Family camping has long been a prized activity for families across the country. It’s cheap, convenient, fun and one of the best ways for families to “get away from it all.” For those haven’t ventured into camping, it’s usually due to lack of equipment and supplies. The most important piece of gear you’ll need is a tent. The rest will follow. Once you invest in a solid family tent, the fun will deliver for years and you won’t need to replace your tent anytime soon if you take good care of it. Before you dive too deep into The House’s wide selection of family tents, read on to learn about the most important features for you and your family…
What Size Tent Does My Family Need?
Tents are typically categorized by how many people it sleeps. Family tents sleep four or more campers. If you’re a heavy packer, plan on storing a lot of extra gear in your tent or will have a dog or two in your tent, you’ll want to consider opting for a larger tent. Don’t worry about the weight of the tent either. Family camping tents are typically carried only from the car to the site, which is often no more than 50 feet! Read our article on types of tents here.
What Should I Look for in a Long Lasting Tent?
- Warranty – The first thing you should look for in a long lasting tent in a warranty. If the company is confident in their product and workmanship they should have no problem providing one. When it comes to any type of gear, you often get what you you pay for. Especially for family campers with active kids and parents constantly in and our of the tent, consider purchasing a high-quality tent with a warranty from a brand that has proven itself to customers.
- Poles – Aluminum poles are stronger than fiberglass or steel, which can bend or corrode.
- Zippers – YKK zippers resists snagging, breaking and glide smoothly.
- Materials – Most tents are made with nylon, but each manufacturer has different standards of quality regarding fabrics and level of water-repellency. Higher-denier fabric canopies and rainflies are more durable than lower-denier ones.
- Flooring – An Oxford nylon floor is crucial for tents that you can stand up in because it will withstand foot traffic. Construction – Look for reinforced and/or taped seams in the tent construction. This will reduce chance of leakage in water prone places like corners.
- Rainfly – A rainy is like ilk an umbrella for your tent. A full-coverage fly offers better weather protection than roof-only styles and also serves to block harmful UV rays from damaging your tent.
- Footprint – While sold separately from any tent, the footprint is essential for extending the life of your tent. It’s like a big tarp that fits perfectly under the tent floor, protecting it from rocks, twigs and other abrasive objects that could damage your tent.
Key Features of a Family Tent
- Ventilation – Since most camping is done in the summer, window and proper cross ventilation guarantee maximum air-flow. A screen on the door is also a big advantage as it doubles as a large window. A sleeping camper can emit up to a pint of water in one night! If all that moisture can’t escape, it condenses inside the tent making everything wet and campers clammy.
- Usability – You’ll want a tent that is easy to set up. Look for tent poles that attach to clips rather than feeding through a long, continuous nylon tunnel. A combination of the two works fine, too. Some cabin style tents offer two doors, which can be nice for families with small children who go in and out of a gear packed tent frequently.
- Freestanding – Most family tents these days are freestanding which means you do not have to stake the tent before setting it up. Once it’s set up, you can easily move it to a new location, then stake it down. It’s also convenient for shaking the tent out before packing up!
- Inner Pockets and Loops – A tent with a lot of pockets and loops is ideal for family camping since families tend to have a lot of gear. They serve as a great place to store things like headlamps, baby wipes, snacks, and water bottles to keep them organized and off the tent floor. Gear loft loops allow for additional tent pockets (sold separately) to be attached. A loop at the top of the tent can hold your lantern.
- Headroom – Some tents stand tall enough for adults to stand upright. If this is important to you for chaining clothes or for added airiness, then look for a tent with the highest “peak height.”
If you plan to use your tent more than once a year, we highly recommend investing in a good quality family tent from the start. It will last far longer, create less frustration during set up/take down, will keep your family dry if it rains and will likely come with a lifetime warranty. As mentioned earlier, once you make the initial camping gear investment, you’ll be set for years of outdoor fun with the whole family!