Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway with friends or a summer camping trip with your family, a good-quality tent is essential.
Our criteria for choosing the tents on this list included durability, ease of set-up, and features like waterproofing and ventilation.
We also looked at each tent’s dimensions so that we could ensure each one was large enough for its purpose and features easy access for larger groups.
Our top pick: Coleman Instant Up 6P Gold Series Evo Tent
Pros: Very good waterproofing, spacious, durable materials, fast setup, value for money
Cons: Rain can pool on the awning, bigger and heavier than other options
We’ve been testing the Coleman Instant Up 6P Gold for over a year and are more than happy to recommend it as our top 6-person tent.
While we had hesitations about the instant up frame (regarding both the assembly and how it would hold up in strong winds), we’ve been pleasantly surprised.
For a tent of this size, it goes up very quickly and is very easy to set up thanks to the instant up hub design.
The internal space measures 3.4m by 2.7. This translates to a sleeping capacity of up to 6 adults and a comfort rating of up to 4 adults. It is spacious inside with enough room for an adult to stand.
However, for general camping trips, we wouldn’t advise cramming more than 4 people into this tent.
We’ve generally used it with 2 people and it feels like a good amount of space, with room for a double mattress along with bags, food and other camping gear.
It’s constructed from durable and high-quality materials and we’ve never had any issues with weatherproofing.
We’ve also had this tent set up in very strong winds. Because of the vertical walls (which make for a spacious interior), the tent does very much catch big gusts. But we’ve experienced no damage or anything that caused concern.
As with other Coleman instant-up tents that we’ve tested, we’ve experienced issues with rain pooling on the awning if left up overnight. This isn’t a deal-breaker, but it would be great to see a fix for this in a future model.
Another downside of this tent is the size and weight when packed up. It’s perfectly manageable, but compared to a thin nylon dome tent with fibreglass poles, it is much bulkier and heavier.
Best value: Coleman Instant Up 6P Silver Series Evo Tent
Pros: Fast and easy setup, spacious, value for money
Cons: Less suited to high winds
The Coleman Instant Up Silver is very similar to the Gold version but is more affordable and is constructed from fewer premium materials.
Here are the key differences between the Coleman Silver and Gold instant tents:
- Silver upper is 150D polyester while Gold is 75D and 185D ripstop polyester
- The floor on the Silver is Polyethylene while on the Gold it is 420D polyoxford PVC
- Silver has a 1500mm Waterproof Rating while Gold is 3000mm
- Silver weighs 15.3kg while the Gold weighs 20kg
The bottom line is that it’s essentially the same tent but with less durable and waterproof materials which translates to a lower price.
Like the Gold version, this tent features Coleman’s Instant Up Hub, a fully seam-sealed fly, large windows with roll-up rear flaps, and a large front awning.
Reviews of this tent are generally very positive although some users have reported it being less sturdy than they would like in high winds.
Also great: Wanderer Magnitude Dome Tent 6 Person
Pros: Two separate rooms, easy to set up and pack away, good waterproofing, affordable
Cons: Due to the height this tent is less suited to high winds
The Magnitude Dome Tent has two rooms, so it’s perfect for families or groups that want to split up.
The tent has a 2000mm waterproof rating, which means it can withstand even the wettest conditions.
The large windows and door allow plenty of ventilation, so you won’t get too hot during warm nights.
It’s also easy to set up and pack down, so you won’t waste time setting up your camp when you’re tired after a long day of travelling.
Durawrap fibreglass poles and a 180T Polyester fly make this tent sturdy and durable.
The front vestibule is great for storing extra gear like shoes or an esky, while the large front awning provides extra shade if needed.
Upgrade pick: Darche AT-6 Air-Volution Tent
Pros: Unique airpole design, high quality and durable materials, very spacious, lots of storage
Cons: Expensive, requires pumping to erect, heavy
The Darche Air-Volution AT-6 is high quality and a sturdy tent that is perfect for families.
This tent has a unique and simple set-up that does not use traditional poles. The setup involves pumping up puncture-resistant Thermoplastic Polyurethane “air poles” in a matter of minutes with a provided air pump.
Once the structure has been erected a fly is put over the top with enough space to ensure good airflow.
These Darche tents are perfect for Australian weather conditions and have been designed for both hot and cold seasons.
All Darche Air-Volution tents have 100% polyester ripstop fly fabric as well as protection from the sun with their patented UVTex system.
The flooring/base is made out of heavy-duty polyethene material that will keep moisture and surface water out on wet days camping.
Due to its unique air pole system, the Darche AT-6 Air-Volution tent has plenty of space inside.
Because the tent is not limited in height by traditional poles, adults can comfortably stand inside this tent making it easy to move around.
How big is a 6-person tent?
The first thing to consider when choosing a tent is the number of people that will be using it. The larger the number, the more space you’ll need.
The internal space in an average 6-person tent will measure about 3m x 3m. Keep in mind that vertical walls make the internal space more usable.
It’s important to remember that a tent’s rated capacity and its comfortable capacity are not the same.
The rated capacity is based on adults sleeping side by side on skinny hiking-style mattresses.
In most camping environments people usually want a bit more space. Personally, we like to use a 4-6 person tent as a couple and a minimum 6-person tent for 3+ people.
Think about how long you plan on staying in your new home away from home before purchasing a tent that can fit everyone comfortably and safely during their stay. Will you need to fit just a few mattresses and sleeping bags or do you also want space for food and other camping gear?
Types of tent
The type of tent you choose depends on your needs.
- Instant tents are great for a quick and easy setup but are generally bigger and heavier than traditional dome tents.
- Dome tents are generally easier to transport but still have plenty of space inside.
- Air tents are another popular option because they’re very spacious and quick to set up.
- Touring tents like the Oztent RV5 are popular because of their quick set-up time and solid, durable construction. However, they are very heavy and take up a lot of space.
Waterproofing is very important when choosing a tent. It’s measured by millimetres from 0 to 5,000 mm (the higher the number, the more waterproof it is).
In addition to a good waterproof rating, you’ll want high-quality canvas, nylon, or polyester that will retain its waterproof coating even after years of use.
Ventilation is the other important factor to consider when choosing a tent. It is important for keeping your tent cool and making it more livable. Another key reason for ventilation is to reduce moisture in the tent.
You should try to find a model that has durable mesh panels on all sides of the tent.
A good amount of airflow means that you won’t be as hot or stuffy inside your tent during those warm summer nights!
Images credits: colemanaustralia.com.au, BCF.com.au, darche.com.au