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Best stargazing tents: keep warm and dry when skywatching

Tent under stars in night sky
Discover the best stargazing tents to keep you warm and dry (Image credit: Getty)

If you're looking for the best stargazing tents out there, then you've come to the right place as we're rounding up the top items you can get for your money. Whether you're in the market for something substantial to withstand strong winds and heavy rain on mountain tops, or something that pops up with ease, we've included something to suit everyone and every budget. 

Naturally, if you're looking for the best stargazing tents, it's because you intend on stargazing outdoors. That means having one of the best telescopes, best binoculars or best cameras for astrophotography is key. However, there are still a few important things to note when searching for the best stargazing tent out there. For example, waterproofness is vital as although most stargazing will be done under clear skies, unforeseen bad weather can sneak up on you and you don't want to be caught out.

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Getting yourself one of the best stargazing tents is something worth doing, especially with the Perseid meteor shower due to peak on August 12. The asteroids themselves will be visible to the naked eye (if the weather conditions are right) so you wont need specialist stargazing equipment, unless you want to photograph some of it. 

Another key factor to consider when choosing your tent is the size and weight of it. If you're travelling over long distance, especially on foot, you'll need to think about how much of a load you can carry, especially if you're already carrying stargazing equipment. 

If you are an astrophotographer, for example, and you will be carrying around equipment on top of your tent, then it's not just the best stargazing tents you'll want to check out. You can read our round-ups of the best lenses for astrophotography best zoom lenses and best tripods too. However, for the best stargazing tents on the market, read on below. 


MSR hubba hubba nx tent

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent is our favorite design for warmth, comfort and practicality.  (Image credit: MSR)
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MSR Hubba Hubba NX Backpacking Tent

A great lightweight option if you’re looking for coziness while skywatching

Specifications

Sleeps: 2 people
Pitch type: Freestanding
Waterproofing: Water-resistant
Weight: 8.48 kg
Material: PVC
Dimensions: Floor area of 9.30 square meters, interior height of 2.13 meters

Reasons to buy

+
Stargazing window
+
Lightweight and compact
+
Stargaze from bed
+
Allows privacy

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited views 
-
Claustrophobic

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent is a freestanding tent that’s easy to put up. It can hold two people so it’s a good option if you’re traveling alone or with a friend. The symmetrical geometry of this tent maximizes the space as there’s no central peak but an even shape all around. It’s got a waterproofed rainfly cover with the added benefit of StayDry doors, for any unpredicted heavy downpours. The rainfly cover can be rolled up, either partly or entirely, to uncover the stargazer window.

The stargazer window is the highlight of this tent. Its location near the top of the tent makes for a great view of the stars. The mesh of the window is light in color leaving you with unobstructed views of the night sky. What we love about this tent is that you can stargaze while lying down. As there is a designated stargazing window, there is an element of privacy to this tent, allowing you to stay warm and dry.

You can use this tent across three seasons; using the rainfly and footprint will reduce the weight or you can use the mesh and footprint in warm summer conditions. A combination of all three materials can protect against harsher weather if you’re unexpectedly caught out in it. It collapses down into a compact stuff sack so is super easy to carry.


Kelty dirt motel tent

The Kelty Dirt Motel offers vertical walls, optimizing space and stargazing capacity  (Image credit: Kelty)
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Kelty Dirt Motel Lightweight Backpacking and Camping Tent

A spacious tent with a clever design, optimizing space and views of the sky

Specifications

Sleeps: 2 or 3 person option available
Pitch type: Freestanding
Waterproofing: Seams are tape sealed for weather protection
Weight: 2.47kg
Material: Nylon
Dimensions: Floor area of 3.67 square meters, interior height of 1.09 meters

Reasons to buy

+
360 degree views
+
Different size options available
+
Spacious design

Reasons to avoid

-
Dark mesh obstructs view
-
Lacks privacy

The Kelty Dirt Motel is a wonderful tent if you’re looking to go stargazing with a couple of friends. This tent comes in a two or three person option with the three person option coming in at a good size if you do want some extra company on your night jaunt.

With a water-resistant rainfly, the Kelty Dirt Motel is great for autumn, spring and summer. The rainfly can be rolled back to reveal the meshed area. Arguably, the stargazing ‘window’ on the Kelty Dirt Motel is much bigger in size than the window of MSR Hubba Hubba NX. However, the material is a darker mesh providing a more obscured view of the night sky. However, we like that if the rainfly is rolled partially back, a good portion of the side and top of the tent are completely open for you to view the stars all around you. If the rainfly is completely removed, you can get 360 degree views which is amazing. This is partly due to the clever design as it has vertical walls and no central peak, which provide more overall space and less obstructions for stargazing.

As well as the rainfly being waterproofed, the seams are tape sealed to ensure protection from unexpected bad weather. It also folds into an easy to carry stuff sack.


Kelty late start tent

The Kelty Late Start comes as a 4-person tent, meaning you can stargaze with your friends (Image credit: Kelty)
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Kelty Late Start Backpacking Tent

The best option if you’re stargazing with friends

Specifications

Sleeps: 1, 2 or 4 person options available
Pitch type: Freestanding
Waterproofing: Waterproofed and seams are sealed
Weight: 3.35kg
Material: Nylon
Dimensions: Floor area of 5.17 square meters, interior height of 1.4 meters

Reasons to buy

+
Spacious design
+
360 degree views
+
Large sides allowing for more views
+
Stargaze from bed

Reasons to avoid

-
Very dark mesh obstructs view
-
Rainfly can’t be partially rolled back
-
No privacy
-
Cold without the rainfly

This freestanding tent is a great option if you're looking to set up camp alone, with
a friend or in a small group as one, two and four people options are available. It's seems are sealed for waterproofness and the floor is also waterproof, to 1800mm. That means that 20.6 square foot of space you get inside (in the one person model) is plenty of room to manoeuvre around while looking at the night sky, and you won't have to worry about getting wet. 

There's a single door with this tent and you can get good views, even if you want to stargaze from bed. The aluminum poles are pre-bent to create more space inside the tent and at 3 lbs (one person model) it's lightweight and easy to transport. There really isn't much to dislike about this tent at all, especially given it's price point as there are more expensive options on this list. 

 


ALPS Mountaineering Lynx Tent

 The perfect tent for those who like to go adventuring alone (Image credit: Alps Mountaineering)
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ALPS Mountaineering Lynx Tent

The best tent for solitary stargazers

Specifications

Sleeps: 1 person
Pitch type: Freestanding
Waterproofing: Waterproof
Weight: 2.27kg
Material: Nylon
Dimensions: Floor area of 1.85 square meters, interior height of 0.91 meters

Reasons to buy

+
Stargaze from bed
+
Sleek design
+
Unobstructed views
+
Very portable
+
Allows privacy

Reasons to avoid

-
Snug
-
Positioning is important

The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx tent is a superb option if you’re stargazing alone. While being quite snug, it offers a great view of the stars all while you stay snuggled in your sleeping bag. With the rainfly removed, you are able to gaze out one side of the tent and through the top. The other sides are not made of see-through mesh which allows you to have some privacy. Although, as the mesh is only on one side, you may need to consider your positioning to ensure the best view of the stars. The mesh is not as dark as the Kelty Late Start, allowing for a clearer view of the wonders of the night sky.

Being the first evergreen tent we’ve mentioned, it’s perfect for those who are keen to get out and about all year to capture the beautiful display above them. We love the sleekness of the design.


Moon Lence tent

 The Moon Lence tent is our pick for privacy and internal space  (Image credit: Moon Lence)
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Moon Lence Camping Tent

The best budget tent for wonderful views and lots of privacy

Specifications

Sleeps: 2 person
Pitch type: Freestanding
Waterproofing: Water and UV resistant, windproof
Weight: 2.35kg
Material: Polyester
Dimensions: Floor area of 3.6 square meters, interior height of 1.2 meters

Reasons to buy

+
Great size
+
Rectangle base shape
+
Base border allows privacy 
+
Stargaze from bed
+
360 degree views
+
Easy to carry

Reasons to avoid

-
Domed shape doesn’t optimize internal space
-
Only one size available

Now this is a surprising find for us. The Moon Lence ticks a lot more boxes than the previous portable tents and comes in cheaper. This one is a fantastic size for two people and its rectangular base shape allows it to feel very spacious, maximizing the room available. Not only this but the design means there are no poles obstructing your views, as the poles sleekly cross over the top of the tent.

The mesh of the tent is see-through allowing for good visibility of the stars. We really like that the bottom part of the tent adds a layer of privacy that some of the larger tents don’t offer. You can peel the protective rainfly back at the large door for a good view of the stars or alternatively, remove the rainfly completely. This opens up the tent offering 360 degree views. 

Furthermore, the lower part of the tent allows you to maintain some privacy as you lay in bed, gazing at the night sky. Unlike the Kelty Late Start tent, the Moon Lence has a thick border, covering you when you are lying down. This adds an element of intimacy to the evening with whoever you choose to stargaze with. We think this is a really nice touch. The Moon Lence is very portable and can be stored in a carry bag.


Alvantor bubble tent

The Alvantor Bubble Gazebo is for those who like to stargaze, glamping style (Image credit: Alvantor)
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Alvantor Bubble Tent Pop Up Gazebo

The best luxury stargazing tent for socialites

Specifications

Sleeps: 4-6 person
Pitch type: Freestanding
Waterproofing: Water-resistant
Weight: 8.48kg
Material: PVC
Dimensions: Floor area of 9.30 square meters, interior height of 2.13 meters

Reasons to buy

+
Luxury version
+
360 degree clear views
+
Very spacious
+
Great for hosting

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy to transport
-
No privacy
-
Potentially warm and stuffy

We know this isn’t exactly what you had in mind when you saw this article but we couldn’t resist putting in a luxury version. We love this gazebo which offers 360 degree clear views, if the weather is a little chiller than expected.

You can stand up in it with no trouble, even if you’re over six foot tall. It’s large enough to host friends and to place furniture in so you can get really comfortable while watching a meteor shower or pointing out constellations to each other. There are also convenient hooks for coats, bags or other items. It boasts two large entrance doors that can be rolled up. Unlike the camping tents, this one is made from PVC so ventilation may be needed while sharing the space with others, to avoid it turning into a steam room. 

Amazingly, this gazebo is freestanding and easy to assemble. It also compacts down into a carry bag but is obviously not the easiest option for portability. This design is meant more for it being a fixed item in your garden. However, it’s not impossible to take it to a friend’s house if they are hosting.

Although we don’t tend to stargaze in adverse weather conditions, this gazebo is not intended to withstand such weather. However, it can be a lovely addition to your garden, on a Spring evening when the nights are still a little cold, to allow you and your family or friends to enjoy the outdoors.

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Jason Parnell-Brookes
Channel Editor

Jason Parnell-Brookes is an award-winning photographer, educator and writer based in the UK. He won the Gold Prize award in the Nikon Photo Contest 2018/19 beating over 90,000 other entrants and was named Digital Photographer of the Year in 2014. Jason is a Masters graduate and has a wealth of academic and real-world experience in a variety of photographic disciplines from astrophotography and wildlife to fashion and portraiture. Now the Channel Editor for Cameras and Skywatching at Space.com his speciality is in low light optics and camera systems.