Screen tents for campers have become an increasingly popular item for RVers to carry to all their camping destinations. A quality screen tent increases your overall living space… while keeping you outdoors, which is likely why you like camping in the first place!
For this reason, however, there are literally hundreds of screen tents on the market today. They come in at various quality, price, and weight points.
In today’s post, we’re narrowing down the choices to 5 of the best screen tents to carry in your RV. Increase your outdoor living space, keep pesky bugs at bay, and maybe even allow you to sit outside in light rain!
Let’s take a look!
- 1) What’s a Screen Tent for Campers?
- 2) What to Look for in a Screen Tent for Campers
- 3) 5 of the Best Screen Tents for Campers on the Market Today
- 4) Do You Use a Screen Tent for Campers?
- 5) Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews, Giveaways & More
What’s a Screen Tent for Campers?
A screen tent is simply a lightweight structure with walls made of screening material to allow you to be outside in the fresh air while being protected from a few annoying aspects of the outdoors, such as mosquitoes and black flies.
With a screen tent, RVers can step outside the confines of a small RV, and step into the outdoors… all while still being protected from bugs and some weather elements.
Note that we say some weather elements. It’s important to recognize that a screen tent for campers is a relatively lightweight structure composed of material over a lightweight frame, so it isn’t going to protect its inhabitants in windy conditions or heavy rains.
We’re always stunned to see how many negative user reviews say things like, “Don’t buy this screen house! We were sitting in ours when a 30-mph wind gust blew it right off the ground!!!”
Well, yeah – that’s gonna happen. Screen tents are great in mild weather conditions. But they don’t tend to do well in windy conditions. This is the same reason RVers should bring in their awnings when the winds pick up.
The same holds true for heavy rains. You can buy a “waterproof” camp screen house, and indeed if you get a light rain or a drizzle, you can still sit inside that tent and enjoy the protection of the mesh walls. But no lightweight screen house will offer rain protection in heavy rain conditions. In fact, even in moderate rains, you just might get wet!
Our point here is that realistic expectations of a screen tent for campers are very important. Screen tents can really increase your campground living space. (Large screen tents for camping can be as large as 12′ x 12′ or even 15′ x 13′. That’s a lot of extra living space!)
But screen tents/rooms/houses are designed to keep bugs away while you relax outdoors and to offer protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Don’t expect to find ones with reviews that say, “Kept us and all our stuff dry in 30-mph winds and heavy rain on our last camping trip!” 😉
What to Look for in a Screen Tent for Campers
You’ll want to consider a few features when shopping for a screen tent.
Let’s take a look at the most important criteria to use when selecting a screen room that’ll give you adequate protection from the sun as you relax outside of your RV.
A screen tent that’s easy to set up is a screen tent that’ll be used. If you buy a screen house that requires three people and 45 minutes to assemble, you’re not going to use it very often.
A screen tent needs to be easy to set up and take down at your camping destination. Remember – screen houses sometimes need to be taken down when the winds creep up, or a big rainstorm starts rolling in.
No one wants a screen unit that’ll be difficult to set up and take down. Ease of use is key!
As always, weight is an issue for campers. Anything you carry in your RV adds to it’s total weight, and you don’t want to exceed its GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating, which is the maximum allowed weight of the RV, including passengers, cargo, fluids, etc.).
That’s one piece of the weight consideration. The other piece is that you’re going to have to haul this thing in and out of your RV/tow vehicle repeatedly. If it’s so heavy as to pose a risk to your back or make it cumbersome to move around, you’re unlikely to use it.
Consider the amount of additional weight you can carry in your RV and the maximum amount of weight you’re comfortable carrying into and out of your storage compartment.
The size of your screen tent when folded and when fully expanded are two very important considerations.
First, you’ll need to ask yourself how many people or how much “stuff” you plan to accommodate inside the tent. If, for example, there are two of you planning to use the screen house, you’ll want to be able to fit your chairs inside comfortably with room to spare.
Some families appreciate the ability to set their screen tent up around a picnic table to keep bugs away while eating outside. In this case, a screen tent that’s large enough to accommodate both the picnic table and the diners will be important.
And finally, there are campers who like to set up a screen house on their campsite to house all of their camping gear. For example, they may want sufficient space to keep a small outdoor camp kitchen, water jugs, a table, chairs, fishing gear, or even some plastic tubs with crafts or other items they’ll use while seated at the table.
Plot out an area in your yard that’ll accommodate all the things you hope to store inside the screen house at your camping destination, and then choose your screen tent size accordingly, while bearing in mind the possible need to either stake it really well or take it down (and move all your stuff!) in windy or heavy rain conditions.
Take note of the peak height of any screen room you’re considering, especially if you or any of your family members are tall. If you want to be able to stand up in the tent, height will matter a lot.
If all you want is a place to set a couple of camping chairs for the pleasure of being outdoors without being bombarded with bugs or exposed to excessive sun, then pretty much any screen room large enough and tall enough for you and your chairs will do.
The benefit of these smaller screen tents is the ability to quickly set them up and take them down, which is why we included one in our recommendations below.
Floor or No Floor
Some tents come with a floor pre-attached, but many don’t. In some cases, you may need to purchase a floor separately.
But not everyone wants their screen house to have a floor. A floor adds to the weight and to the area that needs to be cleaned and/or dried out when the tent gets wet.
Consider whether or not you want a permanently attached floor, a separate detached floor, or no floor at all, leaving the grass as your “floor”.
Screening Mesh Size
Note the mesh size of the screen walls on the screen tents you’re considering. Some tents may be designed to offer protection from even the tiniest of insects. These descriptions may state that they have “no-see-um” level screening.
You may think this is great, and it may be, depending on where you camp and why you want a screen house.
However, it’s also important to note that very fine mesh screening means less airflow. So, when it’s hot out and you’re sitting in your screen room for shade and protection from the sun, you may be incredibly uncomfortable if there’s no ability for air to flow through the screen.
If extra-fine mesh is a must for your camping locations, a camping fan may be needed to help keep you comfortable.
We suggest reading user reviews to get a fair sense of whether the mesh is too fine to allow adequate airflow or not fine enough to keep bugs out.
And finally, the ability to store your screen tent for travel is important. Note the size of the tent when collapsed to be sure you have the space available to store it in your RV.
Some screen houses come with carry bags which can be very helpful for both storage and portability.
5 of the Best Screen Tents for Campers on the Market Today
Now let’s take a look at 5 of the best screen tents available on the market. We’ve taken care to include tents of varying weights and sizes in an effort to offer something for everyone, regardless of RV size and intended use.
We’ll start with the larger, heavier tents and work our way down to a small, simple, very lightweight option.
Coleman Screened Canopy Tent
At 45 pounds, this Coleman screen tent is the heaviest on our list. We’re noting this first because it may be a pretty hefty package for some people to lift in/out of their rig, but the carry bag that comes with this tent has easy-pull wheels for portability once it’s on the ground.
This portable canopy-style screen tent is 12′ x 10′, offering 120 sq. ft. of floor area, which is a fair amount of room for several people to relax with chairs, a table, etc.
It’s made of Polyguard 2X double-thick material offering UVGuard 50+ UPF sun protection.
There are two large doors, one located at the front and one at the back of the tent, for easy access.
- Portable screened shelter offers protection from the sun, wind, and bugs
- Sets up in 3 minutes in just 3 steps
COOSHADE Pop-Up Gazebo
This hexagonal (six-sided) pop-up screened gazebo is just about the same weight as the Coleman above, at just under 45 pounds.
At around 10′ x 12′ with an interior space of 110 sq. ft., it can accommodate about 6-8 people.
It has a one-piece frame made of high-gauge powder-coated steel that sets up easily in about a minute. It offers three height adjustments.
The tent itself is made of flame-resistant 210 Denier polyester Oxford fabric with no-see-em mesh screen walls. It’s water-resistant and offers UPF 50+ UV protection.
When folded down and stored in the bag, the entire kit is 46″ x 11″ x 11″ for compact storage.
The COOSHADE pop-up screen tent is available in several colors and comes with a durable storage/carry bag, 12 stakes, and 6 ropes.
Many reviewers note that (in their experience) this screen house proved to be sturdy even in the wind and it kept them dry in fairly heavy rain.
- ✔MULTI PROTECTION--Portable screened shelter offers protection from the sun, wind, and uninvited guests,let you enjoy the outdoors with abandon
- ✔EASY SETUP-- This hexagon shape canopy designed with fully assembled One-Piece frame in high gauge sturdy metal, requires zero assembly,seamlessly...
CLAM Quick-Set Escape
This lightweight, portable, canopy-style screen tent has inside dimensions of 11.5 feet across with a center height of 7.5 feet.
The manufacturer states that the screen tent can accommodate up to 8 people and can hold a standard-sized picnic table.
This tent is made of 210 Denier poly-Oxford material and uses a mesh screen and extra-wide skirt to keep bugs at bay.
This is another screen tent model that requires no real assembly as it sets up in a minute or less (according to the manufacturer). It can be staked down from the inside and the outside and includes a carry bag, 5 tie-down ropes, and 7 stakes.
The screen tent packs into the carry bag, leaving a package with dimensions of 8″ x 8″ x 72″, so you’ll need a 6-foot long narrow storage area to carry it.
Packed into its carry bag, this tent weighs 37 pounds.
Optional rain and wind-blocking panels can be purchased separately if desired.
- ESCAPE MODEL SPECS: Lightweight, portable canopy designed to provide shelter against the elements; Set-up inner dimensions measure 11.5 feet across...
- KEEPS WATER & BUGS OUT: Taped roof panel that resists water to keep you dry while inside; 210 denier Poly-Oxford fabric helps keep you dry inside; A...
Alvantor Screen House
The Alvantor screen tent offers UPF 50+ UV protection from the sun but is neither waterproof nor water-resistant. This is strictly a screen house for protection from the sun and insects.
It has a large entrance door and four mesh screen walls. The tent includes 4 sandbags, 8 guy lines, 8 metal mounting stakes, and a carry bag.
The Alvantor screen tent is available in 4 different sizes: 6′ x 6′, 10′ x 10′, 12′ x 12′, and 15′ x 15′.
A heavy-duty waterproof tarp floor can be purchased separately. We’ll leave a link to the floor below as well.
- ☀Highlight: design patented Lightest Pop Up Screen Room for 2-3 adults is only 9 lbs, lighter than other similar items, innovated frame and folding...
- ☀Spacious space & ventilation: Alvantor Breezy Hexagonal Screen house is 6'x6'x6.5', ...
- Large Capacity & Lightweight: This tarp measures 10'x 10', ONLY 2.88 lbs, can hold 4-6 adults. Used as the floor or cover of, ASIN B07P2D47Z9,...
- Durable, Thick, Strong Tarp: Made of weave polyethylene thread with 10 mil thickness. Dual lamination for water resistance, washable. Aluminum high...
Coleman Instant Screenhouse
At under 3 pounds, this is the lightest screen tent on our list that also offers a nearly hands-free setup process.
The Coleman Instant Screenhouse is made of heavy-duty 150D PolyGuard 2X double-thick material and has no-see-um mesh walls.
The tent provides 10′ x 10′ of interior space and has two large zippered doors. It has pre-attached poles that you simply unfold and extend to set up the tent.
Ground stakes, guy lines (pre-attached), and a carry bag are included.
- Portable shelter offers protection from sun, wind, and bugs
- Sets up easily in around 60 seconds
Do You Use a Screen Tent for Campers?
If you use a screen tent to give yourselves some extra outdoor living space with protection from the sun and bugs, we’d love to know which tent you carry and how you like it.
Drop us a comment below!
Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews, Giveaways & More
Subscribe to our daily newsletter! We’ve been full-time RVers for 20 years (!) and share everything we’ve learned about RVing in our daily blog posts. Join our online community to receive a wealth of great RVing knowledge delivered right to your inbox.
Whether this is your first time on the road or you’re a seasoned full-timer, you’ll love the wide range of RVing topics we cover. Don’t miss a single article or any of our famous RV gear Giveaways — Subscribe today!