent to help keep condensation to minimum, funky smells out, and to keep the tent cool and well-ventilated.

If you don’t backpack and just want a simple yet super dependable budget tent, we’ll veer from other bloggers on their recommendation of Coleman’s Sundome. We instead recommend Coleman’s Skydome. It offers 20% more headroom than the Sundome and has a much bigger door. Best of all, even though it’s a much better alternative to the Sundome, it costs around $15-20 less.

Ever notice that all the pet content out there is eerily similar? Timberdog prides itself on an authentic blog:
- We never use AI to write our articles, so our content is always fresh, current, and real.
- Blog posts are written by experts in their fields, not hired copywriters.
- We never censor comments (unless harmful to others).
- No money is ever received for promoting products.

Photo credit: Patrick Hendry

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