Time to take the troops camping but you’re unsure what the best tents for a family of 4 are. It’s a common conundrum to be unsure of what size tent you actually need. When you take into consideration that an actual 4 person tent is no where near big enough for a family of 4 campers.
A tent labelled as a 4 man tent can technically fit 4 persons inside. These tents are labelled like this as a result of laying 4 sleeping bags side by side. So yes, technically they can squeeze in 4 people. But unless you like camping in a tin of sardines, chances are you will want to get a bigger family size tent.
I find a tent for a family of 4 to be the perfect size. This is because they don’t have to be as large as a family of 6 tent, while maintaining a decent price point. Of course, the price point is subject to quality and brand recognition. Don’t expect 5 star camping tent from a tent you picked up from the 2 dollar store. It doesn’t work like that.
But a tent of this size is also good for camping in designated camp sites. Most families will be car camping as its much easier with young kids running around. These types of sites have designed camping site sizes, so if your tent i too big, you can not camp in some places or have to pay for 2 camp spots. Which nobody wants.
I even have trouble at times with my tent for 5 people, the length of it often causes issues when it comes to booking a site. But I will never pay for 2 sites for the sake of an extra foot of tent length. However, with a tent for a family of four, you should run into this kind of issue.
Quick Links To Info On This Page
- 1 What Size Tent Do 4 People Need Then
- 2 My Top Rated Tent For Camping With 4 People
- 3 Best Waterproof Tent For 4 People
- 4 Heavy Duty 4 Person Tent
- 5 Four Person Tent For 2 To 3 Night Camping Trips
- 6 Camping As A Family Of 4 In Winter
What Size Tent Do 4 People Need Then
Below you can find my personal recommendations when camping with 4 members. These tents are picked based on their size, quality and weatherproof capabilities. Last thing you want when camping with a young family is to have a tent that leaks water on your gear and or your head.
But as a rule of thumb, the minimum I allow for sleeping one person is 9ft2. So for 4 people, you would need a bare minimum of 36ft2. Now if you’re a bigger person, you are going to have to allow more space and if you’re a tall person, a tent with extended ceiling height would be preferred.
So a tent with a floor space of 36ft2 minimum is where I would start my search. From there you need to consider how many airbeds and or cots you are taking and the size of each bed. Measurements are crucial when buying a tent designed for a certain amount of people.
Next you need to consider how much gear you are storing inside the tent. Are you setting up a room for all your gear including the kitchen pantry?. If so, perhaps an extra room is a good idea. So a 3 room tent may be the way to go in this case. But these tents are getting a bit bigger now. Some 6 person cabin tents are perfect for 4 campers if they travel light.
Ideally you want a 2 room tent in which the 2 kids share a room which is big enough to store some of your gear. I find that 8 person tents are best if you’re wanting a little bit extra space to move around comfortably inside your tent. Below you can find some of the best tents for a family of 4 based on these requirements.
My Top Rated Tent For Camping With 4 People
The tent I love the most in this size is the Wenzel Klondike. It’s labelled as an 8 man tent, but perfect for a family of 4. If offers space, protection from the elements and a decent height ceiling. All without being too huge that it wont fit in smaller camp sites.
The overall layout of the tent measures 11’x16′ which gives you a total of 176ft2. But what I really like about the Klondike is the front screen room. This room can be used in multiple ways, as a second bedroom or as a room for storing your gear, setting up the kitchen and so forth.
The front screen room has a total of 60ft2 and can be completely transformed into a regular tent room. This is because it has a floor and has walls that can zip down for both privacy and protection against the weather.
During the warmer months, its good to have this front screen room as it provides you with a huge open room for the breeze to keep things cool inside the tent. While allowing you to set up a lounging area in the front out of the direct path of UV rays and or rain.
The Main Room
the main room out the back is bigger and is designed to be the main sleeping room. But if you don’t wont 4 people sleeping in this room, you can always set up the front room for the kids. Which is why I love this tent. It’s very versatile in how you want to set it up.
The back room has a total of 98ft2 so it can easily handle 4 people. The ceiling height in this room is 6’5″ which makes it a good height for the adults to make base camp in.
It’s Got The Lot
All in all, the Klondike tent is one of my personal favorites. It has everything you need plus its big enough to cater to a family of 4 perfectly. There’s not really anything I would do to change this tent as a result.
It has waterproof bathtub flooring to keep ground water out while a rainfly keeps you covered form the top. The air circulation is spot on with the air vents and the mesh ceiling, not to mention if you leave the front room as a screen room which also keeps out bugs and insects.
The ground air vents can even be used as air conditioning ports on the very hot days. But do note you would need to cover up the mesh ceiling so the cold air doesn’t escape. There’s internal storage pockets, its easy to set up and even includes lovely arched framed windows to complete the look.
Best Waterproof Tent For 4 People
Another one of my personal favorite tent brands is NTK. They make premium tents which have the best waterproof features in my opinion. When it comes to a family of 4, my recommendation is the NTK Indy GT XL tent.
This is more of a dome style tent compared to the cabin appeal of the above Wenzel Klondike. While being a dome, it still has a decent ceiling height maxing out at 6’2″.
Labelled as a 6 person tent, the Indy GT XL is smaller than the Klondike so may be suited better to a family with very young kids compared to larger teenagers. The overall footprint of this tent is 14’x8′ with a total of 112ft2.
Whats great about this tent is that it too can be transformed into a 2 room tent. On one end is the awning which can keep the font of the tent open for extra air circulation and a way to get fresh air without being exposed to the suns UV rays. Technically speaking, this area is the vestibule, which is very unique in the way it opens up and provides ample living space.
This front section of the tent measures 7’9″x6’2″. So its 1’7″ shorter than the main sleeping area. But when all zipped up, you can utilize this front room as a second sleeping room if you please.
Technically speaking, NTK have allowed the main back room as the sleeping room. It measures 7’9″x7’9″ and can fit a queen and a single airbed inside. While certainly enough space to camp 4 people, the addition of the front room gives you the option to separate kids from the parents.
Inside the main room are lantern hooks and storage pockets to keep you all organized and neat. But there are no windows so to speak. There is a large opening on the side of the vestibule in which you would keep open for allowing air to circulate when you have the full rain fly down during rain.
Whenever I hear the name NTK, I instantly think waterproof. That’s because these tents are in my opinion the best defense against rain, storms and high winds.
Starting with the rain fly, its got a 2500mm waterproof coating which means it can handle up to 2500mm of rain before you should start to get concerned. But if 2500mm of rain fell on in you in one night, I’d be more afraid of getting washed away in the flood waters that much rain could bring.
The rain fly also goes from top to bottom of the tent. So no rain has any chance of getting inside the tent and as there are no windows, wind and rain cannot seep in though the seams. On many tents, the rain fly just covers the ceiling and exposes the window seams to moisture.
The floor is also a bathtub style flooring. So the floor actually comes up the walls a few inches to prevent water on the ground entering in the tiny seem holes where the walls meet the floor. This is crucial if you want to have a 100% waterproof tent.
All in all, the NTK Indy is a brilliant tent for a family of 4 wanting a waterproof tent which offers the capabilities to have separate rooms. The unique front vestibule is a brilliant feature as it has clear panels to allow light inside the tent without compromising its performance against wind and rain.
Heavy Duty 4 Person Tent
If you need a heavy duty yet spacious tent for a family of 4, the Montana by Coleman is certainly a good choice. The Montana tent is available with standard features or can come as part of the Coleman ‘Elite’ line of tents. For a family, Elite is the way to go.
This is because it includes a internal lighting system. There are a number of tents with built in lights, but for mine, the Coleman Montana makes the most sense for a 4 person family.
Premium Tent Features
Along with the lighting, the Elite also comes with other premium features such as:
- Tent with a hinged door: Makes it very easy for the kids to enter and exit the tent without potentially breaking zippers.
- Automatic rolling windows: Once you have unzipped the windows, they automatically roll down neatly. They can also be opened at an angle so that air can circulate inside the tent while its raining. Reducing the amount of stuffiness inside the tent.
- WeatherTec System to make the tent one of the best waterproof tents.
- Extended awnings to cover front door and windows for better protection from wind and rain.
Size & Setup
This Coleman Montanta has the exact same setup as my CV tent. Which means its very easy to assemble. It uses a 4 pole structure which is slightly modified to my CV. However the assembly is the same. If you can insert 4 poles through long material channels, then you can have this beast set up in less than 10 minutes.
In terms of size, I quite like this size for a family of 4. It can fit 3 queen air mattresses inside, but when its just the 4 people camping, you can set up 2 queens and have ample space for storage and kitchen pantry etc.
Overall it has measurements of 16’x7′ with a ceiling height of 6’2″. The total footprint is 119ft2 which is slightly bigger than the above NTK tent.
When You Want More Out Of Your Tent
The Montana Elite tent is for the people that enjoy the hassle free camping experience. The Elite features are certainly worth the small extra investment. Especially if you have younger kids. The auto roll down windows, hinged door and internal lighting are just brilliant for kids.
Makes camping more enjoyable as there is less aggravation when it comes to zippers and trying to find your way through a dark tent in the middle of the night. Having the convenient light switch is just great for families.
Four Person Tent For 2 To 3 Night Camping Trips
I was up in the air about recommending this tent, not because its a bad tent at all. But because it’s not the best tent for extreme weather. But then I got to thinking, that the chances of a family of 4 with young kids camping in extreme weather would be pretty rare.
I always check weather ahead of time when camping with my kids for this very reason. So for the most part, this tent is pretty darn good. It’s certainly waterproof and even has the must have bathtub flooring in place. Just don’t take it out on the side of a mountain top or in a severe storm and you’ll be fine. I’d also suggest setting up a tarp if you do anticipate heavy rains.
Its A Timber Ridge Tent
Now that we have got that out of the way, the actual tent is the 8 person tent by Timber Ridge. I find this tent to be the ideal size for a family of 4 whom goes on short 2 to 3 night camping adventures. It’s not so involved and setting up is a cinch. So for a short getaway, this tent fits the bill. You don’t want something too bulky and complex for a quick 2 or 3 nights camping experience.
What I find very useful about this tent is that it has 2 x D doors side by side. Each door enters into separate rooms of the tent. So you can nominate one end for the kids, while the parents have the other end. Never do the kids have to enter your doorway and trample over your clothing and other goodies.
The room divider can also be removed if you wish to have a more open style tent. The tent measures 14’x8′ with a total of 112ft, the exact same size as the NTK Indy. This tent has a more common design to it compared to the NTK. It doesn’t have a front end opening vestibule. Which can be both good and bad at times.
Other good features of the Timber Ridge include bathtub flooring for protection against surface moisture and a very well designed ventilation system.
The Negatives I have
While this Timber Ridge tent does have 3 windows compared to the vestibule opening on the NTK, it lacks the ability to handle rough weather as mentioned earlier. However, if you plan your short few nights trip well, you shouldn’t go camping in the middle of a storm anyways.
The other gripe I have with this tent is that there are no internal storage pockets. If you’ve never camped before, you wont miss them so much. But when you use to multiple storage pockets, you will certainly feel this is a flaw in the Timber Ridge design.
Camping As A Family Of 4 In Winter
If you’re braving the elements and camping in winter with your family, its highly recommended you buy a canvas tent. These tents are far more heavy duty and keep heat inside the tent a million times better than a nylon or polyester tent will do.
When camping in winter, the best canvas tents for a family of 4 are either the Kodiak or Springbar tents. Both are similar in size and can handle 4 people comfortably. If your children are up for a bit of cold weather camping, I say go for it. Just be prepared with enough warm clothing and ensure you take a canvas tent.