Best Family Camping Tents For 2021 - Outdoors Magic

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Best Family Camping Tents For 2021

Here are our top picks of the best roomy and dependable family tents, ideal for families and large groups

Camping with a big family tent has always been an inexpensive way to take the family on holiday, without the hassle of airport security and the other stresses that come with international travel. In these post-COVID times, it also eliminates any concerns over quarantine regulations and restricted destinations. As such, it’s looking like 2021 may well be the year of the staycation.

And why not? Holidaying here at home is a great opportunity to discover some of the UK’s most incredible landscapes, from the wild Cornish coast to the rolling Scottish border country and beyond. With thousands of stunning campsites in the UK there is truly something for everyone – from small, back to basics sites that offer a ‘nearly wild’ camping experience to larger, modern campsites with a full range of amenities and state of the art facilities.

And we’re not just talking hot showers and flushing toilets – many sites are replete with everything from wood-fired hot tubs to Wi-Fi, giving even the most demanding first-time camper all the home comforts they could ask for, and more.

Having said all that, a decent family tent can make or break a camping holiday. Nobody wants to spend hours pitching their tent, trying to work out which poles fit through which sleeves. Nor do you want to feel cramped when you’re inside, jostling with other family members for elbow room. That kind of thing ramps up stress levels from the start, inevitably leading to arguments and unhappy campers.

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Fortunately, most modern family tents are designed to be the perfect home from home. Modern fabrics and improved ventilation systems ensure they feel bright and airy, with minimal condensation. Unlike the heavy, cumbersome tents of old, they’re also easy to set up, with intuitive designs and robust yet lightweight poles – or even, in some cases, no poles at all.

The last decade or so has seen the rise of the air tent, which use inflatable beams instead of traditional tent poles. And if you’re concerned about your tent getting punctured or taking off in windy weather, don’t be – most air tents are more rigid and robust than their poled counterparts.

To help you whittle down your tent selection, we’ve carefully picked out the top family tents from leading brands, ranging from four-person to giant eight-berth options. They’re designed to offer different camping experiences – so whether you want the communal space and timeless appeal of a deluxe tipi or bell tent or a roomy modular tent with separate bedroom areas for your teenagers, there’s an option for you.

Best Family Tents 2021

  • Kelty Rumpus 6
  • Robens Klondike
  • Easy Camp Base Camp Air 500
  • Outwell Airville 6SA
  • Coleman Valdes Deluxe 6XL Air BlackOut
  • Kampa/Dometic Studland 6 Air
  • Wild Country Zonda 8
  • Vaude Badawi 4
  • Snow Peak Amenity Dome

BEST BUY: Kelty Rumpus 6

Price: $300
Type: Dome
Sleeps: 6 (4P also available)

OK this isn’t the most specced out or luxurious family tent, but it’s functional, convenient, and fairly priced and we really like the simplicity of it.

We’ve found putting the Kelty Rumpus 6 up to be quick and easy and packing it away was convenient too, all thanks to the oversized ‘shark mouth’ stuff sack it comes with.

The living space is huge, with plenty of space for six fully grown people to lie down and a decent amount of headspace too. There isn’t much porch space but there’s still room for three or four people to kick back in their camping chairs. You can also open up the back of the tent to essentially transform the whole thing into a gazebo of sorts.

It’s design, resembling a kind of oversized packing tent, makes this a sturdy option that’ll withstand some rough weather. The durable materials also add to the overall reliability too.

Bear in mind there’s a 4-person version of the Rumpus too.

Full Specifications

Weight: 8.37kg / floor Area: 85.68 ft3 / floor Length: 117.5″ / 298.45 cm / floor Width: 105″ / 266.7 cm / 4x poles / 2x doors / 68D Poly / 1200 mm / CO / 4 internal storage pockets.

Get the latest price at:
kelty.com

 

 

Robens Klondike

Price: £760
Type: Bell tent
Sleeps: 6

With timeless looks that will appeal to glampers and traditionalists alike, this large and airy bell tent offers masses of internal headroom and plenty of floorspace. It’s part of Robens’ popular Outback range, a series of eye-catching, retro-styled tents based on the designs used by early American pioneers. However, it’s made from lightweight polycotton rather than old-school heavy cotton canvas, making it much quicker drying than a standard bell tent, not to mention easier to transport. With a packed size of 80 x 27cm, it’ll fit in the boot of most family cars with room to spare.

It will sleep up to six people in relative comfort, though a family of four would be the ideal occupants.  If you want to divide up the interior space, an additional inner tent can be purchased to create two bedrooms and a separate living area. Plenty of other accessories are also available, including a footprint and a soft, fleecy tent carpet. It also has a vent for a stove pipe, allowing it to be used with a frontier-style woodstove (though this can’t be used in conjunction with the optional inner tent).

With a stove all set up and blazing away inside, it makes a very cosy shelter for colder weather, extending its use into winter. That makes it a pretty versatile tent and arguably a good investment too, especially if you intend to use it year-round. Whatever the season though, this is a durable tent with plenty of charm that is the ideal base for outdoorsy families.

Full Specifications

Weight: 16.7kg / packed size: 80 x 27cm / dimensions: 370 x 390cm / max headroom: 2.7m / flysheet: HydroTex (65% polyester, 35% cotton) / groundsheet: 210T Oxford 100% polyester (10,000mm HH)

Get the latest price at:
robens.de

Easy Camp Base Air 500

Price: £550
Type: Air tunnel tent
Sleeps: 5

 Easy Camp are known for their practical, great value family tents, and the Base Air 500 is no exception. It offers the quick and easy pitching of an air tent without the scary price tag of some other upmarket brands. And although this tent lacks a few of the features that you might find with some deluxe family models, it still offers plenty of useful extras. This includes toggled thresholds over the front and side entrances, which can be raised to stop mud and grass getting in but can also be spread out flat, preventing kids from tripping over the doorway.

Headroom and floorspace are decent for a five-person tent, though taller campers might have to stoop a little. On the other hand, the weight and packed size are both excellent, so it’s a tent that’ll fit in smaller cars and won’t require a folding truck to transport it to your campsite pitch either. With a smaller footprint than most, it will also fit in smaller areas, making it ideal for more compact campsites.

Once pitched, the tent feels stable enough to shrug off breezy conditions without concern, and the 3,000mm hydrostatic head rating of the flysheet will deal with downpours too. Inside, the forward living area will easily accommodate a table and a couple of camping chairs. At the back, there’s a sleeping area with a toggled divider that creates two bedrooms in a 60/40 split.

The larger ‘master’ bedroom has room for up to three sleepers, while the other side can take two. This smaller space is still wide enough for two sleeping mats up to 55cm wide to lay side-by-side. Length of both bedrooms is good too, at 2.1m. Note that they’re not full ‘blackout’ spaces, as with some other family tents, so light sleepers might want to bring their eye masks. But that aside, this is a practical and pretty well-priced air tent that is ideal for short breaks with a small family or a couple of friends.

Full Specifications

Weight: 15.6kg / packed size: 78 x 35cm / dimensions: 490 x 300cm / max headroom: 1.7m / flysheet: 185T polyester PU coated, fire retardant, 100% polyester / groundsheet: 100% polyethylene

Get the latest price at:
easycamp.com

Outwell Airville 6SA

Price: £1,625
Type: Air tunnel tent with side annexe
Sleeps: 6

A premium family tent with two bedrooms, a large living area, side annexe and enclosed porch, the Outwell Airville 6SA is a bit of a monster. But despite its generous proportions, pitching is easy thanks to Outwell’s efficient and intuitive air beam system. Once up it is secure, sturdy and very weatherproof, with a polyester flysheet that has a class-leading 6,000mm hydrostatic head rating. As you’d expect, it’s bright and roomy inside, with good airflow thanks to a large front entrance plus two additional side doors.

Working from back to front, there are two darkened bedrooms equipped with Outwell’s ‘Quick & Quiet’ magnetic doors, which do away with noisy zips or Velcro fastenings (ideal if someone gets up for the loo at 3am). The sleeping compartments also have storage pockets and a cable entry point for electric hook-ups. Then there’s a large living space, which can either be configured as a huge single area or closed off with a separate covered porch. Up top, this has Outwell’s HookTrack for hanging camp lanterns or rigging up LED lighting systems. One side of the tent also has an unusual annexe, which could either be used as an additional vestibule or as a private area for relaxing, e.g. on a lounger or inflatable sofa.

The front porch can be left open or enclosed via zipped doors and is fitted with privacy windows and blinds. There is also an insect mesh screen to keep bugs out, which makes this a good tent for midge-prone campsites. This front area of the tent can be used with or without a groundsheet, depending on whether you want to maximise living space or create a storage area for wet and muddy gear. Overall, the Outwell Airville 6SA is a well-designed and well-made tent from a respected brand. Though it isn’t cheap, it ought to last years, and possesses all the features that a modern family might need.

Full Specifications

Weight: 41.3kg / packed size: 95 x 50 x 50cm / dimensions: 760 x 520cm / max headroom: 2.05m / flysheet: Outtex 150 Denier 100% polyester (6,000mm HH) / groundsheet: Double-coated 100% polyethylene

Get the latest price at:
outwell.com

Coleman Valdes Deluxe 6XL Air BlackOut Tent

Price: £999
Type: Air tunnel tent
Sleeps: 6

The tunnel tent is a popular design for family tents given its good space-to-weight ratio and decent internal headroom. The Coleman Valdes Deluxe 6XL is one such example. The result is a tent with 2 metres of head height throughout virtually the entire interior. You also get a very generous sleeping area that has three pretty much equal-sized BlackOut bedrooms, all of which can accommodate a double camp bed or inflatable mattress. The right-hand bedroom has toggled dividers so it can be removed if you don’t need three compartments. There are ample storage pockets in the bedrooms and outside the bedroom doors. The BlackOut design means they stay very dark indeed, ensuring a sound night’s sleep, but another advantage is that they also stay cooler in the day – by up to 5°c, according to Coleman. This is great for summer camping, since there’s nothing worse than trying to sleep in a hot, stuffy tent.

The main living space is large enough for a camp table and chairs, and is fronted by a roomy porch. This is sheltered with a canopy and side walls, though it cannot be closed off. The main tent entrance has an unusual rigid door, meaning it opens and closes without needing to be folded or rolled away. There’s also an additional side door. The PVC windows are fitted with roll-up blinds, offering light and privacy when you need it. There are mesh-lined vents above and below the main windows to promote airflow.

Pitching is relatively quick and easy, with a little practice. The valves for Coleman’s air beams are actually inside the tent, so to inflate them with the supplied pump, you need to reach through zipped flaps and twist-lock the nozzle to the valve. It’s pretty straightforward, though maybe not quite as intuitive as some other designs.

Still, if you’re looking for a roomy tent with well-proportioned blackout bedrooms but also plenty of light, air and an overall sense of space in the main living area, this is a great choice.

Full Specifications

Weight: 38.4kg / packed: size 78 x 58 x 53cm / dimensions: 665 x 450cm / max headroom: 2m / flysheet: Polyester PU coated/Fire retardant / groundsheet: PE, welded, fully integrated with rainskirts

Get the latest price at:
coleman.eu

Kampa/Dometic Studland 6 Air

Price: £1437.50
Type: Air tunnel tent
Sleeps: 6

If you’re a keen vanlifer, you might be familiar with Dometic, who are well-known for their mobile coolboxes, refrigerators and cooking appliances. But the brand also now owns Kampa, a widely respected maker of large tents and awnings. The Studland 6 Air is the little brother of the existing Kampa Studland 8, though the differences aren’t all that obvious – the 6 is just 20cm shorter in the living area and 30cm shorter in the front porch than the 8. It lacks the additional 2-berth bedroom in the living area but this effectively increases the living space while saving you £150.

Indeed, it feels incredibly light, bright and airy inside, thanks to full-height PVC windows (all fitted with blinds) and generous headroom as well as a well-designed ventilation system that delivers good airflow. You also get zipped privacy curtains throughout, and cable entry points for pitches with an electric hook-up. Unusually, there are also panel style screen doors that can be partially or fully opened to really let the outdoors in.

At the back there are triple darkened ‘SleepTite’ bedrooms, each designed to sleep two people, though the middle compartment is slightly larger than those to either side. It’s the one to nab if you get the choice. As mentioned, the central living area is a great place to eat and relax in. It is fitted with a side door that has a shelter canopy to prevent rain getting in, and allows for quick and easy entry/exit without needing to use the larger main entrance.

An optional side annexe, sold separately, can also be fitted to the left-hand side of the tent, which could then act as a changing area or washroom. This would be a great addition for extended camping breaks. The generous porch is also a pleasant space for cooking or hanging out in. It has a toggle-in groundsheet to enable you to use it as either an extra living room or as a vestibule area for storing camping chairs, muddy boots and the like.

Kampa’s AirPoles system uses familiar valve designs for quick pitching, and the guying system features all round storm straps that tighten with a single pull. For such a large tent, it’s surprisingly quick to erect. This version is made from 150-denier polyester, though a more expensive Pro version is also available that uses a breathable polycotton blend.

If you want a tent that’s ready to go out of the bag, get this polyester version, which has an excellent hydrostatic head rating of 6,000mm – but if you’re a committed camping family looking for long-term durability (with less risk of UV damage), you might be able to justify spending a little more on the polycotton Pro model.

Full Specifications

Weight 42.57kg / packed size 85 x 56 x 50cm / dimensions 755 x 460cm / max headroom 2.15m / flysheet Weathershield 150D 100% polyester (6,000mm HH) / groundsheet 100% polyethylene

Get the latest price at:
camperite.co.uk

Wild Country Zonda 8

Price: £1,399
Type: Air tunnel tent
Sleeps: 8

Wild Country are probably best known for their great value backpacking tents, which includes one of our top picks for solo adventurers, the Wild Country Helm 1. At the other end of the camping spectrum, however, is the brand’s Zonda series. This consists of large 4, 6 and 8-person tunnel tents, plus a driveaway awning for campervanners.

All employ the latest air pole technology; specifically, 12cm-diameter Air Flex poles. Chunkier than most rival systems, these integrated inflatable poles make the whole range feel extremely robust and stable. That’s just as well, because the 8-berth Zonda in particular is huge. Generous dimensions are combined with a broadly rectangular floor plan and steep walls that are designed to maximise internal space and headroom. However, robust guy straps effectively tether the whole thing to the ground.

The layout is virtually identical to most other large tunnel family tents, with three rear sleeping compartments, equipped with blackout fabric and removable walls so you can change up the bedroom arrangements as required. The main living area offers ample room to eat and relax, with tinted PVC windows fitted with adjustable privacy curtains.

Air vents down the sides of the living and bedroom areas and additional insect mesh panels on the side doors and inner windows all help to promote airflow, so the tent rarely feels stuffy and condensations is kept to a minimum. There are lantern hanging points and twin electrical hook up access on either side of the tent. The forward section has an excellent porch with a detachable bathtub groundsheet. It also has a front door so you can enclose the entire inner area of the tent on rainy days.

Before you pull the trigger on this beast, check it’ll fit in the car. Packed away in its tarp-style carry bag, it is a real lump and at over 46kg, it is also hefty. Unless you can drive right up to your pitch, you’ll probably want a portable trolley to get it from car to campsite. The size and weight are really the only potential drawbacks though, and both are somewhat inevitable if you’re considering an 8-berth air tent like this. For extended camping getaways with all the family, it makes an extremely comfortable basecamp.

Full Specifications

Weight 46.5kg / packed size 100 x 80 x 60cm / dimensions 790 x 450cm / max headroom 2.1m / flysheet 150D Ripstop Polyester (6,000mm HH) / groundsheet Sewn in heavy duty PE

Get the latest price at:
terra-nova.co.uk

Vaude Badawi 4

Price: £800
Type: Semi-geodesic tent
Sleeps: 4

German outdoor brand Vaude are another manufacturer better known for their lightweight tents than their large family tents – the highly-regarded Hogan SUL and Terra Hogan 2P being two such examples, models that made it into our Best Solo Backpacking Tents and Best 2-Person Tents guides respectively. We’ve also been impressed with their innovative approach to tent construction, the Space Seamless 2-3P being a case in point.

In addition, Vaude are known for their focus on sustainability, and many of their products have been regular entrants in our annual Green Gear Guides – which includes everything from eco-friendly sleeping backs to backpacks. Unsurprisingly then, the 4-person Badawi 4 has also been built with sustainability in mind.

Unlike many family tents, particularly those fitted with windows, this tent is entirely PVC-free. What’s the problem with PVC? Well, despite being a widely used plastic for products like water pipes, tarpaulins and bags, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) often contains phthalates, plasticizers that are added to keep the material from becoming brittle. Although PVC itself is inert and non-toxic, phthalates are suspected of being carcinogenic and they can ‘outgas’ from finished PVC.

The tent itself utilises an unusual and effective design that is very cleverly engineered. It is built around three structural crossing poles made from DAC aluminium alloy with an additional triple hubbed overhead pole to further increase headroom. The result is a broadly triangular central footprint with a porch and twin two-berth bedrooms off the main living space. Though this set-up might sound complex, pitching is actually very easy. In fact, the flysheet and inner tents can be pitched all-in-one, while the poles are all conveniently the same length, so it hardly matters which one goes where.

The sizeable and pole-free central area is well ventilated, with three mesh windows to bring light and air into the tent. There is some 2.15m of headroom in the middle, so even tall adults can stand up. The bedrooms aren’t quite so roomy – they’re wide enough to put two large sleeping mats down (or even a double mat), but not particularly long at 2m each. The walls also slope fairly steeply, reducing headroom, especially for the person who draws the short straw and has to sleep on the ‘outside’.

The porch is a good size though and has a handy footprint to keep it free from mud and grass. Overall, the benefits of this unusual design outweigh its drawbacks – it is stable, sheds wind well and is versatile enough for warm weather or colder conditions thanks to variable ventilation and multiple zipped doors. The domed central area and large porch, with its big entrance, are also great when you’ve got multiple campers getting up and out for the day, giving you plenty of space to store everyone’s gear.

Full Specifications

Weight: 11.5kg / packed size: 60 x 35 cm / dimensions: 585 x 470cm / max headroom: 2.1m / flysheet: 75D PU-coated 100% Polyester (3,000mm HH) / groundsheet: 70D PU-laminated 100% Polyamide (10,000mm HH)

Get the latest price at:
vaude.com

Snow Peak Amenity Dome M

Price: £421
Type: Dome tent with porch extension
Sleeps: 4

With its striking styling, considered design and unusual offset porch that also has the option to create a vestibule canopy, the Amenity Dome is far more than just another standard dome tent. For one thing, entry and exit is easy from almost every angle, thanks to the addition of front, side and even rear doors. If you hate having to crawl in and out of a single small entrance, you’ll love the versatility that this model offers. This design also means that it feels bright and airy, aided by mesh ventilation throughout for plenty of airflow.

Though Snow Peak describes the Amenity Dome M as a four-person tent, it’s really geared towards small families, and works best for parents camping with two or three small children. For families with older teenagers, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere. On the other hand, this tent would work well for a camping couple or a group of three friends – since the main inner space will accommodate up to three full-size sleeping mats, placed side by side. With an internal height of 1.4m in the porch and 1.5m in the main inner, there’s plenty of room to sit up and even to relax on camping chairs. The large front door can be rolled up or set up as a canopy with a pair of trekking poles or bivvy poles to make a forward dining shelter too.

The domed tent structure is a familiar design that is easy to set up, aided by colour-coordinated poles and pole sleeves. It pitches inner first, which is maybe not so ideal for wet weekends away, but on the other hand it does mean that the inner can be used without the flysheet as a cool, shady shelter in summer. The main body of the tent is completely free-standing, which makes it easy to reposition if required.

Build quality is excellent, with robust materials and components employed throughout, and the tent feels both robust and stable when pegged and guyed out. At 1,800mm the hydrostatic head rating of the fabric isn’t the highest, and although it is of course fully waterproof, this is really a tent designed for balmy nights rather than severe, sustained downpours. It probably wouldn’t be our first pick for soggy nights away. But if you’re anticipating decent weather for your camping holiday or heading to sunnier climes, this would be a great pick thanks to its fantastic airflow, multiple entrances and generous porch/vestibule canopy area.

Full Specifications

Weight 8.9 kg / packed size 74 x 22 x 25cm / dimensions 440 x 270cm / max headroom 1.5m / flysheet 75D Polyester Taffeta (1,800mm HH) / groundsheet 210D Polyester Oxford (1,800mm HH).

Get the latest price at:
snowpeak.co.uk

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