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The best tents for car camping will vary from household to household. But there’s one thing we can all agree on and that’s freedom. By going car camping, you are free from all the restrictions commonly faced with campers that hike for miles before reaching base camp.
Not that there’s anything wrong with a 2 hour hike before arriving at camp, it’s just not practical for many American families. Nor is it appealing to some.
So with car camping, you have the freedom to pack the gear you want and how ever much gear your car can handle. No need to worry about the size and weight of your tent as its unlikely you wont be able to carry it a small distance to set up base camp. Provided you can actually carry/drag the tent, is good enough to take car camping.
With that freedom that car camping allows us, we have many choices of wonderful family car camping tents to smaller 4 person type of tents. From this large selection of tents available, its hard to narrow down the selection and actually make a decision.
Especially if your anything like my Wife, choosing a tent could take several trips to the mall and camping outlets spread out over several weeks and still she turns to the internet for more advice.
Fortunately, I’m a little different. I can see a awesome tent a mile away and have decided to share my opinions, research and experience and present this buyers guide to the best tents for car camping in 2017.
Quick Links To Info On This Page
- 1 Best Family Car Camping Tent
- 2 Best 2 Room Tents Goes To….
- 3 Best Waterproof Car Camping Cabin Tent
- 4 How To Camp In A Car
- 5 What To Look For When Buying A Car Camping Tent
Best Family Car Camping Tent
Kodiak Canvas Flex Bow Deluxe Tent Review
The Kodiak Canvas Flex Bow Deluxe tent is my choice for top rated family car camping tent. It’s an 8 person tent, which means that 8 regular size adults could fit side by side in this tent. However, this doesn’t allow for room to move around or luggage. So instead, 2 adults and 4 kids are more appropriate. Now that’s my recommendation.
So I love how spacious this tent is. The 6 foot 6 high ceilings are great for allowing even the taller people like myself to walk around inside the tent. The actual tent sleeping area is 10 foot x 14 foot. But what I love about the Kodiak range are the extra awning areas which make for great spots to set up the chairs and get some shade. The awning size on the Flex Box is an additional 4 foot x 7 foot. So plenty of room to kick back on the outside.
Moving inside there are 4 windows with fly screen no see um netting. This is covered by an additional canvas window which is zippered. I love this feature as it allows you to control exactly how much light you want to let in and how much air flow without the risk of letting in those annoying bugs. Simply unzip as much of the canvas window that you want and you have the custom made window. Nice touch.
The bottom of the windows also have a mesh storage pouch ideal for the valuables while you sleep. For the far end window (Triangle shaped ends), which are very large mind you. There is the option to hand a multi pocket mesh storage department which is one of the best Ive ever seen.
Brilliant idea and a great way to keep organized when car camping. On the other end is a massive mesh pocket that attaches to the ceiling. I like to use this area for clothes, sheets and such because the area is quite large.
The canvas is double stitched for maximum resistance to wear and tear. Even the zippers are double stitched. Which brings us to how well the Kodiak Canvas Flex Bow Deluxe can handle the weather, is it waterproof etc. Normally the size of the tent is the flaw for tents like the Kodiak. They can easily be lifted and carried away in sever wind storms. But as you will soon see in the video below, the Kodiak Canvas hold its ground and puts up a super awesome fight against Mother Nature.
Do Yourself A Favor & Watch This Video All The Way
Overall Opinion On The Kodiak Canvas Deluxe Tent
As you can see from the video below, the Kodiak Canvas was the only tent to survive the extreme wind and snow storm that night. This is a true testament to how well this thing is built. While it is fairly heavy to carry, it makes the the perfect car camping tent due to its resilience to the strongest of weather Mother Nature can throw at it.
Overall, I can’t recommend the Kodiak enough. It’s a awesome tent that has stood the test of time. My family feels very safe inside one of these and the room for the kids to play is a nice touch. I guess having that sense of security around me is what really makes me so comfortable when sleeping in this tent regardless of the weather.
Best 2 Room Tents Goes To….
NTK Arizona GT 9/10 Person Car Camping Tent
NTK Global is a company that started it’s outdoors tent idea back in the 70’s in Brazil. Fast forward to 2019 and NTK has become a hugely popular global brand name in the camping industry. This is without sacrificing any of there laid back Southern American lifestyle. While also maintaining the tough tents build to handle Amazon jungle camping.
You will understand why when you take a glimpse into the NTK Arizona tent. It’s shockingly huge. If this doesn’t say ‘laid back’, ‘relaxation’ and ‘roomy’ then I don’t know what does, this tent is amazing to say the least.
There’s essentially 2 living/sleeping areas to this awesome car camping tent. The best part is there is a divider. Which means, once the kids go down to sleep, the Adults can close of the kids area and continue on with the fun and games. Which is why I rated this tent the best for a family of 5 people.
The entire tent is protected by insect screen, which means you can have the rain fly up and get almost 260 degree panoramic views from either end of the tent without having to worry about getting bitten. Outside of the two ends are air vents. These are awesome ideas as they allow greater air flow and reduce condensation build up without the possibility of rain getting inside.
Once all set up with the rather funky aqua color rain fly covering the tent, the inside of the tent turns a dark blue color. This is actually quite a nice idea as it blocks a lot of the sun out from entering for those of us that like to have day time naps. The outside of the fly also goes all the way down to the ground, which is not always that common with Coleman and other mainstream tents. This is a good thing by the way as it creates a better overall waterproof feel.
Like the Kodiak, the NTK is double stitched for greater resistance. As for storage, there’s pockets about waist height in the corners and also one on the ceiling where a light would hang. If you are lucky enough, NTK are doing a promo where they are including a free battery storm LED light for inside the tent. Check Amazon NTK description to find out more.
Best Waterproof Car Camping Cabin Tent
The Coleman 8 Person Instant Tent Reviewqueen size air mattress in this tent easily and still have room on either side to move. But that’s just the sleeping area mind you. There’s still another room to explore.
By using this for just 2 people, you open up a whole new area at the front that can be used as your reading and entertaining area. There’s that much space it’s makes it really nice for a couple to relax and not stress out becasue the tent is overcrowded and full of gear.
For the price of the Coleman, it’s considerably cheap (from my experience) compared to some other smaller 2-4 person tents. Yet this thing is much bigger and packs more value for the money.
What I love most is how easy this tent it to set up. I’m usually left solo to put up any camping equipment, so when I come across a simple to use tent I’m pretty stoked to say the least. However, I like to practice setting up and taking down the tent at home before we head out. This gives me a chance to really understand the dynamics of the design.
So setting this tent up is super simple. The tent is attached to the frame. This is a awesome idea as no parts can ever go missing now. Once you unfold the tent its just a matter of ‘popping’ the tent up and securing the poles into position. Give yourself 5 minutes and you will be done. Time to have a drink I say.
What We Love About The Coleman 8 Person Instant Tent
- Very well designed tent. The positioning of the windows and structural support allow the tent to have a bit of give and take when in stormy windy conditions. This is critical if camping in unpredictable weather.
- Large open windows allow for great air flow.
- Waterproof – Very well made under neath foot print prevents water from seeping through. Even when we had torrential rain for almost a day. This was with the optional rain fly sold as an extra.
- Tent can be divided into 2 separate rooms for privacy if camping with the kids.
- Nice little touches like fabric covers for the zippers ensuring a water tight tent.
- The easiest tent I’ve ever had to put up. This is a huge positive!.
The Small Issues I had
- The tent pegs included in the kit aren’t the best for strong winds. While they are not the worst either I would still recommend spending a few extra bucks and getting yourself some heavier duty wind resistant pegs such as the Coghlans Camping Pegs. Trust me its worth it and it pretty much makes this tent perfect in my opinion.
- Getting in and out of the tent when the insect netting is zipped up can be tricky if your hands are full. This is becasue you need two hands, one to hold the zipper and the other hand to pull the zipper up.
How To Camp In A Car
Camping in a car is a little different to car camping. So to clarify, in this article today I will be sharing the top rated tents suitable for outside the car. Our aim here is to find a comfortable living space that can be setup quickly and easily close by to our cars.
Camping in a car on the other hand can be seen in to ways. 1. Physically sleeping in your car on a air mattress. This is a good method for long road trips or the occasional one night sleep overs. But for serious camping trips, I wouldn’t recommend sleeping in your car like this.
That is unless you plan to sleep in your car that is part of a tent or sleep in a tent connected to your car. This is a relatively new and cool concept. How it works is: you typically need a SUV, 4wd, minivan or pick up truck. Open up the back doors/tailgate and attach a tent too the back. This creates a tunnel like entrance into a tent located on the ground. A brilliant way to allow airflow into the car without letting in bugs and what not. This also creates 2 separate sleeping areas; 1 back of car 2. Inside the tent connected to the car.
More On Car Camping Possibilities Can Be Found Here:
Roof top tents are also available to pretty much any car with roof racks or pick up trucks. These tents are actually on top of your car. Yes that’s right, you sleep way up on top of your car. For pick up trucks, the tent is elevated on the back of the tray. This creates a safe and animal free environment which offers you much better 360 degree views. Nothing beats this type of camping in regards to pure scenic views from the tent.
What To Look For When Buying A Car Camping Tent
- Ceiling height is a big issue for me. Being a tad bit taller than many people, I find that while they can stand inside the tent, I always have to turn my head sideways. Which gets annoying after the first few hours. So make sure you consider the ceiling height when buying a tent and whether or not you plan to crawl in or have the room to walk in and around the tent.
- Storm Proof – Nobody plans to go camping in the middle of a storm. Well nobody I consider sane anyways. But it does happen, storm sneak up on you and literally blow you away. So don’t fret over a few extra bucks to ensure the tent can handle some serious winds.
- Waterproof. Similar to storms, but more frequently do campers get caught in the middle of a shower that can last for 1 hour to several days. So ALWAYS ensure the tent is waterproof and that the tents bottom is high grade material.
- Spacious. Remember, we are not hiking for miles on end until we reach base camp. So take advantage of this luxury and buy a spacious roomy tent. A tent bog enough to fit you, your partner, kids and your gear. Don’t forget to allocate room for the camping coffee percolator.