How to Choose a Family Base Camping Tent

How to Choose a Family Base Camping Tent
Camping is a great way of getting the entire family together and spending quality time in the outdoors. It can be both fun and educational and will help instill an appreciation for the outdoors in your children. Unless you plan to truly rough it and set your sleeping bags under the open sky, a family camping tent will be the first step toward your camping adventures. Shop carefully to get the right shelter for your family.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Decide the time of year that you'll camp with your family. The vast majority of family base camping tents are three-season. As one would expect, these tents are rated for spring, summer and fall use, but aren't suitable for use in winter. Since most people camp in mild weather, particularly when it comes to family camping, a three-season tent is fine for most consumers. On the other hand, if you intend to take your family camping in the winter, shop for a four-season or convertible 3/4-season tent.
Step 2
Decide on space. Family tents are designed to sleep four or more people; use the person rating as a guideline based on your family size, but also pitch the tent before buying it to really get an idea of the space inside.
Step 3
Determine what style of family camping tent you want. The two main options are dome and cabin-style. Dome tents are similar to smaller camping and backpacking dome versions that you might have used in the past. They often feature a simple two-pole system that makes set up easy and fast. They provide good protection from wind and rain. Cabin-style tents are larger than dome tents and feature walls that are nearly vertical, providing generous amounts of livable space. Cabin-style tents are more difficult to set up than dome tents.
Step 4
Consider internal features. Some things to look for are room dividers if you'd like to sleep your children in separate rooms, gear lofts where you can neatly store tools and gear, and vestibules, which can be used to store items that you don't want inside the tent, such as boots, dirty gear and pets.
Step 5
Consider quality. Some things to look for include aluminum poles (stronger than fiberglass), taped seams for enhanced waterproofing, full coverage rainfly instead of a rooftop fly and metal grommets rather than less-durable plastic ones.
Step 6
Assess ventilation. Ventilation is particularly important in hot, humid weather, but will help to enhance your comfort in general. Look for plenty of mesh on opposing doors and windows as well as the roof. A full rainfly should allow an inch or more of space between the tent body to allow air to circulate.
Step 7
Consider the set up. Try pitching it in the store if possible, or at least at home prior to your trip, and avoid tents that are extremely difficult to set up. The easier the set-up, the more time you'll have to enjoy with your family.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Don't forget to take into account that you may be spending time inside the tent other than just for sleeping. Make sure there is enough head and elbow room for your family to co-exist in the tent together. Higher quality features cost more money. While you don't have to buy the most expensive tent in the shop, it pays to spend a little extra money on a quality tent, unless you plan to camp very rarely in reliably-clear weather.
 
Don't forget to take into account that you may be spending time inside the tent other than just for sleeping. Make sure there is enough head and elbow room for your family to co-exist in the tent together.
 
Higher quality features cost more money. While you don't have to buy the most expensive tent in the shop, it pays to spend a little extra money on a quality tent, unless you plan to camp very rarely in reliably-clear weather.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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