Everyone who has been camping before knows the feeling of wakening far too soon due to the sun. Whilst sometimes the sun serves as a useful alarm clock for early morning hikes. Other times (especially after a late-night) it can be the last thing you want.
In this post, we are covering the best darkroom tents. Whether you are someone who needs a little extra sleep, has a baby who naps in the afternoon, or you are a festival goer with lots of late nights. Then a blackout tent is right for you.
Blackout tents (or also darkroom tents), significantly reduce the amount of glare and light inside the tent so you can sleep easily. They are also great for use in hot weather, as the temperature inside of the tent is also significantly reduced.
There is currently a handful of brands producing these tents (luckily they are all well-known and reputable). The terminology from brand to brand differs slightly. Sometimes you will see a blackout tent, also referred to as a dark room tent, lights out tent, or dark rest tent. They all mean the same thing, and we will be using the terms interchangeably throughout the article depending on the brand we are discussing.
Quick View: Best dark room tent
Easy to Assemble
The Coleman dome tents have been a family favorite for many years, now it can be purchased with dark room technology which blocks 90% of sunlight from entering the tent. This has been determined by comparing it with other comparable Coleman tents.
Even though most people purchase a blackout tent for use in sunnier climates, this Coleman dark room tent features their WeatherTec system which includes patented welded floors and inverted seams to prevent any water ingress during heavy rain.
You can purchase this tent as a 4-person and 6-person option. Both are very roomy, whilst remaining lightweight to carry. the 6-person option has room for two inflated queen size airbeds.
- Dark room technology blocks 90% of sunlight (vs comparable coleman tent)
- Blackout material reduces heat inside the tent
- 4 and 6 person options
- Weighs 15 (4-person) and 22lbs.(6-person)
- Screen room optional for additional space
Easy to Assemble
The second Coleman tent on our list has been named ‘the blackout’ due to its ability to block 99% of sunlight from entering the tent. Not only does the tent block out light to help you sleep better, but it’s also up to 41 degrees Fahrenheit cooler during the day.
You can use this tent all year round as it is a 4-season tent. It doesn’t matter if you are camping during peak summer or freezing winter, this tent will remain at the ideal temperature all year round.
There is a 3 and 4-person option to choose from, although the tent dimensions are slightly smaller than usual. Even as a solo camper or festival goer, the 3-person tent will still be small and light enough with your gear stashed inside. It only weighs 11.5lbs, making this a great tent for backpacking.
- Dark room technology blocks 99% of sunlight (vs comparable Coleman tent)
- Blackout design reduces temperature up to 41°F during day
- 4-season tent
- 3 and 4 person options
- Weighs only 11.5lbs.
Easy to Assemble
The Crua Duo Combo features a unique tent design, with Crua’s patented interior cocoon, which inflates and is then placed inside the tent. It keeps you both cool in the summer months and traps heat inside the cocoon during the winter months, allowing this tent to be used throughout cold weather
The cocoon also blocks all daylight from entering the tent or sleeping area making it much easier to remain asleep when the sun rises early in the summer months.
One negative we found is that the tent has a hydrostatic head measurement of 5000mm. This essentially means the tent can withstand 5000mm of rainfall until it leaks through. Whilst this is perfectly fine for most weather and especially the dryer months. We thought a tent with such good insulating properties, should also be 100% waterproof so it can be used in any weather condition.
This is however, an overall great tent which blocks out 100% of sunlight in the cocoon, and positive customer reviews can vouch for how comfortable it is sleeping inside the inflated interior dark room.
- Inflatable interior dark room traps/expels heat and blocks all sunlight
- The ‘cocoon’ can be purchased separately and placed inside other Crua tents
- Sleeps 2-people
- Weighs a total of 15lbs.
- Roomy porch area/rain shelter
Recommended accessories for your blackout tent
1. LED camping lantern
Unlike an ordinary tent which allows in lots of daylight, you’ll soon realise that with the best blackout tent, that you can’t see much inside. To illuminate the interior you should purchase a camping light or camping lantern.
LED bulbs are the best option as they shine bright without getting hot and they have a long battery life.
2. Hand pump for inflatable dark room tent
If you decide to purchase the Crua duo combo tent with the inflatable inner cocoon which blocks out all light to create a nice dark room tent. Then you will need an easy way to inflate the cocoon.
A high-quality hand or foot pump from a reputable brand like Intex (who specializes in inflatable products) will last you a long time.
3. Camping mattress
Another great camping essential you will need is an inflatable camping mattress. They come in many shapes and sizes depending on what you are able to pack and carry.
They also can be self-inflating or require you to inflate yourself. Both are good options, and inflating a mattress yourself isn’t difficult.
You’re probably purchasing a blackout tent for improved sleep, so why not get a comfortable camping mattress to go with it?
4. Waterproof camping tarp
All blackout tents will come with an inner groundsheet that is waterproof and durable. However, not all tents come with a tarp for the porch area.
If it’s good weather, and the ground is dry, you probably won’t need one. But if it’s slightly wet, it’s a good idea to place a tarp inside your porch to keep your feet dry whilst taking off your hiking boots.
Tarps are multi-functional so it’s always a great idea to pack one anyway. Even if you just end up using it as a picnic blanket.
Blackout Tent FAQs
Are blackout tents really worth it?
Whilst on a camping trip the sun sometimes serves as an alarm clock. Awakening you from a goods night’s sleep ready for your early morning hike… But, what if that’s not you? Or what if you plan on staying up late for some camp beers or a festival and intend on sleeping right through the morning?
Blackout tents are great for serving this purpose. Not everyone wants to wake up at the crack of dawn and that’s what a dark room tent can help with.
Not only do they keep all light out, but they also make the interior of the tent much cooler throughout the day which is an added bonus if you are also looking for a tent that performs well in hot weather.
What does a 'blackout tent' mean?
The initial phrase ‘blackout tent’ might be confusing to some. Especially when you also see these tents referred as dark room, light reduction, UV blocking, lights out, and dark rest tents… If only all manufacturers got on the same wavelength with their descriptions.
A blackout tent is a tent that blocks a lot, if not all of the daylight from entering the main sleeping compartment (sometimes the whole tent) of the tent. People use these tents make falling and waking up from sleep more comfortable.
Blackout tents can also provide you with additional privacy at night as it’s more difficult for people to see inside of your tent when you have a light on.
How can I darken my tent without purchasing a blackout tent?
Whilst purchasing a dedicated blackout tent is the best method, we completely understand that someone might want to customize their existing tent to prevent light from entering.
- Cover your mesh/light openings with blackout materials. You can scavenge materials from items like unused blackout curtains.
- Cover the bedroom pod. If your tent has a separate bedroom pod which you clip to the inside of the tent, you might be able to cover this easily with some sheets/blackout materials.
- Pitch your tent in a darker location. Look for shaded spots under thick trees. Or pay attention to your surroundings, if you have mountains on your east side, they might block the direct light from the sunrise.
- A simple trick is to use an eye mask. Whilst this won’t make actually make your tent darker and cooler. It will prevent you from waking up early due to the sun.
Purchasing the best blackout tent isn’t always a straightforward task as there are literally hundreds of options on the market and they are all marketed under different names.
The team at Cool Wilderness prides ourselves on helping camping folk find all of the gear they need, so they can spend less time behind a screen scrolling for hours, and more time outdoors doing what they love.
We truly hope that this article has helped you choose the best blackout tent for camping, and gave you an insight into the different features you need to look for, accessories you might want to take, and answers to the FAQs people ask on a regular basis.