Your kids want to camp in the yard. With all the tent styles and sizes out there, how do you know which one to choose? Here are my Top 5 tents for backyard camping (in no particular order) with reviews and specs. After researching a lot of outdoor tents, these five are my top picks.
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Backyard camping doesn’t require a lot of work, because you simply pitch a tent just outside your back door! Older kids can camp by themselves in the backyard. This teaches them independence and the ability to think through a situation. Little kids need to be monitored, so don’t leave them alone. This could also be a practice run for introducing wilderness camping to your kids.
1. Coleman Montana 8-Person Tent
If parents will be camping with their kids, you’re going to need a tent large enough for adults. This Coleman tent holds 8 people. It’s even big enough for a larger group of kids who want to stay in the same tent.
74″ Center Height
16′ x 7′
Pros: The door slams shut like a screen door, which means you don’t have to constantly zip and unzip it. High enough to stand up in. One person wrote that it was roomy enough for two inflatable queen mattresses and a port-a-crib!
Cons: Most reviewers thought the tent kept them bone dry in the rain, but some people related that they were wet inside when it rained, and that there were parts missing when the tent arrived. Some reviewers wished there was a window on the wall opposite the door for better ventilation.
2. Plixio 2-Person Tent
This 2-person tent is super easy to set up and has plenty of ventilation.
42″ Center Height
5’6″ x 4’8″
Pros: Simple to set up. Lightweight. Screen windows offer plenty of ventilation.
Cons: May be too small for adults.
3. Marmot Limelight 3-Person Tent
Also easy to set up, this tent stays dry when it rains.
46″ Center Height
7’9″ x 5’6″
Pros: Stayed dry when it rained. Extremely easy to set up. Excellent ventilation.
Cons: A bit small for 3 people; really a 2-person tent.
4. Eureka Copper Canyon 4-Person Tent
With plenty of windows for ventilation, this tent also has lots of head space.
84″ Center Height
8′ x 8′
Pros: Excellent ventilation with large screen windows on all four sides. Easy to put together. Lots of space to stand up and walk around in. Has pockets to put stuff in and a hole for an electrical cord to run through. Stayed dry in the rain.
Cons: Not great in very windy areas as the tent flaps in the wind.
5. Mountain Trails 4-Person Tent
With a screened top and a rainfly, this is a cozy tent.
52″ Center Height
9′ x 7′
Pros: Easy to put up. The top of the tent is screened with a rainfly on top, which lets air flow through.
Cons: Not good in heavy rain. Not really roomy enough for 4 people.
Bonus Recommendation: Waterproof Tarp
To keep the floor of your tent dry, and cover the ground under your tent, first lay down this waterproof tarp. Use it to keep sand, dirt, pine needles, etc. from being tracked into your tent. It’s 8′ x 10′ which is large enough for all the Top 5 tents except the 8 person tent.
Pros: Great to use as a ground tarp under tents when camping. Great price.
Cons: Thin, and can rip if used as a cover.
How many people will be using the tent?
The first thing you need to consider is how many people will be using the tent. Backyard camping is probably a few kids, or one kid and one parent, so you really don’t need too much room. The rule of thumb is to figure one less adult than the tent is built for. So if it’s a 4-person tent, you can figure 3 people (adults) will be comfortable in it. But if you’re talking about kids rather than adults using the tent, kids don’t take up as much space and more of them can fit into the tent.
How easy is it to set up the tent?
The Great American Backyard Campout has excellent suggestions for pitching a tent, including setting it up before your campout to make sure everything is in order.
What if it rains?
When camping, what’s more miserable than being in a tent that doesn’t stay dry in the rain? There are a couple of things you can do to waterproof your tent, such as using a silicone water repellent like Scotchguard, or using seam tape to cover the tiny holes left by sewing needles when the tent was made.
If it’s raining and you touch the inside of the tent, the surface tension is broken. This releases condensation on the insides of the tent and this might be the reason your tent is not keeping out the water.
If you stay in the tent during a storm and it begins to lightning, call off your campout and go in the house to be safe.
What if it’s too hot in the tent?
You need to keep the tent door closed to keep out the bugs and night animals. A tent with vented mesh windows is great for air circulation. You can also use a small electric fan to keep the air moving.
How can you make it more comfortable in the tent?
Lots of sleeping bags, blankets and pillows!
There you have it. Top 5 backyard camping tents that will keep your kids happy playing in their own backyard!