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Best family tent 2023: Spacious tents to suit any budget

Need a tent to fit the whole family in comfort? Get one of these fantastic family camping tents for your next trip

Sleeping under canvas might be a childhood rite of passage, but it needn’t be a miserable one. The best family tents can make all the difference to a camping trip – especially if the weather isn’t on your side. Wherever you end up camping, you’ll need somewhere roomy, waterproof and comfortable both to sleep and hang out in, come rain or shine.

In this article, we’ve selected an excellent lineup of the best family-sized tents on the market, and have included options to suit any budget. There are also some rather posh tents in the mix for anyone who fancies a bit of glamping.

Before we pitch you our favourite tents, though, you’ll find a handy buying guide covering what you need to know before buying a brand-new family tent.

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Best family tent: At a glance

Best budget multi-room tentQuechua Arpenaz 4.2 F&B (~£260)Check price at Decathlon
Best tent for using recycled materialsVango Aether Air 450XL (~£319)Check price at Outdoor World Direct
Best tent for big familiesOutwell Knoxville 7SA Air Tent (~£1,200)Check price at Outdoor World Direct
Best poled family tentColeman Castle Pines 6L BlackOut (~£640)Check price at Winsfield Outdoors

How to choose the best family tent for you

What features do I need?

Multiple bedrooms are an excellent idea in a family tent, especially if you have teenagers. Some tents also use blackout material to line bedrooms, keeping them cooler and darker and ensuring a better night’s sleep. Standing room is essential for sorting out the myriad bits of gear involved with camping with children, and a spacious living area will give you somewhere to hang out and play games on rainy days. A porch or anteroom is also useful for popping muddy boots in.

Look for a sturdy, sewn-in groundsheet with a coated nylon floor to keep you warm and dry, a waterproof rain fly (this is the outer layer of the tent) and plenty of guy ropes for stability. We like airy tents with plenty of windows and multiple doors – these stop your portable home from feeling claustrophobic. And the more loops, hooks and pockets in the tent’s interior for hanging up lanterns or stashing belongings, the better.

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What size is best?

Tents are sized by the number of adults they can feasibly sleep (two-man, four-man, six-man). The usual rule of thumb for tent sizes is that if you halve that number, you’ll get the number of adults the tent will actually sleep in relative comfort – especially if you’re off for a long camping holiday.

Two adults and two or three children will usually find a six-man tent the best fit, with lots of spare space for bags, clothing and other bits and pieces.

The larger the tent, the heavier it tends to be, of course, and the longer it will usually take to put together. If you’re hopping around lots of different campsites on your holiday then those factors are definitely worth taking into consideration, but if you’re just headed to one campsite and your car has a roomy boot, it’s worth going as big as you can afford – you’ll only have to pitch it once, after all.

The pitch times suggested by manufacturers are usually optimistic, so expect a bit of trial and error the first time you erect your new canvas palace. If you aren’t sure how big you want to go, it’s definitely worth borrowing a few models from family friends to test out first, and we recommend having a go at pitching your new tent in the garden before a big trip to check everything is in working order.

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The best family tents you can buy in 2023

1. Quechua Arpenaz 4.2 F&B: Best budget multi-room tent

Price when reviewed: £260 | Check price at Decathlon

While so many “family” tents take up most of a car boot, this is surprisingly portable and packable (60 x 30 x 30cm). You won’t want to go backpacking with it, but one person can easily carry it from car park to pitch site at even the biggest festival.

Despite being compact, this tent has two double bedrooms (140 x 210cm), 3.9m² of living space and a height of 1.95m, which makes a huge difference, especially when getting dressed. The living area in the middle has a waterproof groundsheet and is just large enough for two adults and two young children to sit in if the weather turns.

With just four colour-coded poles, pitching is quick and simple, with the bedroom pods clipping neatly to the poles once you’ve erected the outer fly. And brilliantly, the bedrooms have excellent blackout fabric for a longer night’s sleep.

This is an ideal tent for anyone who wants maximum space when camping, but doesn’t have much storage room at home.

Keys specs – Man size: 4; Standing room? Yes; Bedrooms: 2; Pitch time: 10 minutes; Weight: 12.3kg; Waterproofing: TBC

Check price at Decathlon

2. MSR Elixir 4: Best tent for wild camping

Price when reviewed: £493 | Check price at Ultralight Outdoor Gear

You may recognise MSR from wild camping photos as the brand is best known for its super-light, portable backpacking tents. That doesn’t mean it can’t do family-sized dwelling brilliantly too, though. The Elixir is roomy enough to sleep a family of three in comfort, or a family of four if your offspring are smaller.

Deliciously light at just 4.25kg, quick to erect and well made, the Elixir has plenty of space for everyone to stretch out in the main room, plus a roomy porch for storing wet kit and muddy boots. If you fancy taking the family wild camping or backpacking and don’t want to lug a heavy tent, this is the model to pick. If you’re just camping out of your car boot, you could get away with packing something bigger and heavier.

Key specs – Man size: 4; Standing room? No; Bedrooms: None; Pitch time: 10 minutes; Weight: 4.25kg; Waterproofing: 1,500mm

Check price at Ultralight Outdoor Gear

3. Vango Aether Air 450XL: Best tent for using recycled materials

Price when reviewed: £500 | Check price at Outdoor World Direct

This superb-value inflatable AirBeam tent from Vango, which is brilliantly simple to pitch, offers a huge amount of living space, plenty of head height and a pre-attached porch that offers excellent shelter.

What makes it all the more impressive, however, is the fact it is part of Vango’s Earth Collection, so is made from Sentinel Eco Fabric, which is fully waterproof and is made from recycled single-use waste plastic: each tent is made using at least 150 discarded drinks bottles.

As you’d expect from a quality modern tent, the bedrooms have blackout linings, there are large picture windows to let in light, and thanks to the mesh panels in both the living room doors, air can flow freely but the mosquitos can’t.

Key specs – Man size: 4; Standing room? Yes; Bedrooms: 2; Pitch time: 15 minutes; Weight: 21kg; Waterproofing: 3,000mm HH

4. Life Under Canvas 6 x 4m Emperor Bell Tent: Best tent for Glamping

Price when reviewed: £795 | Check price at Life Under Canvas

One night in a bell tent and you’ll soon realise why so many people are investing in them for their summer camping holidays. They’re the absolute opposite of a technical modern tent, and you’ll never take one backpacking, but the heavy-duty canvas and open, airy feel is a pleasure to sleep in. Plus they look fantastic!

Life Under Canvas offers a range of exceptionally well-made bell-style tents, but this huge twin-pole 6x4m Emperor design is the pick of the bunch, boasting enough sleeping space for up to 12, or as the most lavish arrangement for two adults and two kids. It’s an investment, but one that will last for years thanks to the 280g cotton canvas, 540g PVC waterproof floor that’s zipped in to keep you totally dry, plus a huge porch and central living space that could easily double as an event space for garden parties.

Just remember you’ll need most of a standard boot to fit it in, and a couple of friends to help put it up.

Key specs – Man size: 12; Standing room? Yes; Bedrooms: 1; Pitch time: TBC minutes; Weight: 40kg; Waterproofing: Cotton canvas

5. Coleman Castle Pines 6L BlackOut: Best poled family tent

Price when reviewed: £640 | Check price at Winfields Outdoors

The Castle Pines 6L ticks all the boxes for a generously sized family tent, with 25.6m² of space, three decent-sized double rooms and an enormous 2.1m tall living area and porch. Essentially, if you can fill all the available space with camping kit, you’re bringing too much stuff on holiday!

The bedrooms (which have removable zipped partitions that can be taken out) are all blacked out, which is something of an essential, especially if you have young kids who don’t need any encouragement to get up at 5am. There’s also plenty of ventilation to minimise condensation and keep everyone comfortable whatever the season.

Impressively it also has 6,000mm HH waterproofing, so you’ll stay dry however bad the great British summer gets, and it’s fire-retardant and rated SPF50. At 75 x 39cm Coleman has managed to fit a lot of tent into a boot-friendly bag, and while not as idiot-proof to pitch as an inflatable design, it’s a whole lot easier to fit back in the bag.

Key specs – Man size: 6; Standing room? Yes; Bedrooms: 3; Pitch time: 10-20 minutes; Weight: 27.2kg; Waterproofing: 6,000mm HH

Check price at Winfields Outdoors

6. Outwell Knoxville 7SA Air Tent: Best tent for big families

Price when reviewed: £1,200 | Check price at Outdoor World Direct

It’s an investment buy, but with three bedrooms and enough living space to host Strictly Come Dancing, this is a tent that will grow with you, no matter how large your family gets.

The list of clever features here is extensive, with a hanging rack system for lights and black-out bedrooms with ingenious magnetic closing doors that do away with the need to fumble about for noisy zips in the night. The side doors each have a small canopy to keep the rain off, there are loads of pockets for storage and organisation and, being inflatable despite its monster dimensions, it pitches much easier than a similar-sized pole design.

Key specs – Man size: 7; Standing room? Yes; Bedrooms: 3; Pitch time: 10-20 minutes; Weight: 46kg; Waterproofing: 6,000mm HH

Check price at Camping World

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