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Which kids’ tent is best?

Do your kids love building pillow forts and playing make-believe? If there’s one toy they should have for their next adventure — whether it’s slaying dragons or playing hide-and-seek — it’s a kids’ tent. 

Tents offer years of imaginative and open-ended play. Many are also enjoyed as peaceful, quiet spaces where kids can reflect, meditate or read. If you’re looking for a large tent with plenty of space for kids to play together, AIR FORT The Original AirFort Inflatable Fort for Kids is the top choice. 

What to know before you buy a kids’ tent

Types of kids’ tents

Most kids’ tents fall into one of three categories, including stick-supported, air-supported and pop-up tents. As you compare their benefits and drawbacks, you may find that one may be better or more practical than others. 

Stick-supported tents: These tents usually have wood or plastic frames. They’re not as easy to assemble and take down as other tents, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For the most part, they’re more durable and stable. 

Air-supported tents: These types mostly require fans to maintain their shape. They are larger and higher than most, making them ideal for several kids to play together. However, air-supported tents usually don’t come with box fans, so you’ll need to buy them separately if you don’t have one. 

Pop-up tents: These have pliable frames that allow for easy setup and breakdown, making them more affordable than other tents. They’re typically the most affordable options because they’re lightweight and somewhat flimsy. 

Tent size

There are no standard sizes for kids’ tents, but if you look at the dimensions, it’s fairly easy to estimate how many kids can fit inside them. If you think your kids will want to be able to stand inside the tent, be sure to consider the tent’s height. Some kids’ tents, for example, have domes as high as 60 inches, whereas others are only 24 to 36 inches.

What to look for in a quality kids’ tent

Portability

Although pop-up tents are the most portable option, air- and stick-supported tents may be portable, too. Air-supported designs are usually made with thin materials that fold or roll up into tiny packages that fit in carry cases. Some, but not all, stick-support tents may fit inside long totes when they’re broken down. 

Prints and patterns

Kids’ tents are easily identifiable by their fun prints and patterns, which may be as simple as polka dots or as artistic as detailed aquarium scenes. Certain tents, including canvas styles, can be decorated with fabric markers or paint. Some people invest in lighter-colored tents to allow more light inside, particularly when the tent is used primarily indoors. Darker-colored tents are often preferred for outdoor use since they block out some light. 

Modular accessories

There are a few tents on the market that can be purchased on their own and later connected to modular fort systems. Corresponding pieces often include tunnels and ball pits, as well as smaller tents to fit in between them. Some modular pieces attach directly to tents via Velcro, ties or snaps, whereas others lack connection components.

How much you can expect to spend on kids’ tents

Lightweight pop-up tents cost $20 and under, but if you’re looking for a more durable design, be prepared to spend closer to $50. Kids’ tents that are part of modular fort systems may cost between $60-$100. 

Kids’ tents FAQ

Can you repair a kids’ tent?

A. Like regular camping tents, some better-quality kids’ tents come with patching kits to cover small holes. Larger tears, on the other hand, may be repaired with duct tape, if you’re in a pinch. However, there’s a good chance the tear will only get bigger, and you may need to replace the tent altogether. 

Are there indoor and outdoor kids’ tents?

A. Most kids’ tents are suitable for indoor and outdoor play. When setting up a tent indoors, it’s best to keep them away from radiators, floor vents and floorboards. Even if you will be using your kids’ tent primarily outdoors, you should always bring it indoors during windy or inclement weather to avoid damage. 

What’s the best kids’ tent to buy?

Top kids’ tent

AIR FORT The Original AirFort Inflatable Fort for Kids

AIR FORT The Original AirFort Inflatable Fort for Kids

What you need to know: This best-selling tent fort only takes 30 minutes to inflate with a fan, making it one of the quickest tents to set up and bring down. 

What you’ll love: A spacious design, including a 50-inch dome, leaves plenty of space for most kids to stand and play comfortably. It’s made with durable, breathable materials that withstand years of use. The tent has also undergone rigorous child safety testing. 

What you should consider: A box fan is required to inflate the tent, which will be an additional cost if you don’t have one. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top kids’ tent for the money

USA Toyz Rocket Ship Pop Up Tent

USA Toyz Rocket Ship Pop Up Tent

What you need to know: The rocket ship-themed tent is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Plus, it has a portable pop-up design. 

What you’ll love: The tent has a roll-up door that lets air circulate inside it. It features bright, bold colors that are engaging and fun. No tools are required for assembly, and setup is quick and easy. It comes with a convenient carry bag for easy storage. 

What you should consider: The tent isn’t very stable, and it may sway even if kids brush against it lightly. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Pacific Play Tents Kids' Super Dome Tent Playhouse

Pacific Play Tents Kids’ Super Dome Tent Playhouse

What you need to know: If kids want to have camping-themed playdates, this traditional tent design is a solid choice. 

What you’ll love: The tent has classic features like mosquito net panels and roll-up door and windows. It’s more durable than most with fiberglass-coated poles. The tent also connects to other pieces in the company’s modular fort system, which can be purchased separately. 

What you should consider: The tent frame is durable, but the actual material is rather flimsy and thin. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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