Best Family Tents

Camping is a great way to get outside and spend some quality family time together. There is no better way to grow closer together than to unplug from the daily chaos and plug into nature.

This may sound dreamy, however, the reality of camping can vary. With many families, too much togetherness can cause tension. With a cramped tent and tight sleeping quarters, there is bound to be some unhappy campers.

However, with so many family tents on the market today, it can be difficult to know which one is the right one to pick. So, to help you find a great family tent that everybody can fit comfortably into, we’re providing you with a list of the ten best family tents you can buy. We’ll also cover some criteria points you’ll want to evaluate so that you make the best decision for you and your family.

Last Updated: April 7, 2018
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By Mackenzie Jervis:

This buying guide has been updated, offering the most current top picks from each brands' most current product lines.

Browning Big Horn
  • Browning Big Horn
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Two large doors for easy entry & exit
  • Price: See Here
Coleman Weather master
  • Coleman Weather master
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • WeatherTec System keeps water out
  • Price: See Here
Wenzel Blue Ridge
  • Wenzel Blue Ridge
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Removable divider / 2 sleeping areas
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Family Tents

Browning Big Horn Family

Browning provides an excellent lifetime warranty and top-notch customer service. Their camping products are high quality and highly rated across the board. Other great features that make this the number one tent, are the straight sided walls for extra usable space, and the super-fast and easy assembly. The downside with the Big Horn is the weight. The 150sqft comes in at a whopping 34.75lbs, the heaviest on the list.
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Weather: With a 2000mm coating on the 150D oxford floor in this tent, it is twice as heavy as a nylon floor. While it is reportedly only a three-season tent, many reviewers rave about the weatherproofing’s ability to withstand all seasons exceedingly well, including hail storms.

Features: This tent features full coverage waterproof fly buckles that attach to the tent for easy installation. You’ll be safe from the wind and rain with this well-developed tent.

Windows and doors: This tent features two doors and includes a wall divider for two rooms, each with their own large door. Plus, the tent offers great ventilation and views with six windows and a mesh roof for 360 views. You also get straight sided walls for extra room. Windows may not be at the top of everyone’s list, but you can’t beat the 360 views offered with the Big Horn. Many people camp to get in touch with nature, with so many windows and the mesh roof you can really feel a part of nature even from inside the tent, just without the bugs.

Setup: This tent is easy to assemble, and you can put it together in 10-15 minutes. The tent features three fiberglass poles and steel uprights.

Pros
  • 3 season tent
  • Waterproof
  • Spacious
  • Many windows
Cons
  • Quite heavy

Coleman Weather master 10-person tent

This 10-person tent is basically a traveling house, the expansive rooms are great for big families, families with young children who come along with strollers and pack and plays etc. etc. It is also great for longer trips where you will have more gear and supplies. Coleman tents are very well reviewed for quality across the board, the WeatherTec system and even E Ports are seen in many tents, so if you are looking for a smaller tent that is lighter definitely check out other tents by Coleman using our tent buying information above.
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Weather: This is only a three-season tent, the single skin on the sides of the tent will not keep out the cold of the winter. It may be very weatherproof, but it is not cold proof and that is why it is only listed as a three-season tent. Made with the WeatherTec system, this tent features a tub floor and welded corner inverted protected seam covered zipper. Designed from durable Polyguard fabric, you also get a 75-denier polyester fly and an 86 denier polyester mesh inner tent. This tent also comes with a 1000 denier polyethylene floor and handles 35+ mph winds.
Features: This tent comes with the Variflo adjustable ventilation system that lets you chose how much or little ventilation to let in. That means you get customizable comfort plus storage pockets inside the tent. This tent also comes with a one-year limited warranty, and can fit up to three queen airbeds inside.

Windows and Doors: The angled window on this tent helps to keep rain out, and this tent also comes with a rainfly to stay dry and cover the mesh roof. The tent features one hinged door for easy entry/exit, and one zippered door. You’ll also get an included room divider for privacy. The height is much above average for family tents, a storage loft could be added and still be just as tall as competitors. The ability to add storage above your head is great, and without having to sacrifice room to stand up comfortably.
Set up: This tent is quick to set up for its size, and you can get it up in about 20 minutes. You also get snag-free pole sleeves, a pin-and-rig system, and an insta-clip. This tent brings you multi-diameter shock-corded fiberglass poles. Because it is a huge tent, it will take longer to pitch, but hopefully camping with family you will have some help to make it go a little faster. The size also adds to the weight, this is a very heavy tent at 31lbs, it would not be for backpacking, more suitable for car camping.
Pros
  • Very spacious
  • Additional storage space
  • 3 season tent
Cons
  • Longer to pitch
  • A bit heavy

Wenzel Blue Ridge 2 room tent

The Blue Ridge is highly regarded across the internet for being the best value. Compared to the price tag of other tents of similar size, the Blue Ridge is a steal. At only $120 for 112sqft, the price and quality can’t be beaten.
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Weather: This tent comes with a canopy and rainfly material, which is made from polyester. The tent’s floor is made out of a welded polyethylene. The tent includes a removable rain-fly and hooped fly pole which goes over the door for extra rain protection.
Features: Designed with four convenient pockets, this tent also includes an e-port for electrical cord access inside the tent. Another neat feature is the tent’s Lite-Reflect system, which creates a lit-up, bright tent. If you need more visibility, you can put a headlamp or flashlight in the gear loft for great tent lighting. Also, on the plus side, this tent weighs in at only 18lbs which is also lighter than the average family-sized tent. The lower weight makes this tent reach farther into nature. It is more easily carried in a kayak or split between packs for backpacking.
Windows and Doors: The tent does not feature a second door, which is normal for one room tents. In two room tents like the Blue Ridge, it is expected to have access to both rooms for privacy
One D-style door. It also only has three windows which can cause a lack of ventilation, especially with the rainfly on. You do get three windows with this tent, and the door and windows come with privacy flap zippered windows. Also, the tent features mesh roof vents.


Setup: The setup isn’t fast with this tent, and it takes two people about thirty minutes to get this tent up. To aid with the setup process, this tent comes with shock-corded fiberglass poles that are multi-diameter and pre-attached guy ropes for added stability and ease of use.

Pros
  • Price
  • Two rooms privacy
  • Relatively lightweight
Cons
  • No second door
  • Lack of ventilation

Big Agnes Flying Diamond

Big Agnes Flying Diamond
At a little over 21 lbs, this tent is a relatively good weight for a tent of this size, and the carrying bag also makes it easy to carry. You’ll love the weather protection you get with this tent, and its nice storage capacity.
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Weather: This tent is a four-season tent, giving you the freedom to camp wherever whenever. In fact, many reviews even say that this tent handled torrential hail! The fly on this tent is made out of durable polyester with a weatherproof polyurethane coating. Also, the tent body is a breathable polyester rip-stop with nylon mesh windows. The seams on this tent are taped with waterproof solvent-free polyurethane tape.
Features: The Big Agnes Flying Diamond comes with reflective guylines, and the gear loft loops are also included. You’ll also get 16 interior pockets with this tent that uses briefcase style back long shoulder straps and organizational pockets.

Windows and Doors: This tent has great storage and space, the main tent can split to two rooms, each with their own access door with vestibules. This makes an amazing flex space for storage or anything else you may need. Plus, you get one large vestibule off of the main room with another door off the smaller back room. The tent features two access doors with storm flaps which can double as shade canopies with trekking poles.

Set up: Setup time on this tent takes about 30 minutes. You’ll get DAC combination lightweight aluminum poles and 20 aluminum hook stakes with this tent.
Pros
  • Organisational pockets
  • Normal weight
  • 4 season tent
Cons
  • Lack of ventilation

REI Kingdom 8

REI Kingdom 8
The Vertical walls of the cabin style tent allow you to maximize square footage, you can put cots right up against the side wall to save space. The vestibule protects gear or supplies from the weather without the wasted space in the tent.
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Weather: The REI Kingdom 8 is made with a 75-denier nylon taffeta canopy, and it is coated for the Rainfly. The floor is comprised of a 300-denier coated polyester oxford. This tent uses a seam-sealed waterproof polyester rainfly and seam sealed cut-in floor as well. It also includes a weather protective awning.
Features: While it is a bit heavy, the backpack carry bag makes it easy to carry the 22lbs without too much effort. Also, the design of this tent allows you to adjust the size of the storage area and living space.

Windows and Doors: The REI Kingdom 8 has a center divider for two rooms. It also includes a vestibule and vertical walls that maximize living space. This tent also has two large doors, each with four zippers, and bug net mesh panels and doors.

Setup: This tent takes about 10 minutes to setup. It also comes with aluminum poles and a carry bag that has pockets and works as a backpack.
Pros
  • Maximized space
  • Backpack carry bag
Cons
  • A bit heavy

Marmot Limestone 8 person tent

Marmot Limestone 8 person tent
Marmot is rated very highly for quality when it comes to outdoor gear, the Limestone is no exception. This tent has received extremely great reviews for weather proofing and stability. Featuring two rooms and two doors for access and privacy, but also two vestibules for extra storage and protection from the elements. What this tent really does well, is the setup. It can be pitched solo within 15 minutes, leaving extra time with family and no time wasted with frustrating instructions or confusing parts.
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Weather: Marmot’s Limestone 8 person tent is made with a 150d Nylon oxford 3000mm coating. It also features a 68d polyester 1800mm rainfly and a 70d Polyester taffeta canopy. Plus, the tent is seam taped with a catenary cut floor.
Features: Marmot’s tent comes with tight reflective points for nighttime visibility. It also offers several interior pockets for organization

Windows and Doors: Marmot’s tent comes with two D-shaped doors, two vestibules, and a removable room divider. Also, the door mat is included. Another nice feature is this tent’s easy-to-use zipper pulls

Setup: Marmot’s tent takes about 15 minutes to setup, and features a color coded easy pitch. This tent also comes with aluminum poles.
Pros
  • Highly weather proof
  • Very stable
  • Spacious and private
  • Fast pitching
Cons
  • Price

Eureka Midori

Eureka Midori
Lightweight and simple, the Eureka Midori is a good family tent for a short family backpacking trip in decent weather. It performs about average in all categories, and is a decent, affordable tent, especially for those that are new to camping.
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Weather: Made with V3 venting technology, you get decent weather resistance if you set up the tent with the fly away and stake your corners with the fly walls. However, otherwise, it’s not an excellent tent in the rain, but it does offer a lot of ventilation and can block out light showers.
Features: You get inner storage pockets with this tent, and the ability to mount a headlamp inside the tent for light. Also, the strut poles that this tent comes with lets you adjust the size of the tent.
Windows and Doors: There are two doors featured in this tent, and the tent can be adjusted for more room. Plus, the two vestibules that come with this tent help give you more storage space.
Setup: This tent takes about 20 minutes to setup, and its design makes it very easy to use. Your attachment points on this tent are mostly easy clips so it’s pretty simple to get the tent up quickly.
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Easy-to-use

  • Great ventilation

Cons
  • Not very weather resistant

  • Could have more windows

Coleman Instant Tent

Coleman Instant Tent
If you need to pick-up an easy-to-use, affordable tent, then you might want to consider the Coleman Instant Tent. It gives you a lot of comfort, excellent ventilation, and protection from the rain. Plus, its very easy to pitch the tent, which is a real bonus on family camping trips.
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Weather: While this tent has a single wall and no rainfly, it does very well handling both the wind and rain. Also, while the tent has vents in it, they are on top, meaning if it’s raining for long periods of time, you might not get great ventilation with this tent.
Features: This tent comes with a WeatherTech system that also features a welded floor and inverted seams for extra waterproof protection. Also, the tent is very durable, and should last you many seasons.
Windows and Doors: This tent has one nice, big window in it, which will allow you to see the scenery outside as you camp. It also features one door, and while it isn’t as big as some of the other options on our list, it comes at a pretty decent size for the price.
Setup: This tent has the quickest set-up and take-down time of any tent on our list. Two people can pitch this tent in about two minutes, and take it down in around five minutes.
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Very fast and easy to setup

  • Great waterproof protection

Cons
  • Could have better ventilation

  • No rainfly

  • Only one door

Nemo Wagontop

Nemo Wagontop
Made with tall walls and a lot of space, the Nemo Wagontop is a good all-around option in family camping tents. It’s not as strong in the wind as some other options on our list, and rain can sneak through sometimes, but the space inside this tent is nothing to sneeze at.
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Weather: The Nemo Wagontop has a weak guy line design, which makes it have issues on windy days. Also, the fly is only a partial one, meaning rain can sometimes seep through the tent.
Features: This Nemo tent offers a screened porch area, which is a nice bonus for a family who wants to enjoy the outdoors. It also has standing height ceilings, which offer another nice bonus in space.
Windows and Doors: The Nemo Wagontop has big screen windows on all sides of the tent, which gives you a lot of viewing areas and also boosts the ventilation in the tent. There are also two doors in this tent, one in the front and one in the back, which makes things easier for family camping.
Setup: The setup on this tent can be a bit confusing at times, and it has a learning curve. So, the first few times you set it up, it will probably take you close to an hour, but as you get used to it, your setup time should decrease to about 30 minutes.
Pros
  • Standing room

  • Screened Porch

  • Nice windows

  • Good ventilation

Cons
  • Could have better weather protection

  • Learning curve with the setup

Kodiak Canvas Flex Bow

Kodiak Canvas Flex Bow
The traditional design of the Kodiak Canvas Flex Bow will bring you back to your childhood. While this tent is very heavy, at 70 pounds, it’s a good all-season tent that will make you feel like you are right at home.
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Weather: Kodiak’s Canvas Flex Bow tent is great for keeping wind and dirt out when breezes are blowing hard, since the tent offers significant support against the wind. It also offers decent protection against the rain, you just need to be careful about how you open the doors during rain showers.
Features: To help with temperature control, this tent has two air-flow vents to increase ventilation. Also, the ceiling is very high, and you should be able to walk easily through the tent.
Windows and Doors: With two large D-shaped doors, the Kodiak Canvas Flex Bow makes it very easy for people to get in and out of the tent. This tent also comes with four windows for easy viewing and ventilation uses.
Setup: While this tent is not hard to setup, there is a bit of a learning curve. It will take you longer to set it up the first few times, then after you learn how to do it, it should be easy for you to set up.
Pros
  • Durable

  • Tall

  • Comfortable

Cons
  • Heavy

  • Expensive

 

The Criteria We Used To Find The Best Family Tents

There are quite a few features found in modern tents, although there are some which help to create a more comfortable and enjoyable outing with the family. Even though you are heading outdoors for the peace, quiet and perhaps to get away from the modern world for a few days, you probably still want to maintain some degree of comfort. Below are some things that you may want to look for when finding the most suitable model for you.

Weather

When we examined the weather features on the tends we included in our guide, we let you know how waterproof and rainproof the tents were, and the types of materials they used to help combat weather. There are also a few other items that can affect how well your tent handles the weather, which we listed below.

  • Awnings. These cover windows and doors from rain, to keep you dry. They also allow for the windows and doors to be open even in rain for ventilation.
  • Water Resistant Floors. Even without expected rain or moisture, morning dew can seep through the floor and soak personal belongings. A water resistant floor will ensure that your belongings in the tent will stay dry.
  • Vestibules. Think of it like a foyer, or more realistically a mudroom. A place protected from the weather or the sun to dump your muddy, dirty, or smelly gear before entering the tent. This makes amazing flex space for storage, protected from rain and the elements but not taking up space inside the tent. Great for items like bikes, strollers, area to take off shoes, even a grill, and so many other possibilities. They are very commonly seen on tents in areas with frequent rain and are standard for multi-person base camp tents. The buffer zone between the tent and the great outdoors aids in weatherproofing, keeping precipitation further away. Because a vestibule protects the door, you can leave the door open during a summer rain to increase ventilation, and to let in the fresh rain smell.

Features

Most of the tents on our list come with a wide variety of special features, and those features are listed with each product description. Some of the more common features you’ll find in tents that you’ll want to consider we’ve listed below.

·       Ventilation. Vents are used for condensation to escape the tent instead of collecting inside. Also handy for heat escape, and the smell that may follow you or family members into the tent.

·       Electrical Port. This feature allows for an electrical extension cord to pass through the lower tent wall. More geared towards car camping, some tents come ready for electrical hook up. This is beyond handy when you have gadgets and gizmos to charge up.

Windows and Doors

When we examined the windows and doors on each tent we provided you with on our list, we mentioned the number of both the windows and doors, and the quality. The more windows, the better the ventilation and sight-seeing you can do, and also the more doors, the easier it is for several people to get in and out of the tent while maintaining privacy. However, we also considered some space and room issues when we examined windows and doors, included below.

·       Gear Lofts. Gear lofts are added storage above your heads in the form of shelves or cargo netting attaching to the ceiling of a tent. An ideal loft should be low enough that everything in the loft is accessible but high enough to be out of the way. Can be used to hang or lay out wet or damp items to dry as long as they aren’t too heavy. They are also a great spot for a light either hanging or in the loft itself. Great for storing personal items, your belongings are kept off the floor in case of flooding, and within easy reach and visibility also.

·       Removable Room Dividers. Whether the divider zips in or clips in, a room divider essentially does just what it says, divides the room. Taking one large open tent room and turning it into two functional spaces. When camping, privacy can be at an all-time low. With no separate sexes bathroom, or bathrooms at all! If you have two groups of campers in one tent or would like your own escape within the tent a removable room divider is an answer.  Creating bedrooms, changing room, or even a storage area, being able to divide living space allows you to customize to your own needs.

Setup

When we examined the setup category for all of the products on our list, we told you if the tent had a learning curve to the setup process, and about how long it will take you to setup the tent. Along with setup, we also discussed these issues included below.

  • Weight. If you will be touring, or backpacking you already know that the weight adds up and storage is very limited. If you plan to carry the tent, then the weight and storage size is a crucial feature to pay close attention to. Some tents are easily split into components to share the load with others. Weight also affects how easy it will be for you to set your tent up, since the heavier the tent, the longer it will take, and the more difficult the setup process becomes.
  • Wall angle. If you have ever owned a circular tent, you will know that with a low roof then some floor space is non-utilizable. Because of low ceiling heights along the edge where it meets the floor the area cannot be used for much. In the Cabin style tents, the walls are virtually vertical, allowing for full use of all square footage. Not limited by height, cots or airbeds can be flush against the wall leaving other floor space for personal belongings and gear and supplies. Wall angle, depending on how the tent is angling it walls, can also affect how quickly you are able to set up your tent.

 

Other Important Factors To Consider

Camping is a great way to get outside and spend some quality family time together. What a better way to grow closer together than to unplug from the daily chaos and plug into nature.

This may sound dreamy, however, the reality of camping can vary. With many families, too much togetherness can cause tension. With a cramped tent and tight sleeping quarters, there is bound to be some unhappy campers.

To maximize happy campers, and make the most out of family camping you must first buy the right tent. Set yourself and your family up for a great camping trip by nailing down what you want and need to get out of a tent. These buying guidelines can help you figure out what tent is going to work for you. One of the most important things you’ll want to consider before purchasing your family tent is the type of camping you will be doing. We’ll break down the different types for you below so that you can evaluate what you need and make the best purchasing decision for your family.

Types of Camping

Car camping- This may sound like just sleeping in the car, may as well stay in the driveway right? Well, car camping is also called base camping, where you drive up to a designated tent pad. Very common around lake recreation areas, and in parks. Car camping tents may be heavier since you do not have to hike with them to find a campsite. They also can come with some other features such as the electrical port that I will talk about more below. Generally, if you will be car camping, you’ll be able to carry a long a heavier tent more easily.

Truck camping- Taking car camping to the next level, truck camping utilizes the bed of a pickup as tent space. Tents are specialized to fit and be pitched in truck beds. Because you don’t even have to take the tent out of the truck, these tents can be much heavier with no issues. However, the space in the bed of a truck can be limited so these also tend to be smaller tents.  A truck camping tent will allow you to purchase a heavier, more heavy duty tent since you won’t have to backpack and carry along the extra weight.

Touring – Kayak/canoe, horse, cycling etc.- Touring is a self-containing trip ranging from single day to weeks, months and even years. On a tour, you will carry or outfit all the supplies you will need for the length of the trip. If you are solely camping while touring then the amount of gear needed will be overwhelming. To minimize the size and weight of the tent, small simple tents will need to focus on reliability rather than new fancy features like E-Ports.

Backpacking – Backpacking is a multi-day hiking trip involving camping outdoors and carrying all your gear on your own back. These trips also can last from a few days to months and years. The size of the tent can range from a single person to a many person base camp, depending on how you can split the weight of the tent among backs to carry it. It is essential that the tent is lightweight, and compact, as space in a backpack is at a premium. Carrying a heavier tent may not seem like a big deal, but by day three of the heavier tent, you may find yourself questioning if you even need a tent at all. So, if you’re going to be backpacking with you tent, then you’ll want to make sure you get something that is lightweight, compressible, and easy to carry with you, or else you’ll wind up having difficulty hiking on your camping trips if your tent is too heavy.

 

FAQ

Q: How accurate is the tent size described by the manufacturer?

When buying a tent, sizes can be misleading. For example in a tent that is marketed as a six-person, may actually only fit 4 adults and few personal items. The key to tent sizes is the square footage. On average, an adult will need 20-25sq feet. This may seem excessive, but to sleep comfortably with 6ft length, and 2.5ft wide is already 15sqft. Add a single duffle bag to the mix and by this time you have a full 20sqft.  So, just keep in mind, you might not get a lot of accuracy with all the tent brands.

Q: What do I need to know about tent size so I buy the right tent?

Doing some math, if you have 25sq feet per person and 4 adults under 6ft tall, you would need 100 square feet minimum. Start adding gear, bags, supplies, or airbeds/cots and the extra square footage starts flying out the window. How long you plan to camp is also something to take into consideration. The longer the trip, the greater amount of personal items and gear, and it will take up tent space.

Q: What do I need to know about my tent’s Interior Height?

Tents are commonly assumed to be short, causing hunched over walking or even crawling around. These family tents are far from that, their spacious rooms don’t stop with the floor space. With heights as tall as 6ft 8in, there is plenty of room to stand, change, stretch and easily move about the space. Tents with extra height can even be used for more storage with added gear lofts.

Q: How effective is a summer tent?

Summer tents are lightweight and focus on ventilation for those hot summer nights. If you are strictly a summer camper, a rainfly may be the only weather protection you need.

Q: How good of weather protection does a two or three season tent offer?

Bear in mind the season in which you will be using the tent. Do you expect rain, high winds, snow or even hail? Narrowing down when you will use the tent helps narrow down what tent is best for you. A two or three season tent will handle rain or even an early snowfall but they are not designed for heavier snow. These tents are made to handle spring, summer, and possibly fall depending on the climate.

Q: What is the difference between a four-season tent and an expedition tent?

A four season tent handles all seasons: cold weather, snow, and rain, with extra features for weather protection. ‘

An Expedition tent is considered a five season tent because of its ability to handle extreme weather conditions such as strong winds, heavy rainstorms, cold temperatures and heavy snowstorms.

We certainly hope this guide was helpful in finding the right one for you and your family, although the decision really relies on your own preferences and needs. Whatever you decide on, the real point is to get out there, enjoy nature, and spend some quality time away from all of that technology for a few days.

 

 

Sources

  1. Lyra Pierotti, The Best Camping Tents For Groups and Families, Informational Camping Website, Jun 08, 2017
  2. Wilderness Today, Best Family Tents For Camping, Informational Camping Website, Jul 14, 2017
  3. Backpacker, Best Family Tents Reviewed, Informational Camping Website, Aug 11, 2017