Author Topic: Family tent for camping?  (Read 5972 times)

davidw

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Family tent for camping?
« on: August 13, 2015, 02:14:17 PM »
Hi,

Any recommendations/ideas on getting a decent 2-adult, 2-children tent for short (weekend) car camping expeditions?

Outdoor gear is something where I'm a bit more reticent about Craigslist - it's hard to tell if it leaks or has other problems from a cursory look.

Stuff like REI is probably too expensive for what we need.

I'm apprehensive about quality from companies like Coleman.  It does rain and get cold in the mountains here, occasionally.

Gumbo1978

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2015, 05:19:55 AM »
I know you are hesitant to pay REI prices, but the Kingdom line is a really good family tent.  I have the Kingdom6 with garage.  I waited for the yearly 30% off sale and applied for an REI Visa (now Mastercard).  You get a $100 gift card when you sign up for the credit card.  The credit card also saves you 5% on all REI purchases via the yearly dividend.  After you deduct the gift card, the 30%, and the additional 5%, the tent came to about $220.  You could splurge on the garage and footprint later on if you chose when another sale came around.

You lose the lifetime guarantee option since REI changed policy and now gives a year, but the reviews are strong (just use the guy lines and don't camp in extreme weather) and it should hold up.  Clean it after each trip and store indoors.  Should last a long time. 

Sales vary.  I know the Member sale was sometime around March/April.  If not a member, might need to find someone who is and maybe give them the 5% dividend in exchange for helping with the purchase.

Le Poisson

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2015, 06:14:55 AM »
Check out the GoblinChief's journal. Much discussion on this topic there... Starts around here: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/thegoblinchief's-venting-chamber/msg763603/#msg763603

NorCal

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2015, 07:12:27 AM »
As a former (many many years ago) REI employee, I can say that a simple Coleman tent will serve you well as long as you clean it and maintain it. 

The quality difference between Coleman and REI tent is in the weight (which matters less for car camping), some of the fasteners, and ergonomic features.  Waterproofing is pretty straight-forward as long as you don't do anything to damage the rain-fly (which is true of both cheap and expensive tents).

I still have my old two-person REI tent (employee discount), and I bought a large Coleman family tent this year for my first camping trip with my daughter.  The Coleman tent worked great, and I have no concerns about it holding up to the elements or lasting many years of car camping.

I would advocate for the REI tent if you were doing backpacking, snow camping, or using the tent more than a dozen times a year.

catccc

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2015, 11:59:10 AM »
you might want to try sierratradingpost.com.  Watch for sales/coupon codes- they'll have 20-30% off purchases over a certain amount from time to time.  We got a mountainsmith equinox 4 backpacking tent.  It was $150.00.  I do (eventually) want to go backpacking with the kids, but we've only used it for car camping so far.  (Kids are 6 & 4, so hopefully this will be soon...) 

We borrowed a nearly new coleman from someone once and it was leaky.  But I have seen coleman family tents at costco, and with their return policy, I would try one.



HipGnosis

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2015, 01:24:58 PM »
Why the trepidation on craigslist?  I'm deducing that you'd see the tent(s) put up and be able to test all the zipper, etc.s.  Which would let you see/tell how heavy (ie., repairable) the fabric is and if any parts are worn.
I'd rather have a used, good quality tent than a new, cheap tent. 
I would re-waterproof any used tent.
I also suggest you buy a cheap, small tent.  We went thru a few tents as our 3 girls were growing and bringing an extra, small tent was quite convenient, esp. when you can't camp right next to the car (or truck).  It's like bringing a closet or pantry.

Goldielocks

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2015, 08:24:46 AM »
Try asking everyone you know that you are looking for a good quality used tent specify in top condition.  May be surprised at how many have one to give away.  I know I ended up with THREE this year that I started to give away (received from MIL and my dad, both in one year).

And they will be honest about condition and you can set it up on your own time and then pass it on if it does not meet your criteria, because it is free.

2ndTimer

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2015, 10:22:23 AM »
I don't quite understand the concern about buying a tent used.  Ours was from the return room at Cabela's.  They let us set it up and make sure everything worked before we bought it.  A tent is a mechanical device.  If everything is there and works then it works.

davidw

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2015, 10:51:38 AM »
A used tent might leak in a way that you would not be able to detect by just setting it up.

We live in an area where even in summer, if you go higher in the mountains, temps usually drop below 10 C even in the summer, and can easily hit freezing.

Throw in the occasional thunderstorm, and having a tent that closes completely and doesn't leak is kind of important.

Light weight does not matter at all.

Some of those Coleman tents seem to have kind of short flies on the sides, as well as a big mesh opening at the top.

Thanks!

ShortStuff

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2015, 08:32:14 PM »
We've had the 6-person Columbia Bugaboo tent since end of 2008:
http://www.amazon.com/Columbia-Bugaboo-Dome-Tent-Lockers/dp/B002Q3E1PO/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

It's stood up to rain in New England. Haven't used it in the winter, but we go camping with it at least once a year.  Nothing wrong with a good Coleman tent either . You can "seam seal" a new tent with an affordable $5 sealer bottle if you want that extra peace of mind. 

jwccolorado

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2015, 12:21:36 PM »
Check out www.steapandcheap.com. Usually in the Fall and Winter, they will post new, good quality tents for 50% or more off of retail. I don't buy a lot of stuff, but what I do buy is good quality so that it will last a long time, thus saving money in the long run.

davidw

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2015, 12:25:50 PM »
That site looks cool; thanks!

I went over to REI to look at their tents during a sale, and something that's bugging me about pretty much everything I've seen are the *large* mesh areas on a lot of tents.  Yeah, I get that it's nice to have vapor escape, but even with a fly (and especially with the cheapo flies that don't extend very low) those things seem to let wind in.  I'm not going on an Everest expedition or anything, but keeping the wind out would be a nice plus for a tent.

jwccolorado

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2015, 12:31:49 PM »
ALPS makes some great tents that have rainflys that go all the way to the ground. Also, if there tent says "3 person" it will actually hold three people, as an example.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2015, 12:42:48 PM »
Just spent quite a bit of time on this subject myself, but have not committed to anything yet.  I like Eureka and Kelty for a decent midrange tent. Many brands now list waterproof coating thicknesses.  Who knows how reliable these ratings are, but I was aiming for at least 1800 as that is what our current backpacking tents are and I would not want to go any lower.   

robartsd

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2015, 05:19:31 PM »
I have a Eureka dome tent with a footprint of aproximately 9 feet by 9 feet. Personally my priority in selecting it was headroom - I can almost stand straight up in it as it is 6 feet high in the center. I've been pretty happy with it.

Le Poisson

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2015, 05:27:00 PM »
Loads of tents on sale this time of year - our local scout shop has Eurekas for around $140 CAD.

elaine amj

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Re: Family tent for camping?
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2015, 07:22:04 PM »
We camp from the spring to the fall and really like the large mesh ceiling on our tent. On our last camping trip, the weather forecast was dry and warm, so we took off the fly (for the first time!) and slept looking up at the stars. It was rather awesome. Also, we got a tent with a floored screened section. Hubby and I sleep on that side and if I unzip everything, I am basically in a screen tent. Awesome...especially during the day. We have taken it camping in weather as cool as the 30s (lower than that would be too cold for our equipment) and we have been fine in our giant tent.

That said, in your area, it sounds like you need more warmth and wind protection, etc so go for those models with a full fly that go right down to the ground.

As for brands, there are so many out there. Since we car camp, I have been very satisfied with my Coleman. Prior to our current tent (bought last year), we had picked up a Coleman at a yard sale that lasted us 10 years (that thing must have been 12-15 years old by then!). We lost the fly pretty quickly so we just used a 10x10 tarp as the fly. That was cheap to replace when it got worn out. My DH still grumbles about wanting to tarp our new tent but I put my foot down on that one lol. The biggest reason we replaced our old tent (still useable although the floor leaks a little and the walls have small holes from ash) was so we would have a rainfly that worked.