Sleeping outdoors is one of the best parts of camping. Hearing the crickets chirp, the leaves rustle as the animals awake, and appreciating the peace that is nature at night. Feeling the cool breeze and fresh air filter through the mesh on your tent while your sleeping bag keeps you warm and cozy. Those are some of our favorite things to hear and feel, but what about things you can see? For those clear nights where you don’t need a rain fly, looking up at the night sky can be one of the most awesome parts of tent camping.
Before you can fall asleep looking at the stars, you’ll need a tent that’s built to let you see through the canopy. It needs to be mostly mesh, preferably dark mesh that doesn’t distort your view through it. One of the key things to look for is no-see-um mesh and a full coverage rain fly, which is meant to protect large amounts of mesh ceiling that’s perfect for stargazing.
We’ve assembled the best stargazing tents so you can pick the right one that’s perfect for your camping setup. Our Editor’s Choice is the Kelty Rumpus, which has quality materials and a mostly mesh canopy for a great price. We’ve also included options for a backpacking tent, 4 person, a budget tent, a bubble pop up tent, and even a luxurious canvas tent that is glamping at its finest.
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7 Best Stargazing Tents for Looking at the Night Sky:
Kelty Rumpus 6
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Mountain Hardwear Mineral King
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REI Wonderland 4
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Kelty Late Start
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Alvantor Bubble Tent
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Thule x Tepui Foothill
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Editor’s Choice – Kelty Rumpus 6
Kelty has been making outdoor gear since 1952 and is one of our go-to brands for quality and affordable camping gear. They offer a lifetime warranty on their tents, which all have well thought-out designs that are built to last. Their Rumpus 6 is the overall best tent for stargazing and is actually one of the best tents on the market right now.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Rumpus 6 is the large mesh roof that covers the majority of the canopy. This fabric is premium no-see-um mesh that goes all the way down to the bathtub style floor. This gives you almost a 180 degree view when you’re laying down in the tent, making it the perfect stargazing tent.
This large amount of mesh is paired with a full coverage waterproof rain fly that offers a 1200mm waterhead rating and ample protection in heavy rain. The fly also creates an oversized vestibule, which is one of the largest we’ve seen on a tent of this size. It offers lots of extra space for gear storage or even a couple chairs and a cooler. There’s even two doors – the main one in the large vestibule and a D-shaped access door in the back.
The Rumpus sleeps six campers max, but it would be best suited for groups of four people or less if you wanted a little extra room for each person. It also comes in a four person capacity if you want something smaller, but then you would sacrifice the ample headspace (6ft. 4in.) you get in the six person capacity.
Some other cool features included in the Rumpus are pre-attached guylines that have a pouch they can be tucked into when not in use, four internal pockets, a shark-mouth duffel for easy pack up, and Kelty Quick Corners for set up in just a few minutes. All this adds up to a roomy tent that’s perfect for stargazing and car camping with groups, your family, and four-legged friends.
- Dimensions: 9ft. 9in. x 8ft. 9in.
- Floor Space: 86 sq ft (plus 43 sq ft of vestibule space)
- Peak Height: 76 inches (6ft. 4in.)
- Capacity: 6
- Weight: 18 lbs. 7oz.
- Fabric: 68D polyester
- Waterhead Rating: 1200mm
- Poles: fiberglass
- Highlight: Dome tent that’s the perfect stargazing tent with lots of mesh, quality materials, and a standing height over six feet tall.
Mountain Hardwear Mineral King – Best Backpacking Tent for Stargazing
Mountain Hardwear was started in 1993 when a small group of people saw the industry shifting into one that compromised quality and dumbed down products. Now over twenty years later, they still strive to make high performance gear using the highest quality materials and technologies available. Their Mineral King 2 person backpacking tent is one of the best backpacking tents for several reasons and it’s perfect for stargazing while falling asleep under the night sky.
Looking at the picture above, you can see how the large mesh panels make up a majority of the tent body. When you don’t have the fly on, the mesh maintains full visibility so you can stargaze as long as there’s no clouds in the night sky. Even with the rain fly on, you can roll it back and secure it halfway (for stargazing at night or shade during the day) or look out through the oversized double doors, both of which have vestibules.
Set up is super quick using hubbed cross poles and industry leading DAC Pressfit poles, and the pre-bent poles improve livable interior space. Unlike most tents, the Mineral King includes the footprint, which helps provide even more protection from muddy and rocky terrain. There’s also five interior pockets, and the fabrics are free from flame-retardant chemicals.
While it’s not an ultralight stargazing tent, the Mineral King still a lightweight backpacking tent (6 pounds) that’s perfect for backpacking trips where you want the ability to see the stars above in the night sky. It’s also available in a three person capacity if you want something slightly larger but the same shape and design.
- Dimensions: 88 x 54 inches
- Floor Space: 33 sq ft (plus 18.75 sq ft of vestibule)
- Peak Height: 43 inches
- Capacity: 2
- Weight: 6 lbs.
- Fabric: 68D fly, 75D canopy, 40D mesh, 70D floor
- Waterhead Rating: 1500-2000mm
- Poles: DAC Pressfit
- Highlight: A well-rounded backpacking tent that’s lightweight, durable, and has lots of mesh for stargazing all night long while out on the trail.
Stella Stargazer – Most Luxurious
Life in Tents is a small brand that makes canvas tents that are durable, comfortable, and elegant. They source the heaviest and brightest cotton canvas to make tents that are ready to stand up to all things Mother Nature can throw at it – and they look good doing it. Their Stella Stargazer is one of our favorite tents of all time and it’s easily one of the best tents for stargazing you’ll ever find.
The Stella Stargazer is a canvas tent that comes in three different sizes: 4M (13 ft.), 5M (16 ft.), and 6M (19 ft.) in diameter, and they sleep anywhere from a couple glampers to lots of campers depending on which size you select. The specifications below are for the 5M (16’4″) diameter size, which sleeps eight people in sleeping bags or up to two queen sized beds.
The main reason why this canvas tent made our list is because of the large PVC windows around the upper walls. The 4mm thick transparent ceiling windows are waterproof and offer 360 degree panels for stargazing, birdwatching, and watching the clouds roll by while you lay in your sleeping bag or camping bed.
While canvas isn’t a common modern tent material, it offers some of the best qualities you could find in a tent. Canvas is naturally breathable, which helps with condensation and air flow. It’s waterproof right out of the box, and the thick material is built to last a lifetime if you maintain it properly. The tent floor is a thick material and it’s removable for easy cleaning.
There’s so much space in this star gazing tent that there’s no shortage of room. With a 9’8″ max height, you don’t have to stoop in the tent and the four zippered windows offer lots of air flow when paired with the four mesh air vents in the ceiling. External wall poles, a long center pole, and a secondary door pole give this tent enough stability to stand up to winds up to 50 mph.
With internal pockets, a power cord slot, thick and durable zippers, and a stove jack (for winter camping), this canvas tent is seriously strong and would be a great option for a luxury stargazing tent that’s ready for a more permanent glamping setup. It also made our list for best bell tent!
- Dimensions: 16’4″ diameter
- Peak Height: 9’8″
- Capacity: up to eight campers
- Weight: 110 lbs.
- Fabric: 11.5 oz. (390 gsm) cotton canvas
- Floor Fabric: 19 oz. ripstop PVC
- Highlight: Heavy duty canvas tent that’s one of the best tents for stargazing because of its large PVC windows across the top of the ceiling.
REI Wonderland 4
REI is easily one of the biggest brands in the outdoor industry and they have a few name brand tents that we love. We particularly like their Wonderland 4 as one of the best stargazing tents because it offers 360 degree views in a tent that’s built to provide weather protection and comfort for many camping trips to come.
The vertical walls and mesh roof make for a spacious tent that offers an expansive view of the night sky with the rainfly off. Or you can add the waterproof rainfly over the inner tent body to create a stable architecture that can handle stormy weather. End awnings over the two doors provide a covered entry, but they can also be rolled back for more exposure.
Even though this is only a four person capacity tent, the generous max height of 6’3″ allows even tall campers to stand upright. The vertical mesh walls keep bugs out, helps with ventilation, and makes for a good stargazing tent that lets you view the night sky.
Quality materials like aluminum tent poles, a 1200mm waterhead rating, and a 150-denier polyester floor are combined with an interesting design to make a well thought-out stargazing tent that’s perfect for your next camping trip with friends and family.
- Dimensions: 100 x 100 inches (8ft. 4in.)
- Peak Height: 75 inches (6ft. 3in.)
- Floor Space: 69.4 sq ft
- Capacity: 4
- Weight: 21 lbs. 11 oz.
- Fabric: 75D canopy and rainfly, 150D floor
- Waterhead Rating: 1200mm
- Poles: aluminum
- Highlight: Vertical walls and lots of mesh make for a 360 degree view of the night sky in this four person tent.
Kelty Late Start – Most Affordable
Kelty’s Rumpus tent is our Editor’s Choice above, and they’ve made our list again as the most affordable stargazing tent with this Late Start 4 person that’s less than $250. It has a mostly mesh canopy with a bathtub style floor that makes it a great stargazing tent.
While it’s light enough to be a four person backpacking tent, it’s also durable enough to be a car camping tent that won’t break the bank. It would be a great alternative for the Kelty Dirt Motel tent that’s been discontinued, but you’ll find the same no see um mesh and Kelty affordability that you were looking for. It’s also quick to set up with the Kelty Quick Corners that use sleeves at the corners instead of the usual grommets.
Even though the price on this tent is on the more affordable side, Kelty didn’t cut corners when it came to quality. It still uses a thick polyester fabric, has a decent waterhead rating, and uses sturdy aluminum poles that are built to last. All these features make this Late Start a good stargazing tent for someone who’s looking for a quality camping tent on a budget.
- Dimensions: 99 x 81 inches
- Floor Space: 55.7 sq ft
- Capacity: 4
- Weight: 6 lbs. 4oz.
- Fabric: 68D polyester
- Waterhead Rating: 1800mm
- Poles: aluminum
- Highlight: An affordable tent with lots of mesh that make it one of the best tents for stargazing when you’re on a budget.
Alvantor Bubble Tent – Best Bubble Tent
If you want a non-traditional camping tent that could be great for casual stargazing, this Alvantor Bubble pop up tent could be a great option. The specifications below are for the 10 x 10 size, but it’s also available in 6×6, 12×12, and 15×15 feet. The smaller size is more affordable, but may not be wide enough for laying down so keep that in mind when you’re picking which size you would like.
Otherwise, this is a bubble pop up tent that’s almost entirely transparent PCV. It gives you a wide open view of your surroundings so you can see in all directions, including up towards the night sky. It’s spacious and warm, as well as waterproof. It has enough room to fit furniture and several people, and has two upper roof vents for some ventilation.
This tent uses fiberglass ribs to pop up and set up in just a few seconds, but several users have reported that it can be difficult to shape back into its packed size. Be careful when you initially open it, as it does pop open and could hit you in the face.
The floor is sold separately and can be found here, and there’s also an optional telescoping center pole that can be purchased for added stability, as well as a sunshade to add UV protection. This tent would be great for a backyard setting where you aren’t necessarily looking to sleep in it overnight, but would like something to block the wind and provide a clear view of the stars.
- Dimensions: 10 x 10 feet
- Capacity: 4-6 adults
- Weight: 18.7 lbs.
- Max Height: 84 inches (7 ft.)
- Fabric: PVC windows
- Poles: Fiberglass
- Highlight: An interesting bubble pop up that would be great for stargazing in the backyard.
Thule x Tepui Foothill – Best Rooftop Tent
While it’s not a tent you would normally think of initially, a rooftop tent could be a great option for a stargazing tent. This Thule x Tepui Foothill is super high quality and offers two huge ceiling mesh panels that are great for stargazing on clear nights. There’s also mesh on all sides of the tent and it would be super comfy to sleep in while you stare at the night sky.
The first thing we noticed about this tent was the large mesh panels on all sides, but there’s lots of other cool features about this tent that make it a great option. Because it stays attached to your roof rack, there’s minimal packing time when you’re getting ready to go camping and it sets up quickly and easily.
Since you don’t have to worry about carrying it around, weight isn’t an issue and Thule put some effort in the quality of the fabrics used. Where normal camping tents average around 65-75 denier fabric, this tent has 600-denier ripstop polyester that’s breathable and super durable. The aluminum poles help keep it lighter but strong, but its compact enough that it only requires half of the roof rack. This leaves extra room for bikes, a kayak, and other storage so you can take full advantage of your roof rack.
Internal pockets provide storage for small pieces of gear, the tent fabric and rainfly withstand harsh weather conditions, and the unit folds into a compact piece for off-season storage. This is a great rooftop tent for someone looking for an alternative for a traditional camping tent.
- Dimensions: 84 x 47 inches
- Capacity: 2 person
- Max Height: 40 inches
- Fabric: polyester ripstop
- Poles: aluminum
- Highlight: A rooftop tent that’s perfect for a non-traditional camper that still wants to sleep under the stars.
Thing to Consider When Choosing a Stargazing Tent
There a few things to take into consideration when shopping for the best tents for stargazing: mesh, rainfly, capacity, minimalist pole design, and set up time.
No See Um Mesh
Obviously mesh is one of the most important parts of any stargazing tent so it’s essential that it’s high quality and durable. Not only do you want to avoid tears and holes, but you also don’t want it to distort your view of the outside. Some tents purposely let the mesh distort for privacy even without a rainfly, but in this case we want premium mesh that’s clear and strong.
One of the best things to look for in the top stargazing tents is ‘no-see-um mesh’, which is a durable and lightweight micro-mesh netting. It provides protection against insects while limiting the amount of distortion when looking through it.
If the tent you’re leaning towards has mesh but it isn’t called ‘no see um‘, then that’s not necessarily a deal breaker. While this specialty mesh is a big benefit, it’s not required. Just look for tents that have a big mesh walls, huge mesh windows, and/or mesh panels that add up to lots of mesh to look through. It should be dark in color and you should check the product description to make sure it’s not purposely made to distort the viewer’s eyesight.
The other alternative for mesh is PVC windows, which are transparent plastic windows that let you view your surroundings. These are seen in the canvas tent and the bubble tent on our list above. The PVC still provides weather protection while still letting you stargaze from the comfort of the inside of a shelter.
Full Coverage Rainfly
Part of having a tent that’s mostly mesh means you’ll need a full coverage rain fly to protect you from the elements when the weather turns sour. If your tent has a limited amount of mesh, you’ll find that it has a smaller rainfly cap that only covers the uppermost part of the tent. This is particularly prevalent in cheaper tents that try to cut costs by using less fabric. When shopping for stargazing tents, look for products that have a big rainfly because that usually means there’s lots of mesh underneath.
Part of picking the perfect tent is making sure it’s the right size and capacity for your typical camping situation. We’ve included a variety of shapes and sizes in the list above so you have a variety to pick from depending on how many people usually go camping with you. There’s everything from a small two person backpacking tent to an oversized canvas tent that can sleep up to eight people.
If you’re unsure of what size tent you need, the general rule of thumb is to subtract at least two from the recommended capacity. That means a six person tent would be best suited for four people or less. You could also look at square footage and use that to determine how much space you need per person. Read this article to learn how much space you need in a camping tent – it will help you determine which size to purchase.
Minimalist Pole Design
Lots of mesh only works well for stargazing if it’s not crisscrossed by a bulky pole design that inhibits your view of the night sky. When you see a picture of the tent, you’ll immediately know what we mean by this. You want a tent that has a simple design with a minimal amount of poles that could block your view. Plus, tents with a complex structure will take longer to set up, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Set Up Time
While most tents do have a relatively quick setup time, some are better than others. If you frequently do short overnight trips or quick weekends away, having a quick setup time will be more important than someone who mostly has week long camping trips or even a more permanent glamping setup.
One of the coolest features about both the Kelty tents on this list is their quick corners, which means you don’t have to fit the pole into small grommets. Simply slide the bottom of the pole into the sleeve, then use the attachment clips to connect the rest. The other tents on this list also have quick set up times with the only exception being the canvas tent.
Canvas tents have a lot more working parts and are quite heavy, which means they can take some time to setup. That being said, they make up for it in stability, durability, and the overall lifetime of the product. We would only recommend a large canvas tent like the Stella in you mostly camp for longer periods of time or have a permanent camping situation where it will be set up year round.
Where can you use a stargazing tent?
With most stargazing tents, you can use them just about anywhere you can camp! Since they’re mostly three season tents, you’ll want to use them in spring, summer, or fall, and you’ll also want a spot where you have a clear view of the night sky away from any light pollution.
How do you stay warm in a stargazing tent?
Without having the protective rainfly on, it can be more difficult to stay warm in your mesh stargazing tent. You can find warmth in a quality sleeping bag, blankets, or maybe even a small tent heater. You could also use a stargazing bubble tent, which is made of clear plastic that blocks the wind while still letting you view the night sky.
What are the top features to look for in a good stargazing tent?
When shopping for stargazing tents, look for designs that have lots of dark colored no-see-um mesh, a minimal pole design that doesn’t block the view, and a full coverage rainfly for weather protection when you need it.
When you want the perfect tent for stargazing, look no further than our list above to find the best tent for your situation. There’s a variety of options to choose from and they vary greatly in size, price, design, and brand name. No matter which you pick, we hope you find the perfect campsite and wish you many clear nights on your future camping and stargazing adventures.