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Enjoy the Great Outdoors Protected from Bugs and Sun with the Best Camping Screen Houses

Camping is a favorite summer pastime for many families and friend groups eager to unplug and immerse themselves in nature. However, bugs and unrelenting sunlight can put a damper on your wilderness adventure. Enter the screen house: the ideal solution for enjoying fresh air without sacrificing comfort.

A camping screen house is essentially a large tent or canopy made out of mesh netting. Unlike a typical tent, the see-through walls allow maximum light and ventilation while keeping mosquitoes, black flies, and other pests at bay. Screen houses come in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs to accommodate any camping scenario.

In this guide, we’ll share our picks for the top 5 camping screen houses on the market. We’ll also provide tips on how to choose the perfect screen shelter for your needs and budget. Let’s start by taking a closer look at our can’t-miss recommendations:

Top 5 Camping Screen Houses

1. Coleman Instant Screenhouse

The Coleman Instant Screenhouse lives up to its name – just extend the steel frame out of its included carry bag and you’ll have a spacious 10 x 10 foot haven safe from bugs in about 60 seconds. Weighing in at just over 40 pounds with a height of nearly 7 feet at center, this free-standing screen house is ideal for car camping and won’t take long to setup after arriving at your destination.

Pros:

  • Ultra fast and easy setup – truly instant
  • Sturdy steel frame for stability
  • UVGuard material offers sun protection
  • Integrated inverted seams help shed rain
  • Design allows good airflow from all sides

Cons:

  • Not ideal for backpack camping due to weight
  • Zippered door is the only closure, so bugs can get in when open

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: 10 x 10 feet
  • Center Height: 6’10”
  • Weight: 41 pounds
  • Framework: Steel
  • Fabric Material: Polyester mesh

2. Core Instant Screen House

Core brings their reputation for quality outdoor gear to the screen house category with this free-standing design featuring weather-repellent fabric. The inverted seams and included rain flaps help prevent drizzle and dew from dampening your mood inside. Though not as quick to erect as the Coleman, its roomy interior offers ample space for 4+ adults.

Pros:

  • Spacious interior with 65 sq. ft. of floor space
  • Adjustable vented roof for cooling airflow
  • Rain flaps and inverted seams repel moisture
  • Carry bag with shoulder strap for easy transport

Cons:

  • Assembly takes 5-10 minutes which isn’t “instant”
  • Fabric offers sun protection but isn’t fully UV-blocking

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 feet
  • Center Height: 6’6”
  • Weight: 27.2 pounds
  • Framework: Fiberglass
  • Fabric Material: Polyester mesh

3. Texsport Saguaro Screen Shelter

This dome-shaped screen shelter from Texsport provides ample head room along with additional coverage in the front for equipment or seating. The Saguaro’s budget-friendly price makes it a great starter screen house for car campers or families who plan to use it primarily in the backyard. Keep in mind the frame packs down small but does require assembly.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and packs down small
  • Provides shade and rain protection
  • Mesh walls allow breeze to flow through
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Requires tent pole assembly
  • Not as sturdy or durable as pricier models
  • Smaller interior capacity

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: 10 x 6 feet
  • Center Height: 7 feet
  • Weight: 14 pounds
  • Framework: Fiberglass poles
  • Fabric Material: Mesh netting

4. Excell Instant Pop-Up Gazebo with Mesh Walls

This screened gazebo from Excell delivers compelling functionality at a very reasonable price point. The steel frame assembles quickly with a pop-up mechanism and includes a roof canopy for shade. Mesh netting extends down from the top to keep bugs out while letting in sunlight and fresh air.

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly instant pop-up setup
  • Roof canopy provides shade and rain protection
  • Mesh walls offer ventilation and bug protection
  • Includes convenient carry bag

Cons:

  • Not as durable or spacious as costlier models
  • Limited sizing and color options

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: 10 x 10 feet
  • Center Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 35 pounds
  • Framework: Steel
  • Fabric Material: Polyester canopy & mesh walls

5. Gazelle Pop-Up Portable Gazebo

Pop-up portability meets durable construction with Gazelle’s mesh gazebo tent. The polyethylene frame assembles in minutes while the transparent mesh netting allows maximum outward visibility. Side panels can be added for additional wind protection while the rear features a zippered entrance. It’s an exceptional balance of convenience and quality.

Pros:

  • Sets up in 5 minutes with pop-up frame
  • TPU mesh netting provides full bug protection
  • Lightweight yet durable construction
  • Carrying case with shoulder strap included

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive compared to other models
  • Not intended for leaving up permanently
Gazelle Pop-Up Gazebo

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: 10 x 10 feet
  • Center Height: 6’6”
  • Weight: 47 pounds
  • Framework: Polyethylene
  • Fabric Material: TPU mesh netting

Now that you’re familiar with the top screen house options, let’s go over what to consider when picking the right one for your camping style and needs.

How to Choose a Camping Screen House

With an abundance of screen houses now on the market, it’s important to assess what features and factors matter most before deciding on a particular model. Keep these key considerations in mind:

  • Intended use – Will this primarily be used for camping trips or more static purposes like backyard relaxation? Lightweight portability is great for camping but less critical if mainly using in one location.
  • Size/capacity – Consider how much headroom you need, along with floor space for seating, dining, etc. Check product dimensions to make sure your desired capacity fits comfortably.
  • Ease of setup – Pop-up style models are incredibly fast and convenient but often cost more. Make sure to note whether assembly tools are required.
  • Durability – Check product details closely to determine framework material (steel, fiberglass, polyethylene, etc.) and assess longevity.
  • Ventilation – Mesh netting allows breeze flow but are doors/windows included for more control over ventilation when needed?
  • Doors vs. open design – Some screen houses feature closable door panels while others are completely open on all sides. Assess which setup meets your privacy and weather protection preferences.
  • Weight – Important if you plan to trek with your screen shelter. Compare total packed weight between models.
  • Portability – Does it fold down or pack into an easy-to-carry bag? Or is the frame non-collapsible?
  • Accessories – Determine if you’ll want additional sidewalls, floor tarps or other accessories. Some models include them standard while others sell separately.
  • Budget – Screen house prices span an wide range. Setting a budget cap will help narrow down the options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are screen houses safe in wind and rain?

Screen houses are designed primarily for bug protection and airflow rather than weather resistance. However, models with UV coated mesh, rain flaps and inverted seams provide decent rain protection in light to moderate showers. But excessive wind or heavy downpours can lead to leaking so seek stronger shelter when rough weather strikes. Staking and securing your screen house properly helps improve wind resistance.

How difficult are they to set up?

Ease of assembly varies quite a bit between models. Pop-up style screen houses literally take seconds to expand out while others may require 10+ minutes of assembly with tools for tent poles, stakes, etc. The more time-consuming models do allow you to take them down and pack into a smaller space though.

Do you need to stake them into the ground?

Stakes are strongly recommended for added security and stability in windy conditions but some screen houses can stand freely on their own – just check specific model guidelines.

Can you use screen houses at the beach?

Yes, screen houses work great for beach trips! Just be diligent about staking them in the sand nicely to withstand ocean breezes. The mesh netting will keep sand flies and pests away while allowing cooling breezes to flow through.

How much assembly is required initially out of the box?

For pop-up style models, you can basically take them right out of the box and instantly set them up. But other screen houses require attaching the tent poles, stakes, possible sidewalls or other pieces before initial use. Sometimes specialized tools are also needed so be sure to have them on hand if so.

What’s the best way to clean and store them?

Use a soft brush or cloth with warm water and a mild detergent to gently clean off dirt and debris if needed. Let the screen house dry completely before folding up. Keep stored in a dry, temperature controlled location when not in use.

How long do they last with proper care?

Average lifespan is generally 2-4 years with proper maintenance and storage. Higher-end models with robust aluminum or steel frames can potentially last over 5+ years.

What size should I get for X number of people?

Here are some general capacity guidelines based on screen house dimensions:

  • 6 x 6 feet or 70 sq. ft. – 2-3 people
  • 8 x 8 feet or 100 sq. ft. – 4-6 people
  • 10 x 10 feet or 150 sq. ft. – 8-10 people

Add space if you’ll need room for dining tables, gear, pets, etc.

Start Enjoying Worry-Free Outdoor Living

A quality camping screen house allows you to take part in all the fresh air activities you love without the annoyance of relentless bug swarms or intense sun exposure. Hopefully our top picks and advice have helped identify the ideal outdoor oasis to suit your upcoming adventures.

The Coleman Instant Screenhouse is our top overall recommendation based on its uncompromising blend of convenience and functionality. But the other models on our list also provide quality protection from insects while enabling you to relax outside in total comfort.

Whichever option you select, be sure to pick up a screen house before your next camping, picnic or backyard excursion! Spending time together with family, friends and nature should be pest-free and pleasant. With one of these outdoor shelters in your arsenal, you can focus fully on making lasting memories instead of fending off flies.

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