The 5 Best Waterproof Tents for Heavy Rain (Bought & Tested!)

By | April 17, 2024

I’ve tested over 30 camping tents in the rain, and only 5 of them did great. Here are the 5 best waterproof tents for heavy rain:

  • The North Face Wawona
  • REI Co-Op Base Camp
  • REI Co-Op Wonderland
  • Teton Sports Mountain Ultra
  • Quechua 2 Seconds

The North Face Wawona 6 (Overall Best Waterproof Tent)

  • Pros and Cons
  • Survived 3 days of heavy rain with no leaks
  • No waterproofing prep work required
  • All seams are perfectly taped
  • Humongous vestibule for wet gear storage
  • Survived 50mph winds
  • High quality DAC MX poles
  • Not a full-length rainfly
  • Vents can be more user-friendly

But after the 3 days of heavy rain and flooding, I didn’t find a single drop of water inside the tent.

Even the seams at the corners, which were completely submerged in water, didn’t leak at all.

One of the corners of the Wawona 6 submerged in water.
One of the corners of the Wawona 6 submerged in water.
And that’s because the seam taping all around this tent was very thorough. Every single seam not covered by the rainfly was perfectly taped, and I didn’t have to do any waterproofing prep work on my own. I could literally use my Wawona out of the box.

Some of the taped seams in the Wawona 6.
Some of the seam taping in the Wawona 6.
Take note that after the third day of rain though, I noticed that the back wall was slightly damp from the inside. It didn’t drip into the tent or anything, but my hand was slightly damp from touching the wall. So, this is the breaking point of the Wawona.

Another of the biggest reasons I’m recommending the Wawona as one of the best waterproof tents is because of its humongous vestibule, the biggest I’ve ever seen in a family camping tent.

This single vestibule comes in at a whopping 51 square feet, and could fit not just a couple of huge camping chairs, but it even has enough space leftover for a big camping table as well. This is simply perfect for storing wet gear and dirty shoes on rainy days.

REI Co-Op Base Camp 6 (Runner-Up Waterproof Tent)

There are 4 main reasons why I love this tent too.

First, it has a full-length rainfly that extends almost all the way down to the ground.

So, even when I sprayed tons of water on my Base Camp for one full hour, the rainfly protected the inner tent body really well. The water dripped off the rainfly and onto the ground directly, without touching the inner body too much, and the tent stayed completely dry.

The author using a water hose on the REI Base Camp 6.
Me rain testing the Base Camp.
Second, the Base Camp has a whopping 4 vents, 2 of them are roof vents, and the other 2 are floor vents, and I really loved that I could open and shut all these vents from the inside of the tent.

The author opening one of the floor vents in the REI Base Camp 6.
Me opening up one of the floor vents (the triangle-shaped vents) in the Base Camp. The other floor vent to the right is closed.
The author shutting one of the roof vents in the REI Base Camp 6.
Me zipping shut one of the roof vents.
The placement of all 4 vents also help create what REI called a ‘chimney effect’, for more efficient ventilation. I have never had any condensation issues in this tent so far, so I suppose it must work.

Third, this Base Camp has a whopping 2 vestibules, more than most other family tents I’ve seen.

The front vestibule area is pretty big, coming in at about 31.1 square feet, and this can easily fit 2 camping chairs, no problem at all.

What the front vestibule of the REI Base Camp 6 looks like.
An REI camp chair (the old version of the current Skyward Chair) in the front vestibule of the Base Camp.
The back vestibule is much smaller though, and couldn’t even fit 1 chair. It does have a base area of about 21.3 square feet though, so this back vestibule is great for storing wet gear.

REI Co-Op Wonderland 6 (Best Waterproof Cabin Tent)

On top of that, it has a super impressive lowest height at its 2 left and right sides, coming in at a whopping 76 inches:

The author standing at the extreme left of the REI Wonderland 6.
Me at the extreme left end of the Wonderland.
So, basically, I got the peak height (give or take a few inches) across the entire length of this Wonderland.

I also really liked that my Wonderland has a mind-boggling number of guylines, coming in at a whopping 14 guylines. There’s literally no other tent I’ve tested so far with more guylines.

This should give you a decent amount of wind protection, despite the vertical walls of the Wonderland catching wind quite easily.

Now, why do I not typically recommend cabin tents for heavy rain?

Well, most cabin tents I’ve ever tested has really small rainflies, covering only the very top of the tent. Some cover a little more of the tent, but some are absolutely tiny, and it’s extremely rare to find a cabin tent with a full coverage rainfly.

The Eureka Copper Canyon LX 6 in heavy rain.
The Eureka Copper Canyon LX 6 in my heavy rain test. Notice how short the rainfly is? It doesn’t even cover the windows at all.
So far, the Wonderland has the longest rainfly of all the cabin tents I’ve tested for now, extending all the way down to the ground for the most part.

But the thing is, there’s this small gap in the rainfly in the middle, and that’s to cater for the bottom triangle windows.

The REI Wonderland 6 in heavy rain.
The Wonderland 6 in heavy rain. The red circle highlights the area in the rainfly that’s left exposed to the rain.
So, because of this, after I put the Wonderland through 1 hour of heavy rain, followed by a few hours of moderate rain after, so basically one entire night of raining, there were 2 drops of water in the tent, from the divider loops at the bottom.

Leakage in the REI Wonderland 6 after a night of rain.
The damage after one night of raining. The leakage came from the divider loop (where my hand is).
As far as cabin tents go though, this is the best result I’ve seen so far. My other cabin tents had way more leaking than this.

I think REI might have goofed on these loops, cos they weren’t waterproofed, so once you get that sealed, there should be no leaking.

Luckily, the rest of this Wonderland was extremely thoroughly seam taped, I didn’t find any other issues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *