A cabin tent can serve as your home away from home and really enhance your family camping experience. There are a handful of factors to consider when purchasing a family tent. However, with a little bit of knowledge and understanding, you’ll be able to choose the perfect family tent that you can enjoy for many, many years.
Let’s go through the each of the key factors one by one.
Tent footprint – This refers to the square footage of the tent-its width and length. This is clearly important because the size of the tent is what dictates how much stuff and how many people your tent will hold! Cabin tents are meant to be large and comfortable. They are not designed to be compact or light-weight. Picture something that can comfortably sleep anywhere from 6 to 12 people! When considering how big of a tent you need, consider how much extra space you may want for your other camping equipment-coolers, tables, camp chairs, etc. So, if you have a family of 4, perhaps a tent that sleeps 8 would be ideal, allowing for lots of extra living space. Keep in mind, this is your home away from home… make sure it’s big enough to be comfy and store all your stuff!
Cabin tents (much like an actual cabin) are designed so that people can freely walk around and move inside. Depending on how tall you (and your friends and family) are, consider this when evaluating the height of your tent. Most cabin tents are at least 6 feet tall. If that’s not tall enough for you and you family, make sure you target cabin tents that are as tall as 7 feet or higher.
Most cabin tents have strong, well-supported frames that allow for nearly vertical walls. Compared to traditional tents, vertical walls let you utilize all of your tent footprint and move around in your tent without crouching or crawling. There is some variation in the slope of the walls among tents, so do your research and shop accordingly. Cabin tents with more angled walls tend to be more stable in heavy wind and rain, which may be better for you than a straight-walled tent which is more exposed in bad weather.
Ease of Setup
Because family tents are large, they often involve more setup time than other types of tents. That said, tent designs have come a long way in the past few years and many are able to be set up quite easily. For example, some Coleman tents have the tent poles attached to the tent itself and can be set up in less than one minute. Unlike smaller, more traditional tents (which can be set up easily with one person), cabin tents are best set up with two people and a little pre-studying of the instructions.
This is something most people don’t think about (or even know about) when shopping for a cabin tent. However, this is one of the coolest things about cabin tents. Besides looking for a tent that is plenty big enough for all your crew and camp gear, think about where in your campsite people are going to be hanging out (besides the campfire!). What if the bugs are out or it starts to rain? Where can you sit and play cards or plan tomorrow’s activities? A cabin tent with a screened-in porch can be a perfect addition to your camping experience.
Along the same lines, some family tents also come with awnings. These types of tent still provide some extra coverage from the hot sun or rain, but without the added protection from bugs.
Just like everything in life, you pay for what you get. The good news is that you can get a very nice, large, comfortable, well-constructed cabin tent for about $200. Pay a little more and you can get something even bigger (that sleeps 8 or more people) and has a screened-in porch. Obviously, if you have an even larger budget you can get a seriously big and comfortable tent. Compare that to the cost of a camper or RV, or cabin rentals, or hotel stays and you’ll find that cabin tents are a good deal if you want to have the comforts of home away from home.
With any large purchase, you want something that will not only meet your needs, but will last many years. If you want serious peace of mind and are looking for the longest warranty, your best bet might be a tent by Eureka–they come with a lifetime warranty! Another favorite is Wenzel brand tents with their ten year warranty. One of the most popular brands, Coleman tents, by comparison only come with a one year limited warranty. All tents tend to get plenty of wear and tear so read warranty information carefully before purchasing.
With these key factors in mind, you should have the basic understanding you need to pick a terrific, cabin tent that will help make your next wilderness adventure a comfortable and enjoyable one.