If you are just getting back into camping (like I did) or a beginner, one of the basic things you need to know is what is the best shelter for you and your family while in the outdoors.
Weather can change at the drop of a hat, especially here in Texas where I live. You will need to be prepared for any circumstance that might occur.
As I got back into camping, I found that the quality and choice of tents had changed considerably in the past few years.
There are many new selections and choices that can be matched to your family’s needs to make your future camping trips more enjoyable and memorable.
Your choice of tent needs to suit everybody’s needs, Mom, Dad, and the kids (and friends of kids). What will be right for them? Do you need storage, enough room to move around, and plenty of sleeping space?
Remember, If Mom ain’t happy, nobody will be happy (lol).
The point to camping is to unwind and have fun.
Here I will be guiding you though the types of tent now available and what are the best options of shelter for your family camping trips.
What you need to know before buying.
Basic types of Family Camping Tents
When most people think of tents, they visualize the classic A-frame or the “pup” tent. But even the smaller A-frame tent has transformed over the last several years to be lightweight and easy to set up.
These A-frame tents can fit up to 4 people, but they are usually more fitted for just two adults.
Another tent that has been popular for the last few years is the Dome tent. With the invention of fiberglass poles, these tents hit the market fast and were instant favorites due to the compact nature and materials of construction.
The dome tent is great for family and campers as it can provide a large functional space area. It also has good head room and can have extra spaces or porches that can serve as gear and equipment storage.
This tent is also known for its sturdiness and works well in adverse weather. This tent comes in many sizes to fit all families.
Pop Up (portable) tents are suitable for people that require lightweight options. This tent has loops that literally pops up when the tent is unfolded. These tents are not suitable for high winds because of their flexibility and usually are used as starter tents for small families. But if you are looking for a flexible, lightweight tent, this might be your option.
Tunnel tents are long in the shape of a tunnel. The poles provide adequate strength, but the tent needs to be positioned correctly to be durable in high winds. These tents are smaller and typically accommodate only 1-2 people.
However, these tents are lightweight and are perfect for backpackers as they require little packing space.
Hoop tent are some of the most compact and lightest style available on the market today. These tents incorporate three arched frames to offer more interior space and larger head space. The drawback of hoop tents is that they cannot withstand extreme weather conditions and flap in the wind if not properly staked.
The Hoop Tent usually only accommodated up to 2 people, so this is not a good fit for a family camp out.
The most popular family camping tents today are the cabin tents. These are the heavy weights of the tent family. They are know for their spaciousness and they have plenty of facilities incorporated for all family needs during the family camp outs.
The cabin tent is the type of tent for your family for the long camp outs or even the short stays. They come in many styles to fit any family and are very sturdy in all types of weather. These tents can even come with room dividers for that extra privacy that might be needed if multiply families are camping together.
Things to remember when purchasing a tent.
Manufacturers only size tents to fit a certain number of sleeping bags. They do not consider space needed for bags or any other camping items that you bring.
So when purchasing the tent, you should take the number of people they recommend for the tent and divide that by 1.5 or 2. This will give you an accurate projection of how many people the tent will take and have storage space as well. So if your family has 4 people, you need a tent your 6-8 to have an adequately sized tent for your enjoyment.
For most people such as myself, there will be a need to have a tent large enough to accommodate a family and maybe several friends or relatives. You may even need a tent that is pet friendly and you can buy those today as well. These are tents with pet doors the pet can use to relieve themselves in the middle of the night without the owner having to exit the tent.
Picking the style of tent is solely a personal decision based on what you plan to do with it and how you plan to use it, either for a couple or a family of various sizes.
Does fabric relay matter?
Yes, fabric can make a difference. Today most modern family tents are made with man made nylon or polyester. Polyester is what you will find in most family camping tents. Nylon is used for lightweight backpacking tents.
Polyester and nylon tents are cheaper and more affordable. They are lightweight and a lot less bulky to pack and store away. That means they are easier to get to the camp site. They dry out quicker and are less maintenance. You want to make sure you get this type of material with a weather proofed and mildew resistant.
The downside to polyester and nylon is they are not good insulators. That means they heat up in the sun and are colder in the winter. This material is not breathable, that means they can sweat.
Cotton and canvas tents are still very popular and they can be very durable verses the polyester and nylon. Cotton and canvas tents are better insulators. This means they will stay cooler on hot days and warmer on cold days.
Cotton is a breathable fabric and can absorb water. These tents will be heavier, but also quieter.
Cotton and canvas will require more maintenance before putting them away after each camp out. Cotton and Canvas will be more expensive that the man made materials. Cotton and canvas will last longer and be more resistant o UV rays of the sun.
Poly-cotton is a type of tent material that is a hybrid between man-made polyester and cotton. The poly-cotton fabric is a cotton fabric with some polyester weaved into it.
All the good qualities of cotton (or canvas) can be found in poly-cotton tents. They have some of the bad points too (such as cost, weight, and maintenance), but the polyester in the weave makes them slightly more resistant to mildew than pure cotton or canvas, and the polyester also helps reduce the risk of large rips.
Need to go large, the Best Family Tents
Here are some tents form various manufacturers that I came across in my research that I hope can assist you in your decision you will make in choosing your tent:
- 20′ x 10′ x 80″ (12 Person) Instant Up Cabin Family Tent
- Sets up in under 2 minutes. No assembly required as poles pre-attached to tent.
- Fits 4 queen airbeds
- 3-Room layout with 2 removable room dividers.which includes rain fly with factor sealed seams.
- 2 Oversize side vents for improved air circulation, extra-large windows and shade porch
- Features 2 doors: 1 in the front and 1 on the back.
- Includes 2 media pockets, 2 storage pockets and electrical cord access
- 3-Season (16 Person) Large Family Cabin Tent
- Practical and comfortable, the Tahoe Gear Ozark is perfect for all groups or families; and great for daytime or night
- Easy to assemble shock corded poles and pin-and-ring system allow for quick setup
- Generous 7-foot center and wall height allow campers to move easily throughout the tent
- Durable 1200mm polyester tent body is great for getting out in the warm or cool weather
- Coordinating 1200mm polyester fly with taped fly seams
- Polyethylene binding floor helps to provide water
- 3-Season (14 Person) Large Family Cabin Tent
- Practical and comfortable, the Tahoe Gear Carson is perfect for all groups or families, great for daytime or night
- Generous 7-foot center and wall height allow campers to move easily throughout the tent
- Durable 1000mm polyester tent body is great for getting out in the warm or cool weather
- Fly canopy extends out over the door for an extra large vestibule, and includes guy ropes on each side for securing tent in windy weather
- Fly features solar shield that reflects sun light and keeps tent cooler in warm weather
- Waterproof Tent X-large Instant Up (5-6 Person) Pop Up Dome Tent with Skywindow-Durable Portable Easy Up Shelter
- made of polyester
- EASY and STRESS FREE SET UP – Remove your instant free-standing tent from the packaging and watch it pops up automatically (you can literally count the seconds this takes!). No need to fumble with tent poles, or bother with complicated instructions.
- MESH WINDOWS – Openings on both the left and right sides are covered by a solid nylon flap provides cross ventilation and privacy. Let fresh air in, while keeping the bugs out! DOUBLE DOORS allow either side to be completely open, closed with just the screen material, or sealed with the nylon door for total privacy.
- STORAGE POCKETS and HANG LOOP – Keep the area inside the tent clean and organized. Conveniently hang your battery or electric powered lantern from the hang loop and store your car keys or phone in the storage pockets.
- MULTI PURPOSE- Turn your windows into a rain fly by attaching guy lines to the loops below the window flap and secure them to stakes a short distance from the tent. Guy lines and stakes/ pegs are included.
- Durable seams, sturdy zippers, and water resistant PU coated polyester
- This tent was designed for optimal comfort, lasting quality, and ease of use.
My recommendation is to buy what suits your family’s needs when it comes to family camping tents.
Just remember, don’t short yourself and make sure you buy a tent large enough for your family and camping gear.
I hope you found this article informative and helpful. If you have any question, please feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you ASAP.