What To Look For
Many models of multi-room tents are cabin tents, so-named because the tent resembles a cabin. Domed multi-room tents are also available. As a rule, the multi-room cabin tent is heavier, poorly suited to harsh weather and requires two sets of hands to set up, but the nearly vertical walls maximize the tent's interior space. Dome-shaped multi-room tents are both lighter and slough off wind pressure better. This makes cabin tents a good choice for developed campgrounds and families, while dome tents are better for backcountry base camps, such as those established by mountaineers.
A common misconception when it comes to multi-room tents is that the tent fabric made of either nylon or canvas. There is a third option, namely polyester. Compared to nylon, polyester is not as durable, but it is more breathable and offers better protection from ultraviolet light. Even more common is the misconception that canvas is hot and isn't waterproof. In fact, canvas is water resistant even without a waterproofing treatment, and most canvas tents receive such a treatment. Canvas also reflects a lot of heat, making it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Where To Buy
Multi-room tents are available at most camping and sporting goods stores, but shopping through Internet sources generally offers a wider selection and lower prices. If the multi-room tent is for a demanding expedition, such as a backcountry nature watching trip, you should actually see the tent and feel the weight firsthand before buying it. Otherwise, getting a good bargain from an Internet vendor with a solid return policy is a sound idea.
Costs for multi-room tents vary depending on the materials used to make the tent and the features. Generally speaking, canvas is the most expensive material, size increases the overall cost, and features like awnings add to the price tag. In 2010, the Kodiak Canvas Cabin Tent with its awning and 9-by-12 feet of floor space was priced at around $600. Meanwhile the Texsport Europa Two-Room Cabin Tent, a simple design made from nylon, was available for $150 to $200.
Mutli-room tents may have add-ons, accessories and features to look out for. Given their size, a number of camping fixtures that are not explicitly meant for use with multi-room tents are easily adapted for use in them, such as camp furniture. Some have pockets and mounting points for camping lights, while others have awnings for creating patios complete with mesh anti-insect screens. Additional accessories include floor pads and tent fans.