Jul 14, 2013 at 10:07 pm #1305389
I took my girls out camping this past 4 days and they loved it. Thing is, my tent was more akin to a sardine can than a comfortable respite for the night. I need to find a replacement. I started looking around, but thought I would solicit some opinions here in tandem. I'm currently using a 9'x 8' hexagon tent from Walmart. Looking for something to fit myself, 2 growing girls and maybe even a mattress mate for me in the future (though it's most probable she'll have a vet instead of a Primary Care Physician). I don't care if it's used or new, buy am looking for a good deal so used or clearance is preferable. If you have a make/model I should keep my eyes open for I would appreciate it.
PopJul 14, 2013 at 10:12 pm #2006146
@lunchandynnerLocale: Pacific Northwest
For car camping, Coleman is a pretty decent, affordable option. You could also try geartrad.com and/or keep an eye on Steep And Cheap.Jul 14, 2013 at 11:20 pm #2006159
@davidmilesLocale: Eastern Sierra
I have the Coleman Instant Tent (11' x 13'). Great for car camping at the beach with big air mattress.
I will fit 2 queen size and lots of gear. I think it was $160 at Walmart.Jul 14, 2013 at 11:22 pm #2006160
REI hobitat 6 in their clearance for 260. We own the REI Base Camp 6 which we like with vestibules on both ends, but the Hobitat might be what you are looking for in terms of value. 10' x 8'4". They make good quality big tents. We have had ours for years. Bomb proof.Jul 15, 2013 at 6:39 am #2006198
@alifeoutdoorsLocale: Iron River, WI
I'll concur on the excellent value of a coleman tent for car camping. I have the evanston 6 with a screened porch. The porch is wonderful here in the north woods for high summer and legions of mosquitoes we get here. It's monster huge but can still get it up solo in under 15 minutes and will fit two queen sized mattresses. Did I mention the screen porch? ;)Jul 15, 2013 at 7:34 am #2006211
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
REI's car camping tents are good. There usually are a few such tents at Sierra Trading Post.Jul 15, 2013 at 10:08 am #2006253
I have a Headquarter's tent by Eureka and love it. Sleeps 3 easily.
Shop around on craigslist and ebay for a used one.Jul 15, 2013 at 10:08 am #2006254
@bzhayesLocale: So. California
I agree with the Hobitat 6 at REI. If you can get it on sale it is a great tent. Much better than a Coleman and absolutely palatial. It is what my family uses on car camping trips. It is nice to be able to stand fully erect in a tent.Jul 15, 2013 at 10:12 am #2006256
Check out Wenzel tents also. You get a lot of tent for the money, and their quality has been good for me so far.
RyanJul 15, 2013 at 10:16 am #2006258
Get a tent that has no sleeves for the poles to go through….they are a PITA!
The Eureka headquarter's has no sleeves.Jul 15, 2013 at 2:13 pm #2006349
Thanks everyone for the input. Those all look like great options so I'll put my good luck shirt on and troll craigslist while shopping Amazon and REI.
Just as an aside, though out of my budget right now, the REI Kingdom looks like about a perfect design – large, screened room/porch, 2 doors, available vestibule. I like the Coleman Instant tents, but a vestibule would sure be nice to have. The Evanston looks to be the ticket, but not being able to zip close the back netting limits it a bit weather wise. I see there is a WeatherMaster 10 on CL…hmmm, wasn't thinking that big but for $90… This is going to be funJul 15, 2013 at 2:27 pm #2006355
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
A different approach to consider: You have one tent. It's just too small. Get another tent and use both (this is for car camping, right?). I have and liked:
$400 list, $300 on STP. Less with some coupons. It is not standing height, and would be tight for 4, BUT, you could use it for backpacking (11 pounds) which you can't do with full-on car-camping tents. 96" x 96", very well ventilated. We put two adults in the "3-person" version and 3 kids in the 4-person version so everyone has plenty of room when we car camp or do a canoe trip.
You obvious could find cheaper options, but they would be single-purpose: car camping only.
If you go for the large car-camping tent, I've like the Eureka tents without pole sleeves (as someone above said). First you erect the poles (from four corners to the top-central cross), then you clip the tent to the poles. Standing height for the tallest adult is really nice if it's raining for very long.Jul 15, 2013 at 2:33 pm #2006358
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
Keep in mind that if it's "too big", then it is forever going to be useful for one type of camping. Moreover, It sounds like – for the time being – you will be the only one setting up the tent. Keep "simplicity" in mind when selecting one.
If it were me, I'd stick to a four person tent that I could set up by myself when it's dark and rainy, while my girls are watching me from the car. Avoid fiberglass poles (with external ferrules) as well, if you can. They will fail eventually and are totally cumbersome, especially if you have to sleeve the tent.
Furthermore, a four person tent and your existing dome tent will likely still fit on a single car campsite, just in case your girls ever wanted their "privacy". If your new tent is too big, you may be too limited by this possibility.
If you find any specific models out there. Post them here for some instant feedback.
p.s. as a former REI employee of many years, I can vouch for the quality of their tents. Incredible value for $$, not to mention their hard-to-beat warranty.Jul 15, 2013 at 2:46 pm #2006365
Luckily, at least for the time being I've got my backpacking needs covered with my Double Rainbow – kids have zero interest that particular endeavor.
I'll look through the Eureka lineup to see which models are sleeveless. That is a great feature.Jul 15, 2013 at 4:15 pm #2006401
@einsteinLocale: Big Apple
ALPS Merimac 4… I think I got mine for ~$75 at REI Outlet with an extra 20%-off coupon.
This is a rather sturdy tent, light for car-camping at 8 lbs., and although I can't stand up inside, most kids can. I can walk around on my knees just fine. Survived torrential rain (twice) with nary a leak, although splatter by the front door can be an issue (it's not bad).
Can fit four adults, I guess. Three adults for sure. It's a suite for one adult and 2 kids. A palace for one adult and one kid!
And it's possible to set up by yourself if your kids are too young or are nowhere to be found :-)
So ALPS ain't so bad after all (you see them all the time at rei.com, etc.). Have about 8 nights in mine, and will soon add another 4 with my 7-year old.Jul 15, 2013 at 5:31 pm #2006435
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I don't think Coleman makes tents any more, they just license their name. Plus they may private brand for really big retailers to the retailer's specifications, which may not be very good.
We used to use two 2-person tents. Mom and daughter slept in one, me and the boy slept in the other. Actually from the time my son was 5, we would both sleep outside if the weather was good. When the kids got a little bigger they slept in the same tent, the adults in the other.
So with two tents you have all kinds of options.Jul 15, 2013 at 6:46 pm #2006474
I have a Eureka Copper Canyon 10×10 which I like. It has steel and fiberglass poles, which make the tent heavy to carry when packed, but the wall are nearly vertical so I can stand up and stretch in it in the morning, or change t-shirts standing up. I hate having to change clothes while lying down. And because of those steep walls, it needs to be staked out well if there will be high winds, but it is a strong rigid tent and doesn't do that flopping around in the wind thing that dome tents do. Discard the cheap stakes that come with it and get a couple packs of the Coghlan's 9-inch Y-stakes and 50 extra feet of 3mm cord. It could sleep 5, but really just 4 adults with duffel bags, and it is great for two with cots and a week's worth of gear. It is small enough that it usually isn't hard to find enough level/flat space to pitch it. Don't underestimate the difference in usable space between a dome tent and a tent with steeper walls, even if the footprints are the same size. Really the only problem is that it would be hard to get the rain fly on without a helper due to the height. I think they run $200-220 new. The lower seams come well taped from the factory, and you can seal the rest yourself if you think it is needed. There are smaller and larger sizes of the same tent.
I've read a lot of negative reviews about the Coleman instant tents, but I've never used one myself. They are very large when packed and very heavy.
I agree with David about two tents with kids, especially if there are two adults. The kids like having their own secret space, and you might like having yours. They can also learn to set up their own tent.
-StephenJul 17, 2013 at 4:45 am #2007005
@brooklynkayakLocale: South West US
I agree with Matt, A tent that is too big is only good for certain uses. Two smaller tents are more useful.
It can be harder find flat ground for a bigger tent. Two smaller tents can fit more places and pack better.
The bigger the tent, the more it becomes a problem in wind. Two smaller tents are usually more reliable.
A four person car camping tent and one or more smaller backpacking tents have worked better for us.
If my wife and I go car camping, we can just take the four person car camping tent and maybe also carry a two person backpacking tent for backpacking and/or as a spare for guests.
Kids often prefer having their own tent away from their parents. Parents prefer the privacy.
I don't recommend the cheap family tents unless you are going to always be in protected camps.
I have seen too many vacations disrupted when their tent got destroyed in wind.
One case that I experienced was when a strong wind came in the middle off the night. All the big car camping tents were leveled with broken poles and ripped material.
Most of the smaller tents survived except the cheap models.
Weight can be an issue as well. Weight affects gas mileage and performance.
Fill your car with people and gear weight then becomes an issue.
The weight to strength ratio usually is pretty poor with cheap tents.
Most of the popular car camping tent manufacturers make some pretty crappy tents, but they may also make good ones. The good ones will cost a lot more, but there are sales and used options.Jul 17, 2013 at 6:47 am #2007022
I agree with Stephen. The Copper Canyon is another good choice.
For the first few years the OP will want to have his girls in same tent until they become accustomed to camping. The tent has a divider that can separate the tent into 2 rooms. Same with the Eureka Headquarters tent, has a room divider.
Eureka suggests that all new tents have their seams sealed before first use. You'll see it on their instruction sheet.
Eureka is quality.
P.S. My wife found a used Headquarters on craigslist for $200.00 (chicago area)Jul 17, 2013 at 6:51 am #2007025
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
For car Camping we use a Marmot Halo 4p, my wife loves it and due to an ok shape it can handle itself in crappy weather.Jul 17, 2013 at 7:04 am #2007032Jul 17, 2013 at 7:24 am #2007036
Chad “Stick” PoindexterParticipant
@stickLocale: Hot & Humid Southeast....
I have the REI Kingdom 4 tent for me and my family. As an UL backpacker, I have grown quite accustomed to buying a particular item for a particular need, so I didn't mind buying a larger tent that is only for car camping. And TBH, in retrospect, I wish I had went with the 6 person version…
The 4 person is large enough for us all to move around freely and not feel cramped or smushed together, but what gets me is that I can really only fit 4 20 inch pads on the floor; I can squeeze in a 25 inch pad in with 3 of the 20 inch pads, but we would be pretty close to one another. Not that this matters, we are all family…
For 2, just me & my wife, the tent is awesome! We love all the space.
But the 6 person would have allowed me to use 2 of the full size Coleman, big blow up mats inside, which is nice for us. Also, it would have been a few inches taller, and while I can stand in the 4 person tent with just a little head tilt, the 6 person is more than tall enough.
Set-up is easy enough for 1 person, although 2 does make it easier. However, I have always set mine up on my own. It isn't really all that difficult. It does have the little sleeves that the pole goes through, and I think that makes is a but easier as it guides the poles to where they should go.
We haven't used it in tons of rain or wind, so I cannot say much on that aspect. All I can say is that they few rains it has been in, I did not see any leaks. I feel like if the wind really picked up, it likely wouldn't perform very well with the tall, flat walls. In the reviews I have read others mention the same thing.
Anyway, I got mine on a pretty steep sale at REI, and while their return policy has changed, if anything ever still happens to the tent, I feel confident that they will still warrant it. However, if anything ever does happen to it, I will likely upgrade to the 6 person…Jul 17, 2013 at 10:20 pm #2007283
@gregfLocale: Canadian Rockies
The Kingdom 6 is fantastic. We have been through several big storms with it and as long as you use 14 pegs it holds up well. (it only comes with 8). Its an expensive tent though. I sucked it up at bought it because is was one of the few tents that was large enough, had a fly go close to the ground, used clips instead of sleeves, and could be set up by one person. It also has a fantastic benefit of being tall along the length of the tent rather than just at the peak like a dome tent. The only drawback is that it needs a lot of pegs to be storm worthy.
When I was looking at lower cost options they kept having poor flys, used sleeves instead of clips, were hexagonal instead of square. For space I would look at a square 8×10. If you meet these 3 items I think you have a good tent.
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