Choosing a family tent, what tent is right for you?

Posted by Admin on

Picking a tent can be more confusing than picking a house to live in!

Why? Well, you don't need to move your house around with you, do you?

So what tent is the one that will work for you best? It might seem like a bit of a minefield out there but let us help break it down for you:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fdeefc39ef2bef7da8da3b28bd1b7d3d09e7ac65_cta-1-family.jpg
Photo Credit - Vango

So you and the family want to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Getting yourself a good tent is the best place to start. You will need to get an idea of what size of tent you are looking for by counting up your family - Even the little ones!

Once you know how many people will be sleeping in the tent the next question is how big do you want the living space? If you are camping somewhere other than Scotland and guaranteed nice weather, then you will be able to take advantage of sitting outside of the tent. However, if you are in Scotland and the weather does turn, or the midges come out in force then you need to make sure the space inside the tent is comfortable enough for you all to live in.

The clue is in the Name

To start with, the tent name will give away the Brand, the model of the tent plus the capacity. For example, the Vango Tigres 500 Tent - The brand is Vango, the model is the Tigres and the '500' in the name relates to its capacity of a 5 person tent.

The Size

All of Summits tent listings will include a diagram showing you the sizes of the tent whilst it is pitched. This is essential for you to figure out if the tent is going to be big enough for your family and any of your camping chairs/furniture. Below is the size for the Vango Tigres 500 Tent:

From this, you can see all of the measurements of the tent, which is vital. You can also be shown the size of the inner tent/bedroom, the size of the living space and entrances to the tent. Other features are sometimes pointed out, like cable entry points and mesh doors but most layouts will explain this on the photo as well.

Poled Tents or Inflatable Tents

With the advancement of technology, tents no longer all use poles. Airbeam tents - inflatable tents - have now taken on a huge part of the family camping market. So what one is right for you? There are two main deciding factors when it comes to picking between Airbeam and poled tents:

  1. The first is the ease of use, as erecting an Airbeam tent can be done by one person without any hassle, which is almost essential if only 1 adult is going with the kids or one adult has to look after them whilst the tent is being pitched. If there are two adults ready to pitch, with kids to help, then the poled versions can be done relatively simply but require a bit more support in erecting them.
  2. The second is possible the most important factor for a lot of people, as it is the cost. Airbeam tents are more expensive than the same version with poles. So you can get a bigger poled tent for the same price as the smaller Airbeam version.

Tent Features to look out for

The main design features that are worth looking for include:

  • Entrances/doors - How many do you need? Having multiple, especially when you have kids running in and out to stop any congestion. Also, do the doors have a mesh door so you can open them to allow airflow but stop any bugs getting in?
  • Built-in sun canopy or extension - Does your tent have a canopy over the front door to help cover. This can be extremely useful as a storage place for kit, as well as that extra bit of coverage when trying to get in.
  • Bedrooms with space - Make sure the bedrooms are big enough to fit all your comfortable sleeping kit, the last thing you want is to be squashed up beside each other when you try to sleep. Also look out for bedroom dividers to make sure you can separate yourselves for a little extra privacy.
  • Weight and pack size - Stop and go and look at the size of the vehicle you are going to be taking this all in. Imagine it packed with the family, their clothes, sleeping kit, furniture and then the tent. Some of the large family tents look amazing but be sure to check the size they pack down to and weigh, otherwise, you might be surprised when the courier arrives to drop it off!


  • Awning Extension - To ensure you get the right awning for your tent, we strongly recommend purchasing your awning and tent together. Either that or make sure that the model has not changed if you are buying after a season or two.
  • Footprints - Protect your tent groundsheet from the rough ground by adding a footprint under your tent. A lot of footprints are highly robust and lightweight so a great extra to add-in.
  • Carpets - Make your tent a home by adding warmth and comfort underfoot with a carpet. Certain brands will have fitted carpets for the specific size and style of tent. Universal carpets are also available, which are designed to fit a variety of tents, adding luxury to any style or size of tent.

We hope to have helped break down the process of picking a tent and helped you think about what you might need or want. If you have any questions at all please contact us via email - - or give us a call on 0141 889 3360.

We hope you have fun camping!

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