When it’s time to hit the campground, park, or trail with the family you’ll need the best family tent to do so! If you’re like me, you may not have the cash on hand to buy or rent an enormous RV.
Or, perhaps, you’re more interested in connecting with nature in a more rustic way. Whatever your reason for wanting a family tent, you’ve got to know how to pick out a good one.
In today’s world you can quickly and easily get a large tent without too much cost. But, how can you be sure that it’s not a piece of junk?
With hundreds of nights spent on the trail guiding backpacking trips, I know what makes a good tent stand up to the tests of the wilderness. I’m going to guide you through the process of choosing a family camping tent for your needs.
Quick Answer: The 7 Best Family Tents For 2018
- Coleman 6-Person WeatherMaster Tent
- CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent
- Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent
- Browning Camping Big Horn Family/Hunting Tent
- Tahoe Gear Ozark 3-Season 16 Person
- Ozark Trail 16×16-Feet 12-Person
- Coleman Montana 8-Person Tent
First we’ll look at the 3 top rated family camping tents, that way you can skip straight to the chase and get a new tent ordered and on the way ASAP!
Best Family Camping Tents
|Coleman WeatherMaster Tent||CORE Instant Cabin Tent||Wenzel Klondike Tent|
|Sleeps:||6 People||9 People||8 People|
|Size:||11 x 9 feet||14 x 9 feet||16 x 11 feet|
|Weight:||32 lbs||35 lbs||25 lbs|
Family Tent Reviews
- Welded bathtub floors
- Seperate screen room
- 11’ x 9’ floor footprint
- Sleeps 6 people
When a tent says it has enough room for two queen size air beds, you know it’s big.
But is bigger always better?
Well, when it comes to having room for the whole family and enjoying your weekend getaway, it just might. Where do we even start with this behemoth of a tent?
Alright, so about ⅓ of the tent space is going to be used up by the floorless screen room. Keep that in mind when planning sleeping arrangements. However, if you’re using cots or want to have a place to sit and eat or cook then a floorless screen room isn’t so bad anyways.
Up top the rain fly features an entryway awning which is a feature I really like. It helps keep a little more of the rain outside the tent when you enter and exit.
Overall this large camping tent is made from polyester and features tons of mesh ventilation. There’s lots of airflow near the top of the tent, too where it really counts. While the seams aren’t taped, they’re sewn inverted and this helps keep the needle holes hidden from water.
I would honestly have liked to see them tape the seams anyways, however I would say it’s the best 6 person tent, especially considering its price!
Best For: Families looking for a large versatile tent from a great name brand you know you can trust.
- 14’ x 9’ floor footprint
- 2-room divider
- Sleeps up to 9 people
- Sealed seams and rain-resistant
This is one seriously large, spacious, and airy tent. If I was going to give an award for best cabin tent it would most likely go right here. Plus users absolutely rave about the quality and price of this tent.
Okay, let me preface by saying that I don’t recommend packing in like sardines. However, the floor plan of this large family tent does allow enough room to cram in up to 9 people! Not bad.
For those luxurious trips where there’s actually nearby access to electrical service, this tent does have a closable electrical cord port. That means you can run a dedicated extension cord from the service box.
Personally, I like the quick and easy pole setup this tent uses. It makes the poles a bit bulkier, but the instant setup poles are handy.
If I had to pick one thing about this large family tent that stands out as a negative it would be the “water resistant” rating. Whenever I see a manufacturer dodging the “waterproof” advertising it worries me – there’s usually a reason they won’t advertise it as waterproof.
Best For: Camping in pleasant weather with huge groups!
- 16’ x 6.5’ floor footprint
- Large screened room
- PU coated polyester
- Sleeps 8 people
No matter what your budget may be, it’s not hard to say that this is the best 8 person tent that is affordable for the size and quality. Further, I think many will like the house-inspired design that makes your camping trip feel like you’ve got all the comforts of home.
There’s no question this time – we’ve got a waterproof tent on our hands. Polyurethane coated polyester fabric is one of the best waterproof fabrics available at a budget price. However, just because it’s waterproof doesn’t mean it’s a good choice for you.
The large footprint is heavily consumed by the large screened in porch area. While it has a waterproof rainfly over it, the walls aren’t waterproof. You’ll only want to sleep out there in good weather.
All that said, users do seem to complain most about the durability of this tent in the wind. Of course, who knows if they actually set it up properly… so as a word of caution make sure you use good, durable tent stakes and master the important knots you need to know in order to secure your tent (such as the trucker’s hitch).
Best For: Sheltered campsites where rough winds are unlikely and large porch space is ideal.
- Fiberglass and steel poles
- 10’ x 15” floor footprint
- Two entry doors w/ inner divider
- 6 Windows and mesh roof
Browning might not be the first name you think of when you’re looking for a tent, but think again. Browning makes this large family tent for hunting or camping when you need a large base camp for tons of people or supplies.
Whether you want one big space or two divided rooms, you can use the optional divider to segment up the space. This is handy for multiple couples or families with older kids who want their own space.
Nearly the entire roof is mesh so you’ll want to get that rainfly on right away. Surprise rain showers will show up and ruin your day because getting this enormous 10’ x 15’ rainfly on and secured is no quick job!
I love the large bathtub floor and door awnings which provide a little more rain protection than some others. Unlike many makers Browning specifies this as a perfectly acceptable 150D polyester fabric with a 2,000mm waterproof coating. If you’re looking for the best family tent, you found it!
Best For: When you need a truly waterproof tent with reliable construction that you can trust to get the job done right!
- 1,200mm waterproof polyester fly & tent body
- Divided rooms
- Bathtub style floor
- Sleeps 16 people
I’m not sure where tents stop being tents and become fabric houses… but surely this is close. With a 7’ tall center and room for up to 16 people, it’s hard to even comprehend that this tent is anything short of a cabin in the woods.
At nearly 16’ x 16’ in size, this huge camping tent puts up a generous 250+ square foot floor space. That’s bigger than many people’s living rooms. It’s also plenty of room for the divided interior to segment off spaces for couples or kids and families.
I do like that there’s a ton of mesh for ventilation. The entire ceiling is open so be sure to put up that rainfly early in case of freak storms!
On the floor there’s a waterproof bathtub style flooring that comes up all sides of the tent to keep water out. According to Tahoe, this tent is also made from waterproof fabric all around. That means tons of protection from the elements for everyone inside.
Best For: Nasty weather camping when you’re looking for the biggest camping tent!
- Exterior awning
- Multiple entry doors
- Factory taped waterproof seams
- Sleeps 12 people
I really thought that tents couldn’t get much bigger but here I am corrected. Ozark Trail is dangling this massive 16’ x 16’ tent in front of us and it’s got a lot going for it.
This is a BIG camping tent for those with tons of space needs. Huge families or multi-family outings are ideal. Because there are up to 3 separate rooms this could be a good choice for multiple couples, groups, friends, or families.
With the sheer size of this tent, however, you’ll need to be sure that you set it up well. Some users complain about strength issues in the wind. With a surface area this massive it’s hard to avoid wind damage so choose your location carefully.
The included rainfly has an awning which spans out over the front to create a sheltered space from the sun and rain.
Unfortunately we don’t get much information about the fabrics or construction other than that it does have waterproof taped seams. Hopefully that means the rest of the tent is made from quality waterproof fabric that can keep up.
The Ozark is probably the best large family tent for when you have absolutely enormous groups or setting up a basecamp for multiple weeks of outdoor living.
- 16’ x 7’ floor footprint
- Extended door warning
- Room for 3 queen air beds
- Sleeps 8 people
Coleman is a name you can get behind. Everyone knows them and they were even the first tent on our list. So for families on a budget that still need elbow room, the Montana might be a good choice!
Like the WeatherMaster tent, the inverted seams on this tent keep costs low while keeping water out. That’s good news for you because it means an affordable yet quality tent.
On top of that, the rainfly is rather generous and extends out over the front of the tent. This creates a waterproof entryway where you can take off your raincoat and shoes before going into the tent. You’ll love this feature if you regularly camp in rainy areas.
Coleman has responded to user feedback and recently redesigned this family tent to have stronger poles and more ergonomic guylines that can absorb wind forces.
Paired with the protected zipper flaps and waterproof flooring, make this the best car camping tent that can handle nasty weather!
Best For: When you need a strong, waterproof tent that’s generously sized for families in rainy climates.
Family Tent Comparison Table
|Coleman WeatherMaster||6||11 x 9 feet||Yes||4.2 / 5.0|
|CORE Instant Cabin||9||14 x 9 feet||Water resistant||4.6 / 5.0|
|Wenzel Klondike||6||16 x 11 feet||Yes||4.0 / 5.0|
|Browning Camping Big Horn||8||10 x 15 feet||Yes||4.4 / 5.0|
|Tahoe Gear Ozark||16||16 x 16 feet||Yes||4.0 / 5.0|
|Ozark Trail||12||16 x 16 feet||Yes||4.1 / 5.0|
|Coleman Montana||6||16 x 7 feet||Yes||4.0 / 5.0|
How to Choose the Best Family Camping Tent
- Tent Materials
- Tent Rain Flys
- Tent Poles
- FAQs For Family Camping Tents
We’re going to look at both the criteria for a great family tent and you’ll learn all the pro tips I can give you to make sure your next adventure is smooth and fun!
Camping Tent Materials
When it comes to choosing a tent material, you have two main choices. Either your tent is likely to be made of nylon or polyester. Both materials have pros and cons.
Nylon is very strong and abrasion resistant. Generally speaking, it’s hard to go wrong with nylon as a tent material. It’s inherently quite waterproof and windproof. Of course, it still needs to be properly treated to be fully waterproof.
Polyester can be a bit cheaper in lightweight tent or tarp materials. While it’s not as strong as nylon, it’s still a perfectly great choice for tents. Manufacturers may use polyester to keep costs low while still making a good, lightweight tent.
Either material choice is fine. For most family tents, the focus is on durability and affordability. Most manufacturers prioritize these qualities above others so you’ll likely be stuck with whichever material suits your new tent the best.
Tent Rain Flys
Rain flys are the part of the tent that provide an extra layer of waterproof protection. Most tents have double wall construction. This means the inner wall is breathable – often with mesh windows – while the outer wall is usually the waterproof rain fly.
Why is it this way?
Because waterproof fabric doesn’t let water through, an enclosed family camping tent would be stuffy, sticky, and moist if there wasn’t some ventilation. Rain flys block water without turning the tent into a plastic bag!
Look for rain flys that are large and generous. There’s no reason to struggle with a rain fly that barely covers the critical areas of the tent. In fact, I prefer rain flys that have awnings and hoods which help stick out over the doors and windows.
We talked briefly about ventilation in the previous section. For cabin tents, ventilation can make or break the deal.
If you’ve ever gone camping and woken up with dew on the walls, running down or dripping on your face you’ve had a tent with bad ventilation. In order to solve this problem, look for a tent with adjustable ventilation near the top and bottom of the tent.
Many tents have zippered windows that you can adjust for lower ventilation. The important part, however, is the ventilation near the top. It’s important to have generous ventilation near the top of the tent where heat and body moisture build up.
To be sure your tent will perform well, check that the rain fly won’t block the upper ventilation. Well designed rain flys accommodate the ventilation on the upper tent with flaps or standoffs that leave room for proper airflow.
This is an important factor in any tent – maybe the most important. However, too many campers don’t know how to double check that their tent is in fact waterproof. Any tent can say it’s “waterproof” but how can you check the quality of the waterproofing?
You want to look for confirmation that your tent is made from waterproof fabric such as silnylon or silpoly in the areas where it will get wet.
Tents also often use waterproof “bathtub floors” which can be made from various waterproof materials as well. If the description or specifications don’t specifically state the type of waterproof fabric, be wary.
Once you’re sure that the tent fabric is actually waterproof, check for seam sealing. Cheap tents that seem too good to be true often skip this step. Seam sealing is important because anywhere that waterproof fabric is sewn, holes are introduced into the fabric by the sewing needle.
To fix the problem of needle holes, tents are seam sealed or seam taped. Waterproof tape is applied right over the seams and then glued in place with special waterproof adhesive. If this tape is not there or if it becomes weathered with age and peels off, your tent is no longer waterproof.
Normally tent poles are made from fiberglass or aluminum. They’re small, lightweight, and easily bendable to support the structure of the tent. These kinds of tent poles, however, are often too flimsy to support the larger bulk of family size tents.
Instead, many family tents have large sturdy poles that are meant to bear the weight of the tent in the rain and wind. Because of the sheer size of many larger family tents, the added weight of sturdy poles can’t be avoided. If you’re used to the thin, lightweight poles of smaller tents, you’re in for a big surprise here!
I actually think larger, sturdy poles are better in this case. Because these tents are so large and bulky, they’re not meant to be lightweight and small. For that reason you’re not likely to move them far from the car or truck to the setup site.
If you want the best convenience, some tents are now coming with pre-assembled poles. These poles quickly break down into packable size, however there’s a catch. These easy to use pole systems have a fool-proof locking mechanism that quickly joins them all back together again without guessing at which poles go where.
FAQs For Family Camping Tents
Q: Can I cram the max number of people into my tent?
A: No! The max numbers that manufacturers advertise is just that – advertising. They calculate these numbers based on users sleeping in the tent packed in like sardines. To be comfortable in any tent you’ll want to think about how you sleep – will you use sleeping bags, sleeping pads, cots? Will have a camping chair inside?
These all affect that overall numbers you can fit into any tent.
Q: Should I use the tent poles that come with my tent?
A: Probably not. Most stock tent poles are just junk and you’ll be frustrated when they break.
Get some good, sturdy steel tent poles that you can hammer into hard ground. Aluminum and plastic can’t stand up to the abuses of being hammered into the ground and you’ll be pissed when they break on you.
Always drive your tent poles at an angle and use a knot like the Trucker’s Hitch to provide tension on your guylines.
Q: Are these tents good for hiking?
A: No. These tents are massive and heavy. They are meant for family camping when you’re taking the car or truck to a campground. They’re much too bulky for hiking or backpacking.
If you’re looking to take the family backpacking, you can find 4-person backpacking tents that will work for you. These are the wrong tents for portable needs.
Q: How do I make my tent waterproof?
A: You don’t. Start by buying a tent that’s already reliably waterproof. If it’s not waterproof from the factory, nothing you can do will make it become waterproof.
That said, if your tent begins to lose waterproofness over time here are a few things you can try:
- Use silicone seam sealer to patch seams
- Use nylon patches with silicone seam sealer to patch tears or holes
- Use a spray-on DWR coating to restore some waterproofness to the tent body
These family tents range from 2-4 people to 16+ in size. Take it from me – size is a luxury when it comes to camping. A long weekend can be miserable cramped up like sardines in too small of a tent. On the flip side, however, you may be frustrated trying to deal with an overly large tent.
Keep in mind your family size and how often you’ll have extra guests. With that in mind, purchase a reasonably sized tent that can suit your needs with some room for expansion or guests.
Don’t expect your tent to last forever – see the FAQs for info on how to repair your tent over time. However, when you’re buying a tent make sure you don’t skimp on quality.
You’ll be glad you spent the extra buck when your neighbor’s tent is leaking on them in the middle of the night.
I hope this guide was helpful in picking the best family camping tent to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a tent I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.
Have fun and be safe out there!