The Family Tent Buying Guide

The Family Tent Buying Guide – Page 3

Investing in a tent can be expensive.  Your heart can sink further when you look at the extras. So which tent extras are worth buying?

Click here see a menu of what’s in this guide.

Outwell Tomcat Extension

Porches

Tent porches give a much-needed weather entrance if one doesn’t exist already on the tent, and a very useful place for storing wet clothes and muddy boots, which you should keep out of your tent.

However, adding a porch is an extra effort after pitching the main tent.

If you can, budget for a tent with a good porch entrance built-in without having to buy an extra porch.

Extensions

A porch may provide extra shelter, but some tents have fully enclosed extensions.

These add a larger living area or can add another bedroom.

As with porches, if you can budget for it, get the tent that meets your need so that you don’t need an extension.

However, knowing that you can extend your tent gives you the option of expanding it as your needs change, and, in theory, spread the cost over a few years.

The downside with that strategy is tent manufacturers are always refining their designs, so extensions for models are hard to find a few years after the tent model has finished (though you may get lucky on e-bay).  Click here for a guide to fitting extensions from other tents.

You could also get a smaller tent that is ideal for shorter weekend camps, and purchase the extension so that you use the tent for the main family camping holiday.

Buy the extension for your tent when you buy your tent

Click here to find extensions for different tent models.

Tent Carpets

A tent carpet
A carpet in the tent may sound extravagant, but for family camping we really recommend it. It will make the tent feel a lot different and will make it feel warmer as the carpet will insulate you from the cold ground.

For more info read ‘Are tent carpets worth it?

You can sometimes pick up a package deal that has a tent with a carpet and could give you a saving overall.

Footprints

Additional protection under your tent is very useful, especially if the ground has been wet, and it means the hassle of drying a wet tent is greatly reduced.

We use a relatively cheap tarp under our tent (see details here).

If you have an irregular shape tent, a footprint is worth investing in though as regular tarps will not fit without a lot of time spent folding them into shape.

Again, you could find a package deal that means you get the footprint at a much-reduced price.

A footprint could also protect the underside of your tent from damage caused by sharp stones and sticks. However, you should always check that there are none of these before pitching anyway 🙂

Next Page: Which brand is best >>

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13 Comments
  1. We have a kampa hayling air 6, it’s awesome. We bought our first in 2016 but suffered severe leaking. Kampa tried to waterproof it but after this failed they replaced it with the 2017 model. We can now keep up with our campervan friends when setting up and packing away ?

    9:44 pm on June 5, 2018
  2. Hi,

    I’m looking for a practical family tent, not too big, not too heavy but easy to install.
    I’ve been looking at inflatable tents. Would you recommend them?
    I quite like the size and price of https://www.decathlon.co.uk/air-seconds-family-41-xl-id_8384152.html on Decathlon.
    Would you recommend any other https://www.inflatable.org.uk/best-inflatable-tent-2018/?

    Or would you avoid inflatable tents altogether and stick to poles?

    Thanks for your advice

    10:22 am on May 16, 2018
  3. Hello,
    I do really like your page. Thanks for sharing your experience with others.
    I think, you could do greater brand review, especially that UK market is one of the largest, I think.
    You have also: Karsten, Baco, Falco, Cabanon, HelSport, Bell, Nordisk, Hilleberg, De Waard, Bardani, Mountain Oak, Zempire, Kampa, TerraNova, Wild Country (by TN), Nomad and so on…
    I could give much more brand names. It is a pity, you just focused on Outwell ‘group’ and Vango.

    7:28 pm on April 2, 2018
    • Yes, there are many tent brands. Unfortunately, we can’t get around them all, so we tend to review Vango, Coleman, and Outwell tents the most. However, the tents shown in this Tent Buying Guide are just for examples. The tips on the type of tent, i.e. weekend or holiday, and layout apply to all brands,

      7:42 pm on April 2, 2018
  4. I’d suggest the OLPRO Wichenford Breeze inflatable tent – we got one last year and it’s brilliant, sleeps 8 and goes up really easily. Loads of space too.

    11:47 am on January 15, 2018
  5. We have an urban escape tent and they are pretty sturdy with quite a bit of room too. Also they come with a 5 year manufacturers guarantee

    7:18 pm on March 31, 2015

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