The amount of people reconnecting with nature is growing and the popularity of tent camping has been on the rise for years. According to the North American Camping Report by Kampgrounds of America, the percentage of campers who camp three or more times each year has increased 72 percent since 2014. The most avid of this group are families with young children. And the most popular mode of shelter is the tent.
Family tents have advanced in many facets, from ease of setup to construction technology. There are several key factors to consider when buying a family tent, including interior height, ease of setup, layout and design, and cost. Not all tents are equal. To help you make an informed decision we’ve compiled a list of five tents we like for their outstanding attributes.
OUR PICK: 12-Person Instant Cabin by Core
When it comes to a family tent incorporating affordability, durability, and ease of use the Instant Cabin by Core shines. Pre-attached poles make this 12-person chalet stress-free to setup and tear down in mere minutes. Measuring 18′ x 10′, this tent includes zippered privacy panels on doors and windows with a double door entryway. Inside, gear can easily be secured in four hanging storage pockets and gear loft. The tent divides into three rooms for separate living and sleeping spaces—adults in one, kids in another, with a center room to serve as a living area. The center area is spacious enough to setup a kitchen table for camp breakfast. An 80-inch center height makes this tent more of a home than just a place to sleep.
From $347 / Buy at Amazon.com
DURABLE PICK: The Wawona 6P by North Face
The redesigned Wawona by North Face includes double-wall construction and re-engineered poles for an easier set up. The DAC MX pole set is stronger than previous models while just as lightweight. Small and mighty yet also spacious, the Wawona features a huge vestibule which is great for adventures where weather can be a bit less than perfect. The vestibule can house gear like bikes and boots or serve as a partially exposed seating area. An array of interior pockets help secure smaller items. The tent comes in three colors: Light Exuberance Orange, Timber Tan, and Taupe Green. The Wawona is not only good looking and durable it is easy to pack in and out and transforms down to little more than a duffle bag.
From $450 / Buy at Rei.com
BIG FAMILY PICK: Avalon Optimus by White Duck
For bigger families the amount of living and sleeping area is essential. The 23′ Avalon Optimus bell-style tent has all the space a larger family would need. The single-room, three-door design allows for maximum occupancy—four queen sized mattresses and two cots to sleep at least 10 comfortably. Each tent includes a carry bag, galvanized steel poles, heavy-duty polyvinyl floor, and toolkit with rubber mallet. The Avalon Optimus is made using Dynaduck fabric, with double-stitched, 10.10-ounce, army-grade cotton canvas, which is treated with a water repellent, mold and UV resistant finish. State-of-the-art features include a shock-absorbing grounding system, pre-installed heat resistant silicone-coated stove jack, and premium bug mesh on doors and windows.
From $929 / Buy at Amazon.com
UNIQUE PICK: Nova Air Dome by Boutique Camping
Take a pass on the poles. The Nova Air Dome not only looks unique, but its inflatable technology makes it easy to use and quick to set up. The dome shape is formed by “air beams” filled manually with a provided pump. The tent is constructed with lightweight and durable 200GSM polycotton canvas making it water, rot, UV, and mildew repellant. The Air Dome comes in three sizes and the 5M (16’) is spacious enough for three full-sized air mattresses. The single room layout provides ample space and plenty of headroom for tall adults, up to 8.5 feet. Multiple air vents and zippered, netted windows provide plenty of fresh air flow. The entrance is protected by a small canopy overhang—and for this you will need one short pole, which is included.
From $1200 / Buy at Boutiquecamping.com
VALUE PICK: WeatherMaster by Coleman
This 6-Person tent with screen room is great for families looking to spend quality time in the outdoors. The convenience of a screened room separate from the sleeping area allows small families to relax out of the elements if necessary. The patented WeatherTec system comforts campers with welded floors and inverted seams to help keep water out in the case of inclement weather. A hinged main door allows for easy entry and exit and an angled window keeps the rain out even when windows are open. Setup is as easy as any normal pole tent and takes about 20 minutes. Inside has room enough for two queen-sized beds. This tent is a great value for those just starting out camping.
From $199 / Buy at Amazon.com