My family has just started going on a few camping trips close to home and so had to buy a tent. The kids loved looking at the various family camping tents, but I found it a bit challenging trying to work out which was the best family tent for us.
If you read the various online family tent reviews, you will see there is quite a lot to think about when it comes to buying the best family camping tents. You need to consider the size of the tent, the type of tent and whether you need it for camping, hiking, backpacking or for some other purpose.
To help make your search for family size tents a little easier, I have put together this best camping tents for families guide. In this guide, I explain the different types of tents, the various features to consider when purchasing a tent as well as compare some of the best tents currently available.
Whether you’re looking for a family pop up tent, a family hiking tent, large family tents or just one of the overall good cheap family tents, I have no doubt you will find the best tent for your family’s needs in this guide.
Top 10 Family Tents Comparison Chart
|Coleman 8-Person Instant Tent||8-person||4.5||Check|
|Wenzel Great Basin Tent||10-person||4.0||Check|
|Eureka! Canyon 4-Person Tent||4-person||4.0||Check|
|Coleman Silver Series Instant-Up Tent, 6 Person||6-person||4.5||Check|
|Kelty Trail Ridge 4 Tent||4-person||4.5||Check|
|Highlander Oak 4 Tent||4-person||3.5||Check|
|Coleman Tent Sun Dome 4||4-person||4.5||Check|
|Weisshorn 6 Person Family Camping Dome Tent||6-person||3.5||Check|
|Oztrail Lattitude 4 Room Dome||12-person||4.0||Check|
|Coleman Steel Creek 6 Person Fast Pitch Dome with Screenroom||6-person||4.5||Check|
Understanding Tent Terms
Before you go on the hunt for a family tent, you’re going to need to understand all the tent terms and jargon.
Pop/Instant Tent Vs Dome/Traditional Tent
The latest style of tents to hit the market are the pop up or instant tent. These type of easy set up tents are all in one with the poles attached together which makes setting them up super easy. So easy that the best instant tents go up in seconds.
They are, however, much more expensive than the traditional type tents. Family dome tents or traditional style tents come in multiple pieces which you are required to put together. These types of tents are relatively cheap but can take much longer to set up.
Freestanding Vs Trekking Pole
A freestanding tent uses tent poles and, once set up, can stand up on its own. A trekking pole tent is the best lightweight tent as it’s designed for those who are hiking and is set up with the hikers trekking poles.
A freestanding tent tends to be heavier but on the upside can be set up anywhere. Trekking pole tents on the other hand make the best hiking tent as they reduce the load that hikers have to carry with them, but they need to consider the terrain when deciding where to pitch their tent.
Wall: Single VS Double
Put simply, a single wall tent is made from one layer of fabric, whereas a double wall tent is made with two. They are the tent body and the rainfly (see below).
Single wall tents are lightweight and quick and easy to put up but provide less protection against the elements. A double wall tent on the other hand is heavier, more expensive, more timely to put up but has the advantage of being the best waterproof camping tent due to its added layer.
As mentioned above, a rainfly is the piece of fabric that goes over the tent in order to keep the rain out. Rainflys come in either full coverage or partial coverage.
Vestibules are the little front entrances or small rooms at the front of the tent, like a porch. Vestibules provide some extra space for you to leave items that you don’t want them inside making a mess of your tent like shoes.
Stakes & Guylines
Stakes and guylines are what keep your tent well secured once set up. A guyline is cord or string which attaches to your tent and then is secured to the ground with stakes.
Stakes and guylines are essential for keeping your tent in place in windy weather, heavy rain and snow. They also assist in providing more space by pulling out the walls of your tent as well as assisting in drying out your tent by providing ventilation.
A tent footprint is a waterproof ground cloth that some people choose to put down under their tent. It’s not necessary to use a footprint, but some people do to provide a clean foundation for their tent.
Choosing The Best Family Tent 2019
Key Factors To Consider
To purchase the perfect tent for your family, take some time to consider the following factors and have this guide you for the type of tent you purchase.
Consider what sort of camping you will be doing with your tent. Unfortunately with tents, there are pros and cons with each of them, and no one tent will suit all types of camping.
If you are looking for a tent for backpacking, the best backpacking tent will be lightweight and simple and easy to set up. These types of tents are best when you will be using local transport to get from A to B and need to carry your own gear as you go.
Car camping basically means you will be transporting your camping gear in your own car and in most cases have your car parked right next to your tent. In this case, being lightweight is not so important, but the ideal car camping tent will be one that’s quick and easy to set up as well as being nice and compact.
If you need a tent to sleep in whilst you are hiking or mountaineering then you will need to carry all your own gear across long distances. A tent that is lightweight and compact is of the utmost importance.
An ultralight tent is great in all situations as they tend to be more compact and are easy to store when not in use. They are particularly great for backpacking or hiking. Just remember that you may need to sacrifice other features such as easy set up, tent space and price for an ultralight tent.
Another important factor to consider is the weather where you will be camping so you can decide between a 3 season tent or 4 season tent (also referred to as all weather tents).
For the most part a 3 season tent will do the trick as these tents are suited to camping in all kinds of weather with the exception of heavy snow or extremely windy conditions. If you intend on camping in the snow, then ensure you purchase a 4 season tent as these make the best winter tent for snowy conditions.
Weight really is only a factor to consider if you need to carry your tent far. If you are likely to have your tent in your car and your car parked right next to your tent set up, then the weight of your tent is not really an issue.
The weight of your tent IS a crucial factor if you need to hike to your campsite or if you will use your tent when backpacking.
When it comes to a family tent, space is certainly a crucial factor for consideration. You will need to ensure there is enough room not just for all the family to sleep but also for their belongings.
Remember just because a tent is a 4 person tent does not mean its the best tent for a family of 4. Basically this means there is enough room for 4 people lying side by side in sleeping bags, with absolutely no room for air mattresses or personal belonging.
Also consider if you what to have two rooms for privacy, or perhaps just the option to put up a room divider.
On the other hand, it’s also not recommended to get one of the large camping tents the size of the Taj Mahal! The bigger the tent the more complicated it is to set up, plus you still need to transport it in your car and have somewhere to store it.
Ease of Use
Whether your family camps once a year or multiple times a year, I can guarantee you that camping will be more enjoyable the easier it is to not only set up your tent but also to pack it up as well.
You also want a compact tent so it can easily be transported in the car along with all the other items required for a family camping trip and you don’t want it to take up too much room in the garage when it’s being stored.
Other Features To Consider
Doors – Most tents have just one door at the front, some also have an additional back door. One door is more than enough, just ensure it is large enough to easily come in and out of.
Material & Ventilation – Tents tend to come in canvas or a nylon/polyester, with the latter being most common. Tents made from nylon or polyester are lightweight with lightweight poles, great at keeping you dry, but do tend to heat up rather fast in the sun. Canvas tents on the other hand tend to be much more durable but are also heavier and bulkier.
Weatherproof & Wind Resistance – You never know what mother nature will throw at you whilst camping, so it’s really important that to stay well protected that your tent can withstand strong weather and wind conditions.
Best Family Tents Reviews 2019
For family’s looking for one of the large camping tents with rooms that sets up in minutes, this Coleman family tent is a great option.
This is a big family tent which includes plenty of room for all your families needs. Inside the 8 man tent, there is enough room for two queen size air beds as well as plenty of head room. For families that prefer a little privacy, there is also a hanging divider which converts the tent into two rooms.
The tent has both a front and back door as well as seven huge windows which provide fantastic ventilation and the ability to admire you surroundings. The tent will also keep your family well protected from the elements with features including inverted seams for added water resistance, strong and flexible frame, a weather resistant zipper cuff and waterproof floor.
Also available in a 4 person pop up tent and 6 person tent, it’s easy to see why Coleman tents are a popular choice among families.
For those extra large families or families that just want loads of space, this Wenzel Great Basin Tent makes a great choice.
This is a 10 person tent so there is a stack of room in this tent for the whole family to sleep comfortably and to store their personal items. There are also two hanging dividers so you can create three separate rooms and additional pockets for storage.
Like all Wenzel tents, this tent includes the new Lite Reflect feature which is a loft in the top of the tent where you can place a light in the direction of the built in reflective panel which beams an even light around the entire tent. Other great features include shock corded fiberglass poles and fast feet for easy set up, included rainfly for weather protection and port for electrical cord access. The tent also has a single front door, four mesh windows and three mesh roof vents for ventilation.
If you’re a family looking for big camping tents then definitely consider the Wenzel Great Basin 10 man tent.
For small families looking for a lightweight tent, this Canyon 4 person tent from Eureka is worth considering.
Perfect for 1 night or for hikers and backpackers, this is a 6 pole cabin style tent which has a fast and easy set up. Whilst certainly not a spacious tent, there is enough room for a small family to sleep as well as keep their belongings particularly with the 2 mesh gear pockets for internal storage.
The tent features one large door, 4 large windows and a roof vent which guarantee good ventilation. Other features include full coverage rainfly for all weather protection, a power port allowing extensions inside the tent and a limited lifetime warranty.
With all its great features and essentials, you can’t go wrong with the Eureka! Canyon 4 person tent.
Yet another fantastic option from Coleman, you’ll have this instant tent up in under two minutes so your family get to enjoy the great outdoors.
This 6 man tent is a great size tent for a small family with one to two kids. There is enough room for a queen size air mattress plus a few kids size sleeping bags and your family’s personal belongings. There is even a small awning so you can sit outside while watching the kids play.
The tent has a large front door as well as windows on each side with roll up rear flaps for ventilation. Your family will be well protected from the elements with features including inverted seams for added water resistance, strong and flexible frame, a weather resistant zipper cuff, waterproof polyethylene floor and full coverage rainfly.
Also available in a 4 man pop up tent and 8 person tent, it’s easy to see why any Coleman tent review recommend these tents for families.
The Kelty Trail Ridge 4 person tent is another great tent when a compact lightweight tent is what you’re after.
Whilst a small tent, this lightweight aluminum frame tent has more than enough space for the small hiking family. These Kelty tents feature two doors and two vestibules which provide additional outside storage and the internal storage pockets are great for personal belongings.
Perhaps the best feature of this tent is the stargazing fly. Once the sun goes down, simply roll the rainfly back and have the kids spot the various constellations through the mesh roof. However if you need full protection, you’ll be pleased to know that the rainfly offers full coverage.
Other great features of this tent include adjustable fly vents, mesh body for enhanced ventilation and, with its colour coded design, this is a quick and easy to set up tent.
The Highlander Oak is designed for the longer camping trips where space and comfort is important.
This tent has a unique layout with a spacious front porch area, the bedroom in the back and a side entry. The porch area has large clear windows for lots of light, whilst the bedroom area is darkened for extra privacy and a good night’s sleep. The side entry is fabulous so people relaxing under the porch don’t have to move every time someone needs to go inside the tent.
Designed to sleep 4 people, this tent has all the standard features to keep your family well protected no matter what the weather brings. Features include durable fully sewn in groundsheet, fiberglass poles and waterproof breathable polyester tent.
If you’re considering family camping tents with rooms designated for certain areas, the Highlander Oak is worth a closer look.
This quick, lightweight Coleman Sun Dome tent is perfect for warm weather camping when you’ll be spending all your time outside anyway.
With just enough room inside for 4 people to sleep, this tent includes dark room technology to block out 90% of the sunlight so you can put little ones to bed early, even if it’s still light outside. It also keep everyone from waking up as soon as sun is up.
This tent includes all the standard Coleman features to ensure your family is well protected, including inverted seams for added water resistance, strong and flexible frame, a weather resistant zipper cuff, waterproof polyethylene floor and partial coverage rainfly. Other features include two large windows and a ground vent for air circulation and two built-in storage pockets.
With a quick and easy set up, this is the perfect tent for a spur of the moment weekend away or whilst on a car camping trip. This tent also comes in a two or six person dome tent.
The Weisshorn 6 person dome tent is another good option for families to consider for their camping trips.
This is a spacious tent and the cross pole roof design provides extra headroom at the entrance which is primarily where you need it. There is also a front awning which is perfect for hanging with friends and family and the large entry door makes getting in and out of the tent easy.
This tent is designed to protect your family from all the elements. The heavy duty waterproof material protects from both the rain and UV rays as well as helping to prevent the tent from getting too hot inside. The mesh windows and doors not only provide great ventilation and light but also keep the insects out.
There are some great features in this tent including built in storage pockets, power cord access, light attachment points, bucket style floor to keep water out and laminated welded corners for water resistance and added durability.
Whilst certainly not a lightweight tent, this is a spacious and sturdy tent which is perfect for family camping trips where your car is close by.
If you’re a super sized family or perhaps camp with teenage children who like their own privacy, you can’t look past this massive Oztrail Latitude four room dome 12 person tent.
With a whopping four different rooms for multiple living spaces and bedrooms, this tent will provide everyone in the family with their own space and loads of room for personal belongings. There are 2 separate bedrooms and a central living room which leads out to the screened sun room.
This tent has a front and rear door with multiple windows for plenty of ventilation. Other great features of this tent include built in storage pockets, power cord access, light attachment points, bucket style floor to keep water out and laminated welded corners for water resistance and added durability. It also includes a two year manufacturer’s warranty.
This 12 man tent is the ultimate spacious tent designed for large families going on longer camping trips.
Yet another Coleman tent in this family tent reviews, this time it’s the Coleman Steel Creek 6 Person Fast Pitch Dome.
This tent packs up nice and compact for easy transportation and storage, yet is still spacious enough for a small family. This is a two room tent as it contains the bedroom area (which can hold two queen size airbeds) as well as a fully enclosed screened front porch which is perfect for sitting outside without being eaten alive by bugs. You could also use the screened front porch for an additional sleeping area on warmer nights.
The attached colour coded poles and quick setting feet make setting up simple and the illumiline reflective lines are great for offering night visibility. Other features include the window awnings for better ventilation and protection from the rain, the tub like floor with corner welds and protected seams to keep water out, built in storage pockets, extension cord port, partial coverage rain fly and a strong frame designed to withstand 35+ mph winds.
Yet another fantastic outdoor tent option from Coleman, this tent is perfect for small sized families wanting a quality tent to protect them from the elements.
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Joshua is Melbourne born and bred, father of three who loves sharing the best city of the world with everyone on Melbourne Family.