5 Key Things to Consider When Choosing a Family Tent
If you’re looking for a new tent for your next family adventure then it’s important to know what to look out for when buying one. With hundreds of tents on the market, all boasting an array of different features, you need to be able to pinpoint exactly what is going to be useful to you and your family and what could be a hindrance. Here are five key points to consider when purchasing your new home away from home…
You'll notice all tents are advertised as three man, four man, six man etc. However, it is important to know that this is only the maximum number of people with no room for personal gear. It makes sense for backpackers who are travelling light, but not for you and your family. To make sure you receive the space and comfort you need, divide the advertised rating by two for the real capacity of the tent. When taking into consideration floor space, you should plan a minimum of 30 square feet per person. Though for longer camping trips this should be increased accordingly.
Most family sized tents come with separate bedroom pods. This is ideal for camping with older children and teenagers who appreciate a bit of privacy at night. Some tents have a larger sleeping area with a dividing zip through the middle. These are better when camping with toddlers and younger children that need extra supervision. If they need reassurance in the night you can simply zip the divider and look after them without even leaving your sleeping bag.
The living area is the part of a tent where no-one sleeps, usually at the front or in the middle of the surrounding bedrooms. This area is ideal for storing your gear, but it is also important to consider how much living space you will need for your trip. For example, you may wish to use this space for eating, and therefore, it needs to be spacious enough to fit in any camping tables and chairs you've taken with you. When camping with children you should also consider whether the space is large enough for them to play in, just in case you're stuck inside due to bad weather.
With many tents you have the option to purchase an additional canopy, which provides added shelter and is ideal for storing wet clothes and muddy boots. You may also have the opportunity to purchase a tent extension, which offers additional storage and living space. However, it is important to remember that the more add-ons you purchase the bulkier and heavier your load is to carry.
If you're not the type of family who is up at the crack of dawn every day, then you should consider looking for tents with a "lights-out" feature in the inner tent. This keeps the bedroom pod dark in the mornings, which should allow you to get those extra few hours of sleep.
Consider the types of weather you may be subjecting your tent to and the features needed to combat various weather types. If it is windy then you require sturdy tent poles and a tent design that offers stability, such as a geodesic shaped tent. For rainy weather, a waterproof flysheet with taped seams is essential. Most family sized tents come with this as standard, but it is always worth double checking. For hot weather you need a tent that is breathable and well ventilated. Mesh inner doors are an ideal way to add ventilation and many tents also include additional vents as a feature.