Family Camping Tents

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

Swooping nylon and linked poles, zippered doors, screened windows, and stakes in the dirt holding it down — the humble formula for a tent has long prevailed as an ultimate outdoors habitat for humans in need of a temporary home. But today’s campground cabanas are far from the basic designs of decades past. Indeed, leaky roofs, clammy quarters, and complex setups that take away from your fireside time are not a trait to any quality tent today.

This article highlights seven new tents made for families of four or more. Be it in the backcountry, on a canoe trip, or car camping at an area state park, one of these shelters is sure to fit your family’s preference for sleeping outside under the summer stars.

Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8.jpg

Family Camper: Big Agnes’ Flying Diamond 8 Tent

Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8 — This top-end shelter accommodates eight adults and is marketed as the “grand daddy of all base camp-style tents.” Made for year-round use — winter camping included — the Flying Diamond features a zippered partition wall to create a two-room suite. The tent body is a breathable polyester with nylon mesh windows. Its rain fly and floor are made of polyester rip-stop nylon with a waterproof polyurethane coating. There are 10 mesh storage pockets and a vestibule off the main room. For setup, the behemoth comes with a total of 20 lightweight aluminum stakes. Price: $599.95. Contact: www.bigagnes.com

Kelty Yellowstone 4 — A budget buy from Kelty, the Yellowstone 4 (available for $144.95 on sites like REI.com) is a freestanding four-person shelter good for car camping or canoe trips. It packs for transport to a manageable 10 pounds, 14 ounces, and its nylon walls are watertight, as expected. A mesh ceiling promotes breathability on hot nights. Put on the rain fly and this three-season tent will ensconce you and your little campers even if gray skies and rain drops try and ruin your weekend away. www.kelty.com

Kelty Yellowstone Tent Photo.jpg

Kelty Yellowstone 4

Posted by Pete Ryan - 07/08/2009 11:52 PM

You missed my favorite for our family, the REI Hobitat 4 or 6. Absolutely huge.

Posted by Stephen Regenold - 07/09/2009 08:37 AM

Ah yes, the Hobitat. Good tent. Thanks for the reminder. We added a short description and image above.

Posted by Steve - 07/09/2009 06:43 PM

We’ve used the Black Diamond Megabug and Megalite combination for backpacking with 3 kids. It easily sleeps 4, sets up super easy, gives an awesome view of the stars without the ‘fly’, packs very small, and weighs easily under 6 pounds. You wouldn’t want to be caught in an exposed place in a windstorm, but for decent weather it’s awesome.

Posted by Q - 07/10/2009 11:48 AM

I had this shipped overnight this just before the July 4th holiday weekend. Huge! I’m 6’0’ & could stand in it. Great buy.

Posted by gromit - 07/10/2009 03:53 PM

REI also has the Kingdom 4 and 6 this year – been great for car camping so far (the 6).

-g

Posted by AV - 07/10/2009 06:18 PM

Don’t forget the Marmot Halo 4 and 6. Both are great tents!

Posted by Chad Skidmore - 07/10/2009 07:52 PM

Mountain Hardwear Casa ???

Posted by rita - 07/11/2009 01:28 AM

Do you have an opinion on the Coleman Elite Weathermaster?

Posted by Stephen Regenold - 07/12/2009 09:06 PM

No experience with the Coleman Elite Weathermaster. Anyone else?

Posted by van adams - 07/15/2009 05:25 PM

For car camping hard to beat the Kodiak canvas tents. They are tough as nails and simple to set up.

Posted by Darryn - 07/16/2009 08:15 PM

We use 8 person tents when car camping, even though we only have two kids. The big tent does not take up much space in the car, and it gives us lots of space and flexibility. When the kids were babies, we even set up a “pack n play” in the tent. Big tent is also great for rainy days.

Posted by Dave Palmer - 07/18/2009 10:02 PM

My wife and I love our Eureka Headquarters. Room for a queen size air mattress, standing headroom and room to spare(including chemical toilet). Not bad to set up. Luxury Camping!

Posted by Tamsin Venn - 07/20/2009 05:27 PM

Don’t forget LL Bean Ultra Dome tent. We live like royalty in ours with camp beds – car camping here – and a vestibule for firewood, bikes, dog, anything wet.

Posted by Adam - 08/31/2009 09:25 AM

If you’re including the Hobitat, should also mention Big Agnes’ Big House line of 4 and 6 person tents.

Posted by iein valdez - 10/07/2009 02:15 PM

I just love my nemo asashi. I had the kingdom 4 before, but it was too damn hard to setup and break down with my kids. I can pitch the asashi in 5 mins! Build quality/fabrics seem superior as well.

Posted by James Mizzell - 11/22/2009 09:07 AM

I’m encouraged that so many folks are opting for larger tents. Any camping trip can be tremendously enhanced by giving everyone room and even if there are only two of you, its nice to have room for an air mattress. It doesn’t cost that much more, especially for the return.

Posted by Calli Makes Do - 12/19/2009 10:34 PM

Our family LOVES our Springbar canvas tent. It may be old school, but it is incredibly roomy, solid in even the worst wind and storms… and super comfortable. Both my husband and I had a Springbar as children, and after really shopping around for a larger tent once we had children, it won out in the end. We are so happy with our choice.

Posted by CJ - 06/16/2010 12:30 PM

Anyone have/use the Flying Diamond 6 from Big Agnes? How does it hold up to heavy rain/wind? We spend summers in the North East and winters in the desert, where i’ve seen tents blown away by high winds. Thanks

Posted by PN - 07/23/2010 01:40 AM

REI Kingdom 6 is a good one. I have only bought recently and set up once but not sure it will hold well in heavy wind or heavy rain. Sierra Designs Wu Hu 4+2 or 6+2 would be an excellent one too. I might return my REI Kingdom 6 for the Big Agnes Flying Diamond 6 tent. My family wants more warmth, in the cool/cold summer California nights. With less mesh, I think the Flying Diamond would be warmer – have to try it out soon. Any comments?

Posted by andrew - 07/30/2010 04:57 PM

Great article on family camping tents – any thoughts on modular tent systems that have multiple rooms but joined together to make a whole tent?

Posted by Rumana Akter - 08/19/2010 02:55 AM

Caravanning is a very popular vacation choice for many. Allowing holidaymakers the freedom of the road, whilst also providing a cost-effective holiday solution.

Camping

Posted by Mark - 03/27/2012 05:06 AM

My vote goes to the REI Kingdom 6 too. It’s held up to few summers of Vermont family camping which can get pretty wet. I grew up camper camping with my family when I was a kid and I’ve gotta say the Kingdom 6 is as close as it gets. Also I think last years Hobitat 6 is currently on sale for super cheap at the REI Outlet.

Posted by Art - 05/23/2013 12:46 PM

My vote goes for the Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8 (HumbleOutdoors $530 w/free footprint). It’s bombproof sturdy, great in the wind, and very very dry.

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