Fall often means football for many families. Whether we are attending a local high school game, college or even a pro game, the events of the day usually start with some pre-game. This is what we call tailgating, basically when fans meet up close to the field or stadium to grill and socialize before the big game. Unlike baseball, football games go on without regard to the weather. To make it through the tailgating part of the day, many fans invest in an excellent tailgate tent. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about a tailgate tent.
Top Picks: 5 Best Tailgate Tent
What Is a Tailgate Tent?
A tailgate tent is not a full-sized tent as much as it is a canopy. They are made to set up quickly and do not need to be staked into the ground. This makes them easy to use in a parking-lot stadium side. The point of the covering is to shelter fans from rain or sun.These are the same tents we see at outdoor festivals or markets.
Not every tailgate tent comes with side panels, but some do standard. The basic canopy offers overhead covering and a design that folds quickly into a storage bag for transport.
The most common tailgate tent offers a form of the accordion design that folds up. The top of the canopy can be flat or come to a point. The tents usually have either a steel or aluminum frame.Steel frames are more substantial and can take more abuse. These frames can be less portable than those made of aluminum. Using the less sturdy aluminum often drives down the cost a tailgate tent.
The covering is made up of a waterproof fabric, usually either polyester or vinyl. Polyester is the more common of the two materials, but vinyl offers a higher level of UV protection. Vinyl is also easier to clean and can be made with added features like windows in the sidewalls.
The legs of the tent will either be straight or slanted at an angle. The angled legs take up more room on the ground without giving the user any more room inside.For example, a slanted tent with ten by ten dimensions provides the user with 64 feet of space inside. A straight-legged canopy that measures ten by ten delivers 100 feet of inside space. This design is often cheaper than a straight-legged tailgate tent.
Each tent comes with a variety of accessories. This can include sidewalls, partial walls, a wall with a door and things like sandbags for added stability. They often also come with a special travel bag or case with wheels.A sturdy case with wheels makes them easier to transfer from the car to the set-up area. A good carry bag becomes even more critical when using a steel-framed tent because they are heavier than the aluminum models.
The items listed below include at least three sidewalls and are made of steel frames. This bumps up the starting price slightly as the lowest-priced tent. All the listed tents can be ordered through Amazon.
Top 3 Tailgate Tent Reviews
We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
1. CRINEX 10×10 Canopy Tent
The straight-legged design delivers 100 square feet of protected space inside. This tailgate tent comes with three sidewalls, each with clear windows. Because it only comes with three sidewalls, this tent is ready to be linked with other units to customize the coverage area. Connecting two of the 10 ft by 10 ft tents would give the user a full-enclosed 20 ft by 10 ft space.
The legs of each canopy can be set at one of three heights. The accordion frame pops-up ready to use. They also stow quickly in the included travel bag. The bag is basic without wheels. Each tent comes with separate sandbags to help keep them stable.
- ease of use
- assembly time
- design quality
Easy to use and made to combine tents to cover larger spaces. This makes the design very flexible.
Covering seems to be slightly lighter weight than more costly tents, and the canopy needs to be pulled tight.
The addition of the windows is a nice feature but it has three sidewalls, which doesn’t work in bad weather.
Two-year warranty with options for repairs after that point directly from the company.
- Only tent listed with clear windows on the sidewalls
- Adjustable legs can be used at one of three settings
- Designed to easily combine for bigger spaces
- Only comes with three sidewalls
- Not as high of quality as the more costly tents
- Only comes in white
2. ABCCANOPY High Grade Gazebos
This tailgate tent is the most flexible on the list. The steel frame can be adjusted to several heights, and they are straight-legged designed. Each tent comes with four full-sized sidewalls and two half-sized sidewalls. The sides can be used in a variety of configurations.
In warmer weather, the flexible half-sides provide air circulation. Having a full set of full-sized walls can also come in handy during bad weather as it can make an enclosed space.
The travel bag includes wheels to make moving the closed canopy easy. There is no need to lift the tent to carry it as the sturdy wheels work on most surfaces. As a bonus, the warranty covers not only the tent but also the wheeled transport bag. This tent also comes in a variety of colors, unlike the first tent reviewed.
- ease of use
- assembly time
- design quality
Pop-up design folds into a wheeled bag for easy travel.
Pop-up tent made to assemble without tools
6 sidewalls make this the most flexible tailgate tent on the list.
Three-year full warranty includes a wheeled bag
- Comes with 6 sidewalls, 2 half and 4 full
- Wheeled travel bag
- Warranty covers everything, including the travel bag and sidewalls
- None of the sidewalls have windows
- Still made of polyester although the cost is higher
3. Eurmax 10’x10′ Ez Pop-up Canopy Tent
This four-walled tailgating tent is the happy medium between the two styles listed above. The tent comes with a set of three full walls and one wall with both a window and roll-up door. The user can opt out of using any of the walls or use up to 4 in any grouping. This design does not have the flexibility of the half walls.
Adding the roll-up door and window make the fully enclosed tent easier to use than the other full tent listed. The lack of windows on all sides makes this design a little closed in for some customers. This tent does also come in the widest variety of colors than any tailgate tent listed.
As with both the other tents, this frame can be set to one of three heights. It also folds down quickly into a bag with rollers. This bag has two wheels.
- ease of use
- assembly time
- design quality
The brackets on the frame are a bit more complex to lock into place
Takes a short time longer than the other canopies to lock everything in
Window and a door in one sidewall are a nice feature
- One sidewall has both a door and a window
- Can be used fully enclosed
- Travel bag has wheels for easy transport
- Travel bag does not appear to be as sturdy as the other bag listed
- Lacks an option for warm weather beyond not using any sidewalls
- Short warranty
After looking at the three tailgate tent options, we can skip the cheaper tents that come with the slanted legs. This design loses way too much internal space given that it takes up the same amount of ground space. This is the reason this list featured nothing with a slanted leg. It is just not user-friendly or a good use of valuable tailgate space.
When comparing the three tents above, the choice comes down to price, flexibility, and ease of use. If we are only looking for a basic tent that fits into a tailgate party with little fuss or muss, the $160 to $180 CRINEX model does the job. It does not come in any other color than white, so it will be harder to customize. This works for families that follow multiple teams and may not want to commit to a particular color.
The great thing about the CRINEX model is that it comes with windows and only in white. This makes it easy to use beyond tailgating, for things like outdoor parties or even a wedding.This tent can be dressed up or down. The biggest drawback is that one alone cannot be set up to be fully enclosed. We needed to combine two of this model to create a full shelter.
When we looked at the canopy from ABCCANOPY, there seemed to be way more flexibility. It is available in a wide range of colors and comes with a variety of sidewalls. This kit ships with two half-walls and four full-walls. This means the tent can be set up with half-walls to encourage air circulation for warm weather or as a fully enclosed outdoor space in the cold.
The ABCCANOPY design was almost perfect, except for one small missing piece. Both of the other models offered some window feature, which they did not. The half-sides do partially make up for this lacking, but a window would be beautiful for the times it is used with all four full sides.
A hardy, reinforced travel back on wheels made the ABCCANOPY model the easiest to transport. The last bag also has wheels, but this bag is made to be more durable than that.
Eurmax rounds out the list of tailgate tent options. This tent comes in a variety of colors like the ABCCANOPY. It also has something that canopy did not, a door and window in one of the included sidewalls. There are four full-sized sidewalls, with only one having both the window and roll-up door.
While the Eurmax is at the same price-point as the ABCCANOPY, it does not seem to be at the same quality level. The lack of flexibility for the sidewalls is the biggest downside to the Eurmax tent.
Another issue with the Eurmax design is tied to the travel bag. While it comes with wheels, the design and comfort fall flat. The bag from ABCCANOPY is visibly more durable and more comfortable to use. This tent also comes with the shortest warranty of the three listed.
The $100 price difference between the CRINEX and the ABCCANOPY may be a deal breaker for some customers to take the leap and buy the pricier tent. The fact that it comes not only in multiple colors but also offers the highest amount of sidewall flexibility makes ABCCANOPY our top choice.The included warranty also is the longest in this price range with a full three years of coverage. The wheeled travel bag is the icing on the cake. ABCCANOPY hit their tailgate tent out of the park this time, and we suggest picking your team colors now.