Tips for Choosing Between Tent Sizes for Camping

Date Posted:22 July 2019 


There are a few things to consider when determining the right tent sizes for different groups of campers, and that’s where this article comes in.

Camping with friends or family is one of the best ways to spend a few days in the outdoors and you need to be well prepared for the occasion. This means you should plan ahead and have all the gear ready in advance.

Without a doubt, the camping tent is the key piece of equipment which you should focus on first. Things like size, material, and ease of use play an important role.

After all, you want your family to have the best camping experience possible.

This write-up helps you choose the right tent sizes for camping. In addition, you’ll also find tips for choosing the best tent materials and features.


Before You Start

It’s not that hard to determine the tent size that fits your needs. Consider the average space that a person requires and work your way up from there.

For example, the standard width of sleeping bags is about 60 centimetres. Multiply that by the number of people and you’ll be able to get a ballpark figure for the total floor area. Another measurement to consider is the peak tent height.

Smaller tents (2 and 3-person) may have a peak height of up to 125 cm. This might be enough for children to stand up but adults may have to crouch inside the tent, more so since most parts of the tent will be shorter than the peak height.

Keep reading for more information on each popular tent size.


Tent Sizes Guide

You can get a comfortable 2-person tent for just you and a camping partner, or go for an 8-person tent to accommodate your extended family. Besides size, these tents also offer different portability, ease of use, and extra features.

The following sections outline all the characteristics you should know about.


2-Man Tent Size

The average 2-man tent size can vary. Some of these tents can be quite spacious and fit two people of above average height.

You can find 2-person tent sizes that go up to 230cm x 160cm and at least 100cm tall. Consider your height and frame to determine the best 2-person tent size that fits your needs. You should also factor in the campground where you plan to set up the tent.

For example, if you’re looking to camp with your spouse at a festival, it’s best to go for a more compact option.

Important Things to Consider

The perks of getting a small 2-person tent include quick setup, easy transportation, and, of course, they tend to be more affordable than bigger tents.

Some of them, not all, may have enough room to hold additional gear, backpacks, lamps, etc.

In addition, this size may be perfect if you’re getting a second tent for your children – to get them out of your hair or otherwise. They can practice setting it up even.


3-Man Tent Size

Have a family of three? This is the section of interest to you. At this, we’ll mention that you can always go for a bigger tent. There’s nothing to stop a 3-person camping party from getting a 5- or 6-person tent if they plan to fit a queen size camping mattress and a smaller one, for example.

More height and area would translate to more weight for these tents. In general, the weight for these tents is 3 to 4kg and up. It depends on the material, pole system, and add-ons like a vestibule.

Important Things to Consider

There is no reason not to go for a 3-person tent even if the party consists of an adult and a child. You’d get to use the extra real estate for additional gear.

Compared to larger tents, you should be able to set them up on your own in a matter of minutes.



4-Man Tent Size

For many families that enjoy camping, the 4-person tent size provides ample space and storage capacity. These tents can also be a perfect fit if you’re going on a longer camping trip.

The average 4-man tent size comes out to about 240cm x 220cm in the main floor area.

Obviously, there is enough room for your family to comfortably sleep and move inside the tent but if you need even more space, you’ll be able to find even bigger and taller 4-person tents.

Important Things to Consider

There is more weight to 4-person tents, and some of them can be quite hefty at 18kg or more. You’ll have to balance that against a larger sleeping area and perhaps a bigger vestibule.

Should you want a super lightweight model, there are options that weigh as little as 6.4kg. The optimal weight and size would depend on your camping needs. For example, if you have to hike all day before setting up camp, it’s best to go for a lighter model.


5-Man Tent Size

The typical 5-person tent size might be a good option even for families of 4.

And if you plan to spend more than a couple of days in the great outdoors, you’ll cherish all the extra space. In terms of size, these tents offer generous tent floor area of about 305cm x 240cm and 220cm head height. Once again, you’ll be able to find even bigger and taller tents that the manufacturers market for 5 persons.

Ample real estate aside, you usually get the benefit or a large awning as well. This allows you to create a sheltered outdoor area perfect for family meals and other activities.

Important Things to Consider

Higher storage capacity, comfort and area are the perks of 5-person tents. But these tents are not exactly lightweight. They can range from 23kg to 50kg and up, which is more than one person can carry.

For this reason, 5-person camping tents work best if you’re driving to the campground. On the other hand, greater weight means more stability especially when you have to deal with windy weather.

You’ll surely need some help setting up a tent of this size, though it can turn into a fun activity for the entire family. With some practice, you can have the tent up and ready in less than a half hour, even quicker if you have one of those instant tents.


6-Man Tent Size

With the 6-person tent size, we’re moving up to certifiable big tents.

The actual size of a 6-person tent may measure 305cm x 305cm in floor area and 210cm or more in height - plenty of room to accommodate basketball players.

However, there is a difference between sleeping capacity and comfort rating. Some models are generously rated for 6 people to sleep in but they may have a comfort rating of 4 adults.

This won’t be too much of a problem for families with younger children. Though you might need to go for a comfort rating of 6 adults depending on your needs and preferences.

Important Things to Consider

More people inside the tent translates to greater ventilation needs. You need to assess the tent’s doors, windows, and ventilation holes.

Ideally, a 6-person tent should be well-ventilated enough to prevent condensation build-up. Condensation might drip or pool at the floor. That’s where you’ll need a good sleeping bag. This is actually more common when sleeping in the cold, as you’ll be more likely to keep more or all of the flaps closed.

If this becomes a problem, you can get a bigger tent to keep sleeping bags and camping beds away from the tent walls.


8-Man Tent Size

A tent of this size allows you to bring the grandparents along to take care of the children. Alternatively, it may offer enough room for two families or a larger group of friends.

With the 8-person tent size, we’re talking about a large footprint of 480cm x 300 cm x 210cm and up. You should factor in these dimensions when you choose a spot to set up the camp. It is best to go for a perfectly flat area on even ground.

Don’t forget to include the extra space around the tent for activities such as cooking. At some campgrounds, you might have to reserve space for something this large.

Important Things to Consider

Even as we stop at this size, know that there are even bigger tents out there. If need be, you can even find 12- or 15-person tents.

The average 8-person tent weighs about 35kg and packs down to 145cm x 38cm x 40cm. Account for more if you’re going for a larger tent.

That said, there are models that offer a more manageable weight and packed dimensions but their comfort rating might be for fewer people than the rated 8.



Other Desirable Features


Materials and Season

At the end of the day, the average tent size is only one piece of the puzzle. Once you figure out the size, you need to think about the materials and camping season.

Most of today’s tents feature synthetic nylon for the tent body. You may have seen the denier rating for fabrics. It measures the count of fibres and threads within a fixed area, so higher denier ratings signify denser and more heavy duty fabrics.

This would translate to a heavier tent. But you get in return higher durability and waterproofing rating. You will find cold-weather tents built for 3 or 4 seasons to use higher denier fabrics. There aren’t that many true 4-season tents available. But make sure to get a 3- or 4-season tent if you’re camping in late autumn.

The tent poles are the next thing to consider. You can choose fibreglass, aluminium, or carbon fibre poles. Fibreglass is the most budget-friendly option, though it doesn’t offer the same durability as carbon fibre or aluminium. Whichever material you choose, it’d be great to have colour-coded pole clips and corners for easier setup.


Extras and Configuration

Regardless of the size, camping tents may feature add-ons like vestibules, gear lofts, or storage pockets. Apart from those, a rainfly is an absolute must.

The rainfly can be roof only or full-coverage. The latter offers complete protection from the elements and extra warmth. For the same reason, you might want to consider a double-wall tent.

The inner wall provides greater breathability and the outer wall shields you from the weather. In addition, double-wall tents are great at keeping condensation away from the sleeping area.

Finally, you need to take a close look at the floor. Some tents come with a footprint or tarp for extra protection from the ground. These additions may go inside or outside the tent to improve its overall durability and comfort.


Determining the Right Size

An 8-person tent can be perfect for 8 campers or a family of four if they carry a lot of gear. This is why you need to consider your camping needs. Here are a few tips to help you find the right size.



Are you going to use part of the tent as a living space? If so, you’ll need a bigger tent than advertised.

A group of 3 or 4 campers can step up to a 6-person tent, which might hold a set of folding chairs and table inside.



Sleeping Area

Start by planning the sleeping arrangement. Sleeping bags with pads underneath take up the same amount of space.

But if you want to get more from a tent, you may go with a sleeping cot which allows you to store some gear under it. With cots, you might have to go for a tent that’s rated for four more people than your party.


Tent Capacity

Here’s how manufacturers size their tents in general. A 3-person tent is a tent that fits 3 adult sleeping bags shoulder to shoulder.

There’s not going to be much room for storage. Once again, you can go for a tent rated for more people to work around this.


Happy Camping

The number of campers comes first when determining tent sizes and you can always go for a bigger tent. You may want to consider next the materials, rated seasons, and price.

If you are wondering where to get your camping tent, look no further than Tentworld, where you’ll find tents of all sizes that cater to different budgets and camping party sizes.

Click here to check out and find your perfect tent. Feel free to call us or drop by any of our 13 locations.


Comments (2)

Go smaller or big

By: on 19 February 2022
Is it better to get a larger tent for family of 6 or get smaller tents? 4 seasons. Modular? backpacking and camping?

Tentworld Response
Hi There, A larger tent with multiple rooms gives you way more options in regards to sleeping arrangements for parents and kids. It is unlikely you will be able to backpack with a 6 person tent, so multiple smaller tents may be needed in these circumstances. If you were looking at good sized family tents, that are great in some weather, and easy to pitch, then the Coleman Instant Up range, or the Oztrail Fast Frame range would be your best pick. I hope this helps ?

Good information.

By: on 4 February 2020
I love to camp, and choosing the tent size is always the most important task.I really appreciate your research. I love these ideas. Thank you so much.

Leave a comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up