Great small tents to try for your child’s first independent outdoor adventure
Have you passed down your love for adventure and nature to your child? No matter a child’s age, it’s never too early to introduce them to the concept of camping and sleeping out of the house.
Once you’ve got a bit of experience in the great outdoors, there will come a point when the kids will start to want their own tent – or even go camping without you!
Even an easy pop-up tent, though, is no easy feat to construct when you’re not as tall as a grown-up. Simply giving your child your family tent is unlikely to be a viable solution in most situations, so you will need to consider a specialized children’s tent when they are ready to learn how to camp independently.
This post is part of our best travel products series and outdoor adventures with kids
How to Choose the Best Kids Camping Tents: Important Things to Consider
Before you start reading our reviews of the best kids’ tents for camping, you need to know how to choose the right one. There are certain features you need to look for, depending on your child’s age and the tent’s purpose.
- Age: The age of your child will dictate the look, size, and feel of the tent, how it will be used, and how much protection it must provide when your tiny tot is camping outside.
- Purpose: Is your child joining a camping trip with the Scout? Or does your little one want to sleep in a separate pop-up tent during a family trip? The tent will vary accordingly.
Based on the above, you will need to find tents that are designed to serve kids of different age groups and interests. You must check the following features –
- Size: Considering your child’s age and the type of camping they may have, the tent should be appropriately sized to accommodate your young adventurer and all their necessary overnight gear (and their friends or siblings) – think sleep mat, sleeping bag, flashlight, games.
- Portability: Whether it’s a small tent that you can set up in your backyard or a night out in the wilderness, it should be light and easy to carry – for you and your child. All the tents we review here come with their own handy carry bag, which will fit tents, poles, pegs and guide ropes. You could alternatively purchase a rooftop tent for your vehicle instead, which would let you camp anywhere you can drive.
- Outdoor Suitability: Some tents for toddlers are for indoor camping only. Others can be set up outdoors. Then there are sturdy tents for serious campers made to withstand extreme weather conditions such as rain and wind – choose the right type to suit your situation.
- Easy to Clean: Irrespective of the age of kids, they’ll always be good at making a mess. So make sure that the material of the tent you will buy allows easy cleaning.
- Appearance: Whilst Disney tents might look cute in the living room, your older outdoor adventurers will likely want something that looks a little more mature. However, there will be some compromises in available colours as you move into more serious tents for your outdoor explorers.
If you are looking for a tent that is to withstand the sun’s rays and provides daytime protection only, then pop on over and read our review of the best pop up beach tents – this guide, we’re going to focus exclusively on outdoor kids camping.
Kids Camping Tents: Top 6 products for Young Adventurers of Different Ages
|GigaTent Cooper Boy Scouts Camping Tent
|5' x 5' x 3'
| 24″ x 4”
|Coleman Kids Wonder Lake 2-Person Dome Tent
|4' x 7' x 3'
|22.4" x 5.3"
|Wakeman 2 Person Lightweight Dome Tents for Kids
|6.45' x 4.75' x 3.3'
|23" x 4"
|Night Cat Backpacking Tent
|7.2' x 4' x 4'
|16.5" x 4.7"
|Ubon 2-3 Person Backpacking Tent
|5.8' x 5.6' x 4.1'
|18.9" x 6.3"
|CAMEL CROWN 2 Person Camping Dome Tent
|7.2' x 4.9' x 3.6'
|18.11" x 5.5"
Best Kids Camping Tent: GigaTent Cooper Boy Scouts Camping Tent
The GigaTent Cooper Boy Scouts Camping Tent is the perfect tent for more serious campers out there. If your child is a Boy/Girl Scout going on a trip, this kid’s tent is what your child needs for complete protection from weather conditions, insects, and more. It has a cool colour combination and design that adds a mature touch to its look!
If your child is an independent young adult who loves camping, the Coleman Kids Wonder Lake 2-Person Dome Tent is the right product for them. It offers a stylish look, with the color combination stating clearly that camping is no child’s play. The tent is designed to stand firm against rain and wind. It is also easy to set up.
What we love:
- Ideal for preteens or young adults who are serious about camping
- Provides all-around protection against wind and rain
- Offers three pitching options: conventional, fast, and instant
- Stylish color combination with a glow-in-the-dark logo
- Fits easily into the carry bag that comes with the tent
The Wakeman Lightweight Dome Tent is the ideal shelter for children who want to enjoy nature and go camping and hiking. The structure has two poles, making the setup process easy for children learning to do things on their own during adventure trips. The mesh door allows excellent ventilation. This tent provides complete protection to young campers during three seasons (not recommended for mid-winter camping).
For your little champ ready for an adventure in the wilderness, the Night Cat Backpacking Tent is one of the best kids camping tents. It is roomy enough to fit two children easily with their individual sleeping bags.
The tent is so easy to set up that children can do it independently without any help. Made from 210D rainproof fabric, it can withstand cold and rain and allows for great ventilation.
What we love:
- Perfect for two children (or one adult with a child) up to 6′ 5″ tall
- Easy enough for children to set up and takedown independently
- Mesh windows to allow airflow without allowing insects inside
- Compact, light, and portable, thanks to the foldable poles
- Stable structure and secure fabric to protect against weather conditions
- Comes in a range of several greens, white, orange, and blue colour combinations
Another compact and lightweight option to consider with kids is a 2-person backpacking tent. By their nature, backpacking tents are designed to be super light and easy to construct with featherweight collapsible aluminum poles. Despite its ultra-lightweight – one of the lightest you can get for the size – you still get a sturdy, weatherproof tent that can comfortably fit up to two teens.
Camel Crown sneaks into slightly larger tents but is still an excellent outdoor camping tent option for kids who want to start independently camping with friends. Waterproof and windproof it’s excellent for camping in all seasons.
What we love:
- Windproof and waterproof material
- Fits up to two teens comfortable or a child and adult
- Great ventilation with external, mosquito-proof screens
- A wide range of colors to choose from – shades of blues and greens through to orange
Just remember, practice makes perfect. No matter what sort of tent you invest in for your child, get them to test it in the backyard before you go. Get them familiar with the order for getting items out of the bag and the steps to follow.
Found this family camping gear guide helpful?
You may also want to check out more advice and reviews from our camping and outdoor adventure series on Our Globetrotters:
- Essential gear you need camping with a baby
- Camping with toddlers – handy tips and essential gear
- Hiking with a toddler? How to make it fun!
- Best hiking shoes for toddlers and young children
- 40+ Camping toys and games to pack
- Keep the Mozzies at bay with these mosquito-repellent patches
- Picking the perfect kids camping hammock
- How to go Hammock Camping With Your Kids
- Ideal gifts for your outdoorsy kids
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