If you’re heading off on your caravan holidays in a big group and you want to have a communal area for maybe dining or just chilling and socialising, but without taking up anybody’s personal or private space, perhaps a day tent or event shelter is an item you need to add to your touring kit. Of course, this role could be fulfilled by an awning, but some prefer a dedicated, group space to keep the sun or rain off. If there’s just the two of you, a day tent might also be useful as an additional storage facility.

So day tents are becoming increasingly popular with caravanners, but you must be sure you’re buying a strong and sturdy product. You might have seen gazebo-style tents for sale in supermarkets, but following tales of these taking off in the wind and causing damage and/or injury, some sites no longer permit them – and, of course, you’d rather your structure was stable.

We therefore made sure that our scoring system in our group test took account of a day tent/event shelter’s stability. But what else should you look out for if buying one of these? Read on – our experts are here to help.

Our first test was how difficult or simple each day tent was to put up and take down; some were amazingly easy. And, as well as its sturdiness in use, whether or not a tent has a groundsheet and can be made completely weatherproof was another factor to consider – it means you could use it as extra accommodation or to protect items from bad weather.

Also, does the tent being tested have sides? And can these sides be opened, used as canopies or screen nets, or do they have windows? Do these size hurt the floor space on offer (some sloping sides can restrict the amount of usable space), and what kind of space is provided by the tent?

Finally, as you’re going to have to find space to store your day tent or event shelter when on the road, once packed away, we considered how heavy it was and what size it packed down to.

Which brings us onto our review of the Khyam Megatop. Mega by name, mega by nature: this unusual-looking dome – think Disney World’s Epcot Centre in polyester – has 10 sides, all of which are almost 2m long. Therefore, the area inside is huge: in fact, it’s positively cave-like thanks to its lofty 3m height in the middle. Only the very biggest family or groups of friends will fill it. And, in reality, this will appeal more to large groups who combine touring with other pursuits – such as sports, dog showing, equestrian meets and rallies. But if such a large structure is desired, there are few products out there that come close.

Despite the gargantuan size, extensive use of Khyam’s unique Rapidex system results in a pitch time of around five minutes, and a pack-down size smaller and lighter than many family tunnel tents. Although there’s only one door, the four large windows can either be left shut, fully opened, or be set as screen nets.

We also tested the Kyham Screenhouse, the Khyam Day Shelter 300, Quest Elite Instant Spring Up Screen House 6, Quest Elite Instant Spring Up Screen House 4, Coleman Event Shelter 12 x 12, Kampa Cabana and Easy Camp Pavilion. Enjoy browsing our camping accessory reviews before you decide the best camping shelters and day tents for you.