Definitely 5m. We're a family of 4 with no dog yet and plumped for the 5m - we love it. It's really spacious, but given the kids are still quite little we wanted space to grow into it.
We also have the half inner tent because we're just too messy for open-plan living, I couldn't handle the jumble - but we have camped without it. I read a suggestion somewhere (after we'd bought the inner) of using a cheap pop-up tent to create a kid's sleeping space instead.
With the inner up (we fashioned a divider using a bedsheet to separate kids' and adults' bedrooms), there was room for table and chairs and gubbins in one quarter and a picnic mat on the floor for the kids to play cards/scatter pencils on rainy days on without being too much underfoot.
Covet the stove, but icey-tek cool box is currently topping the list of items-to-obsess-about-until-you-give-in-and-just-get-one essential camping equipment, so that might have to wait for another year. Also want a tarp. Sigh.
There are two of us and we have a 5m one. I like space. We cook in the tent. We've got one of the quarter bedrooms for sleeping in. Then another quarter is the "sitting room"' another quarter is the "kitchen" then the last quarter is where bags, etc are stored.
I've got a zipped in tent. We've only used it twice, dd is 11 so I put it up and take it down on my own. First time I took it down in one go in a monsoon and as the canvas was so wet it was really heavy and I nearly couldn't get it in the car. Couldn't get it in the bag, just stuffed it in the boot in a heap.
Dried it out at home and unzipped it. Bought a second carry bag for transporting it. Went camping and couldn't zip the fucking thing back together. Some nice man on the campsite helped me, so it's obviously possible but I found it very difficult. It's put me off it a bit now. We're going to centre parcs in the summer this year instead!
there's 3 of us and a large dog in our 5m and it works brilliantly: it's a much nicer place to be than a standard tent but drying it out can be a problem to avoid mildew, it takes a while to put up and drop, it's very heavy and bulky so you do need a big car. love it though!
5m or an Emperor, unless you only want to sleep in it and nothing else.
I don't like having a heat source too close to the tent so we cook under a tarp pegged out in a ridge tent type shape - like this one. It can also act as a porch stretching out from the A frame of the tent itself with a bit of rigging, we put the table & chairs out & eat under it too.
We have zipped in and I love it, avoids most creepy crawly issues.
I haven't bought the stove because DD is mildly dyspraxic and I don't want her blundering into it. Would love one, though - depends on how much winter camping you think you'd be doing.
I love our tent, had it 4 years now and it's so easy and comfortable and just the best!
Dh has agreed to buy a bell tent. Now there are four of us and a rather large dog.mdo I need a 4m or 5m? Where do you cook? Those silly awnings look no good for cooking under! Am I better with pegged in or zipped in? Is it worth buying the stove?