Camping in the desert is one of the most exciting and fun adventures you can partake in. The heat of the day mixed with the cool of the night makes for a duality rarely found elsewhere. That said, enduring the elements of hot and cold can be tricky. That’s why researching the best tent for desert camping is a crucial step before you embark on your journey. Adding a dependable tent to your camping gear is a good idea no matter where you plan to camp. Check out our top recommendations here.
Table of Contents
- What is a desert tent?
- How do you pitch a tent in the desert?
- Best tent for desert camping recommendations
What is a desert tent?
A desert tent is a portable shelter made specifically for camping in the sand. You can use just about any tent in the desert, but there are certain criteria to keep in mind that can make or break your experience.
What kind of tents are used in the desert?
The primary consideration when camping in the desert is sand. There is plenty of it. With that said, the best kind of tent to use in the desert is one that will not only shield you from the sand, but also the strong winds, brutally hot days, and cold nights that desert camping brings about.
One often overlooked but crucial detail for desert camping is the quality of tent stakes.
For your tent to hold sturdy against desert winds, longer, heavier grade stakes are helpful because sand is less compact than solid ground. If you have flimsy stakes on a tent you plan to take to the desert, consider spending $20 on some quality, heavy-duty stakes that will guarantee your tent stays in place. The Eurmax 12 inch steel tent stakes are our stake upgrade recommendation.
How do you pitch a tent in the desert?
Short answer: do it when there is no wind.
The toughest factor you’ll face when setting up camp in the desert is wind, and desert winds can be very strong.
Attempting to erect your tent during a windy period is a challenging strategy. Wait until the wind dies down, and once you find a calm point, proceed to pitch your tent just as you would in any other environment.
Find flat ground
Desert terrain can be hilly. Pitching your tent on a hill is not ideal. If you can, try to find a flat piece of ground that you can pitch your tent on.
Ensure your tent is weighed down
As mentioned above, quality tent stakes are crucial when camping in the desert. If you need extra weight to make sure your tent stays in place, consider using stronger stakes or even heavy rocks.
Desert tent recommendations
The following are The Bullfighter’s recommendations on the best tent for desert camping. Each of these has their own unique strengths and are all suitable for overnight desert camping.
- Coleman Sundome Tent – Top Pick
- Kodiak Canvas Canvas Tent Deluxe – Upgrade Pick
- GEERTOP 2 Person Camping Tent – Also Great
- Kamp-Rite Original Portable Durable Cot – Most Portable
1. Coleman Sundome 4 Person Tent (Top Pick)
The Sundome from Coleman is a great choice for your next desert camping trip. At under $100, it is affordable and delivers a great bang for your buck. In the world of camping, disassembling a tent is often not thought about. Not only is the Sundome easy to assemble, but once you’re ready to pack in, it is simple and convenient to disassemble and pack away.
Materials: Polyguard™ 68D polyester mesh, polyethylene, polyester
What makes it good for desert camping? Stargazing in the desert can be second-to-none. Coleman’s Sundome has large screen panels on the “ceiling”, which make for a great view of the night sky.
Take note: the floor padding is a bit sparse.
2. Kodiak Canvas Tent Deluxe (Upgrade Pick)
The Kodiak Canvas is the most expensive item on our list, and it should be for how well made it is. It is easy to set up and can withstand strong winds (which the desert can produce in the blink of an eye). Beyond that, it’s quite spacious and durable.
Materials: Hydra-shieldTM canvas, reinforced polyester, galvanized, steel tubing
What makes it good for desert camping? It is a great tent for desert camping because of how well it holds up to strong winds and dust storms. The stakes are made of steel and measure a hefty 12 inches. The seams are double-stitched, and the canvas doesn’t deteriorate in direct sunlight. It also has four large windows that you can lower to view the landscape.
Take note: at 79 lbs., it’s a heavy-duty tent. Because it weighs so much, it is not the best option for hiking. The tent is canvas, so it needs time to fully dry before packing. If you experience any moisture at your campsite, make sure to let your Kodiak fully dry so mold doesn’t form.
3. Geertop 2 Person Camping Tent (Also Great)
The Geertop is a great choice for just over $100. At 7 lbs, it is lightweight but also sturdy. Assembly is quick and can be done in about 10-15 minutes. With a built in lantern hook and storage pockets, the interior has what you need for convenience. Another cool feature is the reflective ropes that make finding this tent in the dark simple.
Materials: Polyester, vinyl, alloy steel, canvas
What makes it good for desert camping? The Geertop has great ventilation for extremely hot temperatures. With two entrances and double-layered doors, air flows freely, allowing this tent to stay cool during hot and dry temperatures.
Take note: the stakes are fairly basic and may need to be upgraded for strong desert winds.
4. Kamp-Rite Portable Cot (Most Portable)
The Kamp-Rite is a perfect solo sleeping unit. It’s comfortable, easy to transport, and seamless to set up. With a weight capacity of up to 300lbs., this cot is sturdy and strong.
It is the perfect choice for both single and group adventures as setup setup is quick and easily doable solo. We always recommend camping with a group, but if you are going solo, this is a perfect option.
Thanks to its innovative hinge construction, you can easily transform the cot into a lounge chair for daytime enjoyment or a normal type cot for sleeping outside or inside a bigger. The completely self-contained Tent Cot offers a cozy, private sleeping area. At 11″ above the ground you are shielded from rocks, insects, and moisture. The strong cot foundation does away with the awkward cross bars that are common in regular sleeping cots.
Why is it good for desert camping? Because it is lifted off the ground, sand has a much tougher time making its way inside the Kamp-Rite Tent Cot.
Take note: condensation issues have been reported in colder climates.
Desert camping tips
- Bring plenty of water
- Wear long sleeves
- Pack lots of sunscreen
Camping in the desert comes with its own unique set of challenges. From sand and wind to varying temperatures between day and night, that’s why a proper desert camping tent is critical. With it you will be prepared and well on your way to enjoying your own desert oasis.