Best Tents for Stargazing | 10 tents to best view the stars

Home » Best Tents for Stargazing | 10 tents to best view the stars

When you hear about the best tents for stargazing, you may ask, what is that? So imagine, you have hiked all day long to a beautiful spot on the mountainside. It is a clear night, pitch dark because there is no light pollution from a nearby city.

You look up and notice you can see every star in the night sky. Then you think I wish I could lay down and fall asleep looking up at such awe-inspiring grandeur. If only my tent had a top that I could see through.

best tents for stargazing

Now, let’s not stop at just stargazing. The great outdoors abound with natural wonders.

That includes waterfalls, mountain ranges, forests, rivers, cliffs, flowers, trees, and even glaciers in some places. Don’t limit your search to only mesh top tents.

There are a variety of tents with large windows and portals to see all the natural beauty around you.

 So what makes a really good stargazing tent? Well… the best answer is any tent that was developed to have mesh in the upper part that allows a clear view of the night sky and stars. You may be looking at a mesh top tent. Or a tent with moonroof

All too often we are caught up in the daily grind. Home to work, work to home, sleep then repeat. When a rare occasion occurs and we actually get to commune with nature, my opinion is we should maximize it.

Short of promoting sleeping in the dirt, I want to present alternatives to you that will maximize your views and provide some comfort away from the creepy crawlers and other varmints. 

I hope you will trust me. I spent my young life hiking and camping in the deep woods of the Appalachian and Smoky Mountain Ranges.

Scouting was a great experience for me and taught me some very valuable lessons about packing around in the wooded trails. Lighter packs are better. So every ounce you can shave off the items you pack are an added benefit.

Being able to conserve energy while carrying your pack will help you enjoy all the activities once you hit your camping destination. 

I can not think of a better way to top off a perfect day in the wilderness, than laying under the stars and falling asleep while mapping out the constellations through your mesh top tent.

The 10 Main Elements of the Best Tents For Stargazing

OK, to be honest, most of the elements of an exceptional stargazing tent are basic to any regular tent. However, we want to point out some items that make the best tents for stargazing.

1. Clear Line of Site

This is pretty obvious, but a tent for stargazing has to be designed with a minimum of obstructions to the sky. Nothing defeats the purpose quicker than having a support right in the wrong place which obstructs your view of the night sky.

Carefully consider the structure of your tent. A hint of the two best designs are dome tents and tubular or tunnel tents. These tent’s structures typically do not crisscross the top.
pop up tent mechanism

The best stargazing tents in my opinion have mesh tops with removable rain flys. On clear nights there will be no need for a rain fly and it is the best time to view the starry sky. Imagine, laying back under an open canopy with no light pollution. You can then fall asleep counting the stars.

2. Tents with Many Many Windows

tent with many windows
As with any product on the market, you will find many variables with tent windows. When choosing your tent make sure to look at the number and location of all the windows.

Also, you will want to check the placement of the windows. When windows are higher on the tent walls, you are able to see more of the night sky and stars. Bigger windows are better for viewing than small windows.

3. The Perfect Tent Base

The floor of a tent is called the groundsheet. Just like in a home, this layer sets up the whole tent for success. Most often a groundsheet is made of a nylon material which can be coated for waterproof.

The groundsheet is sewn into the tent walls and should rise from the ground several inches to provide a barrier from water and insects.
tent ground sheet
Personally I like my groundsheet to rise at least twelve inches from the ground. Today you will find many tents with a cradle shaped groundsheet. On these tents the groundsheet rises higher on each end of the tent to provide more protection and stability.

4. Adequate Cover

Finding the mesh roof tent for stargazing is a balancing act. First you want a good shelter that protects you from the outside elements. But you want it to have enough open area to see the world outside.
mesh top tent
A great equalizer for this is the rain fly. When you find a tent with a fully removable rain fly, that has a mesh top dome, then you have hit the sweet spot in my opinion.

The ability to partially or fully remove the rain fly (i.e. top layer) of your tent is most beneficial to stargazing. And equally as important is putting it back on if it starts to rain. This one component will give you the best of both worlds.

So how do you begin to find this type of tent? Well, they are commonly known as double-walled tents.

The outer shell (rainfly) is the outer wall of the tent. The main tent makes up the inner wall and fits under the rain fly. Typically the inner wall is made out of nylon and mesh.

If you look you can find a tent with inner walls made almost completely out of mesh. A tent like that would provide outstanding views of the night sky when the rain fly was removed.

Tent Size Matters

Again, we have to do a balancing act on tent size. There is a big trade off on tent size with the weight of a tent when hiking into a campsite. Then again, if you drive to all your campsites, you can probably disregard this section.

When choosing the proper stargazing tent, you have to consider more than just staring out at the stars through your open roof. You have to think, what if the weather turns and we get stuck inside the tent for hours, or (eek) days. With that in mind, you have to start with how many people will be in the tent. Then how much of your gear will be stowed in the tent with you. You will want to make sure there is ample room to move about if you get stuck inside for you, your companions and gear.

Remember, do not choose too large of a tent. Weight is directly proportional to size, the bigger the tent, the heavier the tent. If you choose the 16 person, twenty-four pound tent, chances are you will need a pack mule before your adventure ends.

When buying your tent for stargazing, be cautious of the manufacturer’s description. Even though they may rate a tent as two, four or even six person capacity, the truth may be different.  You may want to rely more on the square footage of the tent to judge what you need.

Here is a chart that may help

Adult Persons in TentSquare Footage Suggested
116-20 sq/ft
224-36 sq/ft
336-45 sq/ft
445-55 sq/ft
555-65 sq/ft
665-75 sq/ft
885 sq/ft and up 

  1. Proper Tent Materials

    There are many factors to what makes a great tent. From the waterproof rating to how the tent is constructed. Many modern tents use aluminum poles and lightweight fabrics which include cotton, canvas, nylon and polyester for their construction. The cotton and canvas tents are heavier and not very well suited for hiking. However,  provide better resistance to the elements than nylon and polyester tents.

    Consider for a few minutes what makes camping in a tent uncomfortable. If water and cold come to mind you are with the majority in your thinking. So let’s talk about tent waterproofing for a minute. There are two terms often used when discussing how waterproof your tent is. First is “waterproof rating” and second is “hydrostatic head rating”. But what exactly do they mean?

    Waterproof rating: Often noted as mmH2O this is a measure of a fabrics resistance to water penetration. In other words, how much water could set on the fabrics weave before it seeps through. Many manufactures test this to the level of three drops of water penetrating the fabric. So if you see a waterproof rating listed on a tent of 3000mmH2O, it would take three thousand millimeters of water to weep through the fabric. Think of this as water pressure to penetrate the tent. The higher the rating, the more resistant your tent is to driving rain or heavy snow.

    Hydrostatic Head rating: The way to think about this rating is to imagine a column of water on the tent’s fabric. The column of water would have to hold the rated amount to penetrate the weave of the material. So a 10000 hydrostatic head rating would require a column of water ten thousand millimeters tall.

    Ok, so what does all this mean. A middle of the line waterproof rating would be around 11000-15000mm. This would provide ample resistance to moderate rain, light snow and light pressure. If you want more protection look for a higher rating, 20,000mm and above will give the maximum resistance to all categories.

    One great tent debate involves how tents are constructed and focuses around single versus double walled tents. As we explained earlier in this article, double wall tents consist of the main tent body and a rain fly. While a single walled tent is all one material, including the roof.

    It is fairly obvious that single wall tents are not suited to be stargazing tents as their roof is fixed and provides zero visibility to the night sky. That leaves us with double walled tents and makes them the best tents for stargazing. The only dilemma is how far back do you want to pull the rain fly in order to see the night sky.

  2. Minimum Setup

    I can’t tell you how many times I have hiked miles into my camp and arrived near dark. The hassle of setting up a tent in the dark can make you want to call it quits. Wrestling with a difficult tent while hot and tired in the dark does not relax you in the least. So the best tents for stargazing have to be easy to pitch to make the list.

    There are many people who believe you must have an engineering degree to pitch a tent. With some tent’s they are not far off the mark. But this only feels like the case. Tent’s have advanced over the years and there are plenty on the market that make it a breeze to setup. You just need to know what to look for.

    So what makes an easy setup for a tent? Everyone has heard horror stories about setting up a tent. But they can be really simple. First, let us talk about a couple different tent styles with regards to set up.

    Freestanding style: This just implies the tent can stand with no the usage of stakes, which speeds setup and tends to make a tent simple to reposition-just lift and move it to a brand new spot. Most tents are freestanding because of this, even though non-freestanding tents might be lighter since the pole structure does not need to be as robust.

Pole hubs: The beauty of hubs is the fact that they take the guesswork out of the assembly. You take the folded pole sections out in the bag and unfurl the skeleton, seating segments as you go. Smaller-sized cross poles may well be separate in the hub, but these are effortlessly identified soon after the principle pole assembly is finished. The other key advantage of hubs is that they let tent walls become more vertical to make more livable interior space.

Pole clips: Poles connect to tent canopies by means of clips, sleeves, or possibly a mixture in the two. Pole sleeves’ fabric tension supplies a stronger pitch, but threading poles via them may be a challenge. Pole clips are lighter and less complicated to attach. Additionally, they let much more air flow underneath the rainfly, which reduces condensation.

Colour coding: This assists you to speedily orient every pole tip towards the right tent corner and aids you discover which sleeves or clips go with which pole sections.

  1. Tent Weight

If you spend any time with outdoor hiking and camping groups you’ll come across a common mantra that lighter is better. Typically the lighter is better thought process works out well for hiking and backpacking equipment. However, that is not always the case when picking a tent. Sometimes you will run into components that are not durable and lightweight tents. Cheap zippers made of plastic, velcro that has minimum hooks, and tent poles made of thin aluminum can be disastrous on the trail.

On average the weight of a tent is around two and 1/2 pounds per tent occupant. Keep this in mind when packing with multiple people and distribute the tent’s weight between hikers. One hiker can take the main body of the tent and their pack, and the other hiker can pack the rainfly, poles, and tent stakes.

Often we will find three common weights in regards to tents. Understanding what these weights refer to can help you when choosing your tent.

Trail Weight: We like to consider trail weight. Trail weight refers to the tent itself, the rainfly, and the poles. Late usually leaves out steaks, hemp bags, and tie-down guy lines. For me, this is the truest representation of the weight of the tent.

Packaged Weight: Others like to consider the packaged weight. They tend to look at this weight because it is the heaviest weight listed for the tent and contains all components for the tent. By choosing to look at this weight you will know your tent can only be lighter in your pack and will never be heavier than this stated weight.

Quickly Pitch: the lightest weight consists of just minimum components of the tent. This often lists out the weight of the rain fly poles and the basic footprint of the tent.

Now that you know the breakdown of weights listed for tents, consider which one will best suit your needs moving forward. Choose wisely and you will enhance your camping and stargazing tent experience.

  1. To Rain Fly or Not to Rainfly
    I often get asked about whether to pack a rainfly every time  someone goes camping. I understand that during good weather it makes sense to lighten your load by leaving the rain fly at home. However, weather can be unpredictable and a rainfly is a key piece of equipment to stay dry and comfortable while outdoors.

I always pack my rain fly whether I intend to use it or not. One thing I dread the most is waking covered from the dewfall during the night. Therefore I always take my rain fly and cover my tent when I go to sleep for the night. Again it is not a requirement but the trade-off of getting wet for one extra pound in my pack is not worth it.

10  Durability
When choosing a  stargazing tent you want one that will last. Price does not always ensure the durability of your tent. Instead, consider the components that make up the tent. Does it have metal zippers? Is the floor pan made of thin or cheap material? What kind of warranty does the company offer on the tent?

Also, proper care of a tent will extend its life. Cleaning the exterior material after each use will help your tan last longer. Never bag up a tent and storage while damp. Doing so will introduce mold and mildew which can break down the fibers of a tent’s fabric.

The 10 Best Tents for Stargazing

1.) Clostnature Lightweight Tent

  • 2 person tent
  • Lightweight
  • Removable Rainfly
  • Easy Setup
  • 5.4 lbs
  • 2 aluminum poles
  • Double Walled
  • Large double doors

The first of our best tents for stargazing is the Clostnature lightweight tent. This tent is a great entry-level tent. It has most of the elements we discussed in the article. From a mesh top, double walls, and a good base, which makes it an inexpensive starter tent for stargazing.

2.) Teton Sports Vista Quick Tent

  • 2 Person Tent
  • Removable Rainfly
  • Instant Setup
  • Gear Loft
  • 2 doors
  • Removable Rainfly
  • 6.3 pounds

The Teton Vista tent is next on our best tents for stargazing list. It comes in several configurations: a one-person tent or a two-person tent. Many users tout the ease of setup for this tent, and state that one person can set this tent up easily. 

This tent has a full mesh top, removable rain fly, two large doors, and sits on a good base.  It is Well constructed and supported by the manufacturer.

3.) Core 9 Cabin Tent

  • 9 person tent
  • Removable Rainfly
  • Large Windows
  • Hub setup technology
  • 6′-5″ interior height
  • 30.69 pounds

If you like car camping with the family then the Core 9 cabin tent is one of the best tents for stargazing with the family.

This tent will fit up to 9 people and offers a mesh roof when the rainfly is removed.  While it is heavy at over 30 pounds it has many windows and doors. 

Owners of this tent rave about the quality of its components and build. They also state that one person can erect this 9 person tent in about 3 to 5 minutes.

4.) Teton Sports Vista 1 Person Tent

  • 1 Person Tent
  • Removable Rainfly
  • Instant Setup
  • Gear Loft
  • Removable Rainfly
  • 4.6 pounds

Do you like to backpack to your camping location? Then the Teton Vista one-person tent is our pick for best tents for stargazing while backpacking. 

It is very lightweight at only 4.6 lb. it has a full mesh top and removable rain fly with a large entry door. it includes an instant setup feature and an excellent base.

5.) Alps Mountaineering Lynx

  • 1 person tent
  • Easy setup
  • Removable rainfly
  • 2 pole setup
  • Large door
  • Gear loft
  • 3.5 pounds

The Alps mountaineering lynx is another great backpacking tent. It has the main features to include it in our list of best tents for stargazing.

With a large mesh roof area, large door, and a removable rain fly it will serve you well while looking at the stars.

Many Owners of this tent discuss the great features at a reasonable cost.

6.) Hyke & Byke 1 Person Tent

  • 1 & 2 person tent
  • Easy setup
  • Removable rainfly
  • 2 pole design
  • Gear loft
  • 5.48 lbs (2 person tent)

While seeking out the best tents for stargazing we came across the Hyke-and-Byke Yosemite series tents. This manufacturer offers either one or two-person tents.

These tents are great for stargazing as they have a full mesh inner wall. A removable rainfly and a sound floor structure are included with these tents.

Owners of these tents talk of the affordable prices they paid to get one. All of these factors are why we decided to include them in the best tents for stargazing list.

7.) Featherstone Backpacking Tent

  • 2 person tent
  • Easy Setup
  • Lightweight
  • Removable rainfly
  • “Bathtub” type base
  • Double Doors
  • 5 pounds

Next, the Featherstone Granite 2-person backpacking tent makes our list of best tents for stargazing. It is a lightweight two-person, double-walled, tent with a removable rain fly.

It has mesh upper main walls which make it exceptional to view the Stars once the rain fly is removed. 

We could not find a bad review for this tent. Many of the owners stated it was durable and easy to assemble with no issues found.

8.) Kelty Dirt Motel

  • 2, 3 & 4 person tents
  • Easy setup
  • 2 large doors
  • Removeable rainfly
  • Lightweight
  • Sharkmouth stuff sack
  • 4.13 pounds (2 person tent)

Kelty tents are a well-known brand and the Dirt Motel series just had to be added to our list of best tents for stargazing. 

The Kelty Dirt Motel series comes in a 2, 3, or four-person configuration. All the tents in the series are designed with a removable rain fly, mesh upper walls on the main body, and a bathtub-style base for the floor. 

Kelty is a trusted manufacturer that utilizes quality materials end parts in their products. purchasing one of these tents will give you a long-lasting enjoyable experience. That is why we feel they belong to the best tents for stargazing list.

9.) Sierra Designs Backpacking Tent

  • 2 person tent
  • Unique pole and clip design
  • Removable rainfly
  • Easy setup
  • All Mesh main body
  • 3.14 Pounds

When considering the best tents for stargazing we really like the Sierra Clip Flashlight tent. This tent checks in as the lightest tent for two persons at 3 lb and 14 oz. That makes it a great option for backpacking. 

The Sierra Clip Flashlight tent also has a unique support system which consists of 2 hoop-like poles that the body and rain fly clip-on to. This system makes it extremely easy and fast to set up and quickly convert the rainfly for stargazing. 

Owners of this tent describe the quality and longevity they receive from their units. one owner stated he has used his tent for 23 years and it is still doing well. that information alone is enough to add it to the best tents for stargazing list.

10.) Big Agnes Copper Spur

  • 1, 2, 3 and 4 person tents
  • Removable rainfly
  • Full mesh main body
  • Steep main walls
  • Vented rainfly
  • Easy setup
  • 3.14 pounds

Our final product considered for the best tents for stargazing is the Big Agnes Copper Spur tent.

Big Agnes is another well-known brand of tent manufacturer. They provide quality, well-built and well-designed tents.

Their tents feature high, all mesh main body walls, removable rain flies, and a deep bathtub style basis. These features make them perfect to list as best tents for stargazing.

Conclusion: Best Tents For Stargazing

So you asked the question which are the best tents for stargazing? 

We answered that question with the 10 top tents we felt were best for stargazing. From the ten tents we listed our feeling is that one stands out above the others.

Because of its quality, features, price, and the glowing reviews it received, we have chosen the Featherstone Granite 2 backpacking tent over all the others.

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