When looking for a 6 man family tent you have quite a few different categories to choose from. Are you looking for a tent that will provide shelter for six people at a campground, or are you looking for a sturdier base-camp tent that you can pack into a remote location? Let’s take a look at your options.
The structure of your 6 man family tent is going to say a lot about what you are going to do with it. Cabin style tents are a great way to go if you are camping near your vehicle, and need plenty of headroom throughout the entire floor space of the tent. Kodiak is a good example of a brand that offers 6 man family tents with cotton construction. The benefit of this material is its durability and the lack of degradation the material experiences from UV rays. This material is excellent for long-term use in sunny environments. While traditional cotton tents often have a wax like coating that breathes poorly, and may have to be reapplied over time, some manufacturers like Kodiak have their own coating that eliminates these problems. The draw back of cotton-constructed tents is that they are bulky and a little on the pricey side. But cabin tents are also available with a nylon or polyester material. This material often makes the tent less expensive and lighter. Coleman, the outdoor family camping powerhouse, and Eureka make 6 and even 8 man tents, in several styles. Some of these can come with different rooms and porches, so you are going to need to decide between ease of set up or bells and whistles.
Another popular style is the 6 man dome tent. This style effectively tackles the ease of set up issue. The general configuration is two poles that cross at the center and seat at the base of the tent. Pretty simple set up. Some styles offer additional poles to increase the strength of the tent or add a vestibule that does not need to be staked out. The only drawback of a dome tent is the high profile in the wind, which can cause the tent to sway and build up condensation on the sides of the tent where the walls push up against a body. But in most summer storms, these tents generally perform well. With the current technology in nylon tents, however, you have a few other things you should consider when purchasing a tent. Tent pole strength is a real issue. Nothing is worse than arriving at your destination, and while setting up, your tent a pole snaps. Look for tents with aluminum poles, and to be safe I would look for brands that offer the high-end DAC poles. You should also look for a tent that offers a bathtub floor: a floor that has no seams until the tent rises a couple of inches from the ground. This will make sure you do not wake up in a bathtub. Other considerations are taped seams on your tent fly to make sure your interior stays dry in a downpour. Kelty makes an excellent affordable tent in this category that offers many of these features.
Tunnel tents are also a great way to go. They are generally affordable and perform well in windy wet conditions because of their low profile shape. These tents, with uniform sized poles, are also easy to set up. The only drawback of this style is that they generally need to be staked out. With manufactures like Coleman, Vango, and Outwell you have some reasonably priced solid tunnel tents to choose from. Just remember if you are going to be camping in warmer temperatures, you are going to want of be sure that the tunnel tent has adequate ventilation. Again, I would look for the bathtub floors, taped seams and sturdy poles.
If you are looking for something that you can pack out, or will weather a serious storm, you will probably have to pay quite a bit more money. Some of you gear heads are going to want to look at high end 6 man tents regardless. Sierra Designs makes a 6 man tent that is fairly affordable and is reasonably light weight. North Face, Mountain Hardware, and Marmot to name a few also manufacture bomber 6 man tents. If you are looking for a family tent that is going to stand the test of time and look pretty at the same time, then these are brands are excellent choices.
But you really don’t need to pay all that money out for a 6 man family tent. You can find affordable, reasonably good tents with all the necessary features described above. If you go for the deluxe multi-room tents on the market bring the instructions and have a blast with the kids setting it up. If you’re looking for simplicity, imagine pulling into the campground at midnight, then go for something a little easier like dome or tunnel tent. If you would like a little more room consider an 8 man camping tent. For most of you, just make sure that it will keep the family cool and dry during a mid-summer thunderstorm.