Tent Buying Guide

Tent Buying Guide: How To Choose The Best Tent For You

If you’ve got a camping trip planned, you’ll need to know what kind of tent to buy for your outdoor excursion. It can depend on a variety of factors, which is why we’ve compiled our top tent buying tips to make sure you invest in the right one for your stay. Read our advice below to find out what kind of to buy.

Tent buying guide

What are the different types of tents?

When you’re thinking about what you’ll need from your tent, be it plenty of space or quick set-up time, you’ll need to choose one. Here are the four main types of tent you might like to consider:


This tent has a rectangular floor and is shaped like a dome. They tend to come in a range of sizes but can fit up to 8 campers inside. You’ll find a dome tent offers a porch when it’s constructed, giving you that extra space and shelter.

It should take you roughly 10 minutes to set up, using the helpful colour-coded poles to speed things up. A dome tent also comes with guy ropes. When you peg these into the ground, they’ll provide extra stability and protection from the wind. These guy ropes are also vibrantly coloured so they’ll offer safety for campers to avoid tripping and falling.

Good for: family camping trips of any size

Dome tent


If you’re wondering "what is the best family tent to buy?", a tunnel tent is your go-to. With a set up time of 10 minutes, it’s speedy to pitch and offers space in the amount of headroom it provides. That means it’s the best tent to buy should the weather be unpredictable, and all campers need shelter quickly.

Good for: larger groups of families

Tunnel tent

What is the easiest tent to set up by yourself? A pop up tent is the ideal, lightweight tent if you’re looking for a super quick and easy set up. Although it won’t offer the most protection against strong winds or heavy rain pours, pop up tents aren’t often without inside pockets. You could use the extra storage for your spare pair of walking socks or any pets’ accessories and toys if you’re bringing along your furry friends.

If you’re after some additional safe space for the kids to stay dry and play, or you’re off on a solo camping trip, a pop up tent works well. It takes seconds to ‘pop up’ which means you can make the most of your time in the outdoors spending quality time with the kids.

Good for: a speedy set up for a kid-friendly trip

Pop up tent


Next in our tent buying guide is the vis-à-vis tent. Originally meaning ‘face to face’, it’s built with compartments for campers to sleep in at either end of the tent. This tent is great for larger groups of adventurers, as these compartments offer everyone a little of their own space. A spacious living area makes this tent ideal if the weather is looking unpredictable, whatever the season. Make sure you take your board games and some messy-free snacks and treats should you all need to enjoy the family weekend safe from the drizzle!

Good for: family feel whatever the weather

Vis-à-vis tent

In a hurry?

If you’re new to the outdoor world of camping and all of the practicalities that come with it, you might not know which tent is best for you. Use the table below to build a better picture of which is the best tent to buy.

Type of tent Waterproof Spacious Windproof Secure Pockets Minutes to set up
Pop up tent Less than one
Tunnel tent Up to 20
Dome tent 10
Vis-à-vis tent 10

* Available in some models

Which is the best tent to buy?

When you’re buying a new tent, there are a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself first. For example:

  • How many campers have you got to sleep in your tent? If you’re bringing the little ones along, you’ll need a bigger, more spacious tent.
  • Have you got lots of belongings you’ll need to store? If you’re taking a whole host of camping and cooking equipment, and clothes, it’s important to have somewhere dry and safe to keep these.
  • Will you need to set up camp quickly? If you’re short on time because you want to keep the kids entertained, you might want something that’s quick to put up.
  • Where will you be pitching up? You should consider the location of your trip and how this will change what you need from a tent. For example, will you need a windproof tent or secure pockets?

Key features to consider

When you’re deciding what kind of tent to buy, it’s important to make sure it offers what you need for your trip. The best tent to buy won’t just be waterproof, windproof or quick and easy to set up. It could have extra features, such as:

  • Waterproof groundsheet - if it rains, both you and the kids will be protected from any water underneath your tent
  • Multiple vents - allow better air circulation as a warm tent can feel uncomfortable and stuffy (not good with kids!)
  • Lantern hanging points - a practical way of adding a light to the inside of your tent, especially ideal if you need to supervise one of the little ones to the toilets on your camping site in the middle of the night

Now you know what kind of tent to buy

We hope you’ve found our guide to buying a tent useful. Now you can decide what’s important for your family camping trip. New to camping? Discover our beginner’s guide to camping for more advice.