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As well as considering size and cost, there are a whole host of things to look out for when choosing a family tent – from the material to the number of bedrooms if you’re hoping to avoid a row challenging start to your family camping trip. Pro tip: Always size up if you can. So for a family of four, look for a five-person tent.
Whether you're a seasoned camper or a nervous newbie, here are the best family tents that parents really recommend.
1. Best overall tent: Vango Avington II 600 XL Tent
Price: £460 | Buy now from OutdoorGear
“We bought the Vango Avington 600 XL last year as I wanted a large living area and porch for wet days.”
“Another vote for the Vango. It’s so long-lasting.”
Mumsnet users love the Vango range of tents. The 600 XL is designed for six people and is especially good for families as you can choose whether to have one large bedroom or split them into two. They are made from a black-out material to help stop your little ones from waking too early.
It will take around 25 minutes to assemble with the pre-angled fibreglass poles and gives an impressive 18m2 of space, plus an extra 3.8m2 with the porch.
Additional features include a sewn-in groundsheet to stop bugs from crawling through, two entrances and a large living area, separate from the sleeping areas. There’s also a built-in canopy to protect you from the wind, rain and possible sun – ideal for a British summer.
- Large living space
- Separate and flexible bedroom space
- Good value
- Takes 25 minutes to assemble
- Sleeps: Six
- Bedrooms: One large one or two queen size rooms
- Weight: 21.9kg
- Size: Tent: L590 x H210cm x W380 cm, porch: 380cm2, pack size L72cm x H32cm x W34cm
- Waterproof rating: 4,000mm HH
2. Best budget tent: Eurohike Rydal 500 Five-Person Tent
Price: £180 | Buy now from Amazon
“I have a Eurohike and I love it. It’s easy to put up and, as I found out last week, can withstand torrential rain and high winds.”
This dependable Rydal Tent by Eurohike is perfect for a family of four or five with smaller children. The bedroom area can be kept as one large room or zipped into two smaller pods for privacy, and the darkened bedrooms and breathable inner lining stop you from waking up with the larks every morning (unless that's your thing).
It’s reasonably lightweight – ideal if you prefer to camp in more secluded spots – and the colour-coded poles make it quick and easy to erect.
It's fully waterproof with taped seams on the flysheet and groundsheet, so you'll stay dry no matter where you camp, and it also has a zipped electrical hook-up access point so you can neatly power your lantern and any other essentials.
- Large bedroom divides into two for privacy
- Colour coded poles make it easy to assemble
- Awning poles sold separately
- Sleeps: Five
- Bedrooms: One or two depending on preference
- Weight: 14.6kg
- Size: L465cm x H205cm x W320cm, pack size: L67cm x H31cm x W28cm
- Waterproof rating: 2,000mm HH
3. Best tent for storage: Outwell Collingwood Five-Person Tent
Price: £479.99 | Buy now from Mountain Warehouse
“After a load of tent envy/research, we opted for an Outwell. So far it has been an absolute joy to put up (even with DH grunting) and the kids love it.”
This spacious tent by Outwell sleeps five in two specially-designed bedrooms – all with special dark inners. There’s also a special living room, which has a maximum height of 210cm so you can stand up tall.
It’s one of the easier pole-style tents to assemble as it’s made from lightweight fibreglass. The sealed seams and sewn-in groundsheet will keep out the elements and bugs too.
Mumsnet users also rate the sloped porch zone, which gives extra storage space and stops your children from trampling in mud and other delights from outside. It’s also a great zone for cooking on wet days.
- Light fibreglass poles make it easy to assemble
- Separate dark sleeping pods
- Porch area is great for storage
- Trickier than air tents to assemble
- Sleeps: Five
- Bedrooms: Two plus a lounge
- Weight: 20.1kg
- Size: L640cm x H210cm x W380cm, pack size: L72cm x H36cm x W36cm
- Waterproof rating: 4000mm HH
4. Best tent for beginners: Blacks Coleman Octagon Tent
Price: £242.54 | Buy now from Amazon
“The Coleman Octagon was our ‘starter’ tent. Easy to put up and loads of space. Probably not the most weather-proof, but we’re fair-weather campers!”
If you like the idea of yurts, then you may just fall in love with this Coleman Octagon Tent by Blacks. Although it only has one room, there is a removable partition curtain to give you privacy.
It will sleep up to eight people, although six would be more comfortable, and has an amazing 350-degree view thanks to six large windows, which can be unzipped – perfect if you’re camping next to lakes or mountains, but less so if you’re on a busy campsite.
The colour-coded poles make it really easy to set up, even for beginners.
- Huge mesh windows – for 360-degree views
- Colour-coded poles for easy assembly
- Not as weather-proof as some
- Sleeps: Eight
- Bedrooms: One
- Weight: 20.7kg
- Size: L396 x x H208cm x W208cm, pack size: L85 x H30 x W30cm
- Waterproof rating: 2,000mm HH
5. Best air tent: Berghaus Air 8 Inflatable Tunnel Tent
Price: £799 | Buy now from Millets
“We have the Berghaus Air and love it!”
Berghaus’s Air Inflatable Tunnel Tent is much quicker to assemble and take down than a traditional family tent thanks to its quick-release air valves. These are spring-loaded, so will deflate in minutes at the touch of a button.
There’s a large central living area and two separate bedrooms, which each sleep up to four, offering tonnes of space for a larger family. It’s 215cm at its tallest point so everyone should be able to stand up too.
There are also five pockets in the living area and pockets in the bedroom for a tidy and organised tent (until the children get involved!).
One of the best features though is that it backs away into a wheeled carry case making it easy to transport.
- Good value for money
- Packs into a carry bag with wheels
- Large living and sleeping areas
- While the air tent is easy to inflate, if it doesn’t work or you forget the pump then you’re stuck
- Sleeps: Eight
- Bedrooms: Two plus one large living area
- Weight: 30kg
- Size: L750cm x H215cm x W300cm, pack size: L88cm x H56cm x W47cm
- Waterproof rating: 6000mm HH
6. Best tunnel tent: Coleman Mosedale 5 Family Five-Person Tent
Price: £299 | Buy now from Go Outdoors
“I have the Mosedale tent and I’m really pleased with it – it’s surprisingly big! The bedrooms are blackout and can be made into one big room or two smaller. Very easy to put up and take down.”
This simple tunnel tent seems to have been designed with families in mind. The large blackout bedroom (complete with removable room divider) blocks up to 99% of daylight. There are pockets to store essentials or children’s toys, including LEGO and books.
The living area is spacious enough for a table and chairs when you need to shelter from the rain. Mumsnet users also say it’s really easy to assemble thanks to the lightweight fibreglass poles.
- Blackout bedrooms and able to have one or two rooms
- Pockets to store essentials neatly
- Easy to set up
- Smaller living area than some tents
- Not enough head height to stand in the bedrooms
- Sleeps: Five
- Bedrooms: Two and living area
- Weight: 17.2kg
- Size: L470cm x H195cm x W335cm, pack size: L68cm x H32cm x W32cm
- Waterproof rating: 4,500mm HH
7. Best blackout tent: Hi-Gear Hampton 8 DLX Nightfall Tent
Price: £419 | Buy now from Go Outdoors
“We have a Hi Gear. It has withstood torrential rain and gale force winds and stayed lovely and dry and cozy inside.”
This Hi Gear tent comfortably sleeps eight in three separate bedrooms. It also has a spacious living area and a porch. The bedrooms are, to many parents’ relief, blackout so it should help prevent children getting up at dawn.
Despite its large size it should still take just 25 minutes to pitch and then you get a huge 21cm2 space. At its tallest it’s 207cm but even when the roof slopes it’s still 192cm tall – plenty of room to stand up.
There are also plenty of storage pockets to keep the ‘kid clutter’ safely away.
- Very spacious
- Blackout bedrooms
- Might be too large for some families
- Sleeps: Eight
- Bedrooms: Three
- Weight: 29kg
- Size: L730cm x H207cm x W380cm, pack size: L73cm x H45 x W45cm
- Waterproof rating: 4,000mm HH
8. Best lightweight tent: MSR Habitude Tent
Price: £508.95 | Buy now from Amazon
“Small tents are much more likely to survive bad weather. Our little MSR tent made it through the storm.”
This is an incredibly lightweight tent, weighing in at just 3kg, and ideal if you want to reach the campsite by bike given it weighs less than a tenth of most of the tents we feature on this page. The hubbed colour-coded aluminium poles also make it easy to assemble.
While it’s 1.85cm high inside, that’s the maximum so only one person can stand up at a time. It will sleep up to four, but that includes two children, so we think it’s the best tent for two or three people in terms of comfort, especially if you want to store any supplies too. It has just 5.8m2 of floor space inside.
As you’d expect from such a small and light tent, there’s no separate living area. You do, however, get a porch for shoes and outdoor gear. When the brand says this tent is ideal for ‘adventurous campers’ they aren’t kidding. There are no fancy extras here. But for a good value, easy-to-assemble tent you can’t go wrong.
- Very lightweight
- Porch and sleeping area
- Small floor plan so just for sleeping
- Sleeps: Four (two adults and two children)
- Bedrooms: One
- Weight: 3kg
- Size: L241.3cm x H185.42cm x W 241.3cm, pack size: L58cm x H23 cm x W23cm
- Waterproof rating: 1,500mm HH
9. Best pop-up tent: Quechua 2 Seconds Pop-Up Tent
Price: £89.95 | Buy now from eBay
“We use pop-ups to save our marriage! Tents should never be put up by two people in a relationship IMO. My kids are in the garden as I type, having slept in the Quechua. What an amazing tent!”
This tent really does assemble in seconds. While it will save arguments while pitching, it’s only really designed for two people and much more suited to fair weather camping or for the kids to sleep out in the garden.
Unlike some pop-up tents, this Quechua model does have an inner and outer lining to help prevent condensation. It also gives you somewhere to store shoes.
For the odd night, it’s a great quick fix, but if you’re serious about sleeping in the great outdoors you’ll need a more durable tent and one with more space.
- Very easy to assemble
- Very affordable
- Very basic and more suited to garden camping
- Very small
- Sleeps: Two (just!)
- Bedrooms: One
- Weight: 2.94kg
- Size: L210cm x H98cm x W120cm, pack size: L65.6 x H65.6 x W8cm
- Waterproof rating: 5,000mm HH
How to choose the best family tent
There are five main types of tent. These are:
- Air tents, which use inflatable 'beams' (yes, really) instead of poles. They are quick to erect, lightweight and sturdy. You will, however, need to remember the air pump – every trip without fail.
- Pop-up tents simply pop up. Typically smaller than bell, hair and tunnel tents, they are probably best suited to short breaks or a night in the garden.
- Tunnel tents are based on a (you guessed it) tunnel design, where a series of poles – or indeed air beams – form arches, giving plenty of headroom. Most family tents are based on this design.
- Bell tents (of glamping fame) – think cotton canvas, a single structure and one large room. Dividers can be purchased separately. Although they're easy to put up, bell tents take up a lot of space when drying out and can be heavy to transport.
- Trailer tents – old-school perhaps, but they hold their own in terms of the space offered. You'll need a tow-bar fitted to your car, but the biggest hurdle is perhaps where to keep them when not in use.
The general consensus is always to size up at least two people from what it says. A four-berth tent will be quite cosy for two adults and two children, especially with all your camping paraphernalia inside.
Space and height
Unless you fancy crawling around a tent, look for one with plenty of headroom. Additionally, having a spare sleeping pod for supplies can come in very handy. One user says: “Always buy the biggest you can afford. Get plenty of living space with good headroom if camping in the UK, as misery is a cramped tent in the rain.”
With the exception of bell tents, most family tents are made from nylon. You can purchase canvas tunnel tents, but these are slightly more expensive. Canvas is cooler but unless you're venturing out of the UK you might not enjoy the temperatures necessary to appreciate it.
Look out for blackout tents too. Anyone with young children will appreciate how full of life they are first thing in the morning, and the thought of children up at the crack of dawn is enough to put anyone off the camping life.
But a word of caution if opting for a dark tent – they don't let light through, but they do absorb heat and can become stifling very quickly once the sun's up.
Look out for its waterproof rating too. It’s measured in HH, which means Hydrostatic Head, which measures how tall a column of water the fabric can hold before water starts to seep through the material. The bigger the number the more water-resistant.
You can often get good value tents second hand. This is especially worth doing if you’ve never camped before (look on eBay and local selling sites before you make a significant investment).
Even if you're a seasoned camper looking to upgrade, there's absolutely no need to buy new with so many bargains to be had, especially at the end of the summer.
Are pop-up tents worth it?
Pop- up tents can be great for beginners. You don’t need an extensive knowledge of tent poles and, as you’d expect, these kinds of tents are really quick to assemble – some in a minute or so. You will have to then tether the tent to the ground to ensure it doesn’t blow away.
They can, however, be bulkier and heavier than traditional tents so bear that in mind if space is at a premium or if you’re cycling to your campsite. While they are very quick to erect, taking them down and making sure they are folded correctly for their next use can be a bit trickier.
Many are single skin so look out for double unless you want to suffer from condensation. If you want an easy way to try out camping, then a pop-up tent could be your answer.
What is the best family tent on the market?
The Vango Avington II 600 XL Tent gives you a lot of extra features for the price tag and that’s why parents say it’s one of the best family tents on the market. It has flexibility with bedroom space, offering one or two bedrooms. And, because it’s made out of black-out material, it should stop your children waking at the same time as the birds.
If you’re on a budget then Eurohike’s Rydal 500 Five-Person Tent gives you a lot of space for under £200.
How we chose our recommendations
All of our recommendations for family tents came from Mumsnet users themselves. We searched the Mumsnet forums for posts about which tents, including air tents and tunnel tents, that Mumsnetters really loved. We also looked at other reviews to see which tents performed well across the board.
Why you should trust us
We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.