Screen tents, also known as screen houses, can be very useful for the summer months when you want to eat outside. You can pop one up at home in your backyard or take it with you to use when you’re camping. They give your family a place to hang out and eat meals without having to fend off pesky flies, mosquitoes, or other kinds of nuisance insects. A screen house can give you instant screen protection so you can eat in peace.
Selecting the best screen tent requires you to choose between an instant setup and a non-instant setup version. From there, decide on a size big enough to accommodate your family comfortably and the shape that will work the best. Consider how portable you need your screen house to be. The environment you’ll be in is important when you’re looking at materials. And don’t forget to compare prices.
Before we look at some of the screen houses available as options currently, let’s discuss the items above and how you can decide what’s best for your family.
Instant Vs. Non-Instant Screen House
Choosing between instant and non-instant screen houses is just about how much work you want to do to get the tent set up. It’s much like your sleeping tents. Some of those are also considered to be instant.
Instant simply means that the frame, which holds up the tent and gives it its shape, is attached to the tent already. Essentially, you’ll be able to pop your tent up, secure it, and you’re good to go.
A non-instant screen house requires that you build the frame and attach the poles manually to the tent material. It’s not a lot of work, but more than an instant screen house will take.
How Big Of A Screen House Should I Get?
It might be easy for you to say, “I’ll just go with the biggest screen house I can find!” Sounds great, right? Not necessarily.
You want a screen house that’s large enough to comfortably accommodate your family both for sitting space and head room. However, you also want a screen house that’s easy to transport for camping and easy to store at your home. The bigger you go with screen houses, the heavier and bulkier they get.
You can start with looking at the standard size, which is 10’ by 10’. That size is large enough to cover an average sized picnic table for six people. From there, you can decide to go bigger or smaller. If there are very tall people who will be using the screen house, make sure to look for one that can adjust to a taller height.
Along with the size of the tent, you should look for the shape that will benefit you the most. They come in more shapes than you would think. You can get a square, rectangle, hexagon, round, or dome shaped screen house. Assess the way you’re going to use the screen tent to help decide which shape will work best for your needs.
Important Factors For Portability
The portability of screen houses is highly important for those who will be using them on camping trips and different adventures. There are a few factors to consider here.
- Weight – Look at how heavy the screen tent is. If you’re going to be trekking all over trying to take it with you, you need to be looking for screen houses made of lightweight materials.
- Packaging – The way screen houses are packaged can make a huge difference in how portable they are. You want something that folds up to a good manageable size for toting around. If it’s too big and bulky, it can be very awkward to carry.
- Tote features – Look for some kind of feature that makes the screen tent easier to carry when it’s all packaged up. Some screen houses are stored in bags with wheels and a handle. Others have handles for carrying them. Still others have straps that allow you to wear the bag like a backpack or across your body.
If you’re just buying a screen tent to use at home, then you may only need to worry about the size of it, when it’s put away, so you know if you have room to store it.
Not All Screen Houses Are Made For All Environments
Make sure you take into consideration where you’re going to be using your screen tent. Not all environments are the same. If you may get rained on a bit, make sure you go with a waterproof top. As a note, water-resistant and waterproof are two different things.
You’ll need strong, durable tent poles for an environment that experiences a lot of wind. The last thing you want is for some bad wind to bend up your screen tent’s poles. If it’s likely you’ll be dealing with wind sometimes, try to look for screen houses with steel poles, rather than aluminum or fiberglass.
The walls of these tents will differ in their strength and durability. They should mostly all look about the same, though. They’ll be made of mesh panels. The seams may be made differently. You should also make sure the walls fall all the way to the ground, so you don’t have insects getting through a gap above the ground.
Best Screen Tent Options
Coleman is one of the most familiar names in the industry when it comes to anything having to do with camping and the outdoors. This screen tent is high quality, but for an affordable price. The poles are made of steel. The tent top is made of UVGuard material that gives you UPF 50+ protection from the sun’s rays. This is an instant tent so you can have it set up in just one minute. The guy lines are pre-attached so you can just stake your tent down without any hassle. The tent raises to 7 feet at the center and is 15 by 13 feet on the ground.
- Very affordable
- Durable steel poles
- Super-fast setup
- Loops to hang lighting inside make it great for nighttime
- Performs well for keeping bugs out
- A little cramped over a picnic table
- Confusing on which way to lay the tent before setup
- Stakes aren’t very hefty
This one is a little different in that it’s an actual sleeping tent, but with a screen room built onto it. There is room inside for three queen sized air mattresses. The front screen room is a great place to eat snacks or relax and read a book without being bothered by the bugs. The tent comes with a rain fly and a convenient carry bag. There is an electrical access port on the side of the tent. The screen room is very versatile. You can zip up the side panels on it at night so someone can sleep in there. The tent material is water resistant, as well.
- Large capacity
- Screen room allows for better air circulation in tent
- Easy setup
- Carry bag is large enough to make it easy to repack the tent into
- High ceiling with well-thought gear loft
- A second entrance is needed so not coming through screen room if someone is sleeping there
- Tent may be too large for some campsites
You can get one of these Alvantor gazebos in sizes to accommodate 4 to 15 people. The larger you go, the more it will cost. The design of these is round and dome-like. You can set them up in just minutes with their instant pop-up design. They’re made of lightweight materials that are easy to carry, however, they shouldn’t be used in high-wind environments. These screen tents can be used in your backyard or packed up and taken on your camping trips with you. The tent poles are made of fiberglass so they’re sturdy but lightweight.
- Roomy design
- Very easy to set up
- Performs well against bugs
- Holds up well in moderate winds
- Very portable
- Stakes are not heavy duty
- Water collects on top of tent
- Tough to repack
This is another tent with a versatile screen room on the front. You can opt for a 6- or 8-person tent. The tent comes with a rainfly and has features that make it more weatherproof. There are welded corners, as well as inverted seams to help keep the water out. The poles of this tent were designed to handle wind and weather well. The tent is lightweight and easy to transport in the carrying bag.
- Quick setup
- Front screen room keeps dirt and debris from getting into main tent area
- Very affordable
- Good ventilation
- Performs well in rain to keep inside dry
- Screened porch gets wet in rain
- Back panel is all mesh with no option for privacy
- A little tough to repack
Screen tents are not necessary items but can be very useful both at home and out camping. Putting a screen house over a picnic table allows you and your family to eat meals without being harassed by pesky bugs. Most of them come in easy-to-carry bags so you can take them wherever you need to. You’ll want to look for the right size and shape for your needs. You’ll also want to decide on how much work you want to do to set it up or take it down. Consider the materials and the durability and match those to your environment. And always stick to a pre-set budget so you can feel good about your purchase.
What is the best screen tent?
The best screen tent, in general, is the Coleman Screened Canopy Tent with Instant Setup.
What is the best screen tent for camping?
One of the best screen tents for camping is the CLAM Quick-Set Escape Screen Tent.
What is the best brand of pop-up canopy?
The best overall pop-up canopy is the ABCCANOPY Pop up Canopy Tent.
What is the best camping shelter?
The best overall is the Eurmax Premium 10×10 Pop Up. It’s very easy to set up, highly durable, and has a high level of wind resistance.
What is the best portable gazebo?
Go with the Coleman Event 14 Deluxe for the best portable gazebo.
What is a screen tent?
A screen tent provides protection against insects and sun rays when you’re eating outside or just hanging out. They don’t have floors and usually have a zippered door with a water-resistant top.
Are Coleman canopies waterproof?
Some of them are, while others are only water-resistant, and some are meant only for providing shade.
What is a canopy tent?
This type of tent has a fabric top that is attached to tent poles. It provides a sheltered area from the sun and rain, in some cases.
How do you make a small pop-up tent?
You can make a small pop-up tent with some spring steel wire, thin steel plates, waterproof UV-resistant canvas, pliers, scissors, a screen sheet, small magnets, and a sewing machine.
What is the best waterproof canopy?
The Eurmax 10×10 Ez Pop Up Canopy Tent is the best waterproof canopy.
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