When you get out and camp with your family it will be very different than your last back country jaunt.
Instead of a minimalist approach you must keep others needs in mind. Some will enjoy the outdoors while others may prefer the comforts of home. To meet that balance, start with a great family tent.
Media and tech are frankly inescapable in our daily lives. Some would argue we have created a prison of entertainment and technology. I think there is only one way to really draw a balance between real life and the tech life we have created. The answer is the great outdoors.
Seeing all the stars, getting away from the electronics and just enjoying being human in the natural world is our salvation against this visual overload. Family camping is the best way to disconnect and achieve this.
When I say family tent I am talking about one that will accommodate at least four people. I am using the idea of the four-person family as a basic average.
Your family may have more or less but just understand as we go over these tents and what they are capable of I have a family of four in mind. That said, the clear majority will be considered 8 person tents or more. Again, we need to create comfort for those who aren’t too fond about being at the campsite along with being easy to set up.
Coleman Montana 8-Person Tent
Coleman is the family camping brand. They are popular, affordable and the quality is right up there with some of high end camping companies. All of this equals to a great opportunity for families that might even be on a tight budget.
The Montana is a great example of that. It’s a nice spacious tent for under $200 and allows you to hit the campsite with your family sooner rather than later.
This Montana is an 8 person/ 1 room tent. It would be a spacious area for a family of four and though you may not have the privacy of your normal home the 16 x 7 feet footprint would at least offer everyone room to stretch out at night.
It is over 6 feet tall at center height so there is room to walk around this thing for the average person and most kids a well. Of course, won’t be encouraging your family to spend all their time in the tent but they will have the room to be comfortable in the Montana.
This tent is easy to transport and comes with a modified dome structure that features an electrical access port and reverse angle windows.
It can be left open air to enjoy the cool forest or covered with a rain slick to keep out the moisture. Either way this tent will provide a great experience for all your family members.
Coleman’s Montana got great reviews for being a reliable tent. Most agreed that this tent topped out at sleeping 5 people comfortably. This is one of the reasons we will be profiling these 8 person tents.
The quality of the tent and the reliability were all big parts of the reviews. There were one or two complaints about breaking poles but I think this was user error.
The Montana comes in it just over $150 dollars and is a great tent to get out into the wilderness with quality and space.
- Great price
- Electrical port
- Easy setup
Coleman Montana Summary:
- Affordable at $150
- Modified dome structure
- Electrical access port
- Reverse angle windows
Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent
The Wenzel Klondike is next on our list and is basically getting the nod for its interesting design and great price.
The Wenzel has a spacious interior but also features a screened in front “porch” section. The Klondike is perfect for a family of four and we will talk about why in this review.
It is touted as an 8-person family dome tent but only would be such if you were just sleeping in the tent and spending every waking moment outside.
You would also need to sleep three people outside in the porch section to accommodate the full 8. The interior is better suited for 5 adult sleeping bags.
The Klondike is made of weather repellent polyester with a powerful polyurethane coating. There is a full mesh roof option and the corners are double stacked for stability.
The full dimensions on the Klondike are 16 x 6.5 x 11 (W x H x D) and it weighs just under 30lbs. It’s a spacious tent that is designed to keep the elements out so that sleeping under the stars can be as relaxing as it should be.
The reviews were favorable or the Klondike and it seemed most people really enjoyed using this tent. Some even used it for a two-person camping trip which would be like camping in a mansion in my opinion.
Still, there were a few issues with seams and poles around the edges. These things happen with all tents but it’s worth talking about in this review.
The Montana is just over $175 and offers plenty of space and protection for a family of four.
- Great price
- Screened in buffer zone
- Weather resistant design
Could run into issue with seams
Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Summary:
- Made of weather repellent polyester
- Screened porch section
- Weighs under 30lbs
- Just over $175
Ozark Trail 10-Person 3-Room XL Family Cabin Tent
Ozark is a serious name in camping and outdoors. When you purchase a product from them you should have high expectations. This 10-person cabin has some impressive features and a design that will allow privacy for you and your family.
As I mentioned earlier the more comfortable the experience, particularly for young families and those new to camping, the better chance you will have for a return adventure.
This tent was made with privacy in mind. Perfect for a family with teens who need the space from their parents, and likely vice versa! There is one center door on the tent that leads to the largest living space. You could call this the master bedroom.
Then, there are two other outside entrances that lead to two attached rooms. This is a unique design and it works well for families with older kids who may want to sleep in.
The tent offers great views with six windows and two side doors. You will not miss much inside the Ozark.
The largest center room will fit a queen air mattress with some space to spare. This is just one room in the tent. The other two will be smaller but are separate and offer the benefits that go along with that.
This tent had one major flaw in its reviews and that was how it stood up to heavy rain. In multiple reviews, it suffered the ills of having leakage problems under heavy rains.
This is a consideration to make when you are deciding which tent may be the best for you. Of course, it’s not a deal breaker for summer camping but it’s worth considering.
The Ozark is barely over $100 which is an incredible price for tent of its size. I am very impressed at this price and wouldn’t mind doing some personal sealing of the tent to make it work.
- Outstanding value
- Three room privacy
- Heavy rain leakage issues
Ozark Trail Summary:
- Six windows
- Two side doors
- Large center room
- Affordable at $100
CORE 9 Person Extended Dome Tent
The Core 9-person tent presents the greatest value on this review list. It is a simple and spacious tent that is a great option for families on tight budget. This large tent will fit a family of four with more than enough space to stretch out and enjoy yourself.
The Core can fit three queen mattresses inside! That is some serious sleeping space. You will get all that space for under $100.
The tent is fitted with CORE’s H20 block technology and adjustable ground vent. These two features make dealing with the elements a breeze.
The water repellent fabrics will run water off your tent quicker and the powerful, reinforced seams will keep you dry in the worst conditions.
The ground vent pulls cool air from the ground and vents it out through the top of the tent. When you are sleeping four people it’s important to have some good ventilation.
Inside the tent has some great features as well. There is a gear loft with a lantern hook and pockets to keep your family’s personal items organized and out of the way. There is a port for optional electrical access. When it’s not in use, this port closes completely so it doesn’t become a port for bugs!
The whole tent packs up comfortably with the poles, rainfly and stakes in a comfortable carry bag. The tent is right around 20 lbs. and doesn't present a lot of problems if you plan on carrying it on your hiking pack.
This tent is just over $70 and that’s a great deal when you are looking at sleeping your whole family. I was very impressed with the reviews as I thought for sure you would have to give up some quality for that price. I found that not to be the case with the CORE.
There was one reviewer that experiences a leaky rain fly but that seemed to be unique to his product. No one else was affected by leaks. They all were amazed at the space inside this value tent.
- Giant space
- Incredible value
- Excellent features
CORE 9 Person Extended Dome Tent Summary:
- Priced under $100
- Adjustable ground vent
- CORE's H2O block technology
- Electrical port access
Overall, I must say I am impressed with the value in family tents. I never would have imagined you could get your hands on such quality and spacious tents for right around $100.
The only problem this presents for you is that there is really no excuse for you to not get out and camp this year. You may have some convincing to do but once that’s over we have the tent is covered.
In all honesty, getting outside is very important for our isolated society. More important for families to shut it all down and get back to spending serious time with one another.
Believe it or not there was time in the nation when families all huddled around the television for entertainment. Those days are gone but we still need to find ways to connect for the sake of our children.
Consider these incredible statistics from keepyourchildsafe.org
Statistic #1: Media as a child’s primary companion
Children ages two to seventeen will spend TEN TIMES more time in the company of some form of media than they do with their own mothers.
By the time, they graduate from high school, most kids will also have spent 3-times as many hours sitting in front of a screen as they have spent in the classroom. (Walsh, 2007, p. 263)
Statistic #2: Type of media use by children
Compared with children a decade ago, today’s kids spend 79 more minutes of free time each day listening to music, watching TV or movies, playing video games or surfing the web.
Total media exposure amounts to 7 hours and 58 minutes a day, or more than 53 hours a week, up from 6 hours 19 minutes a decade earlier. Here’s the breakdown of what types of media children use the most:
- TV content: 4 hours 29 minutes daily average
- Music or audio: 2 hours 31 minutes daily average
- Computer: 1 hour 29 minutes daily average
- Video games: 1 hour 13 minutes daily average
- Print media: 38 minutes daily average
- Movies: 25 minutes daily average (Toppo, 1-20-2010)
Whether you prefer the privacy of the three-room Ozark or the massive space and great value of the CORE this review has put four of the most reasonably priced and best quality family tents in front of you.
It’s up to you to figure out which one you will take on your next journey. There wasn’t a single tent priced over $200 so if you don’t find what you want here please don’t get taken by someone who tells you to spend much more money.
The outdoors is the great balance to our technological world. Make sure you have the right shelter for disconnecting the family and dragging them out into the wilderness.