Looking for the perfect family tent to accommodate young and old during the holidays? Our guide is here to help you in your choice.
Camping is the ideal way to enjoy the joys of outdoor life and spend unforgettable moments with your family.
That's why this type of holiday is so popular with families around the world!
However, the choice of a family tent should not be made at random.
This is a key moment for the success of your family vacation.
In addition, the purchase of the tent represents a large budget. It is therefore essential that it corresponds to your specific needs.
Difficult to make a choice when you see all the models available on the market?
You don't know what criteria to consider?
How to choose your family tent?
Where to buy it?
This article is here to help you. Follow our guide and practical advice
How to choose your family tent?
The choice of your family tent depends on how you will use it and how you travel.
Depending on the number of people to be accommodated, your budget or your holiday destination, your selection criteria will not be the same.
And of course, your choice of tents will be narrowed down according to the importance you give to each criterion .
Here are the criteria to be taken into account:
Family tent capacity
The first criterion to look at. You all want to be able to get into the tent and make yourself comfortable.
So first look at the capacity (number of people) indicated by the tent manufacturer.
Some manufacturers add a "+" sign after the number of people. This means that the tent has a little extra space, useful for storing your belongings in the tent for example.
In addition to the tent capacity indicated by the manufacturer, study the different areas of the tent.
Is there only room to sleep there? Or are recreational/kitchen/etc. spaces provided?
When camping with your family, it can be super useful and fun not to step on your feet.
Depending on the use you make of your family tent, its weight may go from secondary to crucial.
Large camping tents can quickly become heavy or even very heavy. 44-66 lbs (20-30 kg) for some of them!
If you do a lot of hiking, backpacking or biking, choose a family tent that is as light as possible.
You can find an ultra-light 4-person family tent starting at 6 lbs (3 kg). This is the ideal! Very easily transportable.
However, a light family tent weighing 8 to 13 lbs (4-6 kg) will also be an interesting choice.
Note: for more backpacking light tents, I wrote a special guide: Best 1-Person, 2-Person, 3-Person and 4-Person Backpacking Tents 2019
On the contrary, if you travel by car and usually stay in the same place for several days, you will probably attach less importance to the weight of your tent. And certainly not at the expense of other comfort criteria.
Also think about the volume of the tent when it is folded and make sure you have room to carry it in the trunk of your car and store it at home.
In order to reduce the amount of space your tent takes up when folded, you can use a compression bag.
There are different forms of family tents with their advantages and disadvantages.
There are 4 different types of family tents:
- Dome or igloo: Dome or igloo tents are mostly self-supporting, i.e. they stand on their own, even without guy lines. They are easy to assemble and stable.
- Tunnel: Tunnel family tents are more spacious and usually quite high. They offer a comfortable interior with large apses for storing equipment and one or more bedrooms.
- Hybrid: The hybrid tent is a mix between dome and tunnel tents. Composed of two arches forming a dome extended by an awning, it thus makes it possible to combine the advantages of both types of tents.
- Teepee: With its pyramidal structure and central pole, the teepee tent has a unique charm. Its interior is generally quite spacious and you can stand in the middle. Very user-friendly, some teepee tents are even compatible with the use of a wood-burning stove.
Organization of the family tent
Family tent with awning, with vestibule, with kitchenette...
The family tent can contain many spaces to accommodate the whole family.
Define the tent organization that suits you.
Do you want a spacious family tent or do you prefer a light and compact tent?
It all depends on how much time you spend in it and what you do. It is very practical to have a vestibule when it rains and to share moments with the family (board games, meals...) or an awning to enjoy the landscape while sheltering from the sun.
The height of the tent is also a criterion to be taken into account. Family tents are usually at least 40 in (1 m) high. However, a height of 70 to 78 in (1.80 - 2 m) allows you to stand upright inside and move around inside the tent more easily.
To take care of the children, but also if you are tall, choosing a family tent high enough will bring real comfort.
Ease of assembly
If you travel regularly, the ease of setting up the family tent will be essential. You don't want to spend hours putting it together and taking it apart on a daily basis.
A traveling family tent is a family tent that is quick to set up.
To determine how easy it is to set up a tent, check customer reviews on Amazon. Those who have struggled to set up their tents are often quick to say so in their comments.
Also keep in mind that larger and heavier tents take usually more time to mount.
If you are looking for a tent that is really fast and easy to set up, look out for automatic tents, also called instant tents, 2-second tents or pop up tents.
These tents, which can be moved at will, unfold on their own to take their final shape.
Novices in camping, starting with an automatic tent is the solution to avoid difficulties in mounting up your tent.
Materials and durability
Your tent is your home! For a few days or weeks, your tent provides shelter from the elements.
It must therefore be solid and protective. It is consequently essential that your tent is built with quality, solid and durable materials.
However, you will also want to consider the weight and volume of the materials used.
A cotton or polyester family tent will be heavier than a nylon tent, but also stronger and more durable. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of each material.
The coating (treatment applied to the surface of the fabric) makes the tent waterproof, more resistant to tears and ultraviolet (UV) rays.
There are several types of coating: polyurethane (PU) coating, thermo-plastic polyurethane (TPU) coating, silicone coating...
Finally, to improve the durability of your family tent, we recommend that you use a floor mat, i.e. a protective tarpaulin to be slipped between the tent and the ground.
Weather resistance is an important criterion when buying a tent cover. Three criteria are to be taken into account:
- Waterproofing / Water resistance: It is essential to choose a waterproof family tent. Which can take at least light rain, or even more if you go to a rainy area.
The waterproof rating of a tent fabric is measured as the water column expressed in mm of water that the tent can receive before the water passes through the fabric.
The European standard for waterproof fabrics sets a minimum of 1500 mm. Check customers reviews regarding the waterproof rating of the fabric and the seams to avoid unpleasant surprises!
Also check that the floor is watertight to avoid flooding. Finally, for better insulation and less condensation, opt for double roof tents.
- Wind resistance : Another criterion you could check in the customer reviews section. Even if the important thing is often to pitch your tent in an optimal position in relation to the wind and by tensioning the guy lines!
- Anti-UV protection: By choosing an anti-UV canvas, you will be protected from the sun's rays and will be able to sleep in more easily in the morning.
Price and quality
As is often the case, price and quality are linked when buying a tent.
Think of buying a tent as an investment; it will be your home for many holidays! So don't hesitate to plan a budget large enough to ensure that your tent meets the requirements of the whole family and can last for years.
The price of family tents can vary from a few dozen dollars to several hundred. Obviously, the quality of these different tents is not equal.
To determine the budget you are willing to allocate to the purchase of a family tent, do a market study according to your criteria and think carefully about how you will use the tent.
If you are planning to use your tent on a daily basis during a trip of several weeks/months or in regions with difficult climatic conditions, do not skimp on quality.
On the other hand, if your tent will only serve you for a few summer weekends, you can choose a lower price.
The best family tents for camping and hiking
As you will have understood, it is essential to define your criteria to choose the best family tent for your tribe. Below are several examples of quality tents recommended by camper families.
Family tents by sleeping capacity
3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 or 12-person, the size of a family tent is the first parameter of selection.
4-person family tent
The Coleman Coastline Deluxe 4-person tent is a classic tunnel tent. It has a comfortable interior space. The 19.3 sq ft (5.9 m2) bedroom space can easily accommodate 4 people and thick mattresses, while the living space has a surface of 19 sq ft (5.8 m2) (enough to set up a table and store all your things). Moreover, you can stand upright without any problem (6.5 ft - 2 m high).
Another advantage of this tent is that it is easy to set up. Indeed, thanks to the quick-pitch tunnel, the tent can be set up in no time at all!
Last but not least, there are multiple ventilation points and panels as well as windows that allow light to enter the tent, even in bad weather!
The big advantage of this 4-person tent is its weight. Only 94 oz (2.67 kg). Hard to do better for a family tent! In addition, an ultra-compact compression bag is included.
Want to travel light? Go trekking with your family? Backpack traveling? This tent is made for you.
You benefit from the quality of the MSR tents while having the space to accommodate the whole family.
5-person family tent
For the 5-person family tents, we have chosen one model, a hybrid dome - tunnel model with excellent technical specifications.
Family tent from Vaude, of very good quality, the Campo Casa is spacious but keeps a very reasonable weight of 307 oz (8.7 kg).
It has 2 entrances, a large living space (vestibule, kitchenette, playroom...), a bedroom and several vents to keep a healthy atmosphere in the tent.
6-person family tent
You want a little more room? The 6-person tents are practical because they often have two separate bedrooms, as is the case with the Tauris tent that we present below. One room for the parents and one for the children ?
The Tauris family tent is a spacious tunnel tent with two bedrooms for 3 people each.
This high quality tent is solid and waterproof.
Its plus: the double opening allows you to make the most of the outdoors.
In addition, the door can be transformed into an awning to protect you from the sun or light rain.
The Vario Vent Control ventilation system ensures constant air exchange.
All in all, a spacious, quality awning from a well-known brand. Perfect for family camping.
8-person family tent
Do you need more room?
The 8-person tents are perfect for large families or families who want to go camping more comfortably.
For its unique appearance and panoramic view, we recommend the 8-person Octagon tent from Coleman.
The key word of this tent marquee is its conviviality. A sturdy, easy-to-set up octagonal family tent that is perfect for camping or in the garden.
Its many openings allow a 360° view and improved ventilation. It has 6 large windows, a mesh roof and 2 swing doors that open like real doors.
For more intimacy or separation of the different spaces, a removable separation curtain is provided. Finally, the tent is waterproof and easy to set up.
Where to buy a family tent?
In order to have access to a wide selection of quality family tents, we recommend the tents category on the Amazon site.
Hundreds of tent fabrics are referenced there, including well-known brands in the camping and hiking industry.
In addition, you have access to many customer reviews, the best ally to find your family tent!