Family camping is a great and fun way to build close family bonds, creating shared experiences and memories that parents and kids can talk about throughout their lives. It provides quality time for everyone and develops closer relationships among the family members. Camping has become popular among families who are looking for cheaper alternatives to enjoy their vacation and holidays together than those expensive flights, staying in hotels and dining out.

Family camping creates great memories, and whether it is only for a weekend or the entire summer break, there are a range of family camping tents available to accommodate everyone’s needs and budget. The best tent for family camping should be a home away from home.

Family camping tents are available in various sizes, styles, spaces, and optional accessories (footprints, porches, carpets) for additional comfort and roominess. A standard family tent usually features multiple bedrooms and a large living space. These tents are designed to comfortably accommodate more than 2 persons and for this reason, it is very important to inspect the dimensions carefully before choosing to buy one.

However, looking for the right family tent can be so challenging and confusing, especially if you are not the one with the task of setting it up. Choosing the best tent for family camping will give you your money’s worth and an enjoyable camping adventure with the family.

The following are several practical tips to help you make an informed decision:

Purpose for buying a family tent

The first thing to consider before buying a tent is the purpose. The following questions can help you decide why you need a tent for camping with the family:

  • How many seasons will we use the tent?
  • Where will we be using the tent?
  • Are we going to carry the tent to the campsite by car or on our backs?
  • How often are we going to use the tent?

Number of family members that will use the tent

The number of people that will be using the tent is also a major concern. The amount of space needed in the tent will be determined by the age and size of the family members, as well as any items (sleeping bags, mattresses, sleeping pads) or gear (cooking items, flashlights, etc.) that the family will bring along with them.

A lot of families prefer to choose a tent with additional capacity for one person and another one for the gear. A family of 4 should look for a 6-person tent to ensure adequate space for everyone and for storage. The duration of the camping trip is also another factor to be considered in determining the size of the tent because the longer the vacation, the more clutter inside the tent.

Environmental conditions

Consider where you will be using the tent. Some tents are designed to suit different environmental conditions. The majority of tents are usually 3 season tents for families who want to go camping during summer, late spring, or early fall. For those who want to go camping even in winter, there are 4 season tents which are designed with heavier materials.

Ease of use and transportation

If you will be carrying the tent to the campsite other than driving, a lightweight tent with just enough room is recommended. They can also divide the parts of the tent among family members so that not one individual will be burdened with the task of carrying the whole tent.

Also, choose a tent that is easy to set up. Nobody wants to spend hours putting up a tent and enlisting the help of children who would rather play than help you with poles and pegs. The age of kids in the family can also help determine the type of tent suitable for you in terms of easy setup.

Materials used for the tent

The majority of modern tents are made with nylon (which is more expensive and much lighter weight, but tend to sag when wet) and polyester (much cheaper than nylon, provides UV protection and water resistant). Most tents these days are covered with polyurethane or silicone to provide protection from UV rays and repel water.

Tent poles should be of superior quality to guarantee durability and strength. Zippers are the key part of a tent which are often overlooked, so make sure they are of top quality, rust-proof, move easily, and doesn’t catch on fabric in order to prevent them from getting stuck so you can keep those unwanted things out of the tent. The rain fly must be waterproofed and preferably covers the entire tent especially the doors and windows for maximum protection against the rain.

Water resistance

This concerns the way the tent deals with moisture, inside and out. The ideal tent should be seam-taped and with a water-proof top that prevents leaks. The tent must also have waterproofed floor and sides (4 to 6 inches from the floor) to prevent rainwater from seeping under the edges of the tent. Campers should also choose double-walled tents with ventilated rain flies and awnings.

Ventilation

Ventilation is very important, so look for tents with well-placed vents, even with the rain fly on, to allow air to flow freely and minimize condensation issues.

Extra features

Additional features and accessories are also available in many tents such as:

  • Footprints or tarps to provide smooth surface for the tent floor
  • Mesh shelves and storage pockets to keep things organized
  • Mud flaps or vestibules to keep rain away from the tent door
  • Number of doors to prevent clambering over someone else (2 is ideal)
  • Number of windows for ventilation
  • Size of awning for extra protection from the elements
  • Tent fans for added ventilation
  • Other accessories that will suit your tent and your requirements

Flooring

The flooring of the family tent gets used a lot so it must be made of a high quality durable material. Using a footprint or tarp (a specially designed fabric used under the tent for protection against abrasions and wear and tear from the ground) is often recommended to protect the campers and their belongings from water seeping inside the tent.

Price of the tent

Whatever your budget might be, price is usually a big decision for all. But it is important to keep in mind that the higher the quality, the more expensive the cost will be. So it is wise to do some research and shop around on a particular tent of your choice before deciding to buy. Watch out for sales too because some manufacturers offer a discount of up to 40% to 50% in a particular time of the year.

However, buying cheap tents might cost you more in the future when the tent does not meet your expectations. Some of these tents are cheap because of the manufacturers and the materials they used. So always think twice and examine why a particular tent is cheaper compared to other tents with the same features.

After sales service

A lot of manufacturers are happy to sell you the tent but they don’t want to see you again if something goes wrong. After sales service is another important factor before deciding to buy a tent. Read the reviews online about the ratings people gave with their experience with the manufacturer and visit the website of the manufacturer for more information about their products and services.

Summary

Camping can be an enjoyable and memorable bonding time with families. And since camping involves sleeping outdoors away from home, choosing the best tent will provide the comfort and shelter the family needs. A family camping tent is probably one of the most important pieces of recreational gear you will invest in. The more you will be using the tent, the more important it is to buy it right the first time.

Choosing the best camping tent can be easy if you have all the information before deciding to buy one. Take into consideration the age of the kids, the space needed for the campers and for other items or gear, the type of camping environment, weather compatibility, ease of set up and transportation, materials used, ventilation and flooring, the price, and after sales service for an enjoyable and comfortable camping experience with the family.

An ideal tent will last a lifetime given the proper care and maintenance. So choose the best tent your budget can afford, set it up properly, and have fun with the family!

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