It used to be a tent had only one job—to shelter. As long as it separated you from whatever was going on outside, whether it was rain, wind, sun, bugs, or biting temps, it was doing its job. That’s not the case any more. Car camping and family camping tents now come in a huge range of shapes and sizes. There are multi-winged mansions and tents with sprawling patios, towering nylon domes and portable canvas yurts.
Basically, family camping tents are steadily marching toward the ultimate goal of making the campsite feel like a home away from home, with all the individualism that implies. That means there’s a tent that’ll fit your family’s specific needs, but you’ll have to search through the growing range of options to find it.
Here’s what to look for when shopping for family camping tents:
- Begin with the number of people you need to shelter. Now add room for one or two more, so you have extra space to play with. We love covered vestibules for extra dry storage.
- Consider when you’ll use it. Those who camp no matter the forecast should opt for more durable fabrics and a to-the-ground fly, while the fair-weather softies might want a design with a removable fly that allows for stargazing.
- Got a small car or need to carry the tent to reach the campsite? Keep weight and packability in mind.
- Don’t underestimate setup. Most tents are pretty easy to pitch these days, but a general rule is the bigger the tent, the more complex, challenging, and time-consuming the setup.
- Get excited about the little details. Things like pockets, tablet ports, multiple doors, and even floor patterns won’t make or break a camping trip, but they’re like the art on your wall. The little details make it feel like home.