Whether you regularly camp in windy conditions or are looking to be prepared just in case, there’s sure to be a tent for you on this list of top picks for the best tents for high winds. After analyzing lots of different tents from several well-known brands, we have narrowed it down to our top choices. We’ve purposefully chosen these products for the high user ratings, durability, brand name, and quality construction. There’s a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and prices, so you can explore several options currently on the market.
These tents are made of wind-resistant materials that typically include ripstop nylon, a high denier fabric, aluminum tent poles, and more. They are ideal for conditions such as camping above tree line in the mountains, beach camping on the coast, and lots more.
Our top pick is the Coleman PEAK1, which is all-around a great 3-season tent and is perfect for the casual camper who wants to be prepared for high winds. Our second pick is by Mountain Hardwear, and is the best option for serious campers who are regularly exposed to extreme weather conditions. We’ve also included options for ultralight backpacking, budget backpacking, a runner-up, an MSR that is the most affordable on this list, and even a surprise at the end that may make you reconsider what you were looking for.
- 6 Best Tents for High Winds
- Thing to Consider When Choosing a Tent for Windy Conditions
6 Best Tents for High Winds
There are our picks for the best tents for windy conditions.
- Editor’s Choice – Coleman Peak1 4-Person
- 4 Season – Mountain Hardwear ACI 3 Tent
- Ultralight / Backpacking – NEMO Hornet Ultralight 2P
- Runner-Up – Marmot Tungsten Tent
- Most Affordable – MSR Elixir 2
- Rooftop Tent – Yakima SkyRise HD 3
Editor’s Choice – Coleman PEAK1 4 Person
We’ve selected this Coleman PEAK1 as our Editor’s Choice for best tents for high winds because of its durability, design, and mid range price point. It’s best for campers who would like to be prepared for high winds and rain but may not always camp in these conditions. Coleman boasts that it can withstand winds up to 45 mph and can even be used in light winter conditions. This tent uses 7000-series aluminum poles, which are much more durable than fiberglass. It also includes a footprint, which is a nice bonus considering most tents require that you purchase one separately. One of the best pros of this tent is that it is also available in 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, and 6-person sizes. The specifications below are for the 4-person model, but it’s great to have the different size options so you can customize to the size of your camping crew.
What makes this tent so waterproof is the rain fly, which is made with Coleman’s WeatherTec Plus system. It’s waterproof fabric with taped seams and a weather head rating of 2,000mm (read below on what this means). Pair this strong rainfly with a tub-style floor with optional roof vents and you have yourself a strong shelter. Use the included reflective guylines to secure your tent in preparation for wind, or take the rain fly off on clear night so you can watch the stars through the mesh, which makes up a majority of the fabric on the tent itself.
The main downside of this tent can also be a pro depending on your desires. The max height is a solid 5’10”, which allows most people the ability to stand up straight. If this an important feature for you, then you’ve possibly just found the best tent for high wind. However, if height isn’t a factor then you may consider purchasing a different tent on this list with a shorter peak height. Although this tent is more contoured than most taller tents, it’s still a decent height, which is more likely to catch the wind instead of holding its ground. That’s why this tent is best for campers who want to be prepared for the occasional wind and rain storm, but doesn’t necessarily camp in it all the time. If you do regularly camp in extreme conditions involving wind, rain, and snow, we suggest looking at the Mountain Hardwear ACI, which is the next tent on this list.
- Weight: 12lbs 15.1oz
- Packed size: 25.98″ x 8.66″ x 8.66″
- Floor size: 7’10” x 7’10”
- Peak height: 5’10”
- Poles: 7000-series aluminum poles
- Waterhead rating: 2,000 mm
- Seasonality: 3-4
- Occupancy: 4 (also available in 1, 3, 4, and 6 person)
- Tallest peak height on this list
- Included footprint
- Rated to withstand winds up to 45 mph
- Available in a variety of sizes
- Taller frame allows for standing up but is also more likely to catch wind
Mountain Hardwear ACI 3 Tent
This Mountain Hardwear ACI 3 is for serious campers who regularly experience extreme weather conditions. It’s actually made for mountaineering, so it can withstand a variety of high-altitude conditions and is a true 4-season tent. The DAC Featherlight NSL poles are a high quality and strong lightweight aluminum built to stay put, and they’re paired with sleeves made of strong, non-stretch fabric that reinforce the pole structure. Because this tent is comprised of a single-wall design, there’s no rain fly to mess with and you won’t having anything flapping in the wind.
To provide ventilation, there are 4 adjustable zippered vents to keep the inside from getting too muggy. For more cross-ventilation, the 2 doors can be opened and have a full mesh layer to provide a bug-free breeze. The short peak height (only 3’5″) keeps a low profile for wind to blow over. The waterhead rating on this fabric is a whopping 10,000mm, which knocks every other tent on this list out of the park when it comes to waterproofing.
The main downside of this tent is the price, which is why we recommend this only for serious campers who are regularly exposed to adverse conditions. While the ventilation is great for its application, the lack of mesh can make this tent uncomfortable for warm or hot summer camping conditions.
- Weight: 8lbs 4oz
- Packed size: 8″ x 25″
- Floor size: 9’2″ x 5′
- Peak height: 3’5″
- Poles: DAC Featherlight NSL
- Waterhead rating: 10,000mm
- Rainfly Fabric: 50-denier ripstop nylon
- Floor Fabric: 30-denier ripstop nylon
- Seasonality: 4
- Occupancy: 3
- Highest waterhead rating on this list
- Truly built for extreme weather conditions
- Excellent waterproofing
- Most expensive tent on this list
- Not good for warm/hot camping conditions
NEMO Hornet Ultralight 2P
NEMO’s Hornet Ultralight is perfect for any backpackers looking for weather protection on the trail. At only 1lb 15oz, this tent is the lightest on our list by several pounds, but it still offers valuable waterproofing. The rainfly fabric and floor fabric are both treated with silicone and polyurethane so that the fabric is waterproof rated 1,200mm. The poles are made of aluminum, which is a preferred material when it comes to weight and durability.
NEMO put some real thought into this backpacking tent, so it has some cool features that sets itself apart. There’s a dual-stage stuff sack that makes it easier to divide the weight with a partner. The volumizing guy-outs connect to the inner tent, which pushes out the sidewalls to create more livable space. More volumizing guy-outs near the feet and head increase the volume in order to protect your sleeping bags from wall condensation. The lightweight poles connect with a single hubbed intersection so you can set up the Hornet lightning-quick. There are two doors with vestibules, which provide enough space for gear coverage for each person. All of this is ultralight weight and is protected by the NEMO lifetime warranty.
The main con of this tent is also one of the pros: the weight. While this tent is super lightweight, this means precious pounds were cut in a variety of places. The most applicable one for high winds is the thickness of the rainfly fabric, which is only 10-denier while most of the other tents on this list are at least 30+. While this is still plenty of coverage for your average backpacker, you may need something stronger if you’re consistently exposed to harsh wind conditions.
- Weight: 1lb 15oz
- Packed size: 19.5″ x 5.5″
- Floor size: 85″ x 51/43″ (L x head/foot)
- Peak Height: 3’2.6″
- Poles: DAC Featherlife NFL aluminum
- Rainfly Fabric: 10-denier nylon ripstop 1200mm
- Floor Fabric: 15-denier nylon ripstop 1200mm
- Seasonality: 3
- Occupancy: 2 (also available in 1 person)
- Weighs less than 2 lbs and is the lightest on this list
- Comes with the NEMO lifetime warranty
- Thinnest fabric on this list
- Limited size options
Marmot Tungsten 3P Tent
The Marmot Tungsten Tent is a really great honorable mention when it comes to the best tents for high winds because it features all the desired qualities in a strong tent and has a lower-range price point. This would be a great tent for a camper who wants to be prepared for windy conditions but doesn’t necessarily plan on camping in them frequently. It’s frequently highly rated by users, has 2 doors with vestibules, and a seam-taped, full coverage fly for rain protection. Plus, it’s covered by Marmot’s lifetime warranty.
This tent actually has one of the higher denier fabrics for both the rainfly and floor, making it durable while still being under 7lbs. The weight is geared towards budget backpackers, meaning it’s on the lighter side for car-camping tents but not quite ultralight like the NEMO Hornet above. It’s also available in 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-person sizes so you have the option to carry less weight if you party sleeps with less than 3 or 4 people.
- Weight: 6lbs 4.5oz
- Packed size: 22.5 x 8″
- Floor size: 5’6″ x 7’6″
- Peak Height: 3’10”
- Poles: 3 HD Velocity 7000-series
- Rainfly Fabric: 68D polyester taffeta 1800mm
- Floor Fabric: 70D polyester taffeta 2000mm
- Seasonality: 3
- Occupancy: 3 (also available in 1, 2, and 4)
- One of the most affordable tents on this list
- Thicker denier level than others on this list
- Backpacking tent that is on the heavier side
MSR Elixir 2
Perhaps the best feature of the MSR Elixir 2 is that it’s our most affordable tent on this list. It manages to balance affordability with quality and boasts some of the highest denier level fabrics on our list. Even with the lower price, this tent includes the matching footprint, which saves you even more money. MSR’s thoughtful design makes set up easy using the color-coded poles, clips, and webbing, as well as glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls. With the included footprint, there are multiple options for setup, including a freestanding Fast & Light pitch that uses the rainfly and footprint to create a minimalist shelter using your hiking poles.
While MSR only offers a 3-year warranty as compared to Marmot’s lifetime warranty, MSR does offer cheap repairs for its products. For example, you could send in your tent and their in-house sewing technician can fix mesh rips, patch small holes, and sew in panels for only 10 USD. They can also repair the poles for 5 USD per segment. This is part of their initiative to keep gear out of landfills, and they also recycle empty fuel canisters for free!
- Weight: 6lbs
- Packed Size: 7″ x 20″
- Floor Size: 7′ x 4’2″
- Peak Height: 3’4″
- Poles: 7000-series aluminum
- Rainfly Fabric: 68D ripstop polyester 1500mm polyurethane & DWR
- Floor Fabric: 70D taffeta nylon 3000mm polyurethane & DWR
- Seasonality: 3
- Occupancy: 2
- Includes footprint
- Strongest floor fabric on this list
- Most affordable tent on this list
- Poles design strains the aluminum and puts it at risk for breaking
Yakima SkyRise HD 3 Rooftop Tent
Sometimes when you’re camping you have to think outside the box and get creative, which is why we’ve included this Yakima SkyRise rooftop tent on our list. When you’re thinking about windy conditions, you really need a tent that’s made of strong fabrics, and that’s exactly what we love about this rooftop tent. The strongest denier on the list above is 70-D and this tent has a whopping 210-D and 600-D fabric on the rainfly and tent fabric. This makes the tent super heavy, but because it stays mounted to your vehicle or travel trailer, you don’t have to worry about carting around its 114 pound weight. The heavy-duty fabric also has a 3000mm polyurethane coating for great waterproofing, and you can use the included guylines and D-rings to secure the tent for really windy conditions.
It’s easy to have mixed emotions about rooftops tents, as there are lots of strong opinions on both the pros and cons of the idea. On one hand you have a really strong tent that’s built to withstand windy and wet conditions. It will be comfortable and you don’t have to worry about sleeping pads or cots because the foam piece is included. This is a really great alternative to an air mattress in a tent, which never seems to work out well in our experience. Set up is typically quick and easy once you’re at your destination. But there’s some steep cons as well, one of which is the price. It can be quite expensive, plus the added cost of outfitting your vehicle to carry it. If you choose a vehicle as your mount, you do have to set up and take down whenever you leave camp, so it would be much more efficient to use a rooftop tent on a trailer.
With that being said, if you’re truly looking for the best tent for high winds, we would highly recommend considering a rooftop tent as an option. It’s super secure since it’s mounted to a hard sided vehicle, the tent fabric is the strong on this list by a long shot, and setup/take down is super easy and fast.
- Weight: 114 lbs. 10.2 oz.
- Packed Size: 56″ x 48″ x 16.5″
- Floor Size: 96″ x 56″
- Peak Height: 48″
- Poles: aluminum
- Rainfly Fabric: 210-denier ripstop polyester 3000mm polyurethane coating
- Floor & Tent Fabric: 600-denier ripstop polyester with 3000mm polyurethane coating
- Seasonality: 4
- Occupancy: 3
- Strongest fabrics on our list
- 2.5 inch foam sleeping pad included
- 4-season usability
- Quite expensive
- Must mount on vehicle or trailer
Thing to Consider When Choosing a Tent for Windy Conditions
The tents on the list above are all great options, but it’s important that you find the right tent for your situation. This means taking into consideration factors like denier, waterhead rating, aerodynamics, and more. These factors can be different than your traditional cheap camping tent, which won’t necessarily keep the elements at bay.
What is denier?
Denier is the measurement used to determine the thickness of the fibers in a tent fabric. This is based on the length and weight of a yarn or fiber and is a unit of density. For example, a single strand of silk is considered 1-denier or 1-D.
The higher the denier or threat count, the thicker, stronger, and more durable it will be, but this also makes it bulkier. Oftentimes you will see a lower denier in ultralight tents meant for backpacking (where weight is more important) and a higher denier in car camping tents. The thickest denier will typically be in rooftop tents, where weight doesn’t matter as much since the unit will be mounted permanently.
Ripstop tent fabrics have special reinforcement to increase their resistance to tearing and ripping. Any tearing or holes that do occur are less likely to spread because there is a stronger thread that is weaved in at regular intervals throughout the pattern – this stronger thread will help stop ripping in its tracks (hence the name).
When looking at the best tents for high winds, you should take into consideration that it should be a higher level of denier, and maybe even include ripstop fabric for more durability. While it’s important to have a tent with thicker fabric, especially for windy conditions, it’s not necessarily the fabric that keeps you dry but instead is the coating on said fabric.
Waterhead Rating / Hydrostatic Head
If we are going to talk about the best tents for windy conditions, wind is often paired with rain and the ideal tent should be equally prepared for both. We’ve included specifications on the Waterhead Rating for each tent on our list (displayed as xxx-mm), but what exactly does that mean? Waterhead rating is also called Water Column (WC) and it’s the measure of how water resistant a tent material is. The millimeter unit of measurement refers to how tall a column of water the fabric can hold before it starts to seep through. For example, a rating of 1200mm means that a tent fabric could hold a column of water that is 1200mm tall (47 inches) for at least one minute before a drop of water seeps through.
So if we are talking numbers, then what is the best number for a waterproof fabric? Something that’s 1200mm or up is considered the minimum to be deemed waterproof and able to handle most rain conditions. The higher the number, the better that fabric would be at keeping the rain out.
|<1000mm||Water Resistant||Best in Light Rain|
|1000mm-1500mm||Waterproof||Lightweight, Requires proper care to maintain waterproofing|
|1500mm-5000mm||Waterproof||Good for heavy rains, sacrifices weight for durability|
For a visual representation of what a hydrostatic head test looks like, check out this video:
One of the biggest factors to take into consideration is the shape and size of the tent because aerodynamics play such a huge role. You want a tent that’s shaped in a way that would let the air flow over it or around it instead of catching it. Look at the images below: the purple tent is a Caddis Rapid 4 (which did make our list for best 4 person tents) and the green tent is the NEMO Hornet from above. The Caddis has a max height of 80″ (6’8″), making it tall and box-like. The near vertical sides of this tent would be more likely to catch the wind like a sail, even if you secure it using your guylines. On the other hand, the NEMO Hornet has a peak height of only 3′ 2.6″. Its low profile and sloped sides would let most of the wind shoot right over the top. These two types of tents are perfect examples of what would work well in windy conditions and what wouldn’t.
The Coleman PEAK1 (Editor’s Choice) does have a higher profile than most other tents on this list, which is why we recommend it for campers who are looking to be prepared for casual windy conditions. If you’re going to be exposed to extreme weather regularly, we recommend a more low-profile tent like the Mountain Hardwear or NEMO Hornet. Both of these options have a lower max height and a more contoured shape that directs the wind over and around instead of catching it like a sail.
All of the tents on this list used aluminum or some type of metal for their poles, and this should be a requirement for whatever tent you’re looking at for high winds. Aluminum is a stronger material, and is less likely to splinter and break than fiberglass. It’s also lighter and will last longer. Although aluminum construction poles are typically more expensive, they are not necessarily significantly more money and are worth the added expense in exchange for a much better quality. Basically, don’t buy a tent with fiberglass poles unless you are a casual camper who doesn’t typically camp and isn’t exposed to windy or wet conditions.
The biggest consideration when it comes to weight is intended use, such as car camping or backpacking – the more you intend to carry it, the lighter you’re going to want it. With tents made for windy conditions, you will want to find the right balance between weight and durability, since durability is usually sacrificed for lighter weight. For example, you’ll typically find that a backpacking tent will have a lower denier than a heavier car camping tent because those pounds have to come off from somewhere.
For ultralight weight backpacking, the NEMO Hornet would be the best option with its 1 lb. 15oz weight. For the budget backpacker who can afford to carry a little extra in exchange for affordability, the MSR and Marmot would both be great options. These are also great for car camping, or you can upgrade a little weight to the Coleman or Mountain Hardwear. For extreme durability where weight doesn’t matter, the best option is really a rooftop tent. It offers significantly more durable fabric that can withstand the elements but weight doesn’t matter since it’s mounted to your vehicle.
Extremely wind resistant tents are typically made for mountaineering, which inherently means a lot of them are 4-season tents since that is the kind of conditions they are typically exposed to. While some 3-season tents can be used in wintertime, they are definitely not all created equal. True 4-season tents will have less mesh and thicker tent walls. They will also typically have a rainfly that goes all the way to the ground, or be made of a single wall construction like the Mountain Hardwear above. This design is great for holding in warmth, but comes at the sacrifice of ventilation that could be useful during the summer months.
If you intend on camping in winter conditions, you should really consider spending the money on a 4-season tent. On the other hand, if you don’t intend on camping in the dead of winter, buying a four-season tent would be unnecessary and would leave you paying extra for warmth and strength that you won’t probably need.
Setup Ease & Tips for Pitching a Tent in High Winds
Ease of set up has come a long way in tents, and you’ll oftentimes find that tents are now color-coded with poles, hooks, and guylines that all coordinate for quick and easy assembly. Our favorite tents have all used a hook system, where you lay the tent flat and hook the material onto the frame (see video below).
If you’re setting up your tent in windy conditions (and it’s not possible to wait it out), try to use the terrain to your advantage. Find a natural wind block, such as a large boulder, grove of trees, or hillside. Keep in mind that any tent material that you allow to flap in the wind is at an increased risk of tearing, so you should immediately stake it down and secure and loose sections. Make sure the aerodynamic side of your tent is facing the right direction so it can do its job, and use your guylines to secure it even more.
Some tents are better suited for casual car camping, while others are intended for high-mileage days on the trail or even winter expeditions. No matter what you’re intended use is, we hope that you’ve found our suggestions and explanations helpful in finding the perfect tent for high wind.
About the Author
My goal with my writing and Know Nothing Nomads as a whole is to share my passions of hiking, camping, and a love of the outdoors with our readers. Making the difficult and uncertain feel more approachable to people that might not know enough to feel comfortable taking their first steps into the wilderness is a driving factor for me. When I’m not writing you can find me on a trail, in a forest, or next to a river with hiking shoes on my feet and a fly rod somewhere close by.