When it comes to choosing the best tents for a family of 5, you need to steer well clear of your tents classified as a 5 person model. That is unless you’re willing to sleep like sardines and have no space for storing your camping gear.
While you may think you don’t acquire that much gear, you’ll be very surprised at how much floor space it all takes up. Especially if you’re planning on sleeping in a queen sized air mattress with your partner. This alone will chew up most of if not all the floor space in a standard 5 man tent.
Manufacturers label them as 5 person because you can technically lay 5 people side by side next to each other and get away with it. But for a family of 5, its a different story.
A Family With 3 Kids Needs Space
Assuming your family of five consists of two parents and three children, a 5 person tent is asking for trouble. Especially if your kids are as wild and active as mine are.
Kids need space and adults need space, even as a family of 4 it can get crowded inside a tent, its that simple. In a tent where your practically sleeping on top off each other, tensions are going to boil over. Even if you have relatively well behaved kids, its just too much cramming a family of 5 into such a small area like a tent, especially a dome tent.
So what do I recommend?. After years camping with my family of 5, I’ve come to the realization that a 3 room tent is best. This gives you the adults your own space, and privacy, while letting the kids have their end of the tent.
If you get a tent with the right layout, you can even manage to have all 3 kids on one room leaving the third room spare for your camping equipment. This is how we have it set up in our Coleman Montana 12 person tent. With the pantry filled with food and medical supplies nice and safe inside the tent. Away from any unwanted creatures.
So with that said, here’s a list of my recommended family of 5 camping tents. They will have varying sizes like 12 person, 10 person etc. This will allow you to choose based on your budget and camping needs. If you still believe these tents are too small, you can consider looking into the tents available for a family of 6.
The Perfect Tent For 5 People
Best Tent For Family With Older Kids
The 4 room tent by Ozark Trail is perfect for larger families that demand space and storage. If you’ve got young kids that don’t mind sharing a room together, this tent may be overkill right now. Once my kids hit about 10 to 15 years old, I will be getting a spacious tent like this.
Because it has 4 separate rooms plus the center room, its perfect for older kids that want their space. All 3 kids can have a room each and set up a air mattress and still have space to store their belongings. But remember, they got to keep their rooms clean just like they do at home.
Each room is separate from the others, so this limits the amount of fighting and carry on that comes with having siblings. The rooms have a zippered divider to completely seal them off from each other. But do note that each room also has a entry point, so not ideal for young kids that like to go off wondering in the middle of the night.
I like how the rooms have storage pockets and even a drink holder. This drink holder is a small but very useful idea. While the front room is the main entry, it can be used as the parents room should you not want to sleep in the center room.
Whats To Love
- Each room can fit a queen air mattress.
- Big enough to fit more than a family of 5.
- Perfect for keeping the kids separated while trying to get them to sleep.
- Considering the size (20×20), its relatively easy to set up. Color coded with full instructions. While it can be setup solo, having a second pair of hands certainly helps.
- Tent actually fits back in the carry case which many seem to never fit. Just be sure to sit on top to squeeze out the air for a more compact carry.
- Handles wind and rain relatively well.
The Downsides To This Tent
- Its huge so some camping spots won’t allow such a tent.
- Like most tents, the stakes that come with it are rather flimsy and the exact amount only. So I suggest buying an extra pack of heavy duty stakes to make sure the critical points are well tacked down.
- Center room is the only room with a ceiling hanger to hand lanterns from.
Family Of 5 With Toddlers
Scaling it back a bit, if you don’t need such a huge tent for your kids to have their own rooms, this next option is a great choice. It’s the Olympia Tahoe Gear tent, which mind you is still not lacking in spacious rooms. Just not to the extent of the above Ozark.
The Olympia is a great size tent when you have toddlers because its ample space. However bigger kids may feel confined too much in a tent like this.
Having just the main entry makes it easier to monitor younger kids. Having too many entry and exit points with young children can be more hassle than its worth. So I like that this tent has the one main entry which is a huge D shape door so you can easily bring in your camping gear.
The layout of the tent is pretty straightforward, but I really love the super high ceilings. At 6’4″ tall with more head clearance, the height of this tent has to be close to 7 foot tall. Awesome for the tall campers.
Being classified as a 10 person tent, in reality its better suited to a smaller family of 5 campers. Each end of the tent has enough room for a queen airbed leaving about 6 feet of walking area in the middle. So certainly not small by any means. Some would even say its the best size tent for a family of 5.
What The Olympia’s Got Going For It
- 1200mm waterproof coating.
- Bathtub flooring so ground water can’t seep into tent.
- Convenient location of the electrical port. The ePort is located near the front door so you can run the lead in through and not have to go through extra rooms.
- Pin and ring design makes setup super easy.
- Extra high ceiling for tall people.
- Includes air vents for maximum air circulation or as alternative air conditioning ports.
My Concerns, Or The Cons If You Will
- I wish there was an extra window on the back wall. It lacks the full 360° panoramic view.
- Front awning is not big enough to set up underneath.
- Stakes are cheaply made, highly recommend upgrading the stakes.
Best Cabin Tent For Family Of 5
I really love the design of this Alpha Camp cabin tent. It comes as either a 6 or 10 person option, but for a family of 5 that wants some move to room, go for the 10 man tent. I love how the main area of the tent has the sloped ceiling to represent a cabin in the woods.
But what really sold me on the Alpha Camp was the front screened room. While you can get bigger tents with front porch screen rooms, I find that this particular tent is perfectly suited for 5 people.
The main living area is a square 12′ x 12′ but has a room divider running down the middle. Kids on one side, parents on other, happy days. But the front screen room adds more character to this tent. Many of the tents of this size that claim to have screen rooms, lack enough space to even set up a camping table.
The Alpha Camp however has a good sized screen porch. The porch runs the entire width of the tent, 12 feet while it extends out 7 foot from the front of the tent. It’s completely seal able to keep out mosquitoes and sand flies.
However, its worth noting that the front porch is not ideal for rainy conditions. First of all there are no side walls, just insect mesh and secondly there is no floor in the screen room. So if you’re forecasting rain, don’t set up inside this area without setting up a tarp over the top.
But the addition of this screen room does add more space for a family of 5. Its a great games area or simply a area for the parents to kick back and take in the sunset. Overall, the Alpha Camp is one of the best tents a family of five could buy. Its spacious, waterproof and full of storage lofts.
What Makes This Tent One Of The Best
- 1000mm waterproof coating with bathtub flooring to keep out the rain.
- Unique cabin design resembling a real cabin.
- 5 x cabin style windows to keep the cabin feel alive.
- Spacious storage lofts.
- 80 inch tall tent ceiling.
- Comes with a carry bag on wheels making it easier to travel with.
The Not So Good
- Assembly is little more complex than standard cabin tents. Allow 20 minutes with 2 people.
- Front porch does not have a floor.
Best Waterproof Tent For 5 People
If rain is on the horizon, you don’t want to be left stranded in a tent that is not built to handle heavy rain. While you can add waterproofing spray to any tent, none are better at keeping out strong winds and heavy rain than the NTK Arizona tent.
Unlike many 9 or 10 person size tents, the Arizona has a rain fly that gives full overage from both rain and wind. Many tents have a rainfly on top which creep down the walls slightly, but the NTK Arizona has a full rain fly to protect every one of the 5 family members from getting wet.
It’s also been waterproofed to 2500mm, which is more than double any other tent on this list. So if you want protection from the weather, this is the tent you are looking for. The floor has also been treated with anti fungus so that nothing nasty starts to grow on the tent once its been wet.
2 Rooms For Parents & Kids
Inside the tent you can split it into 2 rooms. The tent is quite long, so you get a fair amount of space at the end of a queen air mattress on either end. The overall size of the tent is 17’4″ x 8′ with a ceiling height of 6’2″. So not quite as tall as other tents mentioned here, but tall enough for most people.
Everything about this tent screams premium quality, which is what many families want from a tent. Something that lasts more than just one camping season. The Arizona is just that and its evident the moment you set this tent up. Speaking of assembly, its very simple. It uses white and red as the color codes and they simple form the foundation for the rainfly. Absolutely nothing difficult about setting up the Arizona.
While this tent doesn’t have an awning or screen room to speak off, I still think its one of the best tents you can buy if you’re a family of 5. The waterproofing features and the premium quality materials used to construct the tent are assuring enough to know you’re buying the best.
Some of The Premium Features
- Nano flex frames provide durability, strength and high flex against strong winds.
- Welded seams so water can’t seep in through the tiny holes after rain.
- Top of the line waterproofing 2500mm coated.
- Double plated Ferrules for strength and easier connections.
- Bathtub flooring with anti fungus treatment.
- 2 x large D style doors.
- Simple to assemble.
Coleman Tent For 5 Or More Family Members
It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include a Coleman tent to the list right. Especially one of the ever popular Weather Master tents. For a family of 5, I recommend the 10 person Weather Master tent if you want to stick with a well known brand like Coleman.
This tent measures 17’x9′ and can fit 3 queen air mattresses inside. Pretty similar in size to the above NTK Arizona, but a little wider and slightly lessor quality in my opinion. Certainly not bad quality, just not as premium as the the Arizona above. This tent also has a higher ceiling height of 6’8″ to cater to the taller campers.
What makes the Coleman different from the NTK Arizona is basically the rain fly and a few small features. The rain fly on the Arizona wins hands down, it’s the best out there for protection from rain if you ask me.
However the Coleman has some decent size awnings over the windows and doors. What this does is stops the rain from entering into the window area offering more protection. It also allows you to keep the window open while it is raining and not get wet, provided the rain isn’t flying in horizontally.
It’s A Tent With A Hinged Door!
Probably the coolest feature of the Weather Master range of tents is the D shaped hinged door. This door works like a regular door on a hinge. So no fussing around with zippers every time you enter and exit the tent. Simply pull the door closed behind you. When its time to keep the bugs out, you pull up the zippers to seal yourself in.
The waterproof features of the Weathermaster are actually pretty good as well. However the waterproofing coating is just 450mm. So I would certainly add another coat if you are preparing for some wild weather.
But the features like the welded floor, concealed seams and zipper protection take it to a new level. The welded floor basically means the floor has no seam holes for water to enter. The concealed seams are inverted seams so no water can enter the tent through seam holes. While the zipper protection is a extra layer of rainfly protection which covers the zippers.
All in all, the Coleman Weathermaster is a very solid tent for 5 family members. It’s a great size with a room divider to separate the noise from the parents. All while not being so huge you feel like you’re walking through a maze to get to the other end of the tent.
What I Look For When Buying A Family Tent
Size Of Tent Is #1
The first step in preparing to buy a tent suitable for 5 family members is how much tent you get for your money. As I briefly touched on before, a typical 5 man tent is not comfortable for a family of 5. It’s just too small, end of story.
But its not as simple as saying ‘just go buy the biggest tent on the market’ either. Buying a tent can be quite complex when you get down to all the nitty gritty details. So its important you don’t get overwhelmed or you may never make a decision which could lead to not going camping at all. Which would be a family tragedy.
So getting to the actual size debate. Going off regulated sizes, I think a 12 person tent is ideal for a family of 5. It gives you plenty of sleeping space and just as importantly, enough room to store your camping equipment.
However, if you are taking a gazebo or canopy along with you, this does free up some real estate inside the tent. If this is the case, a 10 person tent may be better suited. But if you’re a heavy packer, you certainly want a 12 person or 14 person tent.
Dome Vs Cabin Tents For 5 People
Once you have determined what size tent you need, the next crucial decision is whether to go with a tunnel dome or cabin style tent. The best tents for camping with kids for mine are cabin tents. Simply because they offer more space.
The walls in a cabin tent are close to vertical which not only makes the inside of the tent appear larger, it gives you extra head and body space while sleeping. Not to mention the added height so Mom and Dad can walk around freely inside the tent.
With dome style tents, you loose to much valuable real estate. The walls are domed naturally, which means when you lay on a air mattress or a camping cot, the tents material is going to be pressed into your head or feet. Which is not as comfortable as it sounds, especially if it rains.
Tents With Awnings
When the inside of the tent is getting too crowded for your likes, its good to have a tent with a large awning out the front or back. This area makes for the perfect getaway without having to leave your site.
Set up your tent facing away from sunset on hot sunny days so you can benefit from the awnings shade in the afternoon. If the awning is big enough, you can set up a complete outdoors dining area as well. Saving more space inside the tent.
Always check that the awning is waterproof beforehand or you could end up with soggy bread. This has happened to me in the past as the zippers for the windows in the tents walls which made up the awning let water drip through them. Right onto bread and a bunch of other food. So bring a tarp as well, to either cover the awning or use as a makeshift awning itself.
When i comes to buying a tent for a family of young kids, there are many features to keep in mind. One key feature that not many tents boast is an interior lighting system. This feature is a lifesaver when you have a couple of youngsters getting up and walking around for hours every night.
These tents with built in lights do the hard work for you. They have the lighting preinstalled into the tent so you don’t have to rely on lanterns and torches all the time. Better yet, some of them come with light settings so you can switch the interior of the tent into nightlight mode which is a godsend for young kids afraid to go to sleep in the dark.
Number Of Windows & Doors
One of the key deciding factors for our family was the number of doors and windows the tent had. A tent with just one entry door is very limited when you have 5 family members going in and out every 10 minutes. So by having at least 2 entry points into the tent we were able to limit the amount of hold ups go inside the tent.
Having a front and back door also allows you to set up the camp on either side of the tent also. While leaving the other door free to use for toilet runs.
The number of windows and circulation vents is very important, especially if you’re camping during the warmer months. Chances are you will be and chances are you will have a tent with a mesh ceiling. This will allow the hot air to travel up and out of the inside of your tent.
But without proper air circulating, the hot air will stay inside the tent. So you need to ensure the tent has enough windows, at least 1 in every room to allow cooler air to circulate in and flush out the hot air.
Tent Storage Pockets Are A Must With 5 Family Members Camping
Do not underestimate the value of extra storage pockets of the walls and ceiling of the tent. When you have 5 people camping inside one tent, you all need somewhere to store your fragile items.
These pockets are perfect for putting your cell phones in before bed while keeping the car keys safe during the day. If you have teenagers camping in the tent, the list of valuables they will need to keep safe up off the floor will be endless. So if you see a good size tent with plenty of storage pockets, snap it up.
With these recommendations for the best tents for a family of 5 campers and the guide above, you should have no dramas picking a suitable option. But don’t overthink it too much and become paralyzed with indecision. Get out there and start camping as a family.