One of our biggest pet peeves about tent camping is how early you usually have to get up. The fabric of a tent usually lets light in as soon as the sun comes up, so forget about sleeping in! However, this vacation luxury is possible with something called a blackout tent.
Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of a blackout tent and how to choose one. We’ll also reveal the seven best options on the market.
Let’s get started!
Sleeping Late in a Tent Is Nearly Impossible
Sleeping late in a tent can be nearly impossible. No matter the thickness of the tent fabric, you typically wake up with the sun blaring through. Or if you’re in Alaska during the summer, it’s light almost 24 hours a day, making it highly challenging to get any sleep in a tent.
While a tent is an excellent tool for camping, it’s not the most restful accommodation. A blackout tent provides a solution.
What Is a Blackout Tent?
A blackout tent has fabric that diffuses or absorbs light. It makes the inside of the tent almost entirely dark. Keeping out the daylight allows you to sleep as late as possible, especially after a long day of hiking or activities.
Blackout tents are also often climate-controlled, so they don’t overheat inside. Having heavier and darker fabric will naturally make them warmer, so having good ventilation is key. They’re usually well-insulated for four-season camping.
What Are the Pros and Cons of a Blackout Tent?
There are pros and cons to a blackout tent. The benefits are that they block out sunlight, are insulated for increased warmth, and help keep you cool in hot climates. In addition to blocking light from the outside, it blocks interior lights as well from showing outside of the tent. This adds a level of privacy to your camping experience you’ve probably never experienced before.
A disadvantage can be the price due to the customization, quality, and durable fabric. But you can see it as a “you get what you pay for” scenario. Additionally, reviews of many of these blackout tents note there is little airflow and they can get pretty warm inside if set up in the sun in hot weather. We recommend finding shady areas if you’re worried about this. Be sure to listen to the reviews of the individual products to ensure you find one that fits your camping needs and climate.
Pro Tip: Protect the bottom of your blackout tent by learning more about Tent Footprints: Why You Want One and How to Make It.
How Does a Blackout Tent Work?
A blackout tent has technology that will block up to 99% of light. They have fabric that is climate-controlled and breathable.
In contrast, a regular tent is typically polyester or nylon to keep it lightweight and breathable. However, it doesn’t keep the light out. Few tents provide privacy like a blackout tent.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Blackout Tent
When purchasing a blackout tent or dark room, look for one in a size that will work for you. Also, consider the weight, especially if you’re backpacking or need to carry the tent a long distance.
We also recommend reviewing the fabric and blackout technology of the tent. If you are winter camping or using it in the summer in Alaska, you want to ensure it has climate control features. Also double-check that the fabric has UV protection so sun rays don’t damage or wear out the fabric too quickly.
In addition, ensure that the tent will keep you dry. Waterproof and wind-resistant material will provide a durable setup and long-lasting tent.
7 Best Blackout Tents for Sleeping Later in Your Tent
Shopping for a blackout tent can be daunting. We’ve narrowed the options to the seven best tents on the market. Let’s take a look.
Coleman Skydome Camping Tent with Dark Room Technology
Coleman’s six-person Skydome Camping Tent has darkroom technology. It blocks 90 percent of sunlight and reduces heat inside. The tent also has a WeatherTec system tub-like floor with welded corners so the frame can hold with 35 mph winds. The inverted seams prevent water from coming in.
- QUICK PITCH: Sets up in under 5 minutes thanks to pre-attached...
- DARK ROOM TECHNOLOGY: Blocks 90% of sunlight so you can sleep in...
- MORE HEADROOM: 20% more headroom than traditional Coleman dome...
This Colemen Dark Room Skydome has 20% more headroom than other Coleman dome tents. A wide door helps you move gear in and out. It’s nylon and weighs 18.08 pounds. This is definitely a highly-reviewed and recommended tent for a reasonable price. While some tents block even more light, 90% will definitely help you sleep longer at the campsite.
Coleman Tent Octagon
Coleman’s Tent Octagon is waterproof and polyester. Its blackout bedroom blocks out 99 percent of daylight. The tent also has a 360-degree view from six windows and a mesh roof, providing ventilation.
- XXL Black Out Bedroom: With 99 Percent of daylight being blocked...
- 360 Degree view plus enhanced ventilation: 6 large windows and...
- Sturdy and easy to pitch family size octagon tent: Colour-coded...
The sturdy tent has two hinged doors for easy access, and an average-height person can stand up straight inside. It’s also wind-resistant and has fully taped seams and a sewn-in groundsheet. In addition, the tent comes with a wheeled carrying bag. At the higher price point, we see a higher blackout percentage as well as a higher occupancy rating. The octagonal shape gives panoramic views when the blackout blinds aren’t pulled.
The Blackout – Coleman Tent
Coleman’s Tent The Blackout sleeps four people and is waterproof. It blocks 99 percent of daylight and has climate control. The tent is lightweight and durable, with fiberglass poles that respond well to wind. This tent is so dark that you cannot see interior lights from the outside.
- ONE XXL BLACK OUT BEDROOM: with 99% of daylight being blocked out...
- LIGHTWEIGHT, STURDY AND EASY TO PITCH CAMPING DOME TENT: fits 3...
- LARGE STORAGE AREA: spacious enough for storing gear or muddy...
The tent has a UV guard with SPF 50 protection from the sun. It also has taped seams and a fully sewn-in groundsheet to dry the interior. It comes in two variations, Blackout 3 and Blackout 4. Both have a porch area to keep your shoes and gear dry without sharing interior space. Reviews speak highly of this tent’s performance in extreme wind and weather.
This tent claims to fit four people and a queen-sized air mattress, but reviews also indicate that might be a stretch. It is more comfortable for 2 or 3 people, and the air mattress presses against the sides. Measure twice to ensure sizing will work for your purposes.
Coleman Rocky Mountain Family Tent
Coleman’s Rocky Mountain Family Tent sleeps up to five people. It’s waterproof and lightweight and has blackout tent technology. The fabric blocks out 99 percent of daylight for a long night’s sleep and has two bedrooms.
- TWO XXL BLACK OUT BEDROOMS: with 99% of daylight being blocked...
- LIGHTWEIGHT, STURDY AND EASY TO PITCH FAMILY SIZE TUNNEL TENT:...
- LARGE LIVING AREA: spacious enough to take a family table and...
The spacious tent has PVC windows with covers and a full-height door. It also has a UV guard with SPF 50 protection. The tent has taped seams and a fully sewn-in groundsheet.
Snugpak Bunker 3 Person Tent
The Snugpak Bunker 3 Person Tent is lightweight polyester tent that is perfect for the backpacker who wants a stealthy, dark, and cozy den at the end of the day. It has a 5000mm waterproof polyurethane coating designed to take hard use.
- Flysheet is a lightweight 210t polyester Rip Stop with 5000mm...
- Inner tent constructed of 190t nylon with polyester mesh F/R
- Ground sheet constructed of 190t nylon with 5000mm waterproof...
The inside of the tent is nylon with polyester mesh. The four-season bunker is a darker room tent. It provides excellent protection from the wind, sun, and elements. The tent is also lightweight for carrying and backpacking, unlike our other blackout tent options that are more suited for car camping.
Ozark Trail Dark Rest Cabin Tent
The Ozark Trail Dark Rest Cabin Tent sleeps six people and can fit two queen-size air mattresses. It features Dark Rest™ technology that blocks sunlight and provides climate control.
The tent has skylights with ceiling panels that you can adjust to bring in as much light as possible. It also has a hanging gear loft, organizer, and electrical port access.
EVER ADVANCED Instant Blackout Camping Tent
The Ever Advanced Instant Blackout Camping Tent sleeps six people. It’s water resistant and has good ventilation with three zippered mesh windows and a ceiling net window. The tent has blackout fabric which allows for temperature control.
- DARK TENT: The blackout camping tent is perfect for sleeping in...
- INSTANT TENT: The easy up camping tent can be set up in 60...
- GREAT VENTILATION: 3 large zippered mesh roll up windows and...
The tent weighs 22.3 pounds and folds up compactly for storage. In addition, the blackout tent comes with a 12-month manufacturer warranty.
Does Blackout Technology Weaken Over Time?
The blackout technology on tents doesn’t weaken over time. However, tents, in general, can degrade when you use them for a long time. Most tents will last 10-20 years with gentle use. If you use your tent regularly, be aware that it may start to degrade after several years. Cheaply-made products left out in the sun may also degrade much faster.
Pro Tip: Planning on camping in the fall or winter? You’ll be happy to have brought along one of these 7 Best Tent Heaters for Cold Weather Camping.
Are Blackout Tents Worth It?
Blackout tents are worth it for sleeping in late while camping, and for that added privacy at the campground. They’re also a must-have for Alaska in the summer when it’s light almost around the clock. Even if you don’t need to sleep in, dark room tents provide climate control to help you stay warmer on the shoulder seasons.
Which of the blackout tents on our list will work best for you? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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