Bugs are not invited guests when it comes to camping, but like an annoying RV neighbor, they show up anyway. Thankfully, there are screen tents, one of the best ways to keep them out of your party. But, with so many choices on the market, how do you choose the best screen tents for camping?
Come along as we take a look at these portable outdoor shelters designed to keep bugs out and help you find one to suit your needs.
What Is a Screen Tent for Camping?
A screen tent acts like a tent that you would sleep in, with a few differences. The walls are see-through, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of natural views without the nuisance of bugs.
Screen tent canopies can have many options, including floors and zippered doors. Some are meant for easy setup and tear down. Others may take a bit longer, depending on the pole system it uses. You could also choose a screen with complete coverage, protecting you from rain along with bugs.
Benefits of Having a Screen Tent
There are many benefits of a screen tent, the most apparent being keeping those unwanted guests out of your hair–quite literally.
Another benefit is weather protection. It’s quite lovely to sit outside on a rainy summer day, feeling the breeze and getting a break from the heat without getting soaked.
It’s also a lovely place to set up chairs and tables for a relaxing gathering area out of the elements. It provides adequate shade and a cozy atmosphere. Many of these screened canopies have a UPF sun protection rating as well!
Pro Tip: Relax in the great outdoors while camping by using this guide on how to Take Your RV Porch to the Next Level.
What to Look for in a Screen Tent for Camping
Whether you’re buying your first screen tent or you want to replace what you already have, we’re sharing some of our best tips for choosing one below.
When seeking out the best screen tent for camping, you’ll want something that can handle almost anything. This includes unpacking it, setting it up, handling the weather, tearing it down, and packing it back up again, over and over.
Ease of Use/Setup
Look for screen tents that take less than a few minutes to set up and tear down. Your time should be spent in recreation or relaxation, not figuring out complicated screen tents. So choose one that’s easy to use.
Portability and Storage
You probably already have too much stuff, so your screen tent should be spacious enough to entertain but compact enough to store. Portability is also a plus. A tent that comes with a storage bag makes it both portable and simple to store.
Size and Weight
Along with portability comes size and weight. The best screen tents for camping should accommodate six adults but still weigh less than 40 pounds. Keeping its size and weight low will make it one of the best screen tents for camping. Unfortunately, the “quick set up” tents generally lean toward the heavier side, so you may have to sacrifice ease of use if weight is a concern.
Doors, Walls, and Floors
If your goal is to really keep those critters out and away from your party, then you need doors, walls, and a floor. Bugs are tiny; they can crawl under almost anything, so with all the above, you can create a lovely outdoor space without them.
Pro Tip: Keep the bugs out by using this Clam Quick-Set Screen Tent Comparisons to Help You Decide.
5 Best Screen Tents for Camping Bug-Free
Now that we’ve convinced you that you need a top-quality screen tent for your camp, you just need to know what to get. Here are some of our favorite options.
1. Quick-Set Clam Escape Screen Tent
Dimensions: 12′ x 12′ open, 6′ x 12″ x 12″ folded
Weight: 34 pounds
The Quick-Set Clam Screen Tent is just that: a quick setup and tear-down screen tent. It takes only 2 minutes to set up, requires zero assembly, and is ready to use right out of the box! It’s a bit heavy at 34 pounds; however, the beauty of this gazebo-style tent makes it worth its weight.
Let it rain because this camping screen tent is water-resistant and all-season. It’s also packed into a carrying bag with tent stakes to keep it in place when the wind blows, so you’ve got everything you need.
We personally chose this model in the Escape size, which has greatly increased our time outside the RV in buggy locations!
- Lightweight, portable 11.5 x 11.5-foot pop-up 6-sided canopy...
- Accommodates up to 6 people or spacious enough to fit a picnic...
- Includes 7 tent stakes, 5 tie-down ropes, and an over-sized carry...
2. Coleman Screened Canopy Tent
Dimensions: 15′ x 13′ open
Weight: 18.25 pounds
The Coleman Screened Canopy Tent is easily portable, weighing only three pounds. Hanging out in here, you’ll find shelter from the sun, wind, and bugs. It sets up in about a minute and is made of durable Polyguard double-thick fabric. It also offers UPF 50 sun protection.
With two large doors, you can get in and out with ease. Plus, at 41.6 square feet of floor space and a 7-foot maximum height, this screened canopy tent is roomy and comfortable.
- SUN PROTECTION: UVGuard material offers UPF 50 sun...
- INSTANT SETUP: In as fast as 1 minute
- BUG-FREE ENTERTAINING: Screen walls keep the mosquitoes away
3. Coleman Back Home Screenhouse
Dimensions: 12′ x 10′ open, 4′ x 12″ x 12″ folded
Weight: 45.2 pounds
The Coleman Back Home Screenhouse is the next level up for Coleman screen tents. This gazebo-style screen house adds beauty and functionality to any event, whether camping or in your backyard. It also has a doubled-up heavy-duty Polyguard fabric, so you and your camping guests will be protected from the sun, wind, and bugs.
It has two doors for access in and out and sets up in three steps, taking only three minutes. Because of its durability, shape, and size, the tent is on the heavy side at 45.2 pounds. But for simple portability and storage, it comes with an easy-pull wheeled carry bag that fits inside most vehicles.
- Portable screened shelter offers protection from the sun, wind,...
- Sets up in 3 minutes in just 3 steps
- Made of durable Polyguard 2X double-thick fabric with UVGuard 50+...
4. Alvantor Pop-Up Screen House Tent
Dimensions: 10′ x 10′ x 7′ open
Weight: 15 pounds
The Alvantor Pop-Up Screen House Tent might just be the best screen tent for camping because of its unique shape and low weight of 15 pounds. This quick-setup tent is perfect for summer evenings without bugs. You can even purchase an optional floor, genuinely bringing the indoors outside.
With six mesh netting screen walls and a hexagonal shape, your views of the beautiful outdoors are only hindered by your friends, not the tent’s structure. While it’s not waterproof, the Alvantor Screen House can hold up to six people and instantly pop-up anywhere you need protection from the critters.
- ☀Highlight: design patented Lightest Pop Up Screen Room for 4-6...
- ☀Spacious space & ventilation: Alvantor Breezy Hexagonal...
- ☀Patent design: fabric top provides an all-day UPF...
5. Gazelle Camping Gazebo
Dimensions: 124″ x 124″x 86″ open, 8″ x 8″ x 73″ folded
Weight: 34 pounds
This Gazelle Camping Gazebo might just be everything you’re looking for in an outdoor shelter. With its gazebo shape and six sides, you might feel like royalty when hanging out safely in this space.
This fashionable canopy tent weighs in at just over 30 pounds and sets up in under a minute with no assembly required. It includes ground stakes and tie-downs for those windy days. And if it starts to sprinkle, the roof panel is water-resistant, so you can continue to play without getting drenched.
This shelter is generally considered the lower-priced alternative to the more expensive name-brand Quick-Set Clam Tents. In our personal experience, it’s very comparable in materials and build quality and can withstand some pretty intense desert winds!
- Designed with integrated wind panels to help protect against the...
- Pop-up gazebo hub design makes assembly fast and easy, ideal to...
- Shade tent has a large main entrance door that offers an...
Are Screen Tents Worth It?
Considering most quality screen tents cost well over $150, we wouldn’t call them a cheap camping accessory. So are they worth the price tag? If you frequently camp in areas plagued by flies, mosquitos, and other insects, a screen tent is an excellent investment. However, if you camp in areas where bugs aren’t a big problem or you don’t spend much time outside your RV, you may want to pass on this item.
Pro Tip: When you’re not inside your screen tent, stay protected with one of the 8 Best Mosquito and Bug Repellents for Camping Bug-Free.
The Best Screen Tents for Camping: All Are Invited, Except the Bugs
Now that you’ve got one of the best screen tents for camping, it’s time to start planning an outdoor get-together. Include all the best foods and drinks, and send out invitations to everyone, except those bugs, of course. Even if they try gate crashing, they won’t be able to get in!
Become A Mortons On The Move Insider
Join 10,000+ other adventurers to receive educating, entertaining, and inspiring articles about RV Travel Destinations, RV Gear, and Off-Grid Living to jump-start your adventures today!