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7 Best Kids Camping Tents

Give children a tent and watch their adventurous spirits grow. Here are seven kids camping tents we love.

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Kids in a Tent Images By Tang Ming Tung/Getty Images

Camping With Kids

“Nature is an infinite playground for kids once they find their place in it.” — Joe Jackson

Spending time in nature is good for kids. Children learn a lot about the world by moving through it. The more you incorporate nature into your child’s experiences, the more their confidence in the wilderness, and themselves, will grow.

Outside’s online Gear Guy Joe Jackson believes a kid will figure out how to set up a tent if they are excited to, regardless of how easy it is or what doohickies are built into it. “My wife would set up a World War II-era wall tent to go camping with her dad when she was 11,” he says.

Here are some ways to help make camping a positive learning experience for kids.

Practice camping

Jackson suggests helping kids build skills from a young age. “They can learn how to tarp an area without a tent and the other adjacent skills that make camping easier,” he says.

To introduce the concept of sleeping outdoors, why not pitch a tent in the backyard and spend the night backyard camping together? That’s a good way to get kids used to the idea ahead of time.

Teamwork and responsibility

Assign kids age-appropriate camp chores so they feel useful. Besides building skills and confidence, Jackson says it helps kids take ownership of the trip.

“Even if they are too young to set up their gear, I would suggest having them be very involved in the packing — even having their own bag that they decide (at least partially) what goes in it,” he says.

Get kids involved

Jackson recommends finding ways to get your kids to explore an area, like creating camping games around spotting flora or fauna. When kids’ interests wane, Jackson finds that bringing along a bocce set can go a long way. Consider packing toys that complement outdoor play, such as magnifying glasses to spy on insects and binoculars for bird-watching.

Bottom line: It’s never too early to start camping with your children. When we get our kids excited about camping early on, we help create a generation of nature-loving trailblazers.

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Best Teepee-Style Kids Play Tent

One of the sweetest places to pretend camp ever, the Tiny Land Kids Teepee Tent ($70) is made of 100 percent natural cotton that’s breathable and contains no chemicals or allergens. Let your kiddos (ages three and up) personalize the tent with acrylic paints, markers or stickers to create a magical place to read or host a tea party.

The teepee features a paned window for air circulation, two pockets to keep stuff and a flap door that can be “closed” with a string. It also comes with fairy lights, a padded non-slip mat and a carry bag.

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Best Educational Kids Tent

Start a learning lab in the backyard with the Narmay Play Tent Space World Dome Tent ($39). This tent teaches kids about the wonders of space exploration!

Perfect to hide out in with friends or siblings, the tent depicts the solar system from a little astronaut’s point of view. The crawl-in tunnel port looks like a space capsule door. And the polyester taffeta walls are covered with eye-catching planets, rockets and not-scary aliens that encourage little ones to reach for the stars.

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Best Kids Tent for Backyard Camping

Lightweight and compact, the Night Cat Backpacking Tent ($50) is ideal for pitching in the backyard or at the family campground. Boost a kid’s confidence and independence by letting them sleep in their own tent while still being within earshot of you.

The tent is water- and wind-proof (pegs and ropes included) to ensure the precious inhabitants stay dry and snug. It sets up and comes down fast, usually in one minute — so easy a child can do it.

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Best Geodesic Kids Camping Dome Tent

Future scientists will love Hubs Geodesic Dome Kit ($199). Simple-to-snap-together connectors let your kids construct this marvel of modern engineering in less than an hour. Scalable (choose the size that suits you), the dome’s parts are made of automotive-grade stainless steel and UV resistant plastic for sturdiness and safety.

The kit contains 26 hubs, 150 ball connectors and all screws and metalwork required along with full instructions. Create a fun backyard clubhouse or make-shift planetarium — the kit inspires a child’s burgeoning imagination.

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Best Infant Portable Tent

The Sunba Youth Baby Portable Beach Tent ($50) and travel bed makes a day at the seashore with your infant worry-free. The breathable sides of the mesh fabric shield baby from the sun (UPF 50+) and bugs, while providing a front-row seat to all the action.

Great for napping or playing with toys, the tent/bed has two pegs to secure into the sand so it won’t blow away. When it’s time to pack up, the tent collapses into a small carrying case.

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Best Rainproof Kids Camping Tent

Rain or shine, the one-room Cooper Boy Scouts Camping Tent by GigaTent ($25) will keep junior explorers safe and dry. For such an affordable price, this tent has a lot to offer.

Shock-corded fiberglass poles offer superior strength. The coated waterproof polyester material with a rainfly fabric (an outermost layer of water-resistant fabric that covers the tent body) protects against moisture and UV rays, while micro-mesh roof and window netting keeps out tiny pests. Compact at 25 square feet, it weighs a little more than two pounds.

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Best Backpacking Kids Camping Tent for Teens

Lighten the load with the three-season cocoon-style REI Co-op Passage One Tent ($139) for solo sleepers. A great starter backpacking tent for teens, it weighs less than four pounds and features ample interior space for those in the midst of a growth spurt.

Other plusses include its stake-out vestibule to keep camping gear covered; an integrated footprint (ground cloth); a rainfly that fits around the door; stakes and guylines (cords) with tighteners; and a stuff sack. Parents may want to borrow this tent!

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Toni DeBella
Toni DeBella is a freelance travel, lifestyle and digital content writer based in a medieval hill town in central Italy. Her work has been featured in such publications as Fodor's, The Telegraph, Walks of Italy, Italy Magazine, Frommers.com, Touring Bird (via [email protected]) and more. Most recently she authored the 2020 edition of DK Eyewitness Sicily travel guide. When Toni is not roaming around Europe, you'll find her tending her alley-side container garden or honing her clay-court tennis game.