Coleman is one of the most trusted names in the camping products industry. Their WeatherMaster 6-Person is designated to sleep up to six, but it is ideal for two parents and two children. A pair of queen size air mattresses will fit inside and a room divider is included in the purchase.
The entire tent is outfitted with Coleman’s “Weather Tec System” which features things like a waterproof floor with welded seams, durable polyguard fabric, a large coverage rainfly, and a “Wind strong” frame. There is also a 54 square foot screen porch area which can serve as a vestibule for taking off dirty shoes before entering the tent.
A cleverly concealed “E-port” allows you to run electricity into the tent. This is great for being able to run lights, fans, and charge devices when you are at a campsite with access to utilities.
There are a few tents on this list of reviews that cost a little less than the Wenzel Klondike. Still, this 8-person tent is an honorable runner up for the title of “Best Overall,” and deserves to be mentioned for all its features. It’s also backed with by a 10-year warranty
It was designed with families in mind and includes a 60-square foot screen room vestibule which can be used as an additional sleeping space. Otherwise, it’s a great place to keep your dirty shoes and jackets or simply somewhere to sit comfortably away from the bugs.
The shock cord reinforced fiberglass poles and steel “Power Corners” were specifically designed to handle strong winds. The Klondike seams are double stitched to make them leakproof. It even has a waterproof “Bathtub” style interior floor.
The Unistrength 5-Meter Bell Tent is designed to replicate the classic Mongolian yurt. There is a single central pole, that works in tandem with external guy wires to maintain the tent’s shape. The natural slope this creates serves to redirect rainwater and even moderate snowfall.
This type of tent appeals to families who want to take backwoods hunting trips in the fall and winter. At the same time, it’s also becoming increasingly popular with families who like to go “Glamping” and want comfort and space.
The fabric of the tent canopy is a special type of waterproofed cotton canvas material. There is a stovepipe in one area with a heat resistant collar. It’s specifically designed to fit most small-scale interior camp stoves as you would find in a more rustic wall tent.
How We Picked
When it comes to shopping for a family tent the prized features stray just a little bit from some of the more rugged options. In this segment attention really needs to be paid to making sure everything inside the tent remains dry and safe. It’s also nice to be able to accommodate some of life’s simple features, like electricity access.
The ultimate goal is to make sure that your children and any other campers have a good time whether it’s their first time or their fiftieth time. Oftentimes when kids get wet, cold, and bored, they start to lose interest at the moment. This can also lead to a lack of enthusiasm for future adventures.
This moves weatherproofing and durability to the top of the priority list. Not only did we keep an eye out for quality rainfly coverage but also waterproof flooring. The durability and flexibility of the poles are also a priority worth considering. Family tents tend to be large as well as tall which makes them more prone to the influence of strong winds.
A simple vestibule or screen room is also a very nice touch. Kids and adults alike tend to trap a lot of dirt and mud on the bottom of their shoes on a camping trip. Even something as simple as stray bits of sand that accumulate on the floor of the main living area has a knack for hitching a ride on the bottom of bare feet as you crawl into a sleeping bag or air mattress.
Being able to keep the dirt outside will make a big difference in everyone’s overall sleep quality. On days when the bugs are out in force, a vestibule gives you a place to sit and enjoy the smell of nature, without having to soak yourself with insect repellent.
Coleman WeatherMaster 6-Person Tent with Screen Room
- Sleeps up to 6 people
- 11’ X 9’ Main room with a divider wall
- Center height 6’8”
- Screen room or vestibule 6’ X 9’
- E-port for an extension cord
- “Weather Tec System” design
- 1-year warranty
Coleman has spent decades earning a reputation for being one of the most trusted names in the camping products industry. There are some enthusiasts who exclusively purchase all their camping items from Coleman.
The WeatherMaster is defined as sleeping six, but it is better suited for four people. It can accommodate two queen size air mattresses and includes a room divider. The main room measures in at 11’ X 9’ with a center ceiling height of 6’8”. It has a clever “E-Port” which allows you to run an extension cord inside the tent.
There is also a floorless screen room that measures in at 9’ X 6’. It spans under the spacious rainfly to give you a side room to sit when it’s rainy or the bugs are out in force. If you prefer it can also serve as a vestibule. Just keep in mind that there is no floor, so it’s best to put dirty shoes in a separate plastic tote just in case of heavy rains.
The WeatherMaster was also designed with Coleman’s proprietary “Weather Tec System.” Key features include:
- A waterproof floor with welded seams
- Durable polyguard fabric
- A spacious rainfly
- Wind strong frame
Coleman has extensively tested the WeatherMaster against the competition in strong winds, heavy rain, and other inclement conditions. They back this tent with a 1-year warranty. There are also online vendors who offer affordable 3 or 4-year protection plans.
It was designed to be set up in 20-minutes. This assumes you have another person to help you. If you try to set it up alone it might take more than half an hour.
What We Liked
The Weather Tec System was very thoughtfully designed and extensively tested. When severe weather strikes it’s exactly the sort of features you need to keep it from ruining your vacation. The additional screen room or vestibule will go a long way toward keeping stray dirt out of the tent’s main room.
The E-Port is also a nice touch. Most families camp in well-maintained campgrounds, which increasingly offer affordable access to electricity and other key amenities.
If you are concerned about the weather ruining your trip, then the Coleman WeatherMaster needs to be near the top of your list. They have decades of experience providing quality camping equipment. The screen room is a nice touch, it just would have been nice if they designed it with a floor.
If you have more than a four-person family or teenagers that need a little more space to themselves, Coleman sells a nearly identical larger 10-man version of the WeatherMaster tent.
NTK Arizona GT 9 to 10 Person Tent
- Sleeps 9 to 10 people
- Dimensions: 8’ X 17’4”
- Center height: 6’7”
- Full coverage rainfly
- Screen porch vestibule
- Nanoplex shock cord fiberglass poles
- Fine mesh vents
- Full coverage rainfly
- Divider with a middle zipper
- Waterproof floor
Arizona offers a wide range of 3-season tents. As the name implies their NTK 9/10 is rated to sleep up to 9 to 10 people.
For a family, it’s more realistic to think of this tent as sleeping 5 to 6, while also having a spacious screen room which can also serve as a vestibule for dirty shoes and soiled items.
The NTK 9/10 was designed to withstand the elements. The Nanoplex shock cord fiberglass poles are sturdy, yet slightly flexible to handle winds, while also reducing potential pole damage while packing and setting up. The room divider also has a zipper to allow easy passage from one area to the next.
When it comes to waterproofing, the rainfly spans the entire tent and can be pulled back in portions to improve airflow on hot, dry days. The fine mesh was specifically designed to block out the dreaded “No-See-em” insects. The floor is waterproof and treated to have antifungal properties.
What We Liked
Arizona paid close attention to imbuing the NTK 9/10 with waterproof qualities where you need them. Yet it doesn’t sacrifice breathability for the days when you need fresh air. The vestibule screen room under the rainfly gives you a great place to leave soiled items outside, while also providing space to sit and relax without being harassed by bugs.
This is a solid, spacious weather hardy 3-season tent that was designed to endure strong storms. This isn’t always the case with large family tents where their profile inherently makes them vulnerable to strong gusts. Still, if you see a strong storm on the upcoming forecast, it would still be wise to set the tent up head-on to the wind, instead of side-on.
If you need a large tent for something like two-family camping or you simply have a large family, there is one more step up in the Arizona line.
Ozark Trail 9-Person Instant Cabin
- Sleeps up to 9 people
- Dimensions: 14’ X 13’6” total length
- Center height 7’
- Small screen room vestibule
- A true “Instant Tent” with poles attached
- Electric port
Ozark Trail is another trusted name with a long reputation in the camping products industry. Their MT-14984 is designed to sleep up to 9 people, though it would be better for a family of 4 or 5 who wants a little room to spread out.
It was designed to be an “Instant Tent” which means the poles come attached and it’s designed to set up in a little over five minutes.
The interior sleeping space measures in at 14’ X 9’ with enough room to accommodate a pair of queen size air mattresses. There is also a small screen room that can serve as a vestibule. However, there is no floor, simply an attached shoe matt. If there is a strong rainstorm in the forecast, you might be better off storing your shoes and soiled items in a plastic tote bin.
This tent comes with an electric port. It’s out of the way, yet it’s available for the times when you are camping with electric service available.
What We Liked
This is a true instant tent with the poles still attached for fast assembly. This makes it a great choice for a family with young children, or a single parent who might need to set it up alone. It’s also nice to have an electric port discretely woven into the fabric to bring lights, and fans into the tent.
This is a nice tent for a small family who wants a convenient place to sleep, without putting in a lot of labor in setup. It’s the kind of tent that lets you get to the action of enjoying the trip or packing back out again at the end of your vacation. The little conveniences are also a nice touch.
One small knock on this tent is the small shoe matt in the vestibule screen room. It’s also worth noting that replacement parts for things like damaged instant tent poles are sometimes hard to find and even when you do find them, they take a while to ship to you. So, be careful not to break a tent pole.
UNISTRENGH 4 Season Waterproof Cotton Canvas Bell Tent
- 4-season “Bell Tent”
- Sleeps 6 to 8 people
- 16’4” diameter
- Waterproof treated cotton canvas
- PVC waterproof floor
- Heat resistant stove pipe port
Bell tents like the four-season, 5-meter diameter Unistrength are designed to mimic the durability and spaciousness of a Mongolian yurt.
Instead of flexible fiberglass or aluminum poles, there is a single central pole, that works in tandem with external guy wires.
This type of design is very versatile. There are some families who use these tents for fall or winter hunting trips on public land, as well as other families who use them for “Glamping” in the mountains.
The tent fabric is made from a cotton canvas material that has been specially treated with a proprietary waterproofing agent. There is also a waterproof PVC floor. The canvas includes a heat resistant port that can accommodate a small stove pipe. There are also multiple screened mesh ports for airflow in the summer.
What We Liked
This tent was truly designed to be a four-season tent. If you purchase an accessory camp stove, you can install the pipe through the fire-resistant port. This will give you the ability to cook inside the tent and keep everyone warm during a cold fall or winter night.
This tent appeals to a few specific niches. Glampers who want to stay at altitude often need auxiliary heat in the tent. It also appeals to families who build their memories through cool weather camping trips. In these situations, a more traditional polyester tent usually doesn’t suffice. Yet you can still take the Unistrength Bell Tent with you for simple summer camping trips to the lake.
Just keep in mind that this is not the easiest tent to set up. You need at least one other adult or perhaps a capable teenager to get the pole set in place and the supporting guy wires connected.
It does come treated with a waterproofing agent. However, it could breakdown over time, so you might want to occasionally treat the cotton canvas with a secondary waterproof spray like Camp Dry.
This tent doesn’t come with a stove in the purchase. However, popular stove manufacturers like Camp Chef design units like their Alpine cap stove that this tent will easily accommodate.
CORE 12 Person Extra Large Straight Wall Cabin Tent
- Sleeps up to 12 people
- Dimensions: 16’ X 11’
- Center height: 86 inches
- Large rainfly
- Venting system
- Electric access port
The Core 12-person tent is a great option for families who like to take a lot of gear or creature comforts from home. It isn’t technically an “Instant Tent” but it does go up very quickly. With two adults you can have it fully assembled in around 15 to 20 minutes.
There isn’t a vestibule or screen room. However, you can set up the dividers inside to create a sort of “Landing Area” for coming into the tent, where you can leave shoes and soiled items on an outdoor rated floor matt.
From there you can set it up with two separate living spaces. If you need to pack people in tight you can potentially get four queen size air mattresses in the available floor space.
For a smaller family with 2 to 3 children, the Core 12 is a great setup for the days when you want to hunker down against the rain or simply play a family board game without the bugs.
What We Liked
The power cord access port is really nice and has become a very in-demand feature for families who like to stay at campsites where power is readily available. It lets you use things like fans, lights, and other conveniences to help children feel more comfortable.
It also sets up very easily, which is not something that can be said of a lot of other tents this large. Some of the competition can eat up over a half-hour of your time, and still leave you a frustrated sweaty mess. With this tent, a quick peruse of the instructions and another person is all you need to have it up in under 20-minutes.
If you and your kids like to have space and convenience when you camp the Core 12 deserves to be on your list. It’s also the perfect tent to set up in the backyard on the weekends when you want to “Get the kids out of the house,” but don’t necessarily want to go anywhere.
Just keep in mind that with its wide profile straight walls, it could be susceptible to strong storm winds.
Outbound 8-Person Dome Tent
- Sleeps up to 8 people
- Dimensions: 14’ X 8’ with additional screen porch
- Center height 6’4”
- A small screen porch area
- Weight: 18-pounds
- Welded leak-proof seams
- Bathtub-style waterproof floor
The Outbound 8-person dome tent appeals to families who want to take a deep-woods tenting or hike-in adventure with their children. All told it only weighs in at 18-pounds! Yet, it also has the ability to feel right at home in a more civilized campground where power is available.
One of the biggest concerns with any backpack camping trip is that you will suffer water leaks and damp gear. It’s especially concerning if you are taking your kids out for one of their first trips “Roughing It.” Soaked clothes and wet feet can leave them with the kind of bad first impression that discourages future adventures.
You don’t have to worry about that with the Outbound 8-person dome tent. The large rainfly is comprehensive and helps protect the sloped sides of the tent. This tent also has a “Bathtub” style waterproof floor. The seams are also welded to make them leakproof.
This tent includes a screen porch that isn’t fully covered by the rainfly. Still, it’s an area to take off shoes and put them in a duffel to prevent dirt tracking into the spacious interior living quarters.
You shouldn’t think that the Outbound 8-person dome tent is only for rustic backpacking trips. It was also designed with a power port for those times when you are staying somewhere with electric service available.
What We Liked
Great care and attention were put into designing this tent to be waterproof and accommodating to families who like “Roughing It” from time to time. Outbound even backs it with a 1-year warranty.
This is a solid, lightweight tent that packs out comfortably, and sets up easily. It has a very friendly price point while also including thoughtful features like the electrical port.
One knock on it is the screen porch area is a little small, and it isn’t fully covered by the rainfly. You either have to set up a secondary tarp over the front, or you will need to bring your shoes inside the tent in a bag.
Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent
- Sleeps between 6 to 8 people
- Dimensions: 16’ X 11’
- Center height: 6;5”
- Spacious 60 square foot screen room vestibule with floor
- Bathtub style waterproof floor
- Shock cord fiberglass tent poles with steel “Power Corners”
- Double-stitched seams
- 10-year warranty
The Wenzel Klondike 8-person tent was designed with families in mind. It has a screen room vestibule front with a floor that is fully covered by the spacious rainfly. If you like the 60 square foot screen room can even be converted into an additional sleeping space, or it can be used to hold boots and dirty clothing items.
Of course, when you take kids camping you also want them to feel comfortable and stay dry. To that end, the Wenzel Klondike was designed to handle strong winds and significant rainfall. The shock cord reinforced fiberglass poles are designed to “Bend not Break” in strong winds. They are also aided by steel upright “Power Corners.”
The seams are double-stitched and overlapped in a shingle-like configuration to make them leakproof. The interior portion of the tent also has a waterproof “Bathtub” style floor. Though if you are using the screen porch area as a second bedroom, you will want to bring everything in during a strong storm.
Though all this sophistication and complexity does increase assembly time. With two adults this tent will still take the better part of 20 to 25 minutes to set up.
What We Liked
The large screen room vestibule with a floor and full rainfly coverage is a very nice touch. Taking off boots and dirty jackets in a small vestibule with a dirt floor is often awkward, and most kids will simply tromp dirt right into the tent’s main living space.
Added attention was also put in designing the tent to be waterproof as well as able to stand up to strong winds. Which will save a trip should a big thunderstorm roll in.
This is a good family tent designed to handle a storm and keep you in comfort, all for a very friendly price. If you are looking to introduce your small family to camping for the first time, this is a great first step, that will still pay off with years of value. To that end, Wenzel even backs it with a 10-year warranty.
One minor complaint with this tent is that there isn’t any sort of power port for an extension cord and the door configuration doesn’t easily lend itself to improvising one. If you were going to make an “Alteration” to accommodate a power cord, the best place to do so would be the “Hi-Low” air vent in the back of the tent.
TOMOUNT 8 Person Dome Tent
- Sleeps up to 8 people
- Dimensions: 14’ X 9’
- Center height: 6’
- Power access port
- Designed for airflow and waterproofing
- Assembles in 10 to 15-minutes
If you are looking for a tent for the occasional family camping trip, or you are just wanting to take some first steps into camping with your young family, you might want to take a good look at the Tomount “Hikergarden” 8-person dome tent. It is lightweight and sets up in 10 to 15 minutes.
It was designed to provide good ventilation, yet it also includes a large rainfly to help keep the interior nice and dry. If you need to sleep a lot of people you can technically fit up to three queen size air mattresses. However, it is better meant to have a sleeping area for adults on one side of the tent and space for two young children on the other side.
There’s also a power access port built into the wall fabric of the tent. This allows you to run an extension cord through for lights and fans. It’s nice for times when you are camping at a site with access to utilities, or you just want to set it up as an outdoor playroom for the kids when you are at home.
At the same time, this tent is more than just a simple family starter unit for places where power is always available. It weighs in at only 18-pounds and packs easily for those times when you might want to hike-in to a more rustic spot.
What We Liked
The lightweight and easy setup are certainly nice. The fact that the tent can grow with our family for times when you want to take it off the beaten path also helps maximize the return on your investment.
The Hikergarden tent was designed to do what you want a lightweight inexpensive tent to do. It’s got ample space, good airflow, and a rainfly with good coverage.
The center height only being six feet might be a little inconvenient for tall people, and there is no screen room or vestibule to take off boots before entering the living space of the tent. Still, a simple outdoor matt positioned inside the door should take care of that.
A family tent is a major investment in future adventures and the making of life-long memories. It’s not the sort of thing you are going to buy each year. Ideally, you want to make a one-time purchase that takes into account the need you have now, as well as in the future.
While small tents are attractive for people who want to backpack into remote or primitive campsites, family tents tend to spend their lives in campgrounds that are a little closer to the civilized world. It’s the sort of thing where you might want to give yourself permission to buy a large tent with enough room to keep everyone comfortable and happy.
Still, if you and your family are a little rugged and looking for a more compact unit to hike with you, there are some attractive options to consider. Just take the time to draw a mental picture in your head of the things you intend to bring with you and the space everyone needs.
There are a lot of tent manufacturers who will define their units as a “Four Person” or “Ten Person” tent. Then when you take it out of the box you realize that they intend to have everyone pile into the tent sleeping close to each other in configurations that can barely be described by our modern understanding of geometry.
The better guide for determining the available space is to look at the defined floor space measurements. Take into account the dimensions of your air mattresses and how you might lay them out. This is a time when a little bit of cheap, old-fashioned graph paper might come in handy. While you are at it, also think about the height of the tent and the height of the tallest people in your family.
If you need a quick barometer for determining if a tent will be big enough for your family’s needs, you can take the “Number of People” it sleeps and then subtract two. This will get you in the ballpark and will usually be enough to accommodate a couple with small children. If your kids are ranging closer to being teenagers, you might want to add four to the number of people a proposed tent will sleep.
There are some family tents that have “Room Dividers.” This is usually a sheet of nylon that clips to the ceiling. It won’t block snoring or other unpleasant noises, but it will give everyone a little added privacy for changing clothes.
The Benefits Of A Tent Vestibule
With tents, a vestibule serves as a sort of mudroom or porch. It’s a place where you can take off your dirty shoes before going into the main part of the tent. They are a great defense against the very inconvenient reality of dirt on a tent floor that finds its way into your bed.
If you do happen to fall in love with a tent that doesn’t have a vestibule, you should also check to see if it has a “Shoe Locker” or “Shoe Tote” that you can access from the outside of the tent. In a pinch, you could always lay an outdoor floor mat right inside the tent’s door and then set a family rule that all shoes must be taken off and left on the mat. Check these floor mats: Reversible Mats, Mad Mats, and Beau Jardin super absorbs mud mat.
Aluminum VS Fiberglass Poles
Tents with fiberglass poles are sometimes cheaper in price. However, they are prone to breaking, and once one shatters it’s very inconvenient to repair. You might be able to get by for a single vacation splinting it with duct tape, but you’ll need to buy a replacement sooner rather than later.
Aluminum poles tend to weightless and cost a little more. They don’t shatter or crack like fiberglass. Still, if you are abusive and try to force one into place while setting up a tent it is possible to bend one catastrophically
A Spacious Rainfly
With most tents, the walls are “Water Resistant.” When rain drips down from the rainfly on the walls it can eventually saturate through. It’s even more likely to do this in places where bedside items or the corner of an air mattress touches the walls. The corner seams of a tent are particularly prone to leaks, especially if they aren’t double stitched. If you are away from camp, or the water invades in the middle of the night, you could end up with a catastrophically soaked tent.
Ideally, you want a rainfly that goes a few inches beyond the walls and the bottom of the tent. If the tent will have a screened ceiling, which is more common with warm weather tents, you don’t want a lot of space between it and the bottom of the rain fly.
A Waterproof Floor
Ideally, you should always be setting your tent up on the campsite’s highest ground. Yet there are times when everything is perfectly level, or the high ground is in an inconvenient place. There are also times when a rainstorm hits so hard that the rainfly is dropping spatters of water that can splash up an inch or two.
If possible, you should give preference to a tent with a waterproof floor that comes up a few inches. This will prevent water intrusion from runoff and splashing. In a pinch, you might even want to put down a large tarp under the tent as insurance.
A tent with a “Bathtub” floor indicated that the bottom is waterproof, as well as a few inches up the sides. This further helps prevent rain spatter problems while also preventing exterior pools of water from saturating the lower walls of the tent!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What Is An Instant Tent?
A: This is a relatively new term in the tenting industry. Different manufacturers have their own innovative take on how to implement an instant tent. Most design it with the poles directly attached to the tent fabric. This spares you the often-laborious task of feeding the poles through the loops. The end result is that the tent can usually be set up in 5 to 10 minutes.
However, there are some manufacturers who play fast and loose with marketing terms who will call a product an “Instant Tent.” Only to find out later that it merely goes up easier than old fashioned tents, but still might take 15 to 20 minutes to set up.
Q: Are Large Tents More Vulnerable To Storms?
A: When it comes to rain, a large rainfly and a waterproof floor are the key components of preventing a catastrophic water invasion. Yet strong winds are also a greater threat to large family tents. Especially taller tents with a center height greater than six feet.
If there is a chance of strong storms in the upcoming forecast, you should consider setting a large/tall tend head-on toward the prevailing wind, or with a wind block in the way. A copse of trees can sometimes be enough to break up and slow down straight-line winds. In a pinch, you could park a truck or large vehicle side on to the incoming wind gusts.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that the poles are also a factor in how a tent resists storm wind. Fiberglass poles with shock cords in the center tend to flex rather than bend, which can help maintain the integrity of the tent when strong winds strike. It might also help to place rocks or bricks over the stakes to help keep them from pulling out when the tent flexes a lot.
Q: Do Double Stitched Seams Matter?
A: If you are going to be staying in rainy locales, you want double-stitched seams. A single-stitched seam tend is far more likely to leak at the lower seams.
Q: Do I Really Need A Screen Room Or Vestibule?
A: Technically no you don’t need a vestibule. However, it is really nice to have one for taking off dirty shoes. One that is properly covered by a large rainfly is also a nice touch.
Still, if you fall in love with a tent that doesn’t have any sort of external room, you can always place a heavy-duty exterior grade floor matt inside your tent. You can also position a screen tent right outside the door.
Q: Does My Tent Really Need A Power Port?
A: More and more campgrounds are offering campsites with electricity and other utilities available. If you are just tenting with adults who are used to “Roughing It” a little, then you probably don’t need a power port running into your tent.
If you are going to be camping with children, especially if you are taking them out for the first time, then easy electrical access into the tent is very helpful. Even if you want them to “Unplug” from phones and tablet devices, electricity can still help run fans, lights, and other convenience items that help children feel comfortable.
The tents that our Fathers and Grandfathers used to stay in have certainly evolved in stride with modern technology. Advancements in fabrics and materials have made tenting more convenient and comfortable than ever before.
When deciding on the type of tent that is right for your family, take into account how much space you will need now, as well as how much you’ll need as your family grows. If you are a single parent setting up the tent, or you simply don’t want to waste your time with poles and slots, you might want to prioritize an instant tent. There are also some tents that go together very quickly with one adult and a teenager to help.
Things like waterproofing and electrical access tend to be major points that can make all the difference between a camping trip that discourages them in the future and a camping trip that makes the kind of memories that last a lifetime.
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