When it comes to camping in large groups, sometimes you need a little more space. It can be really beneficial to have a shared tent area as well as single- and multi-person tents, which often only have space for sleeping. If you find yourself with multiple smaller tents, you might start wondering how to connect two tents together.
There are a few different ways to do this, but most tents aren’t made to be connected together, so you might need to get creative. There are also some alternatives to connecting together two tents, such as purchasing a larger cabin tent. Throughout this article, we will outline all the options for if you need a little more space while camping.
To connect two tents together, you must first evaluate the possibilities for your tents, as each one is a different shape and design. Unfortunately, there is no one way which would connect any two tents together, but there are a few methods you could try.
If at least one tent has two doors
Firstly, set up the two tents you wish to conjoin. If the doors are a similar shape and size, you may be able to connect them so that one tent leads straight into another. Of course, for this to work at least one of your tents must have a second door, as you’ll need a way to get in and out.
If the doors of the two tents match up well, you’ll be able to connect them together. Roll up the doors to get the extra material out of the way, and use binder clips to connect the edges of the two openings. Now you have two tents connected together.
If both tents have only one door
If the two tents you wish to connect only have one door each, you’ll have to join them together with some space between so you will still be able to enter and exit through both doors. Pitch the tents with the doors facing each other, with about 1-2 meters distance between (or whatever you deem appropriate).
Then you’ll use a tarp to bridge the gap. Drape the tarp over the two camping tents, then use stakes and guy lines to stabilize it. You’ll want to get as rigid a shape as possible from the tarp, use your imagination and whatever materials you can get your hands on to make this happen. If you have any spare tent poles, you could try using the to prop up the tarp in the middle for a little extra headroom. The same can be done by DIY minded people with some large sticks.
This solution will provide you with some extra covered space between the two tents, ideal for setting up a picnic area sheltered from the rain. You could even lay down a ground tarp here, which would also make it into an ideal storage space.
Using a pole marquee tent
Pole marquee tents are incredibly useful for group or family camping trips. Everyone will be sleeping in one or two-person camping tents, and a marquee will provide a sheltered common area for eating and socializing. This setup works best with one marquee tent and three 3-4 person tents.
Set up the marquee first, then pitch each sleeping tent facing into one side of the marquee. For rainy summers, this means you’ll be able to step right out of your tent and into the marquee area, avoiding any rain on your walk to breakfast.
This method can be supersized as much as necessary, using more or larger marquee tents surrounded by smaller tents. Just make sure to leave at least one side of the marquee open for entrance and exit to your camping area.
If you’re looking for tents which connect together, consider buying a new tent for this endeavor. There are so many different types of tents in the camping world, from pop up tents to dome tents, and cabin tents to pod tents, for every camping purpose there is a specialized tent out there.
For tents which connect together, we recommend Ozark Trail’s line of ConnecTENTs. These are separate tents for sleeping, which connect together to create social spaces in the middle. They’re also ideal for family camping trips, giving children their own separate area to sleep in, while still being connected to a parent’s tent.
These ConnecTENTs come in a number of different forms, with some resembling marquees, the way we mentioned earlier. Others are dome tents, with facilities for eight or even ten people!
Our two favorite tents from this line are the Ozark Trail 4-Person ConnecTENT and the Ozark Trail 8-Person 2 Dome Tent.
The 4-person ConnecTent is the perfect tent if you need a private space to sleep in, but an outdoor social gathering area to chill out in the evenings. The mechanism of the tent is simple; clip the hooks located on the top front of the sleeping tent to the top of the canopy tent.
The bottom of the sleeping tent also hooks on to the bottom of the canopy poles. Once the sleeping tent is connected to the canopy, you can stretch it out and stake the back corners. It’s important to note that the canopy is sold separately to the spieling tents- it works with the 10 x10 Ozark Trail Straight Leg Canopy, or there’s an adapter available for use with the 12 x 12 version.
You can attach up to three of the 4-person tents to the canopy, meaning sleeping and socializing space for up to 12 people. There’s an attached rain fly for these tents, which can be quickly rolled up to reveal a mesh roof. This is great for ventilation and even stargazing at night.
Our other preferred option is the Ozark Trail 8-Person 2 Dome tent. This is a great option if you need a simple connection between a larger and smaller tent. These are essentially one larger and one smaller dome tents, which connect together using a sort of tunnel. Each tent has its own door, as well as windows, storage pockets, and all the other standard features.
Instead of connecting together multiple tents, why not consider a multi-room tent? These really are the perfect solution for family camping trips, providing you with a mini home away from home. Multi-room tents usually feature several bedrooms, so each kid gets their own, and the parents get some privacy too.
Hardened campers may easily scoff at this luxury, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Having a large tent can help encourage your kids to get outside and explore the great outdoors, so investing in a larger family tent can be well worth the price tag.
By splitting the internal space of a tent into several rooms, many arguments can be avoided. Imagine trying to fit more people into a single room tent than you ever would into a one-bedroom flat, and you’ll understand why multi-room tents are so popular with family campers.
Here are a few of the key benefits of multi-room tents:
- People can go to bed at different times- young children will be able to go to sleep in a separate area, away from older kids and adults who would otherwise have to either leave the tent or go to bed early.
- Organizing gear is easier- avoid mix-ups by making sure everyone keeps their own stuff in their own room.
- You can set up a kitchen in the common area without risking a spill of scrambled eggs on your sleeping bag.
- Separate rooms allow for privacy- a rare commodity on family camping trips.
- If for any reason your tent leaks in one area, you’re likely to be able to find a dry refuge in a different part of your tent, so you can sleep soundly.
Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to multi-room tents, here are a few to consider before making a decision:
- Multi-room tents are huge, there’s no denying it, and this can make them more unstable in windy conditions.
- A high-quality multi-room tent can be very expensive, and make quite a dent in your wallet.
- They’re also heavy and take up a lot of space, so transportation to and from the campsite might be a struggle.
- Because of the size and the many rooms, multi-room tents can be difficult and time-consuming to erect.
One multi-room tent which we’d like to draw your attention to is the Pod Tent Maxi Elite. Although it comes with a hefty price tag, this tent is well worth the investment, as it will last through many years of happy camping. Built to withstand even the toughest of storms and weather conditions, you don’t have to worry about quality with this model. It features a PU coated ripstop nylon rainfly, as well as PVC windows and sturdy aluminum poles.
This tent can be split into four sections, with each sleeping two people, but there are even more possibilities. This tent has the ability to grow along with your family, as once you’ve made the initial investment into the main tent, you can extend the setup to accommodate more people. Just buy mini versions of the main dome tent, which can be linked with Cross Over Tunnels.
Family camping tips
When it comes to family camping, the tent isn’t the only problem you’ll have to face. Once you’ve got the perfect accommodation sorted, there are plenty of other challenges you’ll have to overcome in order to make your trip a success. We have compiled a whole bunch of tips and tricks to make your next family camping trip easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
1. Plan, and book
Most campgrounds fill up fast, especially once popular with families. Make sure to plan enough in advance and book your campsite before the spaces run out. Showing up at a campsite without a reservation is worth the risk if it’s just you and a friend, but throw a few kids into the equation and it’s a recipe for disaster.
We recommend camping near a body of water, for example, a lake or river, and also choosing a campsite with easy bathroom access. It’s also better to pick a spot with trees and shade, so planning in advance and doing a bit of research will make all this possible, and make your trip go much more smoothly.
2. Organize your gear
Formulate a checklist, and start gathering and organizing your gear a few weeks in advance. This is much easier than doing it the night before, especially as you’ll be responsible for not only your gear but your kids’ stuff too.
Don’t expect an eight-year-old to remember to bring a torch, that’s your job as a parent, unfortunately. Check your stock of essentials such as propane and toilet paper, and stock up at the grocery store if need be.
3. Formulate your menu
Group and family camping trips mean cooking for lots of people. Planning meals and grocery needs ahead of time can save you more than a few headaches in the long run, and you’ll be thankful once you get to camp. This is also helpful if anyone in your party has any special nutritional needs, it’s always better to be prepared.
4. Know about campfire safety
Knowing how to properly start a campfire will impress your kids, and is a valuable and enriching thing to teach them about. Any survival skills that your kids learn will help you put your mind at ease as well as being great family bonding when you teach them.
Another fun activity is teaching your kids how to make a camping tent from scratch. Always emphasize the importance of campfire safety to your children, work towards teaching the next generation of campers how to properly look after the environment.
5. Keep your campsite clean
This is easier said than done with kids around, but preventing your campsite from getting cluttered and messy will make your camping trip easier for everyone. It will also go a long way towards avoiding any nasty creepy crawlies, something which your kids might not be so fond of.
Store all your food properly, as well as disposing of any garage in dumpsters as soon as possible. Most importantly, don’t let your kids sneak food into their tents! It’s messy, it’s unhygienic, and it could attract some critters that neither of you want in there.
6. Bring some non-essential items for the kids
We know, it’s hard, after years of training yourself to bring nothing camping but what’s required, but compromises must be made. Bringing along a few non-essential items for the kids, such as a slackline, will help keep them much happier. We know the beauty of the great outdoors is enough for most grown-ups, but we can’t blame the kids for getting a little bored after a while.
Some games or sports equipment will do wonders in keeping the kids entertained, as well as showing them how much fun the outdoors can be. In reality, these items are actually essential in making sure everyone enjoys their camping vacation.
So, now you know how to connect two tents together, as well as some other alternatives for multi-room tents. Simply clip together two similar tents door-to-door, or use a tarp to bridge the gap between the two, creating a handy picnic area out of the rain.
You can use a marquee pole tent (or canopy) to create a shared social space between multiple sleeper tents, and the same concept is available for purchase too. There is also a huge selection of multi-room and family cabin tents, which if you can afford them provide a blissful solution to family and group camping trips.
If family camping is your game, then our tips on how to make the whole process easier are a must-read. Entertaining the kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare out in the backcountry, just take along plenty of outdoor games.
We also recommend you take the opportunity to learn some survival skills together- the kids will love it, and you can rest a little easier knowing they can build an emergency shelter or are well versed on campfire safety. If you’re struggling to get your kids involved in your camping passion, try including some activities that would appeal more to them.
Combine a hike through nature with a trip to the theme park, or teach them to fish in a nearby lake. Camping with your family is something which we all hold close to our hearts, and carry many treasured childhood memories. Don’t let your kids miss out in favor of iPads and Playstations, instead show them that the outdoors is an exciting, wonderful, and magical place, and you’ll instill in them a love of nature that will last a lifetime.
Bonus tip: If you’re planning on taking a family trip, you can show your kids this video from Smokey the Bear on campfire safety!