Family Trip: How To Choose The Best Family Tent

July 13, 2018

Featured Image Source: Pixabay

Summer is finally here and with it comes the perfect opportunity to go on a family camping trip. Camping can be a very fulfilling and entertaining activity, whether you are doing it with your extended family, or if it is just you, the kids, and your spouse. Naturally, a quality tent is an absolute must-have if you and your family want to have the best camping experience possible.

The wide variety of brands and options is a good thing, but it also comes with a huge problem: deciding which one to choose. Before opting for a specific item, there are many factors to take into consideration, like the number of people, the age of the kids, the location, weather, the supplies you need, and so on.

Luckily, this guide will provide you with the basic information to help you make an informed choice. Also, check the website for more info on this year’s best family tents if you are looking for or need to upgrade your family tent.

Size of the Tent

Thisis the first big question you should ask yourself before choosing a particular tent. Over the last decade or so, designs, materials, and the size of family tents have greatly improved. While in the past family tents that could fit more than three persons were rare, nowadays tent palaces are the norm, instead of the exception. Some of them are so big, that they can make one room apartments look cramped and claustrophobic.

These palace tents are ideal for weeks-long camping trips, as they offer enough space for the entire family and accommodate your gear: the grill, sleeping bags, clothes, the food, and more. However, before rushing to the store to buy one, you should consider the following downsides:

  • An extra-large family camping tent can be quite bulky and heavy. So, ask yourself is your car big enough to carry it?
  • Such tent takes a long time to set up, requiring at least two people working together.
  • George Carlin had a bit about people’s obsession for acquiring as much “’stuff’’ as they can. Surprisingly, his clever comedy routine applies here as well – the bigger your tent, the more stuff you will bring along to fill the empty spaceand the more time you spend setting up the camp.

So, if you are planning a one-nighter or a weekend getaway at most, a small family tent is the ideal choice.

Tent Materials and Features

The next factor that you should take into consideration is related to the materials. When it comes to the sides of the tent, nylon is one of the best materials, because it allows moisture (exhaled by the people inside the tent) to evaporate. Furthermore, the longevity of a tent largely depends on the weight of the nylon — the heavier the nylon, the more it will last.

When it comes to the tent rainfly (namely the separate, anti-rain piece of plastic covering the tent), the best material is polyester. For poles, aluminum is a better and more durable choice than fiberglass. Additionally, you should choose taped seams for the floor instead of sewn ones, because they are stronger. Finally, you should also check the zippers, if they are YKK, you can safely assume that they will not break quickly.

Another important feature to consider is the number of doors you will need. If you have enough tent doors, your family will have multiple exits, which will prevent climbing over each other in the middle of the night to go out. To avoid this scenario, cabin-style tents are the best possible option.

Other features that all high-quality family tents should have:

  • Interior loops and pockets, namely a lantern loop for hanging the light source at the top-center of the tent’s ceiling, and interior loops (or pockets) to keep important items off the floor.
  • Mesh panels for humid climates.
  • Vestibules for storing dirty footwear and clothes.
  • A roof vent for proper air circulation.
  • Guy lines to prevent the tent from flapping in the wind.

Tent Accessories

Before taking the final decision, there are some accessories you should consider buying. While these are not entirely essential for a successful bare-bonescamping trip, they are nice to have for the sake of your comfort:

  • Inside/outside tent mats: these are very cheap, costing around $10 each
  • A tent repair kit: you can never be sure when disaster strikes and you need to repair your tent
  • Stakes and anchors for unpredictable weather conditions
  • Seam sealer
  • Utility cord
  • Battery-powered ventilation fan
  • Broom and dustpan


Choosing an appropriate tent can be as time-consuming as picking an ideal camping spot or deciding what supplies to bring along. If you want to make the best purchase possible, take into consideration factors like the size of the tent, number of participants, and the basic features that every high-quality tent should have. By following these simple steps, you will find the ideal family tent in no time.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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