How to choose a family tent for camping

How to choose a family tent for camping

Camping is even better when you do it with your loved ones. We'll help you choose the best family tent, so that those few cubic metres between four tent covers provide a home for the most beautiful memories.

It's not always easy to find the ideal tent for your group. You have to satisfy the need for independence of your teenager, who doesn't want to share a room, but also the little ones, who want every night in the tent to be a pyjama party. The same goes for friends, who each with their own personal vision of camping.

What exactly is a family tent?

You're going to tell me that "the answer is in the question." Yes and no! Of course, family tents are tents designed, at the very least, for the famous "nuclear" family from the advertisements at the end of the last century: two parents and two children. It's true that family tents start from 4-person tents, but there's nothing to stop you taking off with the group format you prefer! They are designed for four people or more, as a family or with friends, with or without children. In short, whatever you want.

There are many so-called "family tents", with a capacity ranging from four to sometimes ten or even more. Note that some tents have the same number of places, but not the same number of bedrooms, or may or may not have an entrance hatch or a living room. To make things clearer, let's start by choosing a tent according to the number of people.

Choose a family tent according to the number of people

Quechua offers family tents for four to eight people. Some brands offer tents for ten people or more. For more than eight people, you're looking at a "holiday camp" format that you won't be able to set up in every camping spot because of the lack of floor space. Find out well in advance about the dimensions of your camping space.

Always remember to check the sleeping width of each bedroom to make sure your mattresses are neither too big nor too long!

↪ Which family tent should you choose for four people?

If you want to go away with four people, whether it's one adult and three children, two adults and two children, just adults (but never just children!), in short, there are two options:

How to choose a family tent for camping

• Tent for four people with one bedroom, so you can all sleep together (and tell ghost stories late into the night). At Quechua, to make it easier for you to find your way around, we've adopted a code in the name of our tents: "4.1". The first number "4" indicates the number of places, and the second number after the dot, in this case "1", indicates the number of bedrooms – you can't go wrong!

These tents often have a small living room before the main bedroom. Depending on the model, you may have enough room to stand up in the living room, or just sit down. Check the height of this living room and make your choice according to your preferences, especially if you want to recreate a small home in your tent, where you can stay together on rainy days.

How to choose a family tent for camping

• A 4-person tent with two bedrooms for a bit more privacy (if you're going as a couple, two couples together or if you end up holding a candle with your friends who are a couple). So the advantage is to have separation in space, and a little visual privacy. But don't forget that canvas doesn't insulate against sound, especially if you're going away with chronic snorers.

There are two main types for these tents:

• The bedrooms are separated by a central living room, great for getting away from the noise.

• The two bedrooms are together at the back of the living room. This is a "tunnel tent" model. In the latter, you won't see your bedroom neighbours, but you'll hear them, and they'll hear you too...

So if you're going away as a couple or with friends and everyone wants to keep their privacy, opt for a central living room. If you're camping with your family, you'll appreciate being able to keep an ear on your children at night. On the other hand, you may prefer to give them a bit of autonomy during your holiday and opt for a tent with a central living room.

The good idea: if you like camping without being squeezed in like sardines, go as four with a 5-person tent with a "parents' suite" worthy of the name. There's a big difference between the number of places needed for everyone to sleep in the tent, and the number of places you feel comfortable in.

How to choose a family tent for camping

↪ Which family tent should you choose for five people?

Ah, you're going camping with an odd number of people! Most 5-person tents are tunnel tents with the bedroom(s) at the back. Your choice will depend on whether the bedrooms are separate or not, and on the size of the living room, which should be big enough to hold your rucksacks, cool box and kitchen utensils when you're not using them outside. And why not a table and a few folding chairs to recreate a lounge atmosphere in the living room or outside when the weather's nice.

Quechua has thought of you with models of tunnel tent that resemble the 4-person tents with two bedrooms, with a living room and then the two bedrooms glued together. One of the two bedrooms is larger and can sleep up to three people, while the other can sleep just two.

The size of the living room is generally generous, even more so on our inflatable models. However, check the height of the living area, which is a little lower at the bedroom entrance than at the entrance to the tent. For example, our 5-person tent with poles is 1.90m high at the entrance, but 1.72m high at the bedrooms, whereas the inflatable model is 2.10m high at the entrance and 1.85m high at the bedrooms.

How to choose a family tent for camping

Would you like to experience an extraordinary camping experience and reconnect with your inner child?

Quechua has designed a 5-person tent in the shape of a teepee – a traditional North American dwelling. Made from polycotton (see our section on polycotton below), this top-of-the-range tent will give you a complete change of scenery and a level of comfort that means you won't want to take down your camp and go home. It also has two bedrooms, to avoid the "dormitory" effect, and can be extended with a tarp to create a shaded terrace.

How to choose a family tent for camping

↪ Which family tent should you choose for six people?

As the number of people grows, so does the choice of tent type! For six people, you can:

• Sleep as a group with six people in the same tent. The idea is to create a holiday camp atmosphere. This is the case with the Arpenaz 6-person ultra-fresh tent, which is designed to keep you cool in summer with a removable roof so you can sleep with a view of the stars and be protected from insects in summer. This tent doesn't come with a living area, so make sure you can store your stuff in your car overnight!

• Sleep completely independently with three separate bedrooms.
This is the case with the Arpenaz 6.3 tent, where you enter into a living room with a bedroom on each side and a bedroom at the back.

• Have a mix with a tent where the living room is in the middle, with a separate bedroom for two people on one side, where the beds go along the width of the living room, and two bedrooms for two people stuck together, with the beds going the length of the room.

How to choose a family tent for camping

↪ Which family tent should you choose for eight people?

From eight people upwards, we enter the world of the competition camping tent. These imposing tents take up a lot of floor space, often along the length of tunnel tents for eight people. The largest tents, for 12 people for example, have a huge central living room and bedrooms all around this living room, with tents in the shape of a three-pointed star.

For these larger tents, the living room will always be large enough to accommodate a lounge and a space for storing belongings and food and for preparing cold meals (use the stove outdoor only!). You'll be able to stand upright.

The main thing to check is the layout of the bedrooms and whether they are separate or in dormitory mode. The advantage of having a pair of bedrooms on either side of the living room will be to limit human heat and the condensation produced by our bodies during the night, as well as allowing greater visual and acoustic privacy.

Think about it: depending on your habits and the tents your friends already own, you could also opt to set off with two 4-person tents instead of one large 8-person tent. You won't have to make a big purchase, and you'll have greater privacy and the possibility of going away in a smaller group from time to time by taking just one tent. On the other hand, you'll lose out on conviviality and will have to check that your spot can accommodate your two small tents, which will sometimes take up more space than a single large tent.

What's the best structure for a large, solid tent that's easy to erect?

Family tents are too big to take advantage of the two-second assembly system. However, that doesn't mean that there isn't an easy assembly system!

How to choose a family tent for camping

↪ inflatable family tent

If you're going away with two adults and a bunch of children, don't count on them to help you put up your 6+ person tent before nightfall. Quechua has thought of you by creating inflatable tents with pre-assembled bedrooms (sometimes the flysheet is also pre-assembled). Instead of the traditional poles, you inflate the structure of the tent, which is then assembled as if by magic, in ten minutes. All you have to do is put in your tent pegs and you're ready to go! Two adults equipped with a special pump (with a pressure of 7 PSI) will set up an inflatable tent in around ten minutes.

Remember to check whether or not the bedrooms and flysheet are already pre-assembled. If not, you'll just need to do a little extra work. Also, don't hesitate to re-inflate your inflatable poles regularly with the appropriate pump during your camping trip, so that your tent retains its shape and wind resistance.

How to choose a family tent for camping

↪ family tent with poles

The great classic pole tents will give you a bit more trouble than inflatable tents, but they cost almost half as much.

At Quechua, we've made pitching a tent with poles as easy as possible by using coloured markers. This is especially useful on large tents with lots of different sized bedrooms. It's easy to get lost and mix up the different parts!

Regardless of the number of parts, two adults should be enough to assemble the tent.

What is the best type of fabric for a family tent?

The material used for the flysheet of classic Quechua tents offers UPF 30 sun protection, except for the Fresh models designed for summer use. These are based on Fresh technology, with a fabric offering UPF 50+ sun protection!

Not all brands and not all models offer the same UV protection. Make sure you check this point.

There are also other technologies and fabrics to make the most of sleeping in or to extend the life of your tent:

How to choose a family tent for camping

↪ Sleeping in thanks to Fresh and Black technology

Whether you're away with family or friends, sometimes you'll want to sleep in the morning after a long hike (or a long evening at the campsite...). To make "camping" synonymous with "sleeping in",  Quechua has created Fresh & Black technology that keeps you cool and in the dark so you don't wake up to the sun!

To find out more, read our article dedicated to Fresh & Black technology.

How to choose a family tent for camping

↪ Top-of-the-range polycotton family tents

Don't be fooled by the ordinary look of polycotton. It may not look like it when you see it in the shop, but it's a technical cotton full of quality! It offers:

• better UV resistance
• better breathability than a traditional polyester tent (if you're not familiar with breathability, read our article on condensation in tents, and how to avoid it thanks to the breathability of the fabric, among other things).
• a longer lifespan
• a lighter tent than a 100% cotton tent
• a more pleasant living environment in terms of noise for example (and that's a game-changer when you're camping with a group!).

Technical expertise comes at a price (or rather two!):

• The first is the higher purchase price, which you'll pay off over the years and appreciate during your camping trip (#WorthEveryPenny)
• The second is the maintenance, which will require you to be more careful than with a normal canvas tent. The polycotton will need to be thoroughly cleaned (no stains) and dried before being stored to retain its qualities and avoid discovering mould next summer.

How to choose a family tent for camping

Which family tent for trekking and bivouac adventures?

Going backpacking means putting up, taking down and carrying your tent on your back. Family-size camping tents are generally very heavy and take up a lot of space. Instead, opt for a family trekking tent for three or four people.

Are there any family roof tents?

The number of places in roof tents is limited by a major constraint: space on the roof of a car. Even though some brands offer roof tents for three or four people, you run the risk of being really cramped. These tents also don't have a real living room to store your belongings or your kitchen area. It's better to go with a roof tent and a tent to be pitched on the ground if you want to go with more than two people. And if you want to find out more, we've got an article on how to choose the right roof tent!

How to choose a family tent for camping

Rent your family tent to keep camping costs under control

With Quechua and Decathlon, you can hire your family tent and only pay for the days you use it. We also have partner campsites where the tent will be waiting for you on site to free up space in your boot and make your holiday easier!

As you can see, tents come in all sizes and configurations, so you can go camping with your family or friends. Prices are as varied as the models, with pole tents being more affordable than inflatable tents. However, inflatable tents are easier to erect and offer more space. If you want to be sure of your tent's longevity, buy a slightly larger one (in case your family or group of friends grows) and choose polycotton fabrics as your tent will stay with you long enough to see your children grow up, witness your evenings out at camp with friends and make lots of memories!

How to choose a family tent for camping


A camping enthusiast at Quechua

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