A Complete Guide to Buying the Best 8-Person Tent for a Big Crew
Are you searching for the perfect tent for the family? How about your group of avid hikers and campers? What qualities are you looking for in the best 8-person tent? Do you prefer a certain brand?
Finding the Best 8-Person Tent for You
If you don't have a particular brand preference, are there specific mechanisms such as bug control or waterproof roofs and floors? We have compiled a list of the 5 great camping 8-person tents on the market and are happy to show you the best features, pros and cons and all of the intricate details of each of these best 8-person tents for family camping.
Who Needs an 8-Person Tent
Many campers prefer to use a large tent for family camping. Especially those with small children. There’s something a bit unsettling about the idea of leaving a small child to face the wilderness alone with just a scrap of nylon between them and the elements. And even if you’re sleeping in your own tent just a few feet away, it’s comforting to have them inside the same structure.
Another time you might prefer the best 8-person tent is for large groups of hikers, hunters, or fisherman. If you’ve got plenty of activities on the agenda, you’re really just looking for someplace sheltered to sleep when it gets too dark to continue. And while privacy is a nice luxury, so is less weight when you’re hiking or moving camp.
So, choosing a large tent may be your best option. It’s only one tent to carry and set up. Best of all, many of them feature room dividers for some privacy.
Things to Consider When Buying an 8-Person Tent
The number of large, family-sized tents on the market can seem a bit overwhelming. Most of them have one or two outstanding features that distinguish them from other models. A few are simply practical, affordable solutions for sheltering a sizeable group of persons out in the woods. So, let’s take a look at some of the features you should look for while you’re searching.
You’ll find that 8-person tents generally come in three basic styles: cabin tent, dome tent, and bell tents. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, so consider each type carefully based on practical considerations.
Cabin tents, for example, are roomy, with straight walls, and like a cabin, you can walk around inside without stooping or bending. However, because of the high profile, they’re not as good handling strong winds. You’ll find them much less stable in windy conditions.
Dome tents are often closer to the ground, with a curved roof that doesn’t catch in the wind. Along with being more streamlined, they also have less airspace, which means they’re easier to keep warm during cold-weather camping. Unfortunately, even models that boast a 6-foot center height can feel claustrophobic. While you could conceivably stand up completely in the very center of the tent, you won’t be able to move far from that spot standing upright.
Bell tents are modeled after the tipis and other tents used by indigenous Americans and other native people. Comprised of canvas, they feature better insulation against the cold and better waterproofing. Modern versions feature largely in “glamping” and festival camping scenarios. And while they are quite comfortable, they’re very heavy to carry and much more expensive than cabin or dome tents.
One factor to keep in mind when searching for the best 8-person tent is that the number of people the manufacturer has listed on the box for occupation is pretty arbitrary. This is particularly important depending on the composition of your group. You might not mind sleeping “cheek to cheek” with your kids or other family members. However, you may prefer a bit more personal space if you’re out fishing with the guys from Accounting.
Square footage counts
Make sure you check out the full square footage when shopping for the best 8-person tent for your large family. Sizes can range from as much as 140 square feet to 104 square feet, and the label will still say “sleeps 8.” If possible, see if the manufacturer provides a “sleeping map” to show you they expect you to arrange sleeping bags and air mattresses. This should give you a better idea as to whether there really is room in the tent for eight people.
In fact, if you’re anything like my family, you may want to buy a size up so you’ll have plenty of room to store gear. It also helps when you have to send young children to separate sides of the tent so they’ll stop talking or fighting and keeping you up all night.
Depending on your camping style, take the overall weight of the tent into consideration. For example, modern lightweight tents are often walled with nylon. If you’re planning to pitch your tent far from the parking lot, you may prefer the lightest tent you can get. This is especially true if you’re camping with small children, who tend to have a pretty meager load capacity.
On the other hand, if you tend to camp at your local state or national park with drive-up sites, the best 8-person tent may be a weightier option in favor of better insulation against the cold night air.
Take it easy when you can
And no matter how many people you have in your hiking group, remember that only one of you can carry the tent at a time. If your hiking or hunting group wants to stay mobile with easy set up and minimal gear, look for the lightest tent that will protect you from the weather.
The weight and fabric type can affect the durability of your tent. But there are other factors to consider. How long do you plan to use the tent? Do you expect to outgrow it or downsize in the near future? While the best 8-person tent will be sturdy and long-lasting, you don’t want to buy more tent than you need. If you only camp out once a year or so during good weather, spending hundreds of dollars on a nearly indestructible canvas tent probably isn’t your best move.
Most large tents feature room dividers to allow some privacy within the tent. These are normally just sheets of fabric you can unroll to block the view from the rest of the tent. However, depending again on your camping style, you may want to consider how many dividers each tent has before purchasing.
For example, if you like to camp out with a group of friends or other couples, you may feel that the best 8-person tent for you is one with the maximum number of rooms available so that everyone can have some alone time. If you do a lot of family camping, your kids may want some space of their own, especially if it’s a mixed group. And if they bring friends along, they’ll probably appreciate some privacy from parental eyes. Young teens are particularly self-conscious.
The question of storage also plays into the question of size. While you can buy a large tent, it’s no guarantee that you’ll have enough storage space. During the multiple times that I’ve been camping over the decades, it seemed there was never enough clean, dry storage for comfort. Luckily, the best 8-person tent now features some extra storage options.
You’ll find several models with overhead lofts built in where can keep gear high and dry off the ground. Others also boast hanging organizers of net material for keeping valuables or other heat and humidity sensitive accessories.
Ports and lighting
Since many national and state park campgrounds feature on-site electrical service, it makes sense that you’ll want to access that from inside your tent. And you don’t have to cut a hole through the windows, either. Electrical ports allow you to run an extension cord from the onsite outlet to the tent interior without compromising it’s weatherproofing or insulating capacity.
And with the advent of inexpensive LED lighting, some of the best family camping tents feature built-in lighting for convenience. Light, unobtrusive LED bulbs are an easy add-on that can make the world of difference for your camping comfort.
Our Picks for the Best 8-Person Tent for Family Camping
The number of large tents on the market really is pretty staggering. While only 20 years ago, you could count the brands of camping gear available on one hand. The global market has really exploded, and the demand for tents has risen. More and more, people are looking to de-stress and get back to nature. It seems to go hand in hand with a hectic urban lifestyle.
First, let's take a look at three tents from Coleman. The Coleman brand is generally seen everywhere by everyone. It has a solid reputation and is not a stranger to anyone. Generally, even people that aren't avid outdoors adventurers have heard of the Coleman name.
Red Canyon Coleman 8-Person Tent
The Coleman Red Canyon tent has a great rating on Amazon and its one of the best 8-person tents available on the market.
Although this Coleman tent is partly named for its color, red, it is also available in the colors of blue and black.
What are the Basic Details?
This family camping tent can hold up to eight campers without feeling cramped and claustrophobic. It has measurements of 17 feet by 10 feet, with a center height of 6 feet. So, that's 170 square feet of floor space. And that’s not all: It also has room dividers that allow you to create up to three rooms! If some of your teenagers prefer privacy from the younger children, this would alleviate a lot of fuss.
As for the weather resistance and dryness, the Coleman has you covered. With their technologically advanced WeatherTec System, it’s designed to keep you and your family dry from the random, overnight rain shower or thunderstorm. The tent is built with polyurethane materials that give it waterproof capabilities. It comes with the WeatherTec dry line and door mat construction.
The tent comes with a wonderful venting system that’s easily adjustable. This gives you the ability to adjust the desired airflow. It has a cool-air port that’s really convenient for those hot summer nights.
As for the construction and set up, this model is easy to assemble. It comes with shock corded poles and a simple instruction booklet.
This may be the best 8-person tent for rainy climate locations.
- Footprint: 17 by 10 feet
- Height: 6 feet at center pole
- Weight: 22.4 pounds
- Carry bag included
- 1-year limited warranty
- Room for three Queen-sized airbeds
- Rain fly included
- Mud flap
- Continuous pole sleeves
- Ground vent
- Storage pockets
- Door awning
- Rain fly doesn't extend to the ground
- Dome tent, which means you can't stand up in sleeping area
- No vestibule or porch area
- High tension in poles can wear out tent fabric
Montana 8-Person Tent by Coleman
The Coleman Montana tent comes in an earthy color green. Many Coleman products come in this color green. It’s a staple color for the brand.
It's also priced at a very affordable dollar amount. For those with a budget, this is a tent to consider.
Let’s Get to the Details
The tent material is made of the classic polyester fabric. It’s dimensions are 16 feet by 7 feet with the height at center of 6.2 feet. So, you get 112 square feet to work with. This tent may not have as much length and width space as the Red Canyon tent but it does have two extra inches in height.
It is also equipped and designed with the WeatherTec System that gives it the weatherproof qualities. In fact, the tent design has specially shaped windows that keep the rain out even when the windows are open! It has welded floors and inverted seams that keep the water out of the tent. Now that’s an awesome quality!
Bells and whistles
The tent comes with an electrical port that allows you to bring any technological comforts with you. In fact, if you need to plug up an electric stove, portable air conditioner, or even a portable television, you will have the means to do so. It comes with small access pockets inside the tent so that it’s easier to locate the important gear such as a flashlight.
As for the construction and set up, it’s very easy to build and doesn’t threaten much of a headache and fuss. The support poles are Insta-Clip(™) Pole Attachments that give it the ability to stand up against strong winds. Also, the poles are color coded so it’s easy to distinguish which ones belong where. And it’s a guarantee that you won’t spend any longer than 15 minutes constructing it.
So, the Coleman Montana may be the best 8-person tent for families. It's great for camping nearly anywhere. Most signifcantly, it's is suited for nearly any type of terrain and weather event. The hinged door ensures that the wind won't open it until you do. Do you enjoy camping in the windy hills? This would be a great choice for that scenario.
- Footprint: 16 by 7 feet
- Height: 6 feet, 2 inches at center
- Weight: 24.5 pounds
- 1-year limited warranty
- Extended door awning
- WeatherTec™ system
- Hinged door
- Continuous pole sleeves
- Angled windows to prevent rain entering
- E-Port for electrical service
- Storage pockets
- Included rain fly for extra weather protection
- Expandable carry bag
- Room for three Queen-size airbeds
- Rain fly doesn't cover extensively
- Not appropriate for cold weather
- Roof not as weatherproof as floor
Coleman 8-Person Instant Tent
The Coleman Instant Tent actually has a higher rating than the previous Coleman siblings, the Red Canyon and the Montana. It has an impressive rating on Amazon. And price wise, it’s higher than the previous two. However, it has a lot of great qualities to offer.
So, What Are the Details on the Coleman Instant Tent?
Size wise, this model is 14 feet by 10 feet. It isn't as spacious as the other two models, but it beats them out with the center height of 6.5 feet. Believe it or not, there is enough space for two queen sized air mattresses! It has two doors and seven full windows! Also, there is an adjustable and removable divider to create two rooms.
And like the other tents from Coleman, it comes with the WeatherTec System which gives it the waterproof walls and welded floor. This keeps the rainwater out on those long stormy nights or dreary, rainy days.
In short, if you have a big family with many young children, the instant setup for this tent would make life much easier on you! The faster the structure is built and the sturdier it is, the better. This may be the best 8-person tent for families with young children.
- Footprint: 14 by 10 feet
- Height: 6 feet, 7 inches at center
- Weight: 43.8 pounds
- 1-year limited warranty
- 60-second setup
- Poles are pre-attached
- Rain fly is integrated
- WeatherTec™ system
- 2 storage pockets
- Carry bag with rip strip
- Room for two queen airbeds
- Several entrances
- Higher price
- No replacement parts available
- Cabin style tent not as stable in high winds
Comparison of the 3 Coleman Tents
If you are searching for the best 8-person tent, these should give you plenty of options to browse through, compare and mull over. They all offer plenty of space for the family and friends.
Finally, in our personal opinion, the best 8-person tent out of the Coleman brands listed here is the Montana. This model has the lowest price of all three tents. It offers more details and capabilities to better ensure your safety and protection against the weather elements. The Montana also comes with a hinged door, which the other two tents don't have. You'll have plenty of spacious room for the quarreling teenagers and excited children. You can rest assured that you and your family will rest comfortably without the feeling of claustrophobia or the fear of rain leaks and wind knock overs.
Wenzel 8-Person Klondike Tent
Wenzel is most popular with the hiking crowd and the families that are avid outdoors adventurers. The brand produces the top of the notch camping tents and gear.
Available in two colors, gray and taupe, it proves to be just as popular as the three Coleman 8-person tents. Most importantly for those on a budget, it isn’t as inexpensive as some of the others, but it isn’t too pricey for what it offers.
It holds up to eight people comfortably. In fact, it’s a lovely dome tent with an attached screen room! It has separate rooms and plenty of ventilation and windows. The screened room also functions as an extra sleeping room. The kids would be ecstatic over this.
Additionally, it comes with a full mesh roof option and is made of materials that are weather resistant. The polyester material is treated with the durable and weather proof polyurethane coating. This is ideal for when iffy weather comes your way. You want to ensure that you have the appropriate protection from the outside elements.
As for the measurements, the Klondike tent is 16 feet by 11 feet with a height at the center of 6.5 feet! So, that gives you 176 square feet to stretch out and store your supplies. It’s easy to assemble and won’t give you a headache in trying to discern which part goes where. The double-staked power corners are designed to give the polyester structure durability and stability.
To top it all off, it comes with two doors. So, there’s plenty of room, plenty of privacy and plenty of ventilation.
Finally, the Wenzel is set apart from the rest because it has an added screen room whereas the others don't. So, it's great for the hillside camping areas that overlook the lake. Imagine resting in the screen room and be able to view the waterside. (Or whichever scenic view you prefer.)
- Footprint: 16 by 11 feet
- Height: 6 feet, 6 inches
- Weight: 26.4 pounds
- 10-year warranty
- Attached screen room
- Mesh roof for superb ventilation
- Seam-sealed rain fly
- Roof vents
- Zippered side windows with inside flaps
- 2 storage pockets
- Pre-attached guy ropes
- Excellent warranty
- Doesn't handle bad weather well
- Multiple complaints about weak poles
- Rain fly may not be adequate for weatherproofing
The Mountain Trails Grand Pass 10-Person Tent
Now, let's take a look at the Mountain Trails 10-Person Grand Pass Tent. Mountain Trails is known everywhere, just like the Coleman brand, for producing excellent camping tents along with many other outdoors products and attire.
Yes, you read that correctly. It’s a 10-person tent! Why not save the biggest for the last? It has a great rating and seems to be popular in demand.
Time to Dish Out the Details on the Mountain Trails Grand Pass Tent
This spacious 10-person tent is made of nylon material with fiberglass, shock corded poles, and framing. It comes with two large doors and a has added rain protection through the hooped fly frame. Best of all, the roof and windows are made of mesh so that you have plenty of ventilation and fresh air to breathe.
Biggest on our list
The measurements are 18 feet by 10 feet and the height at the center pole of 6.3 feet. So, this is the biggest one on our list, with 180 square feet for family camping comfort. This 10-person tent feels like a home away from home while enjoying the sounds and sights of nature.
So, what feature does this tent have that the others don't? It sleeps 10 people rather than 8 people. It would be a great option for those large groups that enjoy hiking. If you have a very large family, it would also suit you very well regardless of where you place camp. With its durability and fiberglass framing, it can withstand windy elements or rainy elements.
Finally, we like lots of room for gear when camping, so in this case, the best 8-person tent for family camping may be a 10-person tent.
- Footprint: 18 by 10 feet
- Height: 6 feet, 3 inches
- Weight: 21.1 pounds
- 1-year warranty
- Low price
- Lighter than other models
- Customers laud its waterproofing
- Huge and roomy
- Gear loft and 4 storage pockets
- Easy to set up
- Mesh top for star gazing
- No carrying bag included
- Only one divider to make 2 rooms
The Best 8-Person Tent Depends on You
With summer sneaking up on us, take the time now to decide which tent is best for your needs. Consider the area and terrain where you'll be camping. Also, consider your budget and the pricing you're comfortable with.
You may prefer an Instant Tent because you have small children and will be setting up the tent by yourself. On the other hand, because you have a large family, that might not be the best deal for your budget.
Among the Coleman, Wenzel, and Mountain Trails brands, you're certain to find an excellent tent for family camp outs. That said, our recommendation is usually to size up with tents. So, we recommend the Mountain Trails tent. Especially for family car camping. When there is no strict limit for the gear you can bring, why not bring all the comforts of home? Considering that it's the least expensive tent on our list, with the best customer reviews, so, we think it's a no-brainer.
Have you purchased a large family tent before this? What brand did you buy and what would you recommend? Give us your recommendations in the comments!