Author Topic: What tent do you use?  (Read 9727 times)

Offline DheereCrossing

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What tent do you use?
« on: September 25, 2016, 08:20:09 AM »
We like to camp out.  My 'girls', wife and daughter stay in a tent and I usually sleep in a hammock.  We have a cheap walmart 3 person tent and for as nice as it has been, it's gotten a bit mildewed and the floor is integrated so it's quite heavy if you want to hike in a ways.

So I'm planning to stay in a tent when I go do a 3 day trip.  I was looking at the MSR 3 person Mutha Hubba.  It's $500 and the floor is seperate - a bit steep but at the top end of the budget I had in mind.  It seems with the fly you get good weather protection (I'm expecting rain on that trip), two doors and two vestibules.  I haven't seen much in the way of value for what you get with other tents without going another $200 more.

I'm also hoping to take it backpacking or at least have to carry it in and don't want to make multiple trips in the future.

What do you have and how do you use it?  Any other real world reviews out there from anyone?
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Offline Cedar

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2016, 08:44:11 AM »
I tend to have cheap under $50 3-man tents. They generally last me about 10 years on each one. I try to catch them at this time of the year when they are on sale.
Where I camp with them have ranged from the Oregon Coast, to Cascade Mountains, high desert, to -48F in the mountains in British Columbia, Canada. I like them as they are lightweight, I have had them in dogsled bags, on my backpack, in my truck, and I have carried them behind my saddle while riding on my horse. I do not cry as much getting spark embers on my cheap tents, as I know I would with a more expensive tent. I have slept in a $400 mountaineering tent once (Marmot maybe? Something yellow) and I was not impressed. Totally NO room, and the tent was always 'in your face'. Granted if you break it down, $400 for a tent is only $40/yr, and it is probably worth that, but for my usual budget, $5 is much closer.

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2016, 09:40:39 AM »
We used the Ozark Trail 9' x 7' Instant Dome Camping Tent for $59 from Walmart. I have set it up in pitch dark nights in less than 2 minutes, very good quality. Almost every single tent (I say "almost" but I think it really is "all") advertises double the comfortable occupancy, unless we're talking pygmies.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2016, 09:56:44 AM »
In my experience, the difference between a cheap and premium tent is in the design.

I have a variety of tents and go on many boy scout trips.  In most cases, the premium brand tents are MUCH easier to setup and tear down, often are lighter and take up less small in your vehicle/backpack.

e.g.  I have an old Coleman 4 man I've had since the 1990s.  Nothing wrong with it, but it's nearly impossible for me to setup solo.
On the other hand, I have a big 6 man REI tent that I can entirely setup by myself, and usually do.  The 6 man REI packs into a smaller bag then the 4 man coleman. 

My problem is I have a few little tents, and a few big family sized.  I really should get a premium 3 man, that packs up nicely.  That's what I want as an adult leader when I have to setup for a week of scout camp.  A bivvy or hammock is cool for an overnight, but for multi-day, I need to sit up, deal with personal hygiene, etc.

If you are back packing, these attributes matter even more, as weight and reliability matter.

Offline ChrisFox

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2016, 10:36:40 AM »
Last year I bought a Marmot Limelight 2 when I came across a deal for it for only $175. Second night out it pours down raining. Woke up completely dry. Goes up quick.




Offline Carl

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2016, 11:40:31 AM »
When I could walk and get out,I used a tarp and used it's 14 x 16 size as my needs and surroundings allowed for elemental protection.
I have also used a $1 plastic painters tarp or $1 plastic table cloth from the 99 cent store when weather was fair to middlin' for mostly rain or sun protection.
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Offline Alan Georges

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2016, 12:21:09 PM »
I'm a fan of Eurekas.  They hit the sweet spot in price-performance for me.  The two I have both have a mesh panel near the top, with a slightly raised fly that covers everything.  Really does a nice job of letting moisture escape while keeping the rain out.  Sewn-in floors keep the bugs out, but they do need a ground sheet.  Both are pretty easy to put up.  The two-man is a snap, and while it's nice to have a hand with the big 9x9, I can manage it solo without any trouble.

Mostly I do car camping, and a lot of their line is a little too heavy for hiking, but they've got a few lighter models.  Here's a link to their 3 man tents: http://store.eurekatent.com/backpacking-tents-sleeps-3  Sometimes the prices are a little better at retailers like Campmor.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 12:30:14 PM by Alan Georges »

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Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2016, 09:36:58 AM »
I'm not sure if you folks from the southern latitudes even know what a "4 season"  tent is, but that would add considerable cost, as the material must stand up to winter elements.

Last Feb. we camped at a neighbor's property as part of a boy scout outdoor skills weekend.  I had a 20F bag, wore a wool beanie cap, but was so cold I could barely stay asleep.  Think it only got to 30F, but stupid me slept on a cot, but I should have used a sleeping pad on the ground.  that cold air beneath me was brutal.

Lesson learned:  a "20 degree" bag or tent means you won't die at that temperature.  It does not mean you'll be comfortable :(



Offline Black November

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2016, 01:15:14 PM »
I like our Kelty, but they are kinda expensive

Offline trekker111

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2016, 05:25:20 AM »
I do alot of camping, at least 1 weekend a month plus several 1 - 2 week long trips a year, and have just about completely abandoned tents in favor of hammocks. This started first with backpacking, then canoeing, then just about all camping.

Other than when just my wife and youngest son go camping with the cub scout pack, the only time we still tent camp is when car camping in cold weather for multiple days. I have a huge Ozark trail tent which is literally big enough that when my friend and I go hog hunting we put 2 cots and 2 folding tables inside along with all our gear, a 120 qt cooler and a kerosene heater with room to change and move around. I can also stand up straight inside, and I'm 6'1".

When my wife takes a small tent cub camping we just use whatever 4 man tent is lowest priced, usually around $30, and use it till it starts to wear out, which is usually around 2 years.

I still have what I believe is a surplus British one man tent, due only to the facts that it is of very heavy construction, and the heavy canvas material it is made out of is dpm camo pattern. It has a heavy rubber floor pan. I slept through a storm which dumped 6" of rain overnight and I awoke bone dry with my tent in 3" of standing water.

MSR makes excellent gear, but I think I would put a $500 budget toward hammock gear for the whole group unless hammocks wouldn't work where you are going.

Offline AvenueQ

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2016, 06:43:21 AM »
My fiance and I used a REI 2-person Half Dome tent for several years (very similar to the Marmot that ChrisFox posted). Kept us dry through heavy rain and hail every time. I think we got it for about $150 with a coupon. However, I started to have back problems this past year and so we bought a bigger tent to accommodate an air mattress. I can't remember what brand it is, but it's done great on the couple of trips we've taken so far. I'd definitely say it's not backpacker friendly, though the Half Dome tent could work for that. If you've got an REI nearby I'd recommend going in and checking out what they have to offer.

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2016, 07:04:48 AM »

 many good tents mentioned here. Backpacking tents are going to be alot smaller ..

 The big downside of tents is that if it rains alot, it's easy for water to come in unless your on a platform

Offline rustyknife

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2016, 07:53:35 AM »
I buy the cheap Walmart tents and a can or two of Camp Dry water proofing which I use on my pack also. Hate arriving at camp with a soaked backpack. My most favorite tent was a Coleman wall tent, which you can't buy any more. Easy set up, slept about 8 boy scouts but definitely not a back pack tent. That thing survived and thrived hundreds of boy scout camp outs, family hunting and fishing trips in all kinds of weather. Wow, brings back lots of memories from 30 years ago....tear in eye.....
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Offline ID_Joker

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2016, 08:17:20 AM »
Lots of people in favor of cheap tents and also lots of replies in favor of nicer ones.  My experience is that you're paying more for reliability.  So....If you're going 5 miles down the road to a state park in the summer, get the Wally World tent.  If you're going to be doing some short backpacking where tent breakdown would be more inconvenient, step up to mid-range, like a Eureka.  If you're going somewhere where you consider your tent part of your survival gear (i.e. real winter camping, climbing expeditions, serious wind, etc) then go premium (Marmot, Mountain Hardware, North Face, etc).  ...Andif you can afford it, the higher end tents are almost always nicer.  ;)

Offline Carl

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2016, 08:30:01 AM »
Many 3 or 4 person tents rated for 3 or 4 seasons have the brand "BACKBREAKER" so you may need to camp near the vehicle or use a garden cart or other wheeled cart to carry the tent and 'accessories' for two women who might not want to give up much civilization to go camping.
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Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2016, 09:48:16 AM »
Lots of people in favor of cheap tents and also lots of replies in favor of nicer ones.  My experience is that you're paying more for reliability.  So....If you're going 5 miles down the road to a state park in the summer, get the Wally World tent.  If you're going to be doing some short backpacking where tent breakdown would be more inconvenient, step up to mid-range, like a Eureka.  If you're going somewhere where you consider your tent part of your survival gear (i.e. real winter camping, climbing expeditions, serious wind, etc) then go premium (Marmot, Mountain Hardware, North Face, etc).  ...Andif you can afford it, the higher end tents are almost always nicer.  ;)

+1

Like anything, if you are a camping enthusiast, you may enjoy buying, owning and using nicer gear.  Some people don't value quality hand tools, and are content to use a socket set from Harbor Freight.  For my circumstances, a tent failure is a failure for the whole "family", which means an unhappy spouse, whiny kids, etc.  I certainly don't "need" quality back stitching, and durable zippers - but I have had those sorts of things fail on Wally World tents before.  I average one family sized (4-6ppl) tent each decade, so even if I "go big" it's not a massive expensive given the expected service life.  With all things your mileage may vary.

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2016, 10:28:23 AM »
+1

Like anything, if you are a camping enthusiast, you may enjoy buying, owning and using nicer gear.  Some people don't value quality hand tools, and are content to use a socket set from Harbor Freight.  For my circumstances, a tent failure is a failure for the whole "family", which means an unhappy spouse, whiny kids, etc.  I certainly don't "need" quality back stitching, and durable zippers - but I have had those sorts of things fail on Wally World tents before.  I average one family sized (4-6ppl) tent each decade, so even if I "go big" it's not a massive expensive given the expected service life.  With all things your mileage may vary.
I buy cheap when it is for temporal usage, sometimes I will even buy something from Harbor Freight, the tent we got from Walmart was cheap but surprisingly very good quality.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2016, 11:40:19 AM »
I buy cheap when it is for temporal usage, sometimes I will even buy something from Harbor Freight, the tent we got from Walmart was cheap but surprisingly very good quality.

Yup HF, WM and eBay are great resources.  I love being able to buy dirt cheap Chinese made stuff.
For camping I stock up on the cheapest tarps, rubber mallets and cordage available.  For $2-3, I don't have to stress a boy scout losing it.

I feel very blessed to live in a market economy with all this choice. 

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2016, 12:53:08 PM »
My wife recently accused me of having a tent collection and I really didn't have a good reply. I bought my first good quality tent in 1986 just before departing on a five week road trip and winter camping odessey. In the next few years I found myself working on forest service trail crews and camping as many as 100 nights a year. I used that first tent, a North Face VE25 ProPeace edition, last month for nine days while at Burning Man. It's heavy as a tank by today's backpacking standards, but it's proof positive that when you buy quality it can last decades.

For backpacking, I have a six pound North Face two person tent and a TarpTent Notch (ultra light at 27 ounces). I've had a couple others, but none that have lasted or were worth talking about.

For car camping I have a Coleman tent that says it sleeps six that I picked up at Target for about $100. I've used it less than a dozen times and it has several seams tearing and I suspect it'll give me one or two more trips before it's due for the trash bin.

If you really want a tent that will hold up for years to come with kids, spend the money and get something robust but reasonably light from a name brand like MSR, Marmot, or North Face. REI might work, too, but really check it out. I've had some great gear with their label on it and I've had some pretty cheap stuff with their label on it. Look at poles, stitching and zippers before laying out your cash.

Richard (richard)

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2016, 08:58:41 PM »
We like to camp out.  My 'girls', wife and daughter stay in a tent and I usually sleep in a hammock.  We have a cheap walmart 3 person tent and for as nice as it has been, it's gotten a bit mildewed and the floor is integrated so it's quite heavy if you want to hike in a ways.

So I'm planning to stay in a tent when I go do a 3 day trip.  I was looking at the MSR 3 person Mutha Hubba.  It's $500 and the floor is seperate - a bit steep but at the top end of the budget I had in mind.  It seems with the fly you get good weather protection (I'm expecting rain on that trip), two doors and two vestibules.  I haven't seen much in the way of value for what you get with other tents without going another $200 more.

I'm also hoping to take it backpacking or at least have to carry it in and don't want to make multiple trips in the future.

What do you have and how do you use it?  Any other real world reviews out there from anyone?
Considering the original question, it is good to consider for what purpose you have for the tent. There are an unlimited ways to camp and there are as many tents. However, I really can't imagine that there is a 3 person tent with 2 doors and vestibules that would work for backpacking, but then again I'm not a workhorse.

Offline DheereCrossing

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2016, 08:24:37 PM »
This is the best price I've seen on this one - seems like the reviews are pretty good from around the interwebs - it's the Kelty Outfitter Pro 4.  Seems a bit heavy at 8lbs for a backpacker but heck, it's a 4 person tent, two doors/vestibules and aluminum poles for $293 on Prime?  Seems hard to beat.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009R7T40O/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=PCEESNVPIEJJ&coliid=I3JFCXPJOSUZ4S&th=1

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Offline Corncob

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #21 on: October 12, 2016, 07:42:56 PM »
for cost benefit.....REI half dome!!! great tent  a great price which can normally be bought on sale too. if not for the REI...Big agnes UL2 or UL3. super light for back packing, spacious enough.. L.L bean has some nice tents too, which seems weird, but i've used one or two and they were great.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2016, 07:48:20 PM by Corncob »

Offline machinisttx

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2016, 09:04:12 PM »
I'm not sure if you folks from the southern latitudes even know what a "4 season"  tent is, but that would add considerable cost, as the material must stand up to winter elements.

Last Feb. we camped at a neighbor's property as part of a boy scout outdoor skills weekend.  I had a 20F bag, wore a wool beanie cap, but was so cold I could barely stay asleep.  Think it only got to 30F, but stupid me slept on a cot, but I should have used a sleeping pad on the ground.  that cold air beneath me was brutal.

Lesson learned:  a "20 degree" bag or tent means you won't die at that temperature.  It does not mean you'll be comfortable :(


I would have put the sleeping pad on the cot. You were basically sleeping in a hammock with no bottom insulation. No matter how good your bag is, the portion you sleep on provides no insulation.


We have a large Coleman tent that has only been used a couple of times. I think it's supposed to sleep 6. I know there is still walking space all the way around a queen size air mattress.
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Offline notmyrealname

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2016, 08:22:31 AM »
We have two Eureka tents and our big one has been very good about keeping out water.  It's a Mansard 8 tent and was expensive, but now we've used it a lot and it's getting more affordable over time.  :)

Offline FrugalFannie

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2016, 09:39:07 AM »
We like to camp out.  My 'girls', wife and daughter stay in a tent and I usually sleep in a hammock.  We have a cheap walmart 3 person tent and for as nice as it has been, it's gotten a bit mildewed and the floor is integrated so it's quite heavy if you want to hike in a ways.

So I'm planning to stay in a tent when I go do a 3 day trip.  I was looking at the MSR 3 person Mutha Hubba.  It's $500 and the floor is seperate - a bit steep but at the top end of the budget I had in mind.  It seems with the fly you get good weather protection (I'm expecting rain on that trip), two doors and two vestibules.  I haven't seen much in the way of value for what you get with other tents without going another $200 more.

I'm also hoping to take it backpacking or at least have to carry it in and don't want to make multiple trips in the future.

What do you have and how do you use it?  Any other real world reviews out there from anyone?

MSR makes a good tent for car camping. Or if you split the weight between 3 people, makes it very good for backpacking too. Dual doors are great for late night potty breaks and cross breezes (by opening the window portion). Keep in mind that ratings on tents as to how many occupants they can accommodate, IMO, are not very accurate. My husband and I are going to be buying a new tent soon and we will buy a 3 person. The Mutha Hubba is listed at 68" Wide (take that with a grain of salt) so that means you have about 22.5" per person. My husband is 6'3" and uses a 25" wide sleep mat. Heck, I use a 25" wide sleep mat and I'm a foot shorter! It has a bathtub style floor, that's great. Buy and learn how to use a ground sheet properly as well. It will keep the floor in good condition longer and help keep you dryer, because it WILL come up from underneath. Whatever you do you want to make sure you and your stuff aren't touching the sides when the tent is wet on the outside or that wet will be INSIDE. Good luck with your choice.

OH! find a store that allows you to bring your sleep gear into the store and will let you set up the tent inside the store and get inside. We have never bought a tent (except them cheap $25 ones) without setting it up in the store and spreading out some gear.

Offline trekker111

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #25 on: October 14, 2016, 03:39:18 PM »
2 things I have noticed with the evolution of tents over the years are that 1, the capacity ratings are more accurate, and 2, you can actually fit the tent back into the supplied bag.

It used to be that you needed a "4 person" tent to fit 2 people, and it was an act of Congress to ever fit the entire tent back into its bag. No so much anymore.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #26 on: October 14, 2016, 03:43:58 PM »

Offline machinisttx

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2016, 02:29:07 PM »
We didn't use a tent at all this weekend. I slept in my hammock for two nights. My son slept in his for one night, and in my father in law's camper the other. My wife slept in the camper both nights. One of the first things she said this morning was "I want one too."(referring to the hammocks), so I guess I have another sewing project.  :) I'm done with tents, no going back now.  ;D
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Offline Rangeboss

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2016, 07:19:45 PM »
We are 6 campers and my likes a lot of space. We use a wall tent by "Reliable Tents". 14X16

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Re: What tent do you use?
« Reply #29 on: October 17, 2016, 02:13:28 PM »
LL bean has a big tent that supposedly goes up super fast .. see vid at the bottom:

http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/91971?page=bigelow-easy-pitch-folding-cabin-tent