The Best Tents for Desert Camping

If you’re going camping in the dry desert, you need a tent that will protect you from sandstorms and the midday heat. As such, you need the best tent for desert camping. Please note that while there are many camping tents on the market, not all of them are recommended by us.

You may notice that there are only three tents in this review. I’ve chosen these three as they are the best in each category. For example, there is no point in knowing about the tenth best canvas tents for desert camping, when you don’t even want that type of material. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Best Desert Camping Tents

  1. Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent
  2. Coleman Instant Tent
  3. DANCHEL Cotton Bell

1. Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent

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Built from a thick canvas material, there is no better tent than this one for sandy environments

With a Duck Canvas material, this all season tent is excellent at protecting users from sandstorms and other desert dust. As such, the Kodiak Canvas is our best dust-blocking tent for desert camping. It serves as a comfortable base that will provide shade and protection from various weather conditions. This material has a light color that works keeps users cooler in the heat of the desert sun.

The tent’s front awning that provides shade over the front door. There’s an additional back door as well to provide you with two points of entry. There are four mesh panel windows, one in each door and one next to each door. 

However, high-quality comes at a cost – the Kodiak Canvas isn’t the most budget-friendly desert tent on the market, but the high quality means the tent still represents great value. This is also a tent that will provide a lifetime of use. With the Kodiak, you are making an investment.

Before trying to pitch the tent for the first time we recommend watching a video and practicing in your garden. After all, you don’t want to be fumbling around with heavy materials in the heat. It takes me roughly 10 minutes to complete the set-up. The single-wall design eliminates the need for a separate rain fly.

As we just mentioned, this tent uses thick, heavy materials that result in a tent that weighs almost 70lb (for the 8-person)! As such, this isn’t a desert backpacking tent to take on long hikes. Although heavy, the tent comes in two separate bags that distributes the weight and increases portability. 

Check out our full review here.

2. Coleman Instant Tent

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If you’re on a budget or want a tent that sets-up in seconds, this is the one for you.

Now, the Coleman Instant is perfect if you’re not looking for a heavy tent that will take some time to set-up. In fact, it is quite the opposite. If you’re looking for a lightweight tent for desert camping that erects in under a minute, this is the one for you. You will find it on our recommended instant tents page.

From Coleman, it will come as no surprise that this tent is very affordable. Coleman is known for producing reliable tents for every camper, even those on a budget.

It’s also available in 4-person, 6-person, and 10-person tent sizes, so there are options for various group sizes.

You may be worried that an instant tent for desert camping wouldn’t be sturdy enough for desert storms, but this is not the case. In fact, the Coleman Instant utilizes a thick frame that stands strong in windy conditions. The tent can be staked down too, to hold the tent down even more, although you may want longer stakes that dig deeper into the terrain. Oh, and these guy-lines are reflective, which prevents any bumps in the night during the festivities.

This tent also boasts extremely fast and easy set up due to the pop-up style of construction. The poles come pre-attached to the outer fabric, meaning it is just a case of unfolding the tent and extending the poles. The integrated rainfly helps make the tent more weather-resistant while also allowing for good air circulation.

3. DANCHEL Cotton Bell

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If you prefer a different shape of tent, this is our best dome tent for desert camping.

If you would prefer a bell-shaped desert tent, the Danchel Cotton Bell is our recommendation. Much like the Kodiak, this is a canvas desert tent that protects users from sand and harsh weather. The doors and windows have mesh panels to keep bugs out and heavy-duty zippers for durability. 

There are multiple choices to choose from, but our favorite is the large option that is 16.6 ft wide and covers a total 216 ft² of ground. There’s also a smaller 13.12-foot diameter size and a larger 20-foot diameter size.

The circular shape and sloping roof make this the ideal tent for social occasions in the desert. Perhaps the most innovative feature of this tent is the stove jack that allows you to use a wood tent stove to stay warm when the sun goes down. The spacious size options make this tent great for glamping, with plenty of room for cots, air mattresses, camping fridges, tables, chairs, lighting, camping toilets, and more.

With a natural beige color, the tent will keep you cool when the sun is beaming down. Even better, the bottom half of the tent can be easily removed, which results in a freestanding canopy that allows for superior airflow while still providing shade. The floor tarp can still be used without the lower tent walls so you and your gear aren’t directly on the ground.

Although waterproof and fire retardant, the canvas material is heavy in weight. In fact, the large desert tent for desert camping weighs a massive 83lb, so it’s definitely not an ultralight tent. At the end of the day, it will come down to whether the pros outweigh the weight. The Danchel also comes with a waterproof carry bag, set-up instructions, poles, guy-lines, and stakes.

Final Thoughts On Tents for Desert Camping

These are our top picks for the best tents for desert camping. Each is a great choice for your next camping trip, whether you’re going car camping, glamping, or to a desert festival like Burning Man. All you have to do is pick the right one for your destination, camping style, group size, and personal preferences.

Want to keep cool while you’re camping in hot weather? Check out our tips to stay cool in hot climates. And don’t forget to see recommendations on a camping air conditioner and camping tent fans to keep cool while enjoying your desert campsite.

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Taylor Wise is a nature landscape photographer who spends his days running a web design agency. His passion project is traveling and getting in touch with nature, he hopes to help others do the same by sharing camping tips and tricks through Camping Tent Expert. Taylor takes weekend camping trips whenever he can, and loves nothing more than getting lost in the wilderness.

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