I think we all have our own checklist as it were when we buy a tent but to sum up, I would put them in this kind of order:
Where do you go camping and what kind of terrain/weather are you expecting?
If you go camping on a steep mountainside in the middle of winter then you will want a tent that is easily portable but also sturdy enough to stand up to fierce weather and secure enough to stay put. If you only go to well-equipped campsites that you can drive into then the tent doesn’t need to be so portable as it will be traveling in the boot of the car rather than on your back. And if you are a fair-weather camper then the tent can be a little less robust.
How many of you are there?
This is pretty obvious – if you go camping alone then the size of the tent you require will be a lot smaller than if you camping with the family or three or four friends. The size will also be determined by the amount of time you go camping – longer trips require more supplies usually.
Ease of pitching
Find out how easy or time consuming the tent is to put up because depending on who you have with you to help this could turn out to be a nightmare! I do remember a few occasions with my parents when the holiday almost started in disaster because my Dad couldn’t get the tent up and my Mum wasn’t much help to him. I can laugh about it now but back then not!!
I always like to look at the additions that you can buy as well, such as the canopy mentioned before. I like to find a brand I like and then stick with it as much as possible.
I’d be interested to hear what tent you use for your family.