GP’s guide to family tent buying
There are several items to add to your family camping checklist, but perhaps the most important is the canvas that will protect you: your tent! It can seem like a big outlay, but a quality tent is likely to last you for many years to come.
Take it from us: tent shopping can be great fun for all the family! After all, that tent will soon become your holiday home; a place where you and your children will make lifelong memories. To make sure you purchase the best tent for your needs, take a look at our handy guide...
3 crucial things to consider before you start shopping:
1.Size and space
Are you a family of rock climbers who’ll need space to store your kit? Will your pet dog be kipping in the porch? Your tent needs to comfortably accommodate all the family (plus any four-legged friends), and then some. Generally speaking, a four-person tent will only just fit four people inside it, so it’s always worth buying a size or two up.
If you’re an adventurous bunch and plan to journey off the beaten track on your camping trips, you’ll need a tent that can withstand the terrain. Similarly, if you envisage pitching up wherever you end up after a day’s trek, you’ll want your tent to be durable but super lightweight.
Are you summer campers, or will you be embarking on trips year-round? If you expect your new tent to become your home-away-from-home during all the school holidays, it’s definitely worth spending that little bit extra on one guaranteed to stand the test of time. Buying cheap can be a false economy; you’ll have to replace the tent earlier, or spend money repairing it.
Types of tents:
There’s a tent to suit all types of family – here’s a rundown of some popular options:
Lightweight and convenient, pop-up tents have grown in popularity in recent years and are a sound option for seasonal campers and festival-going families.
Pros: They self-pitch faster than you can say “pop up!”
Cons: You pay for the pop-up convenience – if only getting it back in the bag was as easy…
Quick pitch tent
While not as quick to put up as a pop-up, quick pitch tents are generally sturdier, owing to their integrated poles and joints. These are a good choice for smaller families planning shorter, weekend camping trips.
Pros: Pitches up and packs away with ease.
Cons: Space is limited and you pay for the convenience of it being quick pitch, but that won’t always mean it’s good quality.
Dome tents are a firm family favourite and can be identified by their curved poles which arch over the tent to create a square or rectangular base inside. Campsites during the summer are full of them!
Pros: The structure offers plenty of headroom and they’re easy to transport.
Cons: They don’t cope very well in high winds.
If you’re a family of happy hikers and happy campers, a compact and lightweight backpacking tent – available in a range of styles – is your best option.
Pros: Designed to withstand adverse weather conditions and easy to carry.
Cons: Space and functionality limited due to their compact nature.
Tunnel tents are made with a series of curved poles which creates an elongated, tunnel structure, meaning plenty of room. A great choice for long stays in a campsite.
Pros: Plenty of space and headroom for bigger families.
Cons: Heavy to carry around and there’s a risk of the tent collapsing in high winds.
Tent sorted? Don’t forget your essentials!
As soon as you have your tent sorted, you can start planning those camping trips! Before you set off though, don’t forget to purchase all the other camping essentials. These include everything from sleeping bags and mats, to camping chairs and stoves.
Make sure you treat the family to some of GP’s beam torches, which will light up nighttime trips to the loo and slot nicely into sleeping bag pockets so you don’t lose them. GP has all your charging needs covered, too; use one of our mini PowerBanks for quick smartphone battery boosts during the day, and a larger PowerBank overnight to charge your USB devices. For a 2-in-1 solution, take a look at our brand new GP Charge AnyWay, which charges up your rechargeable batteries and doubles up as a PowerBank to boost your phone and other USB devices.
With your trusty tent purchased and your other camping essentials packed and ready to go, where in the UK will you be pitching up first? Keep a lookout for our upcoming competition where we’ll be asking you to tell us your favourite UK camping spots!