How many times have you stopped to just take a look up at the night sky? It probably doesn’t happen often and you’re not alone.
Many of us fail to recognize the beauty that is present up above. If we just take the time to check out the stars every now and then, we can see things that are truly spectacular.
For some, the opportunities to take part in that hobby never even present themselves because stargazing in a city full of artificial lights can be nearly impossible to pull off.
It truly can be worth your time to go on a stargazing expedition however and if you want to ensure that it goes well, you will need the right piece of equipment. More specifically, you will need a tent that can help keep you comfortable and protected as you gaze upon the wonders of nature.
In this article, you will learn more about the different characteristics possessed by a great stargazing tent. We’ll also discuss some of the top stargazing tents that are currently available.
Now that the introductions are out of the way, let’s get to our buyer’s guide.
What Makes a Tent Good for Stargazing?
While most tents are suitable for the purposes of stargazing, there are still specific characteristics you need to look for if you want to be sure that the item you purchase is perfectly suited for that aforementioned task. These elements need to be provided by your tent if you want your stargazing session to be as great as it can possibly be.
Mesh plays an important role in tents. According to MSR Gear, mesh elements embedded into the tent’s structure can help improve airflow and even regulate the amount of moisture.
Simply put, a tent featuring mesh components can help its occupants remain more comfortable, but that’s not all they can do.
Because these elements are ones you can see through, they are also ideal to have on your tent if you want to go stargazing. The mesh elements can effectively fulfill multiple roles at once as they help you carry on with the sightseeing without subjecting you to the potentially harsh outdoor elements.
It’s not enough for your tent to make use of mesh though. These elements also have to be located well in order for you to get the most out of them.
A mesh roof would be great because that would allow you to enjoy a great view of the stars even as you lie down flat on the floor of your tent. This has become an increasingly common feature so you should be able to find one if you take the time to look for it.
In case tents with mesh roofs are no longer available, you can also settle for one with mesh openings along the upper edges. The views you’ll be able to take in through those openings will still be spectacular, but you may have to position your body in specific ways to get them.
The bottom line is that mesh is a must-have element in your stargazing tent.
The mesh elements of your tents are the ones you need to take advantage of if you want to get the best views of the stars. They are essential for that purpose, but they are not always great to have on your tent in certain situations.
Mesh elements being porous is kind of a double-edged sword.
On one hand, you can appreciate the fact that they don’t obscure your views and provide valuable ventilation during those warm nights outdoors. On the other hand, water can just pour through them, meaning they are unable to offer resistance against the rain.
You and whoever else is inside the tent can wind up soaked because of the mesh.
For that reason, you need to have a rainfly packaged together with your tent.
The rainfly is a separate cover that is supposed to go over the roof of your tent, according to REI.com. As its name hints at, the rainfly is designed to keep the raindrops at bay, although they also work to repel other forms of moisture such as dew.
There are two different types of rainflies for you to choose from.
The first type is known as a roof-only rainfly. What’s great about this type of rainfly is that it will provide you with an adequate amount of protection against the rain and the other elements while still allowing you to easily see outside.
Full-coverage rainflies don’t offer much in the way of viewing space, but you can bank on them keeping you warm and comfy even if it is raining outside during your camping trip.
The main purpose of the vestibule is to preserve the comfort level inside the tent. After a long trek through wet and muddy terrain, you can keep your shoes in the vestibule area to dry while you warm up further inside.
That’s not the only use for the vestibule though.
On nights when the weather is milder and more agreeable, you can use the vestibule area as a kind of viewing deck for stargazing. Peer through the opening there and look up at the stars shining overhead.
Adding a vestibule to your tent will also make it possible for more people to take part in stargazing all at once.
Also, if you’re going camping in a snowy area, you can get a vestibule with a snow flap to better protect the interior of the tent.
Insect Repelling Capabilities
Tents that make it easier for you to see the stars are often very open. The downside to that is that you are also increasing the number of pathways that insects can get through.
Before you know it, all kinds of insects may already be flying around inside your tent, making it impossible for you to enjoy either stargazing or sleep in peace.
Those are exactly the reasons why you need to be mindful of a tent’s insect repelling capabilities before deciding if it is the one you need for stargazing.
First off, you should check to see how big the holes are in the mesh panels of your tent. Holes that are way too large will not be able to keep any insects out of your tent.
You should also look for tents that have been treated with insect repellant. They are harder to find, but they are worth the time and effort to seek out.
What Other Considerations Matter When Choosing a Tent?
Next up, let’s discuss the characteristics that you need to check out to ensure that the tent you’re using will work great outdoors. These characteristics are not essential for stargazing purposes, but they are ones that can significantly improve your camping experience.
Different kinds of materials are used to make tents. It’s important to know which material is the primary one being used in your tent because it has a huge impact on performance.
Materials commonly used to make tents include canvas, cotton, nylon, polyester, and PVC.
PVC is a rugged material that excels at keeping moisture away. It is quite heavy though so be prepared for a challenging trek if you decide to bring a PVC tent along with you.
Polyester tents similarly excel when asked to provide protection against water. They also hold up remarkably well against the scorching heat produced by the summer sun. Be careful about staying too long inside a polyester tent though as it can get very warm in there.
Nylon is more vulnerable to sun damage compared to the other materials often used to make tents, but its water resistance is more than acceptable. Nylon’s lightweight nature also allows it to work better as a stargazing tent.
Cotton is lauded for its breathability, but the weight it brings to the table causes manufacturers to largely shy away from using it.
Instead, what they do is turn to canvas – a material that brings together the properties of cotton and polyester. It combines some of the most desirable features of the aforementioned materials, but it doesn’t especially excel in any one department.
Keep those material qualities in mind as you go about selecting your stargazing tent.
If you want to be certain that you can stay comfortable all throughout your stargazing session, you need a tent that is more than capable of accommodating you and any other companions who have tagged along. With that in mind, it’s time to decide on the size of your tent.
First, you need to consider the peak height you need for your tent.
Some people are fine even if they can’t stand upright inside their tent, but others may feel trapped if they can’t do that. To ensure that your tent will provide you the height you are looking, take a look at its size chart and see how tall it goes.
Don’t forget about the size of the floor as well. A floor that’s over 90 inches in length should be enough even for those who prefer the tent interior to be roomy.
Freestanding models are what you want if you’re looking for a tent that you can set up in a hurry. Once you’ve found a freestanding tent, go ahead and check how many poles it uses. The thing to remember here is that tents that make use of fewer poles are faster to assemble.
You can make the setup process even easier if you can find poles that rely on clips instead of pole sleeves.
Campers are also encouraged to look for tents that use shock cords. These shock cords are used to keep the poles together. If your tent has poles that use shock cords, you can expect it to be an item that can be assembled with relatively little trouble.
Tents aren’t always very stable and because of that, the items they house can get scattered all over the place as people move around. That can be especially problematic if you are keeping smaller valuables inside your tent.
To prevent that issue from being a real headache, you should seek out tents that feature plenty of pockets. The pockets can be used to keep items off the tent floor and they also help you stay organized. Some tents even come with pockets that are specifically designed to improve lighting if they hold a lamp.
Tent Seasonality Type
Over the course of shopping for a stargazing tent, you may encounter the terms “3-season” “3-4-season,” and “4-season.” These terms are used to refer to the seasonal capabilities of tents. In other words, they will let you know if a tent can be used in any type of weather or if it has certain limitations.
3-season tents are usable outside of winter. They tend to be thin and lightweight. Use them if you want to stay cool, but avoid them if you are expecting heavy downfall of any kind.
3-4-season tents are more durable than 3-season tents, but they are also heavier and harder to set up.
If you’re going camping in regions that experience heavy snow or rainfall, you have no other choice than to get a 4-season tent. Anything other than that and you may fail to receive the right amount of protection and that is never acceptable if you’re spending an extended period of time outdoors.
Best Stargazing Tents for the Money
1. Kelty Night Owl Backpacking and Camping Tent
Space will always be plentiful if you decide to pick up the Night Owl Backpacking and Camping Tent from Kelty.
It comes equipped with several interior pockets that are designed to hold on to your belongings. You can even use the aforementioned pockets to hold on to headlamps, thus improving the lighting inside your tent.
The pockets complement the spacious interior of this tent. It should be able to comfortably host you and your companions provided that you get it in the right size.
Picking up and moving the tent is also easy so you don’t have to feel pinned down to the first spot you selected.
- Loaded with interior pockets for you to use
- Pockets also work to stabilize the tent
- Taped seams help keep the water out
- Can be easily moved around
- Can be heavy to carry alone
Takeaway: This is the type of stargazing tent you will want if you are traveling with a larger party and want to be sure that everyone can be comfortable.
2. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 4-Person Tent
You’re probably not going on weekly stargazing trips, but even so, you should prioritize purchasing a tent that can remain useful for more than just a handful of trips. That’s precisely what you’re getting from the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 4-Person Tent.
Its polyester composition means that it is already more durable than plenty of other camping tents. Expect it to capably hold up to the extreme weather conditions brought about by both summer and winter.
The manufacturers have also included some useful accessories together with this tent such as the gear loft and the vestibules. Make use of those if you are running out of storage room inside the tent.
- Made from highly durable polyester
- Bundled together with two vestibules and a gear loft
- Two-pole design allows for quick assembly
- Users get two doorways
- Components need to be divided among campers to make carrying it easier
Takeaway: The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 4-Person Tent is a great choice for folks who camp out regularly.
3. MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent
Stargazing is something that you can certainly do on your own, and if that is what you prefer, the Hubba Hubba NX Lightweight Backpacking Tent from MSR should prove to be a good purchase for you.
Technically speaking, this is regarded as a two-person tent, but because of how light it is, you can carry it on your own.
Setting up this tent is just as easy as carrying it as its components are easy to work with.
The DuraShield coating works to strengthen this camping tent, but don’t expect it to be the kind of item that will be able to handle all kinds of weather conditions. As long as you are careful with regards to when you use this tent, you should be happy with it.
- Lightweight tent that can be carried by a single person
- Easy to set up
- Features a DuraShield coating
- Not an especially durable camping tent
Takeaway: Go ahead and get the MSR Hubba Hubba NX Lightweight Backpacking Tent if you are planning on camping by yourself.
Good camping tents can work just as well as stargazing aids provided that they come with a few important features. Thankfully, those features have become more prevalent and you should have little trouble finding a stargazing tent that meets all your preferences.
Stargazing is a hobby that can be very rewarding. Make sure you get the most enjoyment out of it by picking the right tent to take with you.