Monday, 23 May 2016

The Best Family Tents - Our Top 5

Our Top 5 Family Tents

Summer camping trips are possibly one of the most rewarding way we Brits spend our holidays and is a great way to create fantastic memories with loved ones. Of course one of the key elements to your enjoyment of a camping holiday is the tent itself, and not all tents are created equal. If you have spent anytime camping you'll know this to be true, especially if the weather turns and leaves you with a battered, leaky tent which in turn leaves everyone feeling pretty miserable. That said a quality tent doesn't have to cost the earth either and there are plenty of brands coming up with great innovations and technologies that make the whole experience of camping even more enjoyable.

We've compiled a list of our top 5 tents to suit a range of budgets and tastes detailing our thoughts and even some alternatives.

Budget Tents

Maybe it's your first camping trip or maybe you're just looking for a bargain. Well this would be it! The Drummond 400 tent by Vango sleeps up to four people comfortably, has a spacious living area for a smaller tent and best of all offers full head height.

Vango Drummond 400
We also like the darker, 'lights out' fabric that's used in the bedrooms which increase your chances of a lie on bright sunny days and the removable bedroom divider.

Other tents of note in the cheaper end of the market are Outwell's Galileo 4 and Nevada 4 tents. Both are similar in shape and size to the Drummond, but feature sewn in, rather than linked in groundsheets that some may prefer. The Vango trumps the Outwell's 3000mm h/h weatherproof rating with a hydrostatic head of 4000mm. It is the price however that swayed the final decision with the Drummond's RRP £60 less than the Galileo 4 and £120 less than the Nevada 4 at £179.99.*

Outwell Galileo 4
Outwell Nevada 4

*Prices correct as of the 25/04/16

Something Different

Not content with 'normal tents', want to standout from the crowd? How would you like your very own circus tent? At least that's what we think it looks like! Coleman's Cortes Octagon 8 tent won Camping Magazine's 'Tent of the Year' Award in 2015 and we can see why. As far as we are aware there are no other octagon shaped tents on the market but maybe there should be. Its' unique shape and 360° wrap around windows makes the tent feel far bigger than it really is. Even though it's classed as an eight man tent you wouldn't realistically want to sleep more than four, or two if you'd like to make the most of the Octagon's layout. There is a divider which splits the space in two but that kind of defeats the point of the tent in our opinion.

Not sure about the Octagon 8? Why not consider a podded tent. Vango's Palermo 800 AirBeam tent is a true eight man tent with three bedrooms, one of which can serve as an alternative entrance. The Palermo has an rrp of £950 compared to £329.99 rrp of the Octagon so is quite a bit more expensive but to be fair it's a lot more tent with more durable fabrics and easy pitching AirBeam technology.

Entry Level Inflatable Tents

Inflatable tents are a relatively new development in tent construction but have been incredibly popular due to the speed and ease of pitching they offer. As with any new technology, prices of these inflatable tents were initially quite high compared to standard poled tents, but a few years on they are now quite affordable. 

So which one is the best that won't break the bank? Well we narrowed it down to three with the Kampa Brean 4 Air Tent coming in the cheapest at just £399.99. The Solaris 500 from Vango (£500) and Coleman's Valdes FastPitch Air 4 tent (£699.99) which is brand new for 2016. While we'd love to say the Valdes 4 is our recommendation the fact that Solaris sleeps five makes it that bit more usable. The Vango also features a sizeable canopy that provides an ideal area to cook or to relax in the shade. It is of course also that little bit cheaper.

Coleman Valdes FastPitch Air 4
Kampa Brean Air 4

Vango Solaris 500

Poled Tents

The traditional poled tent hasn't had it's day yet, and if anything, the introduction of inflatable tents has brought their prices down. This means you can get a lot more tent for your money. The Kampa Croyde 6 for example is a large tent with loads of living space and three bedrooms that sleep two in each. It's inflatable equivalent, the Croyde 6 Air, is almost twice the price yet for all intensive purposes is the same tent. This has been a popular tent ever since it's introduction and is definitely a favourite.

For something a little different the Vango Stanford 600 offers a vis-a-vis style layout with loads of quality features such as durable fabrics, TBS and ample living area.

Luxury Tents

For those who want the best and most luxurious camping experience there's only one type of tent that will do. Polycotton tents, which are undeniably expensive, but when it comes to durability, breathability and overall sense of Zen like calm polycotton outperforms any other fabric available. Don't get us wrong, modern polyester fabrics are great and offer fantastic durability and waterproofing at a much cheaper price. Polycotton however, is inherently waterproof and naturally breathable. It's fabric contracts when wet and expands when dry and also provides good insulation levels for a tent. This insulation not only regulates temperature exceedingly well but also proves to be quieter, cutting down on wind noise in a breeze.

Three tents were in the running for our top luxury tent the Kampa Studland 8 Classic Air, Outwell's Harrier 6AC and Vango's Studland 800XL.

All three of these tents feature polycotton fabrics and are inflatable with the Harrier inflating from one single inflation point and the others from each tube in turn. While all three tents are exceedingly good we think the Studland 8 Classic Air from Kampa just steals it. Why? Well both the Kampa and Vango can sleep up to eight whereas the Outwell only manages six and the fourth bedroom in each can be easily removed to gain more living space. There are also large windows throughout that are easily adjusted to provide just the right amount of privacy. But the Kampa is slightly larger and when going for out and out luxury size does matter, especially when both tents are can be found for a similar price (£1500*) even though the Kampa's rrp is over £2000!

*as of 27/04/2016:-

So there you have it! We hope this article has been helpful. If you would like to have a look at our full range of family tents head over to our website where you'll find all the best tents at truly competitive prices.


  1. Your post is very helpful, thank you. You ask, “What is the best family camping tent?” Using a family tent (may be better than using a car or a campervan) is the perfect way to enjoying the outdoors, feeling the power of the wind and the heat of the sun and listening to the sound of the rain, but a tent should be able to shelter your family well. See more

  2. Timber Ridge Large Family Tent from Bizarkdeal

    I personally purchased this tent for one weekend of camping with my friends. There were four of us sharing the same tent and we we're able to fit both our queen air mattresses inside with additional space to walk around, which I loved. The room divider was a great addition, it allowed privacy for changing / sleeping and it was still really easy to take down when we wanted to be in one big open space for games and meals. I think one of my favorite things about this tent was the ventilation. I'm not by any means an expericienced camper. Tents tend to make me feel cramped and sticky but due to the extra ventilation in the ceiling and Windows I actually felt very cool & comfortable. It was in the upper 80s and lower 90s all weekend too so I was pretty impressed with both the tent and myself. Normally I would have woken up in the night feeling all sticky/ icky and Id head to the car to spend the rest of my night in the air conditioning! This past weekend I spent both nights in the tent & I slept through the night.