When browsing for the best sized family tent for your needs, it is always best to add an extra person to the number of family members to determine which size tent is needed for the family. By doing this, we may add weight to the tent but it will allow everyone more personal space and allow for the storing of gear that should not be left out in the weather. The family tent usually come in sizes for families of 4 to 7+ people. They are usually well-ventilated and designed with windows and entry doors.
Some manufacturers do have back-packing tents for families 2 to 4 people, which are lightweight, durable, easy to set-up and are very versatile.
When tent shopping the style and size of the tent are not the only things to be considered, you need to a choice of which type of fabric your backpacking or family tent should be made of.
Manufacturers use 6 main types of fabric to make their tents. The materials each have their own set of characteristics. Knowing their characteristics can impact the type of camping experience you have.
The most popular tent fabric is Nylon. The reasons for this is that it is strong, durable and lightweight. Nylon will not absorb water as it is water-resistant but needs to be waterproofed to lock out most of the water and still maintain breathable qualities that allow water vapor to pass through while you remain dry. It can be easily colored and maintains it color longer than other types of fabrics. Nylon will not decompose if it is stored wet, but will begin to mildew and this can erode the polyurethane that is coated on the nylon material to make it waterproof.
Another fabric frequently used in the manufacturing of the family tent is Rip-Stone Nylon. It has all the characteristics of the nylon tent. The only difference between them is that about every 12 or so stitches, there is a heavier fabric woven in to prevent the spread of a tear. If you are planning to camp out in the woods, rather than in an open clearing or campsite you may want to purchase a rip stone nylon tent instead of a regular nylon one. If you do purchase a rip-stone nylon tent you might want to ensure that it is polyurethane coated.
The next commonly used fabric for tent making is almost identical to nylon and is called polyester. Resistance to ultraviolet damage is the main difference between polyester and nylon. It is always recommended that you set up your tent in a shaded area instead of an area exposed to direct sunlight, because all materials exposed to ultraviolet light are subject to damage.
Another fabric which was first used in the manufacture of a tent, but is not as prevalent now, is the cotton canvas tent. 100% cotton fabric is a great material for making a superior tent but they are rare today, mostly because of their weight compared to modern-day fabrics. The cotton material naturally breathes and is less prone to condensation than modern fabrics, making inner tents in the sleeping area unnecessary. One oddity that can catch new beginners, is that brand new cotton tents usually leak, due to drips coming through the cotton fibers. As the drips come through the cotton fibers they cause the fibers to swell into each other creating a waterproof tent. This is called weathering. A simple solution to the problem, is to set up the tent before you actually make a camping trip, when rain is expected. Weathering a tent can also be done by thoroughly soaking the tent with a water hose then letting it dry. You may have to repeat this procedure 2 or 3 times before you have waterproofed your tent. It must be noted that some cotton tents have a waterproof coating put on and do not need weathering.
The next fabric commonly used by manufacturers is a material called UV-Tex5. It has the greatest resistance to ultraviolet light. For frequent campers this would probably be the best choice as it has a higher standard of resistance to UV degeneration than other polyester fabrics. It is identical in all other aspects to polyester.
Polyethylene is rarely used to make an entire tent but you should make sure that the floor of the tent is made of Polyethylene. It is waterproof, durable and water will not pass through the material unless there is a hole. There are several drawbacks to using this fabric, such as the weight and its bulkiness. One other drawback is that once it has been opened, it will be very difficult to return it to its original form.