We’ve all been there at some point – trying to sleep in the wilderness past sunrise only to be rudely awakened by the glaring sun.
Thankfully, there is a solution known as a dark rest or dark room tent. Say goodbye to restrictive sleeping masks and hello to a comfy night’s sleep in full darkness.
On the days when you’re in more of a relaxing mode, you can even take a nap without harsh light penetrating through. Darkroom tents enhance the camping experience so you can sleep well and maintain your energy throughout the next day.
This is important particularly with camping since many people do activities and have fun exploring their surroundings.
A blackout tent gives way more than just an average tent.
Having this extra element of light elimination means you can enjoy sleeping in without worrying about being woken up by the sun.
This can be a big drawback for campers, hikers, and backpackers, as none of us want interrupted sleep. You’re able to control your body clock just as well as if you were in your own home.
Dark room tents have insulation properties that help maintain the temperatures at night, also reducing heat within the tent during the day, so things don’t get so humid inside.
Below we’ve compiled our list of the best blackout tents to take on your next trip. We’ve chosen a wide range of styles, sizes, and designs so you can find one that will suit all your needs.
The Best Dark Rest Tents for Camping Reviewed
1. Coleman Oak Canyon 4-Person Blackout Tent
This spacious living area is great for a family of 4 with young kids or for a couple. The first section is basically like a living room, or if there are 4 people it can be used as an extra sleeping space. Further down the tunnel design, there is the blacked-out bedroom space.
It fully zips up for privacy, but you can roll open the windows to view into the second section or remove it completely. A black coating on the rainfly combined with the very dark fabric ensures 99% of sunlight is blocked out. This material is also SPF 50 and fire retardant to keep everyone safe.
Climate control is also a great part about this tent. It keeps the bedroom 5° cooler in the daytime and 1° on the warmer side at night. The windows have PVC covers that are rollable to even further manage the temperature. Construction is sturdy and reliable. The poles are fiberglass for strength even in bad weather.
10 minutes is all you need to pitch it up. Once finished, it packs down to a compact size of 72cm x 30cm x 30cm which is handy for taking it around while camping. There is even a hook to hang a small lantern for some cosy nights inside. For muddy shoes or extra baggage, the overhead canopy can protect from rainy days.
- 9” L x 110.2” W x 78.7”H
- 2 Bedroom Spaces
- 99% of Sunlight Eliminated
Related Article: 10 Best 8-Person Tent Reviews | Klondike vs Montana vs Red Canyon
2. Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Dark Tent
This free-standing structure ensures super easy set-up and disassembly even for first-time campers. It takes just seconds to take it out of the case before it pops out into its shape. When there is no wind, you could use it without pegs or ropes. We’d recommend this as a 2-person tent, even for the 3-person sized option. The entire room inside is blacked out as well as the patented outer fabric that increases the darkness.
The light grey color makes sure that things stay cool inside, as it doesn’t soak up any extra heat. Warmth is also reduced through the flysheet that has 2 side panels which are extended and fixed to the ground. This opens the interior for air to circulate. It also creates a nice little area to place bags or shoes to aerate and stay out of the rain. For complete privacy or to trap in all the warmth in cold temperatures, the rainfly closes completely.
Water leakages inside won’t be a problem thanks to the waterproof materials. This tent was tested under rainfall at 200mm per hour, proving that it withstands in rough conditions. It also holds up against wind up to 50 km/hour. During the warm and sunny months, a UPF 50+ coating on the fabric keeps you protected.
- Ultra-lightweight 7.30 lbs
- 99% of Sunlight Blocked Out
- 90” L x 55” W x 38”H
Related Article: 10 Best 6-Person Tents for Camping | Coleman, Ozark, Kelty
3. Rocky Mountain Blackout Tunnel Tent
This well-structured tenting shelter is perfect for families who need ample space. The end section is tapered off, which we love as it creates a cozier feel for the blacked-out bedroom space. It leaves more room for people to stand up in the living area with higher walls.
The length is extended slightly further with the overhanging canopy. You can place some chairs underneath for some rain-free chill time or use it as a shelter for dirty shoes and luggage.
4 PVC covered windows generate a more open feel that allows you to view outside even in bad weather. You can cover them up completely for more privacy or to decrease light. There is also a window in the bedroom which is handy for when you don’t need the full dark effect.
It’s ideal for harsh conditions due to its sturdy fiberglass pole construction, fully integrated flooring, and PU coated fabrics. It’s made to withstand wet weather, and the flysheet on the outside enhances the protection. Even with everything zipped up, you can stay comfortable with the breathable polyester material.
Weighing 16.8 kilos, this is probably best used for single location camping, or if you have a vehicle to transport it everywhere. The carry sac helps you to pack it down to 70 x 32 x 30 cm, which is an awesome size for such a big structure.
- Stops 99% of Sunlight
- Large Entrance Room
- SPF 50 Protection
Related Article: 9 Best Cube Tents for Modular Camping | Pod Tents that Connect
4. Coleman Dome Dark Room Tent
As well as the interior having full black out technology, you can choose to purchase this tent with or without an added screen room. Sunlight is well eliminated so sleeping in past the sun rising won’t be a problem. The black fabrics don’t soak up any excess heat, so condensation and overheating are reduced.
Tightly welded corners stop water from getting inside, as well as inverted seams that further ensure leakage protection. For particularly bad weather, you can pop the rainfly over the top. We love the bathtub flooring on the inside. This is a fantastic feature that further ensures no interior dampness, especially if the ground is muddy and wet. The dome design and accents of bright green give it a sleek look.
This one is available in 4-person and 6-person sizes. The 4-person can fit 2 queen-sized mattresses, but we recommend it for a couple or 3 people so you can have roomy space inside to lounge around and stretch out comfortably. While you’re chilling inside, you can place small belongings inside the storage pockets so nothing gets lost. Portability is a breeze due to the included carry bag, so it’s great for road trips.
- Eliminates 90% of Sunlight
- 120” L x 108” W x 69.6”H
- Available in 4 and 6 person, also with/without Screen Room
Related Article: 10 Best Tent Heaters for Camping | Plus Full Safety Guide
5. Ozark Trail Dark Rest Cabin 10’ x 9’
Using their own Dark Rest Technology, things stay cool inside this affordable model as well as extra dark. The set-up process is smooth because of the instant structure. All the poles come already connected, you simply must extend the frame and it is assembled in less than 60 seconds.
This would work well for 3-seasons for a family or group of 4. cabin style with tall walls creates ample space for standing up and walking around.
You’re able to manage the levels of light inside using the large ceiling panels that act as skylights. You can roll them up to watch the stars or rollback for complete darkness. During colder weather, like autumn or the beginning of winter, set up the durable rainfly over the top for full coverage.
You won’t need to worry about leakages if it rains. All up, there are 3 large windows that provide aeration and allow you to view outside during the day. There is also a ground vent that increases airflow for an even comfier experience.
Gear can sometimes get messy while camping, so the handy mesh storage shelf in the roof plus the pocket on the wall gives you space for small belongings. For ambient lighting at night time you can use the interior hook for a lantern, so you can read a book or stay up talking.
- 120” L x 108” W x 68”H
- Fits 6 People
- Dark Rest Tech for Blackout & Cooling
Related Article: 10 Best Camping Sleeping Pads for All Seasons Reviewed
6. Crua Core Insulated Dome Tent
One of the best parts of this one is the huge porch that extends the length for a truly roomy experience. This section can even be used as a cover for your pickup truck. There are doors on either side for getting in and out whilst your vehicle is inside.
Stakes, a second flooring for underneath the structure, and an air pump with multiple valves are all included. This makes installation effortless, and it’s made even easier since this is an airbeam tent.
This means there are no poles involved, yet it’s still very sturdy in holds up against strong winds. Vents are built inside throughout, including at the roof, so air circulation creates a comfortable atmosphere.
With a 5000mm hydrostatic head rating, it’s highly waterproof to stand up against heavy rainstorms.
A reflective rain cover means that sun is bounced off and away from the interior, so it won’t heat up with unnecessary humidity. For cooler climates, you can flip this flysheet over and have the reflective coating insulate the inside.
The third use for the rainfly is the darkness that it causes. You can take naps during the day, or you have the option to completely remove it to enjoy the sunrise.
- Huge 5000mm Hyrdostatic Head Rating
- Sun-Blocking Rainfly
- UV & Waterproof Protection
Related Article: 10 Best Camping Blankets and Quilts | Lightweight and Waterproof
7. Coleman Cabin Dark Room Tent
For a big group of family or friends, this instant cabin style tent comes in a pre-attached frame that is effortless to set up. The cabin design has straight standing walls which means it’s easier to stand up inside. Available in a 10-man size, the added room divider creates privacy so everyone can get a great sleep.
Innovative dark technology stops 90% of sunlight from seeping through. We find that 5 people or less is a great amount for a 10-person shelter, as it leaves more room for all your bags and other items.
Even with many people hanging out or sleeping inside, this maintains ventilation through the mesh inserts. Windows surrounding the walls, as well as the screen roof, allow air to circulate throughout to reduce heat build-up. During rainfall, the outer fly fits nicely over the top.
For seamless entry and exit, the door is hinged just like a regular one, so there’s no fiddling with rolling or tying.
Weatherproofed with strong fused corners and reversed seams, we think this is great for 3-season camping. A carry bag with large handles allows hassle-free transportation, which is convenient if you’re traveling between different campsites. This bag is also expandable to help with packing.
- 10 Person Large Tent
- Blocks 90% of Light
- Quick 1 Minute Assembly
8. Coleman Granite Peak Tent with Blackout Bedrooms
Experience the comfort of 2 sleeping cabins and a dedicated living area for adventures with your friends or family. The bedrooms are made to be extra-large to allow for a peaceful rest, and there are windows for when you need a little daylight to peek through.
Having control over when you need a dark room is highly convenient and can help it feel like your own home. The tunnel design also makes things cozy as the rooms begin to narrow which enhances sleep.
Assembly would take about 20 minutes, which isn’t bad considering the large size. Fiberglass rods ensure a durable and solid construction to endure winds. The massive canopy porch section not only adds extra structural hold, but it also gives you a lot more space for storage and relaxing.
Although the windows in the main area are made from PVC plastic, you can still preserve ventilation using the mesh front door. Things shouldn’t heat up in the sleeping quarters’ thanks to the mesh windows that keep the air flowing.
Blackout technology works through the special fabric that soaks up energy from the sun for temperature control. You’re cooler during the day and warmer at night.
- Removes 99% of Sunlight
- UV Guarded & Fire Retardant
- 4” L x 118.1” W x 78.7” H
Related Article: 10 Best Ozark Trail Tents Reviewed in 2020
9. Ozark Trail Dark Rest Cabin 14’ x 12’
This huge 12-person version has a layout of 2 large rooms with the same Dark Rest Technology as previously mentioned above. These 2 rooms are separated by a divider, giving you the control over when you want to be in complete darkness or relax in some sunlight.
Big vents built into the roof create fantastic airflow. You can cover these sections using the interior panels, as well as use the outer flysheet for increased protection from rainy days and nights.
There are seven windows made from mesh that offer more air circulation, or you can cover them up to keep things private. This includes some bottom vents in the sleeping room to increase ventilation, as things can often get humid with many people resting in the same space.
Weatherproof for harsh conditions, all the seams are factory sealed for high protection from water leakages. The stakes are built from steel, so they’re extra strong for winds and storms.
In the bedroom area, storage pockets are placed on either side so everyone can store their possessions without mixing them up. We believe at least 4 queen-sized beds could fit inside, but we recommend about 6 people or less to stay inside for ultimate room and comfort.
- 168” L x 144” W x 84” H
- Dark Rest Technology
- 2 Electrical Port Pockets
Buyers Guide – How to Choose a Dark Rest Tent
Type of Blackout Effect
Despite popular belief, there isn’t just one way to create a blackout impact. There are basically different levels of darkness, so you should think about your level of light sensitivity. If you and those you’re camping with are very sensitive to light while you sleep, you’re going to need one that generates complete darkness. See “How do Blackout Tents Work” in our FAQ section to discover more about the types.
Just like any other tent, these are no exception when talking about size. Sharing space with a large group of people can get very stuffy, and this can especially be the case with one that is designed to block out light. Even with vents or mesh windows, it’s important to still have some room inside to sleep comfortably and store baggage without feeling stuffed in.
We suggest you pick one that is intended for double the amount of people you’re bringing along. So, for example, 5 people should take a 10-person model. Traveling with kids can be different, like a family of 4 with young children would be fine in a 4-person one. However, you should consider that they will grow up (and we all know how fast this happens) and you’ll all want plenty of space to move around.
There are some other elements that you need to think about before purchasing your own. Other than deciding on the method for blacking things out, here are some tips to contemplate:
- Set up – Are you looking for a fast pitch? Instant or pop-up is the way to go. For extreme conditions, it might be worth going for one with a traditional installation for superior sturdiness. But we think most instant tents on the market today, like the ones on our list, are high-quality and withstand common conditions. Fibreglass or steel poles hold up very well against winds and rain.
- Design – If you’re using yours just for sleeping, you could go for a dome version and sleep very comfortably. For those spending more time inside, a cabin style is worth it. The high walls and slightly pointed roof allow for lots of standing room. Tunnel ones are sort of a combination of both, and they are good for creating a super cozy area for sleeping.
- Porch – This isn’t completely a must-have, but it can be handy. You can use a canopy area as extra storage or a place to relax outside without being exposed to sun or rain.
You may wonder why we’ve included this as a stand-alone point, but this is such an important thing in relation to these types of tents. Depending on the design for producing the black effect, they could become quite warm during the day and stay that way at night. If it has proper air circulation, this can be avoided, and you can sleep restfully without overheating.
Mesh vents or windows are crucial for promoting airflow when black fabric soaks up sunlight. Ground vents in the bed area are a great way to reduce humidity before heat gets the chance to rise to the top of the room.
Of course, if you’re using it during very cold times, insulation will be a big part of keeping you warm. However, even in cooler temperatures, we recommend still having some sort of ventilation, so things don’t get overly stuffy inside.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Dark Room Technology?
It is a method that is used to reduce glare and bright lights from entering a space. This type of fabric is specially made to eliminate between 90% and 99% of luminosity. Most of them also diminish heat build-up, which is very important as black material usually absorbs heat from sunlight.
How Do Blackout Tents Work?
There are different methods that create an interior blackout that stops light transmissions. These are the main ones we’ve found on the market, in order of least glare-reducing to most:
- Rainfly that blocks out the sun – This can be quite effective; however, it may still let some slight amounts of glare inside if the flysheet does not cover all the windows. A reflective one can help lessen heat inside.
- Dark interior panels – Again, this method is effective for reducing outside light. You don’t have as much freedom to control when you want to block luminosity, but if you’re looking for that then you can find tents with only the bedroom areas blacked out.
- Specialized black fabric with light-absorbing technology – This is great for stopping sunlight in the mornings. Make sure to look out for fabric with climate control (like with most Coleman ones) as this will ensure things don’t heat up too much during the day.
- Insulation layers – Perfect for extremely cold temperatures, the extra layers can help remove more light as well as lock in warmth.
You should always double-check with the brand to see how much light is eliminated. We’ve found the most common to be between 90% and 99%.
Are Dark Rest Tents Worth It?
Definitely. While you might think you’ll be an early riser every morning, it usually won’t be the case for your whole trip. There will be nights where you’ll be super tired from a long day of activities, and feel like sleeping in. With your tent able to maintain a dark environment, you can sleep past the sun coming up and control your sleep system. Kids are another reason. They often go to bed early, and sometimes there will be lights from lanterns or campfires that could keep them awake.
If you’re weighing up between a regular one and a blackout, we’d like to remind you that it’s not just that sun that could keep you awake. The moon can produce a lot of ambient light and think about if you’ll take naps during the day.
These tents are also usually designed to reduce heat and keep things cooler at night. So, you’re basically getting a 2-in-1 and your sleep can be as comfortable as ever.
How to Blackout a Tent?
You could fashion yourself some black blankets over the top or inside a tent, but this method would not be effective for eliminating light, plus it probably won’t hold up to typical weather conditions while camping.
Specialized tents are blacked out during the manufacturing process. They are specifically constructed to powerfully remove any trace of illumination so you can truly get a great sleep.
How Much is a Darkroom Tent?
This can range depending on the brand, size, and style. High-quality premium ones can go for as high as $700 or possibly more, but you’re getting what you pay for in terms of durability and materials. In saying that, the lower-priced versions can be of fantastic quality. You can find great ones for affordable prices from $50 and up.
A darkroom tent is like your own personal snooze button. It enhances a peaceful environment for you to get a healthy sleep, which is particularly important when camping.
You need all the energy you can get for a day of adventuring. Also, if you’re taking your kids, you can put them to bed early and let them sleep longer and more comfortably.
Getting some shut-eye in a room without any light is integral. Our list of the best tents for this purpose can help you decide which style and size would be best for your next trip.