7 things you need in a festival camping tent
1. Sun and Heat resistance
Unless you go to a lot of festivals in the winter having a heat blocking tent is key to enjoying the festival. In a normal tent the temperatures can soar to 30ºF or even 35ºF over the outside temperature in a normal tent. It might only be 70ºF at 7 am, but in a normal tent it can be 100ºF! Good luck sleeping off last night when you get woken up by the sun at 7 am.
2. Rain Resistance
Not every festival has rain – but almost every festival can get rained on. Burning Man got so much rain a few years ago they had to shut down for a day. There are three key things that make a tent set up to handle the rain: A. A bathtub floor with sealed seams. Non bathtub floors, like those ones that zip out let rain in through the zippers, and it the floor seams aren’t taped water will seep in through those. B. A waterproof rainfly with taped seams. Just like the floor you need waterproof fabric and taped seams to keep the rain out. C. Windows that are designed for rain. One festival tent we know about is based on an ice fishing shelter – every time it rains the rain just gets funneled into the tent!
3. Beverage holders
Like you aren’t going to have a few drinks at a festival? Whether its water or booze you’re going to be doing some drinking – so having a place to put your drinks so they don’t spill all over your stuff is a key.
4. Light Blocking
You’re going to a festival to have a great time. Having a great time means staying up late, maybe even watching the sunrise. Nobody wants to be woken up by the Sun in the morning. Most tents light up like the concert lights from last night before by 7 am. And taking a nap? Forget about it in a normal tent.
5. Wind Resistance
Summer means thunderstorms in a lot of the world, and thunderstorms mean rain and huge winds. Normal tents from big box stores can blow down, have their poles snap and be rendered useless in just a few minutes by a single thunderstorm. Because many festivals are held in remote locations you’ll be stuck with a useless tent for the rest of the festival. Tents that are designed for high winds can handle these conditions season after season. Tents that are rated to handle '4 Season' winds are the most durable.
6. Dust and Sand Proof
It might not be the first thing that you think about, but at a lot of festivals dust and sand are a major issue. Ever heard of Burning Man? Coachella? Further Future? If you’re going to any of these festivals dust can literally pile up inside your tent. Most tents are what’s called a ‘3 Season’ design. That means the inner tent is usually filled with a ton of mesh. And that mesh won’t do a damn thing to stop dust and sand from getting in your tent. Look for a tent that allows you to seal up all the mesh with zip closed fabric panels. Even better look for a tent with filter pockets so you can seal out dust while still getting a bit of airflow so your tent doesn’t get too stuffy.
7. A/C and Evaporative Cooler ports
Some festivals are just plain hot. One way to help combat the heat is to use an air conditioner or a swamp cooler to help keep your tent cool. Some A/C’s need two ports, some just use one. The ones with just one port need to have somewhere to pull in fresh air (the one port is the hot air exhaust). Without a fresh air vent the A/C will literally make the tent into a partial vacuum and could cause the tent to collapse. Having vent pockets (with filters for dusty places) is one solution to this problem. Make sure you have plenty of power to run your A/C – you’ll probably need a generator or access to an electric grid.
Evaporative coolers, also called swamp coolers, are a great alternative for desert and higher altitude (over 2000 feet) festivals. They use a ton less power, and as long as the humidity is low they can cool the air by up to about 30ºF. You can power one for a week off a car sized deep cycle battery or a 50W solar panel.
8. BONUS: Big zippers
Look for tents with the biggest zippers you can find. #8 and #10 are preferred. You know you’re going to be going in and out of your tent a ton – and zippers are often the first place that a tent fails. Zippers are expensive to replace so do yourself a favor and look for a tent with big zippers to start.
What features do you think we're missing? What do you think is the most important feature for a festival tent? Let us know in the comments below!
If you’re interested in a tent that meets all of the above criteria you should check out The No Bake Tent. I’ve spent my entire life camping and working in the outdoors. I took that experience and turned it into the best tent I’ve ever seen. I’m not the only one who loves it though – check out the user submitted reviews on the testimonials page.