Best 6 Person Tent for Casual Family Car Camping: Columbia vs Eureka

by Paul
(Cincinnati, OH)

I'm looking for a tent for our family of 5. 3 little ones that ar 5 years and under.

We are/would be casual campers, I would say if we went 6x a yr it would be a lot, probably more like 2-3.

I'm not sure how often my wife and our youngest girl will go with us boys, so not sure if I need something larger than a 6 person tent.

We don't need a lot of features, but am looking for something with decent quality for an affordable price (around $200). I'm currently entertaining the Kelty Buttress 6 (on sale $169) and the Columbia Cougar Flats 2 for ($279).

My questions are should I be looking at anything else in this price/size range?

Should I steer away from either of these?


Hi Paul,

Thanks for your great, detailed question. It always helps when a visitor points out exactly what they are looking for in terms of size, price range and usage.

OK, onto the answer...

Best 6 Person Tent for Casual Camping

There are five qualities you need to consider here:

  1. Size - How big do you need your tent to really be?

  2. Luxury - How luxurious do you want your camping experience to be? Would an extra room or screened porch add much to your experieince?

  3. Durability - The last thing you want is your tent to wear down too fast or to leak and ruin camping for your kids

  4. Price - Based on the two tents your entertaining, your range seems to be $200-300 (you did state that you want to keep the price around $200, but the Columbia Cougar Flats 2 is $279).

  5. Number of Doors - If your camping with your entire family, you will be kicking yourself later if you get a tent with one door. Trust us--it makes life much easier.

Before getting into our recommendations though--steer clear of the Kelty Buttress 6. It's a tight tent for 6 people and doesn't offer any additional luxuries that tents slightly more expensive offer. Plus, it's durability is questionable.

Here are some of our recommendations on the best 6 person tents for your family (brief reviews following):

  1. Columbia Cougar Flats II Tent

  2. Eureka Suite V6 Tent

  3. REI Camp Dome 6

Columbia Cougar Flats II Tent Review

This is one killer tent. No way around it.

It's tough to find a tent at less than $300 that offers all of these amazing features:columbia cougar flats ii tent
  • Large enough to sleep 6 to 10 people

  • 2 rooms, 2 windows, 2 doors means ultra convenient and excellent ventillation

  • Plenty of internal storage for gear

  • Did we mention 2 rooms? That means your kids can sleep in one, and you and your wife in the other

  • An easy to pitch awning

  • Over 100 square feet

Columbia tents are built to last and to be fully enjoyed. The Columbia Cougar Flats II will meet all your needs and more!

Learn more about the Columbia Cougar Flats II...

Or read our more detailed Columba Cougar Flats Tent review

Eureka Suite V6 Tent Review

eureka suite v6 tent
The Eureka Suite V6 tent is very similar to the Columbia Cougar Flats II tent. It is slightly smaller though (81 square feet). Don't get us wrong though--81 square feet is still plenty of room for you and your family.

One great addition of the Eureka Suite V6 over the Cougar Flats is that you get 4 windows instead of 2, which really helps for circulation.

In terms of standing height: the Cougar Flats is 7 feet while the Suite V6 is 6 feet, 9 inches. Unless you're a professional basketball player, you should be fine.

You also save 20 bucks by going with the Eureka Suite V6 and still get a great tent that will last you and your family a lifetime.

Learn more about the Eureka Suite V6 tent here.

We're big fans of Eureka Tents and know you will be, too!

REI Camp Dome 6 Tent Review

Since you suggested the Kelty Buttress, we figured we should give you a generic 6 person tent without any bells and whistles: The REI Camp Dome 6 is just that.

Here's what you get with the Camp Dome:
  • 86.7 square feet

  • 1 door

  • Easy to pitch thanks to a hub/pole design

  • Plenty of storage for gear

  • A mesh front door, rear window, and side panels to provide ventilation

Compared to the other tents we just recommended, we don't think that the Camp Dome would be your best choice for casual camping. It's a little too casual with a family.

However, it is reliable, and REI offers a lifetime warranty on all products.

Learn more about the REI Camp Dome 6

P.S. - If you can stomach the cost, the REI Kingom 6 tent is our personal favorite 6 person tent.

Be sure to stop by and tell us what tent you went with!

Comments for Best 6 Person Tent for Casual Family Car Camping: Columbia vs Eureka

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 10, 2015
Nice post NEW
by: jhon

Very nice post about camping, you have posted very valuable information about it.I like camping and spend my vocations camping.
get huge discount on rubber matting

Apr 30, 2012
Seam seal?
by: Anonymous

Thanks for your help and suggestions. I did end up buying the cougar flats and besides a single night in the back yard I haven't used it on a real trip. I will say one of the poles broke. :-(

Anyway... before starting the camping season this year I was wondering if I need to seam seal my new cougar flats tent?


Aug 27, 2011
5 Person camping suggestion
by: Bill the Camper

Hi Paul,

Good question. No one tent is the perfect answer. The 2 most important features for myself is ease and speed of set up, and staying dry.

Nothing ruins a camping trip more than water in the tent. Look for tents that have the bathtub style flooring, they are seamless on the floor (don't forget the ground cloth).

As a suggestion, to accommodate your needs of 5 campers, look into the possibility of buying 2 smaller tents, but keep in mind that when they say it's a tent for 4, that means 4 persons are packed in like sardines with little or no room for gear or that nighttime wiggle room for the kids. Most campgrounds do permit at least 2 tents per site.

You will find it quicker setting 2 smaller tents than one large bulkey tent.

You may want to take a look at the Eureka Timberline tent series.

I own 2 of these and have never gotten wet, either in my TL2(2 persons) or my TL4 SQ(4person professional expedition).

Probably the only draw back is the headroom. The TL4 has about 4.5+ feet at the apex.

On one recent trip with my TL4, my campsite was very limited in room, as a result I had to camp on an area that would have water running through it during heavy rains.

Sure enough that night it poured. Had anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 inch under the tent. Absolutly no water entered the tent due to the bathtub style flooring.

Another advantage of two tents will be the ability of steamling your packing when only part of the family is participating.

I'm quite expierenced in the the tent camping area and I've learned a lot through trial and error.

One thing for sure, you will get what you pay for.

Avoid those Big Box Store $59 deals, you will regret it after the first heavy rain.

In summary, you will have to determine your needs and what's most comfortable to you and your family.

Good luck on your search,


Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Quality Tents: Shopping Questions for Buying the Best Tents.

Like This Site?

Then Stay In Touch!




Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you 'Round the Campfire.

Like It!

Share It!

Review Your Tent And Win $10!

Camping Tents Reviews
Consumer guide to camping tents contains tent reviews submitted by site visitors.

Share yours too and win a chance for $10 in Amazon Gift Cards!

Join Our Newsletter
For Exclusive Tent Deals




Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
We promise to use it only to send you exclusive tent deals.