When it comes to planning a family camping trip, choosing the right tent is obviously really important. A good family tent provides a comfortable and safe shelter after a day of outdoor adventure. However, with so many options available, choosing the right tent can be overwhelming, to say the least. Hopefully we can help. In this article on how to choose a family tent, we will cover all the key things you need to consider. Let’s get right to it.
Family Tent Type, Shape and Layout
When it comes to choosing the right family tent, there are several types, shapes, and layouts to consider. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to choose the one that best suits your needs. In this section, we’ll discuss the different types of family tents and their features.
Dome Family Tents
Dome tents are the most popular type of family tent, and for a good reason. They are easy to set up, lightweight, and provide excellent stability in windy conditions. Dome tents are perfect for families who want a tent that is easy to transport and set up. They are available in various sizes, from small two-person tents to large family-sized tents.
Tunnel Family Tents
Tunnel tents are another popular option for families. They are similar to dome tents, but instead of having a round shape, they have a rectangular shape. This shape provides more headroom and interior space, making them ideal for families who want a tent that is more comfortable to move around in. Tunnel tents are also lightweight and easy to set up.
Tipi Family Tents
Tipi tents are a great option for families who want a tent that is easy to set up and has a unique design. They are typically made of canvas and have a conical shape. Tipi tents are spacious and provide excellent airflow, making them ideal for camping in hot weather. They are also great for families who want a tent that is easy to pack up and transport.
Cabin Family Tents
Cabin tents are a popular option for families who want a tent that is comfortable and spacious. They have straight walls, which provide more interior space and headroom. Cabin tents are available in various sizes and can accommodate larger families. They are also great for families who want a tent that feels more like a home away from home.
Rooftop Family Tents
Rooftop tents are a unique option for families who love camping but don’t want to sleep on the ground. They are designed to be mounted on the roof of a car or SUV and provide a comfortable and safe place to sleep. Rooftop tents are easy to set up and provide excellent views of the surrounding area.
Bell tents are a popular option for families who want a tent that is easy to set up and has a unique design. They have a round shape and are typically made of canvas. Bell tents are spacious and provide excellent airflow, making them ideal for camping in hot weather. They are also great for families who want a tent that is easy to pack up and transport.
When choosing a family tent, it’s essential to consider the layout and number of rooms. Some tents have a single room, while others have multiple rooms with dividers. Multiple rooms provide more privacy and allow families to separate sleeping areas from living areas.
Headroom is another important factor to consider when choosing a family tent. Taller family members will appreciate a tent with more headroom, while shorter family members may not need as much. Dome and tunnel tents typically have less headroom than cabin and tipi tents.
Entrances and Vestibules
The number of entrances and vestibules is also essential to consider. Multiple entrances provide more flexibility and make it easier to get in and out of the tent. Vestibules provide extra storage space and protect the entrance from rain and wind.
Windows are essential for providing natural light and ventilation. Some tents have large windows that provide excellent views of the surrounding area, while others have smaller windows that provide more privacy.
Storage and Extras
Finally, it’s essential to consider the storage options and extras that come with the tent. Some tents have built-in storage pockets and gear lofts, while others have additional features like rainflies, guylines, and airflow vents. It’s important to choose a tent that has the features and extras that are important to your family’s needs.
Family Tent Size
When it comes to choosing a family tent, size is obviously important. If you have six kids and the grandparents and dogs are coming too you’ll need a massive tent. If however, there is just one child and you will probably only need a4 person tent. Basically, you want to make sure that the tent is spacious enough to accommodate your family comfortably. The tent size is usually determined by the number of persons it can accommodate.
It is important to note that the number of persons a tent can accommodate may not always be an accurate representation of the actual space available. The dimensions of the tent should also be considered. A tent that is designed to accommodate four people may not be suitable for a family of four if the dimensions are too small.
When choosing a family tent, it is recommended to go for a tent that is designed to accommodate at least one or two persons more than the actual number of people in your family. This will ensure that you have enough space to move around comfortably and store your gear.
The weight of the tent is also an important factor to consider. A heavy tent may be difficult to transport and set up. It is recommended to go for a tent that is lightweight and easy to set up. This will make your camping experience more enjoyable and stress-free.
Finally, we’d suggest going for a tent that is designed to accommodate at least one or two persons more than the actual number of people in your family will ensure that you have enough space to move around comfortably and store your gear.
Family Tent Materials and Durability
One of the most important factors to consider is the materials used in its construction. The durability of the tent will determine how well it can withstand the elements and how long it will last. Here are some of the most common materials used in family tents:
Polyester Family Tents
Polyester is a popular material for family tents because it is lightweight, durable, and affordable. It is also resistant to UV rays, which can help prevent the fabric from fading over time. Polyester tents are usually coated with a waterproof layer to keep water out, but they may not be as breathable as other materials.
Nylon Family Tents
Nylon is another common material used in family tents. It is lightweight, strong, and resistant to abrasions, making it a good choice for camping in rugged terrain. Nylon tents are also usually coated with a waterproof layer to keep water out, but they may not be as durable as polyester or canvas tents.
Canvas Family Tents
Canvas tents are the most durable and long-lasting option for family camping. They are made from heavy-duty cotton canvas that is breathable, waterproof, and resistant to UV rays. Canvas tents are also more spacious than other types of tents, making them a popular choice for families who need extra room. However, they are also the heaviest and most expensive option.
No matter what material your family tent is made from, it is important to take care of it properly to ensure its longevity. Here are some tips for maintaining your tent:
- Clean your tent regularly with a mild soap and water to remove dirt and debris.
- Dry your tent thoroughly after each use to prevent mould and mildew from growing.
- Store your tent in a cool, dry place when not in use to prevent damage from sunlight or moisture.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on your tent, as this can damage the fabric and waterproof coating.
By considering the materials used in your family tent and taking proper care of it, you can ensure that it will provide you with many years of comfortable and enjoyable camping experiences.
Vango Family Tents – Spec comparison and Price checker
Family Tent Waterproofing
If you live in the UK then you’ll know that waterproofing matters, a lot. After all, nobody wants to wake up in a puddle in the middle of the night. Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to family tent waterproofing:
Waterproof Tent Material
The first thing to consider is the tent material itself. Look for tents made from waterproof materials such as nylon or polyester. These materials are often treated with a waterproof coating to further enhance their water resistance.
A rain fly is an additional layer of waterproof material that covers the tent. It is designed to keep rainwater from seeping through the tent’s roof and walls. When choosing a family tent, look for one that comes with a rain fly or has the option to add one.
Hydrostatic Head (HH) Explanation
The hydrostatic head (HH) rating is a measure of a tent’s waterproofing. It measures how much water pressure the tent can withstand before water starts to seep through the material. A higher HH rating means the tent is more waterproof. Look for a family tent with an HH rating of at least 1000mm.
Even the most waterproof tent material and rain fly can be compromised by unsealed seams. Look for a family tent with sealed seams to prevent water from seeping through the stitching. This is especially important in areas where water is likely to pool, such as the corners of the tent.
Family Tent Wind Resistance
To ensure that your tent is wind-resistant, look for tents that have a wind resistant shape. Tipi tents and tunnel tents are probably the best. Some dome tents can be good too. If you plan to camp in windy conditions, then avoid tall cabin or boxy tents with vertical sides. Also avoid car rooftop tents (for obvious reasons!).
Look for tents with sturdy tent poles made of metal such as steel or aluminium (sometimes fiberglass poles can be ok too). Poles made from these materials provide added weight and stability to the tent, making it more resistant to wind. (More on poles further down in this article)
Another feature that can increase wind resistance is a full-coverage rainfly. You want a flysheet that reaches the ground. If there is a big gap, wind can get under and effectively ‘lift’ the tent.
When setting up your tent, make sure to use long stakes to secure it to the ground. This will help to keep the tent stable in windy conditions. Additionally, consider using guy lines to provide extra support to the tent.
In summary, look for streamlined-shaped tents with sturdy poles, full-coverage rainfly, and long stakes.
Family Tent UV Protection
UV rays can damage the tent’s fabric and thread over time, making it thin and brittle.
To prevent this, we recommend choosing a tent that has UV protection built into the fabric. Some manufacturers, such as Nikwax, offer UV proof sprays that can be applied to the tent to increase its UV resistance.
It’s also important to note that the tent’s rainfly should also be UV resistant. This is because the rainfly is exposed to direct sunlight and can also be damaged by UV rays over time.
When shopping for a family tent, look for one that has a UV protection rating of at least UPF 50+. This means that the fabric blocks at least 98% of UV radiation.
In addition to UV protection, it’s important to properly care for your tent to ensure its longevity. This includes storing it in a cool, dry place when not in use and avoiding prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.
Family Tent Ventilation
Ventilation is an essential factor to consider. Proper ventilation ensures that there is adequate airflow inside the tent, which is crucial for your family’s comfort and safety. In this section, we will discuss the importance of ventilation and factors to consider when choosing a family tent with proper ventilation.
One of the essential features of a well-ventilated family tent is mesh panels. These panels are usually located on the tent’s walls and roof and allow air to circulate freely inside the tent. Mesh panels also prevent condensation from building up inside the tent, which can cause discomfort and even health problems.
Look at the number and size of the mesh panels. The more the panels, the better the ventilation. Also, ensure that the panels are strategically placed to allow for maximum airflow.
Another factor to consider is the tent’s airflow system. A good airflow system ensures that fresh air flows into the tent while stale air is expelled. This system is usually achieved through windows and vents. When choosing a family tent, ensure that it has several windows and vents to allow for proper airflow.
It’s also important to consider the tent’s shape and size. A tent with a high ceiling and a steep roof will allow hot air to rise and escape, creating a natural airflow. A larger tent also provides more space for air to circulate freely, ensuring adequate ventilation.
Family Tent Poles
It’s to choose a tent with good poles as the poles form the structure, strength and stability of your tent.
Aluminium poles are a popular choice for family tents because they are lightweight and durable. They are also more expensive than fibreglass poles, but they tend to last longer and can withstand more wear and tear. Aluminium poles are also less likely to break or bend, which can be a significant advantage when camping in windy or rough conditions.
Many manufacturers use colour-coded poles to make it easier to set up the tent. This means that each pole is a different colour, and each pole sleeve is also colour-coded to match the corresponding pole. This feature can save a lot of time and frustration during the tent setup process.
Fibreglass poles are another common choice for family tents because they are more affordable than aluminium poles. However, they are not as durable and can break or bend more easily. Fibreglass poles are also heavier than aluminium poles, which can make them more challenging to transport. Tents with fibreglass poles do tent to be cheaper than those with aluminium poles.
Air poles are a newer technology that is becoming increasingly popular in family tents. Instead of using traditional poles, air poles use inflatable beams to support the tent structure. This design makes the tent much lighter and easier to transport than tents with traditional poles.
One significant advantage of air poles is that they are incredibly easy to set up. All you need is an air pump to inflate the beams, and the tent will be ready to use in minutes. However, it’s essential to note that air poles are more expensive than traditional poles, and they can be more challenging to repair if they become damaged.
In conclusion, it’s essential to consider the type of poles used in the tent structure. Aluminium poles are lightweight and durable, while fibreglass poles are more affordable but less durable. Air poles are a newer technology that is easy to set up but more expensive than traditional poles.
Related: If you’re going camping for a week or two with the family you’re probably going to need some way of charging your gear. Even if you’ve got an electric hook up at the campsite, having one power station to charge that everyone can then use to charge their gadgets will save the fights about who gets the charger! Check out our Portable power stations for camping, van-life and road-trips article for some great ideas. Also, if you want to record your family adventures – even upload them Youtube, but you’re on a budget, check out our What to look for in a budget action camera article for some great tips and advice.
Family Tent Ease of Pitching
When it comes to choosing a big tent, ease of pitching should be a top consideration. After all, the last thing you want is to spend hours setting up your tent while the kids are getting irritable and bored! Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for a family tent with easy setup.
Instant tents are a great option for those who want a quick and easy setup. These tents come with pre-attached poles that can be set up in just a few minutes. They are perfect for families who want to spend less time setting up camp and more time enjoying the outdoors.
When choosing an instant tent, make sure to consider the size and weight. Instant tents can be heavier than traditional tents, so you’ll want to make sure you can easily transport it to your campsite. Also, keep in mind that instant tents may not be as durable as traditional tents, so you’ll want to make sure you choose a high-quality model.
In addition to ease of setup, instant tents often come with other features that make them a great choice for families. For example, some instant tents come with built-in lighting or ventilation systems that can help keep you comfortable during your camping trip.
Family Tent Quality and Price
The quality of a tent is important, but so is the price. You want to make sure you get a tent that is durable and will last you for multiple camping trips, but you also don’t want to break the bank.
When looking at the price of a family tent, it’s important to consider how often you will be using it. If you plan on using it frequently, it may be worth investing in a higher quality, more expensive tent that will last longer. However, if you only plan on using it a few times a year, a more affordable option may be the way to go.
It’s also important to look at the materials used in the tent. A higher quality tent will typically be made with more durable materials, such as ripstop nylon or polyester, while a lower quality tent may be made with cheaper materials that are more likely to tear or break.
How to choose a family tent – Summary
Overall, when choosing a family tent, it’s important to find a balance between quality and price. You want a tent that is durable and will last you for multiple camping trips, but you obviously need to work within your budget. By considering factors such as how often you will use the tent, what weather conditions the tent will be used in and the materials used in its construction, you can make an good decision that will suit your family’s needs and budget. Hopefully you’ve found this guide to how to choose a family tent useful.