Best festival tents 2018: from budget pop-up tents to luxury glamping bell tents

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

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Festival season is truly underway now, but we're not done yet! There's still some great events to come. When it comes to prepping for such an all-weekender outdoors, festival camping tents will probably be at the top of your to-buy list. (Along with all the dry body wash you can stuff in your backpack.) 

That’s why we’ve been researching the best ones to keep you safely sheltered and your belongings dry, all weekend-long. From cosy two-man shelters to pop-up tents, no stone has been left unturned here.

So, do you want the good news first? Well, due to the explosion in the number of festivals around the world, festival camping 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 total duds. You know, the tents that willingly welcome rain into your space and leave you blinded by harsh morning sun.

To save you precious research time – time that could be spent looking into more pressing matters, like how to buy body glitter or LED wellies – we've researched oodles of festival tents and have come up with a star-studded hit list.

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... When you're still drunk from the night before.

Campsites are hopelessly noisy affairs anyway, so don't sleep in a wafer-thin tent that will also let in harsh light to blind you awake. So yeah, a blackout tent is a very good choice for avoiding early morning wake-up calls from the sun.

Naturally you'll want a waterproof tent, or at the very least something with a degree of water-resistance. And while we're on the subject, never trust the weatherman—torrential rain and freak storms love partying at festivals as much as you do.

How to buy the best festival tent for you

Ah, we've been there too... That gorgeous, great big inflatable tent looked so darn good in the shop, but now that you've arrived on site and checked your pitch size? Yep. It's far too big. 

Avoid any festival camping tent fails by buying one that best matches your particular spacial needs. However, don't be afraid to factor in a little extra space. 

Why? The festival you're heading to could fall on a sweltering hot weekend, and nobody wants to be stuck sleeping in the middle of a teeny tent designed to fit you and your buddies exactly, with no extra room to spread out.

A porch area at the front of the tent can help you stay cool (and still be on speaking terms with your camping roommates come morning).

Price may also be a consideration, and we always recommend you spend as much as you can afford on a quality festival tent. Especially if you plan on pitching this puppy at several events throughout the festival calendar.

The best festival camping tents you can buy

Vango Santo Air

1. Vango Santo AirBeam

The best festival tent for a home-from-home vibe

Reasons to buy
+Lights Out fabric blocks harsh sunlight+Sturdy and fast inflatable design+Fully waterproof and breathable
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive compared to other festival tents

If outdoor gear had a royal family, Vango would surely be part of it. Renowned for its sublime camping tents, super-snug sleeping bags and ultra plush outdoor furniture, Vango gear rarely disappoints. That's why the Santo Air is our pick of the crop for the best festival tents. 

Waterproof and highly breathable, you won't get any build-up of nasty festival pongs inside this inflatable tent. Nor will the sun be able to bust in on you at 4am, as Vango has outfitted the tent with a Lights Out blackout inner. Yes sunlight will filter through, but in a beautifully dappled, gentle way. 

There's plenty of room for you to stand up fully in the full-height living room, and you'll have your pick of two king-size bedrooms to snooze in. Or, if you want more of a communal camping vibe, knock both bedrooms into one.

Best of all, the three-beam structure means you can unpack and pitch the tent in minutes. In short, if you want a home-from-home vibe for your next festival camping experience, step this way.

Coleman Instant Dome Tent

2. Coleman Instant Dome Tent

The best festival camping tent for fast pitching

Specifications
Type: Dome
Sleeps: 5
Weight: 5.95kg
Fabric: Steel, fibreglass & polyester
Reasons to buy
+Fuss-free pop-up design+Pre-attached frame+Water-resistant
Reasons to avoid
-Fabric feels thin in places

Although this is billed as a five man tent, we'd recommend it for sleeping four people comfortably. That way you maintain a little space between you, which is handy when you're all trying to get dressed around each other for another day at the festival. 

The Coleman Instant Dome Tent is water-resistant and will hold up fine in drizzle and light showers. We'd recommend beefing it up with a fly sheet to make it properly waterproof, though. 

The biggest selling point about this pop-up festival camping tent is that the frame is pre-attached, so you can pitch it super quickly... And get on with the more important business of firing up your portable Bluetooth speaker or cracking open the drinks cooler.

Hi Gear Voyager Elite 6 Family Tent

3. Hi Gear Voyager Elite 6 Family Tent

The best festival tent for group partying

Specifications
Type: Tunnel
Sleeps: 6
Weight: 22.3kg
Fabric: Polyester, PE & fibreglass
Reasons to buy
+Geodesic structure holds up in high winds+Ideal for housing larger groups+The blue should stand out in a field of green
Reasons to avoid
-Some might not like the tunnel vibe

The great British summer can be very unpredictable, so if you’re forecast bad weather, this is the best festival camping tent for you. 

The elongated tunnel shape of the Hi Gear Voyager Elite 6 provides a sturdy, reliable structure. The cross-pole design adds extra strength and flexibility, helping this shelter to stay put in high winds. 

If you're lucky enough to snap up this festival camping tent, play around with the inside space, splitting it into separate bedrooms or living rooms. Trust us, everyone in your squad will rave about the extra space and privacy. 

Vango Pulsar Pro 300 Tent

4. Vango Pulsar Pro 300

The best festival tent for regular use

Specifications
Type: Tunnel
Sleeps: 3
Weight: 3.87kg
Fabric: ProTex 68D & Polyester
Reasons to buy
+Super lightweight+Sturdy during high winds
Reasons to avoid
-No blackout fabric

Get your festival weekend off to a good start pronto with the Pulsar Pro 300, a snazzy little festival camping tent that can withstand rougher weather. 

Weatherproof to see you through multiple festivals, it also makes a stellar choice for last-minute weekend camping get-aways. 

The Pulsar Pro 300 packs down neatly into a carry case when you're done with it, and can be pitched quickly due to its zero-fuss design. Vango has added in a sweet little porch area for sitting, drinking and watching other festival goers pass by. 

A rain fly is included, and a ground sheet is supplied to keep you and your belongings dry underfoot.

Regatta Malawi Pop Up Tent

5. Regatta Malawi Pop Up Tent

The best festival tent for couples who love to snuggle

Specifications
Type: pop up
Sleeps: 2
Weight: 2.5kg
Fabric: Hydrafort 190T & Fibreglass
Reasons to buy
+Insanely fast pitch time+Snug and cosy inside
Reasons to avoid
-No blackout fabric

If you’re not fussed about luxury and just need somewhere to lay your head after a long day of partying, then this pop up 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 round-up, Regatta's offering sports mesh ventilation points to aid breathability. A sewn in groundsheet will keep you and your belongings cool and dry.

Boutique Camping Bell Tent

6. Boutique Bell Tent

The best festival tent for glamping

Specifications
Type: Bell
Sleeps: 6
Weight: 29kg
Fabric: Polycotton canvas
Reasons to buy
+Zipped-in ground sheet+Tons of room to sleep and party
Reasons to avoid
-Cream fabric shows up everything-Its expensive compared to other festival tents

Many festivals now offer glamping experiences, so don't worry about getting laughed out of the field if you pitch up with this. That said, we're not sure we'd be brave enough to pitch a bell tent at a metal festival, so perhaps pick your venue wisely.

Although pricey and tricker to erect (guy ropes are included), this gorgeous luxury camping shelter features in our best festival tents round-up because of the ample space it provides. And, yes, because of its glamorous good looks. 

If you're turning your festival visit into a longer holiday, you could outfit this bell tent with glamping luxuries such as rugs, pillows and an inflatable mattress.

A zipped-in groundsheet protects you from dewy grass, and the sides of the tent can be rolled up to let a fresh breeze in. Be warned, though, some idiots will probably mistake your open-sided bell tent for a trendy pop-up bar. Well, we guess that's one way to make back the cost of your festival ticket...

ProAction 4 Man Dome Tent

7. ProAction 4 Man Dome Tent

The best festival tent on a budget

Specifications
Type: Dome
Sleeps: 4
Weight: 3.8kg
Fabric: Polyester & fibreglass
Reasons to buy
+Mega cheap price+Taped seams for better water-resistance
Reasons to avoid
-Not the easiest to pitch-No blackout fabric

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?