7 Rules of Selecting a Great Family Camping Tent

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Tents come in quite a few shapes and sizes. Most modern tents are dome shaped and some are more house-like shaped and some are a combination. Some tents, especially the larger and taller ones, use aluminum poles and outside ropes and stakes to support them. The dome tents tend to be stand alone structures, supported by flexible poles connected by stretchable cord running inside them.

So what do you need when you are purchasing your family camping tent?


1. First of all you need lots of room. Every person will need their own space for the sleeping pad or cot. But you need to account for everybody’s gear,  pets and so on. It is better to buy a larger tent and find it to be quite roomy than a smaller size and regret it every time you need to go in.

Remember that tent capacity is calculated for persons sleeping right next to each other, like sardines in a can, without any room for gear. This is not what you need for your family. Buy a tent at least two-person bigger in size than the size of your group. The general rule is that you need minimum 30 square feet of floor space per person.

If your kids are older you may need to purchase a multiple room tent, so that they can have their own privacy, and you can have yours. Another alternative is to buy two separate tents for you and for the kids. This could be a better option if your kids are teenagers and they are bringing along their own friends.

2. Next, what you need to look for is how waterproof your tent is. This includes having a close look at the coating and the rain fly. If the walls inside have ashiny coating then they are waterproof. The  rain fly has to be large enough to cover  the top and  most of window openings of your tent. Fly that coves just the very top won’t do it in a downpour. The tent itself has to be waterproof, especially the floor.You will also need to put a tarp under your tent. Better tents come with their own footprint.

3. Check the ventilation-it is best to have an option to open large mesh “windows” in case of a hot and humid night.

4. Zippers should run smoothly and be durable.

5. Ease of setting up the tent also counts. It shouldn’t take you hours of work just to set it up. The less separate parts the better, as any one of them may become lost at any time.

Pop up tents do not require any construction skills, but may not be suitable for larger families (they are usually quite small). But if you require two (or more) smaller tents for your family, they might be the solution. At least you wouldn't have to waste a whole day setting up tents.

6.The shape of the tent is also important. I prefer dome tents, which are not as tall as the others. If height is important for you then you need one of the taller, house-like tents.

7. Quality and durability: 4-season tents are more rigid, with pillars inside, and are heavier, while 3-season tents are lighter and not as solid. If you intend to go only car camping, weight is not very important. If winter camping is not your thing, 3-season tent will be good enough.

Also remember that the price usually reflects the quality of the tent. You can’t buy a $50-dollar tent and expect it to be waterproof, windproof and last you forever. So, depending on your budget, try to buy the best quality and the biggest tent that you can afford.

For the best quality and value you should have a look at tents from Mountains Plus, where you get a free footprint with every tent. No more tarp under the tent required.