Best Family Camping Tents of 2012
Outdoor Gear Lab announces its top picks
Bugs, rain, heat or cold can ruin a family camping trip faster than you can say "smores."
When it comes to keeping everyone happy, a reliable tent can be your best asset. The folks at Outdoor Gear Lab understand that and put a battery of tents to the test, looking at comfort, storm-proofness, ease of setup, packed size and workmanship to help you find the best bang for your buck. The company tested eight of the top models on the market from Kelty, REI, Eureka and more. Here are their top three picks.
Top Pick: REI Kingdom 8 Tent: $529
This REI model ranked well for ease of setup and got a perfect score for comfort with its large doors, high ceilings and huge vestibule. If there's rain in the forecast, however, this might not be your best bet. The tent only scored 6/10 for storm resistance.
Second Pick: Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8: $512-$640
If you often find yourself camping in windy or wet conditions, the Big Agnes could be the right tent for you. With a 10/10 for storm resistance, it will help keep you and your family dry. The large, versatile vestibule and great ventilation are additional bonuses. If you do buy this model, think about investing in better stakes; the out-of-the-box ones are small and bend easily.
Third Pick: Marmot Limestone 6: $359-$449
This relatively lightweight, easy-to-manage model can help you teach your kids how to set up camp. It's also the cheapest tent of the three and received good scores on storm resistance and workmanship. There are a few drawbacks, though. The poles bend easily, and there aren't very many pockets for storage.