Tents come in many shapes and sizes.
But don’t worry.
Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or expert camper, we can help you find your perfect size.
Tent sizes are normally described by the maximum number of people that can sleep inside, otherwise known as its number of ‘berths.’
Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
Assume that you are planning a camping trip with two of your friends.
You might think, for 3 individuals a 3-person tent will be ideal.
But that’s not always the case.
All three of you could sleep in the tent – but it won’t provide enough space to move around during the day or store your gear.
Remember, your tent should have space for living, not just for sleeping.
Factors That Determine the Size of Tent You Need
Finding the best tent size for your next adventure boils down to two basic factors.
- Number of People – Tents are built to fit a certain number of people. So it stands to reason that the more people a tent can hold, the bigger the physical size of the tent will be.
- Storage – The more gear and equipment you have, the more storage space you will need. If you and a friend are going camping, you might think you need a 2-person tent. But with your gear, you might actually want a 3 or 4-person tent.
What Size Do Tents Come In?
Tents come in so many different shapes and sizes, there will always be a size that fits your needs.
Here are some common tent sizes on the market:
A one-person tent is best for a single camper, backpacker, or hiker. Your gear is best stored in the vestibule to allow for more room inside the tent.
They typically have a floor area of 15 to 20 square feet and are 35” to 40” at the widest part.
This type of tent is often low profile and most can be attached to your rucksack (aka sturdy backpack), giving you a quick place to sleep comfortably when needed.
This size is very spacious for one person and their gear, but might be tight for two adult campers.
The average floor area of a tent this size is 30 to 35 square feet.
A two-person tent is about the largest size you would want to attach to your rucksack and be able to comfortably walk to your campsite.
This is a great choice for two people as it provides enough internal space for gear and moving around. A small child or the family dog could also comfortably fit.
40 to 45 square feet is the average floor area of three-person tents.
This could be used as a backpacking tent, but it would be best if one person carried the tent and one person carried the poles and other accessories.
This is commonly considered the smallest size of the “family tents.” Four-person tents are luxurious for two to three people plus their gear. If you had three adult campers plus a small child or dog, it would be a snug fit but doable.
For this size, you are looking at an average floor area of 60 to 70 square feet.
A five-person tent perfectly fits four people, but may be too tight for five.
These tents have a spacious floor area of 75 to 80 square feet.
Once you reach this size and larger, the head height becomes tall enough where adults can comfortably stand inside the tent – about 6 to 7 feet.
This is the most common size chosen by families for their camping trips.
Two adults and two kids plus gear have more than enough room. It’s also spacious for four adults and their gear, but anything beyond that would be a tight fit.
For floor area, you are looking at an average of 90 to 100 square feet.
This tent size provides king-size living space for four and comfortable living space for six if some are children or dogs.
These come with a floor space of 120 to 130 square feet.
Once you reach this size, be sure to pick a spot that can both accommodate the tent and the necessary distance for a fire.
This is one of the largest tent sizes available for camping. It can comfortably accommodate four adults and their gear with room to roam. Six adults and gear can also fit pretty comfortably, but anymore and you might feel like a pack of sardines.
The floor area for this size is a massive 150 to 180 square feet.
If you are going to a campground, be sure they offer campsites that can accommodate this size tent.
How Tent Height Affects Tent Size
The height of a tent is another factor that determines the size of a tent.
The taller the height of a tent, the larger the tent size will be.
Let’s look at different tent heights and what you can do inside the tent.
- Sitting – 3′ (36″): You will only be able to sit, lie or crawl around inside of the tent. One to three-person tents have this height.
- Kneeling – 4′ (48″): Adults will be able to kneel, sit, lie or crawl inside of the tent. This is common in three to four-person tents.
- Stooping – 5′ (60″): Campers can get to their feet to dress, get around inside of the tent, and retrieve items, but will not be able to stand completely. Stooping height is seen in four to five-person tents.
- Standing – 6′ (72″): Most adult campers will be able to get to their feet when at the center of the tent, but will probably need to duck down when away from the center. You will be able to stand in a six-person tent.
- Roaming – 7′ (84″): Everyone will be able to stand and freely walk about much of the tent body without their heads touching any part of the tent ceiling. Any tent larger than a 6-person, you will be able to roam around.
Tips for Choosing the Right Tent Size
So far, we’ve talked about the factors that make up the tent size, different tent sizes, and how the height of a tent relates to the size of the tent.
But, how do you figure out which size is best for you?
Here are tips to help you pick the right tent size:
- Know Your Options – It’s good to know that there are different tent sizes. They are not a “one size fits all” solution. Review all available options and pick the best size for you.
- What Do You Need The Tent For – Do you need it for backpacking? Do you need it for car camping? When you know exactly what you need the tent for, then you can better pick the right size for that situation.
- Who Is Going Camping – The more campers, the larger the tent you will need. Also pay attention to the size of the campers. Adults will need more room whereas kids or dogs may not need as much.
- Floor Dimension – When you buy a tent, it is worth taking a look at the floor plan/floor dimension to check if the tent will be wide enough to accommodate all the sleeping bags.
Ideally, the tent should leave a few inches on either side of the pads for personal space and general elbow room, and a foot or so at the top and bottom of the bags for storing gear or clothing.
Here is an easy way to figure out how much floor space you need:
The average adult camper needs 14 square feet of floor space.
So, divide the tent’s total square footage by the number of people who will be sleeping in the tent.
For example, 70 square feet divided by 4 campers = 17.5 square feet per sleeper; which is more than enough room for each camper and their gear..
The first thing you need to consider when buying a tent is “how big of a tent should I get?”
If you only remember one thing from this article, let it be this:
The average adult camper needs 14 square feet of floor space.
Just divide the tent’s total square footage by the number of campers and this will tell you if you picked the right tent size or not.