Family camping tents have improved dramatically over the last few years. No longer is tent camping a case of roughing it with minimalist comfort and of the luxuries enjoyed by the RV crowd. With a little knowledge you can make the experience even better.
How to Make Tent Camping More Comfortable? To Make Tent Camping even more comfortable you have to start with the basics. First, ensure you have the necessary gear: tent, bedding, cookware, etc. Add in some great food and drink. Then, ensure you have a good location. Finally, set up camp and enjoy it!
Keep reading to learn more.
How to Choose a Tent
The first step to camping is choosing a tent. Our article on choosing a tent that is right for you family provides a comprehensive guide on the type of tent available and the factors you need to consider. Read our article on family camping tent requirements to see what our minimum expectation is for a truly comfortable family tent.
There are a few factors to consider when selecting a tent. To begin, you will want to think about the area and climate you will be camping in. This will greatly influence the style and thickness of the tent you will need.
If you will be camping in the summer in a warm climate, then your family would probably prefer a thinner, bigger tent so it will stay cool inside. If you are camping in a colder climate you will want a smaller, thicker canvas tent that will preserve heat better.
The next thing to consider is size. As previously mentioned, the temperature can affect the size of the tent you will need. The most important thing, however, is to think about how many people and how many supplies you will be bringing with you.
Most major tent companies have tents for every situation. Some are big and open for families, some are small one-man tents, and others are mansions with several different rooms for bigger groups.
It’s a sign of how much family tent design has improved that our current (2020) top choice for comfortable family camping tent is an instant – 10-person tent:
Ozark Trail Dark Rest Instant Cabin Tent
How to Choose the Appropriate Bedding
Sleeping well is very high up on our list of a great camping experience. We find our days are very full. We go to bed early and we fall asleep quickly. If you haven’t chosen your bedding well you may well find you wake up many times during the night.
Some hikers and backpackers will sleep in a sleeping bag directly on the ground (on a tarp or tub floor usually). Most will use some ultra-thin, self-inflating sleeping pads. These provide good insulation and provide some protection from the lumps and bumps in the ground.
I have got to tell you, for a family camping trip, sleeping directly on the floor is a fool’s game. I’ve done it many times. I only recommend it to the very young and headstrong.
For most family camping trips we recommend purchasing a good, queen sized airbed for adults. For children, the self-inflating sleeping pads can work really well. Airbeds are amazingly comfortable, provide outstanding thermal insulation, and you use your own blankets, throws or duvets if you don’t like sleeping bags.
Of course, using a double or queen airbed throws the manufacturers claims for the n-person tent out of the window. One thing you will see all over CampingSage is that we recommend that you choose a tent that is rated for a minimum of 2 people more than the manufactures claims. Our own tent is rated for 8-12 people. It has 2 bedrooms, a large common area and a large vestibule for storing kit. Sadly, this tent is no longer available. What I can say is, it has never seemed too big for our family of 4.
Air beds work well in any climate and can be purchased to fit virtually any tent. Good airbeds tend to be heavy so they are only suited to car camping. You will not want to carry them far from your car parking slot. They make camping much more comfortable. They fold flat and can be inflated and deflated, using manual or electric pumps, in a matter of minutes.
Coleman make outstanding camping equipment. Their air mattress continues their exemplary record. One to consider is:
Coleman Air Mattress | Double-High SupportRest Air Bed for Indoor or Outdoor Use
Deciding on what you are going to sleep on is exceptionally important to a good night’s sleep. Choosing your bedding is almost equally important. For many years, people thought ‘camping means sleeping bags’. Nowadays, with readily available, easy inflation air mattresses, the options for camping bedding have increased.
There is nothing wrong with a good, modern sleeping bag. There are many styles available. The most common seem to be the shaped, mummy sleeping bags. These are the minimum possible surface area for the maximum possible insultation. They are loved by hikers and back packers the World over. Personally, I hate them. My kids love them. Go figure.
For me, I prefer a larger, rectangular sleeping bag. It’s not as compact and doesn’t provide the same insulation properties, but the ability to turn over and move inside that bag makes it my choice.
There are specially designed sleeping bags for kids. Some are more style than practicality. It is surprising how well going to sleep in the dragon sleeping bag can work as an inducement to go to bed though.
You might also consider two-person sleeping bags if you’re camping in a cooler temperature, or if you just want to share a snuggle with your significant other.
For us, the most comfortable bedding arrangement is a good air mattress and a duvet or too.
Don’t forget pillows.
Choosing A Location
When choosing the perfect campsite, it is important to consider all factors: terrain, weather, temperature, and surrounding area.
Terrain – The optimal campsite is a flat area, free from rocks and debris. The area should be dry. Some tree coverage can be beneficial for keeping the weather at bay including the sun, but not too many trees as they could fall on the tent or cause injury.
Temperature and Climate – Considering the weather is a key factor in planning any camping adventure, if it is during the summer and it is hot out, it may be best to camp in an area with good wind-flow and trees for shade. Usually, the best campsite in the hotter months is near a stream or river. If you are camping in fall or winter, you will want to camp in an area that offers protection from the wind.
Weather – Before you leave for your camping trip, it is best to get an idea of the weather forecast. This can help you with your packing as well as location planning. If you are camping when it is cold, you will want to think about snowfall and whether this is something you want or not.
If it is during the summer or spring, you will probably have to contend with the rain and summer storms. So, you will not want to camp near a lot of smaller trees that could fall during a storm and damage your tent or cause injury to your family.
Surrounding area – The surrounding area where you choose to camp will depend on many factors such as what do you want to do while camping? If you want to hike, then you should camp near the trails or mountains. If you want to fish, then you should camp near a stream, river, or lake. If you want to be close to tourist destinations, you will want to camp near a town. If you would prefer to be in an area away from people and distractions, then you should choose a more remote location.
What Comforts Should You Bring When Tent Camping?
There are so many products on the market for campers specifically. They have foldaway dinnerware and pots and pans, portable toilets, and even portable heaters and air conditioners. It is really up to the needs of your family as to what they want to bring with them camping.
Some people prefer a more rustic experience and only pack a few food items, fishing poles, sleeping bags, and a tent. Others prefer more luxury like the portable toilet, heat, air conditioning, and cookware. What you bring also depends on where you are camping and the time of year.
There are a few essentials you should bring for any camping trip:
- Change of clothes
- Plenty of food
- Plenty of water
- A pot for boiling water and cooking
- A tent
- A tarp
- An emergency radio
- First aid kit
Unless you are camping on a state or national campsite, you need to make sure you have plenty of provisions with you. Top of the list is the ability to obtain enough, clean drinking water. It’s probably more than you think.
If you are dispersed camping you need to ensure you take enough food with you. It needs a bit of planning but check out our article on great camping foods.
In a Nutshell
Camping is on the rise in America with more families choosing to take the cheaper more family-friendly root for their vacations. They can save money and spend more time with their families uninterrupted. Getting out into nature is great for the mind, body, and soul. It can help to reset your internal clock and relieve stress. Camping also encourages families to talk and interact with each other since they will not have anything else to do, so it is excellent for bonding.
Tent camping doesn’t have to be rugged; it can be just like bring your home to the middle of the wilderness. It only requires a small up-front investment in the proper gear and some research to ensure you are getting the top of the line experience.
After that, you just need to make a plan considering the location, planned activities, and weather. You can have all of the same conveniences as home including lights, a toilet, hot food, and most importantly time together.
The best thing about tent camping is you can do it virtually anywhere. You can camp in your back yard or in the local camp-ground. Some campgrounds even have rentals so you don’t have to purchase all of your own supplies. You don’t have to hike into the wilderness for miles to have a camping vacation, just step outside and let your cares go!