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Stargazing with a camping tent with clear top

Image by Stefan Klauke

There’s truly nothing better than lying on your back and gazing up at the night sky. Until the bugs start eating you alive and your body goes numb, that is. 

If you want to enjoy insect-free stargazing from the warmth of your sleeping bag, you just need to get your hands on a decent tent with a mesh roof window. 

This article will give you 17 tent recommendations for soaking up the night sky so you can spend less time searching for a tent and more time soaking up the moonlight!

Best Stargazing Tents Review - My Top 5 Picks

Uttiny Bubble Tent

The Show Stopper
Uttiny Bubble Tent
$1,399.99
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09/02/2021 10:31 am GMT

For a night that you’re never going to forget, check out the Uttiny Bubble Tent.  

This huge tent is entirely see-through, so you will have 360-degree views of the night sky. There’s plenty of space for a comfortable double bed, and you can deck out the interior with lots of cozy blankets and pillows. 

Add some battery-powered fairy lights, and you’ve created a one-in-a-million spot to pop the question! (How could anyone say no to marrying you after you’ve presented them with this see-through castle beneath the stars?)

Let’s be honest; this tent probably isn’t affordable or practical for 99% of situations. But look how cool it is. How could I not show this to you?

Why I recommend the Uttiny Bubble Tent 

Life is short and we have a duty to fill it with wonderful memories with the people we love. 

Camping in the Uttiny Bubble Tent will be an experience to remember, especially if you want to surprise someone you care about with an unforgettable night beneath the stars. 

Pros
  • Offers a once-in-a-lifetime camping experience
  • Plenty of space for a double bed
  • Comes with a pump
Cons
  • No privacy!
  • The air pump is quite noisy, which could make it hard to sleep.

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2

Best for Backpacking
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2
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Moving on to something more sensible, the Big Anes Tiger Wall UL 2 would be an excellent option for ultralight backpackers. 

It’s quick and easy to set up, and the minimalist poles don’t get in the way of the view through your mesh canopy. 

If the weather turns foul, you can pop out and put on the rainfly. It’s fully seamed-taped and made with tear-resistant fabric, so it will take good care of you on the trails. 

Why I recommend the Big Agnes Tiger Wall Ul 2

I love this tent because it comes with two doors and two vestibules, which makes sharing the space with your camping buddy a lot easier. The tent is long enough for taller people to sleep comfortably, and it’s super lightweight for disappearing onto the trails. 

I wouldn’t recommend this tent for very cold or wet weather, though. It’s a brilliant lightweight summer tent that will protect you from a passing shower but it’s not fully stormproof. 

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Strong frame
  • Easy to set up 
  • Fully bug-proof mesh inner tent for stargazing
  • Plenty of gear storage options
  • Fully seam-taped construction
  • Minimalist pole design for a better night sky view 
  • Compact
Cons
  • Low ceiling height
  • Not the most durable for the price

Eureka Solitaire

Budget Pick
Eureka! Solitaire, Camping and Backpacking Tent
$109.95
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09/02/2021 10:38 am GMT

The Eureka Solitaire is an affordable and lightweight tent that's perfect for stargazing! This one-person tent is ideal for a solo adventure, but there’s no way you’re getting anyone else in there with you!

Why I Recommend the Eureka Solitaire

The Eureka Solitaire isn’t expensive, but it has brilliant user reviews. 

I love how easy it is to pitch and take down, so you don’t have to worry about setting up your camp without help. The rainfly is nicely integrated into the design, so you can adjust it from the comfort of your sleeping bag. 

You just have to roll back the rainfly when you want to stargaze, then pop it back down when you’d rather have privacy. 

If you want more protection from wind and rain without giving up your view of the night sky, you can also choose to just roll back the cover around the door. 

Pros
  • Quick and easy to pitch
  • Easy to roll back the rainfly for stargazing
  • Durable aluminum poles
  • Long enough to accommodate tall campers
Cons
  • Small

Kelty Dirt Motel 2 

Best for Bike Packing
Kelty Dirt Motel 2
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The Kelty Dirt Motel 2 is slightly heavier than the Big Agnes tent that I recommended for backpacking, but it would be perfect for an adventure on your bike. 

Why I recommend the Kelty Dirt Motel 2

This tent comes with a built-in Stargazing Fly. That means you can open and close the fly without getting out of bed. You can enjoy the night sky for as long as you like, then pop the fly back down when you want more privacy or shelter from the weather. 

This tent is small and light enough for backpacking and bike touring, but it still comes with two large doors. This makes sharing your tent a lot more comfortable because you don’t have to worry about waking up your tent buddy when you come and go. 

The Dirt Motel 2 is also super easy to set up. It comes with a robust aluminum pole suitable for use on rough terrain, and you can set it up in just a couple of minutes. 

Pros
  • Spacious for the weight
  • Durable aluminum poles
  • Highly breathable mesh canopy
  • Kelty Stargazing Fly
  • Easy to set up 
  • Two separate doors and vestibules 
  • Freestanding 
Cons
  • On the heavy side for backpacking (would be better for bike touring)

CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent

Best for a Family
CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent
$249.99
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09/02/2021 10:30 am GMT

The Core 9 Person Cabin Tent is a brilliant choice for family camping trips. 

You could comfortably fit two queen-sized air beds into this tent, so I recommend it for two adults and two children if you want to sleep on a proper bed. If you’re using sleeping pads and bags, you can squeeze in a few more people. 

Why I recommend the Core 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent 

Cabin tents are great for family camping trips. There’s plenty of space for everyone to stand up and move around, which makes getting changed a lot more comfortable. 

But this type of tent can be a bit overwhelming to set up, which is why I love this Core model so much.

You can pitch it in just under a minute, and you don’t have to worry about a load of identical-looking poles that all need to go in a different pocket. 

The mesh-paneled ceiling will give you an uninterrupted view of the night sky. If the weather turns bad, you can pop your rainfly over the top. (The view will be less spectacular, but at least you’ll be dry!)

I also really like this tent’s room divider system, which means you can create separate sleeping areas if you would like to have a bit of privacy. 

Pros
  • Great for a family
  • Can be pitched in just 60 seconds
  • Highly breathable mesh paneling throughout
  • Ground vent to keep you cool on summer nights 
  • Good choice for tall people
  • Included room dividers
  • Extra-wide T-door
Cons
  • Not the best for the wind and rain (definitely a summer tent)

12 More Great Stargazing Tents Options

To be honest, I don’t think you need any more recommendations than the top five choices I’ve suggested above. We can easily end up obsessing about the perfect tent for so long that we don’t get out there and actually use it!

But if you aren’t convinced that any of the tents I’ve already suggested are right for you, here are 12 more options that you might be interested in. 

Kelty Night Owl 4

Kelty Night Owl 4, Lightweight Design
$206.95
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09/02/2021 10:29 am GMT

You can pitch the Kelty Night Owl 4 in just a few minutes, so it’s an excellent choice for people who want to get on with exploring the great outdoors.

Just like the Dirt Motel model that I suggested earlier, this comes with the Kelty Star Gazing fly. (So you can roll back your rainfly from the comfort of your bed!)

The Night Owl 4 is more spacious than the Dirt Motel, which means it’s heavier too. I would recommend this for a back-to-basics car camping trip or motorcycle tour rather than backpacking. 

Some really neat features make this tent stand out. For example, you can pop your head torch into the light-diffusing pocket to turn it into a camping lantern. It’s easy to set up and comes with two separate doors and vestibules. 

The 5-square-meter floor space should be fine for two to four people sharing. (It just depends on how comfortable you are with your tent buddies.)

Pros
  • Easy to pitch in just a few minutes
  • Lots of gear storage space
  • Oversized doors provide easy entry
  • Kelty Stargazing Fly
  • Light-diffusing pocket
  • Freestanding 
Cons
  • Heavy for a backpacking tent
  • Not tall enough to stand in (only 62”/157cm height)

Nemo Dragonfly 2

Nemo Dragonfly Ultralight Backpacking Tent
$399.95
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09/02/2021 10:35 am GMT

The Nemo Dragonfly 2 is lightweight and compact. It would be suitable for one or two backpackers, depending on how much space you need to sleep comfortably. (And how much your tent buddy kicks at night!)

The tent comes with two Divvy Sacks, so you can easily split the weight between two people when you hit the trails. Pitching will take only a few minutes. Once you’ve set up the dragonfly, you’ll notice that the minimalist pole structure gives you a full view of the night sky from your mesh inner tent. 

The mesh panels are thicker at the sides, so you can have some privacy while still being able to stargaze through the roof. (No one wants to feel like they are camping in a fishbowl.)

If the weather turns, you can pop on the rainfly in a couple of minutes, but you’ll have to get out of the tent to do this. 

Pros
  • Easy set-up with hub-style poles
  • White mesh panels for privacy 
  • Unobstructed overhead view
  • Divvy Sack system for easier packing
  • Anti-tear materials 
Cons
  • Only one door 
  • Not the cheapest of backpacking tents (but the quality is worth the extra money)

Big Agnes Copper Spur Platinum 2

Big Agnes Copper Spur Platinum Backpacking Tent
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The Big Agnes Spur Platinum weighs only 1.1kg, so it’s an excellent choice for long-distance thru-hikers who want to stargaze after a night on the trails. 

It’s more expensive than many other backpacking tents on the market, but it’s also considerably lighter.

If you’re planning on an epic adventure and want to come out the other side in one piece, it’s worth investing the extra money. 

The tent is spacious for its weight. You’ll find two vestibules to store your kit in and enough floor space to sleep comfortably, even if you’re sharing. The mesh inner tent is perfect for stargazing. It will protect you from biting insects, but it’s so thin and light that it’ll feel like you’re sleeping outdoors. 

That comes at a cost to your privacy, though. Without the rainfly, you won’t be sheltered from the wandering eyes of any passing hikers. 

Pros
  • Two doors 
  • Two vestibules
  • Thin, ultralight poles don’t block the view
  • Seam-taped bathtub floor for waterproofing 
  • Spacious interior
  • Ultralight option for thru-hikers 
Cons
  • Not affordable for everyone
  • Limited privacy

Marmot Limelight 2

Marmot Limelight 2 Person Camping Tent w/Footprint
$201.71
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09/02/2021 11:03 am GMT

I have a lot of time for Marmot tents. They look great, are easy to set up, and (unlike so many tents these days) are built to last. 

The Limelight was designed to maximize liveable space. Although it’s only a two-person tent, you’ll notice it’s a lot less claustrophobic than most tents of similar weight. The rainfly is durable, and the seams are all taped, so you can sleep easy knowing that you’re protected from the wind and rain. 

If the weather is good, you can leave off the rainfly and stargaze through the mesh roof of the inner tent. The tent has thicker mesh panels around the floor area, so you will have a bit more privacy than you would with many similar tents. 

Pros
  • Simple set-up system
  • Spacious interior
  • Oversized doors for entry
  • Small ripstop fabric panels on the walls for warmth 
  • Two vestibules
  • Privacy panels on the mesh inner tent 
  • Built to last 
Cons
  • Not the lightest
  • Bright red color (not discreet for backcountry trips)

Big Agnes C Bar 2 

Big Agnes C Bar Backpacking Tent
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The Big Agnes C Bar 2 offers a nice balance between quality and price. It isn’t the cheapest tent on the market, but I think you get more than you pay for with this tent compared to many of a similar price. 

The bathtub-style floor will keep you nice and dry, as will the good-quality rainfly that comes with a built-in vestibule for your kit. It’s pretty spacious for a two-person tent, and there are plenty of gear storage pockets to help you stay organized. 

Alternatively, you can leave off the rainfly and sleep in the mesh inner tent. This will give you a full view of the night sky, without letting any bugs into the sleeping compartment. 

Pros
  • Quick-set-up design
  • Relatively light for a budget tent 
  • Fully waterproof floor
  • Plenty of gear storage pockets
Cons
  • Not the most durable

Nemo Aurora 2

Nemo Aurora Backpacking Tent & Pawprint Accessory
$387.00
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09/02/2021 10:31 am GMT

The Nemo Aurora 2 is a great tent for stargazing. It’s especially good for taller people because it offers over 7 feet of floor space to stretch out in.

Unlike many other backpacking tents, this model has nearly vertical walls. This will give you extra headspace for sitting up comfortably. (You won’t be able to stand up, though, as this is a low-profile tent!)

The thin mesh roof of the inner tent is perfect for stargazing. At the same time, you have built-in privacy panels to shield you from the view of other campers. 

The Aurora 2 has built-in snaps for use with Nemo’s Pawprint system. This means you can bring your four-legged best friend along without worrying that he’ll destroy the tent with his claws. 

Pros
  • Easy-set-up design
  • Spacious interior
  • Thin aluminum poles don’t restrict overhead views
  • Thicker mesh panels around the floor to give you more privacy
  • Compatible with Nemo Pawprint for camping with dogs 
  • Durable
Cons
  • On the heavy side for the size

QOMOTOP Pop Up Hub Tent 

QOMOTOP Pop Up Hub Tent
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The QOMOTOP Pop Up Hub Tent is pretty new to the market. This means it doesn’t have many user reviews yet, but the specifications look great. 

This tent has more than 80 inches of standing room and tons of floor space, but the pop-up system means you can set it up in under two minutes. 

Once it’s set up, you’ll notice it has loads of mesh windows and panels. They can all be adjusted from the inside, so you don’t have to go out at night if you decide you want some more protection from the elements. (I’m talking about 10 huge windows here. They’re on the sides and the roof, so you’re going to be able to see the night sky from every angle!)

This tent looks interesting, but I hesitate to list it higher in my recommendations because there aren’t many reviews yet. Time will tell if it’s up to the job!

Pros
  • Ten huge windows that you can adjust from the inside
  • Great for tall people
  • Near vertical walls for extra living space
  • Easy to set up in a couple of minutes
  • Bathtub-style floor 
Cons
  • New to the market - impossible to say how well it performs in the long term

Eureka Summer Pass 2

Eureka Summer Pass 2
$172.46
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09/02/2021 10:44 am GMT

The Eureka Summer Pass is a sturdy little tent designed for backcountry adventures. 

The natural colors will make it easy for you to blend in with the environment, and the mesh inner tent will protect you from any mosquitos. At 6 pounds, this tent is a bit heavy for backpacking. 

It would be better for a shorter hiking trip, but you can always share the weight of the tent with your camping buddy. 

The inner tent is perfect for a warm summer night. You’ll be able to watch the stars overhead and enjoy a cooling breeze through the mesh. If you want more protection for yourself and your things, you can pop on the rainfly and use the two vestibules for kit storage. 

Don’t worry if you’re new to camping. The color-coded poles make this tent really simple to set up!

Pros
  • Well-ventilated
  • Bug-proof inner tent is great for stargazing 
  • Natural colors make it easy to blend in 
  • Color-coded poles for simple set-up
  • Durable poles and fabrics
  • Full coverage rainfly with two vestibules
Cons
  • A little heavy for the size

CORE 12 Person Instant Cabin

CORE 12 Person Instant Cabin Tent
$349.99
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09/02/2021 10:39 am GMT

The Core 12 Person Instant Cabin is pretty similar to the nine-person version that I have already recommended. It is even bigger, though, and has three separate sleeping areas. 

The pre-attached pole system means you can pitch the tent in a few minutes. It’s up to you whether you leave off the rainfly for stargazing or prefer to have better protection from the wind and rain. 

Either way, I’d recommend keeping this tent for the summertime. It’ll be comfortable and spacious for fine conditions, but I wouldn’t trust this type of tent to look after me in severe weather. 

Pros
  • Loads of ventilation
  • Full mesh ceiling for night sky viewing 
  • Dividers for three separate rooms
  • Instant-set-up design
  • Gear storage pockets
  • Super spacious
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Summer camping only

Ozark Trail 3 Room Instant Cabin Tent

Ozark Trail 3-Room Instant Cabin Tent
$438.00
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09/02/2021 11:08 am GMT

This Ozark Cabin Tent is absolutely huge! 

Despite its having three large rooms for you to spread out with your family, you can still get in up in a few minutes. This makes such a big difference from the classic set-up family tents, which my parents would be wrestling with for what seemed like hours when I was a kid!

Bear in mind that one of the rooms is a screen room. It would be fine for sleeping in on a summer’s evening, but it isn’t as well-protected as the other two rooms. 

If you leave off the rainfly, you’ll have a full view of the night sky through the mesh roof. That won’t affect your privacy, though, because the sides of the tent are fully screened. You can open the large windows if you want, but otherwise you will have total privacy inside the tent. 

Pros
  • Three rooms for privacy
  • Each room has its own door
  • Pre-attached poles for super quick set-up
  • Tall center height
  • Panoramic windows
  • Full mesh roof
  • Really spacious
Cons
  • Take caution before using in the wind and rain (I’d use this tent only for summer camping)
  • Heavy

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL Ultralight Backpacking Tent
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The Big Agnes Fly Creek is a lightweight thru-hiking tent that works well for backcountry camping adventures. You can set up just the mesh inner tent if you want to stargaze, or you can add the rainfly if you want to keep yourself warm and protect your kit in the vestibule. 

The natural colors will help you blend in and reflect sunlight, keeping your sleeping compartment cooler in the summer months. 

This is technically a two-person tent, but I think it works well as a more spacious tent for one person. It has only one door and vestibule, so I’d rather use it by myself.

Besides, it’s less than a kilogram, so it shouldn’t be too heavy for a single backpacker. 

Pros
  • Lightweight 
  • Durable rip-stop nylon flooring
  • Fully seam-taped for waterproofing 
  • Compact enough for backpacking
  • Pole angles allow more room to sit up
  • Natural colors make it easy to blend in 
Cons
  • Only one door and vestibule

CORE 11 Person Cabin

Core 11 Person Family Cabin Tent with Screen Room
$299.99
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09/02/2021 10:30 am GMT

The Core 11 Person Cabin comes with one large sleeping area and another screen room for you to hang out or store your kit. 

It isn’t a pop-up tent, but it’s quick to set up. You will probably get it from the bag to pitched in around 20 minutes. Users report that this tent deals with wind extremely well, which surprised me for a tent of this size!

It doesn’t seem like the best tent for wet weather, though, as the rainfly doesn’t reach the ground and water often puddles on the roofs of cabin tents. 

It’s up to you as to whether you want to leave off the rainfly for stargazing. I would probably keep the rainfly on for better weather protection because you’ll be able to enjoy the stars from the huge mesh windows in the screen room anyway. 

Pros
  • Quick to set up (after a few initial practice sessions!)
  • Spacious interior
  • Plenty of gear storage space
  • Screen room is big enough for camp chairs
  • Full mesh ceiling
  • Does well in the wind
Cons
  • Not the best for rainy weather
  • Thin tent floor (I wouldn’t recommend for people with pets)

How to Choose a Stargazing Tent

Tent shopping can seem intimidating at first, but it’s not as complicated as you might think. This section will give you a few pointers, so you can choose the perfect stargazing tent for your next camping trip. 

What Makes for a Good Stargazing Tent?

A good stargazing tent needs three things:

  • A full mesh canopy (or at least a skylight window)
  • Poles that don’t get in the way
  • An easy-pitch rainfly

I’ll briefly explain these factors in more detail for you!

Full Mesh Canopy

If you don’t have a mesh roof or skylight window, you won’t be able to see the stars from your sleeping bag. 

Dark-colored mesh is best for your tent roof because it doesn’t affect your vision. It’s ideal if the sides of your tent have thicker, white mesh because this makes it harder for people to see into your tent and will give you more privacy. 

To have a full mesh canopy, you probably need a two-layer tent. 

This means you will get a mesh inner tent that goes up first and a rainfly that goes on separately. If you have a single-layer tent, it’s very unlikely that you’ll have any mesh windows in your roof, so stargazing won’t be possible. 

Minimalist Pole Design

The other key feature to keep in mind when shopping for a stargazing tent is a minimalist pole design.

Tents with an overly complex structure with multiple crisscrossing poles on the roof will limit your ability to see the stars.

They also take longer to set up, so a basic pole design is better in most circumstances. (Unless you’re camping in really windy conditions and want the strongest possible tent structure.) 

Easy-Pitch Rainfly

Finally, you’ll need a rainfly that’s easy to pop on and off.

Ideally, you want one that you can adjust from inside your sleeping bag, but that’s not always possible when you have a bigger tent.

Don’t worry too much if your rainfly has to be put on from outside! Cloudy skies aren’t usually very good for stargazing anyway, so a good night for watching the night sky is unlikely to turn rainy on you. 

FAQs About Stargazing

What time is best for stargazing?

The stars are brightest in the wintertime, on a clear night when the moon is new. Campers are probably better off stargazing in the summertime, though, because you can leave your rainfly off all night without getting cold. 

How do you find a good stargazing spot?

The best stargazing spots are far from cities and towns, where light pollution isn’t as much of a problem. If you’re unsure where to go for a good view of the stars, check out the International Dark Sky Association (IDA). 

Can you see the Milky Way with your bare eyes?

It’s possible to see the Milky Way with your bare eyes, but you need to be in a remote location far from light pollution. Those cool, clear winter nights around the new moon are going to be your best bet for viewing the Milky Way.

Final Thoughts

There is something peaceful and reassuring about watching the stars all night. I think everyone should try it once in their lives!

Backpackers should check out the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2, but families would be better off with something like the CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent.

And if you want to snag the woman of your dreams, by all means, go crazy and invest in the Uttiny Bubble Tent. Please send pictures if you go for this option, as I’m dying to see it in action!

I hope you found this article helpful and I wish you many happy nights of camping beneath the stars. 

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Gaby - Writer for The Camper Lifestyle

Gaby

Gaby is a professional outdoor educator, guide, and wilderness medicine instructor. She holds a master's degree in outdoor education and spends most of her time hanging out with penguins and polar bears in the polar region. When she's not outdoors, you can find her traveling, reading Nietzsche, and drinking copious double espressos.


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