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Best gazebo 2023: Top tent canopies for camping trips or garden get-togethers

A good gazebo is a big help if you need extra space on a family camping trip or you’re planning a party in your back garden

The best gazebo is everything that a cramped tent isn’t. Wide, weatherproof, freestanding, and tall enough that nobody has to hunch over, a good quality gazebo – also known as an event shelter or a canopy tent – makes a great addition to your camping setup and is a must-have for anyone hoping to host a party in their back garden during the warmer months.

Many campervans and tents, especially large family ones, have add-on shelters or awnings, usually designed specifically for that model, but we’d argue that a freestanding gazebo is far more versatile. The best gazebos can be used to create a cosy porch, a communal living space between tents to eat or relax, a playroom for the kids if the weather’s bad, or just a bit of shade at a summer party.

Like a good tent, the best gazebos should have plenty of room for happy campers or guests. They should have a waterproof outer layer to keep the elements at bay and, if necessary, a design that doesn’t sacrifice airiness or breathability when zipped up. But, unlike big, bulky tents, gazebos should be lightweight and not take up much storage space, so that they’re a great way to expand your camp without needing to lug around heavy equipment.

We’ve selected some of the best freestanding gazebos on the market and have included an option for most budgets; however, before we launch into our recommendations, we’ve put together a brief guide to buying the best gazebo for you.

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Best gazebo: At a glance

How to choose the best gazebo for you

What features do I need?

A camping gazebo is far simpler to shop for than a big family tent. Standing room is essential, so check the height of the model before you buy. If you want to use the gazebo as more of an extra tent or as somewhere to hang out in bad weather, look for one with a sturdy floor of coated nylon, plus unzippable walls with windows or mesh panels.

If you’re keen to use your gazebo as somewhere to escape the sun, or to relax as a group, then a domed design will be perfect. Look for an easy-to-pitch gazebo with four poles and plenty of guy ropes, pegs and straps for stability, as gazebos can easily come loose in strong winds. The metal components should ideally be made of stainless steel or aluminium.

Inflatable gazebos and shelters are starting to become both popular and affordable, and they cut pitching time significantly – just pump and peg out. You’ll need a compatible pump though, and these aren’t always included.

What size is best?

Pick a gazebo that can accommodate the size of your camping gang. There are huge gazebos that can fit large gatherings underneath, as well as smaller designs ideal for a family of four or under. The greater the gazebo, the heavier it will be, and the longer it will take to erect – big gazebos will usually require at least two people to put them up – and remember: big shelters take up more space in the boot of the car.

If you’re camping, or wild camping, alone and are just looking for a simple rain shelter, then a small tarp that’s close to the ground is a much lighter and easier-to-erect option.

The pitching times suggested by manufacturers tend to be fairly optimistic, and you should expect a bit of trial and error the first time you erect your new canvas palace.

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The best gazebos you can buy in 2023

1. All Seasons Gazebos 3 x 3m Pop-up Gazebo: The best for garden parties

Price when reviewed: £160 | Check price at Amazon

With no poles to slot together, All Seasons promises that it will only take you a couple of minutes to get this foldable gazebo up and ready to go. And, once you’ve got the roof cover on, you theoretically never have to take it off again, which makes it a great option for assembling in a hurry when the weather turns sour.

It’s built with a heavy-duty frame and has a fully waterproof PVC canopy roof, and many Amazon customer reviews refer to its durability in British weather conditions. You can adjust the height of the gazebo too – to a maximum 3.2m – and the included guy ropes and pegs give it some stability during blowy conditions.

For a more traditional “village fête” look, we like the gazebo in neutral beige, but it also comes in a range of other colours if you want something that will stand out in your garden. This gazebo covers an area of 3m² and doesn’t come with any side walls, but if you’re looking for something with more space, or better protection from the elements, All Seasons produce a range of other models too.

Key specs – Main material: Polyester; Weight: 21kg (approx); Dimensions: 300 x 300cm; Height: 320cm (at highest setting)

2. Eurohike Universal Tarp Shelter: Best for backpacking

Price when reviewed: £45 | Check price at Blacks

This cheap and cheerful tarp is excellent for adding porch space to a smaller tent, creating a temporary shelter on a hike or erecting more weather protection on a wild camping trip or at a festival. It’s small and lightweight enough at 2.2kg to stick in your rucksack and is fully waterproof.

The Universal tarp is easy to pitch and fits snugly around any tent door, as well as working well alone. It doesn’t offer any standing room, although it’s comfortable to sit under. It’s a bargain for smaller tents, or for adventures off the beaten track where you’re carrying your camping gear in a backpack.

Key specs – Main material: Polyester; Weight: 2.2kg; Pitch time: 5mins; Height: 195cm

Check price at Blacks

3. Grand Canyon Tahuta Shelter 4: Best value big shelter

Price when reviewed: £135 | Check price at Trekk Inn

This hybrid design from Grand Canyon combines a lightweight poled tunnel with the structural security of guy ropes to create a hugely versatile gazebo that’s ideal for big groups of campers, park parties and beach days. The size is especially impressive given the compact 75cm x 13cm pack size and easily transportable weight. And its height – 230 cm at the highest point – is more than generous, especially when sat in camping chairs.

If you’ve ever struggled with assembling domed gazebos, you’ll find this a refreshingly easy pitch, although the tunnel design does still make it a two-person job.

The flysheet is waterproof to 3,000mm HH and offers UV 50+ protection. And, thanks to the tunnel shape, so long as you’re mindful of the wind direction, you can remain sheltered from the breeze as well as the sun and the rain, while the gently arched sides still offer enough through-ventilation to prevent a strong gust from causing havoc.

Key specs – Main material: PU coated nylon; Weight: 6.9kg; Pitch time: 15mins; Height: 230cm

Check price at Trekk Inn

4. Quechua 10 Man Camping Living Room Arpenaz Base Fresh: Best for family camping

Price when reviewed: £200 | Check price at Decathlon

Decathlon has come up trumps again, with a well-engineered and cavernous gazebo that’s easy to pitch and undeniably good value. This camping living room has close to a thousand five star reviews that we’re happy to endorse. The self-supported structure uses a combination of solid aluminium poles with two flexible fibreglass roof poles to create a dome with plenty of head height. We liked the fact you don’t have to stretch and struggle with the outer shell to get it into position and, while it would be much easier with a helper, we were able to pitch it solo.

Unlike much of the competition, this gazebo comes with side panels which can be zipped closed, or unzipped and rolled back as necessary, and there’s also a window section with an insect proof mesh, allowing airflow even if the midges are biting. This set-up also means you can protect yourself from annoying crosswinds.

Our only complaint is that the size isn’t quite as large as the name suggests, although there’s plenty of space for six adults, camping chairs, and a table, you’ll struggle to sit ten comfortably.

Key specs – Main material: Polyester; Weight: 11.6kg; Pitch time: 13 mins; Dimensions: 300 x 300cm; Height: 225cm

Check price at Decathlon

5. Berghaus Air Shelter: Best inflatable gazebo

Price when reviewed: £399 | Check price at Go Outdoors

The gazebo is often the last thing to be pitched at a campsite, and is traditionally one of the most fiddly, but Berghaus is aiming to change that with its easily inflatable Air Shelter.

With just one inflation point, all you need to do is pump, and in a few minutes you’ll be rewarded with a generous shelter from the sun or rain that simply needs pegging down for safety. When you’ve finished with it, dismantling is even easier, with the spring-loaded quick-release air valves allowing you to quickly deflate the frame at the touch of a button.

Made from 6,000mm HH polyester and featuring taped seams, the Air Shelter offers the same level of weather protection as many tents, and it will take hours, if not days, of relentless rain before the fabric gets saturated. Two sides feature doors with full-length mesh panels, the other two have windows and curtains, and the roof has skylight panels, giving you a wide range of options for adjusting interior lighting conditions.

Key specs – Main material: Polyester; Weight: 11.1kg; Dimensions: 300 x 300cm (living room), 75 x 35 x 34 cm (cover); Height: 220cm (overall)

Check price at Go Outdoors

6. Vango Trigon AirHub: Best premium shelter

Price when reviewed: £480 | Check price at John Lewis

Looking more like the sail on a futuristic superyacht than a traditional camping gazebo, this angular hybrid shelter is stylish, spacious and a breeze to pitch. It took us less than 10 minutes which, given the unique design, was impressive, though it took us more than 20 minutes to pack away. It uses a single inflatable beam across the middle, supported by two upright poles at either end, and it’s all held securely in position by some robust webbing straps and pegs.

The Trigon AirHub also comes with a groundsheet, and there are four triangular doors that unzip and fold away easily, opening up whichever sides you want. The remaining triangular sections also feature insect mesh windows if you need extra ventilation. It’s a great design for windy and cold conditions, but be warned: baked by the sun, it can get a bit hot, even with all the sides removed.

It is a little expensive, but considering the usable space, the durable design, and the fact it utilises Vango’s superb 3,000mm HH waterproof Sentinel Eco fabric – made from recycled single-use plastics – you get plenty for your money.

Key specs – Main material: Sentinel Eco recycled polyester; Weight: 12.9kg; Dimensions: 350 x 350cm; Pitch time: 8mins; Height: 225cm

Check price at John Lewis

7. Dometic HUB2 REDUX: Best gazebo for versatility

Price when reviewed: £600 | Check price at Dometic

This 2.3m inflatable cube is one of the coolest shelters we’ve ever seen, and a refreshing change to all the identikit gazebos available. It’s also one of the most flexible – multiple Hubs can be connected together to create a warren of weatherproof accommodation – and thanks to the single-point inflation it takes next to no time to put up and pack away again.

Designed to be used just about anywhere, it’s surprisingly portable: it weighs less than 9kg and packs down to 30 x 60cm. We can imagine many users keeping it in the boot of the car and whipping it out when the weather turns.

It’s made from a hard-wearing woven polyester recycled from 100% plastic bottles – a trend we love seeing in outdoor equipment – that’s also Global Recycled Standard certified so, in theory, it can be turned into more tents at the end of its life.

The Hub 2 employs hardwearing, difficult-to-tangle guy straps for securing it to the ground, and there’s a ground sheet included which can be removed using the simple toggles in each corner.

It comes with a pump as standard, but there are also plenty of practical accessories available, including zip-on side panels, soft carpet, a tent insert, and a weight bag for pitching on hard surfaces. It’s expensive, but we’ve not found many designs better than this.

Key specs – Main material: Weathershield Redux polyester; Weight: 8.5kg (approx); Dimensions: 230 x 230cm; Height: 230cm

Check price at Dometic

8. Outwell Summer Lounge XL: Best value gazebo for big gatherings

Price when reviewed: £200 | Check price at Amazon

With 16m² of space beneath it, this great value shelter from Outwell is absolutely enormous. Perfect for group camping trips, or huge families, it has a generous peak height of 2.45m and the entrance height is 1.8m, so only the very tallest will need to stoop to seek cover.

The PU-proofed polyester flysheet is both waterproof (1,500mm HH) and fire retardant, and the UPF 50+ UV protection rating makes it an ideal play area for younger children when the sun shines. If the wind picks up, you can also buy sidewalls (£77.99 per pair) for added protection.

Pitching is definitely a two person task – it still takes around 20 minutes once you’ve got the hang of it – but the instructions are clear and it’s hard to go too wrong. The steel poles are extremely strong, which bodes well for many years of service. In the unlikely event that it isn’t spacious enough – or you’re entering the wedding venue business – you can connect multiple shelters together with a £28 gutter attachment.

The Outwell’s sheer size has one major downside: it takes up a lot of space even when packed away. Measuring 83cm x 20cm, it’s really only worth considering if you have enough boot or storage space to spare.

Key specs – Main material: Polyester; Weight: 17.5kg (approx); Dimensions: 400 x 400cm; Height: 245cm (at highest point)

9. Coleman Performance Event Shelter L Bundle: Best all-in-one gazebo

Price when reviewed: £299 | Check price at Winfields

Similar in design to the Outwell Summer Lounge, this large 3.65m x 3.65m domed gazebo is made from tough and waterproof (3,000mm HH) polyester with an SPF rating of 50, and comes complete with three detachable sun walls and one with a door to keep the weather out whether it’s bucketing down or roasting hot.

As we’ve to expect from this style of gazebo, the multiple curved metal poles are a bit of a faff to assemble. You’ll greatly benefit from a helping hand here, but, mercifully, the instructions are concise and, once you know the order of assembly, you shouldn’t have too many issues
There’s loads of usable space once the gazebo is pitched, and we appreciated the versatility and wind protection the doors offer – it even made an excellent impromptu changing room – though the arch is just 169cm high, so you may need to duck to enter. It’s also heavy, but Coleman added wheels to the carry bag to make moving it from boot to pitch much easier.

Key specs – Main material: Polyester; Weight: 20.9kg; Pitch time: 12mins; Dimensions: 365 x 365cm; Height: 218c
Check price at Winfields

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