Give me shelter…and make it multi-purpose

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 EZ Rise

The Wenzel EZ Rise Screenhouse


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.

EZ Rise Screenhouse

Pre-attached poles and a twist-locking centre hub give you a fully enclosed house with mesh walls in minutes.

  • Floor size: 295x295cm
  • Max height: 210cm
  • Weight: 4.6kg
  • Pack size: 121x15x15cm
  • Price: Around £120
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 £100
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 £130
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.

Khyam Day Shelter 200

Khyam Day Shelter 200

Day Shelter 200 and 300

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

  • Floor size: 200×200 and 300×300
  • Max height: 210cm
  • Weight: 8.56kg or 14kg
  • Pack size: 67x19x19cm and 73x25x25cm
  • Price: Around £140 to £2000
Khyam Screendome

Khyam Screendome

Screendome, Screenhouse (Flexidome) and Sports Shelter

Fibreglass and aluminium Rapidex® poles. There’s an optional inner tent to turn this shelter into a…tent. The Flexidome has fibreglass poles.

  • Floor size: Not stated
  • Max height: 210cm
  • Weight: 14.6kg
  • Pack size: 105x25x25cm
  • Price: Around £200 to £430. Plus a giant Megatop at nearly £1,000


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)


Quechuabig_1ffa7e1d8dc44739920a46c962a1bf52Decathlon’s own brand is famed for its small pop-up shelters like this £35  two-second one. Their £120ish 3m by 3m Fresh shelter looks super too, and we do like the tarpaulin from the same series (see below).

If you’ve found a multi-purpose shelter you love – easy to put up, strong and handsome – do let us know. Either leave a comment below or send us an email.

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.

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