Family Tent Buying Guide – What You Need To Know
Going family camping is one of the favorite pastimes for many families. It is an affordable way for people to spend time with each other and unwind. It can also work out to be one of the most affordable ways to spend your time.
However, when you haven’t been camping before there are number of piece of camping essentials you need to get to be set up. Probably the most important is your family tent. If you get the right one it will last you a good number of years if you look after it properly.
In this family tent buying guide we look at the features to look for and things to consider so you can choose the right tent for you.
Once you have been through this you can look at our best family tent reviews by clicking here.
Here are tips on buying a family tent:
Size: The amount of room you have in the tent along with whether it is waterproof is a very important consideration. The size of a tent is usually given as the number of people that it will sleep. Manufacturers tend to want you to cosy up close when they give their numbers who can sleep comfortably in their tent. They don’t make allowances for storage and moving around. As a rule of thumb you need to allow for at least one extra person when you choose your tent i.e. if you are a family of five you may want to look for a tent size of sleeps 6. Also if the weather is bad and you have to stay in the tent you want room to be able to sit around and spread out as you wish.
Weight and Pack Size: This is not as important a consideration as with other sorts of camping because when you go camping as family it is usual for you to g car camping. This means you normally only have to transport the tent a few yards from you car before you pitch it. Probably more important is the size it packs down into for transport so you can determine how much room it will take up in your car.
Headroom: If you want to be able to stand up properly when you are in your tent you will need to consider how tall the tent is when erected. As well as the height at the center of the tent you will also want to consider how vertical the walls are. The more vertical they are and the less slope of the roof the bigger area you are more likely to have to move around freely inside the tent without bending over.
Waterproof: Staying dry when it’s raining outside is something everyone wants when camping and if your tent doesn’t stop the water from dripping or seeping in you can wake up in the middle of the night floating in water. And this isn’t a pleasant experience to say the least.
The rainfly is like to be one of the most important parts to keeping you dry. This works as cover for your tent and diverts the rain away from your tent. The best rain fly is going to cover your whole tent but it is common to have them where they cover the roof only.
The floor is an area where water can seep into the tent and what long a problem area. Now tents have the floors stitched onto the tent in a bathtub style meaning that the floor joins the tent a few inches up the tent wall. For the best protection they are stitched with double seams, taped over and sealed in some case to doubly and triply sure that water won’t leak through.
In fact all seams in the tent should be double seams at least and with taped seams for added protection. Many campers will also seal the seams with seam sealer before using the tent just to be sure.
Ease Of Use: When you get to your camp site you first step is to pitch your tent. And if you have had a long journey the last thing you want is an involved and difficult time when you come to put your tent up. Many of the tents today are quite straightforward to pitch and only need one person to do it. Look for one where the pole clip to the tent rather than getting pushed through a nylon tunnel.
Many tents are freestanding meaning they will stand on their own without being staked down, although you will need to stake the tent down to prevent it being blown around by the wind. This makes it easy to move the tent to position it to the best place.
Ventilation, Doors And Windows: As most family camping is done in the summer months, keeping cool is a big factor as it is never pleasant trying to get to sleep in a hot stuff tent. Good ventilation will also prevent condensation forming inside the tent from campers perspiring as they sleep.
Vent panels with mesh will help to keep the air flowing along with windows and doors that also have mesh so you can keep them open to help with air flow as needed. Most windows will have curtains that can be tied across for when you need some privacy.
Large windows can help to make the tent seem bigger by allowing in the light. Having more than one door can help to give flexibility with campers being able to enter and leave by the most convenient door without disturbing others.
Flexibility: As your family grows up there are going to be different needs for sleeping arrangements and privacy. To accommodate these changing needs tents have temporary walls and/or which you can use to have separate sleeping compartments.
Storage: Tents with plenty of storage space can make you camping more comfortable. Many tents include pockets, loops and overhead storage to give you more living space.
Quality: You want to get a tent that is the best quality you can afford especially if you are going to be using it more than once a year. By looking after your tent properly they can last for many years.
2 particular areas to look at are the zippers and the seams. You want good quality zippers such as YKK to avoid snagging and splitting as they get a lot of use especially with children wanting to go in and out of the tent on a regular basis. The seams should be double stitched and reinforced to help prevent leakage of water.
The manufacturer’s warranty is usually an indicator of quality with a lifetime warranty being the best from a manufacturer that has stood the test of time, but you do need to consider the small print too.
Mesh: In the windows and doors you will want mesh to protect you from the biting bugs while allowing air to circulate. The mesh on doors is like a fly screen where it can be zipped in place to stop those bugs getting to you.
Porches/Awnings: These can give you some extra space and help when it is wet. A porch gives you a great place to put any wet or muddy shoes so the tent floor doesn’t get wet or muddy from people tramping it in.
Awnings can come in different sizes but they can give you a great place to sit outside and be shaded from the sun or they can act as a dining fly to give you protection from the elements to cook and eat your meals.
Extensions: Tents with the ability to add extensions gives you the option to add more space as required as your family group expands. Conversely if you don’t need or want the space you can do without it as you want.
Other: Depending on what you want you can also have lantern hooks for hanging your camping lanterns and keeping them off the floor, tent carpets which help with insulation and protect the floor of the tent, electrical hook-up entry points allow you to have easy access to charge up your electrical items.
Buying a family tent is an important camping decision and by carefully considering your options, checking out reviews and taking a look at them you will get one that can give you many years of service.Hopefully this family tent buying guide will help you in your search.