Best family tents to enjoy the great outdoors together

·10-min read
 (Family Tents)
(Family Tents)

Whether you’re heading abroad with the whole clan or planning a weekend at a family-friendly festival, the right tent is essential to really enjoy sleeping under the stars.

That trusty two-person tent you once dragged to Glastonbury just won’t cut it with the kids in tow. A family tent needs to sleep at least four comfortably, depending on the age of the children, and some tents can sleep up to eight with bedrooms as well as a separate living area. Larger models are useful as kids grow and prefer their own space, but some tents are very expensive so you need to be sure your brood really love camping before splashing out.

It’s also worth considering how much you will use the tent before choosing. If you plan to stay in one place for several days and can access a campsite by car, go for a heavier and more spacious model for maximum comfort.

Be aware that some of these tents are extremely heavy and will need to be transported by trolley if you can’t park near your pitch. If you intend to bed down while trekking or even at family festivals and special events, choose a lighter tent that can be carried easily. Air-beamed models will ensure the tent goes up quickly and you’ll be enjoying a beer by the bonfire in record time. Keep an eye on the Hydrostatic Head (HH) rating as well – this indicates the column height of water in millimetres the tent can hold before it could leak.

We roped in the whole family to test these tents and judge whether they’d be happy to camp in them in future. We rated each one for space and comfort, how easy each one was to carry, put up and take down again, and how well they withstood the ever-unpredictable British weather.

Eurohike Air 600 Tent

If you’re fed-up faffing with tent poles, this tent is a great choice. It’s pitched using the included double-efficiency pump, which inflates the air tubed frame in a matter of minutes so you can start your holiday sooner.

Though it’s not as pricey as some other air models, it still packs in all sorts of premium features including a 4000mm HH flysheet to withstand a heavy downpour, a fully sewn in groundsheet, an electric hook up point and a darkened bedroom to reduce early morning light. The large back bedroom can sleep up to six or be divided into two for extra privacy – it felt like a canvas palace for just four with enough room so we didn’t need to sleep almost on top of each other and with valuable full head height in most of the tent. We also liked the internal storage pockets in the bedrooms which are useful for stashing a phone or torch rather than scrabbling around in the dark. All this and it deflates in seconds so you can hit the road quickly when it’s time to head home.

Buy now £299.00, Go Outdoors

Quechua 4 Person Blackout Air Tent – Air Seconds 4.1 XL Fresh&Black

Ideal if you want to pitch in a flash and get on with your holiday, this inflatable tent feels really spacious inside thanks to a generous 70cm width allowance per person in the bedroom. The entire structure is inflated in one go and the bedroom is pre-assembled for minimum hassle, though be warned there is only one so this tent may be better suited to families with younger children or those who don’t mind sharing personal space.

There are all sorts of other considered features to make your camping trip as comfy as possible including heat reducing, sun protection fabric to stop you roasting inside the tent, a 2000mm HH rating and patented Fresh & Black technology to reflect the sun’s rays and guarantee 99 per cent darkness in the bedroom. Our only gripe is that a hand pump isn’t included – not something you’d want to discover the first time you unroll the tent on a campsite – so make sure you buy before you go.

Buy now £329.99, Decathlon

Coleman Weathermaster 4XL Air Blackout Tent

There’s no getting away from it: you need to be planning some serious camping trips to spend this sort of money on a tent. If you’re a dedicated outdoorsy bunch however, you’ll never regret the investment as this is the Rolls Royce of family tents. It’s also worth noting that the price includes a Camping and Caravanning Club membership worth £48 when bought through one of Coleman’s tent partners, such as Winfields Outdoors.

As you’d expect, the tent is packed with features to help the family sleep more easily, including zipped bedroom dividers for flexible configuration, a lantern hanging point, sturdy storm straps for extra stability, full head height throughout and an extended enclosed front porch.

Bad weather won’t stop you camping either as it has a WeatherTec Polyester PU coating, a 4500 mm HH rating and even UV guard for SPF50 protection. The bedrooms are the real game changer though. Far roomier than you might expect, they easily fit a double air bed, while BlackOut Bedroom technology keeps them dark and much cooler than normal so you won’t wake up sweating at the crack of dawn. Just be aware that the tent does weigh in at a hefty 30.4kg so you won’t want to lug it miles to your pitch, although the inflatable poles mean it still goes up in an impressive 20 minutes.

One thing’s certain: you’ll be holidaying in this one for years.

Buy now £989.00, Winfields Outdoor

Halfords 4 Person Vis A Vis Tent

We genuinely thought the price was a mistake when we first saw this tent. An absolute steal for anyone wanting to dip a toe into camping for the first time, it sleeps four people in two separate bedrooms with a communal area in the middle for storing bags or escaping the (inevitable) rain.

It’s not possible to stand up anywhere in this tent but the bedrooms are a generous 140cm wide so our family of four didn’t feel too cramped, though it would likely be too small to stay for several days. We liked the fact the bedrooms weren’t right next to each other too, which is helpful if one person gets up early and one likes to lie in – or if you’re sharing with a snorer. It’s brilliantly light to carry at just 7.3kg, has a 2000mm HH rating and comes with guy ropes and pegs for straightforward traditional pitching. Once the kids are too old to join you camping (or want to go on their own), it’s not too big for just two to use on their own either.

Buy now £90.00, Halfords

Coleman Cortes Octagon 8 Tent

If you fancy giving glamping a go – and don’t mind sharing snoozing space with the kids – this tent is a treat. One large octagon-shaped room, there’s acres of head height and you can lay out beds however you fancy, sleeping up to eight. If there are only four of you, there’s plenty of space to indulge in some additional glamping décor and pile in the obligatory fluffy throws, cushions and fairy lights. Younger kids especially will love all sharing a room together.

At 20kg, it’s on the heavy side but comes in an ingenious wheeled bag so you won’t need an extra trolley to lug it where it needs to be. It has a breathable inner tent for pitching first if you’re guaranteed a dry night, or add the waterproof 2000mm HH flysheet over the top if there’s a chance of rain.

It also has taped seams, four steel poles and clear PVC windows which let in a surprising amount of light. We especially liked the hinged doorway entrance so you won’t need to crawl inelegantly inside at the end of the night. The price gets a big thumbs up too.

Also available at Outdoor World Direct

Buy now £285.00, Millets

Easy Camp Huntsville Twin 600

It’s not always easy for larger families to find a tent that doesn’t take up the entire car when travelling to the site - or need four people just to lift it. This reasonably-priced model is a real camping life saver, sleeping six in three bedrooms yet packing down into a bag sized 64cm by 28cm that weighs a shade over 14kg.

Even with six people, it feels like there’s plenty of room inside as the central living area has standing height, there are two side doors and windows on both sides of the tent with toggled curtains. It’s great for a family with two children who each want their own space or anyone with younger children, as the separate third bedroom means you won’t wake them going to bed later (or more optimistically, they won’t wake you when they stir before dawn). The whole tent feels very sturdy when up as well with fibreglass poles, taped seams, a guyline retainer and 3000mm HH rating to keep the inevitable British drizzle at bay. This is one tent that will last long beyond this summer for a lifetime of camping.

Buy now £342.99, Easy Camp

Kelty Late Start 4 Person Tent

If you’d immediately ruled out adventurous family hikes after attempting to lift a four-person tent, don’t give up hope. We were staggered by how feather-light this version was, weighing in at a measly 3kg when packed down into the included bag which could easily be carried on your back even during a trek.

Of course, that does mean you’re not going to be able to sleep like a starfish or bring your entire wardrobe camping. But if you don’t mind squeezing in together for the odd night or want to travel light on the go, this will certainly do the job with a 1800mm HH rated floor and fly to keep you nice and dry. It’s even better if you’re a family of three or have very young children. Best of all, it goes up in no time with a colour-coded fly attachment, pre-bent poles and Kelty Quick Corner technology which holds the pole ends securely while you’re dealing with the other side. Honestly, it’s so easy, even the kids could put it up. Which we reckon would make the best possible start to a family camping trip.

Buy now £249.95, Amazon

Outwell Nevada 4P

Need a tent that will stand up to the worst of a British summer? This high-quality three-roomed tunnel tent would see off even the heaviest downpour with its impressive 6000mm HH rating, sealed-in groundsheet for all-weather protection and heavy duty quick-adjust storm straps. The tent is astonishingly stable too with a strong hook and loop fastening system as a direct attachment point for the flysheet and tent pole to stop sleep-disturbing vibrations if the wind picks up.

Best of all, it’s super comfortable. While tents generally allow 60cm per person in each bedroom, this one provides 70cm per person in the bigger master bedroom and full standing height means it feels very airy and roomy, even when we were all in it together. The dark roof and side panels help everyone get a good night’s sleep, magnetic strips on the inner doors allow for quick and quiet entry into the bedrooms and there are tinted windows for privacy and sun protection. We especially liked the colour-coded pegs for easier pitching even for camping novices.

Buy now £638.99, Outwell

Verdict

Any of these tents will transform your summer staycation and keep the whole family warm and dry. For up to six people, we loved the Eurohike Air 600 Tent for its simple inflatable set-up, extra features and excellent waterproofing. If you want to bring a touch of glamour to sleeping under the stars, the Coleman Cortes Octagon 8 Tent is the only way to go. The kids will love using it in the garden as a play tent when you can’t get away too.

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