Camping Tents: Finding the Right Size

Camping tents come in a wide range of sizes and styles. Make sure to take the time to find the right sized tent for your group’s needs in order to maximize your comfort in your rustic home away from home.


First think about your overall group size. How many people will typically go on each camping trip? How much stuff will they bring to store in the tent, such as air mattresses, clothes, books, etc.? Will extra friends or kids be joining in on the outdoor adventure? Don’t forget about any pets, such as dogs, which might want to escape a rainy night and snuggle up next to you!

All tents made for camping have a recommended “per person” capacity, such as 2-man, 4-man, 6-man, etc. This is usually determined based on a very tight fit, literally cramming people in side by side, not allowing extra space for clothes, pets, and other accessories. A good rule of thumb is to divide the recommended size rating by two in order to achieve a more appropriate fit. For example, a tent that claims it can sleep six people will probably comfortably sleep three people with their personal belongings inside the tent. Other things to consider are the size of the people, if anyone is claustrophobic and needs extra space, and if you want to be able to spread out and enjoy other leisure activities in the tent – like playing cards.

There are detailed spec charts listed for each tent. If you prefer to change clothes while standing up, it’s important to purchase a tent with a high ceiling. This should be listed under “peak height” on the spec chart. But keep in mind that with dome tents, the highest point will only be accessible in the true center since the ceiling will slope down in all directions. If you want a spacious tent with a high ceiling all around, then consider a cabin-style tent, which has almost vertical walls. Some cabin-style tents also feature family-friendly bonuses, such as dividers for separate rooms, or a vestibule to store belongings outside of the sleeping quarters.

Another aspect to consider when searching for your perfect camping tent is the floor length. For those who are over 6 feet tall or anyone requiring extra legroom, check out tents with bonus floor length. Most camping tents have around 84-88 inches of floor length. Taller folks will want to consider something with 90+ inches. It’s also recommended that each person have a minimum of 30-square feet of tent floor space. A tent that is 8×8 feet will allow two people 32-square feet each for their own personal space. A 10×10 foot tent is an even more ideal choice for two adults. This will accommodate a double air mattress, allow space to store your clothes, and room to stand up. It is suggested to size your tent according to the tallest person in your group.

When looking for a tent for children, usually a 5×7 foot tent will provide enough space for young ones. However, teenagers should be included in the adult category when sizing out tents for your family. For larger families or groups with multiple ages, consider having an adult tent and a separate kids’ tent as opposed to one large tent to accommodate everyone. There are several problems with oversized tents. It’s challenging to find a flat surface large enough to properly set up such a tent. Oversized tents can also be heavy and cumbersome. And overcrowding, mess, lack of privacy, and noise control are some other issues you might encounter with cramming everyone into a large tent.


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