What Should I Consider When Buying a Family Tent?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Sara Z. Potter
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2019
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Camping in a family tent can be a lot of fun for both adults and children. However, buying a family tent that is spacious and comfortable enough for everyone is key to a great family camping experience. In addition to comfort and roominess, when buying a family tent you should also consider the protective and setting up aspects of the tent.

The modern family tent is often freestanding unlike the 'old school' family tents with many stakes that have to be set into the ground. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to both styles. A family tent with stakes may be time consuming to set up, but it may be much lighter in weight than a freestanding family tent.

When buying a family tent, it is a good idea to see the tent set up in the store if at all possible so that you can examine exactly how the pieces are put together. You should consider that one adult may have to set up the family tent while the other keeps a eye on the kids. You also want a tent that older children can help set up without a lot of frustration. Consider having a practice run at setting up the tent at home before the family camping trip to make sure all the parts are there and that the tent sets up the way it is supposed to.


Keep in mind that while a backpacking tent needs to be lightweight, a family tent does not usually need to be since family camping is usually done with a vehicle. However, you still want a family tent that is strong and offers excellent protection from the rain, wind, sun and bugs. Mesh areas may be a good idea to allow some ventilation into the tent to help prevent dampness, but be sure the mesh is fine enough to keep out even the smallest bugs such as gnats.

Consider buying a large family tent. You will need room not just for the family, but for bedding to be stepped over and for clothing and other belongings. Height is also an important consideration for the comfort of adults. If you see the tent set up in the store, you will probably be able to get a good idea of how much room you will need if you imagine your family plus all your stuff in the tent.

An extra covered section near the doorway is available in some family tents and this adds a little more storage space. Storage pockets are a handy addition to a family tent as well. Some family tents have an extra inner wall or two that are great for changing clothes and dividing up space for a bit more privacy.


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Post 4

Some of my best memories growing up were in a canvas tent that had a red, white and blue top which reminded me of a circus tent. We spent our vacations traveling much of the country sleeping in a tent every night.

One thing that I find very helpful is to hang something down from the middle of the tent to tie a lantern on. Some newer tents already have clasp for this purpose. This is nice because you don't have to hold it or try to balance it on the floor.

With the lantern hanging from the middle of the tent, the light is spread throughout the whole tent and not in one tiny area.

Post 3

It seems like you can never fit as many people in the tent as what it says on the outside. If the tent is supposed to sleep 6 people, it seems like you can get 4 people in there. I know the number shown on the package allows room for sleeping only, and does not take in to account any luggage or gear.

The last tent we purchased was a 3 room family tent which worked out well because you could put up dividers for a little bit more privacy or use one room for luggage only.

Post 2

That is a great idea, somerset! It sounds like a really comfortable way to camp -- kind of like having your own portable screened-in porch.

Post 1

While family camping I have found that a screen house, or screen tent is very useful. A camping table can be placed inside, and it is big enough to where you can even put a camping chair or two. I have used it recently and it made our camping trip so much more enjoyable. It gives protection against the sun and bugs, yet at the same time you are still outdoors. It comes in very handy during meals, game playing in the evenings, and it keeps all the mosquitoes, bees, and other insects at bay.

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