Scroll down to the bottom to get right to the full reviews for the best family tent
With staycations looking likely to be the new normal, many families are on the lookout for a low-cost getaway. A family camping holiday fits the bill nicely, providing a unique experience that can form special memories. How can you be sure of choosing the best family tent for your needs? Pick the wrong one and your holiday could become a nightmare which will put everyone off sleeping under canvas for life!
Worry not -we’ve done the research so you don’t have to; read on to find the best family tents to keep the little ones happy and to set you up for a lifetime of camping adventures.
In a rush? Here's the best family tents according to us:
- Best for a good night’s sleep – Coleman Mosedale 5
- Best for space - Kampa Bergen 6 Air Pro Tent
- Best for those on a budget – Quechua Arpenaz 4.1
- Best for flexibility of sleeping arrangements – Vango Keswick II 600
- Best for first time campers – Vango Anteus 600 XL
- Best for extra-large families or groups - Outdoor Revolution Airedale 12.0
- Best for: those who appreciate a little luxury – Dometic Ascension 601
Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Family Tents
In order to find the best tent for your family camping trip, there's a few factors you ought to consider. You’ll need to know how many people will be going for a start. Some bedroom compartments are smaller so might be better suited for families with young children. If you want to fit in an air mattress, change a baby, or just have more room generally for activities you might want to add on extra compartments. If you've got heaps of gear, look for a tent with a large porch. Nothing worse than having to put your damp hiking boots next to your head whilst you're sleeping.
Where will you be using it? If space is a premium then you’ll need a tent with a smaller footprint. When and where will you be going? In summer you’ll appreciate a tent with good ventilation and mesh doors to keep out midges. For somewhere which attracts rougher weather – we’re looking at you, mountains - you’ll need a tent that’s strong enough to withstand wet and windy conditions. Check out the waterproof rating. A wet tent means a wet sleeping bag, wet clothes… well, wet everything really. A leaky tent could ruin your whole trip. And we all know small children who are wet and shivering don't make for the best of camping holiday memories.
Do you prefer a tent that pitches in the traditional way, or would an air tent with pre-angled inflatable beams would be more convenient? Most tents have videos showing you how to set up the tent and how long it should take. this should give you a good idea of how complicated it's going to be. Similarly, if you're going to be backpacking and wild camping with your family, you'll find most of them would be too heavy for a rucksack. If your kids are older, think about getting a few smaller and lighter tents to divvy up.
Still no idea to start or want a quick run down on the best brands? Take a look at our best tent brands article.
Are expensive tents worth the cost?
While you do get what you pay for in a tent, there’s no need to spend a fortune. A middle of the range family tent should be good value for money, as long as its constructed with quality materials and has some useful features such as compartments, hooks and loops for your belongings. However, if you’re a frequent camper or you’re going somewhere notoriously wet and windy you might appreciate spending more to get a high-end tent.
Can I cook in my tent?
It’s safer not to. Although tents are ventilated, this is only designed for general living, not cooking. Cooking in a tent increases condensation which could cause a build up of carbon monoxide. Tents are made from flame retardant fabrics but cooking inside is still a huge risk.
You could create a separate camping kitchen using a tarp shelter. Check out our article on best camping stoves, best camping tarps and best camping kettle for this one and you'll be serving up that perfect camp supper in no time.
What features should I look for?
The list is endless. Some think standing room is of utmost importance, and it is indeed, extremely useful if you're sorting out gear or organising your teenager's 'floordrobe'. Blackout lining is also useful, it cools the tent down in warm temperatures and lets you sleep for longer if it gets light in the early hours. The best tents will also have plenty of guy ropes, a very sturdy sewn-in groundsheet and pockets, storage and loops are key for hanging up all your bits and bobs.
Are tents bad for the environment?
Great question. Our best tent brands provides some information on this and our best outdoor brands piece is great for outdoor gear brands that are doing their bit for the environment. Unless you're interested in bell tents and yurts, the majority of portable family tents are made from man-made materials such as polyester and nylon which aren't known for doing great things for the planet (fossil fuels, we're looking at you).
But the environmental debate is nuanced. If you're going on a family camping holiday instead of say, abroad on a plane or to a hotel, chances are you'll be using far less natural resources, exploring from the campsite on foot and using little electricity. Camping also connect us to the outdoors and this encourages us to want to protect it, so as with all things, the answer is yes and no!
The best family tent for you will depend on how you’ll be using it and what kind of features you're looking for. If you’re planning a series of weekend camping trips, then a mid-range tent like the Vango Anteus should be fine. For longer breaks you may appreciate the space and luxury of the Dometic Ascension. The Coleman Mosedale is a good choice for small families, and if you want to take the whole family or a large group of friends, then the Outdoor Revolution Airedale will fit the bill. Going on an extended camping trip? You’ll appreciate a tent with loads of storage space and head room like the Kampa Bergen – not being able to stand upright gets old pretty fast.