Family camping trips can be the most exciting kind of vacation for all ages, especially the kids. Part of the excitement is the anticipation of the unknown: where will the tent be pitched, will there be bears in the woods, what campfire meals will Mom be creating, what adventures are there to be had and what will the weather be like? So exciting! But with the unknown, also comes plenty of potential for things not to go to plan – mostly bad weather. So eliminate one variable by choosing one of the best family camping tents available. The type of tent you choose can make or break your camping vacation, especially in bad weather, and if the kids have a bad experience, there’s a danger that they may be put off camping for good.
So to help your little monsters get the most out of their camping experience, your first port of call is to ensure that you have an epic family camping tent that everyone will love. For kids, sleeping under canvas is a real-life version of den building, so cool tents for camping will make things even better.
Our best family camping tents reviews will help you figure out what you and your family might need to make living in a canvas den your family vacation of choice for many summers (or winters!) to come.
- The best family camping tents in 2021
- How to choose a family camping tent
- Useable space
- Weather resistance
- Ease of set up
Summary of the best family camping tents in 2021
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|Product||Type of tent||Height||Floor space||Weight||Cost|
|Wildcat Outdoor Gear Lynx 640||Multi room 8 person||229cm||21.2m2||49kg||$$$$$$$|
|Marmot Limestone 8 Person Camping Tent||3 season 8 person||196cm||12m2||9.6kg||$$$$$|
|Nemo Equipment Wagontop 6||Single walled 6 person||203cm||9m2||10.5kg||$$$$|
|Kelty Frontier 4||Canvas 4 person||218cm||6.74m2||18.7kg||$$$$|
|Big Agnes Mad House 6||4 season 6 person||173cm||8.7m2||9.75kg||$$$$$|
|Eureka Copper Canyon 8||Single room 8 person||213cm||12m2||16kg||$$$|
|The North Face Wawona 6||Lightweight 6 person||203cm||8.2m2||9.5kg||$$$|
|REI Kingdom 8||Spacious 8 person||196cm||12m2||10.85kg||$$$|
|Wenzel Blue Ridge||Budget 7 person||183cm||10.8m2||8.25kg||$|
|Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe 6||Canvas 6 person||198cm||9.2m2||30.8kg||$$$$|
|Coleman Octagon 98||Large 8 person||208cm||15.9m2||20.7kg||$$|
The best family camping tents in 2021
The Lynx 640 from Wildcat Outdoor Gear is the largest family camping tent on our list and an ideal option for families who enjoy a little privacy and space. The tent boasts two bedrooms, both large enough to accommodate a double air mattress, that can also be converted into one large room that very comfortably sleeps a family of 4. Larger families can remove the inner dividers altogether to make a single room tent that sleeps up to 8 people.
With the bedrooms set up, the rest of the tent forms a huge living room that is large enough for a table and chairs and cooking equipment. The front of the tent features a covered porch area (without a groundsheet) for storing shoes and changing out of wet weather gear before entering the main tent. Plus, there’s a very handy side room that’s perfect for storing your kit. This side room zips onto the main shell and can be attached to either side of the tent or removed completely if you don’t need extra space.
With an internal height of 90in / 229cm, there’s a load of head room; both the living room and bedrooms are tall enough to stand up in. One of the tent’s key features is the Air Truss technology which replaces metal poles with inflatable air tubes. This allows the tent to be set up, using the included air pump, and deflated in less than 5 minutes. In case of punctures, the tent comes with a repair kit.
Cons: Pricey and very heavy.
Verdict: A very high quality, spacious tent and liveable tent with an exceptionally fast set up time and loads of storage options.
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Wildcat Outdoor Gear
If you’re looking for a weatherproof three-season family tent, then the Marmot Limestone 8 Person Tent is our top choice. In heavy rains, the Limestone 8’s 1,500 mm waterproof fly with tapered seams will keep you snug and dry. Meanwhile, clips keep the fly firmly attached to the tent frame on windy days.
The tent is semi-freestanding with an extended dome shape, meaning that it’s possible to pitch it without the flysheet. Perfect for hot summer nights and star gazing. Even with the fly, this tent offers excellent ventilation. The inner is mostly made from mesh with a zippered vent on the back wall and prop-up vents on the fly.
The tent has steep walls and a generous 196 cm of headspace in the centre. Inside, the tent is one spacious vestibule with a built-in groundsheet. You can divide this into two rooms, one that sleeps two people and one that sleeps six people. The tent comes with a removable inner wall with a central full-length zipper, allowing you to choose between better ventilation and privacy. The smaller room can also function as a changing cabin or storage space if you’re camping with six people or less, as it has a separate entrance. A double mesh door provides access to the central vestibule.
The Limestone 8 also comes with a bunch of handy features, such as internal pockets for shoes and small gear, lighting clips, and an outer door that converts to a small awning. Plus, the tent is colour coded for easy setup and packs into a compact travel bag.
Cons: The high price tag.
Verdict: One of the best three-season family tents on the market. It offers excellent weather resistance, versatility, and easy setup. Due to the price, it’s probably not the best option for first-time campers or occasional campers.
The unique design of the Wagontop creates near vertical sidewalls for loads of liveable space. Especially well suited to tall families, this highly versatile family cabin tent takes its form from two hubbed aluminium pole structures that support a single-walled polyurethane-coated polyester canopy. The large vestibule is fully floored and screened, and just like the canvas on a wagon, the integrated front fly can roll back to expose its passengers to the sun or stars.
In addition to the vestibule, the front rainfly also stakes down to create a front porch that is ideal for storing shoes and wet gear, whilst the back entrance provides easy access to the sleeping area.
Although this Nemo family camping tent is made of solid and durable materials with excellent ventilation throughout, the tall steep sides that feature in family cabin tents struggle to hold their own in strong winds.
Cons: Not many pockets or hanging loops. Expensive for its lack of sturdiness.
Verdict: A versatile and spacious summer tent that the kids will love spending time in at the campground.
For a highly durable and weatherproof tent, the Kelty Frontier 4 is an excellent choice for a family camping tent that will last a lifetime of outdoor adventures. The classic boy scout style poly/cotton canvas is supported by aluminium poles and plenty of guy lines to withstand storms and rain, and its large vestibule (with two entrances) provides ample room for refined dining at a table – an ideal space to hang out in during bad weather.
The single-walled design of family canvas tents rely heavily on the numerous ventilation options to prevent condensation and maximise airflow, which is does well. The Keltyis a little on the heavy side for a 4 person tent, but this is a small sacrifice for such a high quality, super spacious home away from home.
Cons: There is only a mesh divider between the vestibule and sleeping area and no privacy screen. The inside is also lacking any storage pockets and hanging hooks or loops.
Verdict: A super durable and weatherproof family camping tent that will last a lifetime of outdoor adventures.
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The Big Agnes Mad House 6 is a family-friendly tent that’s large enough for six adventurers. It’s not the tallest tent on this list but Big Agnes hasn’t wasted any space inside. The tent walls are fitted with multiple gear hooks and 3D bin pockets that are large enough to store most of your kit. A removable inner wall lets you divide the tent into two spacious vestibules. Plus, two entrances, at either end of the tent, mean that each vestibule has a private entrance. There’ll be no climbing over each other to go to the bathroom at night!
When it comes to enduring challenging weather conditions, the Big Agnes Mad House 6 is a 4-season tent for camping all-year-round. It features a durable rip-stop flysheet that’s UV resistant and has a 1,200 mm waterproof rating. Meanwhile, the built-in floor is made from highly waterproof Oxford polyester, and the tents inner is breathable and fitted with zippered mesh windows. At just under 10 kg, it’s also a reasonable weight for a 6-person, 4 season tent.
Cons: not tall enough for adults to stand up inside. High price tag.
Verdict: one of the best family tents for all-season camping and rough weather conditions. It’s internal organisation and dual entrance design make it just as suited to group camping trips as it is for winter camping.
At 12m2, the Copper Canyon provides a huge single communal sleeping space for up to 8 people and is one of the best big tents in the review. Put up the divider and you’ve got yourself a one bedroom condo with ample living space for a family of 4, which makes up for the lack of vestibule. As well as good floor space, the design of the Canyon creates a really high ceiling that houses a gear loft and hang loops in addition to the wall storage pockets.
Essentially this is a single-walled tent, but the canopy rainfly keeps the showers off as well as providing a bit of extra insulation whilst maintaining good ventilation through the mesh ceiling.
Two entrances keep the through traffic of chaotic kids moving as freely as the airflow through the 6 mesh windows, and the quick and easy setup means that at least one part of the day will be stress-free.
Cons: Although it will give it a good go, this tent doesn’t do so well in high winds or sideways rain and the lack of vestibule makes it less versatile than other tents.
Verdict: An excellent summer car camping tent that the kids will love. Buy with a footprint to provide extra durability under foot.
For a dome-style tent, the Wawona provides excellent height at the peak, with its pole configuration keeping the walls steep but really sturdy in windy conditions. The North Face have clearly drawn inspiration from their high-end expedition tents by adding loads of lightweight hooks, ties and storage pockets in the sleeping area, as well as well placed storm vents for good ventilation. The 68D polyester coated fly of this single-wall tent performs excellently in the wet. Plus, the two large mesh windows and two doors keep air flowing nicely through the tent on those sweltering summer days.
There’s no groundsheet in the vestibule or the rear porch, but the sleeping compartment features a lightweight built-in 75 denier groundsheet.
Cons: Lets in a little too much breeze in chilly conditions.
Verdict: A sturdy, spacious and versatile family camping tent for warm summer conditions. It is as suited to basecamp in the backcountry as it is to the family car camping at the campground.
In property terms, the REI Kingdom 8 provides the ideal mix of ready to go spacious luxury with excellent potential for expansion as the family grows. The 122 of waterproof polyester covered living space includes a large mesh windowed vestibule, front porch, and a sleeping area with back door that can be divided into two – a two bed airy condo that is ideal for a family of four. And if that’s not quite enough space then you can always add a ‘garage’ extension onto the front porch for extra dining or storage space. Or turn it into a guest bedroom if you like!
Setting up your home away from home is definitely a two person job but the easy to carry backpack that it comes in makes moving house a breeze. There are also loads of storage options to keep things organised and tidy.
For summer vacations, the ventilation throughout the Kingdom comes from the mesh canopy, doors and windows, and the ability for the front rainfly to be folded back, or the sides rolled up keeps the air moving freely.
Cons: Although good in the rain, the Kingdom doesn’t hold its stability in windy conditions.
Verdict: versatile and spacious – the perfect family camping tent with the potential to expand as the family grows. One of the best family camping tents with rooms.
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The Blue Ridge 7 person tent is the cheapest tent in this review. It offers a good value family camping tent that will do a good enough job for a few years of summer camping trips. The polyester rainfly covers the mesh canopy but not the sides of the tent, and there are also three mesh windows that provide ample ventilation and through breeze.
Although there is no vestibule, the removable divider maximises the internal space by creating two separate living or sleeping areas. There are also 4 internal storage pockets.
Cons: There is no vestibule and only one entrance, the materials are lightweight and not very robust and the rainfly isn’t full length.
Verdict: A roomy and functional family tent that lacks durability and quality. Ideal for casual infrequent campers on a budget.
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The Kodiak Flex-Bow is by far the heaviest tent in this review, but worth every extra kilo for each year that it will outlast its competitors. This is a one of the best family canvas tents that will see your family through years of camping trips, and just when the kids outgrow it, you’ll be more than ready to sit under its awning and enjoy the cavernous canvas shelter all to yourselves!
It is surprisingly easy to put up considering its weight, even in bad weather, and the galvanized steel poles and Hydra-shield canvas stand up very strongly to windy and wet conditions.
The mesh windows, two doors and funnel flow vents prevent condensation, and the super tough vinyl floor all add to the Kodiak’s ability to perform right through the winter months.
Cons: There’s no vestibule or internal divider making this tent much less versatile than others in the review. It’s heavy.
Verdict: A straightforward, no frills all-season tent that will last a lifetime.
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The Coleman Octagon is a really great value family camping tent that, despite its lower end price bracket, manages to do a really good job of standing up to the elements, like most Coleman tents, whilst providing a tall and roomy space for campers. At 15m2 it is the best big tent in this review that provides the largest amount of floor space of any of the tents, that can be divided into two spaces with a removable room divider.
The full length water resistant polyester rainfly has a zip on 6 sides that open up to create an almost gazebo-like feel to the tent. This also provides excellent ventilation and 360º views through the mesh windows of the inner section of the tent – not the only feature that makes this an appealing child and family friendly tent. There are also internal storage pockets and integrated cup holders to avoid unwanted spillages, and one of the two doors has a hinged design for super easy fly-in, fly-out use by the kids.
Set up is surprisingly straightforward for one person to tackle, with colour-coded steel poles for guidance.
Cons: there is no vestibule and it is almost twice as heavy as some of the other tents in this review.
Verdict: An excellent value family camping tent that will stand up to the odd storm, but is best suited to summer conditions on or off the campground.
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How to choose a family camping tent
Choosing a tent to camp in with your family is not as straightforward as just getting something that sleeps the number of people you need it to accommodate. There are a load of other things to consider which will make spending days on end in closer that usual proximity to your kids, a much more fun and enjoyable experience – for everyone involved.
How big does your family camping tent need to be?
Most tents are described by the number of people that they can comfortably accommodate overnight – a ‘4 person tent’, for example, sleeps 4 people! But this doesn’t always allow for much more personal space than the size of an adult sleeping mat. This isn’t much of a problem if you are only camping for a night or two, but with a week-long vacation comes a week’s worth of clothes, toiletries, towels, camp shoes and camping games, not to mention all the camping and cooking equipment that also needs to be stored. So if you value your personal space and are likely to have more than a bag full of personal items each, it’s worth choosing one of the larger family camping tents with rooms that accommodate more people than the size of your family.
How much space do you need?
The next thing to consider is the space that your tent provides for both sleeping and living. Although unlikely, assume that you will be camping in wet and rainy conditions. You may only have a day of rain, if any, but if there is enough space in your tent to hang out in during bad weather, it will make all the difference to not only the kids enjoyment levels, but also your sanity levels. Having separate sleeping and living space is also essential, especially if you have young kids who will go to bed early. Ideally, family camping tents with a screened porch is favourable and your tented living room should provide plenty of space for:
- A table and chairs/stools – this is great for dining during the cooler evenings as well as sheltering from the rain or sun.
- Storing dry food and a spot for the cooler.
- Storing all the cooking equipment and plates etc.
- Cooking your camp meals.
- Leaving your shoes and boots.
The best family camping tents should also be tall enough for adults to stand in.
Versatility is key
There are some great family camping tents on the market that provide excellent space efficiency and storage options, but are only really suited to camping in areas where bad weather is unlikely. If you are a fair weather camper, then you don’t need to worry too much about having a really good waterproof fly sheet, for example. However, for optimal versatility, a tent that will stand up to all conditions will go the distance for many years of camping. A few other features to look for in a versatile tent design:
- The ability for internal walls to be put up. This allows for added privacy between tented areas, and makes a single huge communal space if taken down.
- Some tents have fly sheets that can be pinned back to allow for star-gazing and a through breeze on warm clear nights.
- Multiple entrances are really useful if there are lots of you using the tent. If the wind changes, you can also switch to using a different entrance.
- A good tent should have lots of ventilation panels with a variety of usage combinations.
- Having bug-proof windows means you can still get the breeze coming through without the bugs flocking in to join too.
- Some tents have vestibule/porch/garage add-on options that can be bought alongside the main tent. These can add lots of options for space usage and can be something to think about once you’ve used your tent once or twice.
How durable is your family camping tent?
For many families, camping trips are the main vacation of the year. So investing in one of the best family camping tents that provides plenty of space, and withstands storms and heat in equal measure is hugely important. But even more critical, is making sure the investment will last more than just a summer or two of outdoor escapades. To make sure your tent will go the distance, look for the following:
- Seam sealed rain fly
- A waterproof treated or coated rain fly
- Robust and smooth running zips
- A tough built-in floor
- Strong stakes that won’t bend easily
- Strong poles – steel or aluminium
Most of the best big tents have built-in storage pockets on their internal walls or gear lofts in the ceiling of the tent. These are great space savers and are a useful way to keep things organised. Hooks and ties are also really handy for hanging lights, or for setting up a line for washing.
Is your tent weatherproof?
Not all tents are suited to all weather conditions, but even summer tents need to be able to hold up if a storm hits and only the best family camping tents will do this well. Taped, sealed seams will help to keep the wet out, as well as having a rain fly over the top of the main tent that extends all the way to the floor. Many fly sheets are treated with a waterproof coating that can be re-applied as the treatment wears off with time.
How easy is is to put up your family camping tent?
In general, the larger the tent, the more difficult it is to put up on your own. But this is not always the case, and if an easy to pitch tent is high on your list of priorities, then some best big tents with a simpler tent designs might be for you.
What is the floor like?
There are various levels of floor covering in family camping tents. Some come with a separate groundsheet, others with a fully built-in ‘tub-style’ flooring and some that have a built-in inner tent and a porch or vestibule that is floorless altogether. Whilst a built-in floor is good to stop any unwanted bugs and rodents coming in, or water and backsplash from the rain trickling in, some find them less versatile than tents with a separate groundsheet.
How heavy is your family camping tent?
For once in the camping world, weight and movability of a family camping tent don’t need to be considered too highly. Yes, you don’t want to be lugging a 40kg tent from your car to the pitch too often, but if it means that you have a solid and durable tent that will last a lifetime of family camping trips, then it’s worth keeping in shape for!
Family canvas tents are the heaviest types of tent around, but they provide unrivalled durability and quality.