Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Why trust us?

11 best family tents for camping in 2023: Spacious, multi-room and weather-proof models

We reviewed affordable and luxury tents for space, weather protection and easy pitching

Clare O'Reilly
Wednesday 03 May 2023 13:16 BST
Whether for glamping, hiking or camping in the wild camping there’ll be something to suit
Whether for glamping, hiking or camping in the wild camping there’ll be something to suit ( iStock/The Independent)
Our Top Picks

The sun has finally started to shine and there are plenty of bank holidays to look forward to. If this has made you want to plan a family camping trip and enjoy some time in the great outdoors, a tent that can sleep the whole clan is, of course, a must-have.

But where to start? What you want will depend on how you’re going to use it. If you’re looking for somewhere to lay your head after long walks or a day at a festival, head height won’t be such an issue for you. But if you’re heading to Eurocamp for a fortnight, the last thing you want to do is spend hours on your hands and knees because the model you chose was more for overnight and wild camping than a home-away-from-home.

Next, think about how far you’re going to have to travel with it. If you’re taking the kids to Glasto, for example, wheels on the bag or a lightweight tent are going to be a bigger priority than mosquito netting on the windows. If it’s glamping trips you want to go on, you may need a tent that has space and a hole for a wood-burning stove chimney. While if you’re bikepacking, then lightweight and inflatable might be more up your street.

Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work (and a lot of pitching) so you’ll know when you get your tent pegs out that you’ve made the right choice for you and the kids.

How we tested

We pitched each tent for four nights in as varied weather as we were able to. If it didn’t rain, we used a sprinkler to see how the tents coped in wet conditions and how they dried out afterwards. We considered weight, head height, storage capabilities and ease of pitching, thinking about how each tent would fare both in a festival scenario – where it might be pitched among others and overlooked for a few days – and wild camping or on emptier campsites.

The best family tents for 2023 are:

Coleman octagon 8 shelter tent 2023

Coleman Octagon 8 Shelter Grey 2023.jpg
  • Best: 360 degree tent
  • Weight: 20.7kg
  • Sleeps: 8
  • Pitching time: Not specified
  • Packed size: 85cm x 30cm x 30cm

If you really want to feel the great outdoors all around you, this is the perfect tent. It’s full head height throughout the whole tent and the mesh windows on all sides give a 360-degree view from inside. While it can sleep up to eight people, this is a perfect family choice with multiple configuration options, and still plenty of room after sleeping four or five.

The windows can be covered for privacy and there are two hinged doors so there’s no clambering in or out. It weighs 20.7kg but it does come in a bag with wheels – which were good on fairly long grass – as well as range of colours including grey, blue, green and orange. Stylish and comfortable, this feels more like an outside room than a tent.

Back to top

Boutique Camping nova air dome tent

best family tent
  • Best: For fast pitching
  • Weight: 42kg
  • Sleeps: 6
  • Pitching time: 5-15 minutes
  • Packed size: 38cm x 42cm x 115cm

The polycotton canvas pod goes from bag to tent in under 10 minutes – handy whether it’s raining, or you just want to pitch and unpack quickly so that you can get to see your favourite band. It’s pole-free, although the pump isn’t especially portable and it’s neither light nor compact; at 42kg, it’s the heaviest on the list. That said, it’s got some of the largest windows of all tents we tested and while it’s a single room tent, the sleeping configurations can be changed to suit family size for four to six people.

It’s treated with a water, UV, mould and rot-repelling agent and has an access point for electric hook-ups. It also comes with a spares bag and rubber mallet for the D-ring ropes. And when it comes to looks and ease to pitch, this is a strong contender for the rest on the list.

Back to top

Quechua inflatable camping tent air seconds 4.1

best family tent
  • Best: With blackout windows
  • Weight: 15kg
  • Sleeps: 4
  • Pitching time: Not specified
  • Packed size: 75cm x 35cm x 35 cm

The only inflatable black out on the list, this would be the perfect family tent for  little ones who don’t like sleeping past first light or teens who like a lie-in after watching bands play late into the night. Coming in at a great price too, the tent has a 6ft 2in standing height in the main room which is 6.5m squared in size and so would be adequate for a table and chairs.

It weighs just 15kg, making it fairly portable, but unfortunately it doesn’t come with a pump which does make it more cumbersome to move around. There are plenty of storage pouches in the two rooms and the entrance floor mat can be lifted, which is handy in wet weather or if it needs a wash after a heavy weekend. For peace of mind, it also comes with a five year warranty.

Back to top

Robens Kiowa tipi tent

best family tent
  • Best: In bad weather
  • Weight: 23.4kg
  • Sleeps: 10
  • Pitching time: 5 minutes
  • Packed size: 93cm x 28cm

While it can sleep up to 10, sleeping four or five makes this tipi tent an incredibly comfortable and spacious family option. It’s the most expensive on the list but you get plenty of space for your buck. The large front porch stores boots, wellies and jackets without them encroaching on the living space while the windows allow a lot of natural light – not to mention the fact the curtain closures make you feel “at home”.

It’s very on trend with its tipi shape but the modern polycotton fabric – a mix of polyester and cotton – and alloy poles mean it’s easier to erect and take down than traditional bell tents with their millions of guy ropes. It’s breathable inside too and doesn’t feel as close or hot as some less breathable fabrics do.

Weighing in at 23.4kg it’s mid-range when it comes to weight but it’s been tested in a wind tunnel at speeds of up to 192km per hour. So while most of us would pack up and head home should it get that windy, it’s good to know the Kiowa can handle British summers.

Back to top

Coleman weathermaster 6XL air BlackOut tent

best family tent
  • Best: Tent with separate bedrooms
  • Weight: 38.40kg
  • Sleeps: 6
  • Pitching time : 10 minutes
  • Packed size : 78cm x 58cm x 53cm

Not only does the weathermaster 6XL have the trademarked blackout bedroom technology from Coleman, but the bedrooms also have temperature management fabric, meaning they can stay as much as five degrees cooler in the day, yet stay warmer than the rest of the tent at night. This is because energy from the sun is stored in the temperature of the fabric and released back into the bedrooms when the sun goes down.

It’s also got trademarked fast pitch technology and for a tent of its size, pitches remarkably quickly in around 10 minutes. At 38.4kg it’s heavy, but when you consider the size of it, there’s a lot of space for the weight. The bedrooms comfortably fit blow-up double beds while it’s also got 6ft 5in headspace so is roomy enough for even the tallest campers.

Back to top

Life Under Canvas 5m bell tent

best family tents for camping
  • Best: Glamping tent
  • Weight: 52kg
  • Sleeps: Up to six
  • Pitching time: Not specified
  • Packed size : 115cm x 40cm

This 5m tent will comfortably fit up to six people and comes with a detachable porch, which is 1.5m deep and 3.3m wide. The porch area makes the tent feel more like a home and it’s excellent for storage, comfortably fitting cool boxes, foldable chairs, a bike and even a camp bed. There’s also plenty of room for muddy boots, should you decide to camp in the autumn and winter. What’s more, the porch zips on easily, so it’s not a chore to attach.

The only tent on the list treated with a fire-retardant solution, you can also choose for it to come with or without a stove hole, so it’s perfect for year-round camping – if you get a stove to go with it they start at £149 and go up to £259. If you’re looking for a tent that looks stunning, is easy to erect and has bags of storage, this is a great option.

Back to top

Kelty rumpus 4 person tent

best family tent
  • Best: For wild camping
  • Weight: 5.92kg
  • Sleeps: 4
  • Pitching time: Not specified
  • Packed size: 64cm x 19cm x 20 cm

At just 5.92kg, this four person tent is a perfect portable option for families wanting to wild camp and explore on foot before pitching. The sizeable porch also means you can store everything out of the way of the sleeping compartment. And while it’s a cosy fit for four side by side, there are four internal storage pockets so that everyone gets their own corner for their things.

Its bright and colourful fabric makes it a stylish choice, it pitches in minutes, and it’s intuitive to put up with just three lightweight fibreglass poles. The peak height is 4ft 8in so while the kids should be able to stand, adults won’t be able to comfortably.

Back to top

Vango joro air 450

best family tent
  • Best: For environmentalists
  • Weight: 24.2kg
  • Sleeps: Not specified
  • Pitching time: 10 minutes
  • Packed size: 80cm x 42cm x 42cm

Made from 100 per cent recycled single-use plastic bottles, the joro is part of Vango’s “earth collection” where tents are all made completely with recycled plastic. The entire collection has used over 8 million plastic bottles and comprises tents, sleeping bags, rucksacks, furniture and sleeping mats too.

The joro is inflatable with a single point of inflation unlike the others on the list. The three zone design with porch, living space and bedrooms makes it feel roomy and spacious with the midnight windows making the sleeping area dark and conducive to shut-eye. Weighing in at 24.2kg it can be pitched by just one person in around ten minutes, offers UPF30 sun protection, and the colourlok fabric prevents and slows colour fade and UV degradation too.

Back to top

Heimplanet backdoor classic

Heimplanet backdoor classic.jpg
  • Best: Lightweight tent
  • Weight: 5.8kg
  • Sleeps: 4
  • Pitching time: Not specified
  • Packed size : Not specified

At 5.8kg this is the lightest tent on the list, but with just 5.8m squared space inside it’s not the biggest. That said, what Heimplanet’s backdoor classic lacks in size, it more than makes up for in style. One of the best looking on the list with a futuristic external pump up frame, it also has plenty of storage space inside including a roof shelf which worked well as extra storage, but also diffused light when used for a lamp too.

Made with ripstop nylon fabric it dried out faster than any other tent on the list when it got wet. It also has two doors which can be retracted and attached to the main frame which means it’s got good airflow while keeping mosquitos and bugs out with mesh panels. The pale, off-white colour we tested also meant it didn’t absorb any heat from the sun and stayed cool too.

Back to top

Nordisk utgard sky cotton tent

best family tent
  • Best: For open air camping
  • Weight: 24kg
  • Sleeps: Not specified
  • Pitching time: Not specified
  • Packed size: 124cm x 35cm

With rectangular doors, this tent feels closest to a cabin or outdoor room. It has fold away walls which mean you can sleep as though you were outside too. Weighing 24kg it isn’t terribly transportable, but definitely falls into the glamping range. Its sand coloured polyester and cotton mix fabric mean it’s breathable, light weight and looks good, while doors and windows have mosquito nets.

The tent can also be separated into sleeping and living areas with a tailored zip-in-floor and detachable sleep cabins. The poles and pegs are steel so while not the lightest, they’re incredibly durable and the poles are also pin free making pitching that little bit easier. If you’re looking for a festival tent you can pitch, open up and enjoy your surroundings, look no further.

Back to top

Easycamp moonlight yurt

best family tent
  • Best: For headroom
  • Weight: 10.6kg
  • Sleeps: 6
  • Pitching time : Not specified
  • Packed size: Not specified

With its yurt-like shape, this is the only tent on the list that boasts full head height throughout (at around 7ft). It’s also the only one on the list that comes with glamping bunting. Its huge front door and big windows really make it feel like an outdoor room or cabin rather than a tent. It features six large organiser pockets so you can unpack without having to cram things into corners, is made with fire retardant fabric and at 10.6kg it’s lighter than you’d think, given the space you get once it’s pitched. If you’re looking for somewhere to spend time and not just sleep, the moonlight yurt doesn’t waste an inch of space.

Back to top

The verdict: Family tents

It was tough to pick an outright best as it depends on usage, but the Coleman octagon is our best buy. Spacious and unique in its eight sided shape, it fit everything and everyone in it with room to spare and the headheight made it feel more like an outdoor room than a tent.

The Kelty rumpus comes right near the top of the list too. The bright and colourful canvas looks great when pitched and it’s fairly lightweight and portable too, so perfect for hiking or bikepacking. It feels like a tent full of potential adventures and will look at home in environments from festival fields to Scottish mountains.

Special mention has to go to the Life Under Canvas bell tent – it looks beautiful and the customer service really is second to none. It’d be a perfect choice for an outdoor summer room as well as a tent, and will serve a family fantastically as a base for a fortnight’s holiday.

Now you’ve got the tent here are the rest of best sleeping bags to bring on your next venture

Voucher Codes

TUI Discount Code
£250 off per bookings £2,500+ with this TUI discount code
ASOS Discount Code
15% off first orders over £20 using this ASOS promo code
Travelodge Discount Code
5% off all bookings with this Travelodge discount code
The Body Shop Discount Code
20% off everything with The Body Shop discount code
The Perfume Shop Discount Code
15% of all orders with The Perfume Shop birthday discount
Cult Beauty Discount Code
Up to 20% off all orders over £40 - Cult Beauty discount code

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in