Buying a Tent for Family Camping
In this occasional series of posts, “Gearing Up”, we share tips, lessons and practical advice on different aspects of planning, organising or carrying out different indie style family adventures. Camping has been a big part of our travel style. It’s simple, fun, outdoors and helps keeps costs down.
But what if you want to go family camping but haven’t got a tent? How do you choose from the hundreds of models on offer? Spending a bit of time thinking about what you want from your tent will help you choose one that suits you, your family and your camping aspirations. Here are a few things to bear in mind when choosing a tent for family camping.
How much should I spend?
First things first, what’s your budget? Prices for family sized tents vary wildly. You can pick up a budget tent for under £100. If you get technical it’s easy to splash out £300-£500. And if you start looking at expedition kit you could end up investing up to £1000 or more. So, think about what you want to use it for and invest in a tent suited to your needs and aspirations. If you’re only planning to go occasional summer weekend camping, or maybe just visiting a festival, you’ll probably be fine with a budget model.
If you’re thinking of a longer camping trip, planning to camp out of season or where the weather may be worse, are heading off the beaten track or thinking of camping as a key part of your travel style then consider paying more to get something more robust, weatherproof and durable.
If you’re heading off for a season, out into the wilderness or anticipate severe weather, then don’t be shy about investing in expedition grade kit. You may question whether the expense is justified, but believe me when you’re all warm and dry sitting out a storm in your tent while others are flapping about wondering whether theirs will last the night, you’ll be glad of it. We thought long and hard about investing £1000+ in a tent but ten years, 10,000 miles of touring and three kids later it’s still serving us reliably. Money well spent.
If you’re serious about camping, go for the most expensive kit you can afford. The quality of materials, construction, zips, poles, pegs, ventilation and insect mesh will be better, which means fewer problems in the field and a better night’s sleep.
Next: What size to get? Read Page 2