Camping can be a fun and rewarding experience, but adding kids to the mix can be a recipe for disaster. Think dirt, mud, and loads more gear than you would have if you were alone or with a friend or partner. A large, well-designed family tent can make your family camping trip that little bit more enjoyable.
In this guide, I've outlined the 10 best family tents for Australia. With one of these brilliant shelters, you will be protected from the weather and should be able to enjoy your next family trip.
How I Made My Selections
Camping has been something that I've shared with my family since I was a young child. As the eldest of 8 kids, I've experienced the ins and outs of camping with a family. When it goes right, it's amazing. But when things go downhill, you will wish you had just stayed at home.
To help you select the right tent and get the ball rolling, I've put together the following guide.
The best family tents should be durable and easy to set up and have plenty of storage space, enough room to sleep you and your kids, and adequate ventilation. Each of the 10 options I've listed below performs excellently in these areas.
I'm not going to lie, I love everything about this North Face family tent. It's tough, it's durable, and it even looks great. You will have to put up with slightly limited space because of the low ceiling, but there are numerous other features that make this a minor flaw.
For example, there are loads of ceiling pockets and other internal pockets for storage. There's a large enclosed awning that you can use for storage in rainy weather, and it weighs under 3kg when packed away.
This simple Coleman dome tent is one of the most affordable family tents that you will find. It's basic, sure, but I love it. For one, it uses Dark Room technology to block up to 90% of sunlight - making it perfect for anyone who likes to sleep in from time to time.
What's more, it boasts a tough, waterproof design, and it should fit in most people's price range.
The verdict: Definitely worth a look!
This 6-person camping tent is perfect for smaller families of three or four. It only has a single room, which makes it a decent option for families with small children, and there's plenty of ventilation.
On top of this, there's plenty of headroom and it's built with tough, waterproof materials. It does take a little time to set up, but it's extremely stable in all kinds of weather.
If you need something that's a little more spacious than the average choice for family camping, I'd suggest looking at this Ozark 10-Person Cabin tent. It boasts two internal rooms, power cord access, and a ripstop polyester design.
On top of this, there's a large gear loft for extra storage, and there's room to sleep at least 10 people. If you need more space and a decent head-height ceiling, this 3-season tent is worth considering.
The Coleman Instant Up range of tents has become one of the most popular on the market. The clever pop up design means that you can set it up in under two minutes, and it boasts large windows for optimal air circulation.
Four, six, and eight-person models are available, and the polyester material design makes it a nice, durable option. I have one of these personally, and I'd highly recommend at least considering it.
Dome-type family tents are simple, but they can still work very well. This basic Beeksy dome tent comes in four, six, and eight-person models, and it's quite lightweight and easy to set up. There's even a built-in electrical port for a power cord.
One thing I particularly like about this tent is that you can remove the rainfly in mild weather. The mesh roof and mesh walls offer excellent insect protection, enabling you to truly enjoy the experience of sleeping under the stars.
The Vango Odyssey Air is slightly expensive, but it's an excellent inflatable tent for small and medium-sized families. It sleeps up to five people, has two separate internal spaces, and includes plenty of storage pockets and extra storage space.
On top of this, the tough AirBeam design means that this tent is stable and super easy to set up. Overall, it's a 5-star option that's worth considering.
This OneTigris tent is a rather unique option on the Australian market, but I like it! It's made to be used in the snow and features a snow skirt and a chimney hole so you can use a camping stove inside your tent.
On top of this, it boasts loads of floor space - although there isn't a built-in floor, which makes it effectively useless in the rain. The double-door design is another attractive feature that will help you keep warm air in and cold air out.
The Coleman WeatherMaster is hands-down one of the best tents for camping on the Australian market. It's fully water resistant due to the WeatherTec system, which includes welded floors and inverted seams.
On top of this, it boasts lots of ventilation through the mesh windows and mini awnings. Overall, this is a great option if you're looking for something that's a little larger than a simple dome tent.
The NatureHike Opulus is one of my favourite tents of all time. It's lightweight, packs away into a small, tight bundle, and is designed for four-season use. On top of this, it boasts a large undercover storage space and has a limited lifetime warranty.
And when you see the price of this family backpacking tent, it should immediately jump into consideration.
Family Tent Buying Guide
There are numerous decision-making factors to think about when you're buying a new family tent. Here are a few of the most important.
Type Of Tent
There are a few different types of tents on the market, including popup, dome, cabin, and air tents.
- Dome tents are widely used across Australia and feature a simple square or rectangular design held up by detachable poles. Dome tents are cheap and tend to be quite compact, but they are harder to set up than pop up and air tents.
- Pop Up tents are designed to be easy to set up. Everything is attached, and setup is usually as simple as pulling it out of its bag and unfolding it. However, pop up tents tend to be more expensive and bulkier than standard tents.
- Cabin tents are larger and more complex. They usually feature at least two rooms and often have plenty of space for storage and decent head space. Most cabin tents are quite hard to set up, but it's worth using them if you're going to be staying in the same place for a few days.
- Air tents are a rather modern invention that use inflatable air bladders for support rather than traditional tent poles. They tend to be heavy and expensive, but these inflatable tents are great in windy conditions and often make an excellent choice if you're looking for a luxury option.
The price for some tents for family camping can range into the thousands of dollars. A more affordable family tent will set you back a few hundred dollars, or even less.
There are a few important things to think about when it comes to the size of your tent.
Sleeping space - First, you need to ensure you purchase a camping tent that has enough space to sleep you and the rest of your family.
Head space - Some dome and pop up tents have very low ceilings. Other family camping tents are much more spacious, and some are even high enough for you to stand fully upright.
Storage space - When you're camping with kids, you will need plenty of storage space - trust me! Going for a shelter with a little extra space can be the difference between a cramped, irritating camping trip and a fun adventure.
Weight & Portability
When you're travelling out of a vehicle, the size and portability of your tent won't be too important. But if you're planning on hiking, backpacking, or doing anything else that requires a portable lightweight tent, you need to keep this in mind.
Australia's harsh weather conditions are among the worst and most varied in the world. At one extreme, you will experience windy, snowy conditions.
At the other, 45-degree heat and dust storms can be very uncomfortable to camp in. It's important to go for a family camping tent that's durable and built to last in Australia's tough conditions.
Excellent ventilation is a must when you're camping with kids. If you're reading this article, you're likely a parent. And if you're a parent, you will get it when I say that kids can leave some funky smells behind. Nobody wants them lingering around the tent when they're trying to sleep.
Ease Of Setup
There's nothing worse than stuffing around in the evening twilight trying to get your tent set up before the sun goes down. And the pain is doubled when you have tired or grumpy kids running around your ankles.
Go for a model that's easy to set up, especially if you're planning on regular family camping adventures.
Types Of Camping
Last, but certainly not least, you need to find a tent that suits your type of camping. If you're planning to take your family hiking in the mountains, for example, you will need a four-season tent that offers high-quality weather protection.
On the other hand, you can probably go for a more basic model if you just want something that the kids can set up in the backyard.
My number-one family camping tent is the North Face Wawona, an excellent all-around family camping tent that has all the bells and whistles. The simple Coleman Dome Tent is a good budget choice, and the other eight options on my list are all worth considering for more specialised uses.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.