How To Choose A Family Tent?

If you want to take your family on a camping trip but don’t have a clue which tent to buy then this article will help you. Choosing the right camping tent isn’t easy as we have plenty of different tent manufacturers and camping tents on the market.

The size of a family tent isn’t the only buying factor to consider. Tents have different features that you should consider when buying a tent for your family. Go ahead and check the factors that will determine which type of tent to choose for comfortable camping.

green pine trees under white clouds and blue sky during daytime

Family tent buying guide

While kids will hardly wait to go in nature you will have a big responsibility. You will have to think of the camping essentials and pick a decent tent to protect you from the elements. Let me help you to pick the right tent by explaining the features of tents.

Space and rooms

How big of a space do you need so each camper will have its own space for sleeping? Tent companies have a habit of stating the number of occupants on the storage bag. However, this number can be deceiving.

With the number, they mean how many people can sleep inside a tent but in practice, it can be too small or uncomfortable. I recommend choosing a tent that has an occupant number higher than the number of campers. If your family has 6 members I advise you get an 8-person camping tent.

This way you will have enough space for sleeping and storing the gear (unless the tent has a vestibule).

Rooms

Today you can choose a one-room tent or a multiple-room tent. The benefit of a multi-room tent is that you will have more privacy with your partner in one room while the kids will enjoy playing in other room.

Rooms are divided by a curtain that can be attached to the tent fabric.

Shape

You can choose between different tent shapes. The most popular family tent shape is a cabin shape that has vertical walls. The high walls enable you to move freely without bending or kneeling.

A cabin tent is more luxury while a dome tent is meant for spending the night in a dry place. You should know that a tent shape is important when it comes to wind. Higher tents provide more wind resistance so they can be blown away faster than lower tents like dome tents.

Material

Tent companies use a few types of material for their products. The most common tent materials are polyester, nylon, and canvas (cotton). What are the differences between them?

Polyester is cheap and provides good water resistance. Most of the camping tents are made with it. Nylon material provides strength, abrasion resistance, and is lightweight. 

Canvas or cotton is a natural material that provides great waterproofness due to the fibers that swell in the contact with water. Cotton tents can be used throughout the year. Don’t get me wrong, nylon and polyester tents can also be used in the wintertime but it must be mentioned that they are four-season tents.

Ventilation

You should pay attention to sufficient airflow inside a tent. Does a tent have enough vents for air to circulate? Are doors and windows made of mesh to increase ventilation? Having your tent well-ventilated is crucial if you don’t want to have condensation problems.

If a tent has a rain fly pay attention to the ventilation when it is on as some tents have decreased airflow when the tent is covered. If a tent has ground and roof vents, and mesh parts it should be okay.

Poles

Poles can be made of aluminum, steel, or fiberglass. Fiberglass is the cheapest of all but lightweight and the most used. Aluminum and steel poles are more quality but steel weighs more than aluminum and fiberglass that are light.

I should mention that fiberglass can break easily if you put too much pressure on it. Companies like to add steel poles on heavy tents so the structure is more stable.

Pitching

How about the pitching process? There are plenty of options when it comes to setting tents. Some tents have an ordinary set up with poles and take some time (up to 20 minutes) to stand.

Others have an instant setup where the poles are already attached to the fabric. You will extend the poles and your shelter will be ready to use. In the last category are pop-up tents that you just throw in the air and they will open.

Seasonality

You can get a three-season or a four-season tent. What is the difference between them? A 3-season tent is more breathable and appropriate for camping in warmer temperatures. A 4-season tent can be used all year but it has to have enough ventilation for the hot camping season.

If you intend to camp in warm temperatures then it is best to get a three-season tent. If you like to take your family camping throughout the year, then rather pick a 4-season one.

Storage

Organizing your items inside a tent is important. Big tents should have plenty of options when it comes to storing gear and essentials. Check how many mesh pockets does it have and if it has a gear loft for storing bigger items.

Choose your tent wisely

You should pay attention to the mentioned factors when buying a family camping tent. The most important of all are seasonality, size, and ventilation. Regarding the price, I suggest that you opt for a decent tent at the normal price.

I don’t recommend buying a cheap tent in a hurry because it could ruin your outdoor experience and I am sure you don’t want that. Take care of your family and get a tent that you think is worth buying.