7 Best Tents For Stargazing According To Thrilled Buyers [2021]

You’ve planned for this camping trip for weeks.

There’s a clear night that will be perfect to witness some awesome shooting stars and you’ve decided to leave the tent at home to maximize star viewing! You get to the spot, roll out your sleeping bag and wait for night to fall.

But all of the sudden, the wind picks up and in rolls a thunderstorm! You’re completely exposed, and your bag gets drenched! How could this perfect stargazing night turn sour so quickly?

Two words: no tent!

The reason why that scenario felt so real is that I’ve experienced it a time or two! At Gear Up Hiking, we’ve dedicated ourselves to finding the best tents for stargazing so that we can help you witness the glory of a night sky while avoiding the catastrophe of being caught in a sudden thunderstorm!

To provide you with this expertly researched list, we went beyond what other resources do. Besides doing intensive research online reading reviews and comparing features, we actually tested some tents ourselves.

Furthermore, we consulted fellow hikers who used each tent for their unbiased opinion. You know, often solo testing a product is far from being objective!

Then, we also discussed the pros and cons of each tent as well as its performance with industry experts from REI and Backcountry.

Our sole was to deliver you a useful guide that contains not only reviews, but also valuable advice on choosing the right tent for your budget.

Plus other golden nuggets that I will mention later.

Let’s begin and see which one is really the best stargazing tent. 

Our Top 2 Recommendations

Editor's choice
With a freestanding design, durable, spacious, and reasonably priced, the Dirt Motel will ensure you have many stargazing nights to remember!
FEATURES:
  • Large mesh panels on the side for unobstructed view to the sky
  • 2-Person capacity
  • Stargazing Fly™ allows you to open and close the rain fly when you're in the tent
  • Lightweight DAC Press-fit poles for easy set up

And if you need something on a budget:

Best affordable choice
If you need a quality stargazing tent without breaking the bank, the trendy and lightweight Featherstone will do the job and then some!
FEATURES:
  • 2-Person capacity
  • Only 4 lbs., approved for long distance hikes
  • Detachable structure to strip off more weight
  • Seam taped construction shields you against bad weather

The Best Tents For Stargazing Compared

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
guh-table__imageKelty Dirt Motel
  • Trail weight: 3 lbs.
  • Capacity: 2-Person
  • Floor area: 28 sq. ft.
  • Max. height: 43"
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guh-table__imageMarmot Crane Creek
  • Trail weight: 4.8 lbs.
  • Capacity: 2-Person
  • Floor area: 32 sq. ft.
  • Max. height: 43"
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guh-table__imageBig Agnes BlackTail
  • Trail weight: 4 lbs. 8 oz.
  • Capacity: 2-Person
  • Floor area: 29 sq. ft.
  • Max. height: 42"
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guh-table__imageAlps Mountaineering Chaos
  • Trail weight: 5.9 lbs.
  • Capacity: 2-Person
  • Floor area: 33 sq. ft.
  • Max. height: 40"
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guh-table__imageMountain Hardware Mineral King
  • Trail weight: 6 lbs. 1.7 oz.
  • Capacity: 3-Person
  • Floor area: 42.5 sq. ft.
  • Max. height: 48"
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guh-table__imageFeatherstone
  • Trail weight: 4 lbs.
  • Capacity: 2-Person
  • Floor area: 35 sq. ft.
  • Max. height: 43"
Check Price At Amazon
guh-table__imageTeton Sports Quick Tent
  • Trail weight: 6.2 lbs.
  • Capacity: 2-Person
  • Floor area: 27 sq. ft.
  • Max. height: 32"
Check Price At Amazon

#1 Kelty Dirt Motel 

kelty dirt motel stargazing tent

With a Stargazing Fly™ that you can roll back when in the tent to provide convenient stargazing potential, the Kelty Dirt Motel is the best tent you can buy. The roll back fly is secured at the top of the tent, but can easily be rolled back into position if the weather changes! And with its innovative pole design, you can sit up in this stargazing tent with ease, which is a huge plus for taller campers!

Pros:
  • Rollback rainfly keeps your rainfly secure and ready to roll back down at a moment’s notice.
  • Rainfly extends all the way to the ground, which will keep you dry no matter what.  
  • Seams of the tent come taped, which will keep the bottom of your tent dry.
  • Huge mesh panels allow for maximum stargazing on the side that the rainfly is rolled back.
Cons:
  • Doesn’t come with a ground cloth, but can be purchased separately.
  • You need to choose the side of the rainfly to roll back, so half of the night sky is obstructed from view.

Kelty has been around for a long time, which means that they know how to make a quality tent. I’m a big fan of their hiking backpacks because they are high quality and at the same time affordable. The same applies to their tents. Kelty tents are affordable and with a high-quality.

On a side note, we included the tried-and-true Kelty Redwing pack as a best choice in our list of the top-rated laptop packs for hiking and the glorious Kelty Coyote model in our popular list of the best long-hailing backpacks of 2021.

The design of the Dirt Motel is centered around the idea for allowing maximum stargazing, while also keeping the rainfly in position to cover the tent at a moment’s notice. The best tents for stargazing have this handy feature.

Besides providing visibility, the big mesh walls also keep the tent well ventilated, which helps on those hot summer nights. On a side note, we have a detailed list on the best tents for warm weather. Most of the tens on that list would make great stargazing tents too.

This feature is amazing, because it gives you the peace of mind that you’ll be able to stay dry should the weather suddenly change. It's good even for extreme weather. 

This model is the updated version of the celebrated Kelty TN tent. The main improvements are:

  • removal of the laminated window which was a bit flimsy and somewhat difficult to use
  • decrease in the overall weight
  • reinforcement of the bathtub floor 
  • the Shark Mouth storage sack that makes storing and transporting the tent easier

The Dirt Motel weighs in at just under 5 pounds, making it the ideal 2-person tent to bring into the backcountry. It easily can be carried by 2 people, which will help distribute the load and keep your legs fresh for climbing up steep inclines.

Tall campers rejoice at the size of the interior of the Dirt Motel!

At 84” long, you and your hiking partner can fully stretch out while you gaze at the night sky. This is matched by the pole design that maximizes the height of the ceiling, which gives campers plenty of room to sit up. It's definitely a spacious tent.

And that will help with getting ready to go in the morning while enjoying the privacy from within the tent. The innovative pole design really helps the 28 sq. ft. seem much larger than it really is! You will see that it's not the roomiest tent on our list.

The DAC press-fit poles consisting of two hubbed poles and one ridge pole, allow for larger living space. That’s because conveniently, this set up creates vertical walls to maximize space. More poles are not needed.

Another feature that we especially liked is that the tent is freestanding. That means that you can set it up and then move it if you wish to change campsite.

The Dirt Motel is a great tent for camping in just about any condition! It offers the best value on that list. It’s rated as a 3-season tent due to the large mesh panels that make up the sidewalls. With a simple pull of the rain cover, you will have a full mesh roof offering you a spectacular view towards the sky.

The floor is seam-sealed and waterproof (3000 mm rating), which will give you peace of mind that you’ll stay dry through the night. In fact, the material doesn't absorb water. The tent has a solid weather resistance. Kelty's epic Stargazing Fly™ allows you to open and close the rain fly when you're inside the tent. Pretty neat!

As for the fabrics, the tent uses 40D rip stop nylon for the rain fly that is water resistant as per 1500 mm rating. Logically, the tent floor is more durable, made of polyurethane and 70D nylon that’s waterproof. So you have a solid water resistance in a highly durable tent.

Setting up the Dirt Motel is an absolute breeze. The tent poles and body are color coded so that you can easily tell which pole goes where. This ensures fast and correct set up on the first time, every time! Long live color coded poles!

Last but not least, the tent is easily packable thanks to the Shark mouth stuff sack that’s included in the tent purchase. The weight of this tent that many call the "perfect stargazing tent" is 4 lbs. It's really a fantastic tent for its price.

If you want a bigger Kelty tent with more space for the whole family, check out Kelty Trail Ridge. Kelty Night Owl is also a good option. Bigger Kelty models (group size) also have room dividers.

#2 Marmot Crane Creek

Marmot Creek stargazing tent

If you’re looking to save on money and not on durability, the Marmot Crane Creek might be the choice for you and your hiking partner. Ideal for backpacking and camping, it's also one of the most durable tents with full mesh roof on this list, coming with 7000 series aluminum tent poles. This makes sure that one of the most vulnerable spots on the tent to break or bent will stand up against the rigors of backcountry camping! Check this celebrated stargazing tent out!

Pros:
  • Seam-sealed floors and rainfly keep you dry through any rainstorm. Mesh roof offers unobstructed views.
  • 7000 series aluminum poles create a large interior and will last for season after season.
  • Large mesh wall panels make for excellent stargazing opportunities, besides the full mesh roof.
  • 2-sided D shaped doors ensure easy entry and exit points so that you don’t disturb your camping partner if you need to get up in the middle of the night.
Cons:
  • The rainfly has to be completely off of the tent to view the stars.
  • It weighs a little bit heavier than other tents on the list, which can be tricky to manage for those who are not as strong of hikers.

Marmot is a well-known brand that produces high quality mountain gear. In fact, they produce several of the best tents for stargazing that we campers love. They’re a brand that you can trust to create tents that will keep you warm and dry, but also allow you to get immersed fully in the outdoors.

The Crane Creek is an excellent double walled tent with two doors for backpackers that are just getting into the sport. And the door zipper is sturdy.

With a low cost and high durability, it really is the perfect first backpacking tent with a mesh roof for you to watch the sky. Weighing in at 5lbs 5oz., the Crane Creek comes in a bit on the heavy side compared to the Kelty Dirt Motel. The see through material is just awesome here. It ensures clear view that you will definitely remember. If the weather allows it, of course.

But what for what it lacks in being lighter, it makes up for in a larger floor space. The Crane Creek has a floor area that is 32 sq. ft., which will help with organizing gear and spreading out while in camp. I love that extra space. It doesn't have media pockets unlike some favorite tents, though. It has inside pockets, though and enough personal space for you and your partner.

The ceiling of the Crane Creek is 43 in. which is just under the 46 in. ceiling height of the Dirt Motel. It's one of the coolest stargazing tents with a full mesh roof on our list. So it provides good ventilation too.

marmot crane creek tent in use

Just look at that gorgeous mesh roof!

The floor and rainfly are seam-sealed, just like in the Dirt Motel, which will keep you dry, no matter what the weather does. So you can smile to the bad weather.

One of the biggest differences with the Crane Creek and the Dirt Motel is the rainfly roll back feature. The Crane Creek offers you large open spaces to view the stars, but without the rainfly attached. The tent boasts with a pretty cool mesh roof. And it's a full mesh roof that gives you good ventilation too.

There isn’t a roll back feature like there is on the Dirt Motel, so leaving the rainfly off for the night does come with the added risk of having to quickly throw it on in the middle of the night if it begins to rain. It’s a two-season tent, best used in spring and summer. Not advised for winter backpacking or if you need to spend a night outdoors.

If you’re not worried about it raining, the Crane Creek is an excellent starter tent for those who are looking to get into the backcountry to see the stars!

The weight of this bestselling stargazing tent is 4 lbs.13 oz. It doesn't have a gear loft, but you can buy one separately or attach extra ties. It's definitely a tent with a quality build and great reputation.

#3 Big Agnes BlackTail 

big agnes black tail tent

As one of the lightest tents on this list, the Blacktail is an excellent choice for those who want to go further into the backcountry for their stargazing pursuits. The lightweight materials are also very strong, and will keep you safe and dry even if it pours rain all night! This is a stargazing tent that you definitely should check out.

Pros:
  • Color coded buckles and clips make for easy set up even for one person.
  • Comes with a footprint which can be used to provide an extra layer of protection for your tent floor.
  • Waterproof tent floor and rainfly will keep you dry, even in the nastiest of rainstorms.
  • Lightweight design comes with two doors making it easy to enter and exit the tent without disturbing your camping partner.
Cons:
  • The floor area is 29 sq. ft., and the max height of the ceiling is 42”, making this tent feel cramped for larger campers.
  • Tent poles aren’t as durable as the tent poles that come with the Marmot Crane Creek.

The Blacktail is a 3-season backpacking tent, quite popular among hikers and campers. Weighing in at just 4lbs 8oz., it can easily be split between 2 hikers or carried by 1 hiker over a decent number of miles. It also offer a reliable protection against the elements. And I love the no see um mesh.

Like the Crane Creek, the Blacktail comes with color coded rainfly buckles and color coded poles, so that you can set up your tent with ease. Not all stargazing tents have that. But the best tents for stargazing do. And this one also has two doors. Only one door is never enough for a two-person tent.

This is a must have feature for backpackers who want to log big miles on the day and spend more time in camp resting than fiddling with setting up their tent.

big agnes black tail tent for stargazing

The Blacktail is just about bomb proof just like the Dirt Motel and Crane Creek, making it ideal for those who are going camping in areas that are notorious for rain drenched landscapes.

Big Agnes also kept in mind that when the rainfly is up that condensation lining the inside of the rainfly presents a real threat of getting campers like you and me wet.

With that in mind, the rainfly is designed with 2 spots that open up at the top of the rainfly to allow for proper ventilation, while not sacrificing the protection offered by the rainfly.

The large mesh panels keep bugs off of you, while also revealing the glory of the night sky. But just like the Crane Creek, you’ll need to leave the rainfly completely off of your tent if you want to view the stars at night via a mesh roof. It's a full mesh roof. Just be careful with the tent's mesh as some find it too fragile.

If you’re camping on a warm, dry night, it shouldn’t be a problem. But if you are worried about rain rolling in during the night, you’ll want to be comfortable throwing the rainfly on quickly in the dark!

The weight of the BlackTail model is 4lb. 8oz. which is quite close to lightweight for a two-person stargazing tent. It's one of the best stargazing tents on our list. And it has a gear loft. The model is also available for three people.

Another good quality tent for stargazing from Big Agnes is the Copper Spur model. Check it out too if you want to see the stars at night.

#4 Alps Mountaineering Chaos

alps mountaineering chaos 2 person tent

The ALPS Mountaineering Chaos was designed to stand up to the rigors of high alpine camping! Not only will this stargazing tent stand up to pouring rain, but also strong winds. If you properly set up the guy lines, this tent will stand up against some of the strongest winds out there. Check it out, it's one of the best tents for stargazing on that list!

Pros:
  • Strong pole design makes this tent durable and long lasting.
  • Waterproof flooring and rainfly will keep you dry throughout the night.
  • Comes in 2 color options so you can pick the tent color that suits your tastes.
  • Shorter ceiling keeps warm air closer to campers, making it ideal for camping in cooler temperatures.
Cons:
  • Heavier than other stargazing tents on this list, which makes it a bit more difficult to backpack with.
  • The tent stakes that come with it aren’t very durable and are likely to bend when used, making it necessary to purchase additional tent stakes.

At almost 33.5 sq. ft., the ALPS Mountaineering Chaos tent is one of the most spacious 2-person stargazing tents on this list! You and your camping partner will have enough room to spread out to view the stars through the large mesh ceiling panels that this double walled tent has. I like it because it's a spacious tent.

Like the Crane Creek, the Chaos comes with 7000 series aluminum tent poles, which makes this tent very durable. You will enjoy it for years to come.

alps mountaineering chaos 2

The headspace is a bit short, however. At only 40”, you’ll need to scrunch down a little bit while getting ready for the day if you’re a taller camper.

But for what this stargazing tent lacks in headspace, it makes up for in convenient stargazing potential! The mesh ceiling panels, mesh roof, and wall panels allow for maximum star viewing potential. It's a high-quality see through mesh that guarantees a clear view. I have to tell, it's an awesome bubble tent. Well, it's almost like a bubble tent to be exact.

The Chaos is designed as a 3-season tent, but don’t let that stop you from taking it out when the weather cools down.

While it likely won’t be the best tent to take when you’re expecting heavy snow, you can certainly use the Chaos for when temperatures dip down into the 30s.

Like the Crane Creek, the Chaos fly comes with a ventilation tab at the top of the rain fly to allow for proper ventilation when the fly is on, which prevents condensation from accumulating and soaking you in the middle of the night!

You can also make this tent personal to you by choosing from one of the 2 colors that it is offered in. Only the Chaos and the Featherstone tents come in more than one color! Many tents don't have color options. And the Featherstone is arguably the best ultralight stargazing tent that you can get.

The weight of the tent is a bit too much for hikers, though. It's 5.9 lbs. Definitely not appropriate for longer backpacking trips and camping trips. So, if you're a thru-hiker, this might not be the best stargazing tent for you. It's still a perfect dome style tent, though that will allow you to see the stars.

#5 Mountain Hardware Mineral King

mountain hardware mineral king

The Mountain Hardwear Mineral King is the ideal backpacking stargazing tent for 2-3 people. It’s the largest 3-season tent on this list and offers campers plenty of headspace with 48 glorious inches that separate the floor from the ceiling. The poles that come with the Mineral King are made from DAC Pressfit, which is an aluminum alloy that makes them lighter, but just as strong as 7000 series aluminum!

Pros:
  • Spacious enough to sleep up to 3 people or 2 people with plenty of room to spread out.
  • High ceilings allow for plenty of room to sit up and get ready in the morning from the comfort of your tent.
  • DAC Pressfit poles save on weight, but not on durability!
  • Comes with a footprint that can be used to protect the floor of your tent against rough ground surfaces.
Cons:
  • More material makes this tent a bit heavier at 7lbs. 1.2oz., so it can be difficult to hike with it over longer distances with fewer people to split the weight up.
  • The tent fly doesn’t extend all the way to the ground, which leaves enough space for cold air in to make this tent less than ideal to use in colder temperatures.

If you’re going backpacking with a partner and your dogs, or with 3 people, the Mountain Hardwear Mineral King is a great option. Many of our readers call it one of the best tents for stargazing that they have ever tried. And it's a spacious tent with two spacious vestibules. It's a good tent for its price and it's weather resistant. it provides good weather protection. I'd just love more mesh. More see through mesh.

Its interior is a spacious 42.5 sq. ft., making it easy for you and your hiking partners to spread out, no matter how much fur they have! And the tent wall is meshed (as is the other one).

One of the key features of this tent is the bathtub shaped floor (besides the see through mesh, of course). The seams are sewn above where the floor is at, making the bottom of the tent completely waterproof. You won’t need to worry about dew or any other water seeping in through the bottom! Smile to the rainy weather!

This 3-season tent is excellent for stargazing, as the large mesh panels at the top (awesome mesh roof) and the sides of the tent offer a large space for viewing the beautiful night sky. The see through mesh is not of cheap quality, which is good.

But like the rest of the tents on this list (except the Dirt Motel), you’ll need to completely remove the tent flap to view the stars. If you’re looking to use this tent for camping in cooler temperatures, you might want to skip it and go with the ALPS Chaos.

The design of the fly of the Mineral King doesn’t close off enough space between the bottom of the rain fly and the mesh, which lets cold wind blow into the tent easily.

This is great for camping on a warm night, but not as comfortable during cooler spring and fall weather. You can use it as a backyard tent too.

#6 Featherstone 2-Person Backpacking Tent

featherstone 2 person tent for viewing the stars at night

Pacific Crest Trail approved! This stargazing tent is a decent option if you are looking to tally up large amounts of miles, while also saving quite a bit of money. Due to the newness of the Featherstone brand, this tent is very affordable, while extremely well suited for use on long distance trails like the PCT, CDT, and AT. It’s durable enough to help you tackle the triple crown of hiking at a fraction of the price of other major brands!

Pros:
  • Lightweight and durable construction makes for an ideal backpacking tent for thru hikers.
  • Bathtub floor design keeps the seams from contacting the ground, which guard against dew and ground water. Perfect for rainy weather.
  • Can be set up in an ultra-lightweight mode, where all you need to do is bring along the poles, stakes, footprint, and rainfly, which reduces the weight of this tent to a little over 3lbs
  • Extremely affordable for those who are looking to get into backpacking on a budget!
Cons:
  • Like the Mineral King, the tent flap doesn’t extend all the way to the ground, which can make this tent uncomfortable to sleep in during cooler weather in the spring or fall.
  • The poles are designed to have a crossbar at the top to offer more headspace inside the tent but is designed in a way that causes unnecessary stress on the tent body, which can reduce the lifespan of the tent compared to others.

Hikers call this "the best ultralight stargazing tent". It's a fantastic tent for a camping trip when you want to strip off as much weight as possible.

The Featherstone 2-person backpacking tent is ideal for those who are looking to get the most bang for their buck without sacrificing on quality. The best tents for stargazing should all be like that, right? And have a mesh roof, of course. Full mesh roof!

The tent floor, much like the Mineral King, is a bathtub style floor, keeping the seams off of the ground which maximizes its effectiveness at keeping you dry. And the sleeping area is quite big.

featherstone 2 person tent for stargazing

At only 4 lbs., this is one of the lightest tents on the list, making it the ideal tent for those who are looking to travel over long distances like the Pacific Crest Trail or Continental Divide Trail.

The lightweight design of this tent doesn’t skimp on interior space, though! With 35 sq. ft. of interior space, you and your hiking partner can both fit nice and snug inside. There's enough floor space to even dance! Quite a big sleeping area.

The Featherstone 2-person tent also comes with a waterproof rainfly that has ventilation points on top, just like the Crane Creek, Mineral King, and Chaos tents, which will keep you safe from getting wet from condensation build up inside of the tent.

And just like the Chaos, you can choose from 2 colors to make your tent personal to you!

Large mesh ceiling panels make for easy stargazing once the sun has gone down. And just like every tent on this list (except for the Dirt Motel) you’ll need to completely remove the rain cover to view the stars above. The see through materials are just awesome.

Featherstone might be the best stargazing tent for those looking for the best weight-to-strength ratio. However, it's an ultralight stargazing tent. And definitely an affordable tent at a reasonable price with which you will be able to see the starts perfectly. I really love the stargazing fly. 

#7 Teton Sports Quick Tent 

teton sports quick setup tent

The Teton Sports Quick Tent would be perfect for those who are intimidated at the thought of threading poles, staking out guy lines, and general tent set up skills. The innovative one-handed pull-up design makes setting up this 4-season stargazing tent quick and easy for anyone. It's almost like a pop up tent that provides good view towards the sky. We love that instant setup. And it's an affordable tent!

Pros:
  • User friendly and with an almost instant setup.
  • Comes in a 1 or 2 person size.
  • Shamelessly cheap (unlike most of the best tents for stargazing today).
  • Can be paired with the Teton XXL cot, so you can sleep off of the ground in comfort.
Cons:
  • The tent pole materials aren’t specified, which makes it difficult to judge how well it would stand up against strong winds.
  • Interior of the tent is pretty small, making even the 2-person sized tent cramped for adult sized campers. It's a small tent.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use car camping tent that with an easy setup that offers plenty of mesh at the top to see the stars, look no further than the Teton Sports Quick Tent. It has enough amount of see through materials.

One of the key design features of this tent is the pole hub at the very top that allows the user to simply pull on the top of the hub to get all of the poles into place.

This tent comes with a waterproof rain cover that will keep you dry during most rainstorm events. But, if you’re expecting heavy rains, you’ll want to contact the manufacturer to order the Elite Rainfly to provide maximum protection from the elements.

The interior size is a bit small, so even if you were to buy the 2-person size of this tent, you’ll likely want to use it for just 1 person.

Otherwise, you’ll likely sleep pretty cramped all night. If you’re comfortable with your camping partner, this might be ideal! If not, you may want to either buy an additional Teton Sports Quick Tent or just purchase a different tent.

Durability of this tent can also be an issue due to the materials used to make it. While the design of the poles makes set up easy, there aren’t specifics on the quality of aluminum used in the poles, so be wary of what you’re asking this tent to do.

If you are planning on using it in very mild conditions with little wind or rain, this tent is a great economical option. And that mesh roof is fantastic for watching the stars. Perfect amount of see through materials.

If you’re wanting to hike it into the backcountry and use it to shelter you from windy and rainy conditions, you might want to go with a different tent.

The weight of tent is 6.6 lbs.(packed weight), making it heavier than most of the other tents on our list. The good thing is that the tent comes with Teton Sports' lifetime warranty. It's not the best stargazing tent on our list, but still a good option. And it doesn't come with a gear loft. 

How To Choose The Best Tent tent for stargazing?

Hunting for the best stargazing tent for your camping trip can get overwhelming because there are so many different options to choose from. You know the cliché “your tent is your home while in the backcountry”, so it’s important that you spend time researching the best features. And choose among the best tents for stargazing on the market today.

stargazing tents

But how will you know what to look for?

Don’t worry, we got you covered. Below you will find the most important features and factors to look after when buying a stargazing tent.

Durability

When considering how durable you need your tent to be, you need to consider the following to get the right stargazing tent:

  • How long do I need this tent to last?
  • What sort of weather am I going to take this tent into?
  • If the wind blows hard, will the tent buckle under the force of the wind?

In general, you want to look for tents that have tent poles that are rated at 7000 series aluminum or DAC Press-fit at minimum. Nowadays, most reputable tent manufacturers use only these series. The best tents for stargazing have that. Anything less than that for pole material construction will likely fail under extreme stress.

The tent body should also be made out of strong material like nylon. Nylon comes in various levels of durability, however.

To determine how durable a nylon material is, you’ll want to pay attention to the denier rating of that material.

Denier is usually notated with the letter D. For example, the material used in the floor of the Mineral King tent is made out of 68D nylon. The 68 indicates that the floor is pretty durable for this tent. The higher the number that is in front of the D, the tougher it is. The lower, the less durable.

Keep in mind that the places where you want to have the most durability will be on the floor of your tent and the rain flap as those are going to be the most likely places to come in contact with the elements.

If the tent walls aren’t rated at very high denier, that’s ok since it likely won’t come in contact with the ground!

Before we jump to the next important section, feel free to read our thorough guide on camping tent parts if you’re not so familiar with all these terms. And here's a nice infographic that explains them all.

camping tent parts

Weight

When you’re considering which tent to buy, weight really only becomes a factor when you are planning on hiking your tent into where you plan on camping.

Car camping negates the issues of weight, since you’ll only be carrying your tent from the trunk to where you plan on setting it up. When backpacking, you want to try to limit the weight of your tent as much as you can without sacrificing on durability/quality. So look for an ultralight stargazing tent.

While the tents on this list don’t weigh too much, remember this old proverb for planning your backpacking trip: ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain. Save on weight and you’ll save on pain!

Now let's see what else matters a lot when searching for the best stargazing tent.

Materials

Needless to say, you need see through fabrics.

Most tents are made out of nylon and polyester, as they are hydrophobic (water resistant) and they resist tearing. Sure enough, waterproof material is always the preferred choice. You’ll also want to be sure to bring along a tarp or footprint to put under your tent to guard the floor against the abrasive ground.

As mentioned earlier, pay attention to the denier rating of the nylon before purchasing a tent. The higher the number, the more durable the nylon is against abrasive surfaces.

The tent material will also define how fast you could dry your tent if it gets wet. Canvas tents, for examples get more soaked and dry harder. They are not the best tents for stargazing. A mesh tent with as much mesh possible is always better. Ample mesh surroundings via see through materials will guarantee you an unforgettable view.

Portability

When considering how you’ll be camping, portability might become a concern, if you like the open living lifestyle.  If you’re car camping, you don’t need to worry about portability as much.

But if you’re backpacking, you’ll want to be sure that you can easily roll up and pack down your tent into your backpack. Then an ultralight stargazing tent is the right choice for you.

This is where the material of the tent comes back into play. The denier rating of your tent will also show how thick your tent body is.

The thicker the tent body, the less packable it will be. So when you are considering how high of a denier rating you should go with, you need to consider how big your backpack is and if the tent will compress enough to allow you to store extra gear.

Aside from the denier rating of the tent, you’ll want to consider how you’ll organize your tent poles and stakes. By the way, we have a fantastic guide on how to use your tent pegs the right way.

This problem is easily solvable as the poles and stakes from each of these tents come in a convenient bag that can be separated from the tent to store in various compartments in your pack or divided among hiking partners.

The good news is that most tent designs allow that.

Size

A good rule of thumb for choosing the proper tent size is to buy a tent that has 1 more person than you expect to have to share the tent with you. This will ensure you and your hiking partner will have plenty of room to spread out. Don't go with a small tent.

a couple sleeping in a tent

You can definitely share a 2-person tent between two adults, but you’ll likely have little to no room to move around. If you or your partner moves while they are sleeping, you’ll likely end up bumping into one another during the night. If you're going for a bigger tent, look for a tent with room dividers. 

Windows

Most of the tents on this list don’t come with windows and have fully meshed side panels (mesh walls). The only mesh tent that does have large mesh windows is the Marmot Crane Creek. It has two large mesh windows.

The huge mesh windows are able to be opened via a separate zipper inside of the door of the tent which allows for additional ventilation when open and additional privacy when closed.

If you want to have the option of extending your privacy when the rain flap is off and while you’re inside of your tent, you’ll likely want to buy a tent with huge mesh windows. But if you’re not concerned about privacy and you intend to keep your fly up at all times, windows aren’t necessary.

As for the walls, single walled tents are better when you're camping in dry alpine environments. Double-walled tents are more appropriate for humid and rainy weather. Keep that in mind.

Protection from the elements

a tent during night

A great stargazing tent will also keep you protected against bad weather.

Aside from tent material and durability, you’ll want to consider the following when choosing a tent with mesh walls that will be able to stand strong against the fiercest storm:

  • Floor construction: Bathtub designed floors are great because they eliminate the seams at the bottom of the tent that will let water inside of your tent. No more wet ground thanks to the weatherproofing finish. You need that to prevent water from entering on the inside of your tent.
  • Seam-sealed construction: Look for the product descriptions to say that all of their seams are sealed to keep the water out of your tent. The seams are the weakest points on your tent, so buying a tent that is seam-sealed will offer the most protection to you against the elements. Remember, not all tents are waterproof. I will repeat - not all tents!
  • Length of the fly: If the rain fly doesn’t extend all the way to the ground, you’ll likely have rain and cold air sneak into your tent from the bottom. Be sure to look at how far down the rain cover extends when you’re shopping for a tent that will guard you against anything the weather throws at you.

If you want to heat your tent without electricity on chilly nights, you'd want a well-insulated tent.

Viewing platform

The biggest thing to consider here is the design of the poles. Each of the tents on this list have plenty of mesh that makes up their ceilings, but the pole design really impacts how much of the night sky you’re able to see. And you want the perfect view of the sky, right?

Consider how you will be laying down in your tent. Will tent poles be over head and blocking your view?

Is there a specific direction that you need to set your tent up in to maximize your view of the stars or can you set your tent up in any direction without impacting your view of the night sky?

Vestibules

Vestibules are the areas that are created when you have your rain flap attached to your tent. They provide an additional amount of storage space outside of your tent that will keep your camping gear dry. Everyone tends to love large vestibules. By the way, if you are a tech geek, look for a tent with media pockets too. 

When deciding on whether you need vestibules consider:

  • Whether the inside of your tent has enough space to store your camping gear. Does it have a gear loft? What about gear loops?
  • If you’re backpacking or car camping. Car campers don’t need vestibules due to the fact that their extra gear can be stored in their cars. Backpackers might want to have at least two vestibules depending on how much room they have to store their camping gear inside of their tents.

For a stargazing tent, two vestibules is perfectly fine. Of course, we are talking about two large vestibules. 

What makes a tent good for stargazing?

A good stargazing tent with great stargazing capacity is easy to set up, provides a ton of mesh at the top (mesh roof), and limits how much the tent poles block your vision of the night sky. And if you ask me, it provides an easy access to the interior.

a see-through roof of a stargazing tent

The see-through roof of a tent makes it perfect for stargazing. But it’s not just that.

You’ll also want to consider how easy it is to put the rain cover on in a pinch. If your tent flap is complicated to put on in the daylight, you’ll likely not want to use that tent for stargazing as putting it on quickly when it’s dark will be at least 10 times more difficult.

In addition, if you prefer tents that are easy to set up, consider getting a tent with fewer poles. Many of the Kelty tents are like that.

How to set up a tent for stargazing for maximum results

Proper tent set up starts with proper campsite location. You want to look for a campsite that is in an open space with very few trees nearby.

That way, you can set your tent up, so you can have a full view of the night sky without having trees blocking your view.

After locating the ideal campsite that is clear of trees, you just want to set your tent up like normal! Mesh ceilings make for premium stargazing material while also keeping bugs from eating you alive as you watch the night sky!

Needless to say, but don't forget to remove any black out material if you're using one to keep your tent protected form the sunrays. 

Tips to enhance your tent stargazing experience

Be sure to check the weather before you go. Clear nights are ideal for stargazing because clouds won’t block them out. The weather conditions are crucial to your stargazing experience. You need good weather and clear nights to see the Milky Way and the full moon.

The time of month you go is also important to consider as well. Pay attention to the moon cycle! The best time to see a blanket of stars above is during a new moon.

That’s when the moon is not visible, due to its relation to the sun. With a new moon, the only thing that will illuminate the sky will be stars!

Also, please bring along a flashlight or headlamp that has a red lens filter! White light ruins your night vision and can detract from other campers’ experiences when you shine it into the dark.

Red light doesn’t travel as far, so you’ll be sure to still see, while also being considerate of those around you.

5 Top places for tent stargazing in the USA

The top 5 best places for stargazing in the US are:

  • Joshua Tree National Park, CA
  • Death Valley National Park, CA
  • Anza-Borrego State Park, CA
  • Saguaro National Park, AZ
  • Arches National Park, UT

Each of these places are excellent spots to view the stars.

Why?

Well, they are in deserts!

stargazing

Deserts are generally sparsely populated, which means that they are far away from any light sources that will disturb your stargazing.

They are also more likely to have clear nights as they don’t see very much rainfall during the year, which keeps the skies clear for maximum star viewing!

Here’s another good list of places that are awesome for stargazing.

Final Thoughts

I hope you like our extensive list of the best tents for stargazing this year.

Camping out under a sea of stars truly is a magical experience. You get to feel the depth and vastness of the universe above while you rest securely within your tent!

When you bring the right tent, you are sure to thoroughly enjoy your experience because you can focus on enjoying the stars instead of worrying about what to do if the weather turns for the worse!

Once again, the best tent for stargazing is Kelty Dirt Motel. That’s the tent with the best overall value.

Editor's choice
With a freestanding design, durable, spacious, and reasonably priced, the Dirt Motel will ensure you have many stargazing nights to remember!
FEATURES:
  • Large mesh panels on the side for unobstructed view to the sky
  • 2-Person capacity
  • Stargazing Fly™ allows you to open and close the rain fly when you're in the tent
  • Lightweight DAC Press-fit poles for easy set up

Regardless of the tent you buy, be sure to practice setting it up a few times at home before you head out on your camping adventure. That way, you’ll have enough experience to put your shelter together with ease, leaving you free to enjoy your trip.

Did you find the perfect stargazing tent yet? If so, I wish you to have the best views with it!

best winter hiking hats

Asen Stoyanchev

Founder of this website, Asen is a passionate hiker and writer who is also a gear nerd. He’s been featured on many established hiking websites where he gives hiking advice & tips. When he is not trekking with his family or friends, he is writing articles and product reviews. Asen spends most of his time in Bulgaria but he constantly travels the world in seek of more unforgettable experiences. Read more about Asen here.

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  • April 19, 2021
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