Last updated: August 8, 2018 at 15:44 pm
Family camping is an amazing way to get the whole gang together for a fun, inexpensive time outdoors. When planning a holiday for 3 people or more, accommodation options are often pricey but with camping, all you need to do is invest in a high quality tent built specifically for families. Investing in the right tent for retiring to at night can make the difference between a comfortable night’s sleep after a fun-filled day outdoors, or a total disaster getaway.
We’re going to take a look at some of the best tent styles for family camping so that when you next pack up the car and head out into the wilderness, your home away from home will be a happy, comfortable and safe one.
Bear in mind that the size of tent you’ll need is reflected not only in the number of people, but how comfortable you want to be and how much extra space you’re after. When a tent is described as able to sleep up to a maximum of 4 people, it means it can accommodate four horizontal bodies. If you’re looking for extra room with space to move around comfortably, you may need to look at a larger tent size.
You can identify a dome tent by their curved pole structure which features two or three poles that arch over the top in a semi-circle creating a square or rectangular base. This allows for good headroom thanks to the rising sides and makes dome tents one of the most popular tent styles for family camping.
Dome tents also usually feature a detachable ground sheet which makes cleaning simple and easy and a porch section that is great for storing gear and maximising your comfort and sleeping space in the inner tent.
These types of tents are easy to set up as they have an interlocking pole system that easily feeds into a simple webbing structure that holds the tent in place. Dome tents can withstand a fair amount of wind and rain before they give you any problems but we would not recommend them for use in known harsh conditions.
Tunnel tents feature a large structure made from a series of curved poles, lined up to form a tunnel. The advantage of this tent style is that it presents a wide array of sizes and configurations, normally sleeping 4 to 6 people with ease and offering additional space for relaxation, eating and more.
These tents are large and spacious with plenty of headroom but they can also be rather heavy. Tunnel tents come with set sleeping rooms but you can create more space if necessary by laying a bag in one of the communal areas.
These tents don’t have the same weather resistance as some of our other styles due to their larger, less stable structure making them ideal for camping holidays when the weather is mild and there is plenty of space to pitch. Your pitching time will be longer than some of the other styles simply due to their larger size.
With our Caterthun 4 person tent you’ll easily be able to fit the whole family with the added benefit of being able to enjoy and make most of the space during the day. If your priority is to have a spacious tent that creates a homely feel, then tunnels tents are the best choice for you and will provide you with great outdoor comfort.
The name vis-à-vis originates from the French word for ‘face-to-face’ and is reflected in the tent’s design. Two sleeping sections face each other inwards into a central communal area, as per the Caterthun 4 Man Double Skin Tent. These tents are a leap above dome tents as they effectively have two separate sleeping quarters. They can sleep up to 8 people in some models and offer a high ceiling in the centre, for added headroom.
Vis-à-vis tents have a fairly large footprint and their structure can either feature the spaced poles of a tunnel tent or a criss-crossed dome tent structure. They will generally handle wind and rain well unless the weather turns extreme.
These tents are on the heavier side so are better suited to camping trips with a car. They offer separate bedrooms for the parents and the kids, with comfort and privacy being a major bonus. Vis-à-vis tents are relatively easy to pitch but may require a little extra time to erect than other styles.
Vis-à-vis tents are perfect for several days in a campsite as you have both sleeping and recreational areas on offer, allowing you to prepare food, relax and entertain friends inside if the weather isn’t agreeable.
As the name suggests, inflatable tents acquire their structure through filling with air. Hollow panels replace rigid poles and suck extra air in to construct the tent. These tents can sometimes look like a tunnel tent or other familiar styles, with the difference being that there are no poles holding them up.
These tents tend to be heavy and their sizes vary to accommodate between 4 to 8 people. The family will get plenty of space and, more than likely, a communal living area inside.
Pitching an inflatable tent is very easy and this is where their main benefit lies. Once you have laid it out, you simply have to fill it with air. Of course, attempting this feat with an electric pump is far easier than managing it with a hand pump, but both work perfectly well to erect the tent – the latter presenting a more arduous and time-consuming task.
This is a style growing in popularity and is ideal for families who want to avoid fiddling around with poles and figuring out the complex design, outdoors with a band of kids on tow.
Choose your tent wisely before your big family camping trip – decide on the style that matches your needs and as always, plan ahead to avoid getting caught unawares in the wilderness. For more expert tips, hints and guides, take a look at our camping advice section.