Harsh weather without appropriate shelter strips the joy out of camping. Getting burnt to a crisp or soaked to the skin is nobody's idea of fun. But with a camping gazebo, you can set up a comfortable, weatherproof shelter in minutes.
Camping gazebos are like a compact house in a bag and can become the hub of your campsite. In this guide, I’ll review the seven best gazebos for camping in Australia. You’ll find the perfect gazebo for your next camping adventure here.
My Review Process
Thanks to my wife’s practical nature, I’m now a gazebo convert. After decades of erecting complex tarp shelters with too many poles and tarps fit for a yacht sail, we’re getting a gazebo.
I’ve spoken to countless campers about their gazebo experiences and created lists of must-have features and things to avoid. Based on my research, I’ve devised a guide for selecting the perfect gazebo.
Above all, look for quality construction materials that are durable, waterproof, and easy to set up.
Weight and portability should align with your transport method and your ability to carry the gazebo around camp. Size and capacity should be based on the number of people you have and how much space you need.
I also recommend looking for height adjustability and accessories such as removable walls and mesh screens.
The OZtrail Deluxe 6.0 Gazebo offers durability, flexibility, height adjustment, and versatility. What’s more, there’s space for a large family or a big group of friends along with your BBQ and other camping equipment.
This gazebo offers outstanding UV and rain protection, as well as protection from bugs thanks to the midge-proof screening on the inner walls. Better still, it’s easily erected by one person and comes together quickly.
The 6m x 3m gazebo and 3m x 3m inner are sold separately. But this is a must-have combination. By themselves, the gazebo and inner are good. But in combination, they’re nothing short of sensational.
The inner offers bug protection, a waterproof floor, and full privacy, so it’s a great place to sleep. With the gazebo, you have the equivalent of a house with a balcony.
The Oztrail Gazebo and inner cover all my essential criteria for a good gazebo. And if that’s not enough to convince you, it’s even budget-friendly.
The Oztent Screen House Hex offers a spacious, waterproof enclosure with mosquito and midge protection.
Setup is easy and it takes one person only a few minutes to erect the gazebo. That includes the pegs, guy ropes, and the optional walls.
It’s enormous inside with a ceiling height of 2.1m. This gazebo will suit large families for extended touring or quick getaways.
The optional walls are inexpensive and highly recommended. They connect easily with velcro and offer privacy and superior weather protection.
The folding and latching mechanisms are heavy-duty and durable, with the ripstop fabric triple-reinforced in the corners.
If you want a grand space that’s free of mosquitos and rain, the Oztent Screen House Hex is near the top of my list.
Simple and lightweight, the Coleman Instant Up Lighted Gazebo is ideal for quick getaways or extended camping adventures.
Being a Coleman, it’s compatible with Coleman tents and accessories so you can create a home away from home.
An integral lighting feature consists of four strip LEDs generating 450 lumens for up to 13 hours on a single charge.
Fully adjustable with sturdy construction and durable components, the Instant Up can be erected by just one person in only a few minutes.
When packed for transport, it’s only 1.19m long and weighs only 18.6kg. So, it’s perfect for smaller cars and those who travel light.
Many manufacturers will claim that their gazebos are “heavy duty” when they really aren’t. The Hercules Instant Shelter Pro 57 is a genuine heavy duty gazebo for those who camp in harsh conditions.
With legs made from 5.7cm hexagonal 2mm gauge alloy and a stainless steel tensioning system, it's built to withstand most weather. It’s my favourite gazebo for camping in very windy conditions.
This gazebo will suit campers frequenting rugged, remote locations in extreme conditions. If you spend years at a time on the road, this gazebo is a worthwhile investment.
The large size of this gazebo (3m x 6m) will suit families large and small as well as groups. Smaller and larger sizes are available as well. In addition, Hercules offers a massive range of optional extras including sand bags for stability, side walls, and rain gutters.
Heading into monsoons? Heavy rain? The Wanderer Gazebo Anti-Pooling Pro is an excellent choice for wet conditions.
Tarp shelters and gazebos often collapse or suffer serious damage when water pools on the roof.
The Wanderer’s anti-pooling design eliminates this problem, ensuring your shelter will remain intact during heavy and consistent downpours.
If I’m heading to Darwin in the wet season, this is the gazebo I want to take with me. The Wanderer has a sturdy construction, excellent portability, and is fast and easy to erect.
The Wanderer is ideal for all types of camping, from day trips to lengthy touring.
There are a number of brands that offer a good selection of accessories. But it's hard to pass up OZtrail when it comes to value and versatility.
I like the OZtrail Deluxe 2.4 Gazebo V4 Hydro Flow Anti-Ponding. It’s well constructed, durable, sturdy, and brilliant in a hefty rain storm.
It’s the perfect Gazebo for couples venturing far and wide since it offers flexibility and doesn’t weigh much.
Popular accessories include detachable gazebo walls and a full gazebo camping tent inner with windows, mesh, and a waterproof floor.
Even a cheap gazebo tent needs to be weatherproof. It will have to withstand the sun, wind, and rain. Not to mention it needs to be durable enough to last through frequent setup and take-down.
The OZtrail Compact 2.4 Gazebo, while by no means the cheapest gazebo available, is very affordable while delivering on the basics. Height-adjustable, lightweight, and easy to erect, the Oztrail is a good fit for all your outdoor adventures.
It’s ideal for the solo traveller, couple, or small family. It offers a compact and effective shelter for a meal space, kitchen, or shady and dry chill spot.
How To Choose The Best Camping Gazebo
Above all, a good gazebo delivers reliable protection from the sun and rain for everyone in your group. One person should be able to erect a camping gazebo with ease, and it should endure many adventures in tough Aussie conditions.
To help you with choosing the perfect gazebo, I’ve created a guide to match your gazebo to your camping style.
It’s difficult to classify camping gazebos because gazebo terminology is inconsistent between companies. Everything I’ve called a gazebo is a portable shelter. However, there are differences in styles.
The most common camping gazebo type is the square or rectangular marquee style. These gazebos have a synthetic fabric on a metal concertina frame with adjustable alloy legs.
They vary from light to heavy duty, with variable water resistance and UV protection. Many will have accessories including detachable walls, bug screens, and even complete gazebo tent enclosures.
The next common style is the pop-up gazebo, often known as a screen house. They’re usually fully enclosed with the fabric and poles integral to the structure.
Screen houses will usually be fully enclosed with mesh, and many have detachable privacy walls available for purchase separately.
Sun shelters are a lightweight style of gazebo, with the Bedouin tent shape increasingly popular. These are light duty shelters that are often used for shade and UV protection only. Some models may be suitable for rain protection.
Size And Weight
Popular marque-style gazebos weigh between 15 and 35kg. The largest genuine heavy duty gazebos will exceed 45kg.
Most pop-up screen shelters are very light, usually weighing less than 15kg. They can easily be carried in one hand when packed.
Sun shelters have negligible weight, even with their fibreglass or alloy poles. When packed, most children could carry them easily.
The most common camping gazebo sizes are 2.4 x 2.4m, 3 x 3m and 3 x 6m. Larger gazebos are available, but are far less popular for camping.
To put these sizes in context, a 3 x 3m marquee will fit up to 18 people standing or 16 people sitting. So, it offers plenty of space for a large family, camping table and chairs, and a space for cooking.
2.4 x 2.4m gazebos are also very popular with campers. This size is ideal for couples, solo campers, and smaller families with a modest selection of camping furniture.
6 x 3m and larger gazebos are very spacious and popular with camping groups.
A simple lightweight shade-style gazebo will cost between $50 and $70. A basic yet sturdy 2.4 x 2.4m marquee style gazebo starts at $150, with popular hard-wearing models costing around $200 to $350.
A deluxe 6 x 3m gazebo is commonly priced around $400, with accessories such as gazebo walls ranging between $20 and $30 each. A good camping gazebo tent inner retails for about $180, although there are cheaper options available.
Bedouin/dome-style gazebos start at $50, but they can also cost as much as $850. Popular models are priced between $288 and $400 and often include a detachable wall.
Genuine extra-large, heavy-duty marquee-style gazebos like the Hercules listed above will cost more than $1,200.
Screen house pop-up gazebos start at $99, but can cost as much as $500 or more for deluxe models.
Ease Of Set Up
The vast majority of gazebos are very easy for one person to set up. That’s true even for the largest gazebos.
With modern designs, you can nearly take it as given that the model you select will have a fast and easy setup.
Be aware that some roof assemblies are quite high and aren’t friendly to shorter people. Thankfully, this problem is easily solved with a strong esky to stand on.
Gazebos are usually classified as either waterproof or water resistant. Some will provide an industry standard waterproof rating or IP number.
I strongly advise getting a fully waterproof gazebo. If it’s only water resistant, a heavy rain will lead to leaking inside your shelter.
Look for a 100% waterproof gazebo or an IP65 or IP67 rating. IP65 is fine for most rain, whereas IP67 offers the ultimate protection for heavy, driving rain.
The gold standard is a 100% waterproof roof with an anti-pooling roof structure. Anti-pooling stops water from pooling on the gazebo roof and causing it to sag, which can actually result in weaker gazebos collapsing under the weight.
Good gazebos will provide a sun protection or UV rating. For the harsh Aussie sun, UVF50+ is advisable. You should always apply personal sunscreen even when inside a gazebo, since some light will still get through.
Many gazebo brands will have colour-coded gazebo canopies to indicate waterproofing and UV protection. As there’s no industry standard, you have to check the colour-coding systems for each brand.
Examining durability requires the most buyer scrutiny, as every brand will say their gazebo is hard-wearing and durable. Beware the marketing hype, as this is not always the case.
Price can be a good guide for durability, since more durable gazebos are generally more expensive.
Look for fabrics between 300 to 450 denier or stronger. In addition, durable gazebos usually have double or triple layers of fabric with extra stitching in high-wear areas such as corners and areas of contact with metal parts.
Avoid plastic connection joints wherever possible. Stainless steel fixers (nuts, bolts, and rivets) is a great sign of overall component quality. If you’ll be camping in coastal areas, look for powder coating on the metal parts to prevent rust.
The thicker the frame and poles, the better. Poles that are 30mm or thicker are best. Of course, lightweight and cheaper models will often have thinner poles and frames.
I would always advise getting larger anchors than a gazebo comes with. Although all gazebos supply pegs, they’re never quite long enough to hold down your shelter in the wind. You should also have extra guy ropes with you when using a gazebo.
I’m also a big fan of the Hercules Instant Shelter Pro 57 because it’ll last forever while camping under the toughest conditions.
Special mention goes to the OZtrail Compact 2.4 Gazebo for its solid basics and simplicity.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.