Preparing for a family camping expedition can be a time of great anticipation for all family members. Proper budgeting of the trip is required to make sure you invest your money wisely while making sure you get the maximum experience for the family. Nothing is as important as your choice of accommodations. If your decision is to stay outdoors in a tent, then the tent can be a critical investment.
As tent technology has improved, the desire to stay outdoors under a tent has become increasingly popular for family camping. The comfort of cabins or lodging adjacent to your camping site now can be traded cost effectively for Family Tents. Having said that, the investment in a good quality tent that can accommodate multiple persons is not trivial and you must put some thought into your tent decision.
Repeat Use. Is your family the type that will be camping regularly, or is a camping trip a one-time affair that will not be repeated often? This answer can impact how much you will be spending on a Family Tent. Using a family tent once or twice in the space of several years, while the tent sits in the garage dictates paying only for a modestly priced tent.
Type of Camping. Is your family the type that enjoys recreational style camping or are you likely to be camping in the back country? Recreational camping family tents tend to be roomier with a bit more extras for storage, dividers and door openings. As such, they tend to be heavier to transport. Back country Family Tents are a bit more rugged, with weight being a key factor in their design. They are more likely to sport more insulated floors and lighter alloy poles. This impacts cost.
Seasonal Camping. Most family tents nowadays are marketed for multi-season use, allowing for at least 3 seasons. However, if your family expects to be trying winter camping or camping at higher elevations, you need to factor in the extra cost associated with tents that are built for this season. For instance, snow ready tents will often times have a lower profile to better handle wind resistance. Their insulation will be more robust and their ventilation points may be fewer.
Privacy versus Community. If you are family camping with more than 3 persons, you need to factor in the privacy aspect of tent design. Newer (and more expensive) family tents offer interior space seal offs, either in the form of flaps or in room dividers. Also, these tents are often designed for multiple ingress and egress points with multiple window/ventilation flaps. These extras cost money but are often times more than worth the premium in terms of overall family enjoyment.
A good example of the trade off in cost for design and flexibility would be the Eureka Copper Canyon 10 family tent versus the Eureka Outfitter Timberline family tent. The 23 pound Copper Canyon 10 is a straight walled style tent that sleeps 6 persons within 100 square feet and 7 foot maximum clearance with one door. It’s 3 season limitation and targeted recreational use results in a $199.99 price tag. The Timberline is a more rugged A-framed tent with industrial design for heavy duty use during 4 seasons. It has 2 doorways, can sleep 6 persons and weighs just under 19 pounds. The Timberline is priced at $399.99.
Features and intended use are very important considerations when deciding on purchasing a Family Tent. If you think you and your family will be regular campers, then spend the extra money to upgrade your tent. This will result in a higher quality experience for the entire family. On the other hand, if family camping is a one-time experience for your family, then save the money while still enjoying a fun filled trip to the outdoors.