One of the great allures of camping in the great outdoors is that you'll be "roughing it" in the wild. But let's face it; no one wants to be uncomfortable, especially when it's time to sleep.
One of the first steps to ensuring everyone has an enjoyable camping experience is choosing the right family tent—your home away from home where you'll sleep, relax, and store much of your gear. Here's how to choose the perfect one.
Rent or Borrow First
Take your tent out for a "test drive" before buying. See if friends have a tent you can borrow, even just for an overnight in your backyard. You'll quickly discover what you like and don't like.
If none of your friends have a tent, many outdoor retailers have rental departments. Do your research to determine what style and size you think would work best and see if you can rent that model or something similar.
If you're in a rush, see if you can get inside the tent at the store. This will still give you a chance to assess all the features and witness the set-up and takedown.
Select a Style
There are two main styles of family camping tents. Cabin-style tents have vertical walls, which provide an open feel inside. If maximizing headroom is important, or you plan to spend a lot of time in the tent, this is the way to go. However, these tents are vulnerable to potential damage from storms and high winds thanks to their boxy shape.
Dome-style tents have sloped walls that converge at the apex. For some people, these may feel claustrophobic, but they're generally stronger in inclement weather becauses of their aerodynamic shape. If your tent is mostly a place to sleep when, then this style is ideal.
Determine the Right Size
Four- and six-person tents are popular with families—the footprint for a four-person tent is generally between 60 to 70 square feet, while the six-person ranges from 80 to 100 square feet.
Don't forget that you need room to store your backpack, gear and other miscellaneous items in the tent, so choose a tent with a little extra room.