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The Best Family Tent Guide

When it comes to choosing the best family tent on the market for you all to stay in it pays to do your research. A good quality tent doesn't come cheap - so it's important before you buy one to make sure it will meet all your needs.

Good quality tents may seem expensive. What you need to consider when you are buying one is how much do you think you will use it? Once you've done that you'll probably agree it is a worthy investment.

When we bought our first family tent I think we paid around £300 for a 8 man tent. We used it around 6 times in a 2 year period and then sold it second hand through Gumtree for £100. Which works out about £33 per use. Not bad when looked at in that way.

So, how do you know what is the best value tent for a family to get? You need to do a lot of research and read some reviews. If you can go and visit some tents that are on display at camping and outdoor shops then do that. You don't necessarily have to buy it there, you can still shop around online for the cheapest deal.

Personally we have always preferred to have tents that we could easily stand up in. We also like to have a nice indoor communal space for those rainy days where you can bring the camping table and chairs inside to eat. Depending on your budget and requirements I would always go at least 1 berth bigger than your family size. We are a family of 5 so we would always look to buy at least a 6 man tent, preferably larger. Just don't forget that a bigger tent may well mean a larger pitch size, which often equals a larger pitching fee.

Family Tent Guide - 2017

Cheap Family Tents

Getting a decent cheap family tent is challenging. It is definitely worth checking out places like Gumtree to see what is on offer on the second hand tent market. We have had a good look around for cheap family tents and came to the conclusion that the Coleman Ridgeline Plus Tent comes out on top.

At a glance...

  • Flysheet fabric: Polyester, 3,000 mm PU coated, taped seams
  • Inner tent fabric: Polyester breathable and no-see-um mesh
  • Groundsheet: PE, rising
  • Fire retardant material
  • Poles: Fiberglass, colour coded
  • Set up: Flysheet first
  • Headroom: 205 cm
  • Pack size: 62 x 23 x 23 cm
  • Weight: 10.4 Kg

The Review

The tent comes with poles, pegs, guy line, carry bag and instructions, so that is a good start! For the price of the tent you probably can't go far wrong with this buy. It is sold as a 4 man tent so consider this before buying it, as I mentioned before, we always go for 1 berth bigger. There are 5 of us so we always go for 6. Maybe we're just greedy with space!

Reviewers report that the tent withstood thunderstorms and didn't leak. It is easy to put up but doesn't always come with enough pegs. It's always a good idea to pack more anyway - you'll always lose a few 🙂

Great for: A budget buy, short weekends away, quick set up

Not suitable for: Larger families, longer holidays


CampFeuer® - Tunnel Tent - Four Man

Coleman Ridge Plus Tent

CampFeuer® - Tunnel Tent for 4

An alternative tent would be a tunnel tent. These typically have a sleeping compartment at one end and a living space at the other. The CampFeuer® - Tunnel Tent is a good example of this for a four man tent.

At a glance...

  • Fibreglass poles and pegs provided
  • The tent has a 3000 mm Hydrostatic head
  • Dimensions: 410 x 260 x 150 cm
  • Taped seams
  • 190T polyester, PU-Coated ground sheet and PE film in Sleeper Cab
  • Pack size: 64 x 19 cm
  • Weight: 7.9 Kg

The Review

This tent has a separate ground sheet which means that there is a small gap round the base in the walk in / living area. However, the sleeping area does have a sewn in ground sheet as well to provide a totally seal compartment. The head room for this tent is only 1.5 metres so if you are tall then it might be a bit of a squeeze. Also the description is for a 4 man tent but it might be more comfortable as a 3 man as only about 2.6 metres wide. The tent is meant to have a hydrostatic head of 3000 mm which is the height of a column of water that the tent should be able to withstand and generally reviewers seem to agree that it is water tight.  

Overall it is a reasonable tent for a short break that is better for a family of 3.​

Great for: A budget buy, short weekends away, quick set up

Not suitable for: Larger families, longer holidays


Vango Airbeam - Capri 400 Tent - Four Man

Coleman Ridge Plus Tent

Airbeam tent

We couldn't complete a tent review without including an inflatable tent. In comparison to the traditional snap together tension poles that you see in modern day tents, these use air. The idea being that all you have to do is lay it out, peg it down and blow it up, so the tent is erected in minutes. The downside is that they are still comparatively more expensive that their poled counterparts.

At a glance...

  • 3 AirBeams® mean very quick to pitch (Approx. 8 mins)
  • Protex® 70D 4,000mm Hydrostatic head Polyester Flysheet
  • Fully Sewn-in Groundsheet
  • Dimensions: 410 x 260 x 150 cm
  • Patented Vango TBS®II Tension Band System
  • Factory taped seams
  • Supplied with double action pump to inflate your tent 
  • Fire retardant fabrics
  • Pack size: L64.0 x H34.0 x W31.0cm
  • Weight: 14.8 Kg

The Review

These tents have been designed to be robust and strong enough to be able to stand up to the rigors of the blustery wet conditions that you can get on a campsite. The AirBeam® stay in situ in the tent so that there is no messing around trying to connect up before pitching and they are pre-angled to provide good headroom whilst still being able to withstand side winds. This tent has been laid out in a standard tunnel format with the sleeping pod which can be divided into 2 at the far end. Beyond this is the living area which is a reasonable 1.5 metres long with privacy curtains for those days that you want to sleep in. There are also high and low ventilation points to aid the airflow around the tent to reduce condensation. At the front is a generous lean to porch which is big enough to stop any rain falling into the tent but also very handy for somewhere to shelter from the hot sun.

Coleman Ridge Plus Tent

Dimensions

This technology is still a bit expensive and constantly improving as the AirBeams® are protected by fairly robust covers and normally come with repair kits should the need ever arise.​ But aside from this they are very quick to setup and put down even in wet and windy conditions. If you consider getting one of these then just check how easy it is to get spare parts.

Great for: Very quick set up and take down - Short to medium trips

Not suitable for: Expensive at the moment but they are coming down in price. Have been known to occasionally have leaks though it is rare.


Best 5 Man Tent

Vango Farnham 500 Tunnel Tent

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At a glance...

  • Protex® 70D 4,000mm Hydrostatic head Polyester Flysheet
  • Fully Sewn-in Groundsheet
  • Dimensions: 550 x 320 x 150 cm
  • Patented Vango TBS®II Tension Band System
  • Factory taped seams
  • Fire retardant fabrics
  • Pack size: L70.0 x H31.0 x W31.0cm
  • Weight: 19.6 Kg

The Review

This is a fantastic 5 man tent. It is a large tunnel tent with a rear sleeping area that can be split into 2 compartments or opened up as 1 big area. There is just about enough room to fit 2 double blow-up mattresses in there which should be more than enough for a family of 2 adults and 3 children. The living area has a spacious feel to it and with the head height of about 2 metres over most of the area you should be able to comfortably walk around inside. The ground sheet is integrated which helps to keep the inside dry and the tension band system helps to keep the structure secure in the buffeting elements.

The tent's flysheet has a 4,000 HH rating, so it should keep you dry and cosy though out those rainy days.  The porch is a generous size that should let you keep those muddy boots etc outside the tent but still keep them dry. It is a fairly big tent so is easier to put up with 2 people, but one could just about manage it. One minor point though is that there does not seem to be any light out innards for the tent which is a bit of a shame for this tent. Pitching and setup time for this is be about 40 - 50 mins for most of us, though experienced campers should be able to trim 20mins off those times.  

Add to this, the fire retardant material to provide extra peace of mind with those camp fires a safe distance away and you've got yourself a great tent at a reasonable price as well.

Coleman Ridge Plus Tent

Great for: Medium to larger families - Plenty of space - medium to long trips

Not suitable for: 5 adults might find it a little snug in the sleeping pod.


Best 6 Man Tent

The Skandika Milano 6 Man Tent

Skandika are a great brand of tent and can be trusted to deliver quality and comfort. If you are looking for a spacious tent where you can all escape to when it the weather isn't looking too clever, the Skandika Milano 6 Man Tent is your answer.

At a glance...

  • ​Ample room for 6 people
  • Weight: 26kg
  • Over 6.5ft of headroom
  • 5,000 mm water column
  • Sewn in groundsheet
  • Large living room
  • Mosquito mesh on the sleeping pods
  • Mosquito mesh on the main entrance
  • Poles: Fibre glass (12.7/8.5/7.9 mm); Steel (19/16 mm)
  • Pack size: 110 x 42 x 23 cm
  • Measurements (sleeping pod): 210 x 380 cm
  • Measurements (total): 580 x 410 cm
  • Repair kit included

The Review

    The Skandika Milano makes a great family tent, even if there is less than 6 of you. Although when we were looking for a tent we needed a 5 man tent, we actually went for one that slept 8. This allowed us some storage space for our luggage, roof box and food (we sometimes hire a fridge at some campsites.) One of our main priorities when choosing a family tent is head space. I'm completely over the days of bending over and not being able to stand up straight in a tent! For weekend breaks and festivals the smaller tents are sufficient but we feel for longer trips a more luxurious and spacious tent suits us. There is a large amount of living space in this tent which is great for those rainy days or times when you fancy eating inside.

    Best Family Tent Inside Spacious
    Very Spacious Living Area

    The sewn in tent floor is a real bonus.

    Just think, no more insects in the sleeping and living areas. As the tightly sewn together tent floor and outer tent are sealed it means no rain water can enter either. Big bonus.

    Thanks to the breathable inner tent material you'll get plenty of fresh air, avoiding that stuffy feeling you sometimes get inside tents.

    Skandika Milano 6 man tent Doors

    The main living area has plenty of windows and doors with air-permeable mosquito netting at the top and transparent PVC at the bottom. This is great for making sure the inside is always bright and filled with fresh air. If you enjoy camping in the UK you will be pleased to know that there is a extra resilient water column.

    For the camping geeks amongst us the water column is the quality and strength of the tent coating. The higher the water column, the more waterproof the tent is. A tent is considered waterproof at 1,200 mm. However, when it rains, especially if it is heavy rain, the difference in water resistance between the water column levels becomes apparent. As this tent has a 5,000 mm water column you can expect a dry holiday. On the inside at least...

    From all the reviews that we trawled through the tent has been reported to have withstood some pretty blustery weather, which is what you want to know when all you're sleeping under is canvas 🙂

    The tent is easy to put up and doesn't take too much time of head scratching. Like I've mentioned before, if you have the space go for a practise run in your garden before you go.

    How Big Is This Tent?

    Outide the tent
    The living space has a floor space of more than 14 m² and a head space of 6.5ft. This is very spacious and will give you the option to swing a few cats round. Should that be your thing. The total dimensions are 580cm by 410cm with the pods coming in at 210 cm by 380cm.

    There are 2 pods that can easily be made into one pod, good for young families. As an added bonus you can use the side porch area as a camp a loo if you don't fancy the middle of the night toilet block dash.

    What Else Does The Tent Come With?

    There are some accessories with the tent, guy lines, stakes, repair kit and instructions on how to actually put it up (as you would hope!) although some have reported the instructions are not great. Maybe check out a video on YouTube first to help you. The average time for putting it up is reported at 30 minutes which, for the size of the tent, is really rather good.

    Conclusion

    The Milano is definitely a worthy contender for your family tent. For such a great price you get a lot of tent with spacious living space. The sewn in tent floor provides you with that extra snugness, not to mention dryness!

    The quick set up time is a real plus point too, making evening arrivals possible, without the worry of setting up at dusk (been there, done that!) 

    Great for: Larger families (or families who want more space), quick set up, great value purchase, stand up head height space, long holidays

    Not suitable for: Families on a budget

    Best 7 Man (or more) Tents

    Skandika Nimbus 12 Man Berth XXL

    Skandika have delivered a monster of a tent with this offering. In fact straight off, you will need to double check that the campsite that you want to go to can accept and accommodate this as it has a very large footprint (approx. 7.6m x 6.3m).

    At a glance...

    • ​Can fit 12 people, but plenty of room for 8 adults.
    • Weight: 36.3 kg
    • Peak headroom height of over 2 metres (6' 6"+)
    • 5,000 mm water column
    • Groundsheet
    • Large living room
    • Mosquito mesh on the sleeping pods
    • Colour coded poles
    • Poles: Fibre glass (12.7 mm); Steel (19 mm)
    • Pack size: 107 x 38 x 30 cm
    • Measurements (sleeping pods): 223 x 180 / 215 x 350 cm
    • Measurements (total): 630 x 760 cm
    • Repair kit included

    The Review

    The Skandia Nimbus has been designed to be a spacious tent that can accommodate large groups of people. The spacious living area which boasts  a peak headroom of over 6ft 6" has plenty of room for all to use and if you feel the need for even more space, then the inside wall to the porch can be moved to the end of the porch and thereby give you an even bigger living area. If you choose to keep the porch configuration then this will a great place to hang out in in those warm summer evenings with your friends.

    The tent has a 5,000 mm water column rating to provide excellent protection from the liquid British 'sunshine' that we sometimes get! Normally most family tents only offer 3,000 column water proofing protection but here the Nimbus has opted for the highest available.

    Best Family Tent Inside Spacious

    How Big Is This Tent?

    Best Family Tent Inside Spacious

    The overall foot print of this tent is 760 x 630 cm. The living area including the porch is 370 x 400 cm with a peak height of over 200 cm offering plenty of room on those rainy days.

    What Else Does The Tent Come With?

    The shattered proof fibre glass poles along with the steel ones have been colour coded to aid the construction of the tent. They provide a solid build able to withstand what the weather can throw at it and the seams are waterproofed sealed. Add to that the reinforced tabs and eyelets, plus the material is all fire retardant. Along with the handy carry bag you also get the guy ropes, tent pegs and details instructions which all means that the tent can be put up quickly and easily with very little fuss.

    Conclusion

    This is a great tent for large parties or families and a decent price for the size of the tent. It looks a little bit of a tight fit for 12 adults, but 12 people including children would work fine. It's biggest plus point is also it's biggest problem - the size might mean that you will have to search for a campsite with big enough pitches, but it is not impossible.

    Great for: Large families and groups - plenty of room and sturdy - quick to put up and a decent price

    Not suitable for: Families on a budget

    Don't forget out tent peg guide here.

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    1 comment
    Ashley Beolens says September 18, 2016

    I’d not heard of Skandika before, but they seem to really well priced large tents, that so far have all had pretty good reviews, looks like they could make my next tent 🙂

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