Best festival tents 2020: Hassle-free festival camping starts here | T3

Best festival tents 2020: Hassle-free festival camping starts here

Stay sheltered, dry and happy with these comfortable festival tents for every budget, style and group size

best festival tents: woman dancing at a festival
(Image credit: Krists Luhaers on Unsplash)

There are literally thousands of festivals all across the globe, celebrating almost every social, sporting and musical niche imaginable. After making your choice there's immediately a question of accommodation, and camping is usually the best option, often provided onsite and letting you come and go as you please. This means you'll need one of the best festival tents. Although the festival scene is on pause at the moment, there are still plenty of tents to chose from when things get properly back up and running. 

Although you can take pretty much any tent to a festival and have a great time, having a proper high-end mountain tent is unnecessary, while the opposite end of the scale is a recipe for discomfort (if you're looking for a more general-use option, head to our guide to the best tents for camping). Arguably the worst sin here is choosing a cheap tent and abandoning it onsite, wasting huge resources all round, as well as your hard-earned cash. Thus the trick is to aim for mid-range cost, decent quality and as much space as you can manage to carry – all attributes that will leave you with a solid weekend camping option for the rest of the year as well.  

So what do the best festival camping tents look like, what kind of features do they have, and how much should you be spending on one? Well, it depends on what types of festivals you go to, how many of you will be sleeping in the tent, and a few other considerations you'll need to make. We'll take a closer look at those below…

What makes a good festival camping tent?

Blackout fabric, blackout fabric, blackout fabric. Did we mention blackout fabric? Nothing sucks more than being woken up at 5am by blazing sunshine... especially if you've got a sore head from the night before.

Many of the new breed of festival tents offer blackout material, which is an excellent scheme if you plan to be awake well into the small hours – and even if you don’t plan to! Sunrise in a tent is not only very early (pre 5am), but also surprisingly bright and hot, so blocking that out is a vital part of getting sleep. Good sleep will help you deal better with any hangovers and keep you feeling energised for the rest of the festival (while we're here, we'd also recommend investing in a decent camping mat or even one of the best camping beds... you might think you can do without, but you will regret it). 

It's worth considering the kind of festival-going you're planning too, the more far-flung the location (and distance from the nearest car park) the smaller and lighter the tent you'll want to lug. Things can get a bit tricky if you're trying to lug sleeping bags, clothing, and perhaps a camping cooler full of refreshments across the fields with your tent too. Equally, extra space over the course of a multi-day festival (especially if the weather turns) is super-handy, if only to store spare costumes and beer.

Finally, a festival tent needs to be waterproof enough to deal with rain, which can appear in full monsoon style during festival season. This also means a good groundsheet is important, as well as good ventilation to stop your belongings smelling like a wet dog. While we're on the subject of cruddy weather, never trust the weatherman, and pack a waterproof jacket – torrential rain and freak storms love partying at festivals as much as you do.

best festival tent: Coleman OctaGo

(Image credit: Coleman)

Choosing the best festival tent for you

Before we run you through our top picks, there are some other things you need to keep in mind. Space is perhaps the most important thing to consider when choosing the best festival tent for your needs, but balanced with the fact that you’ll have to carry your tent – even if only from the carpark – and also put it up relatively easily. 

Festival campsites are always tight on pitch space anyway, especially in those areas containing the best spots. Some festivals also specify a maximum tent size, so make sure you check this on your chosen festival’s website before you buy a tent so that you know what size you’re looking for.

A generous porch space or awning provides a chill out space, and more robust versions keep the party going even if the rain or intense sun comes. Why sun? Well, the festival you're heading to could fall on a sweltering hot weekend. A porch area helps you stay cool – and still be on speaking terms with your festival squad come the end.

Due to the explosion in the number of festivals around the world, festival tents are now as easy to buy as toilet paper. The bad news is that it's hard to tell which are the good ones and which are the duds. To save you research time – time that could be spent looking into more pressing matters, like how to buy body glitter or LED wellies – we've come up with this star-studded list of the best festival tents for summer… 

The best festival camping tents to buy now

best festival tent: Octagon BlackOut

(Image credit: Coleman)

1. Coleman Blackout Octagon tent

The best festival tent for families and groups who love to lie-in

Specifications
Type: Octagonal
Sleeps: 8
Weight: 20.6kg
Fabric: Polyester, PU coated
Reasons to buy
+Sun-blocking Blackout interior+Weatherproof+Easy to pitch+Huuuuge internal space

The Coleman Octagon is a lot of tent for the cash, and delivers a superb festival experience – assuming your festival allows tents of this footprint (most do, but worth checking). The genius of the Octagon is that it really is a festival experience for everyone – couples can use the cavernous 15.7 m2 to create a ludicrously luxurious home-from-home bedroom, groups can crash out en-masse, and families can choose a couple of sides each. Basically a mobile glamping yurt, the octagonal space has mesh windows and exterior flysheet 'curtains', allowing you to open the space up to light and views by day, but close out the hubbub at night. 

The Blackout tech not only keeps those early morning sunbeams at bay, but also keeps temperatures down too, up to 5 degrees cooler during sunny days, which is a welcome trick if you're lucky enough to be at a festival during a heatwave. It's properly waterproof as well, so if rain stops play you can seek reliable shelter and sit in style with plenty of headroom, while if the wind rises you can have a fair amount of confidence in the robust steel poles. A neat touch is the carry bag, which has built-in wheels to lighten the load, or at least till the inevitable festival mud arrives. Overall it's a welcome variation on standard festival tents, adding a little magic to any camping expedition, and plenty of style to your festival setup.

Best festival tents: Decathlon Quechua 2 Seconds XL Tent

2. Decathlon Quechua 2 Seconds XL Tent

What’s the best festival instant tent? You just found it

Specifications
Type: Semi-geodesic
Sleeps: 2
Weight: 4.3kg
Fabric: Polyester, PU coated
Reasons to buy
+Super-fast to put up+Sun-blocking Blackout material
Reasons to avoid
-Can be tricky to put down

In many ways, this is the ultimate festival tent due to its lightning fast pitch time of two seconds, making it a tent for anyone who wants to rock up late and still grab a great pitch on the festival campsite. It’ll even pitch without pegs if you’re really in a rush, although we wouldn’t recommend you do that otherwise your tent may blow away in a light breeze. The downside of this kind of instant wizardry is that it can take a bit of practice to reverse the process, especially with a hangover. And in high winds the tent shape can be a bit unstable. To be fair to Decathlon, though, when properly guyed out the Quechua 2 Seconds XL can stand a Force 6 gale, which is a pretty solid claim.

There are a lot of extra positives here too, with Fresh & Black fabric blocking the worst of the rising sun's rays (99 per cent dark even in full daylight), as well as night-time revelry. With this type of tech on your side, hopefully you’ll be able to get an extra few hours of quality snoozing…

best festival tent: Vango Kruger 300 tent

(Image credit: Vango)

3. Vango Kruger 300 tent

The best all-rounder festival tent

Specifications
Type: Geodesic
Sleeps: 3
Weight: 5.05kg
Fabric: ProTex Shield
Reasons to buy
+Super robust+Flexible space+Inner first pitch

The Vango Kruger 300 is a genuinely flexible tent that'll see you comfortable in most warmer conditions you might encounter, as well as offering a large space with good porch space in case of weather. The Kruger 300 is a classic geodesic dome, which is great for strength and wind resistance, both useful attributes in the UK, even on a festival camp-ground. Vango has used ProTex Shield for the flysheet, which is enormously waterproof (3000mm HH), which coupled with the sizable vents in the roof and walls to eradicate condensation, will keep you dry and warm in all conditions. 

With two doors and porches there's lots of storage room here, ideal for festival adventures but also great for other camping forays, and the multi-function doors can be poled up to form an extended sunshade on warmer days too. The interior is protected by Vango's ‘Nightfall' blackout fabric, something that will be appreciated every morning you sleep in it, especially after a late night or two. In short this is a traditionally robust offering from Vango, and will serve you well from festival to campsite for many years to come. 

Regatta Malawi Pop Up Tent

4. Regatta Malawi Pop Up Tent

The best budget festival tent

Specifications
Type: pop up
Sleeps: 2
Weight: 2.5kg
Fabric: Hydrafort 190T
Reasons to buy
+Insanely fast pitch time+Snug and cosy inside
Reasons to avoid
-Won't last forever

If you’re not fussed about luxury and just need somewhere to lay your head after a long day of partying, then this cheap festival tent will do just the trick. With pretty much zero pitching time, Regatta's Malawi Pop-up Tent comes straight out of the bag and simply needs pegging... leaving you and your loved one to enjoy all the sights and sounds of the festival. Another compact and lightweight choice for our best festival tents roundup, Regatta's offering sports mesh ventilation points to aid breathability. A sewn in groundsheet will keep you and your belongings cool and dry.

best festival tent: Decathlon Quechua Arpenaz 8.4 XL

(Image credit: Decathlon Quechua )

5. Decathlon Quechua Arpenaz 8.4 XL

The best festival tent for groups

Specifications
Type: Semi-geodesic
Sleeps: 8
Weight: 23.9kg
Fabric: Polyester, PU coated
Reasons to buy
+Epic space+Good weather resistance +Clever design touches

The substantial, space-ship sized Arpenaz 8.4 is a great choice for group festival-goers, with two separate bedrooms sleeping up to four in each. The big selling point here is the central space though, with two large access doors guarding a substantial covered chill-out room area that's perfect for kicking back, partying or knocking up a few sarnies the morning after.

Another major plus is that the elongated structure makes it very weather-resistant in contrast to blockier tents with similar airy headroom (2.1m max), so if bad weather strikes you'll be among the last standing – at least till winds top Force 6 or 50km/h. Pitching is rapid thanks to five colour-coded poles, and there are plenty of useful practical design tweaks, such as built-in washing lines over the windows, although using these might not be universally popular over longer festival periods. 

Best festival tents: Vango Sky 300

6. Vango Skye 300

This smart festival tent is a dream for organised campers

Specifications
Type: Tunnel
Sleeps: 3
Weight: 5.65kg
Fabric: Polyester, PVC
Reasons to buy
+Sewn-in groundsheet+Covered porch area+Fully weatherproof+Lights Out inner

The Vango Skye 3-man tent is a bit of a little gem for the intensive festivaller travelling by car, giving you all the key festival camping points (full height, blackout bedroom area, a porch) wrapped into a relatively robust weatherproof package. Not only that, but it’s keenly priced too. 

The side entry might look a bit cumbersome, but it actually provides maximum space inside the windowed porch area, so pitching a few camping chairs inside is totally do-able if the weather turns dire on you. There is less space to play with than you’d find in the Coleman Pinto, but there’s enough here to still be friends with your tent mates after a long weekend partying. A 15-minute pitch time is decent enough, and colour-coded poles and an all-in-one pitch reduce the stress involved at the beginning and end of the festival weekend. Proper groundsheet and taped seams (as you’d expect from Vango) means the rain and any collecting ground water stays on the outside.

If you’re the type of festival camper who likes everything to be neatly its place, you’ll love the lantern, washbag and fairy lights hanging points, plus the handy built-in pockets to keep your phones and other small items from being trampled and out of sight.

Best festival tents: Snugpak Journey Trio

7. Snugpak Journey Trio

This hardwearing tent will serve you through multiple festivals

Specifications
Type: Semi-geodesic
Sleeps: 3
Weight: 4kg
Fabric: Polyester
Reasons to buy
+Quick to put up+Lightweight yet robust+Fully waterproof

The Journey Trio is an ideal solution to the disposable tent culture. A robust and roomy 3-man tent that’ll keep you warm, dry and happy on any campsite, this will last for years. Best of all, this proper tent design will stand up long after the cheap ones have been flattened in high winds, and it’ll shrug off a monsoon - so standard Glastonbury festival conditions, essentially.  

A solid hydrostatic head of 4000mm rating and a bathtub style groundsheet means that water should stay firmly on the outside, while an included footprint to minimise groundsheet damage will also be very handy on a festival site. However, there’s no blackout here, so remember the eye-mask!

A pair of adjustable vents will help to keep you cool as the sun rises (vital for the best lie-in possible), and a roomy porch area has plenty of room for wellies and paraphernalia aplenty. All this in a hiking-weight tent means this could be the only tent you need for all occasions... 

best festival tent: Skandika Teepee Wigwam Style Indiana Pyramid Desert Tent

(Image credit: Skandika)

8. Skandika Teepee Wigwam Style Indiana Pyramid Desert Tent

The best festival tent for couples who love to lie-in

Specifications
Type: Teepee
Sleeps: 9
Weight: 8.2kg
Fabric: 150DPolyester, PU coated
Reasons to buy
+Endless fun+Wallet-friendly+Stands out in a crowd

Arguably the ultimate festival tent shape, the teepee is ideal for groups and families, is robust, weatherproof, and in this case, relatively wallet-friendly too. A not-so-hidden benefit of the tall and distinctive shape is that it stands out in a sea of low-profile popups, so finding it after a night of revelry should be easier, especially with a bright light inside transforming the whole tent into a giant lantern. 

At a massive 250cm tall, there's ample headroom here, although not much of it given the teepee shape, that spreads out to a 4.6m diameter circle. Pitch time is a mere 15 minutes, and steel poles add robustness, as well as weight, but the overall package is light on the wallet, offering considerable bang for buck.   

There are drawbacks to this bohemian fantasy though – the Skandia Teepee has a separate groundsheet, so pitching has to be on point to avoid chilly gaps, and it's a single skin design, so overnight condensation will be an issue without good air circulation. That said, this is really a party tent first and foremost, so those planning a long and comfortable night's sleep might want to look to smaller, cosier options.

ProAction 4 Man Dome Tent

9. ProAction 4 Man Dome Tent

The best cheap festival tent

Specifications
Type: Dome
Sleeps: 4
Weight: 3.8kg
Fabric: Polyester
Reasons to buy
+Mega cheap price+Taped seams for better water-resistance

Ok, so this ain't a looker, it doesn't have blackout tech, and it certainly isn't inflatable. But for those of you who want a standard festival camping tent, and you don't care if it gets wrecked during the course of the weekend, this does the job just fine.

The lightweight ProAction 4 Man Dome Tent sports a porch area for storing muddy wellies, plus a built-in mosquito net for keeping bugs and beasties out. The dark flysheet will cover a multitude of festival floor sins, too.

That black and red colour scheme should also help you pick it out from a sea of green tents, no matter how many gins you've had on the way back. Although in the pitch dark of night, that could be a different matter altogether. Perhaps stick a high-vis flag on the top of it, yeah?

Best festival tent: Coleman Pinto Mountain 5 Plus XL

10. Coleman Pinto Mountain 5 Plus XL

The best festival tent for big groups of friends

Specifications
Type: Tunnel
Sleeps: 5
Weight: 23.5kg
Fabric: Polyester, PU coated
Reasons to buy
+Buckets of space for longer festivals+Blackout bedrooms+Separate living area+Enclosed porch

Compared to the rest of the models in our best festival tents round-up, the Pinto Mountain 5 Plus XL is massive and is therefore suited to car camping. But at a festival this is actually a very helpful thing. It’s full-height, so you won’t need to stoop or bend to get into it, and it’s big enough to sleep five people in comfort. 

That comfort is also enhanced by BlackOut bedrooms that block out 99.9 per cent of light and keep temperatures 5⁰C cooler in the day and 1⁰C warmer at night. There’s an extended enclosed porch for partying and chilling when the weather closes in, and also a rather neat drop down section that gives a totally flat entrance. That’s pretty ideal for not tripping over when you’re feeling slightly merry after all that festival cider. Elsewhere on the spec sheet you’ll find taped seams as standard, and additional rain skirts to keep the floods out.