How Do I Choose the Best and Largest Tent?
Now that you know you cannot imagine your life without camping, and your loved ones or friends cannot either, it is about time to look for a good-sized tent. You are on a mission of arranging comfortable and exciting trips for your whole team. The success will depend on how well your future portable home is going to accommodate your companions and how it is going to keep bad weather, bugs, snakes, and other discomforts at bay. You must have checked numerous websites, forums, and video tutorials. Therefore, you must have noticed that sources highlight similar criteria of choice. The following section describes each one in detail.
Size, height, weight, and sleeping capacityThose camping with their friends and families should ensure that there is enough room to accommodate as many people as possible. They have to look for the largest canopy they can handle. The most popular large canopies accommodate 8 to 10 persons in sleeping bags and up to 4 persons on 2 queen-size airbeds. These tents are about 16 feet long, 11 feet wide. Their height is 7 feet. They allow even tall people to stand up full height and walk freely inside. They are big enough to spare some room between and around airbeds. Looking into these tents will help you ensure easy and comfortable dwelling. You do not want to stand crooked, crawl in and out of, or jump over each other. Luckily, large cabin tents do not pose any issues. Their height and vertical walls pretty much solve the problem for campers. There is an important thing, however, that you should not miss: the larger your group is, the more space you need for your gear as well. It will inevitably take up space, so be sure to calculate it with a margin. For example, if you have a family of 4, you may want to buy a 6 to 8-person tent. And one more point to remember: sizable products are more heavyweight. For this reason, they are great for car camping, but not for hiking or backpacking.
Products come in different shapes. They vary in design, type of doors and windows, frame (poles, pegs, ropes, guy lines, etc.), fabric, water- and weather-resistance. All these factors are important when it comes to choosing a good-sized canopy for a group of people. The shape and design of your item are decisive. For instance, a square or cabin-shaped offers a maximal amount of space. Height is evenly distributed across the area, so one can stand up not only near the center point. Most canopies have a square, rectangular, or cube form. However, there are manufacturers offering hexagonal and pentagonal canopies that feature a greater flexibility when it comes to using the floor space.
Nearly all large tents are designed to house campers’ gear. This is not something to be disregarded. Imagine a crowd of 10 people entering your canopy, each leaving a bag or toolkit in the living or sleeping area. You will end up with the whole area cluttered. A roomy gear loft and utility pockets should be there. The product should be designed to help you arrange your gear and tools, keep them close at hand, and save a lot of space. You need to know where your things are and be able to reach them every time you need them.
A porch can provide extra space. While camping, you without exposing yourself to sunlight or rain or stay indoors without breathing stuffy air. Most porches include screens and attachable floors, so you can use them as an extra gear storage facility. The downside is that your porch won’t handle it if your whole bunch suddenly wants to breathe fresh air without staying under the clear sky.
RoomsAs long as you are traveling with your friends and family, you need a multi-room tent. Usually, large ones have a living area and 2 sleeping areas. These can be divided either by sewn-in walls or detachable dividers. There are several reasons why you may want to have separate rooms with doors. Definitely, some of your bunch will want privacy. In many families, people go to bed at a different time. If that is the case with your family, you’d better provide as many dedicated rooms as you can. In this situation, it is advisable to buy a tent with dividers. Besides, be sure that each room has a separate door. If you are traveling with children or teenagers, do expect them to seek privacy. Get an extra dedicated room ready. Finally, you can use one of the rooms as storage for your gear and keep it away from your living, dining, and sleeping areas.
Floor makes all the difference in the world in terms of comfort. This element is highly exposed to aggressive influences of gravel, sand, debris, and water, which may get under it during rain. Therefore, floor must be made of a sturdy and waterproof material. For better insulation from cold ground, a footprint can be used.
If you are an all-season traveler, you should have everything at hand to keep your team warm on a frosty day. Camping with a wood stove is increasingly popular. However, your tent must have the needed design to ensure effective and safe heating. Be sure it features a stove jack—a metal-rimmed flue pipe hole with sealing. Besides, there should be a fire-resistant floor mat, and part of the wall must be covered with a sturdy and fire-resistant material. Please note that a wood stove will take up some space, so be sure that the sleeping area is large enough. Take steps to prevent fire and carbon monoxide poisoning, especially if there are children in your team. Do not leave your stove burning without attendance and keep your place well-ventilated!
Properly designed ventilation is crucial for comfortable and safe camping, especially if you are traveling with a large group or family. It is advisable to choose a product with doors on opposite sides. This pattern ensures direct air flow. Doors and windows should have zipper mosquito nets that prevent bugs from getting inside. A mesh ceiling is a great addition, as it helps warm and stuffy air to escape from the place. Some canopies have zippered vent holes close to the floor.
Type of frame is a number-one criterion. Frames are made of different materials, particularly fiberglass, aluminum, steel, alloys, etc. These influence products durability and transportability. Steel frames are hard and durable, yet more heavyweight: an aluminum frame is about 1/3 the weight of a steel frame. Manufacturers compensate the difference by offering thinner canvases in products with steel frames. A fiber glass frame is more lightweight, but it is more vulnerable to physical impact and less durable. Last but not least is the set-up process: many large items are easy to pitch, although it takes more than one person to set them up.
Type of frame
Based on your goals, you should choose the right type of canvas. If you appreciate year-round camping, there is a problem: there are few large all-season products. Not unlikely, you need to buy a separate winter tent. You must be sure the canvas and the floor are waterproof and/or there is a rain fly. Waterproofness is measured in millimeters or inches and is reflected in canvas specs. For example, PU 4000 means that the canvas has a polyurethane coating and ranks 4,000 mm (157 in) waterproof. Be sure to buy an item with a canvas ranking at least a 1,500 mm (59 in) waterproof.
Canvas type and design
If you really need a comfortable and sturdy product that will last a lifetime, be ready to make an investment. There are cheap items galore available via countless websites. However, many of these are a far cry from what sellers say they are. A product that fully meets all of the tips mentioned above may be tough for your budget. But are you sure you really need all these goodies? Just weigh all pros and cons and be sure it suits your specific needs. For example, you may sacrifice some features and buy a tent without a porch. Do you really need a wood stove if you are not planning to camp in extreme weather? Here is a little catalogue of not cheap yet affordable and worthwhile design options that can meet the camping expectations of a good-sized family.
Tahoe Gear – Ozark 16 Person Cabin Tent
Tahoe Gear is large and spacious. With 3 rooms and a height of 7 feet, it can be a little home for as many as 16 persons in sleeping bags and it can house up to 3 airbeds. It is great for a group camping in different types of terrain and weather. It has large windows with meshes, so it is well ventilated. The frame consists of 10 steel poles and 5 fiberglass roof supports. The canopy is made of 1,200 mm (47 in) waterproof polyester fabric. It is too weak to withstand heavy rain, but you will be okay with it in mild rain. A roof-only rain fly provides additional protection against water. It comes with a water-resistant polyethylene floor that does not leak and is easy to clean. Tahoe Gear is not intended for winter camping. Many campers complain about lack of storage space. This appears to be one of the product’s biggest downsides. However, there are some advantages which attract people. Large windows can offer scenic views of the wilderness and give you a share of romantic camping experience. Tahoe Gear has a power port, so you can connect it to a source of power and use electrical appliances inside.
All-Season Premium Outfitter Wall Tent with Stove Jack – Hexagon
With a square footage of 150, the Hexagon guarantees a homely environment for both couples and whole families. It is ideal for camping in any weather. It features a stove jack, so a wood stove will keep you warm in freezing cold. The unique shape and design provide extra space, so you can easily accommodate 8 people in sleeping bags and up to 6 people on folding camp beds. The height allows tall campers to feel comfortable. The camouflage-colored canvas is made of Oxford PU 4000 (the outer layer) and Oxford PU 2000 fabric (4,000 mm / 157 in and 2,000 mm / 79 in waterproof respectively), and the umbrella-type metal frame is made of a sturdy and lightweight B95T1 aluminum alloy. All doors and windows have reinforced frost-resistant zippers and feature mosquito nets. The package includes a detachable zipper floor that protects the inside from insects and animals and water.
CORE 9P Instant Cabin TentCORE 9P is very user-friendly and easy to pitch. It features telescopic poles that are attached to the canopy. It is not small at all, measuring 131 square feet. Thanks to the height of 6.5 feet at the center, it can accommodate tall people. It can handle 2 queen-size airbeds and up to 6 campers in sleeping bags. The front-door is D-shaped, and the side door is T-shaped. There are vent openings near the floor. Together, the doors and the openings keep the room ventilated and cool on a hot summer day. The canvas features an electrical cord port and can be lit from your vehicle’s battery. This product is good for car camping, not for backpacking, because it is too heavy.
Coleman: 8-Person Tent for CampingThis large 17×10-foot canopy can easily accommodate up to 8 people in sleeping bags and up to 4 on queen-size airbeds. It comes with detachable room dividers. With these and a height of 6 feet, you can make up to 3 rooms and move freely. Thanks to WeatherTec that includes welded doors and inverted seams, the canopy will not let water in. The front door features a water-resistant zipper cuff that prevents rainwater from getting inside. The bathtub floor is made of heavy-duty polyethylene.
Ozark Trail: 20-Person Cabin Tent
Ozark Trail can accommodate up to 20 people in sleeping bags and up to 6 people on queen-size airbeds. It has 3 side rooms and a central one, and each one has a door. The canopy has a height of 6 feet. The 8 windows provide excellent ventilation. There are good-sized pockets in every room, where you can store your food, water, tools, etc. Besides, the product features an electric cord port. OZARK Trail is designed for summer camping and not intended for camping in extreme weather. It offers a lot of comfort and opportunities for privacy and socializing. OZARK Trail is easy to pack and lightweight for its size.