Check the extras
The family is snugly tucked into the tent, and there's enough room for everybody. But what about all the boots, shoes, daypacks, jackets and other gear? A vestibule is a great addition, like your mudroom or porch back home. This separate area for storage may stand alone or be built into the rainfly.
Other extra touches that can make camping more pleasant:
- Mesh side storage pockets that give campers a place to stow glasses, books, flashlights and other small items inside the tent but off the floor are handy.
- A mesh interior shelf that holds larger items inside the tent can be useful, especially when camping with children and their toys and other paraphernalia.
- The footprint -- made of nylon or plastic -- is like a groundcloth, but it's custom-made to fit your tent. The idea is to have it just slightly smaller than the tent floor, so that there's no area where water can pool around the tent floor. The footprint will add an extra layer of protection against moisture. It also will protect the tent floor from wearing out because of the rocks and twigs under it and the big and little feet walking on it. The footprint may be sold separately but is worth having.
Ready to shop? There's one more thing to keep in mind: Bring the whole gang.