Screen room tents add another dimension of fun to conventional camping. They are a nice option to have in the wider range of family tents and create an excellent vibe. Since family camping continues to rise in popularity, tents with a screen room continue to be popular.
The porch area or screen room in these tents generally is a small room covered by a screen. The mesh screen keeps insects at bay and creates an overall pleasant area to relax. Depending on the tent, the room may be large enough for people to sleep in, or only have enough space for a chair or two.
If a tent like this is on your buying list, this guide can help you make the right pick.
Screened Porch Tent Design
A screen room tent or camping tents with a screened porch conventionally have two areas. One is the screen room, which is usually smaller. A screen room is made from mesh and is geared towards enjoying the outdoors rather than protection from the elements. This room often has one door to the outside, while its second door opens into the main room of the tent. The main room is larger and completely enclosed.
Considering the variety available, there are other designs available as well. For example, a tent with multiple rooms may have doors for each room. All of these doors may not necessarily open into the screen room. These designs are less common.
The screened porch forms a wonderful place. In a sense, you can consider it similar to the conventional home and porch system. When in the outdoors, the main room becomes the place for your gear and where you sleep. You can sit with the family on the porch and enjoy some quality time.
Sleeping Areas And Tent Capacity
Tents sizes are usually defined with the number of people that can sleep in a tent. For example, a six-person tent (ostensibly) has enough room to allow six adults to sleep. Practically speaking, this approach is flawed for anyone who wants to sleep with even a semblance of comfort.
There is no standardized system for measuring tent capacity. Companies generally use an average-sized adult in a sleeping bag as their measuring system. If they can fit in six sleeping bags in a tent, they call it a six-person tent.
Comfortable Sleeping In A Tent
You may indeed be able to put six people in a tent like this. However, it’s akin to being packed like sardines and there is little-to-no room for any movement. If anyone gets up and moves around, they’ll be trampling on others in the tent.
The solution is to be generous with the tent size and capacity. If you want five people in a tent, get an 8-person tent. When buying a screened porch tent, be even more generous. In some cases, the screened area of the tent is counted as a sleeping area as well. For example, the very popular Klondike 8-person tent counts three people for the screen room.
My suggestion is to only consider the main room as the sleeping area. Sure you can sleep in the screened porch area and enjoy the night breeze. It’s fun, but it can be unsuitable in case you run into bad weather on your vacation. That is why it is best to consider sleeping settings that don’t involve someone necessarily sleeping in the screen room.
Some tents deal with this problem by offering a relatively small porch area while covering most of the area as the main room. You get the option of a small but perfectly usable porch. Plus, there’s a larger sleeping area to enjoy. Popular tents that take this approach include Coleman Evanston and Ozark Trail 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent.
Flooring And The Porch
Not all tents include a floor for the porch. Some will extend the same floor used in the tent main room to the porch, while others will skip it. The presence of a porch is dependent on your intended use of the screened area.
If you intend to use the porch for sleeping or placing your gear, it must have a floor. In case the porch is simply an area to place a chair or two, the floor may not be necessary.
The lack of a floor opens up the area to moisture, dew, and other effects of the bare ground. It’s fairly troublesome in rain. Tent porch area with a floor is more agreeable. It lends a cleaner and overall better look to the tent.
Waterproofing a screened porch tent can be a challenge. Most quality tents manage to keep the sleeping area fairly protected against rain and water. On the other hand, due to its very design, the screen room can pose challenges to waterproofing, even with bathtub floors and a rainfly.
There is always a possibility of the screen room getting some water. Mild rain may not be a problem, but sustained rain will likely lead to some water getting in. Of course, for screen rooms without a floor, the wet ground will bring some water.
Choosing The Right Shape For Your Tent
The overall shape of the tent remains a critical point in determining its use. While we have been focused on the porch area so far, let’s take a quick look at the two most common tent shapes.
Cabin-style tents win points for being comfortable and spacious. These tents have vertical walls and usually enough height to allow people to walk around upright in the tent. Vertical walls also allow more room forluggage and gear.
The downside is that these tents are very susceptible to wind. The vertical walls present more resistance to the windflow. Mild wind isn’t a problem, but a gust could spell trouble for the tent. Cabin tents are less likely to hold heat and warm up. As such, they’re best suited for camping in mild weather.
Dome-style tents can be seen as the conventional design of a tent. They don’t rise much in height and have curved walls and roof. That means there isn’t enough space to walk upright in these tents.
Due to their shape, these tents perform better against the elements. The dome shape does not allow water to pool on the tent, thus allowing better waterproofing. These tents do well in wind as well, since their shape does not offer much resistance to wind.