The Best Family Tents, According to Camping Experts

Nemo Equipment’s Wagontop has unbeatable standing space and ease of setup.

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Travel + Leisure / Danie Drankwalter

The quality of your family camping tent determines whether your outdoor experience is a success or disaster. If the instructions printed on the tent bag are too difficult to decipher (there’s no way to watch an online video demo and we’ve been struggling with setting up for more than five minutes), tempers start flaring in my family, ruining the entire mood of our trip.

Our top pick for the best family tent, the spacious Nemo Equipment Wagontop, gets each outdoor escape off to a smooth start with quick and easy pitching. Besides ease of setup, other factors to consider when choosing a tent include the hydrostatic head rate, weight, and capacity. You’ll also need to weigh the pros and cons of different tent forms, such as A-frame, cabin-style, dome, geodesic, inflatable, and connectible. Some are better for handling snow (dome and geodesic), while a connectible design allows you to configure your space based on the needs of each trip. It’s also important to know which materials will best suit your family, from insulating cotten to rigid polyester to stretchy and abrasion-resistant nylon.

These are the best family camping tents to take on your next wilderness escape:

Best Overall

Nemo Equipment Inc. Wagontop 4 Tent

Nemo Wagontop 4 Tent

Backcountry

Why We Love It: There’s tons of headroom and a streamlined setup means there's no need for fumbling when you get to your site.

What to Consider: The single-wall design means condensation might be a problem.

Nemo Equipment’s Wagontop is my family’s top choice because of two factors: ease of setup and standing space. Usually, I’m prepping a meal while my husband and kids handle the tent set-up, so I appreciate that Nemo simplified the pitching process by eliminating sleeves for the poles and a separate rainfly. The canopy clips onto a pole-structure frame that offers the largest standing space I’ve been able to find in a tent.  While you can unzip the rainfly on the four-person and six-person sizes, the eight-person tent comes with it attached so there are fewer parts to manage. You can divide the tent into two spaces to add privacy: one side can fit a queen-sized air mattress with room to spare, but the other barely fits a single twin. I recommend purchasing a Nemo Victory Blanket , which is waterproof on one side and soft and cozy on the other, in XL or XXL to use as a floor mat.

In my experience, this tent has remained sturdy in strong rain and winds. The Wagontop’s fully-sealed seams and guy-out cords have always kept us dry. Everytime I test a Nemo Equipment product, I appreciate how innovative this company is. In fact, they’re so confident in their devotion to intelligent design that they offer a lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship and materials as long as you have proof of purchase from an authorized Nemo dealer.

Price at time of publish: $550

Floor dimensions: 8.3 x 8.3 feet (four-person) | Packed dimensions: 27 x 10 x 10 inches (four-person) | Weight: 16.1 pounds (four-person) | Hydrostatic head rating: 1,500 millimeters

Best Budget

Coleman 3-person & 6-person Connectable Tent Bundle

Coleman 3-Person & 6-Person Connectable Tent Bundle with Fast Pitch Setup

Coleman

Why We Love It: It’s an affordable way for each family member and pet to have their own private space while still being connected to each other.

What to Consider: The stitching isn’t as reliable as it is on some more expensive options.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there’s been a higher demand for connectible tents. Pod, one of the first brands to innovate a modular system, are out of stock until at least 2023, and its tents of comparable size cost significantly more than our budget pick from Coleman. My family enjoys using each tent on its own as well as zipping together two six-person tents and four three-person tents. My husband and I claimed one of the larger tents, and we used the other as a dining/living area. Our 14-year-old and 17-year-old each got their own mini tent while the 6-year-old and 9-year-old wanted to share one mini. Our gear filled the remaining mini. The larger tents offer a decent amount of headroom at 57.6 inches. Every tent has two doors and two windows as well as mesh openings on all four sides and the top for ventilation. Thanks to Coleman’s Fast Pitch design with the roof poles pre-attached to the top hub, assembly is relatively easy. Coleman backs up its gear with a one-year warranty.

Price at time of publish: $440

Floor dimensions: 8 x 6 feet (three-person dome), 12 x 10 feet (six-person cabin) | Packed dimensions: Not listed | Weight: 43.3 pounds (entire bundle) | Hydrostatic Head Rating: Not listed

Best for Cold Weather

Crua Culla Two-person Insulated Tent

Crua Culla 2-Person Insulated Tent

Crua

Why We Love It: Crua developed insulated tents that block out light and sound and regulate temperature, and this one fits inside a modular system of connectable tents that can be attached to each other.

What to Consider: It’s not waterproof, and a pump needs to be purchased separately.

Crua Outdoors was founded in 2014 to solve a problem that founder Derek O’Sullivan had with camping: “why do tents have to be so cold, hot, bright, noisy, and uncomfortable?” The solution was the Culla™ line, which Crua Outdoors claims includes the world’s first modular tents that are correctly insulated. Not only is this tent easy to set up using an air pump on air beams, but it also regulates temperature, dampens sound, and blocks light. The Culla line has an R-value of 9 and keeps heat in on cold days and out on hot days.

Best of all, these insulated tents fit inside of the Crua Clan connectible tents, which come in three different sizes: Crua Core is the central tent that sleeps six (or can be used as the living room), the Crua Duo sleeps two, and the Crua Duo Max sleeps three. The Crua Core can be connected to up to three Crua Duo or Duo Maxes. Crua offers a two-year warranty.

Price at time of publish: $500

Floor dimensions: 6.8 x 4.4 x. 4 feet | Packed dimensions: Not listed | Weight: 15 pounds | Hydrostatic head rating: Not listed

Best for Warm Weather

Mountainsmith Conifer 5+ Person Tent

Mountainsmith Conifer 5+ Person Tent

Moosejaw

Why We Love It: It’s lightweight enough to be used by hikers as well as car campers.

What to Consider: There’s no privacy or warmth without the rain fly.

The massive Mountainsmith Conifer 5+ features two doors, two asymmetric vestibules, a 6.1-foot peak height, and 84-square-foot floor space, which all stuffs into a thoughtfully designed cloth briefcase. One vestibule looks like a porch and is generous in size. It’s my top recommendation for warm weather because the inner tent is mostly made of mesh and therefore can’t retain heat. The rainfly and floor of the tent is both waterproof and fire-retardant. A gear loft is included to keep your dirty equipment organized and out of the way. A footprint can be purchased separately, which I recommend because it adds an additional 2,000 millimeters of water resistance. Like Nemo, Mountainsmith offers a lifetime warranty.

Price at time of publish: $406

Floor dimensions: 10 x 10 x  6.1 feet | Packed dimensions: 22 x 10.5 x 10.5 inches | Weight: 14.6 pounds | Hydrostatic head rating: 2,000 millimeters (fly), 5,000 millimeters (floor)

Easiest Assembly

Decathlon Quechua 2-second Easy Fresh & Black Waterproof Pop-up Camping Tent

Decathlon Quechua 2 Second Easy Fresh & Black Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent

Decathlon

Why We Love It: It only takes two seconds to put up and fold away.

What to Consider: The bright white color may be too harsh for some campers.

There’s a reason this tent has won several awards in innovation and ecodesign. On either end of the tent, there is a red pull cord which instantly pitches it. All you have to do is stake it to the ground. Decathlon’s patented Fresh & Black fabric not only provides 99 percent darkness, but it’s also heat-resistant. In addition, at night when you turn on your lantern, you can feel free to undress knowing that no one outside of the tent can see what you are up to. Two spaces between the flysheet and the ground on each side of the tent offer ventilation and limit condensation. Decathlon offers a five-year warranty.

Price at time of publish: $229

Floor dimensions: 6.7 x 4.7 feet | Packed dimensions: 23.2 x 7.9 x 7.9 inches | Weight: 10.4 pounds | Hydrostatic Head Rating: 2,000 millimeters (flysheet), 5,000 millimeters (groundsheet)

Best for Backpacking

Sea to Summit Telos TR2 2-person 3-season Freestanding Tent

Sea to Summit Telos TR2

Sea to Summit

Why We Love It: Ingenious innovations like the Tension Ridge architecture create space and ventilation.

What to Consider: The mesh can easily tear.

Roland Tyson, the founder and head designer at Sea to Summit, partnered with Jake Lah, the founder and head designer of DAC Poles, to create ultralight backpacking tents. After three years of development, they released the Alto and Telos line in the spring of 2021. Today, folks are still saying their tents are “game changers.” The Telos TR2 has won numerous awards for space, ventilation, and versatility. Their FairShare storage system packages the tent, fly, and poles separately so you can divide the three parts among backpacks. Like the Nemo Equipment Wagontop, the poles form a frame which the tent clips onto. The frame creates a V-shape, called the tension ridge, at the top of the tent, which offers more head and shoulder room, vertical walls, and higher doors. At the highest point of the tent, Sea to Summit also added a ventilation port. Quick-connect V-toggle attachments eliminate the need for tying knots in cords. 

In terms of versatility, Sea to Summit thoughtfully designed an inner tent that could be taken down, leaving the rainfly in place for fly-only mode. Using guy lines and hiking poles, you can also create what they call “hangout mode.” Even the stuff sacks can be repurposed as pockets inside the tent. Sea to Summit offers a lifetime warranty.

Price at time of publish: $559

Floor dimensions: 7 x 4.4 x 3.5 feet | Packed dimensions: 5 x 19 inches | Weight: 3.6 pounds | Hydrostatic head rating: 2,500 millimeters (floor)

Best Eight-person

Nordisk Alfheim 12.6 Tent

Nordisk Alfheim 12.6 Tent

BobLeisure

Why We Love It: Canvas tents are environmentally friendly, durable, weather-resistant, and insulating.

What to Consider: It’s heavy.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include at least one canvas tent. Since 1901, Nordisk has earned a reputation for innovation. In 2017, they launched the world’s lightest tent and the first Nordisk Village in Venice, featuring luxury camping in Nordisk tents. Now there are villages in Procida, Goto Islands, Puglia, Jura, and Patagonia, where you can book an open-space tent experience.

This is probably one of the few eight-person tents that can be pitched by one person. With a classic tepee structure, all you need to do is prop it up with one pole in the middle. A zip-in floor can be purchased separately as can an inner cabin that hangs easily inside of the tent. I love stargazing at night, snug in my sleeping bag, inside the cabin by pulling guy ropes to open the top of the tent. This also offers excellent ventilation.

Price at time of publish: $575

Floor dimensions: 12.8-foot diameter | Packed dimensions: 12.6 x 39 inches | Weight: 26 pounds | Hydrostatic head rating: 350 millimeters

Best Six-person

REI Co-op Wonderland 6 Tent

REI Co-op Wonderland 6 Tent

REI

Why We Love It: It allows for 360-degree views, and it’s spacious with two doors and a 6.2-foot peak height.

What to Consider: The interior pockets are so high that I can’t easily grab things when I’m lying down.

In 2022, REI replaced their Kingdom series with Wonderland. It was so easy to set up that my kids managed pitching on an extremely windy day. The large interior space can be divided into two equally sized rooms. Because the entire upper portion of the tent is mesh and there are triangular windows on both sides of the tent, ventilation is not a problem. I recommend purchasing the optional mud room because otherwise there is no protected exterior storage.

Price at time of publish: $599

Floor dimensions: 10 x 8.3 feet | Packed dimensions: 13 x 32 inches | Weight: 22.9 pounds | Hydrostatic head rating: Not listed

Best Four-person

Snow Peak Alpha Breeze Tent

Snow Peak Alpha Breeze Tent

REI

Why We Love It: There are windows and doors on all four sides of the tent and plenty of headroom.

What to Consider: The grade of the mesh might not be small enough to keep out tiny bugs.

Snow Peak designed this double-wall tent for North Americans with the influence of A-frames and Adirondack cabins. All poles are color-coded to match the sleeve or grommet they fit in (blue for ridge and A poles and red for C poles). Four doors and windows, one on each side, allows a nice cross wind and lateral breeze. I was able to fit two adults and four kids inside comfortably. Guy lines (you can stake them out to stabilize the tent in high winds), an awning, and awning poles are included. You can also purchase their Alpha Breeze Mat and Sheet Set separately.

Michael Andersen, Snow Peak’s Brand Engagement Manager, says, “At Snow Peak, we view the tent as the starting point for an outdoor experience. All our products are modular and customizable, so you can create a comfortable space that suits your needs and preferences…Snow Peak-style campsites always have a tarp or shelter paired with a tent for additional living space. Consider your vision for your overall camping experience – from the furniture to the kitchen area. Think of your tent as one piece of the campsite puzzle to ensure you find the perfect fit.” 

Price at time of publish: $500

Floor dimensions: 9.1 x 8.5 feet | Packed dimensions: 14.9 x 8.1 x 6.1 inches | Weight: 24.2 pounds | Hydrostatic head rating: 5,000 millimeter (inner tent), 1,800 millimeter (fly sheet)

Tips for Buying a Family Camping Tent

Consider your weather protection needs

Hydrostatic head (also known as water column) is a measurement of how much water pressure a fabric can hold. It represents a measurement of the waterproofness of a fabric, but please remember that it does not indicate the overall performance of the tent in rainy weather. To measure the hydrostatic head rating, a column of water is pressed against the fabric, then slowly increased until the water penetrates the fabric. The height of the water just before the water penetrates is the hydrostatic head. It is also important to understand that tents need to be both waterproof and breathable. If the hydrostatic rating is too high, water will condense on the inside. 

The higher the number, the more waterproof a fabric is. Tents in general should not have a hydrostatic head of less than 1,000 millimeters. Ground sheets should be on average 8,000+ millimeters. Three-season tents have a lower hydrostatic head, more mesh, and more ventilation than four-season tents. Most people only need a three-season tent that functions well for spring, summer, or fall camping. 

Polyether urethane is the most popular coating on a tent’s fabric. Silicone is more water-resistant but more expensive. Polyether urethane also waterproofs a tent but reduces tear strength. 

Remember ease of setup

Countless times, I’ve seen an adult cancel a camping trip because a tent was too complicated for one person to set up or the instructions were too unclear, and there was no way to access video demos. I recommend watching one of those videos and setting up the tent in your backyard or living room prior to arriving at a campsite.

Self-standing tents are definitely easier to work with and more flexible when it comes to hard surfaces. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How big of a tent do I need?

    Purchase a tent capacity greater than the actual number of people sleeping in the tent. For example:

    • One person = large two-person tent or small three-person tent.
    • Two people = large three-person tent or small four-person tent.
    • Three to five people = large six-person
    • Six people = eight+ person tent


    You can also measure the floor space and height to determine how much space you need. Ideally, a family tent floor space should be at least big enough for a double-bed air mattress and two single sleeping pads, or 80 x 100 square feet. Make sure the minimum peak interior height can allow you to stand upright comfortably.


    On average, each person needs about 24 x 76 inches of space. You can figure out how many people your tent can comfortably accommodate based upon its floor dimensions.

  • What is a tent footprint?

    A tent footprint matches the floor dimensions of your tent. It is placed beneath your tent to keep it clean and dry and protect it from rocks, roots, or anything that might puncture your tent floor. It is usually sold separately. I highly recommend purchasing one because every time I used a tent without one, my chair or cot would poke a hole through the tent floor.

  • How do you care for a tent?

    Practice pitching inside your home or your backyard to make sure you don’t have any missing parts or manufacturing defects. Pack a tent repair kit, duct tape, and a footprint. 


    When pitching outside, be sure to remove all rocks and sticks from the site. Avoid extreme heat, direct sunlight, and pitching too close to an open fire. 


    After camping, first clean the interior of the tent before you take it down. Freestanding tents can be unstaked, then tipped until dirt and debris can be swept out of the tent. Decathlon's Mountain Sports Category Manager, Uluc Sozuoz, offers these tips for cleaning a tent: 

    • Cleaning: if necessary, use soapy water and rinse (water-jet cleaning if possible). (If you use a hose, be sure not to use high pressure.) Dry thoroughly before storing. 
    • Removing resin stains: once the stain has dried, carefully scrape off the resin. Apply an ice cube to the inside. This will make the resin brittle and it will be easier to remove. 
    • Storage: after use or cleaning, do not store your tent until it is perfectly dry to prevent odors and mold from forming.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Leslie Hsu Oh, a veteran gear tester for Backpacker Magazine, Outside Magazine, Popular Mechanics, REI, Runner’s World, Sierra Magazine, and T+L, believes that having a great experience outdoors depends on the quality and technical innovation of your gear. Known for the extremes with which she tests products in adventures, she’s lost and miraculously recovered an iPhone sealed inside of a Sea to Summit waterproof case for more than 36 hours beneath a powerful underground waterfall deep inside the Devil’s Cave in Brazil, canyoneered kits in Jordan’s Wadi Mujib during flash-flood season, and fished in Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent waters while pedaling Old Town and Ocean Kayak kayaks through mangroves.

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