One of the most fascinating aspects of family camping is spending the night under the stars. However, did you know that a bad night’s sleep can turn your adventure into a nightmare? Squeezing everyone into a camping tent can deprive everyone of the energy needed for the next day, no matter what kind of delicious food you eat or the terrains you explore. Imagine waking up to your children complaining of body aches, and you are powerless to intervene because you are experiencing the same symptoms? Alternatively, you may require some privacy but are sharing a room with your adolescent sons and daughters.
A family camping tent is a home away from home! As a result, you must choose the best tent for your family based on size, type, comfort, and privacy.
In this guide, I will highlight the most important factors to consider when purchasing a camping tent for your family.
How to choose the best family camping tent
1. Tent size and living space
Before you look at other tent features, think about which one is best for your family. Check the tent’s floor dimensions and sleeping capacity. Consider your camping group size and whether you’ll need extra space for friends, pets, or gear.
Families most commonly use a 4 and 6 person tent measuring 60 x 70 and 80 x 100 square feet, respectively. A four-person tent sleeps four people, while a six-person tent sleeps six people. However, it is possible that there will be insufficient space for pets and equipment. A ‘+’ appears after the figure for those who require more space.
Consider sizing up if you have family members who prefer more space; if you have small children or pets; or if the weather will force you to spend more time in the tent.
Depending on the size of your family, you can always opt for a larger tent, such as one that sleeps 8, 10, 12, or even more people. However, make sure that the packed size of the tent you choose fits in your vehicle’s storage space.
2. Tent layout
After you’ve decided on a tent size, you’ll want to look at the layout. If you have small children, purchase a tent with bedrooms that are next to each other and are separated by a divider that is easy to zip and unzip. This way, you can enjoy some privacy while keeping an eye on your children and ensuring that they sleep soundly.
For families with older children, a side-by-side tent layout is ideal. The girls will sleep on one side and the boys on the other, and you will sleep in the middle. Make sure that each of your children’s bedrooms is large enough to accommodate them comfortably.
If you have teenagers, a tent with more privacy is recommended. Consider one with a central common room and bedrooms on opposite ends. The dividing walls should be difficult to remove. You might also want to consider purchasing a separate tent for older children. Additional tents, on the other hand, may be subject to additional fees in some camping areas. As a result, if you’re camping with your family, consider investing in a multi-room tent.
3. Tent shape
Cabin and dome tents are the two types of family tents, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Cabin tents have higher ceilings and more vertical walls, allowing for more headroom. As a result, they are livable because they can easily accommodate features like awnings, room dividers, and vestibules. Because of the ample headroom throughout the tent, they are the best tents for tall people.
Dome tents have slanted walls, making them more wind resistant and structurally sound. The slanted walls, on the other hand, reduce ceiling space, making the tent uncomfortable due to a lack of headroom.
Because you’ll be using it with children and pets, choose a tent that can withstand a lot. Consider getting one made of durable materials so it can withstand damage and last longer. Pay special attention to the following sections:
Aluminum poles are strong and long-lasting, so choose one with them. When bent under stress, aluminum does not easily break. Fiberglass poles are a lighter and less expensive option, but they can shatter or snap when put under stress. However, because fiberglass is inexpensive, replacing damaged poles won’t be too painful.
Tents with fewer poles are better choices because they save time when it comes to setup. Those that use clips instead of sleeves are simpler to set up, but they may be less stable in windy conditions.
The floor of your tent is the busiest part, so it should be durable. Consider a shelter with a floor made of 70 denier nylon taffeta or oxford nylon, as these materials can withstand more wear and tear than coated nylon.
In order to prevent water leakage, the best tent floor should have taped floor seams and reinforced corners. A few inches of bathtub floor wraps along the walls help keep water and splashes away from the tent base.
The floor is an important part of the tent that is easily damaged. As a result, they require additional protection from roots, rocks, sticks, and man-made litter. It’s a plus if your tent comes with a footprint. Tent Footprints are polyester or nylon sheets that are placed beneath the tent to provide additional floor protection.
You can always buy the footprints separately, but make sure they’re sturdy and the right size for your tent. Water can easily collect and channel under your tent if your footprints do not fit properly.
Polyester materials of various grades are used to construct tent walls. Waterproofness is measured in grades. Higher grades indicate a higher level of waterproofness. If you’re going camping in the rainy season, make sure your tent has a high hydrostatic head value. Poly-cotton is used in the manufacture of other high-end tents. They are warmer in cold weather and cooler in hot weather. If your budget allows, you might want to think about them. Finally, if you don’t want to be woken up by the sunrise, invest in a blackout tent.
5. Tent weight
Depending on where you plan to use the tent, weight may be a primary or secondary consideration. Choose lighter tents if you plan to do a lot of biking, backpacking, or hiking while camping. Tents for 4 to 6 people that weigh 3-6 kilograms and are transportable are available.
On the other hand, if you plan to travel by car and camp in the same location, weight may not be an issue. Consider the tent’s volume when folded in this case. It should be small enough to fit in the trunk of your car and be easily stored at home.
6. Tent height
A good tent should be comfortable even when standing. Most tents are at least one meter high, but if you are tall, you may want to consider 1.8-2 meters. This allows you to move around without having to bend.
After taking into account all other factors, the price of the tent may determine whether or not you can afford it. Price and quality are inextricably linked. Quality tents with extra features may be prohibitively expensive. However, purchasing a tent is an investment, and you should be willing to make some sacrifices for quality, especially if you intend to use it for an extended period of time.
However, if you only need a tent for a few weekends, a less expensive option will suffice.
Other features to consider;
- Ease of assembly
- Ventilation- check for the number of windows and mesh panels
- Organizational features such as tent dividers, gear lofts, and vestibules
- Number of doors
- Tent porches and extensions
- Stowage pockets
- A ‘no trip’ entrance
- Hooks for lanterns
- Weather resistance
- Guylines tidies
- Entrance for electric cords
- Mud valance
The features I’ve mentioned above should assist you in selecting the best tent for your family. Before deciding on a specific shelter, consider the safety, comfort, and privacy of all members.