If camping is part of your emergency survival plan, it’s important to put some serious time and consideration into buying the right tent for your family. Tents come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and are designed to meet specific needs, so choose carefully!
Tents: Size and Shape
Tents come in a multitude of shapes and sizes. There are four basic tent shapes out there: a-frame, umbrella, dome, and wall, and each tent shapes serves a different person or group. Most family tents are of the umbrella variety – these tents offer a lot of square footage and head room. When we purchased our first tent, we were only a 4-member family (we’re now five) but we purchased a tent large enough for 10 people! Sounds crazy? Nope.
First, look at the size rating of your tent. Tents are sized based on 2 things: square footage and the number of people that can sleep in the tent without storing any gear. That’s important. That means, that a 10 person tent will hold 10 people sleeping side-by-side, head-to-foot, with no extra space. Obviously, that’s a terrible idea. Most tent manufacturers recommend dividing the suggested tent occupancy by 2 to find the comfortable number of people that can stay in a tent with gear. So, that 10-person tent we have? Perfect for a family of 5 with some room for gear and, in our case, a pack-n-play (because yes, I’ve taken my 15 month old camping 3 times and have one more trip scheduled! I’m brave like that.)
Second, think about square footage. You need a minimum of 25 square feet per person in your tent – that sounds like a lot, but it’s just a 5 foot by 5 foot square. As an example, if your tent is an 8 x 10, that means you have 80 square feet of floor space. You could comfortably fit 3, maybe 4, people in your tent. You also want to consider the length and height of your tent. If someone in your family is tall, make certain there is adequate room for them to lie down to sleep. If you or someone in your family is heavier set, the square footage needed to comfortably sleep is going to be more. Third, you need to decide if you plan to keep your gear in the tent with you, or in another tent. You’ll need a bigger tent if you want gear to stay inside with you or you’ll need a seperate tent or cover for your gear.