What size Tent Should I Choose For My Beginner Camping Trip?
Updated: Mar 18
Tent camping can be a significant part and experience of your family vacation. Whether you’re camping in the woods, mountains, or at the beach, there is one factor in common: your tent’s size. The proper Tent sizes, whether a Large Tent or a small A-Frame Tent, significantly affect your outing’s quality and level of enjoyment. While a waterproof tent for Beginning Camping is essential, the proper Tent Sizes is probably the next most important item.
The beginner camping enthusiast is faced with this urgent dilemma. Should my Waterproof Tent be a Large Family Tent, an 8 person tent, or a Multi Room Tent? The choice will have a significant effect on the quality of your stay and sleep. There are many styles of tents in addition to the vast options for the Tent Sizes available to the beginner Camping Enthusiast. From A-Frames to Dome Tents, to Cabin Tents, to Roof Top Tents, these styles all have different sizes to accommodate your beginner camping needs.
What size Tent Should I Choose For My Beginner Camping Trip?
Should I choose a 12 Person Tent, a Large Family Tent, or a Multi Room Tent? Well, there is a simple benchmark or two that you can apply to answer this question. First, choose a tent that is two persons larger than you require. For example, suppose you have six people in your family. In that case, you should choose no smaller than an 8 person tent to house your family for your vacation. Another way to look at the choice is that each person in your party will need a minimum of 30 square feet to have some level of comfort.
Whether you are looking into a small dome tent or a Large Tent like a Bell Tent or Cabin Tent, the same principle applies.
Now, these Tent Sizes are just a starting point for the Beginner Camping Enthusiast to experiment with. Other factors can significantly affect the quality of comfort during your stay. Everything from the amount of camping gear you bring to your group’s makeup affects your comfort. Another critical item to consider when choosing the perfect waterproof tent for your trip is what you will be sleeping. If you are sleeping on the ground or foam pads, then you are safe to start with the two-person rule. Again, this means that if you have ten persons in your party, you will need a 12 person tent.
Now, if you choose to sleep on cots or air mattresses, you will need to allow for more room. In this case, allow for a factor of 4 persons. A 12 Person Tent would house eight people. Another way to look at the problem is that each person in your party sleeping on cots will need 40 square feet of room to provide great comfort on your trip.
Obviously, other factors contribute to the amount of space you need in your Large Family Tent. Let’s take a closer look at some of the items that the Beginner Camping Enthusiast should consider before purchase your Waterproof Tent.
What type of camping will you be enjoying? This question has many answers. Common types of camping are Hiking, Winter, Fishing, Car Camping, Extended Stay, Ocean, or the weekend getaway. These different types of camping all require different types of tents. For instance, Hiking tents typically are smaller and lighter, say a Dome Tent or an A-Frame Tent. These are quick and easy to assemble on the trail-side.
Winter Camping is a unique experience and also requires a special tent to stay comfortable. Usually, this is a Canvas Bell Tent or Canvas Cabin Tent. Here you will need the durability of canvas for breathability. These tents can quickly provide a chimney jack for the stove to keep you warm. Size-wise, Canvas Bell Tents can make amazingly comfortable Large Tents.
Car Camping provides you with a tent, usually a Dome Tent that connects to the back of your SUV. These flexible stand-alone tents are generally no larger than an 8 person tent. For this reason, this style of camping is best for two adults and a couple of children. Space can be tight. However, you do have the interior of your SUV for added sleeping and storage.
Extended Stay Camping would be based on more prolonged periods. For this reason, you can purchase a Large Family Tent with more space and options. A 12 Person Tent, Multi Room Tent, or a Canvas Bell Tent are great options for this Waterproof Tent Solution. They all offer lots of space, with better ventilation and more durability. These options will take longer to set up, but offer you more comfort for your more extended shelter period.
Weekend Camping is the perfect getaway for the Beginner Camping Enthusiast. A quick couple of nights in the woods or at the beach to regenerate. Smaller Dome Tents and Cabin Tents are the perfect solutions here. While these Dome Tents and Cabin Tents can be Large Tents, they offer you lots of size choices. Probably the most popular size is the 8 Person Tent as it will efficiently and comfortably shelter six persons. These tent’s style is easily set up and provide you with a huge waterproof tent for your weekend trip.
Where will I Be Camping? This question also affects the size of your Large Tent. If you are camping at a campground and are in a warm climate, you will want a slightly larger tent that offers improved ventilation. A 12 person tent might be an excellent choice for six people to feel comfortable providing lots of space and ventilation per person. A Multi Room Tent is also a great alternative in this scenario.
If you’re camping in colder weather, you don’t want an overly large tent as you will have difficulty keeping it warm. Multi Room Tents are not a great fit for this type of camping do to their divisions and large tent size. In this situation, you will most likely be leaning to a Canvas Bell Tent that has the option of a stove jack for a wood burning tent stove. These circular tents offer you more usable space with less square footage per person because there are no corners. Every inch of these large tents is usable space.
Camping in Spring and Fall is the perfect time for the beginner camping enthusiast. The days are warm, and the nights are cool for sleeping. Camping in this climate is fantastic, and you should pick your tent based on what type of camping you are doing. The two-person rule works excellent during this time of year as the tents all seem to have excellent ventilation.
Always remember to keep the regional climate in mind for a specific time of year and where you will be camping. Mountain Camping and Ocean Camping can have more considerable fluctuation is temperature and weather, so larger tents may not be the best choice. However, this fact is usually based on the time of year, so do your research. Keep in mind that most tent manufacturers will also give you a guideline for their product’s best uses and climate uses.
What are the demographics of your camping party? Your camping group’s makeup will have a large bearing on the size of your large family tent. A family of 2 adults and two children might want an 8 person tent or a multi room tent so that the children have room to move around and play, or maybe you want a sitting area to relax and play board games on a table and chairs. These questions are what you need to consider before making your purchase. You might even want to consider the age of the children. Younger children may want to be close to mom and dad, where teenagers will want to be on their own. Teens would also work great in a multi room tent, allowing them privacy.
Now, if your party is all adults, your decisions still need some thought. A couple can easily get away with less space. They can adhere to the 20 or 30 square foot rule, but If it involves 3 or 4 adults, you should lean to 30 or 40 square feet per person. Also, if your party of beginner camping enthusiasts is comprised of couples, then a large multi room tent is a perfect choice.
In the end, you should look at the needs of your group and factors that enter into your decision on the size of your tent. By looking at all these factors, you can enjoy an amazing camping trip for all.
Do Some Tents offer More Space Than Other Styles? The simple answer to this question is yes. Different styles of tents provide more space than others. Keep in mind that this can include the headroom. More headroom will also make the tent feel larger.
For instance, The Large Family Dome Tent has the lowest profile of any of the tent styles. You can purchase dome tents that are considered a 12 person tent. These can be multi room tents and have screen rooms and awning. Lots of options are available, but the headroom is always low, by design. The structure dictates this lower profile, especially smaller dome tent where you won’t stand up, even in the center.
The Cabin Tent can offer your camping party an extensive footprint. Here, you can get multiroom options, screen rooms, even garages. These go up to a 14 person tent offering lots and lots of space. Even better is the headroom. Even in smaller versions in the Cabin Tent, you can almost always stand tall, even at the edges. Usually, this height will be around 6 feet, possibly more. This height allows virtually all of us to stand tall.
The Canvas Bell Tent is a fantastic option for lots of space. You can find this style of tent in a 13 foot, 16 foot, and 20-foot diameter. These sizes are huge for the camping arena offering you room to move around. The headroom in this style is massive. 7, 8, or 9 feet. The center pole design gives the loftiest headroom of any tent design. Keep in mind that most Canvas Bell Tents have a three or 4-foot sidewall height, so the headroom at the tent’s edge is low. This position is usually the best position to arrange your sleeping gear. This setup will leave the center of the tent open for use. This area is where the headroom is the highest. The massive amount of headroom in the canvas bell tent makes this tent feel huge, like a circus tent.
The bottom line is that picking the proper size tent for your trip does take some thought. You can’t just go by what is stated in the tent box. At the bare minimum, you need to subtract two persons from that number. However, to have the perfect camping trip, you need to consider many other items. You need to put them all together and match your group’s needs, your group’s demographics, where you’ll be camping, how long you’ll be camping, and what type of camping. All these factors comprise the perfect tent. Unfortunately, it’s not just a simple pick a number answer. You might even want to enjoy different types of camping. Here, your original tent may not be the best choice. In the end, you may have a couple of tenting options in your basement, depending on the type of trip you will be taking.
No matter your style and type of camping, always try to prioritize the kind of comfort you are looking for in your tent. Types of comfort can range from space, warmth, headroom, ease of setup, multi room, or even portability. You need these items of convenience in order from most to least important. Then you will have an excellent base to figure out and choose the perfect tent for your next camping tent.
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