The best gazebo is everything that a cramped tent isn’t. Wide, weatherproof and freestanding, a good gazebo is a great addition to your camp setup and 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 porches or gazebos designed specifically for that model that you can buy separately, but we’d argue that a freestanding gazebo is far more versatile. The best gazebos can be used to create a shady porch; a communal living space between tents in which to eat or relax; a playroom for kids if the weather is bad or just a bit of shade at a summer party or event.
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. Unlike heavy tents, gazebos are lightweight and don’t take up much storage space, so they’re a great way to expand your campsite (or garden soiree) 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. Before we launch into our recommendations, however, we’ve put together a brief guide to buying the best gazebo for you.
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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, a curved ceiling-only 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 become loose in strong winds. The metal components should ideally be made of stainless steel.
What size is best?
Pick a gazebo that can accommodate the size of your camping gang. There are huge gazebos that you can fit big gatherings underneath as well as smaller designs ideal for getting a family of four under. The larger the gazebo the heavier it’ll be, and the longer it will take to erect – big gazebos usually require at least two people to put up. If you’re camping or wild camping alone and are looking for a simple rain shelter, a small, close-to-the-ground tarp is a lighter and easier to erect option. The pitch times suggested by manufacturers are usually optimistic, so 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
1. All Seasons Gazebos 3 x 3m Pop-up Gazebo: Best for garden parties
Price: £140 | Buy now from Amazon
With no poles to slot together, All Seasons promises that it’ll 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. This makes it a great option for assembling in a hurry when the weather turns sour.
It’s built with a heavy duty frame and a fully waterproof PVC canopy roof, and many Amazon customers refer to its durability in British weather conditions. You can adjust the height of the gazebo (maximum 3.2m) too, and the included guide ropes and pegs give it that little extra stability during blowy conditions.
For a traditional village fête-esque look we like the gazebo in a 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 three metres squared and does not come with any side walls, but if you’re looking for something with more space or better protection from the elements, All Seasons manufactures a range of other models too.
Key features – Main material: Polyester, steel frame; Weight: 21kg (approx.) Height: 3.2m (at highest setting)
£149.99 Buy now
2. Coleman Event Shelter Pro XL: Best for large groups
Price: £215 | Buy now from Amazon
Simple, solid and sturdy, Coleman’s Event shelter is a great investment for camping trips for years to come. Despite its hefty weight, it’s very easy to erect, and once in place the curving roof offers reliable sun and rain protection. The Event Shelter works well as a central living space on camping trips or as an effective porch for larger tents, campervans and caravans, which a whopping 15ft-by-15ft of space to sit under, eat under or play in. Plenty of other sizes are available if you’re after something smaller.
Key features – Main material: Polyester; Weight: 22kg; Pitch time: 15mins; Height: 228cm
£224.95 Buy now
3. Eurohike Adventure Tarp: Best for wild camping
Price: £19 | Buy now from Go OutdoorsGo to Source