With summer inching its way in and vacation plans in flux, now is the perfect time to pick out your next family tent and plan a campout. We’ve got recommendations for car camping tents, backpacking tents and even extra dark tents that will help your kids nap (fingers crossed!). Camping with kids can be an awesome experience that is only made better with a little planning. Scroll through and get ready for your next outdoor adventure!
Best for Keeping the Kids Contained—Kelty Tallboy 4
While many families like multiple doors to allow easy access to the tent, those with little campers might want to consider this single-door option from Kelty to keep the comings and goings to a minimum. The Kelty Tallboy comes in four- and six-person sizes and, as the name implies, has a very tall interior of 70 inches (72 in the six-person) that's perfect for getting the kids dressed in the morning. The reinforced fiberglass poles and color-coded scheme make for a sturdy and easy-to-use setup.
Size: 4-person (also available in 6-person size)
Weight: 12 lbs. 15 oz.
Best for Small Families—REI Co-Op Kingdom 4
We love this tent from REI Co-op for small families because it sleeps four, but the vertical walls and a high domed roof make it feel roomy. With two doors, you don't have to worry about stepping over your family to get out in the morning. Setup is a breeze with clear instructions and color coding of poles, tent, and fly. When it's time to roll up your tent to head home, the roomy carry bag makes that easy.
Weight: 18 lbs. 8 oz.
Easiest Set-up in the Campground: UST Gear House Party
You'll love this barrel-shaped tent because it is sturdy when the wind kicks up and super easy to set up and take down. Two large doors make in-and-out access easy and color-coded poles mean you can totally assign set up to the tweens.
Size: 4- and 6-person options
Best Intro. to Backpacking Tent—NEMO Aurora 3P
We love this new backpacking tent from NEMO as it is spacious, includes a footprint and has a great price point. Two doors and vestibules provide easy access and gear storage. Light Pockets™, duffel storage bag and gear pockets complete the package. Add on a Pawprint, and you can bring your four-legged friend along without worrying about your pup's paws wrecking your floor.
Size: 3-person (also available in 2-person size)
Weight: 4 lbs. 9 oz.
Best Protection from the Elements—Sierra Designs Nomad 6
We love this tent that sleeps six as it is ready to get you through those windy and raining nights that might take you by surprise. The three-pole system makes the tent extra sturdy. We especially love the fly that fully covers the whole tent, as you are much less likely to have moisture in your tent with this set up. Tons of pockets and two doors make it easy to keep things organized in your tent.
Weight: 12 lbs. 13 oz.
Best Cabin-Style Tent for Small Families—REI Co-op Grand Hut 4
Stand up tall in this cabin-style tent that's built for four people. Best for warm-weather camping, the high interior space and vented rainfly will keep things cool. Keep your tent space tidy with multiple pockets for convenient storage and gear loops for attaching lights. With two doors and two staked vestibules, you'll have space to keep your gear outside but still protected from the elements.
Weight: 14 lbs. 82 oz.
Solar-Powered and Easiest Set Up—The Cinch Hub
If setting up a tent stresses you out, this is the one for you. The Cinch Hub literally pops up in less than 60 seconds, and a color-coded system makes takedown a breeze. You can use the Hub to sleep up to six people or set up your camp chairs in there to get out of the sun and away from the bugs. You can even harness the sun's energy with an optional solar power pack ($100) to charge your USB gadgets. The Hub comes with four LED lights, doormats, a removable groundsheet and storage pockets.
Weight: 18 lbs.
Best for a Restful Night's Sleep—Coleman 4-Person Dark Room™ Skydome™ Camping Tent
Start your camping trip off right with this easy-to-set-up tent from Coleman. We love the added dark room technology that keeps out 90% of the sunlight. This is key for families with little ones who still need to nap during the sunny hours of the day (which is almost impossible with a regular tent). It also helps during the summer months when the sun doesn't go down until much later. An added benefit is that the dark room technology will keep your tent much cooler by blocking the sun's rays during the heat of the day.
Size: 4-person (also available in 6- and 8-person)
Weight: 12 lbs.
Best Backpacking Tent—Big Agnes Blacktail Hotel 3
The Blacktail Hotel from Big Agnes is a do-everything tent offered at an accessible price. It's light enough for the backcountry and strong enough for the front country. The Blacktail Hotel's fly doubles the living space of the tent—giving your family, your gear and your dog more than enough space.
Size: 3-person (also available in 2-person size)
Weight: 6 lbs. 5 oz.
Best for a Big Family at a Low Price—Sierra Designs Aspen Meadow 8-Person Dome Tent
We love this tent from Sierra Designs, as it has everything you need for your first family camping trip without a major cost investment. It sleeps up to eight people, has two doors that convert into awnings and is tall enough to stand in.
Weight: 21 lbs.
Best Summer Tent—Coleman Steel Creek
This six-person dome tent features a separate screen room for insect-free lounging and extra sleeping space. We love it for summer camping because there is ample ventilation to keep it cool while you sleep. Two queen air mattresses and gear have plenty of room in the main compartment, and set up is intuitive due to the Fast Pitch™ system.
Weight: 19 lbs.
- Look at the tent's floor space when deciding what size to purchase. A tent that sleeps four is going to sleep four pretty tightly (often alternating head to foot). If you want space for gear and air mattresses you will likely want to increase the size of your tent.
- Practice setting up your tent in advance. There's nothing worse than arriving at a campsite late in the day or in the dark and having no idea how to set up your tent.
- Think about what extras you might need for your tent. Does your tent come with a footprint? Should you bring a tarp to put underneath to keep the moisture out? Extra tent pegs and a rubber mallet always help with tent setup, especially on a firm surface.
- Weatherproof your tent before you go. Water resistant is not the same as waterproof. Apply seam sealer to keep water out of your tent.