My family loves to camp, and with 6 of us, finding a family camping tent that can hold us all comfortably is not an easy task. During our search, we looked at all the tents we could find at the local camping and outdoor stores, as well as searching online reviews, to narrow our choices down to three of the best family tents for 2021.
We ultimately ended up purchasing and using the Coleman Montana Family tent for our most recent trip to Yellowstone National Park. Not only did it provide enough room to sleep 2 adults and 4 children comfortably, but it held up well during light rain and windy conditions that we experienced one night. We were also able to set it up in under 20 minutes and the kids helped too.
The Coleman Montana Family tent is our recommendation as it’s served us well so far, but below are a few other family tents we were just as impressed with during our search.
Best Family Tents 2021 – Our Top Picks
My family’s recent camping trip to Yellowstone really opened up my eyes to what aspects and features of camping tents are important. Inside space, protection from the elements, ease of ingress/egress, and setup time all weighed heavily in our decision. Below are the top 3 family tents that we considered, but ultimately we chose the Coleman Montana.
This 8 person tent measures 16ft x 7ft. You really have to see just how big this tent is in person, it’s impressive. The Coleman Montana fits my family of 6 perfectly with room to spare for our gear and clothes.
It is constructed with Coleman’s Weather Tech System which welds all the seams to prevent water intrusion. We had rain one night on our trip and everything inside remained dry. It’s rated at a 15 minute setup time, which was around what we experience with the kids helping. Based on our experiences, everything about Coleman Montana is perfect for family use and is our recommendation for the best family tent for 2021.
We had a chance to look at the Core Family tent in person at our local outdoor store and really liked what we saw. It is slightly larger than the Coleman Montana at 16ft x 9ft and rated for 9 people.
We thought the Coleman Montana felt slightly more durable and sturdier, but the price of the Core Family Tent is way cheaper. For a budget family tent, I wouldn’t hesitate putting the Core 9 person tent at the top of the list.
The Ozark Trail line of tents are made in several different size options, but the one we considered most for our trip was the 10 person XL model. I figured more space is always better, and this tent is a whopping 20ft x 11ft. It’s one MASSIVE tent.
Unfortunately I was never able to see this tent in person, but the reviews were mostly positive. Other than the sheer size, I was really impressed that it had 3 door openings. Being able to enter and exit without having to climb over people is a nice feature.
In the end, I decided the price and size was way more than were needed and decided on the smaller Coleman Montana instead. If you’re in need a large family tent though, it’s hard to find one with more sleeping space.
“Based on our experiences, everything about the Coleman Montana is perfect for family use and is our recommendation for the best family tent for 2021.” – John
What should you look for when choosing your next family tent?
In my search for the best family tent, I always had a list items that were most important to my family and I. These are the key essentials you should look for in your next family tent.
- Size and Space Requirements – A cramped tent is not a pleasant experience, so always use a tent with more space than you actually need. 8 person tents sleep 6 comfortably and 10 person tents sleep 8 with plenty of extra room.
- Adequate Weather Protection– Rain fly’s and other weather protection instruments are a must. Look for rain fly’s that extend down the sides of the tent, ground mats to protect the bottom, welded seams to prevent water intrusion, and door vestibules to keep wind and rain from entering when the door is opened.
- Ease of Entering and Exiting – Most family tents have one door opening. This can cause issues with people entering or exiting the tent and having to climb over others to do it. In the middle of the night, this can be frustrating. Always think about if there’s enough room to allow for people to easily leave the tent and get back in without disturbing others in the tent.
- Ventilation – Ventilation is extremely important for summer camping trips. Family tents with adequate ventilation in the roof can help take advantage of the summer breeze and help you sleep better at night.
- Set up time – Let’s face it, setting up a tent is not fun. Look for a tent that can be set up in under 30 minutes. Also, try and get the family involved to help speed up the process.
Here is a great clip of the Coleman FastPitch InstaCabin 8
What family tent features are important?
The most important features of a family tent that we use all the time are the inside mesh storage pockets and external power cord opening. The mesh pockets let us store cell phones, contact lenses, eyeglasses, and other items we might need close by in a convenient spot out of the way.
The external power cord opening lets you run a power cord into the tent to power fans or other devices. You may not have access to a power source out in the woods, but when you do, it’s nice to have the option.
Other features that we’ve taken advantage of are the protected vestibule at the entrance of some tents that let you store gear outside out of the rain. When you’re gear is already wet, not bringing it into the tent can help keep your tent floor dry. We’ve also taken advantage of the roof supports inside the tent to hang damp clothes to dry out for the next day.
Tips for setting up your family tent
Tents come with instructions to erect them, but they don’t really go into other details such as placement and added weather protection that can help make your camping experience better. Here is a list of some of the most important things you should consider when setting up your family tent.
- Place the tent where the vents are in line with the prevailing wind direction (especially important during the hot summer months).
- Place a weatherproof tarp under the tent to protect the base and prevent water from coming up from the bottom when it rains.
- If you’re expecting bad weather, place a weatherproof tarp over the top of the tent for added protection. Make sure it extends down the sides of the tent where windblown rain can penetrate.
- Place the door of the tent opposite of the direction the wind is blowing to prevent rain, dust, or sand from entering.
Prior to our last trip to Yellowstone National Park, I needed to find a family tent that would work well for my family of 6. After looking at the tents the local outdoor and camping stores had to offer, as well as looking at online reviews, I narrowed my choices down to the top 3 family tents for consideration.
Ultimately I settled on the Coleman Montana Family tent and it work really well for our week long camping trip. The family had plenty of room and our trip was the best it could have been.
Other family tents I considered were the Core 9 person Family tent and the Ozark trail 10 person tent. The Core Family Tent is a budget tent with plenty of space for 6 or more people. I felt the Coleman Montana was constructed slightly better. The Ozark Trail Family Tent was MASSIVE in size and had three doors openings which were nice. I just felt the tent was too big for our needs.
We’ve been very pleased with the Coleman Montana Family Tent and it’s my recommendation for the best family tent for 2021.
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