Must-Know Tips for Blackout Tent Camping


Jason is an adventure travel writer with a passion for exploring the world's most beautiful and remote destinations.

If you’re an avid camper, you probably know the discomfort of being woken up at dawn by the rising sun. There’s nothing like being out in nature, but no one wants to be awake at 6 am after a full day of adventuring the day before. 

Most people turn to sleep masks or hide inside their sleeping bags, but neither of these is a particularly comfortable solution. 

This is why blackout tents are lifesavers. By blocking out the early morning sun, you can get more sleep and better rest on your camping trips

In this post, we’ll share our expert tips on blackout tent camping and help you choose the best blackout tent for your next camping trip. 

What is a Blackout Tent?

Blackout tent near water

A blackout tent is made with specific fabrics that have light-diffusing or light-absorbing qualities. They have all the other features of a regular tent but have the added benefit of keeping the inside of the tent as dark as possible. 

Some of the most heavy-duty tents with blackout technology claim to block out 99% of daylight, which makes them great for anyone sensitive to light when sleeping. Others simply reduce the morning light using dark materials for the outer shell. 

So, why aren’t all tents made with blackout materials? Traditional tents are made with light fabrics to stop them from getting too hot. If you’ve been camping, you’ll know tents tend to turn into ovens in the heat. 

Blackout tents have innovations in ventilation and climate control to keep them dark and cool. Of course, this does make them more expensive than regular tents. 

The Benefits of Blackout Tent Camping

If you’re wondering if a blackout tent is worth it, they do come with some important benefits.

More hours of sleep

It can be tough getting enough sleep when you’re woken up by sunrise. Sure, you could wear a sleep mask, but a blackout tent keeps the entire room nice and dark, so you can get more hours of sleep on a camping trip. 

Great for afternoon naps

If you go camping with kids, blackout tents are perfect for much-needed afternoon naps. It’s tough getting kids to sleep when the sun is glaring, but a blackout tent will help them drop off and get some rest much easier. 

Block out moonlight

If you’re camping on a night with a clear sky and a full moon, it’s going to be pretty bright out. 

For example, Great Sand Dune National Park is a dark sky reserve and you wouldn’t believe how beautifully bright the night sky is when it’s lit up by stars and a full moon. 

Of course, if you don’t have any issues sleeping in the light, a blackout tent is probably an unnecessary purchase. There are plenty of other cool tent features out there you could look at instead. 

Temperature control

Traditional tents are made with light fabrics so they don’t absorb heat. So, you might be thinking, won’t a dark material make the tent so much hotter?

Actually, no. The best blackout tents use breathable fabrics and ventilation technology to help regulate the temperature inside the tent throughout the day and at night. 

Who are Blackout Tents For?

Blackout tent with two chairs in the woods

Blackout tents are great for a range of campers, all for different reasons:

  • Family camping: it’s tough getting kids to sleep in perfect conditions, but camping can be that much harder. A blackout tent will help kids sleep for longer and make sure they get enough rest. 
  • Backpackers: if you’re planning on long days of hiking, climbing, or wild camping, you need to get quality sleep. Blackout tents will help you get a full eight hours, so you’re ready for your next day of adventuring. 
  • Festival goers: Blackout tents were originally marketed at festival goers who wanted to sleep off a hangover. A blackout festival tent is still perfect for getting some much-needed shut-eye throughout the sunny mornings. 

The great thing about blackout tents is that they’re great for just about anyone who goes camping. Who doesn’t want a better night’s sleep? 

However, they do tend to come with a higher price tag than regular tents. So, if you’re on a budget for your camping trip, you may want to forgo the blackout feature. 

How to Set Up a Blackout Tent

If you buy a blackout tent, you can set it up just like you would a regular tent. The exterior will just be made of a different material that blocks out the light. 

However, if you don’t want to invest in a brand-new tent but still want the benefits of a blackout, there are a couple of ways to blackout a tent yourself. 

Attach a blackout liner

You can customize pretty much any tent with a blackout liner. A blackout liner is a large piece of fabric that reflects light – you can pick them up from most camping stores online. 

Since tents aren’t built to accommodate blackout lining, you’ll have to cut the blackout fabric to size. Measure each panel of your tent and then carefully cut the lining so it’ll fit. 

Here’s where you need to get creative. Some people use ties and secure the liner to the tent poles; other people use self-adhesive tape or velcro to stick the lining to the inside of the tent. 

You don’t need to apply the liner to every inch of your tent. In fact, you could just go with the side of the tent that faces the sunrise. 

However you decide to attach it, though, it’s always best to go with a purpose-made blackout liner. These are lightweight and breathable, so they won’t trap moisture in your tent like blankets or towels would. 

Erect a tarp shield

If you don’t like the idea of cutting up blackout lining, you could also erect a tarp shield to help block out the sun. It’s relatively easy to suspend a tarp from nearby tree branches or to erect one using poles. 

This option doesn’t involve modifying your tent and can also be great as weather protection in wind and rain. 

It won’t block out the sun as well as lining or a dark room tent will, but it’s a great option for backpackers on a budget. Don’t forget that a tarp can be heavy, so this one will involve upping your backpack weight. 

What to Pack for Blackout Camping

grey and yellow blackout tent

A blackout camping tent is one of the best ways to get a good night’s sleep when you’re camping. But there are also some other items you can pack that will improve your sleep and camping experience. 


It’s not just light that can disrupt your sleep, even muffled noise can keep you up all night. Whether you’re in a campground with noisy neighbors or a national park with nocturnal animals, noise is inevitable when camping. 

Earplugs are inexpensive and come in packs that are perfect for camping trips. Make sure to keep them in a case so they don’t get dirty, and wash them regularly if you buy reusable ones. 

A good mattress

The more material between you and the ground, the comfier you’ll be and the better you’ll sleep. Invest in a decent roll mat to put under your mattress and an inflatable mattress on top. 

Air mattresses are much better for your back and are easy to deflate and carry during the day. Just make sure you check for punctures before you set off – you don’t want to wake up on a flat air mattress!

A warm sleeping bag

It doesn’t matter how warm it is during the day, it gets surprisingly cold once the sun goes down. Sleeping bags come with different temperature ratings, so get one that’s well within the range of temperatures you’re likely to encounter. 

If you’re not warm through the night, you’ll find it incredibly hard to get a good night’s sleep. 

A comfy pillow

If you have space to take a normal pillow, this is the best option. However, they can be bulky if you’re going backpacking or camping with limited space for supplies. 

If you can’t take a normal pillow, take a pillowcase and stuff it with your clothes. This will be nice and comfy to sleep on and takes up zero extra space. 

There are inflatable pillows on the market, but these tend to be hard and uncomfortable to sleep on. 

The Best Blackout Tents

If you’re convinced that a blackout tent is the right choice for your camping trip, there are some great options on the market. 

Coleman blackout tents

Prices start at $110

Coleman is one of the most popular brands for blackout tent camping. The Blackout Bedroom Tent has dark room technology that blocks out 99% of daylight from the sleeping areas but leaves the communal areas with regular light. This is great for getting a good night’s rest without making the entire camping tent too dark. 

Your Coleman tent will also have climate control temperature management, which keeps the sleeping area 5°C cooler during the day and up to 1°C warmer at night. There’s nothing worse than a boiling hot or freezing cold tent, so this is a great feature. 

Coleman tents range from four to six-person tents, so they’re ideal for family camping.  

Coleman blackout tents

Zempire light-diffusing tents

Prices start at $1000

Zempire is another well-known brand that offers light-diffusing tents. Rather than blocking out most of the sunlight, these tents filter out a lot of the light to help you sleep in the early morning. However, throughout the day, you’ll get enough light in the camping tent to avoid needing torches. 

Zempire tents use a poly-cotton fabric that increases breathability, as well as ventilation panels to keep the tents cool in the heat. 

Most of the tents from Zempire are inflatable, which makes them easier to erect, but they do come at a higher price point. 

Zempire light-diffusing tents

Vango lights-out tents

Prices start at $400

Vango is known for its Airbeam inflatable technology, but they’ve also got an innovative ‘lights-out’ feature. They use a darkened fabric in the sleeping areas to block out the early morning light. 

These tents also have a poly-cotton fabric, which enhances breathability, filters noise, and reduces light. 

Vango lights-out tents

Regatta Karuna tents with blackout bedrooms

Prices start at $300

Regatta Karuna is a great brand for group and family camping since they have some great large tents for up to six people. The bedrooms feature darkened fabric, which reduces light but doesn’t filter it out completely. 

The tents also utilize vents and mesh doors to allow air to circulate and avoid moisture build-up. 

Regatta Karuna tents have spacious living areas that aren’t blacked out, so they’re perfect for group gatherings. 

Regatta Karuna tents with blackout bedrooms

Outdoor Revolution Tents with darkened bedrooms

Prices start at $550

Last but not least, Outdoor Revolution has a great range of tents using their iconic ‘twilight fabric’. This helps to filter exterior light in the early mornings but still lets light through during the day. 

The brand also has a Vortex ventilation system that helps maintain comfortable temperatures during the day and night, as well as extra deep bedrooms that cater to larger airbeds. 

Outdoor Revolution Tent with darkened bedrooms

Other Types of Camping Tents

Over the years, camping tents have evolved. Now, they come with a range of technologies that make them more comfortable and easier to sleep in, even on long camping trips. 

Blackout tents are perfect for keeping the tent nice and dark through the early morning hours, giving you much more time to get some shut-eye. 

If you don’t struggle to sleep in the morning sun, maybe blackout tent camping isn’t for you. But we have so many other great options to show you. 

Head to our next guide, where we run through the different types of camping tents and the benefits of each one. 

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