Choosing the right tent for a camping holiday in France and Europe

When you decide that you would like to go on a family camping holiday in France, or anywhere else in Europe for that matter, if you have never been camping before, then we would strongly suggest that it is a good idea to spend some time on one of the French campsites that has tents already pitched and ready with beds, cooking equipment and much more.

Sleeping under canvas

These tents come in different styles that you can hire out, whether it be for a short weekend break or a summer holiday, although the bungalow tents are a very popular style and can be seen on lots of the campsites in France.
Camping VW tent
Yet, this way, you can see if you and your family even like the idea of sleeping under canvas, especially before purchasing a tent along with all the other items that you will need to go along side.

But let us say that you already do enjoy camping, and you are now looking at getting your own equipment, so we will start with the basics.

Choosing the type of tent

Yes, we know that the most obvious thing you are going to need is a tent, but there are so many to choose from, so we will try and give you some ideas that may help you decide what is right for you.
The first thing you need to decide upon is what type of camping you will be doing such as wild camping, back packing, a family camping holiday on a campsite, camping at a festival, etc.

Then you need to decide upon how you will be transporting your tent, such as in a rucksack, a car or a camping trailer, as this will also determine the type of tent you purchase due to weight restrictions.
Family camping tent
Camping 2 berth tent

So what size tent do you need?

Once you know what type of camping holiday in France you will be taking and how you will be getting there, such as car or train, then you need to figure out how many people will be in your party.  For instance, is it just with friends or family camping with children?  This will also play a major role in the type of ten design and size that you require.

Now a very valid point to remember is that manufacturers state recommendations for the capacity a tent can sleep, however, these are not normally very generous and often over exaggerated!

So if you want to be comfortable and you do not have to worry too much about size, then when a tent manufacturer states it sleeps, for instance, six people, as a general idea, it is best to take off at least one or two persons and say that it will be a good size for four people with all your camping equipment.
Camping 8 berth tent
The same goes for when you are thinking about a family sized tent, as you may wish to have an additional living area as well as different sleeping areas, but you can find out more on different tent styles and how they are made in our other write-ups.

A good idea would be to take the tents and sleeping compartments sizes and measure these out in the garden, then this will give a good idea of the real size, but also you could find out if the beds you have already purchased will even fit in to the bedroom areas!!

You see, not all tent manufacturers make the sleeping compartments, or sleeping areas to a standardised size, which is why a 4 man tent of 2.2 meters square may seem rather tight and not what is needed for a family camping holiday.  The 4 man tent we purchased for our Daughter and friends would really only fit two comfortably or three with a bit of as squeeze!
Camping 6 berth tent
Camping 4 berth tent
Also do not forget about the height of the tent, to see if this is suitable, as it is very hard to think about cooking in a living area that you cannot stand up in, which sometimes you have to do, as the weather cannot always be predicted, even when on a camping holiday in France.

You get what you pay for!

Obviously you can get a cheap and cheerful tent from numerous places, but if you go to a specialist camping centre, then you will not only have far more choice and see the well known brands on display, but also get better quality from reputable manufacturers that have had many years experience in the camping market.

You know the old saying.. You get what you pay for!  Well this is very true, and a general rule is that the more you pay, the better the quality, which will also save you money in the long term, as a tent should last for many happy camping holidays in France if it is looked after properly, rather than just one season or less!
Camping tents
Many of the more expensive tents also have better ventilation and water protection along with more options for the added extras such as built in ground sheets, additional compartments, porches, matching windbreaks, etc.

So, with these points in mind, we will try to cover some of these issues in more detail in our other articles (like the ones below) so you can make the right choices and hopefully get the best possible style of tent for your needs.