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With the good weather here, now’s the best time of year for camping and hitting up music festivals all around the country. But first, you’re going to need a tent — not just a strong and durable one that can stand up to the demands of travel, but can also fit your entire squad with room inside to move around. These large tents are ideal for fitting all your family and friends, but before going all-in and zipping the door shut, check out our shopping advice below.
Buying Guide: Best Tents for Families and Groups
Here, a few key pointers to look out for on your search.
Size: These tents generally sleep between four and six adults, but it’s ultimately the manufacturer that makes the call of how many people they say can fit. We recommend double-checking the dimensions to be sure it’ll be enough to house your group comfortably. Also consider height. Some tents can be tall enough for the average adult to walk around inside, so if you’ll be hanging out in here during the day, it’s a feature that may be worth it.
Storage: Having storage inside is also extremely beneficial so everyone can have an organized spot to stash their stuff. These are usually mesh pockets or pouches sewn into the sides, which may seem like a small detail, but it really comes in handy. Think about packing it up too. You’ll want something that not only breaks down smoothly, but can be gently placed in the storage bag without having to angrily smash it in as you’re in a rush to get on the road.
Setup: This has gotten refreshingly easier over the years, with some companies even claiming that their product can be ready to go in under one minute. Though that may be a bit of an exaggeration, setup in under five minutes is entirely possible, especially because these new tents don’t always require the annoying and tedious threading of poles like models of the past.
Weatherproofing: The average recreational camper may not need an extreme outdoorsman-level tent, but these should at the very least be able to withstand the basic elements of rain and wind. If it leaks, that’s a dealbreaker, as no one wants to wake up cold and wet in a soggy tent. And in high winds, cheap fiberglass tent poles (as opposed to stronger aluminum poles) can bend or break, leaving you sleeping in a collapsed mess. Having a rainfly is still highly helpful, just make sure it doesn’t cover up your tent’s windows.
Ventilation: Ever wonder why the air in a cheap tent tastes thick and humid even when the weather is perfect outside? Ventilation plays a big part. Not just the amount of windows and panels in the structure, but the size and quality of the mesh itself. A smaller mesh panel limits the airflow within, causing that stuffiness inside. It’s also important to consider the door. A tent holding multiple people needs one that’s large enough for everyone to comfortably get in and out, but also for moving equipment like mattresses, backpacks, and portable air conditioners inside.
Having a singular zipper going all the way around is also much more convenient than having to deal with two separate ones that often leave a gap between them. If possible, check if the zipper is a YKK brand too. YKK is a Japanese zipper company widely recognized as the industry leader. A cheap zipper can quickly snap, wear down, or run off track, leaving you with an expensive repair.
What Are the Best Large Tents?
From Big Agnes to other top-rated tent makers, here are some of our favorites for any camping trip.
1. Big Agnes Big House Tent
This big beast of a tent from Big Agnes performed best, fitting up to six people comfortably, only weighing 12 pounds, and folding up into a convenient carry-bag. It’s also waterproof with an included rainfly, with a high roof, mesh windows, and shelter mode to keep the midday sun out.
Two large doors open to greet guests, with a doormat to place their muddy shoes on and keep the interior clean. Convenient pockets are included for everyone’s small gear. Inside, there’s 57 square feet of space, and lightweight aluminum poles make it simple to set up whether it’s for the night or just in “shelter mode” during the day for some shade.
2. Campros CP Tent Camping Tent
Campros’ massive tent is even bigger than expected, able to house up to 10 people, while still being about six feet tall. The polyurethane hydrostatic coating keeps you dry during rainy nights, and a dividing curtain inside gives you privacy from everyone else. Setup takes about 20 minutes for one person, faster with more, and can fit two queen-sized mattresses inside. There’s also room for a table and chairs.
3. BeyondHome Instant Cabin Tent
At about 17 pounds, it’s a bit heavier than some of its competitors, but the time saved setting up is worth it. This can be up and running in a ridiculous 60 seconds once you get good at it, and provides enough space inside for the average person to stand. For sleeping, this tent holds six people with room to spare, with mesh ventilation to keep things cool and a rainfly to keep it dry.
4. Columbia Mammoth Creek 10-Person Tent
Columbia’s gear is known in the outdoor community as reliable and durable. This tank of a tent is tough as nails, and roomy enough to fit 10 people without feeling squeezed, thanks to straight walls that don’t angle inward and the addition of pull-out windows. The Omni-shield coated fabric does a superior job at keeping water away, and claims to dry up to five times faster than regular tents.