How to choose best camping tents for your family?

How to choose a tent for your family camp

Do you know what to look for in a family tent? Do you know which one is the biggest bang for the buck? We searched high and low for the best family tents, and we found them!

In this article, we will tell you what features to look for in a tent, the three camping tents we found, then explain how to maintain your tent. These tents are the best values for the most square footage and most useful features.

The best camping tents for families are:

Before the Purchase

Buying your family tent is like buying your family home. There are tents for every purpose and with unlimited combinations of features. The most pertinent question to ask yourself is this: what features are most important to you? Here are some ideas of features you should look for.

1. Comfort!

We feel that comfort is the most important feature of a tent. If it’s not comfortable for everyone in the family, it probably will not get used very often.

  • Capacity: Consider what size tent you need. For a family of four, you will likely want to go up two a six-person tent. This gives room for gear as well as bedding and walking space. Think of it: you wouldn’t want to buy a home with just enough room for your family without all their possessions. The same is true for a tent.
  • Height: My favorite family tents allow adults to walk around inside without crouching. These are the tents with six foot or higher ceilings. They allow for ease of movement through the tent and make it easier to get dressed in the morning.
  • Other features to consider are ventilation and insulation. In the summer, you will want as little solid fabric as possible to allow air to flow through the tent and cool it. However, in the winter, you will want insulation to protect you and your family against the cold. Look for mesh siding and windows for the former. For the latter, we suggest a tent with a good rain fly and a heavyweight floor.

2. Workmanship

We call this a close second to comfort, because a great tent is nothing if it doesn’t last. Good tents that will last for years to come have strong poles and weather-resistant fabric. Tent poles can be made of aluminum, fiberglass, or steel. Steel is preferable, because it does not bend or break easily. Fiberglass is a close second. Most tent walls are made of polyester, though some are coated in waterproofing. The coated polyester is suggested because it keeps out the weather better.

No one is likely to buy a shabby house, so we do not recommend buying a shabby tent.

3. Set-Up and Tear-Down

Okay, we know you probably hate reading user’s manuals. If so, this one is for you.

Consider how long the tent will take one person to tear down in a storm. The faster the tear-down time, the better the tent is for all-weather. It will, of course, it will take the same amount of time to set up. This can be called a comfort feature, because the faster the tent can be set up, the sooner you will be able to go on to something else, like spending time with your family.

I like to look for color coding or poles that lock into place very easily. No need to read the manual and no need to stand and scratch your head over endless poles with no idea what goes where. If reading the instructions can be avoided altogether, that is much preferable.

4. Packing size

Packing size doesn’t usually come to mind when camping, but when it’s time to pack everything in the trunk of your car or the back of your minivan, it becomes highly relevant. Not all of us have a truck or hatchback with all the extra packing space. Some tents come in small, easy-to-carry bags, but most family tents come in wheeled bags that take up a great deal of space. Try to keep in mind your other camping gear when pondering the right size for your tent.

5. Storm resistance

The winds pick up, and the clouds don’t look so pretty anymore. Can you trust your tent in the rain storm, or do you need to pack up quickly to avoid tent collapse? These are things to keep in mind when looking for a good storm resistant tent.

Tents that can get through the storms are typically dome-shaped which, according to the Sierra Trading Post, “prevents snow from accumulating and reduces the chance of collapse”. Other features that can help with storm-resistance are bathtub style floors, with inverse seams, an excellent rain fly, and sealed seams.

Reviews of 3 Best Camping Tents​

1. Coleman Sundome 6-Person Tent

  • Dimensions: 10’ X 10’
  • Ceiling Height:6’
  • Capacity: maximum of 6 people
  • Tent Style: Dome
  • Pole Material: fiberglass
  • Tent material: coated polyester

Our Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Coleman Sundome Tent

Coleman Sundome Tent

One of the greatest features of this tent is its value price.
Thanks to the Insta-click poles and continuous sleeve design, the Sun Dome can be set up by one person in about ten minutes, which is amazing because you will be able to get everything set-up and go have fun quicker.
Do you have to have a charger for your electrical device (tablets, cell phones, etc.)? Maybe you need an extension cord for medical equipment? Whatever the reason, an electric access port on this tent gives access to an extension cord, which is wonderful because you will not have to worry about leakage running a cord through the door.
The only disadvantage to this tent is that it has to be seam-sealed before use, an extra hassle that some people will not do. If it is not done, the seams around the floor leak, causing rain to join you in the tent.

Other than seams needing sealant, the tent is very well made for the weather. Some features that help this are:

  • Veriflow adjustable Ventilation system
  • Water tight zippers
  • Coated polyester Rain Fly
  • Heavy-duty polyethylene floor

2. Coleman 8-Person Red Canyon Tent

The Coleman Red Canyon can sleep up to eight people, but if you reduce that to the average family size, it is spacious and luxurious. My favorite feature is the divider system, because the dividers can make up to three rooms, so the options are endless.

For a family with children, you can make one room for the parents and two for the kids. Another option is to have a changing room and a storage room, leaving the rest for sleeping, which is especially useful for mixed parties of adults.

  • Dimensions: 17’ X 10’
  • Ceiling Height:6’
  • Capacity: maximum of 8 people
  • Tent Style: Modified Dome
  • Pole Material: fiberglass
  • Tent material: coated polyester
Coleman 8-Person Red Canyon Tent

Coleman 8-Person Red Canyon Tent

Our Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

One great feature is the ease of set-up. It takes one person fifteen to twenty minutes to set up, because of shock-corded poles and simple instructions. The poles are also color coded, which is great because it will help you know which poles go where.

Intended for three-season car camping, a problem with this tent is two side mesh panels that cannot be closed. Because of this, the tent becomes frigid if the temperature drops below forty. It is, however, well-suited to three-season camping, even in heavy rain. Here are a few features that lend well to this:

  • Veriflow adjustable venting system
  • Waterproof floor with inverse seams
  • Zipper protection
  • Rain fly with taped seams and Velcro frame

The final feature to celebrate is the organizational options. Besides the dividers, there are also two mesh pouches and a gear loft that is great for keeping small belongings away from little hands or pets.

3. Coleman 6-Person Instant Tent

The Coleman Instant-Tent is an amazing tent, but a little overpriced.

  • Dimensions: 9’ X 10’
  • Ceiling Height:6’
  • Capacity: maximum of 6 people
  • Tent Style: Dome
  • Pole Material: Steel
  • Tent material: Coated polyester

Our Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Coleman 6-Person Instant Tent

Coleman 6-Person Instant Tent

One excellent feature of the Instant-Tent 6 is a window on all walls and roof vents, because this gives the tent a chance to breathe properly. I appreciate this because I’ve been in tents without good ventilation during the day, and it was sweltering.

Another feature to celebrate is the set-up time. One person can set up the Instant-tent 6 in five minutes, due to pre-attached poles and a click and lock design. This is great because it means less time putting up the tent and more time with the family.

There are only two interior mesh pockets and no gear loft, so all your gear will likely have to be on the floor.

Need something smaller or larger, but want the same design? You are in luck, because the Coleman Instant-Tent can also come in a smaller, four-person size or you can upgrade to the larger eight-person one without compromising on the design or ease of set-up.

This tent is very weather-resistant, thanks to a number of features. Here’s just a few:

  • Veriflow adjustable venting system
  • Waterproof coated walls
  • Waterproof tarp-like floor
  • Built-in vented rainfly
  • Taped seams

A final excellent feature is the reflective guy lines, because when you have to go out in the dark, you can see the guy lines upon return so you do not trip on them or collapse the tent.

Maintain Your Tent

Buying a durable and quality tent is not good enough. You should also follow our guidelines on maintaining the tent. If you do these things, you will extend the life of your tent by years.

  • Before going camping, you may want to set up the tent in your backyard because this will ensure all parts are present, there are no surprise problems, and you will be faster setting the tent up in the field. You may want to seal the seams and spray the walls with coating at this time as well.
  • When you go camping, the first thing you should do is look for a well-established campsite without vegetation on a smooth, solid surface. Clear away any twigs, pinecones, or other debris that may jab you in the back while sleeping or rip a hole in the floor.
  • Place down a footprint or tarp to help protect the tent floor and keep rain from seeping in through the floor. Take off shoes and rain gear in the vestibule or leave them outside to prevent debris or water from getting inside.
  • Avoid folding your tent always on the same crease lines. Over time, these crease lines become brittle and leak. Fold a different way each time you pack up.
  • When you get home, make sure the tent is dry before storing it away. Set it up and inspect the entire tent for any sign of moisture and, while you are at it, look for holes or other damage that may need repairing. If it is dirty, wash with a non-abrasive sponge and cold water, and a non-detergent soap to gently scrub soiled spots.
  • Never place a tent in the washing machine. After washing, ensure that it is fully dry before returning the tent to its carrying case and always store the tent in the open, not in a stuffy basement or attic.
Now that you know what sort of features to look for in a tent, our top three choices, and how to maintain your tent after purchase, gather your family and camping gear and create an adventure with your new home away from home!

The three tents we listed are generally good and appropriate for the average family. If you want to find a different tent with the right size or brand for your family, read the articles below


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