Using a Screen Tent at the Camp Site

Whether you call them screen tents, screen houses, screened canopies, or screened arbors these shelters allow you to get the most from the outdoors. At the camp site, they can protect you from the elements and keep even the smallest, most persistent bugs out. If it has been a while since you have been camping, or since you have upgraded your equipment, you will be pleasantly surprised at the options available. For the casual, fair-weather weekend camper, there is the classic dome style or four wall shelters. They are freestanding with aluminum poles or frames with clip and sleeve construction.

Designed for easy setup, screen tents are made of lightweight weather resistant polyester. When stored they fit in their own duffel sized bag. If you are concerned about “no-see-ums”, consider a model that has mesh fabric walls. Many of these tents are large enough to sleep up to eight people comfortably.

Dual, full height doors allow for easy entering and exiting. If you prefer the convenience of electricity to relying on hurricane lamps or flashlights, try the shelters that offer a built in power system. They can power any 12-volt appliance, from lights and fans to radios. The outlets are detachable for convenient use wherever they are needed.

For the serious camper who uses their screen tents on weekends and week-long wilderness treks, there are models that can be used three out of four seasons. Awnings provide shade during the day and double as walls when rolled down. The roof and sidewalls are heavy duty, waterproofed, and UV coated polyester, which protects you from high winds and driving rain. With peak heights up to eight and a half feet, the interior feels open and airy. Even the tallest campers are comfortable. The polyethylene floor prevents moisture and insects from coming through.

A screen house is a great addition to traditional tents at a camp site. It doubles or triples the interior space when used as a gathering place or separate dining area. This is especially useful during foul weather. They allow for the ventilation needed when using a camp stove or kerosene lamp. Many are large enough for picnic tables, giving everyone the room they need to be comfortable. Family sized canvas or nylon tents have multiple sleeping areas, which allows for privacy.