Family camping can create memories that last a lifetime. Having the perfect home away from home brings you closer together and facilitates a wonderful trip for all involved. With the right camping tent, that home away from home might be by the side of a beautiful lake one day and in the middle of the desert the next.
When I’m choosing a tent for my family, I know I’m balancing several needs - both for our comfort and our survival in the elements. That’s why I always consider size, temperature, setup time, and portability when I’m choosing a new family camping tent.
In this guide, we will walk you through the basic tent features you need to understand before making a purchase, and then provide examples of some of the best family camping tents on the market. These include:
- Best Overall: Eureka Copper Canyon LX 6 Person Tent
- Best Budget: Coleman Sundome 6-Person Tent
- Best for Cold Weather: Browning Glacier Extreme 6-Person Camping Tent
- Best for Warm Weather: Kodiak Canvas 12x9 Camping Tent with Awning
- Best for Easy Setup: Browning Big Horn 8 8-Person Camping Tent
What to Consider When Choosing a Family Tent
Families fight. This is probably unavoidable. But - having enough space to move around without everyone stepping on their brother keeps those “Mooooooooom!” cries to a minimum.
When I’m camping with my family, the stakes (no pun intended) are high to make sure we have the perfect tent that will keep our trip running smoothly. These are the main things I consider when I’m choosing a tent.
Tents are usually sized for a specific number of people (2-person tent, 4-person tent, 6-person tent, etc). However, they usually fit this number of people pretty snugly - a 2-person tent is likely to fit exactly two people, without much gear, arm to arm. So, if you’re actually camping with four people, you might be more comfortable in a six person tent.
Kids can take up more space than you expect, so I usually treat them as adults when counting bodies in the tent. If you have tall people in your family, you may also want to check the height of the tent and see if Dad will be bumping his head against the ceiling for your entire trip! A cabin-style build will have vertical walls with more standing room, while a dome-style build will have less standing room with the same peak height.
If you can, bring your family in to the store and pile into a tent to see how you all fit before you buy.
You may also want to check out the vestibule size and storage options for the tent. Having good, organized storage both inside and outside the tent can make a huge difference, especially if you’re a ways from your car.
So, when scoping out the size, keep in mind:
- How many people the tent fits (and consider adding a couple for extra space)
- How tall the tent is when set up
- How much interior and exterior storage the tent provides
Seasons & Weather Conditions
Camping in Death Valley in the summer is not the same as camping in Yosemite in the winter. Whenever you’re considering gear, the conditions you’re expecting play a crucial role.
Tents are often rated as 3-season tents or 4-season tents. If you’ll be avoiding heavy-duty snows and cold temperatures, a 3-season tent will meet most of your needs. But if you’ll be camping in cold weather, you’ll definitely want to make sure you have a tent that’s prepared to keep you warm through the night.
Your tent should be waterproof, with a rain fly that will keep you sheltered through storms. I also check out the tent’s ventilation system - especially if I’m going to be in a warm, buggy climate, I want to be able to get airflow without inviting a host of winged things to join my family adventure.
Tent Season Rating & Season Use
Additional weather considerations:
- Waterproofing and rain fly
- Ventilation and bug-proofing
I have a family of hands-on learners. This means that delegating tasks and sharing in tent setup is an important part of our camping experience. I don’t mind a few extra poles for added stability and space, especially since it gives my kids the experience of responsibility and building their house.
But, if you have a lot of setup of things like outdoor cookware that you’re contending with, or you just want to get to the camping as quickly as you can, then a tent with a less complicated setup process may be right for you. Many tents these days boast their easy systems and pop up in a matter of minutes.
It’s entirely personal preference - just know what you’re getting into when you buy!
How important is it that you can carry the tent around with you? If you’re car camping and you have a big vehicle, you may not mind some bulky canvas and big poles. But if you are packing yourself and your little ones into a sedan, that space might become precious.
If you’re backpacking, that’s another story entirely - every ounce matters when I’m strapping my shelter to my back! Think about the space you have available, both in your vehicle and in your backpack if it applies, before purchasing your tent.
Best Camping Tents for FamiliesWe’ve assembled a collection of wonderful tents that have sheltered many families on many adventures. Each provides something distinct - so the best tent for you will depend on your family, where you’re camping, and everything we’ve covered so far. I hope this guide helps you kickstart your next great memory!
Best Overall: Eureka Copper Canyon LX 6-Person TentCheck Price
The Eureka Copper Canyon LX 6-Person Tent is a reasonably-priced, roomy tent that works for most family camping scenarios. It has a 7’ peak height and solid setup for organizing your gear. It’s a bit bulky when packed up, so we recommend it for car camping when you’ll be setting your tent up pretty close to your vehicle. This 3-season tent will get you through most rainstorms well, but it’s not a super-durable 4-season tent. It’s easy to set up and offers a cabin-style interior for you to set up as you see fit!
- Steel and fiberglass frame
- Near-vertical walls for better standing room
- 7’ peak height
- Large mesh windows with waterproof curtains
- Extended fly coverage over the door
- Zippered E! Powerport to run an extension cord through
- Stash pockets and gear loft for organization
Best Budget: Coleman Sundome 6-Person TentCheck Price
Sometimes, you don’t want to blow the budget for your family vacation on gear. Whether you’re spending as little as possible while finding out if your kids even like camping, or just saving for more national parks passes, money matters. The Coleman Sundome comes at a highly competitive price, with great ventilation from ground vents and large mesh windows in the double-wall design. It’s easy to set up, lightweight, and includes a rainfly that goes ⅔ of the way down the sides of the tent to keep water out.
- Dome style build
- Double-wall design
- Two mesh windows
- Pole sleeves for easy setup
- E-port for running an extension cord into the tent
- Ground vents for additional ventilation
- Rainfly extends ⅔ down the tent wall
- Welded corners and covered seams for additional waterproofing
- Interior fits up to two queen airbeds
Best Cold Weather: Browning Glacier Extreme 6-Person Camping TentCheck Price
When I’m setting out into cold conditions with little ones, having the right gear is my top priority. Browning’s Glacier Extreme is my go-to for any conditions that are fit to venture into. The steep roof keeps snow from piling onto the tent and collapsing it, and the cabin-style build gives more space for cots to be far from the cold ground. It has a fast setup and is great to break out even when conditions are more mild.
- Steep roof keeps snow from piling up
- Free-standing 2-pole design
- 2100 polyester floor and fly
- Seams are sealed for water protection
- Vertical walls for more standing room
- 2 large vestibules with double zippers for storage
- Weatherproof fly
- Mesh roof vents for stargazing
- 2 doors with zippered mesh windows
- Mesh storage pocket
- Steel stakes
- Included guy ropes
- Included floor saver
Best for Warm Weather: Kodiak Canvas 12x9 Camping Tent with AwningCheck Price
When you’re camping in the summertime, you want good ventilation and the opportunity to spend some time in the shade. I love the big awning that comes with the Kodiak Canvas tent. This is premium, 100% cotton duck canvas, which gives you a wateright, breathable material for those warm summer months. The awning is the perfect place for shaded, bug-free picnics that still feel like you’re in the middle of the forest. Plenty of ventilation and storage options make this an excellent tent - if you can haul the heavier load and have two adults for the more complicated setup a canvas tent requires.
- Hydra-shield 100% cotton duck canvas
- 1” steel tube poles with welded corner braces
- 16 oz vinyl flooring is seamless, heavy-duty, and water-resistant
- 7.5’ peak ceiling
- 5.5’ walls at sides
- Spacious awning to provide shade and protection from bugs
- Large front door and side entry with zippers
- Five large windows with mesh
- Side wall can be rolled up or extended into small awnings
- 12” steel tent stakes
- 112 pounds
- Requires two adults for setup
Best for Easy Setup: Browning Big Horn 8 8-Person Camping TentCheck Price
Sometimes you just want a tent that can pop up so you can start playing games, grilling, or doing whatever your family loves to do in the great outdoors. The Browning Big Horn 8 uses a 3-pole design with fiberglass poles and a unique hub design. This tent also features a divider that separates the tent into two rooms for a bit of extra privacy, plus excellent protection from the elements and vertical walls for more standing room.
- 3-pole design with unique hub design for easy setup
- Fiberglass poles with steel uprights
- Wall divider to create two rooms
- Two large doors (one in each room)
- 150D Polylester Oxford floor with 2000mm coating
- 75D 185T Polyester fly resists UV damage
- Cabin-style design gives more standing room