Camping as a family activity has always been popular. The wide range of family tents available intends to make this experience better. Screened porch tents are a very popular variant for family tents. The porch area is generally a small-ish room covered by a screen to keep insects at bay and offer some cover.
These tents are also known as screen room tents or camping tents with a screened porch. Screened porch tents are available in several designs aimed at various customer requirements. If you are considering purchasing one, the following tips and ideas can be helpful.
Design Of A Screened Porch Tent
Generally speaking, camping tents with a screened porch have two main design elements. The first is the usual tent-style area. This generally opens up into a smaller room that is completely made from mesh. This smaller room functions as the screened porch. Tent door for entry and exit is located at the porch area.
There are other designs, especially with multiple room tents with more than one door. In such cases, the screened room is not necessarily the entry point of the tent. However, these designs are relatively less common.
Screened porch tents form an excellent living space. You could use the main room as a classic tent for sleeping and your gear, while the porch becomes an area to sit and have a fun time. Since the area is screened, there is no worry about mosquitoes or insects, and you can spend time in relative comfort.
Sleeping Area And Tent Capacity
Tent size is often rated in terms of the number of people that can sleep in a tent. There is no standardized measurement for tent capacity. Manufacturers often use the dimensions of an average person with a sleeping bag, optimally using the space available. Practically speaking, that’s akin to being packed like sardines and no one’s idea of a comfortable sleep.
For example, an 8-person tent with screened porch often counts as five people sleeping in the main room and three in the porch area. This is the size measurement used in the popular Wenzel 8-person Klondike tent and several similar competitors.
It might be possible to do this, but it isn’t very comfortable. For larger tents or family tents, it is best to be generous with space. So if you are a party of 5-6 people, get an 8-person tent.
When using screen room tents, I’ll suggest going more lavish. Do not count the screen room as a sleeping area. Instead, make your calculations based on the main room. The porch is best used for activities and spending some time during the day. Sure you can sleep there as well and enjoy the cool breeze during warm nights, but avoid a setup where someone will essentially have to sleep in the tent’s screen room.
Several tents have the screen room as a simple sitting area that does not lend itself to sleeping. If the footprint of the tent is an issue, these tents can be more desirable. That way, your tent has a more usable sleeping area and the porch though small, remains well and usable. Coleman Evanston and Ozark Trail 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent are good examples of this type of tent.
Floor And The Screened Porch
Some tents don’t include a floor for the screened porch. Many use the same floor as the tent and extend it to the porch. The choice depends on your intended use of the tent. If you intend to use the porch for sleeping, it must have a floor. Otherwise, you can skip the floor for the porched area.
Lack of a floor means there will be dew, moisture, and other effects of the bare ground. Tent porch areas with floors are more desirable. They have a cleaner overall look, are more comfortable for use, and often make it possible to keep the main sleeping area clean.
Waterproofing Of The Tent
Waterproofing can be a challenge for screened porch tents. The main room itself can be waterproof, and that is the case for well-built tents. However, due to its very nature of construction, the porch area is more difficult to waterproof.
Even with bathtub floors and a rainfly on the roof, being mostly mesh many screen tent porches will end up having some water. Sure, mild rain may not be a problem, but even moderate rains may pose waterproofing issues.
Choosing The Tent Shape
So far, our focus for this guide has been on the porch itself. Another very important factor is the tent shape. The two main contenders here are dome-style tents and cabin-style tents.
Dome Style Tents
Dome-style is the more stereotypical tent shape. These tents have curved walls and roof and often don’t rise too much height. For the occupants of the tent, this means there isn’t enough room to walk upright in the tent. Larger family tents, like the 8-10 person tents have more center height and may have areas where an adult may stand upright. On the downside, these locations are likely to be in the center of the tent and unlikely to be of much practical use.
A huge plus for dome-style tents is their better performance against the elements. Given their shape, these tents will encourage any rainwater to slide off the tent. Additionally, they are fairly resilient to wind and won’t be too badly affected by some gusts.
Cabin Style Tents
Cabin style tents have vertical walls and are remarkable for their spaciousness. You will likely have more room to walk around upright in your tent. The vertical walls also mean there will be more room for luggage and gear.
Given their shape, these tents remain very susceptible to the wind. Mild wind may not be a problem, but a gust could cause trouble for the tent. They are also less likely to hold heat and warm up. If you are camping somewhere with mild and predictable weather, a cabin tent can be a comfortable and convenient choice.