Best Tent With Screen Room For A Back Porch In The Backcountry

Want to enjoy your next sunset from the comfort of your favorite camp chair without letting buzzing bugs kill your vibe? You’re gonna want a tent with a screen porch!
The Nemo Wagontop: Our Best Choice Overall – Photo from manufacturer

There’s a reason our tents come with all that nice mesh in the ceilings, windows, and doors: We want to keep bugs in their place, and that place is outside of the tent. We can’t stay in there all day though, and that’s where the venerable tent with screen room comes into play.

Tents with “screened porches” are becoming more and more common every year. There are quite a few of them out there, and if we’re being honest, it can be tough to figure out which are worth your money.

Well, the good news is, we’ve done the research for you. Long story short, the Nemo Wagontop is the best tent with a screen room currently available. It’s made from excellent materials and has tons of features spread throughout its huge floorplan and high ceilings.

It’s not for everyone though (especially if cost is a factor), and for that reason we put together a list of the best alternatives currently on the market for any budget. If you want to know more about how we evaluated the tents, don’t forget to check out our buying guide!

Drag out the cooler and break out those camp chairs: We’re hanging in the screen room, folks.

TentsBenefits
Nemo Wagontop 6: Best Overall Packed with features and made from high-quality materials in typical Nemo fashion. Screen room is nice and sufficient. Be prepared to pay typical Nemo prices. See Review
Gazelle T4 Plus: Highest QualityIncredibly durable fabrics and a removable floor make for a tent that’s built to last. The largest screen room in our roundup. Pop-out hub design is super convenient for anything but serious storms. See Review
Core 11 Person Family Cabin: Best On A BudgetAn 11-person tent on a three-person budget. An even sweeter deal when you take its reliable waterproofing and setup into consideration. A roomy screen room for two to hang out or four to sleep. See Review
Napier Sportz SUV TentIf you’re looking for a tent that attaches to your SUV, crossover, or van, this is the best bargain out there. Screen room is great for relaxing or storage, but has no floor. See Review
Wenzel Klondike 8Tons of space on a shoestring budget. You’ll want to do some extra weatherproofing before getting into anything too crazy. The screen room doubles as a convertible sleeping space for extra campers. See Review
Coleman Screened Porch CabinA budget-friendly tent with a foolproof take on weatherproofing. Ideal for couples on a budget. Screen room is well protected by extended vestibule, but vulnerable to ground water. See Review

Best Tents With Screen Room

Nemo Wagontop 6: Best Tent With Screen Room Overall

Specs:
Weight: 27 lbs (12.3 kg)
Packed size: 27” x 12” x 12” (69cm x 30cm x 30cm)
Floor size: 140” x 100” (356cm x 254cm)
Peak height:  80” (203cm)
Rooms: 2
Shape: Cabin/Wagon
Occupancy: 6 (8 person also available)
Best for: Three-season family camping
Price: $$$

Taking our top pick as the best screen porch tent is the Nemo Wagontop.

We’ve lauded the Wagontop before for its copious space, both inside the tent and outside in the extended vestibule. We’re talking stand-up height ceilings throughout for anyone 6’6” and under, as well as near-vertical walls making even more room to spread out in every direction.

Yes, it’s a little spendy in either the 6 or 8-person configuration. Still, even the 8 person size isn’t the most expensive tent on our list, although it uses some of the best materials on the market. 75D polyester is used throughout the canopy/fly combination, for instance, while a burly 300D polyester is used for the tent floor.

Panoramic windows give top-notch ventilation when you need it even when it’s raining outside thanks to dual overhangs at both tent doors. You might also be surprised to hear that although the Nemo Wagontop boasts some of the most impressive interior space on our list, setup is surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it thanks to a simplified three-pole design.

And as for that screen room? Of course the 8 person model is roomier, but both sizes feature a partition wall separating the screen porch from the main sleeping quarters, and both have plenty of space for a couple camp chairs, a cooler, and maybe even a camp table depending on what you’re traveling with.

And, as you’d expect from Nemo, the Wagontop is also 100% waterproof. Thanks to its single-wall construction made entirely from waterproof (and seam-sealed) fabrics, there really aren’t any potential failure points when the fly is fully extended. The vertical walls and tall ceilings are definitely prone to catching heavier winds though, so you’ll want to be mindful about orientation and proper guying/staking when setting up the Wagontop.

Aside from the pricetag, that’s pretty much our only complaint with the Nemo Wagontop. We’ll also point out that although the Wagontop comes in 4, 6, and 8 person sizes, the four-person model doesn’t include a porch area. It’s still huge and stand-up friendly, but not huge enough to accommodate a second room.

Pros:Cons:
– Nemo quality and materials
– SO MUCH HEADROOM
– Nemo lifetime warranty
– Nemo pricetag
– Tall and vertical walls feel like sails when the wind starts whipping



Gazelle T4 Plus With Screen Room: Highest Overall Quality

Specs:
Weight: 58 lbs (26.3 kg)
Packed size: 67” x 13” x 13” (170cm x 33cm x 33cm)
Floor size: 168” x 94”  (427cm x 239cm)
Peak height: 78” (198 cm)
Rooms: 2
Shape: Cabin
Occupancy: 8
Best for: Family camping in fair weather
Price: $$$

The Gazelle T4 Plus is a fairly new tent on our radar, but it made our list of the best screen room tents for a few different reasons. First, it’s got excellent floor space, with over 110 square feet spread across its two rooms. Second, it’s made from incredibly durable fabrics throughout, boasting a full 210D oxford polyester canopy and fly as well a 300D oxford polyester floor. Those specs alone got it the nod for highest overall quality.

The Gazelle T4 Plus is also an “instant tent” with pre-attached poles, which makes for a fast and easy setup you can do by yourself. Their marketing team’s “setup in under 90 seconds” claim  isn’t happening, but an easy 10-minute setup is absolutely doable with a little practice.

Aside from that the Gazelle features excellent ventilation thanks to 5 large mesh windows, double doors for convenient entrance/egress with larger groups, tons of gear storage including multiple lofts and wall-mounted pockets, and even a removable floor which detaches for easy cleaning and faster drying.

Clearly the T4 Plus has a lot going for it, but we’ve got a few critiques we’ll share here as well: First of all, this tent just isn’t built for bad weather. That’s because although the canopy, fly, and floor materials are very strong, the easy-up hub design is not. The Gazelle’s four-way popout hubs use spring tension to keep the walls and ceiling in place, and while that tension is sufficient in light winds and rain, it just isn’t going to hold up to stronger gusts. Some users report getting caught in bad storms and having the hubs unhinge in the middle of the night. If you’ve got no intention of camping in bad weather, the Gazelle is still a feature-rich option, but know its limits before you go.

Second, we’ll point out that the tent stakes are pretty sad. They’re made from thin aluminum and bend easily in anything other than loose soil. This isn’t uncommon for family camping tents, so just plan on picking up a decent set from a reputable brand like DAC or MSR having them for the long haul. 

Pros:Cons:
– Insanely tough fabric
– Instant tent setup
– Removable floors for easy cleaning
– Versatility limited by hub design
– More expensive than a Nemo Wagontop 8



Core 11 Person Family Cabin Tent With Screen Room: Best On A Budget

Specs:
Weight: 36 lbs (16.3 kg)
Packed size: 29” x 14” x 14” (74cm x 36cm x36cm)
Floor size: 204” x 144 (518cm x 366cm)
Peak height: 86” (218cm)
Rooms: 2
Shape: Cabin
Occupancy: 11
Best for: Three-season camping for large groups
Price: $

If space is your top priority, an 11 person tent is tough to beat. Granted, no one is actually cramming 11 people into the Core 11 Person Family Cabin, but if you’re using the convertible screen room as dedicated living quarters, it’ll pull 6-8 sleepers (depending on how many of them are kids) with some room left over for gear.

The fact that the Core can even qualify as an 11 person tent at this price point, however, makes it our choice for the best tent with screen room on a budget. Space isn’t the only thing the Core has going for it though.

Like other Core tents we’ve reviewed in the past, waterproofing on this 11-person cabin is excellent. It’s got the same H2O block technology, which includes water-repellent fabrics and heat-sealed seams throughout the tent. It’s also got the same fantastic floor-to-ceiling adjustable ventilation, which uses openings near the ground (they’re mesh-screened to keep the critters out) to improve cross-ventilation.

As far as the screen room itself goes, this is one of the largest on our list. You can easily fit a queen-sized mattress inside with plenty of space left around so you’re not touching the tent walls. Core uses a zip-in panel approach for privacy and waterproofing. This isn’t our favorite style, but several customers have reported weathering heavy rains without a drop getting into either room, so we can’t really fault them for it either.

We also love that although the Core Family Cabin is an 11 person tent, it still uses a traditional pole and sleeve design rather than the instant-tent/pre-attached pole system we typically see on tents this large. Yea, it’ll take you a little longer to set up, but pitching the Core is by no means complicated, and we believe the traditional design will outlast 99% of instant tents out there.

With that being said, we’re also in disbelief that Core made such a large tent and only gave us one way in and out of it. This won’t be a problem for couples or smaller groups/families, but chances are you’ll be stepping over someone if nature calls in the middle of the night and you’re sleeping more than four. We also wouldn’t mind seeing a more robust floor material here. Yes, the floor is waterproof, but it also looks more tear/puncture prone than most. We recommend bringing along a footprint and laying a moving blanket or other ground cloth over high traffic areas.

Pros:Cons:
– 11 person size for a 2 person price
– Solid waterproofing
– Traditional pitch/breakdown design for longevity
– One door in an 11 person tent?
– Materials thinner than some
– Too large for some spots



Napier Sportz SUV Tent

Specs:
Weight: 50.6 lbs (22.7 kg)
Packed size: 32” x 15” x 15” (81cm x 38cm x 38cm)
Floor space: 120” x 120” (305cm x 305cm)
Peak height: 87” (221cm)
Rooms: 2
Shape: Extended dome
Occupancy: 6
Best for: Three-season car camping
Price: $$

How cool is this screen room tent from Napier? Not only does it have a nice big floor plan, a spacious screen room (although it lacks a tent floor), and a shaded exterior awning, but it also directly connects to any vehicle with a rear hatchfor even more space, sleeping area, and storage.

Although advertised as an “SUV” tent , campers use the Napier Sportz SUV screen room tent with mini-vans, Jeeps, crossovers, and even full-sized trucks with camper shells. Just pop the hatch, attach the waterproof “breezeway” running between the tent and the vehicle, and you’ve got an extra spot for the kids to sleep, a storage closet for clothes and gear, or a sheltered place to retreat when the bears come knocking.

A few things to note here: First, some campers report the car connection as a watertight feature even in driving rains, others say it’s prone to leaking. You need to take extra care setting it up if you want to be part of that first group. Second, we’ll point out that although most campers use the Napier in conjunction with their cars, it can also be used as a stand-alone tent. That’s good news, because our other gripe with the Napier is that the screen room is built into the driver’s side of the tent. Why is that a problem?

Well, it won’t be for overlanding or boondocking, since you’ll have all the space you’ll ever need in every direction. Head into developed campgrounds, on the other hand, and your site selection may be limited. That’s because 99% of campsites typically put the wider portion of the camping area on the passenger side of the vehicle (when backed in) to accommodate camper and RV use. So if you want to use that nice screen room, you may have to do a little searching, or just pitch the tent by itself.

Pros:Cons:
– Attaches to your car for extra living space/storage
– Over seven feet of headroom ain’t bad!
– Screen room AND awning for maximum hang-out space.
– Getting the vehicle connection water-tight takes some skill
– Campsite selection limited by tent design
– Floorless screenroom design isn’t a sleeping area



Wenzel Klondike 8 Person Tent With Convertible Screen Room

Specs:
Weight: 28 lbs (12.7 kg)
– Packed size: 29” x 12” x 12” (74cm x 30cm x 30cm)
– Floor size: 192” x 132” (488cm x 335cm)
– Peak height: 77” (196cm)
– Rooms: 2
– Shape: Extended dome
– Occupancy: 8
– Best for: Occasional fair-weather family campers
– Price: $

The Wenzel Klondike 8 is both the cheapest eight-person tent on our list and the cheapest tent on our list period.

If you’re looking for a spacious, light-duty family camping tent that leaves plenty of cash left over for goodies like camp chairs and queen mattresses, this is your ticket.  It’s got 98 square feet of floor space, plus a divider between the main room and the screen room, which makes it perfect for parents with children or anyone else who wants some extra privacy from time to time.

Of course for this amount of money you can’t expect a bulletproof tent, and the Wenzel Klondike needs some extra TLC to really go the distance. First, know that Wenzel uses a water-repellant treatment throughout the tent (fabrics, seams, zippers, etc) rather than fully seam-taped construction, so we recommend picking up a high quality waterproofing treatment like Nikwax and giving the Klondike a good once over.

Second, although the steel uprights of the Wenzel’s frame are plenty sturdy, there are a few reports of the fiberglass frame failing under strong winds. You’ll either want to avoid camping in less-than-ideal conditions or carry a spare pole or two with you to be safe.

Pros:Cons:
– Great price
– Partial steel frame nice touch for the money
– Floor to ceiling ventiliation
– Would prefer more coverage from rainly
– Fiberglass portion of frame not the strongest
– Highly recommend adding additional waterproofing



Coleman Screened Porch Cabin

Specs:
Weight: 26 lbs (11.8 kg)
Packed size: 26 x 12 x 12 ( 66cm x 30cm x 30cm)
Floor size: 156” x 120” (396cm x 305cm)
Peak height: 76” (193cm)
Rooms: 2
Shape: Dome
Occupancy: 6 (4 person also available)
Best for: Three season camping for couples or smaller families
Price: $$

There’s a lot to love about the Coleman Screened Porch Cabin. It’s roomy, well-ventilated, easy to set up, and has a unique approach to the screened porch that we’re big fans of… For the most part.

That’s because where other brands rely heavily on zip-in windows for waterproofing their screen rooms, Coleman simply extends the rainfly over the porch. We like this for a few reasons: First, there’s only one zipper that can potentially let rain in, and it’s well covered with a waterproof storm flap. Second, there really aren’t any situations where the “zippered window” approach is more convenient than a reliable full coverage rainfly anyways. As an added bonus, the vestibule extends a few feet beyond the screen room as well. This gives you an extra covered space to store any extra gear you don’t want cluttering up the inside of the tent.

Really the only downside to the Coleman Cabin’s screen room is that it isn’t really a space to sleep. Granted you could fit a single camper out there and they’d be fine in fair weather. Anything over a light rain, however, and you’ll be wishing you were back in the main cabin. That’s because (for some reason) Coleman designed the screen room with a mesh strip across the floor just before the main door to the tent. That means anytime it rains heavily enough for water to accumulate on the ground, there’s a good chance some will seep into the screen room.

Coleman also left the front section of the floor in the screen room flat rather than tubbed, which helps make the porch easy to sweep clean, but again, limits its waterproofing.

All things considered, if you’re not planning on anyone sleeping in the screened porch area, the Coleman is a roomy tent at an attractive price. It’s a Coleman though, so be prepared for fiberglass poles and inverted seams rather than fully sealed ones. 

Pros:Cons:
– Extended vestibule punches above its price point
– Roomy main sleeping quarters with high ceilings
– Affordable  
– Porch isn’t a great place to sleep
– Fiberglass pole construction throughout = Less durable than most



Buyer’s Guide For Tents With A Screen Room

Why Buy A Tent With A Screen Room?

The Wenzel Klondike 8: Tons of space and small budget ! – Photo from manufacturer

The main attraction for 99% percent of campers buying a tent with a screen room is having a hangout spot that’s nice and shady (and free from bugs) without having to bring a second shelter/easy-up/screen room etc.

The added bonus for tents like these is that this room also converts into a weatherproof sleeping quarters as needed. Think of it like a home office with a cozy futon: You’re not planning on sleeping there yourself, but it’s nice to have the option for a few guests from time to time.

Does The Porch Have A Floor?

This is an important distinction and one you should pay attention to.

Extended vestibule tents are becoming increasingly popular year after year. Some of these vestibules serve the same purpose (a shady hangout spot), while others are designed only to keep your gear out of the way and out of the rain.

These tents are awesome too, and we’ve reviewed several of them in our other tent lists, but just know that extended vestibules aren’t intended as sleeping spaces as there’s nothing to keep rain and runoff from entering through the floor.

Floor Size And Center Height

All the best tents with screen rooms share a similar floor plan: There’s the main room (think of that as your master bedroom) and there’s the screen room.

The usual rules apply for both floor size and center height (you want as much as you can get), but pay close attention to the actual dimensions of the screen room itself.

Photo from Simply Pics

Most screen rooms are significantly smaller than the main sleeping area, and they also tend to have lower ceiling heights. If you’re just looking for a place to throw a couple camp chairs, a cooler, and maybe a small table, pretty much every tent on this list will suit your needs. If you’re planning on using the space to sleep, prepare food, or change clothes, on the other hand, you’ll want your screen room to look a lot more like the bedroom.

Shape

Most screen room tents use a standard dome or squared “cabin” style shape, then add the screen room itself off to one side of the structure. Some break the rules here, like the Nemo Wagontop, but for the most part their designs are all pretty similar.

Cabin-style layouts tend to make for better screen room tents because they start with higher and wider ceilings. Again, the more of that space you can carry into your screen room, the better.

Seasonality/Weather Protection

Screen room tents take a few different approaches to weather protection you should be aware of. The most common uses a partial-coverage rainfly for the main sleeping room, but the screen room itself uses fabric-backed mesh panels. These panels zip down into windows when the weather is nice, but zip up into solid walls when it’s cold or wet outside. This design is convenient, but it isn’t our favorite as you’ll read below.

Our preferred design simply uses a full-coverage rainfly that completely extends over the entire tent including the screen room itself. We strongly prefer this method for several reasons. First, Every zipper is a potential failure point. This is an especially common problem for more budget-conscious tents, so the fewer zippers you’re relying on to seal out water, the better.

Photo from Dan Carlson

Aside from that, just know that any tent with a screened-in porch is what we call a “three-season tent.” That means these tents are made for Spring, Summer, and most of Fall, but won’t be a good fit for temperatures below freezing or heavy snow.

Durability/Materials

Screen room tents are no different than any other three-season (of four-season, for that matter) camping or backpacking tent.

Your first indicator of quality materials will always be the thickness of the fabric. There’s no set number to indicate quality here, but we recommend comparing the fabrics of each tent you consider to others in the same category. As a general rule of thumb higher denier (abbreviated #D) fabrics are more rugged than lower denier fabrics of the same material. So for example, a 100D polyester rainfly is better than a 30D one, all other things equal.

Tent poles are the other main concern here. The best tents with screen rooms use all-aluminum poles throughout their design.

Steel uprights are also common here, although they’re heavier and less flexible than aluminum.

You’ll also find several of the tents in this category use fiberglass poles. Fiberglass poles are generally a “budget” option that won’t stand up to nearly the same abuse as metal options. This isn’t a dealbreaker, especially if you’re shopping on a budget, but thicker, more robust fiberglass is preferable if you can get it.

Conclusion

The Core 11 Person Family Cabin: Our Best On A Budget Pick – Photo from manufacturer

For all the factors mentioned above, we chose the Nemo Wagontop as our best overall tent with a screen room.

Its outstanding floor space, high-quality materials, top-notch weatherproofing, and feature-rich design truly make it stand apart from the crowd.

We know the Wagontop doesn’t fit into everyone’s budget though, and for that reason we recommend the Core Family Cabin for large groups, or the Coleman above for smaller groups and couples.

If you’re looking for something that’s both incredibly durable and easy to set up, the Gazelle T4 Plus has some of the toughest fabrics we’ve seen in a tent from floor to ceiling and pitches easier than tents half its size. Want to know more about how to set-up the perfect campsite? Feel free to check-out our ultimate camping checklist!

Leave a Comment