Gear Guy

What's the best tent for desert camping?

I'm looking for a new tent that will protect me from dust storms while I'm camping in the high desert, (I admit it—I'm a long-time burner). Should I go for a single-wall tent? My mesh tent with a rain fly doesn't keep the dust out.

What's the best tent for desert camping?

The North Face Phoenix 2 Photo: Courtesy of The North Face

The North Face makes a good two-person single-wall called the Phoenix 2 ($329). It's relatively light (3 pounds 10 ounces) and, like Black Diamond, uses a proprietary waterproof-breathable fabric.

The other main alternative is to find a tent like Sierra Designs’s Origami 3 ($219) with a single-pole pyramid structure. Unfortunately, pyramids often have an open gap along the floor, and blowing dust tents to stick close to the ground. It’s a great concept, but I'm not totally comfortable vouching for it.

One final option: buy a beach windscreen. Get one that’s 10 feet long and erect it upwind when you pitch your tent. It should disrupt wind flow enough that most of the dust settles before it hits the tent. Plus, it'll give you a little privacy.

Hope that helps!

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