The best 6-man tents for camping in the UK

Compact, spacious, luxurious, basic; What's The Best has created the ultimate guide to 6-man tents.

A family camping with their large tent

by Chris Williams |

Just like smaller two and four-person tents, six-person and family-sized tents are extraordinarily varied. It’s simultaneously a blessing and a curse. Yes, you get an amazing range of choices, but which one to choose?

That’s why we’ve crafted this ultimate buyer’s guide to the best 6-man tents. Here, we have a range of 6-man tents that have each received an individual award – be it value for money, clever design, or space.

In addition to naming the best 6-person tents, we have also included further information about tents such as waterproof ratings and about the different tent shapes, plus a couple of important extras you might want to consider.

Related: The best camping cookware and essential camping utensils

The best 6-man tents at a glance:

Coleman Vail 6 – Best budget 6-man tent

Zempire Aerodrome II Pro – Best 6-man tent design

Vango Aether Air 600XL – Sustainability award

Outdoor Revolution Airedale 6.0SE - Most spacious 6-man tent

Berghaus Air 6 XL – Best price to space ratio

MSR Habitude 6 – Most compact 6-man tent

The best 6-man tents:

Coleman Vail 6

Coleman Vail 6
©Coleman

Coleman Vail 6

Best budget 6-man tent
Coleman Vail 6
Amazon

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Verdict: Either for first-time family campers or for people who understandably want to keep the upfront costs of a larger tent down, this is one of the better quality tents youu2019ll find. It has an excellent waterproof rating; a generous front room with two entrances; and two darkened bedrooms. Relative to the other tents here the Vail 6 is fairly compact and lightweight making it easy to store and transport. While it uses standard fibreglass poles rather than trendy inflatable ones seen in some of the other tents here, pitching is still simple and takes around 20 minutes.

Specs:

Tunnel style tent

Waterproofing: 4000mm HH polyester flysheet

Poles: PowerFlex fibreglass

Outer dimensions: 430cm (L), 380cm (W), 210cm (H)

Packed size: 63 x 35 x 31cm

Weight: 18.8kg

Pros: Value; doesn't skimp on important features

Cons: Natural trade-off of compact size is reduced space

Zempire Aerodrome II Pro

Zempire Aerodrome II Pro
©Zempire

Zempire Aerodrome II Pro

Best 6-man tent design
Zempire Aerodrome II Pro

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Verdict: This tent is all about attention to detail and quality. Designed in a u2018Tu2019 shape, you get the benefit of two living areas u2013 one a more social, public front room; the other a more private space. Flanking the rear living room (featuring skylights) are the two bedrooms - a large master bedroom, and a slightly smaller bedroom with a storage cupboard. Clever touches include the bright zips that are easier to find in the dark; specific power cord access ports; removable inners for versatility; and fantastic all-weather upper and lower ventilation.

Specs:

T-shape inflatable tunnel tent

Waterproofing: 10,000mm HH Poly Oxford fabric

Poles: Inflatable

Outer dimensions: 590cm (L), 670cm (W), 230cm (H)

Packed size: 78 x 48 x 48cm

Weight: 43.5kg

Pros: Wonderful attention to detail; easy and fairly quick pitching (10 to 20 minutes)

Cons: It’s a seriously heavy beast

Vango Aether Air 600XL

Vango Aether 600XL
©Vango

Vango Aether Air 600XL

Sustainability award
Vango Aether 600 XL

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Verdict: Part of Vangou2019s new Earth Collection, the Aether Air 600XL is made from Sentinel Eco fabric that uses recycled single-use plastics. Some people consider a sustainable product means a downgrade in quality, but that is far from the truth. The fabric has UPF 30+ sun protection and anti-fade technology. The dividable bedrooms are darkened for better sleeping and there are very generous living areas. Many sustainable products are more expensive than the status quo, but the Aether 600XL is fantastic value for an inflatable tent of this size. For even better value, you can opt for the Aether 600XL with regular poles.

Specs:

Tunnel tent

Waterproofing: 3000mm HH recycled polyester

Poles: Inflatable

Outer dimensions: 595cm (L), 380cm (W), 210cm (H)

Packed size: 72 x 33 x 33cm

Weight: 21.6kg

Pros: Sustainable manufacturing; good value

Cons: Pitching time is longer than inflatable models

Outdoor Revolution Airedale 6.0SE

Outdoor Revolution Airedale 6.0SE
©Outdoor Revolution

Outdoor Revolution Ozone 6.0XTR Safari Air Tent

Most spacious 6-man tent
Outdoor Revolution Airedale 6.0SE

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Verdict: The cavernous nature of this tent is not its only drawcard. It also bears many clever features. The three divided bedrooms at the rear are deep (230cm) so you donu2019t suffer the feeling of claustrophobia. The removable side room for extra storage space or extra bedroom makes a massive difference to this tent's spaciousness. This tent is compatible with Outdoor Revolutionu2019s Lumi-Link lighting system which are attachable LED lighting strips that can be powered by USB, 12V, or mains, and controlled by a remote.

Specs:

Inflatable tunnel tent

Waterproofing: 4000mm HH fabric

Poles: Inflatable

Outer dimensions: 725cm (L), 380cm (W), 215cm (H)

Packed size: 88 x 62 x 52cm

Weight: 41.97kg

Pros: Relatively quick pitching (10 to 20 minutes); great for glamping; many available extras

Cons: Enormously heavy

Berghaus Air 6 XL

Berghaus Air 6 XL
©Berghaus

Berghaus Air 6 XL

Best space to price ratio
Berghaus Air 6 XL

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Verdict: Though itu2019s a good two metres shorter than the Outdoor Revolution tent above, six metres is hardly minuscule. For those after a generous family tent without breaking into the four-figure price bracket, this is your best option. Itu2019s not just length you get here; crucially, the Air 6 XL is even wider than the Outdoor Revolution tent, and this pays dividends both in the three bedrooms and living space. Wider bedrooms are more comfortable, squarer living spaces are more social.

Specs:

Inflatable tunnel tent

Waterproofing: 6000mm HH flysheet

Poles: Inflatable

Outer dimensions: 605cm (L), 45cm (W), 220cm (H)

Packed size: 87 x 58 x 50cm

Weight: 36.7kg

Pros: Very useable space; much lighter than the Zempire and Outdoor Revolution tents

Cons: The inevitable slight blue interior tinge might bother some people

MSR Habitude 6

MSR Habitude 6
©MSR

MSR Habitude 6

Most compact 6-man tent
MSR Habitude 6

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Verdict: At the opposite end of the scale from the big beasts, we have this very cosy 6-person tent for quick weekend getaways. Itu2019s extremely light and features a main bedroom for six at a pinch, and compact front porch. MSR produce some cracking technical outdoor gear. The Habitude 6 is a highly stable shape and reasonable rain resistance. A smaller Habitude 4 is also available.

Specs:

Semi geodesic

Waterproofing: 1500mm HH fly, 10,000mm HH floor

Poles: Aluminium

Outer dimensions: 427cm (L), 254cm (W), 195cm (H)

Packed size: 58 x 25cm

Weight: 6.35kg

Pros: Extraordinarily light for a 6-man tent; durable fabrics

Cons: Comfortable for shorter trips for use as a six-person tent

Tent buying guide and FAQs

Waterproof ratings explained

Like fill power with down insulation, waterproof ratings are very simple but widely misunderstood – or not known at all. All the tents you see here use hydrostatic head as a means of showing how waterproof the fabric is. Hydrostatic head is the industry standard for measuring waterproof fabrics; the waterproof fabrics used for tents, or waterproof jackets, and so on.

Related guide: Check out our guide to sleeping bags

The figure given (for example, 3000mm), indicates how high a column of water sitting on the fabric would need to be before water begins seeping through. It’s perhaps a slightly odd thing, but it’s an effective means of measurement. It’s all to do with pressure. Obviously, testing labs don’t actually use such volumes of water, they use machines that apply downward pressure. Thus, a tent with a hydrostatic head rating of 3000mm can withstand a three-metre column of water before it leaks through. Sounds like a lot, but see below for our guide to waterproof ratings:

1500mm: Waterproof. Will keep out rain.

4000mm: Will withstand heavy rain.

10,000mm+: Is what you should expect in hiking and ski jackets. They have to deal with rain and snow but also the extra pressure applied by backpack straps and so on.

For tents for use in the UK, a minimum of 2000mm is what you want.

Tent shapes explained

Tunnel tents are very popular with weekend and summer campers because they are easy to pitch and provide a lot of space inside (vertical and horizontal). You will notice all of our picks are tunnel-style tents and you can distinguish which these are by their half-cylinder shape. Whether using traditional poles or an inflatable design, tunnel tents are easy to split into multiple rooms and are very popular with families for this reason.

Features of tunnel tents: easy pitching; spacious; heavy when packed down; OK in moderate wind – the bigger the tent, the less stable it is.

Dome tents are generally being ditched in favour of tunnel tents in family camping grounds because they can’t compete for space. However, they are still very popular with hikers and trekkers because small dome tents are quite stable and lightweight. Dome tents with geodesic designs are very good at dealing with extreme weather.

Features of dome tents: cheap; fairly light; have single zones only; OK in moderate wind – the bigger the tent, the less stable it is.

Geodesic tents are kind of like upgraded dome tents. They have extra criss-crossing support poles which makes them much more adept at dealing with high winds. Because they are designed to cope with harsher weather, geodesic tents sacrifice space and are a little more complex to pitch than other styles. They are wonderful for those camping in more extreme environments but less suitable for casual campers and families.

Features of geodesic tents: capable in harsh weather; lightweight; best suited for hiking; often a pricier option.

Backpacking tents are some of the lightest tents you will find. Often they only require a single-pole plus guy lines to pitch. They vary considerably in terms of ability. Some are meant for summer use and mild conditions; some have more durable fabrics making them suitable for three-season use.

Features of backpacking tents: very light; varied weather resistance; ideal for fast hikers and cycling trips.

Tipi/pyramid tents are defined by their tall central pole. They come in a large range of sizes and are used lightweight hiking tents, but more recently have found favour with those seeking the glamping experience. They are fairly easy to put up and even stand up well against the elements, but inside space cannot compete with that of tunnel tents.

Tipi/pyramid tent features: easy to pitch; a vast range of sizes; deal well with bad weather; sloped walls rob interior space; some come without a floor.

Related: The best camping windbreak

Important extras for tents:

In order to improve your camping experience, there are some valuable extras that you might want to consider.

High-Strength Steel Tent Pegs

High-Strength Steel Tent Pegs
Amazon

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Frequent campers often run into trouble with supplied tent pegs pulling from the ground when the wind gets up or bending out of shape over time. These ribbed steel pegs will solve these issues and hold your tent down like a magnet. They are 10mm thick and 290mm long with a sharp pointed end for piercing hard ground or stones.

Vango Voltaic Roll Away 15m Power Socket Supply

Vango Voltaic Roll Away 15m Power Socket Supply
Amazon

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With its added modern touch of two USB ports, this plug board is tidy thanks to its roll up 15-metre cable. It has three regular UK plugs and makes campsite charging and power supply very easy.

Related: The best camping beds and camping pillows

Groundsheets:

For added waterproofing on the tent floor, consider a groundsheet. They also help keep the floor of your tent cleaner, which is useful when it comes to the post-camp clean up. Some tents have their specific groundsheets that match the footprint perfectly. Alternatively, you can get a heavy-duty (and more versatile) tarpaulin.

Zempire Aerodome II Pro Footprint

Zempire Aerodome II Pro Footprint

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Made from 120g/m2 polyethylene. Weight is 2.80kg and comes in a storage bag.

Vango Aether 600XL Footprint

Vango Aether 600XL Footprint

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Made from polyethylene. Comes in a storage bag.

Outdoor Revolution Airedale 6.0SE Footprint

Outdoor Revolution Airedale 6.0s Footprint

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10,000mm HH waterproof rating. Comes with a storage bag.

Berghaus Air 6 XL Footprint

Berghaus Air 6 XL Footprint

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Made from 140g/m2 polyethylene.

Draper Heavy Duty Polyethylene Tarpaulin

Draper Heavy Duty Polyethylene Tarpaulin

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6 x 4 metres. Made from 200g/m2, mildew resistant polyethylene.

Which tent is right for me?

As you can see from the range of tents, it is entirely circumstantial as to what tent is right for you. Here are some important questions to consider:

Is this your first large tent? For those who are new to camping, it is probably worth investigating the more entry-level end. There are 6-man tents out there that offer excellent value, such as the Vango Odyssey or Aether 600XL.

Are you looking to upgrade? If you have a large tent already, and are now on the hunt for something with extra bells and whistles, consider the Zempire or Outdoor Revolution tents. The Berghaus is a great middle ground.

Is this a tent you will grow into? Buying a family tent in anticipation of an expanding family is wise. Think about what features and designs suit you best - what is and what is not important to you as a camper.

Where are you going with it? A campsite or somewhere more wild? Will your tent go up right next to the car or will you have to carry it a distance? Weight and packed size are important here. You may go to or plan to go to beautiful but frequently wet areas. All of our picks have great waterproofing, but those with higher ratings will give you better protection and at the very least, extra peace of mind.

How do you camp? Bare essentials or glamping? Size, features, and layout are all important factors in determining which tent is right for your camping style. Consider your camping equipment and which tent best matches your gear.

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Chris Williams is a contributor to What's The Best. He also writes for CAR, Parkers, and Live For The Outdoors.

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