Camping in a family tent can be a lot of fun for both adults and children. However, buying a family tent that is spacious and comfortable enough for everyone is key to a great family camping experience. In addition to comfort and roominess, when buying a family tent you should also consider the protective and setting up aspects of the tent.
The modern family tent is often freestanding unlike the 'old school' family tents with many stakes that have to be set into the ground. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to both styles. A family tent with stakes may be time consuming to set up, but it may be much lighter in weight than a freestanding family tent.
When buying a family tent, it is a good idea to see the tent set up in the store if at all possible so that you can examine exactly how the pieces are put together. You should consider that one adult may have to set up the family tent while the other keeps a eye on the kids. You also want a tent that older children can help set up without a lot of frustration. Consider having a practice run at setting up the tent at home before the family camping trip to make sure all the parts are there and that the tent sets up the way it is supposed to.
Keep in mind that while a backpacking tent needs to be lightweight, a family tent does not usually need to be since family camping is usually done with a vehicle. However, you still want a family tent that is strong and offers excellent protection from the rain, wind, sun and bugs. Mesh areas may be a good idea to allow some ventilation into the tent to help prevent dampness, but be sure the mesh is fine enough to keep out even the smallest bugs such as gnats.
Consider buying a large family tent. You will need room not just for the family, but for bedding to be stepped over and for clothing and other belongings. Height is also an important consideration for the comfort of adults. If you see the tent set up in the store, you will probably be able to get a good idea of how much room you will need if you imagine your family plus all your stuff in the tent.
An extra covered section near the doorway is available in some family tents and this adds a little more storage space. Storage pockets are a handy addition to a family tent as well. Some family tents have an extra inner wall or two that are great for changing clothes and dividing up space for a bit more privacy.