10 Best Family Tents | March 2017

If you're planning a camping trip and need cozy comfort for a whole gang of you, check out our list of family tents. They are sized to accommodate up to eight adults, or provide tons of space for just a couple, and come with performance capabilities good for occasional outdoor use through to grueling snow, rain and wind. Skip to the best family tent on Amazon.
10 Best Family Tents | March 2017

Overall Rank: 8
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 9
Best Inexpensive
The rugged Browning Camping Big Horn boasts a free-standing, fiberglass pole design with sturdy steel uprights. Its durable, polyester fly also resists UV damage and buckles easily to the tent. But it tends to leak a bit in the rain.
The Wenzel Blue Ridge dome tent has two rooms, and is uniquely designed with multi-diameter poles for providing additional headroom. Its hooped fly pole over the door also delivers extra protection from the rain.
Good for large families and groups, the Ozark Trail Instant Cabin Tent sleeps up to twelve with plenty of room to stand upright. Its oversized ground vent also supports an air conditioner. But the metal poles are rather thin.
With its pre-attached poles that quickly unfold and extend, the Core Instant Cabin offers hassle-free assembly in as little as 60 seconds. Its Core H20 Block Technology and rain-resistant doors also provide fast water runoff.
  • fully-taped rain fly is easy to remove
  • adjustable air intake vent
  • the zipper isn't very durable
Brand CORE Equipment
Model pending
Weight 34.7 pounds
With its extended mesh design for providing superior ventilation, the NTK Arizona GT tent is built for surviving some of the harshest environments, including the Amazon. Its Nano-flex, fiberglass poles also withstand extreme winds.
  • gold-plated ferrules
  • very sturdy construction
  • setup instructions are pretty sparse
Brand NTK
Model pending
Weight 27.9 pounds
Spacious elegance and comfort describe the Coleman Hampton tent. It delivers nearly 7 feet of ceiling clearance and has room for up to 2 queen-sized airbeds. Unfortunately, the quality of the seams is a bit on the flimsy side.
  • tent has a room divider
  • built-in hinged door
  • it's quite expensive
Brand Coleman
Model 2000016598
Weight 27.3 pounds
With its wraparound fly cover, 3 zippered storm windows with no-see-um mesh screens, and vinyl-coated floor for withstanding heavy use, the Trek Tents 245C is ready for almost any type of wilderness environment. Its powder coated steel frame can withstand Mother Nature.
  • tent has a rugged design
  • screen windows with storm flaps
  • assembly is difficult
Brand Trek Tents
Model 245F
Weight 66.1 pounds
The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe is constructed from Hydra-Shield 100% cotton duck canvas, which makes it durable, watertight, and super breathable. Its 2 funnel-flow vents also improve both air flow and temperature management.
  • 4 large windows with no-see-um mesh
  • sleeps up to 8 people
  • easy to use ykk zippers
Brand Kodiak Canvas
Model 6014
Weight 84.7 pounds
The PahaQue Wilderness Promontory accommodates a family of up to 8 people. The doors on either end make it easy to access its two 6' x 10' rooms, while its awning provides additional protection from almost all weather conditions.
  • peak height of 7 feet
  • 120 total square feet of space
  • aluminum poles keep the tent stable
Brand Paha Que Wilderness
Model PR101
Weight 30.5 pounds
The Big Agnes Flying Diamond features a polyester rip-stop fly and a floor with a 1,500-millimeter waterproof polyurethane coating. Its doors have both a zip-up mesh for ventilation and a zip-up polyester layer for full protection.
  • vestibule can be staked out as a shade
  • solvent-free polyurethane-taped seams
  • also has storm flaps
Brand Big Agnes
Model TFD69
Weight 20.4 pounds

A Home Far Away From Home

There is no experience in modern times quite like getting out of town and getting back to nature. The hiking, the campfires, the rivers and streams, the swaying trees, the inevitable bonding, the peeing outdoors; there is magic everywhere you turn.

If you have kids old enough to own a cell phone (which I believe they're implanting prepartum nowadays, there's also the added benefit of no reception. You kids will actually have to interact with you, and their siblings, and the world around them. It's almost frightening to think about it.

It's a more or less guaranteed way to bring a family closer together. Even if you're at each others' throats through the whole experience, you still come home feeling closer to the people with whom you shared a taste of the wilderness.

Of course, you'd rather the experience be a positive one, and of all the potential pitfalls awaiting you on a family camping excursion, setting up the tent and laying down to sleep are among the most dangerous.

But family tents are built with a pleasant mix of ease and roughness in mind. They're typically simple to set up, with a few frame pieces and one or two main support poles. They have weather resistant covers to keep your family nice and dry should the skies open up, and some even divide off to give kids a sense or privacy from their parents come bed time.

A Tent For Every Type

While there are plenty of similarities among the tents we recommend, there are also plenty of important differences that could have you at the mercy of a teen daughter's uncontrollable angst, or a young boy's destructive streak. Choosing the right tent might just cause you to take a hard look at the personality types in your family. Let's look at a few possibilities and see which tent style best suits them.

The Prolific Procreators: These are bigger families. They have children ranging broadly in age, and a great deal of different personalities among them. If the eldest among these kids are in their teens, I recommend getting your hands on a family tent sized to house you and your youngest, and a two or three-person tent for the teens. Just separate them out entirely, and everyone will be the saner for it.

The Tight Circle: This is also called the nuclear option, as it falls into the 2.5 kids area of the spectrum. While you might need special accommodations for that one half of a child you're dragging out into the woods, most family tents will suit your needs, and some will offer you a bounty of space to stretch out.

The Homesteaders: These folks carry tents just for the heck of it, as they're also traveling in a giant RV. Maybe they set up their tent right next to the camper so they can have power to run their laptops. Maybe they take it out a mile or two from the RV just for a night. These groups can afford to bring the much heavier tents along since they aren't liable to hike very far with them, and they don't need the most advanced, lightweight, and durable materials.

Which brings us to one of the most important considerations: weight. Most of you are going to carry this thing miles and miles through the woods with you, and you aren't liable to get a lot of help, so pick something that won't leave you crippled by the time you reach your site.

Shelter Stretching Back Through The Ages

Tents are nothing new. If asked, you might think of Native American structures resembling modern tents, and assume they reach back a few hundred, maybe a couple thousand years.

While those are certainly important developments in the history of these portable coverings, the oldest ruins of tents date back much farther than the plains of North America. Archeologists have found crude Russian tent ruins made of mammoth hide that date back to roughly 40,000 BCE, before written language, before the pyramids were built.

It was around 400 BCE that the more advanced structures like teepees and yurts cropped up, with Roman military tent encampments following over the next century on the other side of the Atlantic. Much later, around the time of the American Civil War, heavy canvas materials hung over a single horizontal beam supported by two short verticals–known as a pup tent–became the standard military shelter until the 1970s.

The decade following the close of the Vietnam war saw the advent of synthetic materials in tent construction, which proved lighter and easier to set up and break down, as well as much more resistant to the elements. Family tents are simply big version of these synthetic models with all the latest trappings.

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Last updated: 03/26/2017 | Authorship Information