The Best Backyard Tent in 2021
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The Best Backyard Tent in 2021

If you enjoy entertaining outdoors or spending your time relaxing in the fresh air, then you know how quickly the rain, wind, sun, snow, or local bugs can ruin an otherwise great day! The good news is that you can prepare for whatever Mother Nature may throw your way by including a backyard tent in your plans.

These easy-to-use shelters can be used at home in your backyard, by the pool, at the beach, at the campsite, at the park, or anywhere else that you want to enjoy the great outdoors in style. With options ranging from large gazebo-style tents to protect you from the rain to smaller sun shelters, there are options for everyone. But how do you choose the best backyard tent for your needs?

In this guide, I share what you should look for in a backyard tent along with the top 5 backyard tents according to the Backyard Boss team. We’ve done the work to help you shop for your new backyard tent with confidence. Read on to find out more!

The Backyard Boss Top Backyard Tent for 2021

PRODUCT FEATURES
COOL Spot Pop-Up Gazebo Tent with Mosquito Netting - The Best Backyard Tent in 2021COOL Spot Pop-Up Gazebo Tent with Mosquito Netting
  • Dimensions: 10 ft x 10 ft
  • Center Height: Adjustable from 10 ft 8 in to 11 ft 3 in
  • UPF 50+ Protection and Bug Netting
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CLAM Quick-Set Pavilion - The Best Backyard Tent in 2021CLAM Quick-Set Pavilion
  • Dimensions: 12 ft 5 in x 12 ft 5 in
  • Center Height: 7 ft 8 in
  • Bug Netting and Built-In Rain and Wind Blocking Panels
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Coleman Screened Canopy Tent with Instant Setup - The Best Backyard Tent in 2021Coleman Screened Canopy Tent with Instant Setup
  • Dimensions: 12 ft x 10 ft
  • Center Height: 8 ft 4 in
  • UPF 50+ Protection and Bug Netting
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ABCCANOPY Patio Pop Up Canopy Tent  - The Best Backyard Tent in 2021ABCCANOPY Patio Pop Up Canopy Tent
  • Dimensions: 11 ft x 11 ft
  • Center Height: 9 ft 7 in
  • UPF 50+ Protection and Bug Netting
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ALPHA CAMP XL Sun Shade Shelter  - The Best Backyard Tent in 2021ALPHA CAMP XL Sun Shade Shelter
  • Dimensions: 9 ft x 6 ft
  • Center Height: 5 ft 5 in
  • UPF 60+ Protection
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Why You Can Trust Us

An avid outdoor traveler, few things bring me more joy than spending time in nature. My husband and I enjoy occupying our free time camping, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, or simply kicking back in our backyard to soak up the sun. Especially during the warmer summer months! This love for being outdoors has led us to collect various outdoor gear. In our collection, we currently have 4 different backyard tents, each chosen for a different purpose.

In making these purchases, we have done a lot of research into the specifications of the tents currently on the market and the reviews of those who have purchased each of the tent models before us. This guide combines our knowledge and experience with that of the rest of the Backyard Boss team, providing you with the most up-to-date information that we can provide about the options available in 2021.

Best Gazebo-Style Backyard Tent

COOL Spot Pop-Up Gazebo Tent with Mosquito Netting
    This pop-up gazebo tent allows you to enjoy the aesthetic of a backyard gazebo with the portability of a backyard tent.

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Why We Like It: The COOL Spot Pop-Up Gazebo Tent with Mosquito Netting is designed to provide the aesthetic of a permanently installed gazebo in your backyard or outdoor space. 

The 150D Oxford fabric offers UPF 50+ UV sun protection, and CPAI-84 certified flame resistance, in addition to reliable water-resistant protection to keep you dry in the rain. Around the exterior of the tent, bug netting can be zipped up to keep you safe from unwanted visitors or tied back at the 4 steel legs to open the space. However, the screening is attached like a shower curtain, meaning there is the possibility of bugs getting through an opening at the top of the screening.

Offering 121 square feet of coverage, the tent is rated as being suitable for 6 people. It is relatively easy to set up for a single user and quick and easy if two people work together. When not in use, a convenient carry bag makes it easy to store the tent away or bring it with you on the go for beach days, outdoor sporting events, or camping trips. Packed, it weighs 36.66 lbs, making it easy to transport in your vehicle wherever it’s needed.

Who Should Buy It: If you are looking for an easy-to-set-up and reliable backyard tent with the aesthetic of a permanent gazebo, then this is a great option to consider.

Best Backyard Tent for Easy Set-Up

CLAM Quick-Set Pavilion
    A large and easy-to-set-up backyard tent with both bug netting and built-in rain and wind-blocking panels to keep you protected from the elements.

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Why We Like It: Allowing for quick and easy 60-second set-up, the CLAM Quick-Set Pavilion is designed for those that are regularly on the go and searching for a backyard tent that can travel with them. 

The tent is available in 4 different sizes, including the Traveler (6 ft x 6 ft), the Venture (9 ft x 9 ft), the Escape (11.5 ft x 11.5ft), and the Pavilion (12.5 ft x 12.5 ft). The top of the shelter is a lighter color than the sides, allowing for even more natural light into your seating area, while the 210 Denier poly-oxford fabric provides a dry, shady place regardless of the weather.

Each of the 6 sides features high-quality mesh screening to keep the bugs out while zippered rain and wind-blocking panels can be secured down or rolled up out of the way depending on the weather. One side features a large zipper for the entrance that can be opened for easy access or closed off to provide 360-degree protection. When not in use, it packs down easily into a carry bag weighing just 41 lbs, for storage or transportation. It’s a great chance for backyard parties, picnics, camping trips, and tailgating, among other activities.

Who Should Buy It: Outdoor adventurers looking for a backyard tent that they can set up and tear down quickly and easily to move from place to place will benefit from the quick-set design of this tent.

Best Backyard Tent for Bug Protection

Coleman Screened Canopy Tent with Instant Setup
    A well-known name in outdoor gear, Coleman has produced a reliable screened canopy that will keep you safe from both bugs and the elements.

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Why We Like It: Designed with outdoor travel in mind, the Coleman Screened Canopy Tent with Instant Setup offers enough space for a large picnic table or seating area. 

The tent can be set up in approximately 3 minutes following 3 simple steps, making it an easy option for newer campers and outdoor enthusiasts. This tent uses the Coleman Comfort Grip technology, which locks the shelter into place during setting, avoiding accidents caused by pinching during pole extension.

Once up, it offers 360-degree protection from bugs. The durable Polyguard 2X double-thick fabric canopy with UVGuard will give you 50+ UPF sun protection, keeping you and your family safe on even the sunniest summer days. Doors on both the front and back of the tent allow easy access. The tent is not rated for long-term use, meaning that you should take it down between uses. Continuous sun exposure can degrade the quality of the canopy, causing it to easily rip. A convenient easy-pull wheeled carry bag will fit inside most cars, allowing you to bring it with you for camping trips, picnics, and more.

Who Should Buy It: The Coleman Screened Canopy Tent with Instant Setup is a great choice for anyone looking for protection against bugs and insects.

Best Pop-Up Canopy Backyard Tent

ABCCANOPY Patio Pop Up Canopy Tent
    Available in a wide variety of colors and sizes, this standard canopy tent is a great option for those that are looking for a multi-use solution for work and home.

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Why We Like It: The ABCCANOPY Patio Pop Up Canopy Tent is a multi-use tent, making it a great investment for those planning on setting up their booth at events, festivals, and flea markets. 

Measuring 10 ft by 10 ft, this canopy will provide a significant amount of shade, whether you’re throwing a backyard barbeque or heading to the beach. The straight-leg design of this canopy makes it easy to combine multiple tents to cover larger surface areas, allowing you to accommodate groups of people. You can set it up easily with just two people and, once up, the commercial-grade steel frame provides strength and stability.

The canopy is made from a durable, heavy-duty fabric that offers both UPF 50+ UV protection and 100% waterproof capability. The tent does not include bug netting or protection panels against wind and rain. However, you can purchase these options separately for use with your new tent. It is available in 6 sizes ranging from 8 ft x 8 ft to 10 ft x 20 ft and in 21 different colors. The tent includes 4 canopy sandbags, stakes, ropes, and a roller bag for easy portability.

Who Should Buy It: If you are looking for a backyard tent that can be used both at home for your personal use as well as for your organization or small business, the ABCCANOPY Patio Pop Up Canopy Tent is a great solution.

Best Budget Backyard Tent

ALPHA CAMP XL Sun Shade Shelter
    This lightweight and easy to set-up sun shelter will provide you with much-needed shade in the back yard, by the pool or at the beach.

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Why We Like It: Specifically created to protect you and your family from the sun’s dangerous UV rays, the ALPHA CAMP XL Sun Shade Shelter has the highest UPF protection rating at UPF 60+. 

It is accomplished using a high-grade polyester fabric with a silver coating to reflect the rays at the surface. Along the sides of the tent, 3 large mesh windows offer ventilation to help keep you cool on even the hottest summer days. Lightweight and portable, the tent only weighs 5 lbs making it easy to transport using the included carry bag.

The interior is shorter than the other options on the list, measuring only 5 ft 5 inches. For this reason, it may not be ideal for taller users or larger outdoor furniture. The large front opening allows for easy access. However, there is no bug netting or protection to cover the space. It is a great option for outdoor adventures throughout the summer months, including relaxing by the pool in your back yard, visiting the beach, or attending local sporting events.

Who Should Buy It: Outdoor lovers looking for protection from the sun throughout the summer months without investing a lot will enjoy this tent.

What to Look for When Buying a Backyard Tent or Folding Shelter

two dogs sitting outside of a screen shelter by a lake
Image Credit: Backyard Boss

Total Livable Space

One of the first factors to consider when purchasing a new backyard tent is enough livable space for everyone. If you are relying on the tent to protect you from inclement weather, you need to know that you can all be comfortable within the tent’s four walls. It includes enough space for your patio set, camp chairs, or picnic table and extra space to move comfortably around one another.

At the same time, you also don’t want to choose an excessively large tent. It will add to the cost of your new tent and also to the weight during transport. If you use your tent to hang out with a couple of friends, you don’t need a tent designed for 10 people. Consider laying out the furniture and any additional tent accessories you are hoping to use and measuring the feet of space required to cover your desired arrangement.

Peak Height

In addition to the square footage of your tent, you also want to consider the height. Are you looking for a tent that you can comfortably walk around under, or would you prefer a beach tent to lounge beneath? Many canopy tents offer adjustable legs, allowing you to adjust the height to your preferences. Commercial canopies tend to provide a higher ceiling height, measuring ten feet or higher, while camping tents often have lower height options, with the most common being six-foot ceilings.

Materials and Durability

If you are investing in a backyard tent for your family, you want to be sure that you are putting your hard-earned money towards something that stands the test of time. Cheap tents may be tempting at first glance, but the price will add up if you have to replace them every year! It means choosing a tent with materials that can withstand regular abuse.

One major factor in a tent’s lifespan is the frame material. Lightweight tents are often constructed with fiberglass or aluminum poles to avoid adding too much bulk. However, these options aren’t as durable as the steel frames of the commercial canopies. These lighter frames are also more cost-effective and can hand most general uses.

The other material to consider is the canopy material. Some materials used for this purpose include vinyl, polyester, polyethylene, and polyurethane. Polyethylene, a material used in plastic bags and bottles, is a common material for camping tents. While this plastic is flammable, most manufacturers will treat the tent with a chemical flame retardant. Meanwhile, vinyl is used more often for tents designed to stay up long-term due to its ability to withstand ongoing sun exposure. It is a heavier material that will make travel more challenging.

Portability

The portability of your tent is crucial if you use it for camping, beach outings, or sporting events. Many tents designed for outdoor travel include carrying bags with straps or handles and even those with attached wheels. You also want to consider the size that your tent will fold down to and the total weight.

A simple pop-up tent will often fold down into a smaller size to make carrying easy. Meanwhile, a tent designed to stay up over time often requires more space as the manufacturers were concerned with storage, not the ability to travel with the tent regularly.

Ease of Setup

Another factor to consider if you travel with your tent regularly is the setup process. In general, we don’t mind putting more time into setting up a tent that stays in one place for an extended time. However, many of our favorite tents for outdoor travel offer quick or ‘instant set-up’ options. It allows us to get the tent in place quickly with little to no stress, freeing our time for more enjoyable plans.

Screened Walls

If you live in an area where bugs and mosquitos are prevalent, you know the importance of screened walls on any outdoor tent or canopy! It is a great way to enjoy being outdoors without exposing yourself to these unwelcome visitors. It is why most outdoor lovers will list a screened tent as one of the key items on their must-have camping checklist. When looking at bug screening, keep an eye open for opportunities where a bug can find its way in, as well as how many doors will open up to allow easy access.

Wind Resistance

If your tent is going to be set up during bad weather or windy conditions, take the time to investigate the wind resistance of the different models. While some tents include stakes and guy lines to secure the tent in heavy winds without a concern, other tents will struggle to hold up even in mild conditions. Not only would this cause a problem if you are relying on your tent for protection against the elements, but it could also lead to significant damage to your tent, requiring you to pay for expensive repairs or replacements.

Water Resistance

In addition to being sure that your tent doesn’t blow over in the next storm, look at how it can stand up in both light and heavy rains. Many canopies and backyard tents include some level of water resistance or waterproofing, but not all tents are created equal! It’s better to discover this during the shopping process than it is to find out when your tent is leaking on your next backyard gathering.

First, check whether the tent is water-resistant or waterproof, as these have different meanings. A water-resistant tent can hold up against light rain without running into problems. However, if that rain picks up or starts to pool on top of the canopy, you could run into complications. On the other hand, a waterproof tent offers complete protection against water. If it isn’t waterproof, there are products that you can purchase and apply to waterproof a tent after purchase.

Next, check whether the tent you are considering includes protective walls to stop water from coming in the sides of the tent or if you can purchase these walls to add to the tent. A waterproof canopy with nothing but mesh siding isn’t going to keep you dry during a storm with rain and strong winds.

a group of people gathered around a picnic table inside of a backyard tent
Image Credit: CLAM on Amazon

How We Picked

With a wide variety of different tents on the market, the process of narrowing our list down to 5 was challenging. We had to investigate the specs of each tent carefully to understand the differences between each option. It included looking at the size, materials used, durability, versatility, and portability. We specifically looked at the ability of each tent to protect you and your family from rain, bugs, and UV rays.

After narrowing our list down to the tents that we believed offered the best value, we read through the many reviews from previous buyers. It allowed us to compare our experiences, providing a better understanding of how each tent performed in regular use. This information narrowed our focus to 5 backyard tents that we believe stood out above the rest.

Choosing the Best Backyard Tent for Your Yard

To choose the best backyard tent for your yard, you first need to look at how you plan to use your new shelter. Are you setting this tent up in your backyard for barbeques and pool parties or bringing it with you to your favorite campsite? Each tent on this list is worth the recommendation, but one stood out to the Backyard Boss team above the rest. 

The COOL Spot Pop-Up Gazebo Tent with Mosquito Netting offered a wide variety of different protections, including being water-resistant, UV resistant (UPF 50+), and flame resistant. It also has a bug net to protect you from unwanted guests at your next get-together. Not only does this mean that it can keep you and your family safe in nearly any situation, but it is also portable, easy to set up, and will add to the aesthetic of any backyard space.

 

 

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