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 SETUP: The tent body with pre-attached poles that lock into place creates a setup time as short as 2 minutes.
- WEATHER PROTECTION: H20 Block Technology combines water-repellent fabrics with a fully taped rainfly and sealed seams to resist rain.
- ADJUSTABLE VENTILATION: Lower air intake vents draw in cool air from the ground while the mesh ceiling allows hot air to escape.
- MULTIPLE ROOM CAPABILITY: An included room divider can be used to create 2 rooms.
- INTERIOR ORGANIZATION: Keep small items off the floor with the conveniently located storage pockets.
- RATED No 6 FOR THE BEST FAMILY TENT IN THE USA IN 2016. SPACIOUS 9 to 10 Person (adults/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 aluminum, 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 Percent virgin NANO_FLEX shock corded fiber glass rods with improved diameter and double gold plated ferrules. Aluminum 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 mosquito 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 GROUND VENTS: The side walls of this 12 person tent include convenient 12.5" x 17" mesh AC vents with 17" covers that allow for A/C unit installation! (AC not included)
- DURABLE: Durable 150 denier fabric walls and 240 denier floor material is tougher than the average pop up tents for camping, making this tent built to handle wear and tear with ease.
- MULTIROOM DESIGN - Two included room dividers allow you to separate the massive interior into 3 rooms, making this one of the top family camping tents on the market.
- Oversize rain fly easily attaches to the roof panels for extra protection
- 110 square feet of floor space, with removable floors for each room
- 2-door pop-up tent sleeps 8 people
- Convertible screened-in room is perfect for families with young children to help avoid bugs and the elements
- Collapsed dimensions (L x W x H): 11 x 11 x 63 inches
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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