Best Tents for Family Camping – Cub Scout camping, family camping trips, and even backyards camp outs are always fun, and having the right tent makes things a whole heck of a lot easier. In this article, we’ll give you our recommendations for the best tents for family camping so your camping trips will be a blast.
Editor’s Note: Our recommended tents in this article are specifically focused on FAMILY Camping and similar situations where you’re basically driving to the camp grounds and you don’t care how heavy the tent is/isn’t because you’re not backpacking with it. It goes without saying then that the tents discussed here would not be ideal for backpackers and solo campers who are looking to pack light and streamline their list – if you’re looking to keep it super simple, check out this article instead.
What is a Family Tent? Why does it matter?
Having kids in Cub Scouts, I’ve been on a number of family camping trips and the biggest mistake I see people make when they are new to family camping is not buying a big enough tent.
Every year I inevitably see a family new to camping who brings a ‘4-person tent’ to the campsite for their 4-person family – only to discover that their tent is way too small!
Don’t let this happen to you. Instead read this article and learn why you’ll want AND need a larger tent if you want to be comfortable in a family camping situation.
So what is a “Family” Tent?
Simply put a Family Tent is one that is big enough to be able to:
- house all your family AND your camping gear (to include ‘space eating’ items like air mattresses/cots/etc);
- give you room to spread out inside the tent and be comfortable (not cramped!) – that means being able to STAND UP inside, have room to change clothes, etc;
- if the budget allows provide multiple ‘rooms’ in the tent for kids vs adults.
Remember, this is NOT backpacking in the high country where you need a small, lightweight tent you can easily carry on hikes. Instead we’re talking about FAMILY camping where you can drive to the campsite – that means go BIG.
And when in doubt, go bigger!
Don’t underestimate how much stuff you camp with in family camping situations – this is especially true if you plan to…
- sleep on air mattress or cots (these items take up a LOT of space);
- there are going to be 4+ people in your tent (that’s a lot of gear, clothes, etc);
- camp for 2 days or more;
Did you know?
If there are 4 people in our family, a 4-person tent will probably NOT be big enough for you and all your stuff.
Family Tents – How Big is Big Enough?
A simple rule of thumb I use it to buy a tent that is 1.5 to 2 times the size of the number of people that are camping.
So if you have 4 people, you should at least be getting a 6 person tent (4 x 1.5 = 6), 8 person tent (4 x 2 = 8), or larger if you have more gear.
ACTION ITEM – do the math on your family size to determine the basics of how big a tent you’ll need. Then do a quick inventory of the overall space requirements of the camping gear you want to store inside the tent. Once you have an idea of how much space you’ll need, you’re ready to shop for a family tent for camping!
Best Tents for Family Camping
As you’ve seen from our discussion above, it can be confusing to shop for family sized tents until you understand how much space you really need.
Now that you know what to expect, let’s review my top rated tents for family camping.
First off, here is the list in text format:
- Browning Big Horn 10 Person Cabin Tent
- Core Instant Cabin Tent (Core makes lots of different size options)
- TOMOUNT 8 Person Tent
- Bushnell Shield Series 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent
- NTK Arizona GT 9 Person Sport Camping Tent
- Gazelle 26800 T4 8 Person Pop Up Camping Tent
Next, I’ll provide more info about each family camping tent along with direct links to Amazon so you can review at your leisure…
- Our Browning Big Horn Series is a free-standing tent with fiberglass poles and steel uprights, giving ultimate extra strength and stability
- Two-room wall divider, extra tall center and straight side walls gives more room for cots, sleeping bags and extra gear
- Six large windows, two doorways and mesh roof offer easy entry and ultimate ventilation
- Fully equipped with mesh storage pockets, polyester fly, guy ropes and steel stakes
- Base Size: 10' x 15', Packed Size: 12" x 30", Center Height: 87", Total Weight: 34 lbs. 11 oz.
As a side note I have the Browning Big Horn and we’ve been using it for 4+ years – it’s awesome and provides more than enough space for my family and all our gear.
- Instant 60 Second Setup; Sleeps 9 people; Fits two queen air mattresses; Center Height:78
- CORE H20 Block Technology and adjustable ground vent
- Features room divider and wall storage pockets keep items neat and off the tent floor
- Electrical cord access port (port is fully closable when not in use)
- Includes rain fly, tent stakes, and carry bag
- ROOMY FOR 8 - HIKERGARDEN 8-person tent is the best family tent you will find. This Tent is very roomy for 8 adults. 3 Queen air mattresses are well fit inside, or 8 sleeping bags individually. Ideal family tent for car camping or outdoor traveling
- EASY SETUP & SMOOTH ZIP - Easy Install in 10mins. It takes only a few simple steps to set up a perfect tent. Snag-free, continuous pole sleeves mean you only have to feed the poles once, shrinking setup time to just 10 minutes. Much stronger than pop up tents. No particular skills needed. Smooth & sturdy zippers, never stuck. 2-way zippers make it convenient to get in and out of the tent
- PROFESSIONAL WATERPROOF & WINDPROOF - By a professional water testing, HIKERGARDEN family tent’s waterproof index is over 4000mm. Rain on but stay dry inside. Engineered to be a stronger, more wind-responsive frame with redesigned poles, make this tent more stable in the windy and rainy weather
- VENTILATION & LIGHTWEIGHT - Get away from the city lights, and you are able to gaze at the Milky Way. This camping tent has 1 large mesh door, 5 mesh windows & mesh tent top, enable optimal airflow come in and out easily. The mesh windows allow the breeze to come in and HIKERGARDENs the bugs out. HIKERGARDEN tent is lightweight and portable with a carry bag, ideal for outdoor scout camping, hiking, fishing in fair weather
- SEPARATED ROOM - Our TOMOUNT provides a curtain which you can hand on inside the tent. Then you can enjoy a separated room in our TOMOUNT 8-person tent. Enjoy with our tent!
- RATED #6 FOR THE BEST FAMILY TENT IN THE USA IN 2016. SPACIOUS 9 to 10 Person (aduls/kids), 2 Rooms, 2 Doors, 3 Windows Tent Designed for Easy Assembly with color coded poles. Super 6.2 FT height for maximum comfort.
- FULL COVERAGE RAINFLY: Double layer 190T polyester laminated with polyurethane 2500 mm water column, partially aluminium, heat-welded PU seam sealed and UV protection, Large covered mesh vents provide even more ventilation. Inner tent: Large D-style doors with mosquito mesh for great views and ventilation. Roomy utility pockets and gear loft for gear storage.
- FRAME: 100% virgin NANO-FLEX shock corded fiber glass rods with improved diameter and double gold plated ferrules. Aluminium Pin-and-ring system for easy and quick setup.
- MOSQUITO MESH: Inner tent fully breathable with generous Ultra-thin polyester no-see style mesh keeps you safe from smallest insects and mosquitos while offering some privacy from side view (when not using the rainfly).
- FLOOR MATERIAL AND DESIGN: Heavy duty anti-fungus seamless polyethylene with inner silver coated layer keeps you dry and protected enhanced by the unique element barrier bathtub-style construction (you won't wake up in a puddle!). Security: Meets CPAI-84 flammability requirements. Heavy duty carry bag with compression straps and ID label to personalize your tent.
- INSTANT TWO-MINUTE SETUP TECHNOLOGY: Poles come pre-attached to the tent for quick assembly - unfold and extend leg poles until they click into position.
- HEAT SHIELD TECHNOLOGY: Features a special reflective coating on the underside of the rainfly which blocks the sun's UV rays keeping the tent darker and noticeably cooler.
- 2 A/C PORTS/GROUND VENTS: This 18ft x 11ft floor plan and 80in center height tent includes A/C vent (A/C not included)
- DURABLE: Durable 150 denier fabric is tougher than the average tent, built to handle wear and tear
- ACCESSORIES: 2 Removable room dividers, reflective piping and guylines; external flashlight pocket; internal wall hanging organizer and pockets; aluminum stakes; expandable carry bag.
- Overall Footprint: 94"W x 168"L x 78"H; Collapsed: 11”W x 11”H x 63”L; Floor Space: 110 sq. ft.; Weigth: 47lbs
- CONVENIENCE: A 90 second set-up and spaciously sleep up to eight people, standing 78 in tall and features 110 sq. feet of floor space. This provides as added leisure area that quickly converts to a second sleeping space when needed.
- RAINFLY WITH INTEGRATED POLES: A waterproof rainfly with taped seams is included with each tent. The integrated poles insert into each corner before popping up the roof. It can be left off on nice nights for a great view of the stars.
- STURDY POP-UP HUB DESIGN: Our camping tents come fully assembled and pop-up fast thanks to the innovative framework. We use only all-metal hubs and solid fiberglass poles to create a solid structure that resists strong winds.
- DURABLE BEEFY YKK ZIPPERS: Zippers go through a lot of abuse, and there is nothing worse than getting in and out of a tent with broken zippers. That's why we use rugged and dependable and beefy YKK zippers on our doors.
What about Ozark Trail or Coleman Family Tents?
If you are looking to save some money or you’re not sure if family camping is going to be something you do very often, then you might consider going with a tent from Ozark Trail (a brand popular at Walmart) or the classic brand Coleman family tents.
Best Family Tents Summary
I hope you enjoyed this article and that it will prove helpful to you in finding the best tent for family camping for YOUR family.
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