Give me shelter…and make it multi-purpose

Instant event shelter

Camping kit that has a number of uses is a fine thing. That’s why we’re keen on the idea of a screenhouse or shelter to add to our packing list. An easy-to-put-up, airy thingy that can be a gazebo, a dining room, a utility tent, a sunshade, a rain shelter, a driveaway awning for campervans, and even an extra bedroom…here’s our round-up of the options.


Wenzel is a US company but they sell through Amazon and have lots of really good-looking models to choose from. They’re smart and offer great protection against midges and mosquitoes. They also do a choice of sunshade-style shelters, including the rather nice-looking, but flimsier Fairweather.

Wenzel Horizon

The Wenzel Horizon


Large front and rear inverted ‘T’ doors for easy entry, along with a pre-bent eaves pole for extra headroom.

  • Floor size: 365x365cm
  • Max height:: 220cm
  • Weight: 7.3kg
  • Pack size: 63x20x20cm
  • Price: Around £100


Biscayne Wenzel

The Wenzel Biscayne

Mesh walls and shock-corded fibreglass roof poles for easy set-up. Apparently, you can set it up and then lift it into place (over a picnic table, for example).

  • Floor size: 11.7 sqm
  • Max height: 213cm
  • Weight: 7.9kg
  • Pack size: 67x20x20cm
  • Price: About £85
Wenzel Zephyr

The Wenzel Zephyr


  • Floor size: 10.9 sqm
  • Max height: 216cm
  • Weight: 11.6kg
  • Pack size: 79×23.5×23.5cm
  • Price: Around £110
Sun Valley Wenzel

The Wenzel Sun Valley

Sun Valley

  • Floor size: 13 sqm
  • Max height: 218cm
  • Weight: 9.1kg
  • Pack size: 70x22x22cm
  • Price: Around £120


Coleman make shelters that provide protection from the sun, the wind and the rain, thanks to their WindStrong™ system. It combines vented canopies, shock-corded poles, patent-pending hubs and guylines.

Event Shelter

Coleman event shelter

Coleman Event Shelter

A range of sizes – from family-sized to massive with sunwalls and ground sheet options.

  • Floor size: From around 300×300 to 460x460cm
  • Max height: Around 200cm
  • Weight: 15 to 17kg
  • Pack size: Not available
  • Price: From around £130 to £160



Famed for their umbrella-style set-up that really is super-quick, but also makers of pole-and-sleeve and air tents.

Day Shelter 200

A waterproof multi-purpose tent, with a pole-and-sleeve construction.

  • Floor size: 200×200
  • Max height: 210cm
  • Weight: 8.56kg
  • Pack size: 67x19x19cm and 73x25x25cm
  • Price: Around £130


Fibreglass and aluminium Rapidex® poles and so fast to put up. It’s also fairly lightweight. Here it is, being used as an awning/gazebo. There’s also a more expensive and more versatile (though heavier) Screenhub.

  • Floor size: 300 x 300cm
  • Max height: 205cm
  • Weight: 9.4kg
  • Pack size: 102 x 21x 21cm
  • Price: Around £270


Airhub Hex

What a lovely-looking gazebo shelter. In a choice of green or grey, a single inflation point (three valves), three large side doors and six mesh windows. Detachable groundsheet and pump included.

  • Floor size: 340x390xm
  • Max height: 240cm
  • Weight: 14kg
  • Pack size: 70x37x37xm
  • Price: Around £350

Hogan Hub

An event shelter that can be totally open or fitted with (included) side panels. Pole and sleeve construction in a choice of large or medium size. Groundsheet available separately.

  • Floor size: 350x350cm (280×280 M)
  • Max height: 225cm (210 M)
  • Weight: 9.43kg
  • Pack size: 66x20x24cm
  • Price: Around £200 (L) £150 (M)



Cheap and cheerful pop-up options from Quest. They say the spring-up frame system allows one person to get it set up in under a minute. Getting it back down…that’s always the tricky part.

Quest Screenhouse 6

Quest Screenhouse 6

Elite Screen House 4 and 6

With optional sidewall blinds.

  • Floor size: 244x244cm and 350x350cm
  • Max height: 210cm
  • Weight: 11.5kg and 15.5kg
  • Pack size: 167x16x16cm and 185x18x18cm
  • Price: Around £180 to £240


EasyCamp Day Tent

EasyCamp Day Tent

Day Tent

This dome-style shelter has fibreglass poles, four large side windows with curtains, a sewn-in groundsheet and large front and rear doors. The doors can be set up as a canopy. Some people complain of the build quality, but it’s a cheaper option.

  • Floor size: 290x290cm
  • Max height: 200cm
  • Weight: 7.9kg
  • Pack size: 75x21cm
  • Price: Around £100 
Easycamp Pavilion

EasyCamp Pavilion


More of a party gazebo. Steel telescopic poles featuring push locks for quick set-up, organiser mesh pockets at each corner and a lantern hanging point in the middle. Sidewalls are available.

  • Floor size: 440x320cm
  • Max height: 255cm
  • Weight: 15.3kg
  • Pack size: 130x20cm
  • Price: Around £125

Kampa activity shelter

In gazebo mode


Kampa Activity Shelter with sides and groundsheet

Kampa Activity Shelter with sides and groundsheet

Activity Shelter

Optional extras: wall and door panels and a groundsheet.

  • Floor size: 350x350cm and 450x450cm
  • Height: 240cm
  • Weight: 18.8kg and 21kg
  • Pack size: 93x27x20 and 100x31x20
  • Price: From £150
Kampa day room tent

Kampa’s day room or utility tent

Day Room

A basic utility tent and dining area.

  • Floor size: 300x300cm
  • Height
  • Weight: 6.6kg
  • Pack size: 57x18x18
  • Price: Around £120



Kelty Screenhouse

The Kelty Screenhouse

Very handsome and well-respected. A choice of medium or large.

  • Floor size: 274x335cm (M), 335x396cm (L)
  • Max height: 188cm (M), 193cm (L)
  • Weight: 6kg (M), 8.3kg (L)
  • Pack size: Around 25×60 (details vary)
  • Price: £200 to £240
Kelty bugblocker tent

Kelty BugBlocker shelter

BugBlocker Tent

  • Floor size: 274x335cm (M)
  • Max height: 213cm (M)
  • Weight: 7kg (M)
  • Pack size: Around 23×61
  • Price: £190(M) to £260(L)


Decathlon’s own brand is famed for its small pop-up shelters like this £35  two-second one.

They also have a few bigger options, including the Arpenaz Base Fresh (in medium for £80 or large for £130) and the Air Seconds Base (inflatable).

Also have a look at their shelters designed for carp fishers. Not much head height in these, but who doesn’t want a khaki shelter!!


The Dome Shelter is fairly easy to put up (around 20 minutes) and has a waterproof canopy and mesh side panels to keep bugs out. The steel frame makes it heavy at 14kg, but it should stand up to stronger winds.

  • Floor size: 350x350cm
  • Max height: 210cm
  • Weight: 14kg
  • Pack size: 68x25x19cm
  • Price: £180


The XL Outhouse isn’t all that XL, but it is nice and simple. Very light too. Fibreglass poles…but you need to buy the sun canopy poles separately.

  • Floor size: 200x200cm
  • Max height: 215cm
  • Weight: 4.5kg
  • Pack size: not stated
  • Price: £100

If you’ve found a multi-purpose shelter you love – easy to put up, strong and handsome – do let us know. Oh, and have a look at our awnings choices too.

Quechua Tarp FreshAND don’t forget the versatile tarp!

A simple tarpaulin, a couple of poles and some rope could be all you need to create shelter from the rain, a sunshade, a bit of extra space….we love the Quechua IlluminFresh (though we’ve had to buy extra tarp clips and ball bungees as it only comes with a few guying points. There are lots of tarp options here on Amazon. Also have a look at our 66 ways to use a tarp, for inspiration.

Just discovered Looprope too – an ingenious way of tying down loads or tarpaulins, and with a hundred and one uses. Never tangles and safer than hooked bungees. They start at around £18, which isn’t bad, but might work out expensive if you need a few to create a cargo net effect.

Get yourself some lightweight tarp poles that are height-adjustable – it’ll give you more options for using your surroundings.

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One Comment

  1. Where can I get the Wenzel Horizon ( around £100 ) and the Easycamp Day Tent ( Also £100 )or the Kampa( 350sq at about £150 ),,

    Also any reader reviews.

    I want a fairly robust tent to use as an extra room for my Motorhome….Thanks.

    ED: The Horizon is listed on Amazon at just over £100. The Biscayne is slightly better thought of by readers. People do love them, but you need to remember that they were really designed for clement weather, so don’t expect them to withstand gales and downpours.

    The Easycamp Day Tent is another model best suited to fair weather, but still quite cheap. The Wenzel wins out for most readers, though.

    The Kampa Shelter isn’t really going to give you an extra room, as it’s designed more as a gazebo with optional sides. Sturdy, though. The Day Room isn’t currently available, I’m afraid. We’ve left the link in place in case it returns!

    The Kelty ones are probably the best for your needs, but rather more expensive. So, if you’re looking for a spare room mostly for good weather camping, we’d choose the Wenzels. If you want it to be useable in any weather, have a look at the quick-to-pitch tent article for some more ideas – some of these would do the trick? And how about an awning? We’ll be reviewing these very soon (subscribe or follow us on Facebook to get updates).

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