Best Family Tent – Reviews & Buying Guide
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Best Family Tent – Reviews & Buying Guide (November 2019)

Updated: August 25, 2018

Coleman 8 Person Instant Family Tent

After 42 hours spent researching the best family tents, we think Coleman 8 Person Instant Family Tent is the best for most people.

This choice is based on several criteria: electrical access, bugproof, sun protection, rain protection, floor quality, multiple doors, windows, sleeps, screened area, leakproof seams, interior space, easy to setup, storage pocket, three-season tent, and pre-attached poles, among other things.

 ProductPriceOverall RatingOveral ProtectionMaterial QualityAvailable SpaceEasy to SetupValue for Moneyelectrical accessbugproofsun protectionrain protectionfloor qualitymultiple doorswindowssleepsscreened arealeakproof seamsinterior spaceeasy to setupstorage pocketthree-season tentpre-attached poles
Coleman 8 Person Instant Family TentColeman 8 Person Instant Family TentCheck Price4.44.54.55.03.54.5YesYesYesWeatherTec systemWeldedNoSeven8YesYes14ft x 8ftYesYesYesYes
Wenzel Klondike 8 Person Cabin Family TentWenzel Klondike 8 Person Cabin Family TentCheck Price4.24.54.04.04.04.5NoYesYesRain flyWeldedNoTwo8YesYes16ft x 11ftYesYesYesNo
Coleman Montana 8 Person Family TentColeman Montana 8 Person Family TentCheck Price4.04.04.03.54.54.0YesYesYesWeatherTec systemWeldedNoTwo8YesYes16ft x 7ftYesYesYesNo
Coleman Evanston 6-8 Person Family TentColeman Evanston 6-8 Person Family TentCheck Price4.54.05.05.04.04.5YesYesYesWeatherTec systemWeldedNoFour6 or 8YesYes14ft x 10ft or 15ft x 12ftYesYesYesNo
Coleman Sundome 2-6 Person Family TentColeman Sundome 2-6 Person Family TentCheck Price4.14.04.53.54.04.5YesNoYesYesWeldedNoNone2 to 6NoYes10ft x 10ftYesNoYesNo
Best Family Tent

So, you’re on the market for a family tent. But if you’re now the person responsible for setting it up, knowing what to look for can get confusing.

The last thing you want is to buy a tent that isn’t waterproof and sturdy after all!

Family tents have enjoyed a surge in popularity over recent years, as “staycationing” becomes an affordable and attractive option for hard-working families who want to enjoy a memorable holiday with their loved ones on a budget.

To ensure you get an effective tent that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, it’s worthwhile to think about the features you need – and those you don’t.

These products are designed to accommodate more than two people – and the number of sleepers who can comfortably fit in one of these tents can vary anywhere from three to ten. However, you should always examine the dimensions of the tent carefully before making a purchase – and we’ll explain why later on.

To ensure you get an effective tent that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, it’s worthwhile to think about the features you need – and those you don’t.

For example, although a porch might seem like a novel inclusion, you probably wouldn’t miss it – as you’d want to sit outside of the tent if the weather was nice to avoid cabin fever.

You also need to think carefully about the nature of your camping holiday. If you’re going to be backpacking between sites, a portable family tent with a compact carrying bag is going to be essential as it will fit in your travel backpack along with your hunting knife, camping hammock, and survival knife. Some products are so heavy, that you need a car to ferry them between destinations.

Selection Of The Best Family Tents

Here are the best family tents for most people according to Outlinist:

Coleman 8 Person Instant Family Tent

Coleman 8 Person Instant Family Tent
(rated 4.4 / 5)
Overal Protection
Material Quality
Available Space
Easy to Setup
Value for Money
Check Price

Kiss goodbye to those convoluted instruction manuals, and never-ending poles and screws, with the Coleman 8 Person Instant Tent.

It’s built to last, and will prove to be the simplest thing (rather than the hardest!) about your next camping vacation.

Information

There’s going to be plenty of sun shining into the tent when the weather is favorable, and this is thanks to the seven windows which are included.

This is the largest instant tent that Coleman manufactures – and alternatives for four and six people are also available if you prefer.

However, we do recommend going for the larger option, as it guarantees you’ll have plenty of room for all of your bags, bedding and clothes, too.

It offers dimensions of 14ft x 8ft overall, and using airbeds won’t be a problem.

Coleman claims that their product is perfectly placed to offer you and your family or friends the added protection you deserve when the weather gets chaotic outside.

This is thanks to the fact that the fabric which has been used for this family tent is two times thicker than some of the alternatives on the market at 150D. Because of this, there actually isn’t a rainfly included in the box.

However, if it’s a feature that you begin to miss, they can be purchased separately when necessary. You might want to consider giving the Instant Family Tent a good test run in the garden first to ascertain whether you’ll require one – as this prevents you being caught short when you’re out and about on vacation.

electrical accessYes
bugproofYes
sun protectionYes
rain protectionWeatherTec system
floor qualityWelded
multiple doorsNo
windowsSeven
sleeps8
screened areaYes
leakproof seamsYes
interior space14ft x 8ft
easy to setupYes
storage pocketYes
three-season tentYes
pre-attached polesYes

There’s going to be plenty of sun shining into the tent when the weather is favorable however, and this is thanks to the seven windows which are included.

Of course, the unique selling point with this Coleman product is how the poles are built into the fabric, meaning it takes just 60 seconds for it to be unfolded. All of the seams are fully-taped, too. The one downside is that this convenient feature does make the family tent considerably heavier than some of the alternatives out there – so much so that the carry bag can’t be used as a backpack, and you’ll also likely incur extra shipping charges at the checkout.

A guarantee to keep you dry is included with the Coleman product, but do bear in mind that there is a limited warranty of 12 months.

Pros

Like most other family tents manufactured by Coleman, you also get the added benefit of thick materials which are sure to keep you dry.

Aside from the most obvious benefit of them all – that the family tent will erect in just 60 seconds – there are plenty of other nifty tools which will make using Coleman’s Instant Tent a pleasure rather than a chore. They include:

  • It’s reassuring that you won’t lose any parts: This can be a really annoying problem with other family tents, especially when you have to leave a campsite in a rush. Given how the poles are all sewn into the fabric, you won’t have to conduct exhaustive checks with an instruction manual in your hand.
  • The tent has a front and back portion: Although it may seem like something of a novelty feature, this is especially ideal if the tent is being shared by two families – or if a couple wants a little bit of privacy. It can also be used as a compartment for storing bedding and clothes.
  • It has ample room for two queen-sized air mattresses: Even when they’re placed in the family tent, this Coleman product will feel positively palatial in size. Some shoppers have even claimed that they managed to get another twin mattress in there, and still had plenty of space to move around.
  • The WeatherTec system brings welded floors and weatherproof walls: Like most other family tents manufactured by Coleman, you also get the added benefit of thick materials which are sure to keep you dry. This also acts as effective insulation to guarantee that you’ll stay warm on those autumnal nights.
  • At the center, it has a height of 6ft 5in: This family tent is a lot taller than some of the rival offerings we’ve seen on the marketplace. As such, make sure you go for this product if the adults (or teenagers!) in your family are on the tall side.
  • The Coleman Instant Tent comes in brown, black and blue: There are three stylish shades to choose from during purchase – meaning it will be instantly recognizable even amongst a sea of tents. You might also want to consider personalizing the heavy-duty fabric to prevent any unwanted confusion.

Cons

As with other family tents, the main drawback is whether or not it’s actually suitable for accommodating eight people. The general consensus appears that this is not the case – but nevertheless, there’ll be ample room for four or five of you. Other drawbacks include:

  • The carry bag is a little bit on the small side: As you can imagine, especially with the integrated poles, this family tent is large. Although it may take a minute to erect, you may need a little patience when placing it back in the carrying bag – as it appears that space is at a premium.
  • As mentioned, this tent is also extremely heavy: If the Coleman Instant Tent was a little more lightweight, it would actually be a godsend for backpackers. But unfortunately, when it’s fully compressed and in the storage bag, you’ll normally want to transport it in a car rather than lug it over long distances.
  • It isn’t particularly ideal when there are strong winds: Some shoppers have reported that the metal pegs which are included with this Coleman tent aren’t really compatible with strong winds, despite the WeatherTec system. As such, you might want to get more durable fixtures for securing it to the ground.

Comparison

 

Coleman 8 Person Instant Family TentColeman 8 Person Instant Family Tent

Wenzel Klondike 8 Person Cabin Family TentWenzel Klondike 8 Person Cabin Family Tent

Coleman Montana 8 Person Family TentColeman Montana 8 Person Family Tent

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
electrical accessYesNoYes
bugproofYesYesYes
sun protectionYesYesYes
rain protectionWeatherTec systemRain flyWeatherTec system
floor qualityWeldedWeldedWelded
multiple doorsNoNoNo
windowsSevenTwoTwo
sleeps888
screened areaYesYesYes
leakproof seamsYesYesYes
interior space14ft x 8ft16ft x 11ft16ft x 7ft
easy to setupYesYesYes
storage pocketYesYesYes
three-season tentYesYesYes
pre-attached polesYesNoNo

Summary

It comes with all of the signature benefits that Coleman tents provide, including that WeatherTec system which has been tested rigorously against wind and rain.

We love how simple this tent is to erect, especially after you’ve just completed a long road trip to your destination. It can be done singlehandedly if needed, and won’t take more than a few minutes.

It comes with all of the signature benefits that Coleman tents provide, including that WeatherTec system which has been tested rigorously against wind and rain. Plus, the seven windows – when combined with the front and back room – will mean that you won’t feel claustrophobic even after a prolonged period of camping.

This is a brilliant purchase to make, and has been ranked as one of the best family tents on the marketplace for good reason. You’re bound to fall in love with camping again after just one night!


Wenzel Klondike 8 Person Cabin Family Tent

Wenzel Klondike 8 Person Cabin Family Tent
(rated 4.2 / 5)
Overal Protection
Material Quality
Available Space
Easy to Setup
Value for Money
Check Price

Having children and adults sharing the same tent can always be a bit of a nightmare, because you have to align the time you go to bed.

If the grown-ups like staying up late, this Wenzel Klondike tent is perfect.

Information

Younger holidaymakers can be safely tucked away in bed, while the party continues elsewhere for the adults.

Some manufacturers claim that their family tent can genuinely sleep eight people, but often, their products are lacking in size.

This Wenzel Klondike Cabin Tent is huge – and has two separate rooms. One can sleep three people, and the other five.

That means younger holidaymakers can be safely tucked away in bed, while the party continues elsewhere for the adults.

This Wenzel Klondike Cabin Tent measures 16ft x 11ft in terms of width and length – but the real selling point is how there’s a generous 6ft 5in of headroom. Overall, this makes their family tent one of the most suitable for taller guests that we’ve seen on the marketplace in recent months.

It isn’t a nightmare to set up – and with just two people, you can get it secured and fully in place in less than 20 minutes, which is pretty remarkable given its size. However, you may have a little trouble with the rain fly, so do bear this in mind.

electrical accessNo
bugproofYes
sun protectionYes
rain protectionRain fly
floor qualityWelded
multiple doorsNo
windowsTwo
sleeps8
screened areaYes
leakproof seamsYes
interior space16ft x 11ft
easy to setupYes
storage pocketYes
three-season tentYes
pre-attached polesNo

So many campers are concerned about whether or not the floor will stay fully dry, even if it’s really wet underground. That’s why Wenzel Klondike has included a welded floor surface – kind of like what you’d see in a bathroom – to ensure that all unwanted moisture stays outside where it belongs.

We really like the use of “power corners” with the fixtures and fittings, too.

This helps to ensure that the family tent stays upright – even when the weather is blustery outside. And it’s a pretty lightweight family tent, too, coming in at just 27.3lbs.

The color is modern and pleasing to the eye – nothing too garish, such as blues and greens. However, one potential downside could be the lack of privacy, given the many windows and doors which are included. You might want to invest in some lightweight curtains which can be erected over the top with ease.

Pros

It is made of heavy-duty fabric which can withstand even the most adverse weather conditions.

This is quite an expensive product, but Wenzel Klondike has become a well-respected brand in the camping community. It’ll prove to be an investment for many years to come, meaning there’s countless camping vacations (and the memories that come alongside them!) to look forward to.

  • The screened room can be used for many purposes: It’s OK if you can fit your entire party in just one compartment of the family tent. This means the other room can be used for relaxing, storage, or even sunbathing with the ventilated roof. The choice is yours.
  • Mesh rooms and windows keep unwanted bugs out: We’ve all come away from a vacation with some nasty mosquito bites and bee stings. But the Wenzel Klondike helps to lower the chance of this happening with effective mesh openings which allow fresh air in and nothing else.
  • Polyester fabric and polyurethane water resistant coating included: The never-ending battle that many of us have with family tents is keeping the interior bone dry. This manufacturer has made that a little easier by using heavy-duty fabric which can withstand even the most adverse weather conditions.
  • The threads, zippers and seams have been treated with repellent: There’s little point in having a tent fabric which absorbs water, as otherwise, it takes ages to dry when you get home. Instead, you want something which repels water – meaning you can brush it off effortlessly. This family tent fits the bill.
  • The limited guarantee on this tent lasts for 10 years: Wenzel Klondike clearly has plenty of confidence in the quality of their product. That’s why you get a decade’s protection against any defects. This is really impressive, protects your investment, and shows the company has stellar customer care in place.
  • There are plenty of pockets for storage, too: No longer will you have to endure toys, clothes and other knick-knacks scattered across the floor. There are two hanging pockets – along with a duffel – included in the box for organizing all of the bits and bobs that you might need during your vacation.

Cons

So… given all of the pluses to purchasing the Wenzel Klondike Cabin Family Tent, are there going to be any massive disadvantages or design flaws? Not necessarily, but depending on your circumstances, you might find some of the following drawbacks a deal-breaker:

  • The frame is made of fiberglass, a cheap material: The true sign of a quality frame is one that has been made out of aluminum alloy. Fiberglass is generally regarded as a cheaper material. All of this said, the 10-year limited guarantee does act as something of an insurance policy.
  • The family tent can get cold at night: In a way, the ventilation is a little too good. Because of the impressive levels of interior space, you don’t really get to benefit from the heat that’s generated by having several campers in one room. This should be something you bear in mind when packing clothes, even in summer.
  • The windows don’t zip up entirely, we understand: According to some shoppers, there is a slight chance that the windows might blow open during the night, because the zipper means it doesn’t shut entirely. This can be remedied with a little bit of specialist tape in advance.

Comparison

 

Wenzel Klondike 8 Person Cabin Family TentWenzel Klondike 8 Person Cabin Family Tent

Coleman 8 Person Instant Family TentColeman 8 Person Instant Family Tent

Coleman Montana 8 Person Family TentColeman Montana 8 Person Family Tent

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
electrical accessNoYesYes
bugproofYesYesYes
sun protectionYesYesYes
rain protectionRain flyWeatherTec systemWeatherTec system
floor qualityWeldedWeldedWelded
multiple doorsNoNoNo
windowsTwoSevenTwo
sleeps888
screened areaYesYesYes
leakproof seamsYesYesYes
interior space16ft x 11ft14ft x 8ft16ft x 7ft
easy to setupYesYesYes
storage pocketYesYesYes
three-season tentYesYesYes
pre-attached polesNoYesNo

Summary

With the Wenzel Klondike family tent, you can have a good five or six people and plenty of room for all of their gear, as well.

This is a five-star product, and one that should be shortlisted immediately given the 10-year limited warranty and the astounding levels of interior space. We have so often been disappointed with some eight-berth family tents on the market, because they aren’t feasible for accommodating as many people as advertised.

With the Wenzel Klondike family tent, you can have a good five or six people and plenty of room for all of their gear, as well. The two compartments mean that two separate families can share the same tent, and there’s also the opportunity for a little bit of privacy to prevent claustrophobia.

If you manage to get the weather right, the Wenzel Klondike Cabin will be the perfect companion for your next vacation.


Coleman Montana 8 Person Family Tent

Coleman Montana 8 Person Family Tent
(rated 4.0 / 5)
Overal Protection
Material Quality
Available Space
Easy to Setup
Value for Money
Check Price

Compared to some of the other eight-person tents which are manufactured by Coleman, the Montana is decently priced and pretty roomy.

It has a center height of 6ft 2in, which will accommodate even the loftiest of campers on your next vacation.

Information

The tilted angle of the tow windows means that you do get sunlight pouring into the tent during waking hours.

We particularly like the way that the Coleman Montana 8 is fully customizable based on the weather conditions you find yourself in.

When it’s beautifully sunny, you’ll still get plenty of protection while being able to enjoy some natural light.

This is thanks to the mesh roof, which also prevents unwanted pollutants and bugs from getting inside. Better still, the pole attachments are wind resistant.

Unlike some of the other tents which are on offer from Coleman, you actually get a choice with the color you buy – a rare luxury! Black, blue and green are available – and in our opinion, the first option is nicest. That said, it may show dirt more.

One reason why the Montana 8 comes so recommended is that it’s designed for road trips where a lot of camping is going to be involved. In some cases – especially when you’re passionate about the great outdoors – you’re going to want a family tent which can endure more than a day or two of continued use.

electrical accessYes
bugproofYes
sun protectionYes
rain protectionWeatherTec system
floor qualityWelded
multiple doorsNo
windowsTwo
sleeps8
screened areaYes
leakproof seamsYes
interior space16ft x 7ft
easy to setupYes
storage pocketYes
three-season tentYes
pre-attached polesNo

Inside the tent, we like how there are some storage pockets which enable you to find important documentation – and accessories such as sunscreen and bug spray – in a matter of moments. No more having to forage around, making a mess as you go!

As we’ve mentioned, the tilted angle of the tow windows means that you do get sunlight pouring into the tent during waking hours. However, they are cleverly designed to keep moisture out.

Although the floors are welded and made out of polyester, you might want to invest in some additional carpets or other mats – especially if the ground you’re pitching on is a little damp. This will add to your overall comfort and make camping in the Montana 8 a far more enjoyable experience.

And yes, you can put your teenagers’ minds at ease by informing them that an electrical access port has been included.

Pros

According to the manufacturer, it’s easy to set up the Coleman Montana 8 in just 15 minutes.

Although manufactured in China, each seam and corner of the Montana 8 has been carefully designed for quality and workmanship, keeping the interior of the tent bone dry. It also boasts a WeatherTec system which helps to guarantee the tent can hold its own against rain and wind. Other advantages include:

  • Two separate carry sacks included for poles and stakes: If there’s any chance that you’re going to get the parts confused, or you’re concerned about the carrying bag becoming damaged and ripping open, the fact that there are two dedicated components for the family tent fixtures will be a blessing in disguise.
  • The tent is easy to setup, and poles are snag-free: According to the manufacturer (and they claim this with their other products, too,) it’s easy to set up the Coleman Montana 8 in just 15 minutes. The poles won’t snag, and have a continuous design to make it simpler to erect – even when you’re flying solo.
  • The waterproof layer – the rainfly – is fully detachable: Unlike other products, where you have to put up with the rainfly at all times, you can remove it when the weather is glorious outside, and a waterproof layer would be superfluous to requirements. It’s always worth keeping it on overnight, though.
  • A hinged door means it’s easier to get in and out: One feature we’re especially pleased with when it comes to the Montana 8 is the hinged door, which swings open and makes it easier to pop inside. All too often, it can seem like you need acrobatic skills to get inside otherwise.
  • The zippers are durable and glide open effortlessly: Often, especially when you’re buying a family tent that’s designed to last for several years, you’re always told to purchase reinforcements for the zipper, which can break. However, they provide a slick and smooth motion without any resistance.
  • Simple and easy to follow instructions for setup: Even if this is the first time you’ve gone camping in decades – and you’re suddenly in charge of putting up the family tent – you’ll be believed to know that clear and easy to understand pointers guide you through the process of pitching.

Cons

Now that we’ve covered the many benefits that the Montana 8 has to offer – including that WeatherTec system which will keep you high and dry even during torrential downpours and gale force winds – let’s consider the potential downsides of this family tent.

  • There are concerns that it’s a little narrow: At just 16ft, there isn’t much room for all eight of you to move around – especially when some campers are asleep. Meanwhile, from a length perspective, you’ve got about 7ft of room – so do try to pack light so you’ll all fit inside!
  • It’s better for two kids and two adults, really: Some shoppers have claimed that they found this family tent more appropriate for smaller families – as this meant there was plenty of space to room around and store those all-important holiday essentials. It also prevents the tent from getting too hot and sweaty overnight.
  • There’s just a one-year limited warranty included: Some manufacturers, so confident in the quality of their parts, issue a guarantee of 10 years against wear and tear. However, this isn’t the case with the Montana 8. You have just 12 months to make any requests for replacements or refunds.

Comparison

 

Coleman Montana 8 Person Family TentColeman Montana 8 Person Family Tent

Coleman 8 Person Instant Family TentColeman 8 Person Instant Family Tent

Wenzel Klondike 8 Person Cabin Family TentWenzel Klondike 8 Person Cabin Family Tent

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
electrical accessYesYesNo
bugproofYesYesYes
sun protectionYesYesYes
rain protectionWeatherTec systemWeatherTec systemRain fly
floor qualityWeldedWeldedWelded
multiple doorsNoNoNo
windowsTwoSevenTwo
sleeps888
screened areaYesYesYes
leakproof seamsYesYesYes
interior space16ft x 7ft14ft x 8ft16ft x 11ft
easy to setupYesYesYes
storage pocketYesYesYes
three-season tentYesYesYes
pre-attached polesNoYesNo

Summary

The inclusion of color-coded poles and easy to understand instructions takes the stress out of your camping vacation.

This is a nifty family tent which contains ample room for a small family during an exciting vacation to pastures new.

We like the customizable options available in terms of the color, but we’re a bit dubious about the advertisement that it can accommodate eight people. Although we have no doubt this is true, we wouldn’t want to be engaged in such a sleeping arrangement for several days!

The inclusion of color-coded poles and easy to understand instructions takes the stress out of your camping vacation, especially when you should be excited and pumped for some relaxation and enjoyment in the great outdoors. We just wish that there was a little more width to ensure that everyone isn’t packed in like sardines.


Coleman Evanston 6-8 Person Family Tent

Coleman Evanston 6-8 Person Family Tent
(rated 4.5 / 5)
Overal Protection
Material Quality
Available Space
Easy to Setup
Value for Money
Check Price

When you’re on a camping trip with several others, a sturdy family tent which can hold its own – even in the most extreme elements – is crucial.

And Coleman’s Evanston tent, which offers plenty of room and nifty features, is ideal.

Information

The one piece of technology which makes this family tent worth every dollar is Coleman’s patented WeatherTec system.

As the name suggests, there are two models in the Evanston range.

The first can accommodate six people – but for a little extra (about 20% of the original price or thereabouts,) you can upgrade to the family tent that sleeps eight.

Even if housing eight people seems unlikely, the additional room can be most welcome… especially if you’re a combination of early risers and late sleepers!

The one piece of technology which makes this family tent worth every dollar is Coleman’s patented WeatherTec system. Many companies can claim that their shelters are suitable for three or four seasons, but such boasts are meaningless until the products in question have been tested rigorously, and endlessly refined.

According to the manufacturer, the Evanston has been subjected to gale force winds during tests, along with torrential rain and that light drizzle that always seems to soak you to the bone. It’s this emphasis on realistic weather conditions that gives Coleman a huge tick of endorsement from us.

electrical accessYes
bugproofYes
sun protectionYes
rain protectionWeatherTec system
floor qualityWelded
multiple doorsNo
windowsFour
sleeps6 or 8
screened areaYes
leakproof seamsYes
interior space14ft x 10ft or 15ft x 12ft
easy to setupYes
storage pocketYes
three-season tentYes
pre-attached polesNo

One of the biggest novelties that has had happy campers raving is the inclusion of a screened porch, which allows you to take some fold-out chairs and drink in the scenery outside without being besieged by bugs and other pests. Given how it’s a separate component to the tent, this has proven to be a really nice touch.

We also like how the Evanston stays nice and cool – even when it’s sweltering outside. There is plenty of ventilation to ensure fresh air continues to come into the tent, and this is also important if you’re going to have eight people sleeping alongside each other all night.

As you can imagine, a lot of body heat can be generated, and this can make dozing off a rather sticky and uncomfortable experience.

In summary, it’s worth mentioning that this tent has been made out of polyester, a sturdy material that won’t sag over time.

Pros

We particularly like the angling of the windows because it stops any rainwater from entering the inside of the tent.

The WeatherTec system does go beyond seeing whether or not a tent can take a beating in the wind and rain. It means the seams have been carefully designed to prevent leaks, and the floors and zippers are waterproof. Other advantages to the Coleman Evanston include:

  • The inclusion of an electrical access port is clever: If you want to bring in a fan, a camping light (or yes… even a phone charger if it’s dry and safe!) you’ll like the dedicated opening which allows you to feed power cords and cables through. Do this carefully to prevent a fire hazard.
  • The polyester fabric also offers protection against UV rays: One problem with some of the textiles used to create family tents is that it doesn’t protect against the damage which can be caused by UV rays. But even if there’s wall-to-wall sunshine late at night, your health is never at risk with the Coleman Evanston.
  • Just one person can effortlessly erect it in 15 minutes: So many times on camping trips, the whole group can end up standing around a mess of poles on the floor – confused how to build their tent. With the Coleman Evanston, such frustration becomes a thing of the past.
  • There are four large, tilted windows on the sides: We particularly like the angling of the windows because it stops any rainwater from entering the inside of the tent – no matter how ferocious the shower outside. It also means plenty of ventilation and natural sunlight when you want it.
  • In the center, the Evanston tent is 72in tall: That’s the equivalent of about 6ft, meaning even the taller guests in your party won’t end up looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame when they’re entering the family tent. Another dimension to bear in mind with the eight-person model is that it measures 15ft x 12ft.
  • A hook point is provided for the camping light: Last, but by no means least, we give the Coleman Evanston extra marks for the hook which can be used to secure a fire-safe camping light outside or inside the tent. Other nifty attachments include the manufacturer’s Insta-Clip technology for added wind resistance.

Cons

Even though the larger Evanston is designed for eight people, it will only fit two queen-sized airbeds, which may be a source of frustration for some. Here are some of the other pitfalls that have been reported with this Coleman family tent after exhaustive testing in the field (literally):

  • Folding it away after use can be rather frustrating: Some tent manufacturers have put a great deal of thought into how their products fold away once they’ve been used. However, placing the Coleman Evanston back in the carrying bag once your vacation is over can prove to be frustrating.
  • It might not be suitable for colder nights: That’s the risk you take when you purchase a family tent with good levels of ventilation. Although the Evanston might not be draughty, it’s possible that you may feel the chill when you attempt to use the family tent during the early spring or late fall.
  • Replacement poles may take a while to arrive: Of course, some poles can break or wear down as they are used continuously with every camping season. However, some of the most important parts you may need to repurchase from Coleman have been on backorder in the past – causing frustrating delays.

Comparison

 

Coleman Evanston 6-8 Person Family TentColeman Evanston 6-8 Person Family Tent

Coleman 8 Person Instant Family TentColeman 8 Person Instant Family Tent

Wenzel Klondike 8 Person Cabin Family TentWenzel Klondike 8 Person Cabin Family Tent

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
electrical accessYesYesNo
bugproofYesYesYes
sun protectionYesYesYes
rain protectionWeatherTec systemWeatherTec systemRain fly
floor qualityWeldedWeldedWelded
multiple doorsNoNoNo
windowsFourSevenTwo
sleeps6 or 888
screened areaYesYesYes
leakproof seamsYesYesYes
interior space14ft x 10ft or 15ft x 12ft14ft x 8ft16ft x 11ft
easy to setupYesYesYes
storage pocketYesYesYes
three-season tentYesYesYes
pre-attached polesNoYesNo

Summary

A well-known manufacturer with a loyal following in the US, you won’t go far wrong with an Evanston tent when you’re on vacation.

Available in green, this is a stylish tent with a novel feature in the screened porch. One thing we would have liked is for the space within the Evanston to have been more generous. When you actually try to get eight people into an eight-people tent, you may rue the day you trusted a manufacturer’s word.

Coleman gets extra points for how their family tent is easy to construct, and how the clever design does help to keep water, UV rays and bugs out of the interior wherever possible. You’re never more than 15 minutes away from a good night’s sleep.

A well-known manufacturer with a loyal following in the US, you won’t go far wrong with an Evanston tent when you’re on vacation.


Coleman Sundome 2-6 Person Family Tent

Coleman Sundome 2-6 Person Family Tent
(rated 4.1 / 5)
Overal Protection
Material Quality
Available Space
Easy to Setup
Value for Money
Check Price

One major concern when you’re camping is whether or not you’ll get adequate protection against harmful UV rays – especially for your children.

That’s where getting a Coleman Sundome, which can accommodate up to six people, may allay your health concerns.

Information

The whole purpose of the Sundome is to ensure that you’re shielded from the sunshine when you’re asleep – even during the peak of summer.

Research has continually suggested that family tents don’t do enough to ensure that the occupants are protected against the sun’s penetrative rays.

However, the whole purpose of the Sundome is to ensure that you’re shielded from the sunshine when you’re asleep – even during the peak of summer.

It also protects against a plethora of other adverse weather conditions, including wind and rain.

You can choose to use the Coleman Sundome on campsites when you’re vacationing in July and August. Or, better still, it can be taken along to the beach – and used as a discreet changing room when you want to take a dip in the ocean.

Alternatively, if some members of your family aren’t too fond of the heat, they can enjoy some shade, peace and quiet – reading a book or filling out a Sudoku!

Just like a good family tent, it comes with a groundsheet which will keep out any moisture if the weather doesn’t work in your favor. It also helps to stop sand from getting inside, which is an all too common downside of using a beach tent in the first instance.

electrical accessYes
bugproofNo
sun protectionYes
rain protectionYes
floor qualityWelded
multiple doorsNo
windowsNone
sleeps2 to 6
screened areaNo
leakproof seamsYes
interior space10ft x 10ft
easy to setupYes
storage pocketNo
three-season tentYes
pre-attached polesNo

You should be aware that the Coleman Sundome has some critics who claim it is a little too airy, making it really cold at night. Given how temperatures are traditionally colder on the coast as it is, you might want to pack some warm clothes for sleeping.

Even if you’re setting it up in the middle of the night, the instructions of the Coleman Sundome are easy to understand. You won’t have any trouble including a queen-sized air mattress, along with all of your belongings, either.

One benefit to the ventilation is how you can rest assured that condensation within the tent won’t build up as you sleep. This can be particularly troublesome because it causes mold and mildew to form, creating an unsanitary environment for future trips.

Pros

There is a constant flow of fresh air with the Coleman Sundome, no matter how heavy the downpours might be outside.

We love how the Coleman Sundome has been built for sunny vacations on the beach, and for families who want to enjoy camping holidays without the risk of getting sunburned – a chief concern if you have fair skin. Other advantages include:

  • There’s an electrical access port hidden in the side: Like many other Coleman products, you’ll be able to stow away cables and wires for low-voltage electrical appliances discreetly without causing a tripping hazard. However, you might want to acquire an extension cable so you can reach a power point.
  • You will enjoy plenty of ventilation, even in rain: The design of this tent means that there is a constant flow of fresh air with the Coleman Sundome, no matter how heavy the downpours might be outside. However, as we mentioned earlier, this could mean that you need to wrap up warm.
  • There is continuous pole sleeve construction technology included: This is a design feature which really makes it easy to erect the Coleman Sundome – even when it’s dark, windy or rainy outside. Better still, the instruction manual clearly explains where every peg and stake should go.
  • Guy points reinforce the family tent in high winds: Even though you’ll have several people weighing the groundsheet down, there can occasionally be the risk that the pegs and stakes become dislodged when it gets windy. However, guy points have been included with this Coleman family tent to prevent that.
  • You’ll get a carrying bag that’s lightweight in the box: The one thing we love about this Coleman Sundome is how it’s able to accommodate six people, yet weighs less than two kilos in its unfolded state. This is pretty remarkable, and does make it ideal for backpackers who are camping at several sites.
  • You’ll get plenty of resistance against wind and sand: Last but not least, you won’t have to contend with unwanted sand particles and a breeze blowing through your family tent whenever the weather takes a turn for the worse. All of Coleman’s products are also rigorously tested before release.

Cons

Given how this is a cheap and cheerful product, there are naturally going to be a couple of quirks which let the Coleman Sundome down. However, these are easily remedied by going for another tent from their range. Downsides include:

  • The poles are made of cheap fiberglass material: We are pretty disappointed that a sturdier material – such as aluminum alloy or carbon – wasn’t used in the formation of these tent poles. However, on the plus side, it does mean that a fantastic family tent becomes affordable to more people.
  • The dimensions are rather disappointing for six people: When fully erected, the Coleman Sundome offers 10ft in length and 10ft in width. Considering the space that six people can fill – along with all of their personal belongings and equipment – we’re quite dubious as to whether this is sufficient.
  • You might want to seal the seams before use: According to reports from some shoppers, the seams have needed extra treatment before camping vacations, because the Coleman Sundome can be particularly prone to leaking, despite the fact it includes a welded floor.

Comparison

 

Coleman Sundome 2-6 Person Family TentColeman Sundome 2-6 Person Family Tent

Coleman 8 Person Instant Family TentColeman 8 Person Instant Family Tent

Wenzel Klondike 8 Person Cabin Family TentWenzel Klondike 8 Person Cabin Family Tent

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
electrical accessYesYesNo
bugproofNoYesYes
sun protectionYesYesYes
rain protectionYesWeatherTec systemRain fly
floor qualityWeldedWeldedWelded
multiple doorsNoNoNo
windowsNoneSevenTwo
sleeps2 to 688
screened areaNoYesYes
leakproof seamsYesYesYes
interior space10ft x 10ft14ft x 8ft16ft x 11ft
easy to setupYesYesYes
storage pocketNoYesYes
three-season tentYesYesYes
pre-attached polesNoYesNo

Summary

We like how the family tent has been geared towards those who love the great outdoors, but want additional protection from the sunshine.

This is an all-round good effort by Coleman. We like how the family tent has been geared towards those who love the great outdoors, but want additional protection from the sunshine. It’s also incredibly affordable, and this is a bonus.

Whether it’s actually suitable for accommodating six people – and has the weatherproofing that’s necessary for prolonged camping trips, not just a day at the beach – remains to be seen.

However, as we’ve mentioned, it is worth bearing in mind that Coleman has become a much-loved brand for campers around the world. And, if you find that this product is somewhat lacking, splashing out that little bit extra for a more advanced family tent will ensure that you’re completely satisfied during your vacation.

How To Choose The Best Family Tent

2-family-tent-buying-guide-choiceYour first consideration to make is the durability of the floor. Although some manufacturers use welded materials to stop moisture from the ground seeping into the tent, it’s likely you’ll still want carpet or additional protection to make sure it’s comfortable as you sleep.

The same goes for ventilation. As our bodies radiate heat when we sleep, the internal temperature of a tent when there are eight people under one roof can soar.

However, with plenty of windows – and mesh which ensures that fresh air continually circulates through – it should become easier to strike that balance between being too hot and too cold throughout the night.

A good tent stands and falls (literally) by the quality of the poles, stakes and fittings which are included in the box.

You’ll also be confronted with lingo about “three-season” and “four-season” tents. Typically, the former is suitable if you like to go on vacation between spring and the end of fall. However, if you’re a hardcore winter camper, the four-season option ensures that you can withstand thunderstorms, snow and other extreme elements.

A good tent stands and falls (literally) by the quality of the poles, stakes and fittings which are included in the box. You should at least expect your family tent to withstand a heavy breeze – and hopefully – you won’t have to contend with that irritating flapping noise which can often make it difficult to fall asleep.

The one time that a porch will be useful is if wet conditions are forecast for during your time away. If you’re heading on treks or long walks, it’s likely that you’ll have some damp clothes that you wouldn’t want to store where you sleep – as it could create an unpleasant and distinctive musty smell.

In this buying guide, we’re going to go over five key specifications for any family tent – and the particular characteristics that you should look out for. This way, you won’t suffer from buyer’s remorse as you shiver on a campsite somewhere.

Is there an electrical access port?

3-family-tent-buying-guide-electrical-access-portOf course, in an ideal world, it would be easy to cut away all communication – and escape from the continual pinging of smartphones and tablets. But in today’s modern family, it’s a sad truth that allowing your teenagers to bring along their devices can be a deal-breaker to ensure they even come on holiday with you!

Even if your need for electricity extends to other creature comforts, many family tents include a devoted access port which provides a safe way to bring appliances inside. The main advantage to this is how it eliminates a tripping hazard which can be caused by cables running across the door and throughout your sleeping area.

Remember: attempting to charge your smartphone could drain the battery quickly, or even trip your battery, so proceed with caution.

There are just a few bits of forward planning that you need to address first. To begin, you need to consider where your electricity supply is going to be coming from – as not all campsites will offer a connection to the mains. You might want to purchase a battery that’s suitable enough to power low-energy devices with a voltage of 12V. This could include lights and even some televisions. This will also allow you to ever recharge your smaller items such as flashlights and headlamps.

Remember: attempting to charge your smartphone could drain the battery quickly, or even trip your battery, so proceed with caution.

Another crucial consideration to make is your safety when dealing with an electricity supply, especially when you’re in a damp environment.

You should ensure that all of your plugs are weatherproof, and that the cables which are being used to transport the electricity are fully waterproof. Ideally, the wires that you use should also be pretty long – as you may have a fair distance to travel to your nearest socket.

Always make sure you power down each electrical appliance after use, too.

Does the tent offer rain protection?

4-family-tent-buying-guide-rain-protectionUsually, with a family tent, you will benefit from a waterproof rain fly which keeps any unwanted moisture outside of the interior as you sleep. However, it won’t eliminate that soothing and pleasant sound of the raindrops hitting the roof.

You can always purchase replacement rain fly covers if yours becomes broken or lost for any reason. However, you should just make sure that it’s fully compatible with the size of your family tent. The last thing you want to do is purchase a cover which is designed for a four-person tent, when the product you purchased is twice as big.

Other design traits which you should keep an eye out for to ensure your family tent is fully waterproof include leak-free seams, along with a durable and heavy-duty fabric which repels moisture.

A good rain fly will also double up as insulation if you’re lucky – and should shoot over the tent so you can store shoes and other equipment outside of your sleeping area without it becoming wet.

In addition, such accessories also guarantee that you can ventilate the tent as usual.

Other design traits which you should keep an eye out for to ensure your family tent is fully waterproof include leak-free seams, along with a durable and heavy-duty fabric which repels moisture.

A good zipper further guarantees that there won’t be any buildup of liquid outside the door too, which could come seeping in when you wake up in the morning.

There are a few other tips to bear in mind when you’re camping on a wet weekend. Even if your family tent is completely waterproof, try to avoid placing items around the edges of the tent where it could come a little damp. Also, try to avoid pitching the tent in any areas where you’re downhill or puddles have begun to form – as this could result in an unpleasant surprise overnight.

Does the family tent have multiple doors?

5-family-tent-buying-guide-multiple-doorsAs you browse the many tents which are on offer in the marketplace, you’ll normally be greeted by different door designs which claim to be superior to what rivals offer.

Of course, your main concern should be a door which seals shut entirely, without the risk of any condensation or moisture seeping inside. The zipper additionally needs to be durable, as it can become a nightmare if this breaks during a vacation.

Some manufacturers who produce family tents which can sleep six or eight people do offer multiple doors. There are several advantages to this – especially if you have a few early risers who want to get outside without disturbing the other members of their party who are still sleeping.

In some cases, the doors inside your family tent might not lead outside – but to another room which is included for additional privacy.

As space can become rather cramped when you have the full eight people in a tent, multiple doors also make it easier to move around without having to step over sleeping bags, air mattresses and luggage. Better still, many of these doors work off a hinge which swings open, meaning it’s less of a kerfuffle to get in and out.

Indeed, in some cases, the doors inside your family tent might not lead outside – but to another room which is included for additional privacy. Ideally, you’ll want these doors to be nice and large, as it means you can place large items – such as air mattresses and suitcases – into the compartment without incident.

To ensure that you don’t feel like you’re camping in a prison, the number of windows which are included with your family tent should increase in tandem with the number of doors.

These days, manufacturers offer anywhere between four and eight windows, and this can be great for circulating fresh air.

How many people does the family tent sleep?

6-family-tent-buying-guide-people-sleepNow, let’s take a look at the burning issue when it comes to family tents: how many people it can comfortably accommodate. Usually, when a company says that it has been designed for eight people, they are assuming that you are using sleeping bags instead of an air mattress, which can take up considerable amounts of room.

Realistically, you should always factor in the extras that are going to come with eight people – including bedding, clothes, luggage, food, and accessories such as walking sticks, a propane grill, camping stoves, camping chairs and the like.

Always look at the dimensions that the family tent has to offer before you make a purchase.

Typically, if you’re going on a prolonged holiday, you wouldn’t want to have more than five people (or two adults and two young children) in an eight-person tent.

Otherwise, there can be a real lack of personal space which might diminish your enjoyment of the holiday as a whole – and that’s the last thing you want.

Always look at the dimensions that the family tent has to offer before you make a purchase.

The length of the tent should be a major concern if you have especially tall people in your family – as if it’s only 6ft 3in long, they might be unable to sleep straight without stretching the tent and storing their belongings at the end of their sleeping bag. Likewise, if the width is just 14ft, you might end up packed together like sardines when you’re sleeping side by side – and this is best avoided, as you could end up feeling hot and bothered by the end of the night.

Always take a careful read of reviews – especially if they contain pictures – to see how many people could realistically fit into a tent. Bigger is better, as long as you don’t fall foul of campsite rules by taking up too much space.

Is it easy to setup?

7-family-tent-buying-guide-easy-setupMany camping companies have become incredibly astute in recent years – and have realized that many of their consumers don’t have the patience to sit on a field surrounded by a plethora of screws, poles and stakes for hours on end.

That’s why many family tents now come with a step-by-step guide which walks you through the process of setting it up in detail. Better still, many brands use color coding to ensure that the right component goes in the right place – preventing any confusion and hours of trial and error.

There are some companies which have launched so-called “instant tents” which are upright in just 60 seconds.

Although most mainstream family tents can be erected in about 15 minutes (or just a little bit longer if you’re doing it on your own,) there are some companies which have launched so-called “instant tents” which are upright in just 60 seconds.

That’s because the poles have been sewn into the fabric for ease and efficiency. Better still, the fabric is reinforced to ensure that there aren’t any rips and tears which damages the tent over time.

Another consideration should be how easy it is to dismantle the family tent at the end of a trip, as some people often report that it’s really difficult to fold the tent back down and fit it into the carrying bag. If you’re rushed for time and need to get home after your vacation, this will be a complication that you really don’t want.

In summary, family tents are full of features which aim to make camping simple, fun and comfortable.

If you buy a large tent designed for eight people – and you’re a family of four – there will be plenty of room for everyone, and all of your belongings. Be realistic about your requirements to make the right purchase.

Coleman 8 Person Instant Family Tent
Our pick for the best family tent is: Coleman 8 Person Instant Family Tent. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching family tents.

Best Family Tent Characteristics

best family tent

Unless you’re a diehard camping enthusiast, it’s highly unlikely that you’re up to speed on the fixtures and fittings of a family tent – and why they matter.

Moreover, you might not have a clue on what to look for. We’re here to help.

You should compare buying a family tent to your hierarchy of needs. The main objectives are ensuring that there’s enough room for everyone, that it’s dry and warm inside, and that unwanted moisture and pests stay outside.

Lastly, it’s essential that the tent can hold its own when it gets a little windy outside. It can be incredibly frightening, inconvenient and dangerous if it collapses in the middle of the night – and that’s why the instructions for erecting your new family tent should be easy to follow, with sturdy fixtures and fittings. We’ll have more on that later.

Camping is about connecting with Mother Nature, but you shouldn’t have to put up with the downsides.

Once you’re happy that this pyramid of three requirements has been satisfied – room, dryness and structural integrity – we move on to the features which would be nice to have, but shouldn’t be a deal-breaker during your camping vacation.

For example, if you’ve got to fit in six people in one family tent during your vacation, it might be nice to have two doors for entering and exiting. However, it won’t be essential. The same goes for the color of the family tent. Although you might love the idea of a dark red one, it won’t matter very much if only green or brown are available.

Camping is about connecting with Mother Nature, but you shouldn’t have to put up with the downsides.

These days, many family tents come with electrical access ports which allow you to hook up low voltage appliances safely. Even better, the fabric is often fully bug proof, with mosquito nets that help to shield you against bites and stings.

In this guide, we’re going to take a look at five other characteristics which can make the world of difference when you’re on the lookout for a brand-new family tent.

Sun protection

2-best-family-tent-sun-protectionThis is a particularly crucial component to family tents which is often overlooked by some manufacturers – so you should check to see whether or not they use a fabric which effectively blocks the presence of harmful UV rays.

A good indication that the family tent has been made from a suitable fabric is if thick, 100% polyester is mentioned in the product description. This indicates that you’ll have plenty of resistance against the sun.

One good idea is to look for characteristics which are similar to beach tents, which come with an anti-UV coating.

Especially important during long summer days – where the sun rises early and sets rather late – it ensures that UV won’t penetrate through the fabric while you sleep. Remember: even if the temperature outside isn’t particularly hot, damage can still be done, and it’s important to err on the side of caution.

One good idea is to look for characteristics which are similar to beach tents, which come with an anti-UV coating. They are remarkably comparable to family tents, as they also protect campers against the wind.

According to research issued a few years ago in Wales, less than 10% of family tents on the market offer adequate protection against UV rays for children. It should be the equivalent of a factor 40 sun block, according to European guidelines.

You should bear in mind that if you’re especially concerned about whether your children’s skin is being protected, there are UV sprays which can be used to add an additional shield to your tent’s fabrics.

Another benefit to doing so – along with your overall health and wellbeing – is how it stops the fabric from disintegrating over time – as it can all too often do in extreme sunlight.

Of course, you should also be looking for a family tent which shields you when the weather isn’t too favorable outside, too. Check to see whether or not the manufacturer has examined how their tent performs in real-life wind and rain conditions, as you don’t want to be caught out by a few days of poor weather.

Screened area

3-best-family-tent-screened-areaIf you’re looking for extra room and privacy in your family tent, this can very easily be arranged. All you need to do is look for a product which comes equipped with a screening area. This might be the form of a sectioned-off room within the tent that has been separated by a door with a zipper, or some mesh.

Given how family tents can also involve young children, this is perfect for adults who want to stay up a little later than their kids.

It’s particularly ideal for storing your equipment, such as camping chairs and tables that you don’t want to leave outside during wet weather for fear of rusting. In some cases, these additional compartments also have their own entrance – which certainly adds an air of exclusivity to proceedings!

Given how family tents can also involve young children, this is perfect for adults who want to stay up a little later than their kids.

Once you’ve made sure that your children have drifted off to sleep in their own interior room within the tent, you can enjoy a nice glass of wine – or a refreshing cold beer – and enjoy some conversation or a game of cards in peace and quiet. It’s a win-win situation for everybody!

Let’s not also forget the fact that you’ll get the chance to shield your family from bugs, mosquitoes and other pests with the use of a screened porch, which acts as a further divide between the outside world and the entrance to your tent. This also serves as the perfect place for shoes and any clothes which may have become wet or damp during the previous day’s activities. It additionally means that there won’t be any chance of mud and water finding its way into the sleeping area.

The one thing to temper the benefits of a screened area with is how much additional weight it will bring to the family tent overall.

Especially when you’ve bought a four-berth tent, such a luxury can breach the fine line between a portable product which you can effortlessly carry on your back, and one which will need to be stowed in the back of a car.

Leakproof seams

4-best-family-tent-leakproof-seamsMany manufacturers guarantee that they’ll be able to keep you nice and dry in your family tent by ensuring that the seams within the heavy-duty fabric are fully taped together, especially around the doors and windows, where moisture is most likely to enter. You should make sure that the fabric is multi-layered, ideally with anti-wicking thread and webbing which will stop any moisture in its tracks.

As you’ll realize if you’ve been an avid camper for years, it’s probable that the fabric will begin to slowly disintegrate after several vacations.

Another good idea is to check whether the seams are actually protected from the outside of the tent. If they’re shielded by another layer of fabric, it will stop them from getting damp in the first place. The same applies to the zipper, too. You should fully expect the materials which have been used with your family tent to actively repel water, rather than absorb it.

As you’ll realize if you’ve been an avid camper for years, it’s probable that the fabric will begin to slowly disintegrate after several vacations.

If you’re lucky (or indeed, paid hundreds of dollars for an expensive family tent) you might be covered by a limited warranty which guarantees all of the parts and fabric for up to a decade. Otherwise, it might be as simple as getting a repair kit so you can sew any tears in the fabric, or applying some specialist tape where the seams have come loose. That way, you’ll be dry inside again within no time!

One thing you will want to avoid at all costs is the build-up of mold and condensation within the tent, as it can cause an incredibly unpleasant smell – and even some respiratory problems if you prefer to go on prolonged camping trips.

You should always make every endeavor to remove excess moisture from the tent as soon as it appears, and give it plenty of room to breathe once you return home from vacation.

Remember: a few simple top tips can ensure that your leakproof seams don’t go to waste. Never enter a tent when you’re wearing shoes with wet soles – no matter how pressed for time you might be – and don’t place wet towels inside.

If the groundsheet of your family tent has been sewn in already by the manufacturer, you should find that this will save you an incredible amount of time.

Storage

5-best-family-tent-storageIn an ideal world, we would always be able to make sure that our family tents are kept tidy, clean and free of any unwanted toys, clothes and other bits of debris scattered on the floor.

Unfortunately, especially when there’s several of you under one polyester roof, this can become particularly impossible to arrange.

One brilliant feature which many camping manufacturers include these days are storage pockets.

That’s why opting for a family tent which has plenty of space inside is crucial. Better still, if you have that screened-off compartment that we were talking about, there’s a greater chance that you’ll be able to keep all of your luggage inside without fear of it becoming wet, damaged, lost, or a tripping hazard.

One brilliant feature which many camping manufacturers include these days are storage pockets.

Often made out of netting, so you can see what’s inside without having to empty out the pocket and rummage through it, it’s the best way to find important documents, sun block, or the other bits and bobs that are regularly requested by your loved ones.

In some cases, you might even be given additional poles which work to provide a place where you can hang up your clothes and stop them from getting creased. Although it’s highly unlikely that you’ll want to look your Sunday best on a camping vacation anyway, this characteristic of family tents is most welcome.

There are some tips that you should also bear in mind to ensure that your family tent remains as well organized as possible – storage pockets aside. Firstly, for fear of sounding obvious, do make sure that you only pack what you need to begin with – especially if you’re going to be a party of four people sleeping in a four-berth tent. That’s because you’ll soon realize that space isn’t really at a premium.

Next, try to find multiple purposes for one object. For example, you could place a box underneath camping chairs which stores clothes, or have baskets which can expand and unfold whenever necessary.

Poles

6-best-family-tent-polesYou’re going to find poles which are made from a plethora of materials as you go on the hunt for the perfect family tent. However, each material has advantages and disadvantages, as we’re going to explain in this section.

Along with what the fixtures and fittings are made from, you also need to make sure that the instruction manual for your family tent is easy to understand.

For shoppers who want a lightweight family tent above all else, you might want to consider poles which have been made out of aluminum.

If you’ve really struggled in the past, you might want to consider a tent which has the poles sewn into the fabric itself, meaning it can be set up in less than two minutes. Other products offer color-coded poles so you can ensure that the right beam goes in the corresponding place.

For shoppers who want a lightweight family tent above all else, you might want to consider poles which have been made out of aluminum. This is an incredibly lightweight metal, and is normally found in tents with fewer berths. Elastic coverings usually help to connect the poles together, too.

Next, you’ve got fiberglass, which you’ll typically find in some of the lower-end family tents on the market. Unfortunately, this material isn’t all that durable – and this makes it possible that you might need to buy replacement poles several times over the life cycle of your family tent.

As such, you might want to bite the bullet and spend a little more cash now on a tent which has higher quality fittings, as you’ll be sure to save plenty of cash (and camping disasters!) in the long run.

Steel, although really resilient and durable, is heavy. Common in larger family tents, the one downside is the sheer weight of this material, which means that you’ll need to carry the poles in a separate bag to ensure that you don’t rip the fabric of the tent itself.

Now that you’ve been given an insight into the world of family tents, making a purchase you won’t regret should be that little bit easier.

Bug proof?

2-family-tent-reviews-bug-proofOne annoying downside to a camping vacation can be the prospect of bites and stings from bugs in the great outdoors – and the last thing you want is for creepy crawlies to find their way into your tent.

Many manufacturers offer a mesh covering which helps to keep insects out once and for all, while still allowing plenty of ventilation to come inside.

Indeed, if it’s a beautiful, warm night outside – and you don’t want everybody to overheat by zipping up the main door – you might be provided with a mosquito net which allows you to enjoy the necessary protection while keeping cool simultaneously.

You should make every effort to ensure that your tent’s surroundings aren’t particularly inviting for insects.

There are some other top tips for ensuring that you can repel pests away from your family tent at all times, in addition to purchasing one that is made of durable fabric.

Repellent spray is an essential product to invest in before you head on holiday – but do make sure that it’s applied a safe distance away from any campfires you have lit, or food you’re preparing. Otherwise, it could be a safety hazard.

Next, you should make every effort to ensure that your tent’s surroundings aren’t particularly inviting for insects. One such example where this might be the case is if you’ve left food wrappers or trash nearby. It can invite mice – and even raccoons, if they’re native to the area – to come and forage, creating noise and giving you and the kids something of a fright as you’re trying to sleep.

You should have a water supply where you can wash food and utensils before and after use, and a cooler which insulates all of your consumables and stops the smell from becoming noticeable for the wildlife you’re surrounded by.

Last, but by no means least, make sure you’re dressed up for the occasion. Although you might not want to wear heavy sweatshirts as you’re around the campfire – a cotton, long-sleeved shirt can go a long way to shielding your skin from bites and stings.

Floor quality

3-family-tent-reviews-floor-qualityNow, the thickness of the flooring provided in your family tent will depend on how lightweight and portable it is. With some four-person and six-person products, the manufacturer will have tried their level best to ensure that the unfolded family tent is compact enough to be carried in a rucksack between destinations.

Unfortunately, this does become a little trickier when you’re looking at eight-person and ten-person tents.

A good indication of a quality family tent can be when the floor is completely made of polyethylene.

Because they’re so bulky, you’ll normally need to ferry them around in a car – and given that it’s important to ensure that everybody inside is comfortable, the flooring will normally be a lot thicker.

A good indication of a quality family tent can be when the floor is completely made of polyethylene. You should also expect the floor to be sewn up tightly along with the outer tent, as this prevents unwanted leaks which could cause small puddles and moisture to appear as you’re setting down your sleeping bags.

Many manufacturers will also recommend that you don’t solely rely on the flooring that’s provided with their family tents as standard – and take along extra reinforcements to guarantee that your campers stay dry and comfortable. After all, if you’re on rough terrain, you don’t want to feel every bump and dimple in the ground.

One such solution can be found in foam floor tiles. They can be found in vibrant colors – giving your family tent a kooky, personable feel – and they interlock together, meaning it’s easy to detach them and save space when they’re back in storage. Such products will also help with keeping your tent well insulated.

Some flooring extras don’t actually go inside the tent, but underneath – acting as a buffer between the tent and the floor.

This is called a “footprint”, and it stops the fabric at the bottom of your family tent from becoming ripped or damaged over the course of a long camping holiday. It’s relatively inexpensive, but a lightweight tarp will also do the trick if you’re really on a budget.

Windows

4-family-tent-reviews-windowsThis is a feature you should expect – even demand – from the manufacturer of your family tent. Given the cavernous space that you’ll have inside, especially with tents that are designed to house eight or ten people, windows will be essential for ensuring there’s plenty of natural light and ventilation to stop the place from smelling musty, feeling claustrophobic, or being too dark.

However, it’s equally as crucial that these windows are well designed. If they’re not, you could find it difficult to sleep – and there may be some safety concerns as well.

If you’re on a camping vacation during the summer – when the sun rises early and sets extremely late – the last thing you want is to be kept up by daylight.

As such, here are just some of the things you need to look out for when you’re purchasing a family tent which boasts windows.

First off, you should check to see if there is privacy features included in the windows. Some are tinted to ensure that passersby can’t peek into your tent and see what’s going on. This also helps to guarantee that your sleeping area is darkened. After all, if you’re on a camping vacation during the summer – when the sun rises early and sets extremely late – the last thing you want is to be kept up by daylight.

Next, always check to see whether the windows of the tent are tilted. This way, even if they’re open, rainwater from an unexpected thunderstorm or torrential downpour won’t end up flooding the tent. Better still, this can also double up as protection against UV rays, eliminating sunburn and overexposure to the Sun.

Again, as we discussed just a moment or two ago, ventilation will be quite a big concern for your tent. Windows should have a mosquito tent which allows fresh air in and keeps nasty bugs out. However, if you’ve discovered your perfect tent – and it doesn’t offer one of these meshes – they can be purchased as accessories from most good websites.

Some of the more upmarket family tents even provide self-rolling curtains which can be draped over the windows late at night. With all this technology, it’ll be like you never left the house!

Interior space

5-family-tent-reviews-interior-spaceOf course, you’ll want as much interior space in your family tent as you can get away with – but there are likely to be two restrictions in mind: your budget, and any limitations that have been imposed with the campsite you regularly visit. Do your research before purchasing a family tent to ensure you don’t fall foul of either.

Normally, in the plethora of product descriptions that you’ll find online, you’ll be given the measurement in feet. That means you can ascertain the length and width of the family tent once it’s erected. However, the vital statistic that any buyer needs is the square footage that’s allotted per sleeper – and whether or not there’s further room available for storing rucksacks, suitcases, coolers, equipment, and more.

Interior space is particularly important because the weather might not always be on your side – and, if you’re in the middle of nowhere, the tent could be your only place for keeping yourselves occupied until the rain subsides.

There are some nifty features included in some family tents which enable you to maximize the use of the space within. They include storage poles and pockets which can be hung from the top of the tent.

Not only can you hang your clothes, but rucksacks packed with all of your navigation essentials, too. Just make sure that it can take the weight of those heavier items, otherwise it could cause a tear in the tent itself.

Interior space is particularly important because the weather might not always be on your side – and, if you’re in the middle of nowhere, the tent could be your only place for keeping yourselves occupied until the rain subsides.

If you’re all piled on top of each other, with no space to move, it could dampen the enjoyment of your vacation – especially if you can’t even fold out a table and some camping chairs.

As we’ve mentioned, also make sure that the family tent provides you with plenty of head room for the taller members of your family.

We’ve never heard a family regret buying a six-person tent when there are only four of them going on holiday. Always go for the bigger size – it means more room… especially if you end up with surprise guests!

Three season?

6-family-tent-reviews-three-seasonThe vast majority of family tents that you’ll find on the marketplace today are so-called “three season” tents. They’re perfect for camping vacations that begin in the early spring – say around March – or those that finish in the fall – around October.

If you’re going to be heading on camping trips in the more wintry months between November and February – or to destinations where it can be biting cold any time of year – you should go for a four-season tent which offers far superior insulation, along with specially-designed fittings which can withstand thunderstorms and even blizzards.

Given how three-person tents are mainly designed for use in warm weather, there should also be plenty of ventilation pockets to prevent a musty smell from developing over the course of your vacation.

The benefit of a three-season tent is that the whole thing is really lightweight, and most can be carried on your back. To ensure your family stays nice and dry during those unwanted showers, you get a rain fly which is draped over your tent to provide an extra layer against rainwater.

Just like with family tents as a whole, there are some considerations to make before you decide a three-person tent. You should consider whether you’d want one or two doors, or a vestibule area where your camping equipment, smelly shoes and other accessories can be stored while you sleep.

Given how three-person tents are mainly designed for use in warm weather, there should also be plenty of ventilation pockets to prevent a musty smell from developing over the course of your vacation as well.

Now, if you’re wondering about what you’d be missing out for by not going for a four-season tent, here’s a quick look at what to expect.

All of the ventilation points can be fully sealed during adverse weather conditions, as of course, the priority would be keeping warm. The stakes and pegs will be far more durable, and you’re guaranteed to have a double layer of tent fabric throughout.

Family tents are a brilliantly cheap alternative to having to buy hotel rooms when you want to visit some of the great tourist sites across the US. Now you know the most important features to look out for, purchasing a good tent will be a breeze.

Coleman 8 Person Instant Family Tent
Our pick for the best family tent is: Coleman 8 Person Instant Family Tent. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching family tents.

Summary

family tent reviews

Whenever you’re on the hunt for a new family tent, durability and resilience against adverse weather conditions will be priorities.

But what are the little things – the features that signify attention to detail – which will make a family tent stand out from the crowd?

As we’ll explore later on, when we count down the top five criteria for purchasing a family tent, you need to find a product that’ll give your loved ones enough room to live, not just sleep.

Going for a tent that’s slightly bigger than what you need will provide ample room for all of your essentials (including bedding, clothes, food and board games).

If you’ve got young children, you’ll probably know already that they’re in need of constant entertainment – and that means bringing along plenty of toys to keep them occupied, especially when the weather’s too wet to head outside.

As such, going for a tent that’s slightly bigger than what you need – providing ample room for all of your essentials (including bedding, clothes, food and board games) will be a decision you won’t regret.

We do all have realistic expectations from family tents. It’s hardly going to be a five-star hotel room with all the mod cons, but it certainly should be dry, cozy and roomy. Of course, size extends far beyond length and width, as you’ll need to make sure that it’s pretty tall as well.

The last thing you want is to develop neck pain because you’re constantly hunched over in the family tent. With every review, product description and brochure you lay your hands on, always check to see the maximum height that the family tent reaches once it’s properly erected.

Ideally, you should also have two layers of fabric that run on the outside of the family tent, with a small gap between them. Whereas one should keep you well insulation (with ventilation where necessary,) the other should be tasked with keeping water out. Leakproof seams are particularly important for this task, as moisture always finds a way to seep in through those cracks and crevices.

Don’t forget that your considerations should extend far beyond the tent itself – and also consider whether the fixtures and fittings are up to the job.

Coleman 8 Person Instant Family Tent
Our pick for the best family tent is: Coleman 8 Person Instant Family Tent. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching family tents.

Sources

  1. Camping in Noth Carolina State Parks, NCparks.gov
  2. Camping, Recreation.gov
  3. Find a Campground - Camping, U.S. National Park Service
  4. Best Camping Tents of 2017, Switch Back Travel, July 10, 2017
  5. The Best Tent for Family and Car Camping, The Wirecutter, May 25, 2017
  6. Top 10 Family Tents of 2017, Ezvid Wiki, October 28, 2017
  7. MSR Tent FAQ, Mountain Safety Research
  8. Campmor Tent FAQ, Campmor.com
  9. Tent Fabrics Part 1: Fabric Specs, Mountain Safety Research, November 16, 2015
  10. Ratings Overview - Camping Tent, OutdoorGearLab, April 6, 2015

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