Are you trying to choose a tent for your next family camping trip? The right tent is crucial. A family camping tent is typically a tent that sleeps 4 or more people and is the tent we are focusing on today.
Types of Family Camping Tents
Dome tents. Dome tents are very durable. They can withstand high winds and are excellent for shedding water. They offer lots of headroom, while the sloped corners provide space for storing your camping gear. Dome tents come in many sizes.
Cabin tents. Cabin tents have large square and rectangle designs. Many have room dividers for extra privacy. Some cabin tents also feature a screened in porch which is a great place to store extra equipment so that it doesn’t take up as much space in your sleeping area. The porch is also a good area to place your lawn chairs when it starts raining or when you are leaving the campsite for the day. Look for a cabin tent with a slanted or domed roof to help with rain runoff.
When selecting a tent, size matters! This is especially true when it comes to family camping. How many people will be sleeping in the tent? Personally, I choose a tent a little larger than what is recommended on the tent box. Our family of 5 loves our 9 man tent. We call it the BAT (big butt tent). We like the extra space in case we actually want to turn over in the night or we decide to walk around in the tent. A good rule of thumb is to buy a tent that is twice the manufacturer recommendation so that you have plenty of room for your camping gear.
What seasons and climates will you be camping? 3 season tents work well for most climates except harsh winter climates. 4 season tents are built for extremely cold climates. Other terms you may see include all season or convertible tents. These tents may be used year round but they are not recommended for harsh cold weather. Most cabin tents are all season tents.
Another consideration is the tent assembly. How difficult is it to setup the tent? These days tents are getting easier to setup all the time. Coleman® has a line of tents that can be setup in 60 seconds (watch their product guys setup the Instant Tent in this video). I don’t have an Instant Tent, but I would love to see how fast I could set one up.
Of course, for most camping families price is a big factor when making any purchase. You can get a very inexpensive tent at your local discount store. You may want to go this route if you have never tent camped and you are not sure it is something you will like. But, if you are planning to go camping several times a year, you will probably want to invest in a good quality tent. A good quality tent will withstand different weather conditions better than a cheapy tent.
Tent poles. The number of tent poles determines the tent weight and sturdiness. Aluminum poles tend to be preferred over fiberglass poles. Aluminum poles are light, more durable and inexpensive.
Rainfly. A full coverage rainfly offers better weather protection than roof only styles.
Tent floor. The tent floor should be made of waterproof polyurethane coating.
Ventilation. Good ventilation is important to prevent condensation. Mesh windows that may be unzipped a little when it rains may help with condensation by promoting cross-ventilation. These ventilated areas should be covered by a waterproof rainfly.
I hope these tips help you to find the camping tent that is right for you and your family. As with many purchases, it really comes down to your personal preference. Only you can decide which tent is best for you.
I’ll see ya by the campfire.
Are you a tent camper? What other tips would you give to someone selecting a tent?