Best Tents for Kayak & Canoe Camping

Last Updated on August 29, 2022

When you are in an overwhelming situation to pick the best tent for kayak camping, it’s quite essential to know the crucial buying factors before deciding on one.

Along with the quality, to me, the weight and compactness of the tent are two of the most crucial deciding factors out of multiple other aspects like –

  • Water resistance.
  • Inside space.
  • Headroom.
  • Weather resistance.
  • Quality of the rainfly.
  • Ease of set up, tear down and repack.
  • Ventilation.
  • Cost-effectiveness, etc.

When it’s about judging the tent’s ability to withstand different weather elements, if it can handle heavy rain, and wind I believe it’s quite good to go. A 3-season tent is good enough for kayak camping. It’s because you are very likely not going to go kayak camping in winter.

Keeping everything into consideration, I’ve listed the best tent for kayak camping here, mentioning all their benefits and pitfalls.

Without any further ado, let’s get the ball rolling.

7 Best Tents for Canoe Or Kayak Camping

1. The North Face Stormbreak 2 Kayak Camping Tent – Top Pick


  • Well constructed with high-quality materials.
  • This tent is easy to set up and takedown.
  • It has a door on either side to help both campers go outside conveniently.
  • You will have awesome visibility under the stars at night from inside the tent.
  • Enough ventilation inside to make sure you breathe well.
  • It’s compact when taken down and repacked. As a result, it doesn’t take too much space to store.
  • This tent doesn’t weigh too much when packed, hence easy to carry it around.
  • It features decent space inside to lodge two persons without any trouble whatsoever. One person should live like a king.
  • It’s a three-season tent and doesn’t budge, no matter if it’s raining, or in wind conditions.
  • A big rainfly comes with the tent.
  • You will get internal storage pockets to keep some of your gear.
  • Excellent warranty support from the company.


  • The price could have been better. However, the overall construction, performance, and usability justify the bill.

The North Face Stormbreak 2 is a 2-person tent offering everything a kayak camper expects, including the size, weight, and other core benefits.

Regarding the entire tent structure, this tent is made of quality materials, counting the rods, tent fabric, zippers, etc.

This tent weighs just above 5 lbs and below 6 lbs which is quite a packed weight to deal with for most of the weight-conscious kayak campers I reckon.

When it’s about getting the most suitable tent for kayak camping, a rainfly with the tent is something anyone would anticipate rather than buying them separately. Fortunately, this tent offers a quality rainfly that covers the 

whole tent and keeps dry inside during rainfall.

Overall, it is one of the best kayaking tents, offering every meat and potato. If quality is your topmost priority and you are willing to spend money to get that, you won’t regret buying this one.

2. Kelty Late Start Camping Tent


  • A lot of air flows inside through the mesh to give the campers enough comfort in summer.
  • Effortless to repack the tent because of the wide opening of the carry bag.
  • Multiple versions of this item are readily available, varying in capacity.
  • Plenty of room inside for 2 person. This is true for other capacity tents of this brand as well.
  • Setting it up and tearing it down are some straightforward processes.
  • Relatively lightweight tent.
  • Due to the color-coded straps, you will be able to set up the fly correctly each time with ease.
  • It offers a large vestibule area to store packs safely, protecting from rain and other elements.
  • Both the tent and rainfly are made of quality fabric, and the rainfly is genuinely waterproof.
  • A freestanding tent. So, you can set it up on any terrain.
  • It keeps dry inside during hard rain.


  • The tent stakes are not up to the mark in terms of quality.
  • If two obese persons stay inside, surely there is not enough space inside.
  • Pricewise, it’s a bit on the higher side compared to other models I listed here. However, the performance justifies the bill.

Kelty Late Start camping tent is another perfect option for kayak camping. After my top pick, I vote for this Kelty tent considering its quality material, durability, and usability.

This particular tent boasts a mesh net almost entirely throughout the tent body resulting in abundant airflow when the rainfly is off.

Besides this 2-person tent, you can buy their 1-person and 4-person tents. All of them offer the same benefits except the inside space and weight.

It’s always a great idea to use a footprint with this sort of tent. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with this purchase. However, you can buy footprints separately from here, manufactured by the same brand.

All in all, Kelty paid attention to every detail possible to make it a perfect tent. Yes, the price is slightly high compared to other models I reviewed in this article. But it doesn’t break the bank by any means. Still, it’s quite easy on the pocket.

3. TETON Sports Mountain Ultra Tent


  • It’s well constructed with quality materials.
  • The rainfly features multiple vents to let air circulate inside, which is quite beneficial, particularly in summer.
  • Large gear loft and gear pockets let you keep things in an organized way.
  • The seams are tapped, hence lasting longer than other non-tapped versions.
  • I dig the zipper quality of this unit.
  • Spacious inside, and it’s a pretty tall tent having ample headroom.
  • Quick and easy set up.
  • It features two doors and two large vestibules.
  • The price is quite acceptable.


  • It tends to catch air because of its high profile. Staking it down properly should solve this, though.

TETON Sports mountain ultra tent is one of the most impressive kayaking tents, considering the value it provides against the price.

One of the most applauded aspects of this kayak tent is that it’s pretty tall. As a result, you will get plenty of space to sit up, spread your hands freely and change clothes.

You should use a footprint with any tent. Although you won’t get one with this purchase, you can buy it separately from here.

This particular tent boasts two doors for the two-person version, which is quite a handy feature. It lets both campers go in and out from their end. Two reasonably sized vestibules is another eye-popping feature, I must say.

Pro Tip: As it’s quite a tall tent, remember to stake it down properly so that the wind can’t pull it backward.

When it’s about buying one of the most cost-effective kayak camping tents, this one is well ahead of some other pricey options. So, is it worth checking out? Yes, of course.

4. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx Tent


  • Straightforward setup and takedown process.
  • Quality tent material, and zipper stitching make this tent durable, no doubt.
  • It’s genuinely waterproof.
  • A quality full-coverage rainfly comes with the purchase.
  • It’s a fairly tall tent to help you change clothes without too much of a bother.
  • A fairly lightweight tent to carry along anywhere you want.
  • As it boasts less mesh compared to others, no bugs or insects can enter it.
  • Compact when packed.
  • Provides maximum weather protection.
  • It features multiple pockets inside to keep the small camping items in it.
  • The value for the money this tent offers is excellent.


  • Because of the lack of mesh, this tent becomes scorching in the summer.
  • The velcro straps that attach the rain fly to the poles should have been better.

ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1 Tent offers the essentials a kayak tent should offer.

The rainfly is big enough to wrap the tent entirely, which gives the required protection while raining and also helps to block wind to make the inside hot in cold weather conditions. However, this is what you might not like in the summer. Even if you remove the rain fly, you won’t get a lot of air inside as the tent itself has less mesh.

It’s a lightweight backpacking tent. That said, being a one-person tent, it could have been lighter—no issue in carrying it around, though. If you replace the poles and anchors with some other aftermarket alternatives, it will make the tent even lighter as these two items contribute to the total weight more than anything else.

When it’s about getting a lot of air circulation inside in the summer (which I believe a kayak camper wants to have), unfortunately, this backpacking tent doesn’t work anywhere near my top pick, The North Face Stormbreak 2. Otherwise, it’s a good choice for sea kayaking.

5. Coleman Sundome Tent


  • Sturdy tent and made of quality tent material, hence durable.
  • Effortless to set up and take down. 
  • It features ample space inside to accommodate two adults with their pets.
  • Lightweight and compact design.
  • Waterproof. Its ability to keep dry inside during extreme weather camping is worth mentioning.
  • This tent withstands high wind conditions.
  • It can keep the moisture out efficiently from the tent floor.
  • A high-quality rainfly comes with the purchase.
  • Sufficient airflow even when the rain fly is on.
  • Features multiple pockets to store other small camping accessories.
  • Several versions of this tent are readily available, varying tent capacity.
  • Easy on the wallet.


  • Not too comfortable for tall guys like above 6′.
  • This tent doesn’t feature two doors resulting in trouble getting out for one person staying at the window side.

Coleman is one of the pioneers in making durable backpacking tents of different sizes at an affordable price. This very compact tent from Coleman shines in quality as well and is quite a useful tent for camping in a kayak.

Although the company tells you to use a queen-size mattress in this tent, I don’t recommend that. If you want to use a queen-size mattress, you better go for a 3-person or 4-person tent. You can use any sleeping bag or mattress pad with ease, though.

Like other kayaking tents, this one also features pockets to keep small items in it and a hook on the top to hang lanterns or clothes conveniently.

Altogether, this Coleman Sundome tent is one of the best budget kayaking tents, considering the price, quality, and usability. You won’t regret using it.

6. Coleman Hooligan Kayak Camping Tent


  • Easy set up and tear down process.
  • Quite capable of handling strong wind and heavy rainfall without causing trouble to the campers.
  • The full-coverage rainfly covers the whole tent, and you will get a large vestibule space. 
  • Well constructed using some quality material for the tent, zipper. The seam quality is good enough too.
  • Compact when you pack it up.
  • Plentiful inside space for lodging two campers with ease.
  • A lot of air flows inside when the rain fly is off. Kudos to the quality mesh dominant design. 
  • It features small pockets to organize the small kayaking camping gear inside.
  • For the price point, you can’t go wrong with this tent.


  • It’s a bit on the heavier side compared to other models I’ve reviewed here.
  •  Although the setup process is easy, it might take a while to complete it properly.

Coleman Hooligan Tent is another top-notch production from Coleman offering everything a camper would expect from a kayaking tent.

I must mention the dry shelter and spacious entryway the large vestibule offers. It certainly gives you extra gear storage space.

As I said, you will get precious space under the roof for two people. If you stay alone, you will be able to put several kayak camping gear inside it. Changing clothes inside the tent is a breeze too because of the room it offers.

If you don’t want to carry a moderately heavy tent, then this one is not the ideal one for you. My top pick, The North Face Stormbreak 2, is the one you should get your eye in.

When it’s about keeping the campers dry inside during heavy thunderstorms, this durable backpacking tent does its job perfectly.

Overall, it’s quite a handy-dandy option for a kayaking trip without hurting the pocket. This Coleman Hooligan kayaking tent is definitely worth checking out.

7. Mountainsmith Morrison 2-person Tent


  • Lightweight tent considering this one is a two-person tent.
  • Effortless to put things together and take them down.
  • It has ample space inside to lodge two lightweight persons without any hassle.
  • As it’s a freestanding tent, you can set it up anywhere you want, regardless of the terrain.
  • Two big D-shape doors on either side. It certainly makes life easy for both the campers to get in and out.
  • Enough headroom for even tall people to sit up and change clothes.
  • It features a gear loft dangling from the ceiling of the tent to put your gear there. It also features small pockets in the tent corners.
  • Plenty of airflow when the rain fly is off.
  • It features roof vents on either side of the rainfly to allow ventilation inside even when the rain fly is on.
  • This tent performs great in heavy wind and rain.
  • The price is a bargain.


  • The stakes are not strong enough. Better if you buy some aftermarket stakes to get the best results.

The Mountainsmith Morrison 2-person tent has been out there on the market for several years now, and no doubt they are maintaining the same high quality from the beginning.

It features every essential you would have expected from a reasonably priced tent. Like other models, this one is also straightforward to set up, tear down, and repack. It’s compact when repacked as well. So, you don’t have to have ample space on your kayak surface to keep this tent pack.

In terms of durability, I must say all the elements of this unit, including the poles, last for several years. I found a camper using it for eight years, and the poles still snap together like new.

In a nutshell, it’s an old and tested warrior that you can rely upon without any second thought whatsoever.


So, this is it!

I’m sure you will be able to decide on the best tent for canoe camping or kayak camping after going through the items I reviewed above, mentioning their highs and lows.

Of course, my top pick, The North Face Stormbreak, is the most impressive tent amongst several others I listed here. However, considering quality, features, and value for the money, the Kelty Late Start Camping Tent is not too far behind my top pick. Even the TETON Sports Mountain Ultra Tent is pretty up-to-the-minute as well.

Nonetheless, If you want a budget tent, then the Coleman Sundome tent can be your great adventure partner for kayaking trips.

How To Choose The Best Tent For Kayak Camping

Best tents for kayak camping

There are a few qualities you should look for when buying a tent for kayak camping trips. These are:

  • Capacity
  • Weight
  • Price
  • Ease of setup
  • Ventilation
  • Season rating


Can you put a tent in kayak?
Yes, you can. You just need to make sure the tent fits your kayak. If your kayak doesn’t have that much space, you may need to separate the parts so that you can pack it easier and distribute the pack weight more evenly.

How do you carry a tent on a kayak?
You can use a backpack or duffle bag with straps to strap it onto your kayak. Make sure the straps fit snugly around the kayak’s frame.

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Author: Euell Gibbons

Outdoorsman and proponent of natural diets. He loves camping, hiking and exploring the great outdoors. Camping is a way of life for him - as soon as he can get away from work, he's out there!

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