Best Tailgate Tent – Which One of these 6 is Right for You?

If you’re looking for the best tailgate tent, look no further – we’ve found 6 of the best out there.

A tailgate tent (or a canopy) is different from a regular tent. It’s a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of different purposes. Whether you’re camping and you need extra space, you’re taking a day trip to a beach and you need some sun protection, or you’re having a party and you need outdoor shelter, a tailgate tent could be the answer. 

But which one is the best?

We’ll tell you straight away that we like the UNIQUECANOPY Ez Pop-Up Canopy Tent – we think it’s a brilliant choice, and we’ll let you know why we like it so much. 

We also like:

In this article, we’ll look at:

  • An overview of the best tailgate tents
  • What to look for in a tailgate tent
  • The best tailgate tents, including their features, specs, and pros and cons
  • Some frequently asked questions
  • Why we like our favorite tailgate tents

Table of Contents

  1. Best Tailgate Tents Compared
  2. What is a Tailgate Tent?
  3. What to Look for in a Tailgate Tent
    1. Size and Capacity
    2. Versatility
    3. Weatherproofing
    4. Ease of Setup
    5. Portability
  4. Best Tailgate Tents
    1. Coleman Instant Canopy
    2. UNIQUECANOPY Ez Pop-Up Canopy Tent
    3. AmazonBasics Pop-Up Canopy Tent
    4. Coleman Swingwall Instant Canopy
    5. Quik Shade Expedition Instant Canopy
    6. COOSHADE Compact Backpack Canopy
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
    1. What’s the difference between a tailgate tent and a regular tent?
    2. How long do tailgate tents last?
    3. What are tailgate tent leg weights?
    4. What weight should I use to anchor a tailgate tent?
  6. To Sum Up – Which Tailgate Tent is the Best?

Best Tailgate Tents Compared

Let’s start with an overview of all the tents!

Feature
Best for Easy Setup
Best for Bad Weather
Best on a Budget
Good for Extra Shade
Good All-Rounder
Good for Space Saving
Coleman Instant Canopy
UNIQUECANOPY Ex Pop-Up Canopy Tent
AmazonBasics Pop-Up Canopy Tent
Coleman Swingwall Instant Canopy
Quik Shade Expedition Instant Canopy
COOSHADE Compact Backpack Canopy
Coleman Instant Canopy
UNIQUECANOPY 10'x10' Ez Pop Up Canopy Tent Commercial Instant Shelter with Heavy Duty Roller Bag, 4 Canopy Sand Bags, 10x10 FT Black
AmazonBasics Pop-Up Canopy Tent - 10' x 10', Blue
Coleman Swingwall Instant Canopy, 10 x 10 Feet
Quik Shade Expedition 10 x 10-Foot Instant Canopy, Slant Leg Outdoor Tent, 64 Square Feet of Shade for 8-12 People - Navy Blue
COOSHADE 6x6Ft Compact Lightweight Backpack Canopy Sun Protection Pop-Up Shelter Slant Leg Beach Tent(Grey)
Price not available
Price not available
$109.99
$216.99
$94.99
$89.99
-
-
-
Feature
Best for Easy Setup
Coleman Instant Canopy
Coleman Instant Canopy
Price not available
-
Feature
Best for Bad Weather
UNIQUECANOPY Ex Pop-Up Canopy Tent
UNIQUECANOPY 10'x10' Ez Pop Up Canopy Tent Commercial Instant Shelter with Heavy Duty Roller Bag, 4 Canopy Sand Bags, 10x10 FT Black
Price not available
-
Feature
Best on a Budget
AmazonBasics Pop-Up Canopy Tent
AmazonBasics Pop-Up Canopy Tent - 10' x 10', Blue
$109.99
Feature
Good for Extra Shade
Coleman Swingwall Instant Canopy
Coleman Swingwall Instant Canopy, 10 x 10 Feet
$216.99
-
Feature
Good All-Rounder
Quik Shade Expedition Instant Canopy
Quik Shade Expedition 10 x 10-Foot Instant Canopy, Slant Leg Outdoor Tent, 64 Square Feet of Shade for 8-12 People - Navy Blue
$94.99
Feature
Good for Space Saving
COOSHADE Compact Backpack Canopy
COOSHADE 6x6Ft Compact Lightweight Backpack Canopy Sun Protection Pop-Up Shelter Slant Leg Beach Tent(Grey)
$89.99

What is a Tailgate Tent?

Display tent example

A tailgate tent is different from a regular tent – it’s more like a canopy, consisting of four sides and an overhead covering. They sometimes come with detachable walls, too. They’re designed to be fast to set up, and give a bit of weather protection for outdoor events. They’re ideal for parties, trips to the beach, trade shows, and picnics.

What to Look for in a Tailgate Tent

Here’s a quick guide on what to look for in a tailgate tent:

Size and Capacity

One of the first things you’ll want to look for is the size of the tent – the bigger it is, the more people will comfortably fit inside it. Another thing to consider is the height. Taller campers will obviously need a taller tent, and some tailgate tents have an adjustable center height, allowing to create more headspace if you need to.

Versatility

Tailgate tents can be used for anything – parties, events, picnics, trade shows, beach shelters – it gives you a basic structure with a roof which you can use as and when you need to.

Tent on the beach

Some tailgate tents come with removable walls. This is a good option if you want more weatherproofing or a little more privacy, but you do have to buy them separately sometimes. If you’re going to be using it as a sun shelter on a beach or a canopy in your garden, you may not need the walls, and can therefore get away with spending a bit less.

Weatherproofing

A tailgate tent is not going to give you the same weather protection as a full tent. However, they are designed to give you a level of shelter. Many tailgate tents have decent UV protection, as they tend to use polyester that is designed to block UV rays. This also increases durability – increased exposure to the sun can fade or damage fabric over time, but coated polyester can withstand this for longer.

Coated polyester is great because it provides a level of waterproofing, too. However, not all tailgate tents have walls, which means that rain combined with wind can still cause you to get wet.

Windy conditions can be an issue for tailgate tents. Most come with stakes (or pegs, a small hook which you can drive into the ground) and guy lines (ropes that attach the tent to the stakes), allowing you to anchor your tent to the ground. If you want to pitch it on gravel or sand, you may run into trouble if it’s windy. Some tailgate tents come with sandbags included, which gives you extra protection against the wind.

Ease of Setup

Another thing to consider is the ease of setup. Like regular instant tents, some tailgate tents are designed to be set up in minutes, even by 1 person. Others may require 2 people or more to set it up, depending on the size.

Portability

Close-up camper putting up a tent

Finally, consider the portability of your tailgate tent. They fold down into different sizes, so if you’re really tight on space, check out the size of the carry case or bag. Tailgate tents can be heavy, but some come with wheeled carry bags, making it easier to transport them.

Now – let’s take a look at some of the best tailgate tents out there.

6 Best Tailgate Tents

Below we’ve reviewed the 6 best tailgate tents that you should consider buying for your next camping trip.

Coleman Instant Canopy – Best for Easy Setup

Coleman Instant Canopy

Key Features

  • Size:
    10 x 10 x 9ft 4in
    120 x 120 x 113in
    305 x 305 x 338cm
  • Size Packed:
    8 x 8 x 48in
    20 x 20 x 124cm
  • Weight: 35.5lbs / 16.10kgs
  • Materials: Double-thick polyester with UPF 50+ sun protection

The Coleman Instant Canopy tent is pretty spacious, with a tall center height of 9ft 4in (113in/338cm).

The UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) 50+ sun protection is really useful, especially if you want to use it on the beach. It comes with pre-attached guy lines (ropes that attach the tent to the stakes) to hold it to the ground, but this won’t work on sand or asphalt. In that case, if you want to keep your tent up in windy conditions, it’s recommended that you buy sandbags to provide stability. We’d recommend something like the .

One drawback is that some users found it isn’t as durable as they expected, with rips developing at the seams over time.

The main draw of this tent is how easy it is to put it together. Just lay the tent on its side and extend the legs – it’s really easy and takes minutes to do. It’s designed to avoid getting your fingers trapped in the poles as they extend, which is always a good thing! It folds up into a wheeled carry bag for easy transportation.

Pros

  • Folds down easily
  • Comes with handy wheeled carry bag
  • Really easy to put together
  • Good UPF 50+ protection

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with sandbags
  • Not as durable as some of the other tents on this list
Buy on Amazon

UNIQUECANOPY Ez Pop-Up Canopy Tent – Best for Bad Weather

UNIQUECANOPY Ez Pop-Up Canopy Tent
UNIQUECANOPY 10'x10' Ez Pop Up Canopy Tent Commercial Instant Shelter with Heavy Duty Roller Bag, 4 Canopy Sand Bags, 10x10 FT Black
196 Reviews
UNIQUECANOPY 10'x10' Ez Pop Up Canopy Tent Commercial Instant Shelter with Heavy Duty Roller Bag, 4 Canopy Sand Bags, 10x10 FT Black
  • ☛300D heavy duty polyester fabric, PU lining, 100% waterproof, 99% UV protect popup canopy, CPAI-84 and NFPA 701 fire retardant certificated
  • ☛Powder coated steel frame, rust resistance, 3 adjustment heights available 10.7 ft, 10.9 ft, 11.1 ft, easy to set up, cover 10 people at the same time
  • ☛High quality upgrade wheeled carrying bag for this portable commercial grade canopy provided, convenient to transport
  • ☛Perfect folded 10x10 rain canopy for beach, backyard, gazebos, patio, play ground, flea market, garden, wedding, tailgate party, trade show, event, festival, picnics, outdoor sports.etc.
  • ☛Accessories: 1 x Wheeled Bag, 4 x Stakes & Guy Ropes, 4 x Canopy Sand Bags, 1 x Instruction Manual. We offer custom printing and 1 year warranty for the canopy tent and life-long service after sale

Key Features

  • Size:
    10 x 10 x 10ft 7in
    120 x 120 x 129in
    305 x 305 x 328cm
  • Size Packed:
    67 x 10.5 x 9.5in
    170 x 27 x 24cm
  • Weight: 51.3lbs / 23.26kgs
  • Materials: Heavy-duty polyester with PU lining

The UNIQUECANOPY Ez Pop-Up Canopy Tent is a spacious tent with a generous center height of 10ft 7in (129in/328cm), but it’s adjustable and can go even higher, all the way up to 11ft 1in (133in/338cm).

What’s great about this tent is the weatherproofing. It has a powder-coated steel frame for better rust resistance, and super durable, heavy-duty fabric that will keep the rain off as well as providing UV protection. It also comes with 4 canopy sandbags, which is great if you want to pitch it on gravel or sand. It’s the best choice on this list for bad weather conditions.

The drawback to this tent in comparison to others is that it’s a bit more difficult to put together. As it’s so durable, it’s made of heavy-duty materials, making it more difficult to lift and hold in position while you put it together. Users describe it as being a 2-man job at the very least, so that’s something to bear in mind.

It comes in a wheeled carrying bag, for convenient storage.

Pros

  • Variable heights, with good amount of headroom
  • Made from durable materials, so should last a long time
  • Comes with sandbags
  • Good rain and UV protection

Cons

  • Heavy and harder to put together with just one person
Buy on Amazon

AmazonBasics Pop-Up Canopy Tent – Best on a Budget

AmazonBasics Pop-Up Canopy Tent
AmazonBasics Pop-Up Canopy Tent - 10' x 10', Blue
674 Reviews
AmazonBasics Pop-Up Canopy Tent - 10' x 10', Blue
  • Blue pop-up canopy tent with durable steel frame and cathedral-style roof for maximum headroom
  • Angled leg design provides 96 square feet of shade; polyester top provides 99% UV protection from the sun's harmful rays
  • White powder-coat finish on high-grade steel frame helps prevent chipping, peeling, rust, and corrosion
  • Not recommended for use in prolonged rain or during strong wind; wheeled bag for easy transport included
  • Measures 118.1 by 118.1 by 96.5 inches; weighs 43.66 pounds; backed by an AmazonBasics 1-year limited warranty

Key Features

  • Size:
    9ft 8in x 9ft 8in x 8ft
    118 x 118 x 97in
    300 x 300 x 247cm
  • Size Packed:
    Packs down into 5ft long bag
  • Weight: 40.7lbs / 18.46kg
  • Materials: Polyester

The AmazonBasics Pop-Up Canopy Tent is a good choice if you’re on a tighter budget. It has less headroom than some of the others on this list, but it’s still tall enough to walk around it. The tent comes in blue, white, and grey.

It does have some weatherproofing, including an angled-leg design to give more shade, and 99% UV protection. As a pop-up tent for a beach or for good weather, it’s a great choice. However, it’s not particularly well waterproofed, and the product description states that it should not be used in prolonged rain or strong wind. So, you’ll have to be pretty sure that the weather will be good if you want to use it. It does have a powder-coated steel frame, so the frame at least is durable.

It’s very easy to set up, thanks to the folding frame, although it’s easier with 2 people. It comes in a handy storage bag.

Pros

  • Lower price point
  • Good sun protection
  • Durable
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Not suitable for prolonged rain or wind
Buy on Amazon

Coleman Swingwall Instant Canopy – Good for Extra Shade

Coleman Swingwall Instant Canopy
Coleman Swingwall Instant Canopy, 10 x 10 Feet
718 Reviews
Coleman Swingwall Instant Canopy, 10 x 10 Feet
  • Outdoor canopy tent provides 100 sq. ft. of shade and shelter
  • Sets up in 3 steps and 3 minutes without having to reach over your head
  • Provides protection from sun, rain, and wind
  • Swingwall can be set up as a wall or provide an additional 60 sq. ft. of shade as an awning
  • Lightweight telescoping poles feature comfort grip for easy setup

Key Features

  • Size:
    10 x 10 x 8ft
    120 x 120 x 96in
    305 x 305 x 244cm
  • Size Packed:
    51 x 51 x 10in
    130 x 130 x 25
  • Weight: 28lbs / 12.70kg
  • Materials: Polyester

The Coleman Instant Canopy Swingwall provides a good amount of shade. It has an adjustable center height, going all the way up to 8ft (96in/244cm), and it has a swingwall (this is a full-length wall which can be rolled down if you want extra shade from the sun, or rolled up if you don’t need to use it).

The materials are coated to provide UV protection, and it also provides a little shelter from the rain. However, it’s not designed to withstand heavy rain and strong wind. It doesn’t come with sandbags, so if you want to keep it anchored to the ground on sand or gravel, you’ll have to buy them separately.

It’s really easy to set up – it takes less than 5 minutes, although it’s easier with two people. It folds down into a wheeled carry bag.

Pros

  • Generous amount of shade
  • Can be adjusted to suit your needs
  • UV protection is good
  • Easy setup

Cons

  • Won’t withstand heavy rain and wind
  • Doesn’t come with sandbags
Buy on Amazon

Quik Shade Expedition Instant Canopy – Good All-Rounder

Quik Shade Expedition Instant Canopy
Quik Shade Expedition 10 x 10-Foot Instant Canopy, Slant Leg Outdoor Tent, 64 Square Feet of Shade for 8-12 People - Navy Blue
711 Reviews
Quik Shade Expedition 10 x 10-Foot Instant Canopy, Slant Leg Outdoor Tent, 64 Square Feet of Shade for 8-12 People - Navy Blue
  • AMPLE SHADE SPACE: 10' x 10' fully assembled slant leg instant canopy with adjustable dual half awnings provides 64 square feet of shade for 8-12 people
  • MADE TO LAST: Sturdy, lightweight construction with a corrosion resistant powder-coated steel, one-piece frame for long-lasting durability
  • EASY LATCH SYSTEM: Extra large push/pull latch sliders and leg extenders offer easy adjustment between 3 height positions and allow for peak height of 9'
  • QUALITY CANOPY MATERIAL: Super Vent canopy top made with 300 denier polyester fabric with Aluminex-backed top ensures 99% UV protection, water resistance, and cooler shade area
  • STORAGE BAG: Convenient 600 denier polyester bag lets you store and transport anywhere with ease

Key Features

  • Size:
    10 x 10 x 9ft
    120 x 120 x 108in
    305 x 305 x 274cm
  • Size Packed:
    16 x 50 x 8in
    41 x 127 x 20
  • Weight: 28lbs / 12.70kg
  • Materials: Polyester

The Quik Shade Expedition Instant Canopy is a good all-rounder. It has an adjustable center height, which goes up to 9ft (108in/274cm). It comes in 7 different colors.

In terms of weatherproofing, it has a vented canopy top made from polyester with UV protection and some water resistance, but it’s not designed to withstand heavy rain without leaking. It also has a sturdy frame made from corrosion-resistant steel – users report that it is pretty durable and lasts for a long time. It doesn’t come with sandbags, so you’ll have to buy them separately.

It’s easy to put together, taking 5 minutes or less. It also has an easy-latch system so you can adjust the center height without too much trouble. It comes with a handy storage bag.

Pros

  • Adjustable to allow for more headroom
  • Good sun protection
  • Durable
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Not that good in heavy rain or wind
  • Doesn’t come with sandbags
Buy on Amazon

COOSHADE Compact Backpack Canopy – Good for Space Saving

COOSHADE Compact Backpack Canopy
COOSHADE 6x6Ft Compact Lightweight Backpack Canopy Sun Protection Pop-Up Shelter Slant Leg Beach Tent(Grey)
43 Reviews
COOSHADE 6x6Ft Compact Lightweight Backpack Canopy Sun Protection Pop-Up Shelter Slant Leg Beach Tent(Grey)
  • 【PARTS INCLUDED】Fully assembled powder-coated steel frame,painted silver canopy top,2/3 sun protection wall with mesh pocket,600D super mini backpack bag,Bonus 8 Stakes and 4 Ropes
  • 【SUN PROTECTION】150D CPAI-84 flame retardant polyester top with silver coating inside provides 36 sq. ft. of shade with 99% UV protection from the sun.Cools and protects 2 to 4 people,perfect for a trip for couples or nuclear family.
  • 【PROTECTION OF ELEMENTS】The 2/3 sun protection wall to shade and cool from the late afternoon sun,also great air flow.Sunblock,wind block cross-breeze and privacy,killing four birds with one stone.The mesh pocket on the panel convenient for cell phones,towels and so on
  • 【60 SECS EASY SET UP】Fast frame system, fully assembled One-Piece sturdy metal frame with easy to use push button locking mechanism,takes one person less than 1 minute to set up.Designed with ultra light 3-piece telescoping aluminum legs provide two extra adjustable heights,get your favorite height easily.
  • 【EASY TRANSPORT】Canopy folds under 28inchs and weighs less than 18lbs,super mini backpack storage bag with padded shoulder straps, storage side pocket and mesh drinking bottle holder,frees your hands,really easy carry and transport for your hiking,camping,fishing,picnic and family outings and so on.

Key Features

  • Size:
    6 x 6 x 6ft
    72 x 72 x 72in
    183 x 183 x 183cm
  • Size Packed:
    27.8 x 7.5 x 7.5in
    67 x 19 x 19
  • Weight: 19.36lbs / 8.86kg
  • Materials: Polyester with silver coating

The COOSHADE Compact Backpack Canopy is a great, lightweight option. The center height can be adjusted up to 6ft (72in/183cm). It also has a mesh pocket on the inside for storage.

The tent has great sun protection, providing 99% UV protection from the sun, with a flame-retardant polyester top. It provides some protection from wind and gives a little bit of privacy with one half-wall. Water can start to collect on the sides during heavy or consistent rain, but it doesn’t seem to damage the tent itself. It comes with stakes to anchor it to the ground, but it doesn’t come with sandbags.

The main draw of this canopy is that it’s lightweight, and it folds up into a very small bag – great if you’re trying to save space. It also has a 60-second set up – the frame is designed to lock into place easily, which is a real bonus.

Pros

  • Folds up very small
  • Lightweight to carry
  • Gives good sun protection
  • Easy to setup

Cons

  • Doesn’t give great rain protection
  • Not as much headroom as some of the others on this list
Buy on Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

white bus near lake

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about tailgate tents:

What’s the difference between a tailgate tent and a regular tent?

A tailgate tent is not designed to be completely weatherproof, and they don’t usually have walls that extend right down to the floor. They’re designed in a canopy shape, to provide some shelter. Regular tents are designed to keep you dry and safe in many weather conditions and come with full walls and flooring.

How long do tailgate tents last?

This depends upon the actual model. Tailgate tents can last from 3-5 years with some exposure to rain, UV rays, and wind. Some are more durable than others.

What are tailgate tent leg weights?

Similar to sandbags, tailgate tent leg weights are specifically designed to be used with tailgate tents, attaching to the legs of the tent and therefore helping it to stay in place. This is good if you’re using it on hard ground or sand, and you can’t use the stakes and lines provided.

What weight should I use to anchor a tailgate tent?

It is recommended that you use a 40lb weight (or sandbag) on each corner of your tailgate tent (this applies to a 10ft (120in/305cm) tent. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for more advice, or look for tailgate tent leg weights that are designed to use with your chosen tent.

To Sum Up – Which Tailgate Tent is the Best?

Commercial Instant Shelter with Heavy Duty Roller Bag

As we mentioned earlier, we really like the UNIQUECANOPY Ez Pop-Up Canopy Tent. It’s a durable option, and we like the fact that it has sandbags provided, so you won’t have to worry about buying them yourself. It’s roomy, but it folds down into a small carry case. The downside is that it’s not as simple to set up, but we think it’s worth it for the weatherproofing.

We also like the Coleman Instant Canopy, as it’s super easy to set up, as well as the Quik Shade Expedition Instant Canopy, which is a good, durable all-rounder.

We hope this has helped you to find a tailgate tent that works for you!

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