Family camping holidays offer a chance to get close to nature and enjoy life at a slower pace. To provide protection against the elements and support day-to-day activities, it’s important to choose a good family tent that’s fit for purpose and keeps everyone happy.
This guide will help you to choose a tent, covering a broad range of subjects including space planning, tips to prepare for a turn in the weather, and ways to keep the accommodation clean and dry.
What to Consider
- Consider the duration of your trip and the comfort level you require. This will narrow down the size and style of family tent that is best suited to you. For example, would you prefer a bigger living area or a bigger sleeping area? You’ll also need to decide how many sleeping compartments you’ll need.
- Having comfortable sleeping equipment is important. For short trips, a 50cm wide self-inflating mattress may be sufficient. However, for longer trips, a proper airbed that can be up to 1.4m wide may be a better option. Bearing this in mind, look at how wide the sleeping compartments are, to make sure you can fit the right number of mattresses in there for the right number of people.
- Always check the weather. Be prepared for worst-case scenarios and ensure your tent can withstand bad weather.
Manage your Expectations
- It’s important to be realistic about what will fit into your car when choosing a family tent. A large tent can take up a lot of boot space, but you still need to take sleeping bags, a stove, personal items and clothing. You may need to compromise on the size of the tent in order to be able to take more home comforts with you.
Poles are Important
- Choose tent poles carefully. For family tents, these will be steel, fiberglass or inflatable poles. The Wild Country Zonda AirFlex poles include a 10-year guarantee so you can rest assured knowing you’re in safe hands.
- Air poles or inflatable poles are a great choice for ease of use. The Wild Country Zonda 12cm large-diameter Air Flex inflatable poles provide excellent stability and inflate quickly and easily. They are supplied with a slim-line double action hand pump that has a built-in pressure gauge, a comprehensive repair kit, and an inflation valve tool for convenience.
- Steel poles, although more bulky and heavy, are durable and strong. This provides an all-important stable tent, which is vital for high winds.
- Fibreglass poles are lighter and won‘t take up as much room in the boot of your car, but they are not as strong and are flexible. Therefore, you’ll have a tent that isn’t as stable and could rock in the wind.
- It’s also a good idea to check your tent poles are colour coded so that pitching is quick and easy.
Family Tent Fabrics
- The flysheet and groundsheet are usually polyester and therefore, waterproof. Hydrostatic head (HH) is a measurement that you might see when shopping around. This is a measurement of how waterproof a fabric is – it is usually given in metres or millimetres. A 3m HH for a flysheet is a usually the minimum figure to look for on family camping tents. Our Zonda Family Camping range are 6m HH to ensure the highest quality for your holiday.
- Look for a sewn-in groundsheet – a groundsheet that is sewn into the flysheet can help keep out bugs, draughts and rain.
- Flysheets and groundsheets should also be seam-sealed (waterproof tape applied to the inner side of the seam) to stop water seeping through. Sometimes, this design feature is not what you might look for when choosing a family tent, but it’s important to stop water seeping down zips and into the inner tent or dripping from toggle points on to the floor.
Design Features and Accessories
- Ensure you your tent has plenty of air vents. Ventilation is important in a tent to prevent the build-up of condensation, which inevitably occurs. Good tents will have plenty of ventilation points and will have been designed so rain can’t get in. Full mosquito net doors are a great design feature as they allow plenty of air circulation while keeping insects out.
- It’s a good idea to look for accessories to help make your camping trip easier. Groundsheet protectors will help to keep the bottom of the tent clean and dry which in turn makes it much easier to pack up. A separate groundsheet protector takes the worst of the muck and can be wrapped and packed separately at home time, keeping the main tent much cleaner.
- Tents can get very warm inside in hot weather, therefore, temperature moderators may help to keep the temperature down. They act as a barrier to the sun, helping to keep the inner tent cooler, reducing the effect of UV light. A temperature moderator is a cover that fits over the flysheet. The air gap between it and the flysheet heats up helping to insulate the tent against the sun. The inner tent may still be warm but the difference in temperature between a tent with and without a temperature moderator is very noticeable.
Bringing your Family Tent Home
Once you’ve chosen your tent, have a practice pitching at home first and have an overnight camp in the garden so everyone can get used to it. You may need to pitch in a hurry when you go for real, so it’s best to be prepared.
The Wild Country Zonda range is the perfect selection of family tents. Made from heavy-duty fabrics and 12cm AirFlex poles for easy pitching and convenience, the range is available in 8 person, 6 person and 4 person sizes.