6 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Family Tent

choosing a family tent

One of the hardest things about planning the camping trip with the boys this summer was choosing the right tent. We of course already had a cheaper one, but the zipper on the door had already broke and while it worked fine for a weekend trip, it would not have held up over the course of a 53 day trip through all types of weather. I learned a lot through my research of how to find the best family tent and I wanted to share a few of the most helpful tips with you.

{Look for a Full Rainfly}

A rainfly is the covering that goes over the top of the tent to protect it from the rain. The best tents will have a full rainfly that extends from the top of the tent all the way down to the ground on all sides. If you choose a tent with only a half rainfly or even less, rain will still be able to drive in through the windows and mesh on the tent when the wind blows.

{Only Buy As Big As You Need}

If you only plan on taking your family tent out for a day or two one or twice a year, then it doesn’t really matter if you buy a massive tent. However, most quality tents that can resist wind and have a full rainfly to keep out the rain are not going to be the gigantic cabin style 2 or 3 room tents. Instead, focus on buying a tent that is just big enough for your family to sleep and store a bit of stuff in.

For example, we have a six person tent. This is just large enough for three twin sized air mattresses lying right next to each other and room by the door for our luggage, shoes, maneuvering , etc. We won’t be throwing any wild house parties, but we have ample room, protection from the weather and easier setup.

{Dome Styles Are Best for Wind Resistance}

If you will be camping in conditions that are quite windy, it is important to looking for the right shape when choosing a family tent. Cabin style tents or very tall ones that extend straight up cannot resist wind very well. When the wind starts blowing, you face having your tent collapse, or worse, your tent poles bending or breaking altogether. The best shape for wind resistance is a dome shape tent. Ours has been up in winds about 40-60 miles per hour and has not suffered any damage and had never collapsed.

{Look for Plenty of Ventilation}

Most people do the majority of their family camping in the warmer weather months. Because of this, you want to look for a tent that has plenty of ventilation. A small mesh window or a door that is made of 1/3 mesh is not going to be enough to keep air movement flowing during the day and your tent will begin to feel like an oven. Look for a tent that has a good deal of mesh to allow for cross ventilation to help keep your tent cooler when the sun hits.

{Search Out Quality Materials}

Tent poles on quality products will usually be made of aluminum or steel. If the tent you purchased has fiberglass poles, then it is not likely a product that will last through extensive camping trips. Looking for quality materials in a tent can help you choose a product that will last your family for many years. For instance, a tent that is full seamed with waterproof tape will help prevent your tent from leaking and acquiring water damage.

{Don’t Be Afraid to Invest}

One of the most common mistakes when choosing a family tent is going for the money saving option. People see a $500 tent next to a beautiful looking $80 tent and think that they can’t be all that different. The bottom line is you can spend $80 on a cheaper tent, but you could face getting soaked each time it rains, poor materials that break and be forced to purchase another one a few months later. A good family tent is an investment. It is something that you can use for years, so think of it as a long term purchase and don’t be afraid to invest a little more.

The perfect family tent will look different for everyone, but by using the tips above, you can ensure that you choose a quality tent that will serve your family well for many years to come.


  1. Our tent is probably so funky from the leaky garage that I'll need a new one when the time comes.

  2. That is such a great list of things to look for, especially for first time "tent buyers" 🙂 My idea of a tent though is a family suite at the Holiday Inn LOL – I'm not much of a camper.

  3. I'm not and never will be a camper. Ever, ever, ever but I would definitely buy a tent on the high price end because I wouldn't want to cheap out when dealing with unpredictable outdoor elements. Also, good info on the rainfly! Had no clue about that!

  4. Those are some great tips! I'll have to use this to reason w/ my daughter that the three of us don't need a 10-person tent with an extra cabin in front 😛

  5. Using tents can be really fun as I am a candid user myself. Thanks for sharing all these tips to us, yet for me, I think the most important is the material being used. This may also mean ease in cleaning, resistance to filth and scratches, and even color fading in time.

  6. My sister and I were just talking about camping.. She told me she used a camper! I think tents are the best 🙂

  7. My husband received a 6-person tent as an anniversary gift at his job. We still have yet to use it and we've had it for years.

  8. IN NYC, we have no need for tents, but I will share this info with my friend who frequently goes camping!

  9. We haven't reached the age where my son wants to camp, but I'm excited because one day we will.

  10. We don't camp but I'm looking for a tend for the kids to use when they do their backyard campouts during the summer. All the neighbor kids love to have sleep overs in tents!

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