Cool Boxes & Cool Bags
Which large family tent would most suit your needs?
Well, after over a year of the dreaded Covid looming over us and going in and out of lockdown, we are all so eager to get out the house and experience the joys of life again. With the sun shining, we all delve into our memories of fun summers past! One of the best ways to do this and keep your loved ones and family safe, has got to be camping in the Great British outdoors! All campsites will be implementing social distancing rules this season and it’s easy on a campsite to keep your family as a separate unit. Here at Leisureshopdirect we are finding that portable toilets, like the Thetford Porta Potti Qube 365, are selling very fast this month, meaning that campers won’t need to visit the toilet block, greatly reducing risks. Many people are looking for a large family tent at the moment and if you are new to camping the huge array of choices can seem a bit daunting. Hopefully our discussion below on fabrics, suitability, berth, airbeam vs poled, size and intended use will help you make a decision!
How much does a quality large family tent cost?
Probably the first consideration for most families will be how much can I spend on a large family tent and what will my top budget get me? To be honest, tents can be as low-priced or as costly as a camper wants, but as with most things you buy nowadays, you will get what you pay for. If you want a tent for anything more than an overnight stay, don’t aim too low-priced and have a good read around of the reviews other campers have written. However, don’t immediately plump for the most expensive tent if this is your first-time camping, as you need to make sure camping life suits you and your loved ones, before handing over your entire holiday budget. Leisureshopdirect has a large array of good quality tents to meet all of our customers budgets. The Vango Longleat II Air 800 XL Tent is a very large tent that is exceedingly competitively priced. With space for up to 8 people and all of their luggage, the Vango Longleat II Air 800XL Tent is the perfect choice for large groups that want to go camping together, or smaller family units who need more space. Made with Vango’s genius AirBeam® system, this large tent can be pitched in as little as 12 minutes, providing 4 queen-size midnight bedrooms that can be adapted to your needs. This tent is constructed using Sentinel Active Fabric, providing a 3000HH waterproof rating while also being light, durable, and long-lasting.
Which large family tent is better for all weather conditions?
Another of the first things to consider when perusing through the vast selections of tents available for the up-and-coming season, is where will you be using your tent? If you are only going to adventure in the UK or Ireland then tents manufactured from standard materials will work fine for you. Very few of our customers will be travelling abroad this summer due to COVID restrictions, but hopefully these restrictions won’t last too long. You may be planning to camp in the UK this summer but intend to venture into warmer parts of Europe, like the South of France, in the coming years and you will need to check the tent you choose is made from polycotton, which enables you to stay far cooler in warmer climates. Here we will be covering the different types of materials tents are made from, by the well-known brands like Vango, Outwell, Lichfield and Easy Camp, to help you discover which large family tent will most suit your family’s needs.
Polyester is the popular choice for many large family tents because it makes a tent that is very manageable in weight and it is very robust against the elements. This man-made fabric is a lot lighter and less bulky than natural based fabrics, making tents made from this material a lot easier to get to the campsite. Polyester fabric is not originally waterproof, but it lends itself very well to a waterproofing and UV treatment before the manufacturing phase and then all seams are taped to ensure no leaking. It can come in different thicknesses and a lot of tents are 70-denier, but many are much thicker, which means they should be more resistant to sunlight degradation and last a lot longer. However, compared to cotton, polyester is not a great insulator. This can cause tents made from polyester to get hot when its warm and chilly when it’s cold. Also, polyester is not a naturally breathable material, which can cause condensation to build up inside. This material, being a light-weight means that polyester tents can flap around more in the breeze, which can be a bit annoying on a windy night, trying to sleep, but they are quick to dry out, with less maintenance as polyester is more resistant to mildew and rips. Most avid campers have invested in a high-quality polyester tent, due to the weight and durability of the tent and find it to be very cost-effective. You just need to balance up all your needs with cost.
The Lichfield Eagle Air Tent package Lichfield Eagle 6 Air Tent is made from 150 Denier Polyester, making it a very robust large family tent. The Lichfield Eagle 6 Air Tent has been designed for long breaks with the family without compromising on style. Made using 150D fabric, it is highly robust with an eye-catching avian design. A large living area and front awning provide flexibility of space for the whole family, while AirBeam® engineered technology makes it quick to pitch.
Polycotton is also used to make tents, which is a hybrid of man-made polyester and cotton (normally about 65% polyester to 35% cotton). In the past 100% cotton was often used to make tents, but they were very heavy tents that came as a large pack size. Cotton makes for a very robust, durable tent that can be comfortably used in different climates, keeping the inside warm in cooler weather and cool in hot climes. The cotton content increases the cost, weight and maintenance, but the polyester in the weave reduces the risk of large rips and makes the tent more resistant to mildew than pure cotton. It is also a lighter weight and has the breathable and desirable durable qualities. It is a more breathable fabric than the polyester, reducing condensation problems.
The Vango Utopia II Air TC 500 family tent is made from Vango’s innovative Sentinel Signature fabric, which is a high performing polycotton mix. The Vango Utopia II Air TC 500, 5-man inflatable AirBeam® tent will appeal to campers looking for a compact luxury tent. Big enough to sleep five people the darkened Midnight bedroom is divided by a zipped privacy curtain. The well-proportioned living area is enhanced by the Villa Construction and maximises the useable indoor space, providing excellent height. The Sentinel Signature Technical Cotton fabric repels water and contains ColourLok™ to protect from UV rays. The Utopia is easy to store and transport, making it great choice for shorter adventures and spur of the moment trips. Get out and enjoy life in the outdoors!
Cotton tents are fabulous insulators, meaning you won’t get too hot on a warm day or too chilly on a cold day. As we have already discussed, cotton is a breathable material, so that you are not likely to have any condensations problems. As it is a heavier material, cotton tents are not so noisy in windy weather. Large family tents made from cotton can last a very long time, being much more resistant to UV degradation. Being very bulky, transporting and storing a large cotton tent can be a bit of a pain and your bound to build up some muscles if you are touring to different campsites with all the pitching and taking down. As cotton is breathable, it absorbs water and it’s imperative the material is thoroughly dried out, which takes a lot longer than the man-made fabrics. If put away damp, mildew will build up. These expensive tents can also be easier to catch, which can cause tears, during pitching. If you are going to be pitching up and down a lot, a cotton large family tent will not suit you due to the higher pitching difficulty and cost. However, if you are permanently pitching your tent for a season, you may want to consider cotton, due to its durability and its amenability to different camping temperatures. It’s probably also worth mentioning that you need to ‘weather’ a cotton tent before it’s first camping endeavour, which means you need to erect it and let rain fall or shower it well with the hose. This causes the cotton to expand, plugging any holes in the fabric and it’s stitching.
How often will you use your large family tent?
The next important factor well worth considering when choosing the right large family tent for you, is how much will you be enjoying explorations in your tent? Are you only wanting to dip your toes into camping life by planning a few odd weekends away? Or maybe you want to create some family memories by adventuring for one or two weeks a few times a year. Alternatively, you and your loved ones may have already experienced the fun and freedom of campsite life and intend to spend as many weekends and holidays away this summer as you can. I definitely think most of us are desperate to spend some time out of the house, relaxing and finding family adventures. Most children will really benefit from the open, free campsite life, away from screens, after all the home schooling they have endured in the last year. The amount of intended usage your large family tent might have, will have a bearing on which Vango, Outwell, Lichfield or Easy Camp tent you need to choose. The age of your family members and how well they get on might be a tent choosing factor for you. In many tents the bedrooms are all at one end of the tent. This is probably a good idea if your children are young, as you can keep a better eye on them in the dark hours. However, if your children are older and need their own space a bit more, a large family tent with sleeping areas in different places might suit you well. The Vango Diablo II air 850xl 8 person tent has four bedroom areas, two at the back and on either side of the sitting room area. From personal experience, I can say that the space in this tent is awesome and the head height in the main room is fab. It also has a very large closable porch area, which we found very useful for our fire pit and kids’ bikes. The bedrooms on either side of the sitting room area enabled our children to have their own space from each other, which was especially lovely at the end of the day. Each bedroom pod benefits from Midnight bedrooms, designed to keep morning light to a minimum, so that you can sleep for longer. As my two are early risers, I found this essential for my sanity! Also, each sleeping compartment fits two people so there was plenty of space for teddies, toys and books as well. I found that it was easy to keep the rest of the tent very tidy, as the children had no excuse for leaving their stuff everywhere.
How do air beam tents compare to poled tents?
Another question you may want to ponder before picking your ideal large family tent, is would you prefer Air beams or poles to hold the tent structure? There has been a lot of discussion in the camping world about which tent frame is better, Air or poled, but there really are pro and cons to both and its really up to the customer which they think would suit them better. With inflatable air beams, tents are easier to pitch and definitely require less pitching time, meaning you can sit back and relax. Also, if you are going to be erecting the tent on your own, an air beam tent is much easier then a similar poled version. Generally, air beams can cope with higher winds without being damaged and are perfect for those campers that like to travel a lot, touring from one place to another. However, inflatable tents are more prone to condensation inside the tent and they are usually much heavier, with a greater pack size that could be inconvenient when storing at home. They can be more difficult to pack away if you haven’t paid great attention when unpacking it from the carry bag for the first time, so it is worth taking a quick video to ease future trips.
The Outwell Parkdale 6PA six-person Air Tent provides a fabulous family space. Behind a large porch is the main living space of the tent. It features large tinted windows to keep out the worst of the sun while still allowing plenty of light to creep in. It also offers privacy from other people on the campsite. The light-coloured flysheet on the top helps to create a warm and gentle ambience inside. The bedroom area of the tent features mesh ventilation and dark panelling to help keep early-morning sunlight to a minimum. There are additional mesh pockets for storing phones, keys, torches and wallets out of the way. Very useful if you are constantly losing things when camping! It also features Outwell's Quick and Quiet magnetic zippers, which avoid annoying zipping sounds during the night, when somebody needs to visit the toilet. Also, very useful if you have had one too many stumbling to bed, whilst trying to keep very quiet so as not to wake the little ones!
If you are concerned about the storage size or you don’t want to be lugging a very heavy weight, then a poled tent might be best for you. You can split the poles and the tent canvas, carrying them separately. There is also less chance of condensation in a poled tent. However, you will need several willing campers to help you pitch up and they are harder (more taxing on the brain!) to erect, although after a few camping adventures, you will soon have the correct method and order etched in your brain. They are also more difficult to erect in windy weather and can suffer pole damage in strong winds.
A very popular tent for our customers that prefer a poled structure is the Outwell Greenwood 6-person poled tent. It is very similar in shape and size and both are made from Outwell’s highly tried and tested Outtex® 4000 Select fabric which is very hard-wearing and 100% polyester quality. Sleeping six in two Premier Bedrooms with Dark Inners and Outwell Quick & Quiet Inner Doors, the Outwell Greenwood 6 has a deep canopy with large tinted side window, perfect for relaxing on sunny days. This airy design offers versatile space and practical comfort with steep front and sides for maximising internal space, tinted windows, Outwell HookTrack System, Rear Ventilation System, D-door and a side door with mesh. An excellent all round large family tent, that will enable you to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and create some long lasting family memories!
Does a six berth tent really sleep six campers comfortably?
So, how many happy campers will be in your party? The tent size is measured in berth or per person, denoting the number that can sleep in the tent. Here at Leisureshopdirect, we would strongly recommend you give a good deal of thought to the size of your large family tent. For example, you may have, large long teenagers in your party or you may be wanting to bring along the family dog(s) on your adventures. There may be a baby amongst your crew, so some extra room for nappy changing and rolling around would be very beneficial. You may be a family who like a bit of space and don’t want to sleep like sardines! What equipment are you thinking of bringing? You may not want to leave the BBQ, bikes or camping furniture outside, so an extra room in the tent would be awesome. How long are you planning on being away…………a week squished up may put you off camping! Will your child want to bring their bestie along or may a cousin join your group? So, it is probably best to think about the number in your party and then go up a size or two. (Definitely two in my opinion!) Also think about the height of the adults or growing teenagers……it is very uncomfortable for tall people if they have to sleep scrunched up. Are you going to be sleeping on self-Inflating mats, air beds or camp beds? Measure the width of your mats/beds and check they will all fit into the sleeping areas of your preferred tent. Know your family’s measurements before you decide upon your chosen large family tent. You might think a four-person tent looks roomy when you first put it up and there is nothing in it, but just remember all the gear and luxuries that you want to take with you.
Leisureshopdirect sells a large array of tents, coming in varying shapes, sizes and materials. Even if you are a smaller family the https://www.leisureshopdirect.com/outdoor/tents/family-tents/outwell-tent-winwood-8 Outwell Winwood 8 person poled tent, would be ideal if you were wanting longer stays. It would give you great bedroom space, an inner living room and another large front space, which has a removable bedroom to give a play room for the children, or a separate place for the dogs to sleep. Alternatively, it can be unzipped, to create another large social area. You would have no worries about storing the bikes, furniture and BBQ safely in the night or if you want to adventure of the campsite.
Which tents have been manufactured with the environment in mind?
Many campers now adays are aware of global warming and the many other pollution problems in the world. So if you want to buy a large family tent, whilst still helping the environment, then you should consider the Vango Earth Collection tents. They come in different shapes, sizes, poled or air versions, meaning that every single campers’ preferences are met, so the only difficulty you will face is choosing which one of these highly desirable tents suits you best! All of the Vango Earth Tents are made from recycled single use plastics, examples being plastic knives and forks, plastic shopping bags, plastic coffee cup lids, plastic water bottles, just to name a few and represent the epitome of today’s throwaway culture. Somewhere in the region of only nine percent of the world’s nine billion tonnes of plastic has been recycled, with most of our plastic ending up in landfills, the environment and the oceans. As plastics do not biodegrade, they very slowly break down into smaller pieces called microplastics, contaminating our soil and water. The toxic chemicals used in the manufacturing of these plastics gets transferred into animal tissue and eventually enters the food chain. Also, for many animal species, plastic waste is disastrous, with turtles and dolphins mistaking bags for food, plastic straws get stuck in animals and can rings strangling birds and seals. Not a pretty picture and if this doesn’t sound bad enough, the world’s plastic problem is getting worse. Thank goodness for companies like Vango, who are making one of their main focusses of this coming season, to manufacture an environmentally eco designed collection, the Vango Earth Collection. Firstly PET (polyethylene terephthalate), single use plastics are collected, sorted, washed and crushed. The plastic is then made into pellets and spun into a thread, which is woven into the Vango Sentinal Eco fabric. This fabric is then made into the Vango Earth Tents and is all ready to accompany you and keep you safe from the elements in comfort, on your next camping adventures! Vango even lets you know how many plastic bottles your chosen tent has been recycled from!
What other factors should you consider when buying a large family tent?
A few other points for consideration and a few notes to reinforce before choosing the best large family tent for you……..if you are exploring somewhere that you know may have lots of biting bugs like midges or mosquitos, it’s a good idea to check your chosen large family tent has a sewn in ground sheet and mesh doors. A sewn in ground sheet is also a very important factor in keeping rain and damp morning dew well away from the bedrooms. I definitely like to be able to stand up in my tent, so if you have any tall campers in your crew who don’t want to constantly stoop, then check out the height. You will find that all our tents have a floorplan picture in the photos, which is where you can see the maximum height details. You can also use this picture to investigate if the bedrooms are big enough for you. This is especially important if you intend to use inflatable mattresses or camping beds, as it would be very frustrating to find out your very comfortable beds won’t fit once you are on the campsite! If your children are very young or you like to keep a close eye on campsite life, then pay close attention to the amount and placement of the windows of your selected large family tent. Even if there are windows all round, a top-notch tent will have privacy curtains to use at night time or when you want to change. If you think you will be going on longish camping holidays and you will be doing lots of cooking, it’s probably best to opt for one with a large sized living space with all round ventilation. (Always use extreme caution when cooking inside your tent for obvious reasons and never use a BBQ. To be safe, always cook outside whenever possible.
What accessories do I need for my large family tent?
There are a number of accessories you may want to consider purchasing, once you have chosen your large family tent.
A groundsheet footprint is in our opinion an essential bit of camping gear, as it will offer a great deal of protection to your tent and helps you to have a comfortable trip. They are cut to fit the size of each tent and you lay it down first, so it marks out the space it will take up on your pitch. It will really help to keep your tent clean and will hugely help you out in muddy, wet camping weather. It will also keep your tent drier, so that packing up is much less of a chore. Groundsheets are made from much thicker material than the tent and will protect the base of your tent from tearing on spiky sticks or stones. It also gives you a layer of insulation, keeping you further away from the ground! Tent carpets are less essential than the groundsheet, but many campers love the luxury they provide. Usually, carpets are made specifically for each tent and are made to fit the space inside the living areas. They without doubt offer comfort underfoot, making the living space more cosy and homely. They give the interior of the tent more warmth as they usually have a PVC bottom, providing insulation against the colder ground, so if you want to camp earlier or later in the season it’s a great idea to consider ones of these for your large family tent. It is much more inviting for the children to sit down on and play games.
Camping terms explained!
If you are new to camping, there may be a couple of terms that confuse you! As we have already discussed, Denier refers to the thickness of the material the tent is made of. You will notice that tents generally have a thickness between 70 Denier to 500 Denier. The Hydrostatic Head given to a tent portrays how much water pressure the material the tent is made of can take before water seeps through. If a tent is double skinned it means it has an outer fly sheet as it’s first skin and then an inner as the second skin. The cable entry point is usually a zipped entry that you can open to pass the mains cable through and then zip back up, so there isn’t a large hole for breezes to get through. This allows you to have electricity inside your large family tent. A sewn-in groundsheet is stitched to the fly sheet, so that the living space is closed from drafts and bugs.
Most tents will come with instructions and good quality tents will have very comprehensive, detailed instructions. Having said that, it is always worth putting your large family tent up in the garden, before heading out to explore. It’s best not to start your first camping trip of the season feeling very stressed! Another point worth mentioning is be wary of buying a second-hand tent and if you do, make sure you see it pitched before handing over any money. Even if they have only been used once or twice, if they were not put away dry, tents may have mildew or mould. There may also be small rips.
We hope you find the perfect tent for the up-and-coming season. Get away! Get outdoors! Relax and enjoy family time, making fabulous long-time memories.