Author Topic: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid  (Read 720 times)

PMG

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Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« on: May 12, 2023, 06:55:59 AM »
Can you recommend a medium sized tent for casual car camping for two adults and a kid? 

Google has not been very helpful. Tents seem to run from expensive to Very Expensive and quality is suspect until you get to Very Expensive. We donít need top quality, but we would like something to last several years.

My spouse and I love to car camp at state parks within a couple hours of our house.  We now have a kid who will be 1 this summer and we are looking forward to camping with her. Weíve got one multi night trip 3-4 hours from home but the rest will be just 1-2 nights within 1-2 hours of home.

We think weíre still going to enjoy camping. But the kid is a curveball.

Our current tent is a 15 year old Walmart $20 special. The tent itself is in great shape but the poles are at end of life. I have replaced sections but they need completely replaced and when I looked that up it cost 70+ which doesnít make sense on a tent of that age.

But shopping for a new tent is just not going well!

We currently store all food and clothing in the car overnight and only keep sleeping stuff inside the tent. We have a ďqueenĒ high tech camping air mattress (more like double). Kid will sleep with us (with appropriate caution).  Eventually it would be nice to have room for kid to have their own sleeping space. Iíve also seen some tents with a little screen porch. That could be nice too. We donít have another canopy over the picnic table so if it rains weíre either in the tent, car, or nearby picnic shelter.


My questions:

Is it time to just let our current tent go? Or should I try to make it work a couple more seasons until we really do need another?

Can you recommend better fiberglass pole replacements?  Diy options?

Can you recommend a good small or medium sized tent for casual car campers?

Dicey

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Re: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2023, 09:44:42 AM »
Do you have a Costco near you? Their current tent offerings seem to have a lot of bang for the buck. As always, supplies are limited and sell out fast, but worth a look.

sonofsven

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Re: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2023, 10:12:41 AM »
I got a big tent at one of the REI sales of used equipment. Plenty of room for a queen bed and a kid or two.
It was one of their retired rentals, it was under $50.

tygertygertyger

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Re: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2023, 10:16:27 AM »
So we had to upgrade from our old tent (which would still be going strong otherwise) when we got a large dog. Now we have a big honking tent from REI that should last for a good 15 years or more, but admittedly, it was expensive. It's got the front mudroom area, and nearly vertical walls so we can stand easily inside it.

I feel like for casual car camping (which is what we do!), almost any tent should work. But you asked about poles... what kind of poles does your tent use?

I know some of our old poles with the elastic cord inside had started breaking, and we were able to buy replacement elastic cord to fix the stretched out bits. That was easy enough. But ... I'm guessing your issue may be more complex than that?

getsorted

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Re: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2023, 10:32:57 AM »
Posting to follow. My Redhead (discontinued Bass Pro line) tent is 23 years old and finally showing its age. Kind of torn between trying to replace the zipper and replacing it.

Cranky

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Re: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2023, 09:18:09 AM »
We bought a tent at Costco a couple of years ago and itís nice enough. Eventually we might upgrade to REI, but for a couple of trips/summer it is good enough.

caleb

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Re: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2023, 09:44:22 AM »
Can you recommend a good small or medium sized tent for casual car campers?

For casual car camping, I'd look at the REI house brand models.  They're 90-100% as good as the top name brands, for significantly less money.  Something with aluminum poles and a full fly are the minimum ante here.

They have a used gear section on their website, and lots of independent shops have used gear bulletin boards as well.

If you don't find what you want used, $200-400 for a new one is probably well spent if you're going to use it regularly.  Nothing kills a trip like soaked sleeping bags, especially with a small child.

Sanitary Engineer

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Re: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2023, 11:22:17 AM »
A quick search online for 5 person tent shows a handful of great options for $100-$200. REI, Kelty, Coleman, Eureka.

I Iíve a 5 person Eureka 4 pole tent I like a lot.

LD_TAndK

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Re: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2023, 01:09:36 PM »
If you're just a casual camper I'd get a cheap 4 person tent. I'd try to avoid fiberglass poles because they've split along their length on me in the past.

I'd spring for something to cover the picnic table from rain rather than a larger tent or a big vestibule. I feel sitting in the tent or large vestibule in fowl weather is kind of sad, more fun to sit in a covered dining area. We use a pop up tent currently over the picnic table. Also if SHTF you can cover the sleeping tent with the table tent.


Villanelle

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Re: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2023, 02:47:22 PM »
I see tents given away pretty regularly in my local BuyNothing group.  You might post an ask there and see what you might get.

PMG

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Re: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2023, 07:47:25 PM »
Ok. This is getting helpful!  Thank you all. I am still not sure what route Iím going to takeÖ but it is nice to have some brands and price ranges to start from. My sibling also recommended Core brand.

If you donít want fiberglass poles, what kind do you want?! (Our current rent has fiberglass poles that have been added splitting and a splintering for years and Iíve been repairing and limping it along.)

We donít have buy nothing here, but thatís a good reminder to check the second hand groups. 

FINate

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Re: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2023, 08:35:57 PM »
You've made it 15 years with a $20 Walmart tent, which suggests you aren't camping very often or in places that get high winds. Retire the old tent and get a free standing 4-person sub $100 Walmart tent (or wherever you prefer to shop). IMO, with tents less is more, so don't bother with porches, extra rooms, etc (though a few gear loops/pockets are nice to have). I'd also rather have traditional poles than the "instant" setup stuff (e.g. CORE)... just less complexity and less to break. But I'm also weird like that and the CORE 6 person tent looks decent enough.

If you plan to camp in windy places (e.g. exposed high elevation), then you want a lower dome tent, though this means much less room to sit/stand which can be annoying. But if you're just casually camping in low wooded campgrounds then get a taller basic tent that you can stand up in.

The alternative to fiberglass poles is aluminum, which is significantly more expensive. I don't expect you'll find a 4 person car camping tent with aluminum poles for under $400.

deborah

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Re: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2023, 01:44:57 AM »
Ok, Iím in Australia, so Iím not going to be able to give you an exact tent that you can go out and instantly buy.

However, I regularly go car camping, and I use an instant up tent - in Australia, Aldi sells a 4 person and a six person one.

https://www.productreview.com.au/listings/aldi-adventuridge-instant-up-tent

Itís cheap (less than $100AUD), goes up very quickly (much more quickly than my friendís one the same size that has poles you thread through channels), goes down very quickly, stays up in strong winds (a previous, much more expensive instant up tent didnít) and has aluminium poles. Itís also easy to erect at home if I need to pack it up wet. You can stand in it. Iíd think the 6 person one would suit you. I have the 4 person one. We go away once a month for three days to different national park remote campgrounds each time. I have a ground sheet so that its floor doesnít get damaged. I like being able to put the fold up seats into the tent at night. I donít care about rain or dew on the table, so it stays outside.

Aldi have a name for decent quality stuff in their special sales, and sell this tent twice a year here. I suspect that a similar tent from Walmart would also be reasonable quality, but slightly more expensive. If youíre car camping with a young child for only a few days, youíre going to leave rather than stay when the weather is awful, so your tent may not need to put up with too much. If it gets too bad, you can always retreat to the car.

Dicey

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Re: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2023, 10:40:44 AM »
Saw this at Costco, so I took a few snaps:

Features:
Dimensions: 10 ft x 9 ft
Sleeps 6 People
Built-In LED Lighting
66" Center Height
Sleeps 6 or Fits 2 Queen Air Mattresses

If you buy it online, it's $114.99, which includes shipping. Pretty sure any member can do that for you from anywhere. The reviews are mostly good, and Costco stands by its products.  I kind doubt the effectiveness of the LED light based on the website pictures, but it's still a pretty good amount of tent for the money.

PMG

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Re: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2023, 03:42:12 AM »
The tent is on the way. 

We ended up with a 6 person core brand with a screen porch from Costco. Thanks Dicey for the Costco tip.  Little brother and others recommended core, Costco had good prices. We initially decided against a screen porch because it just adds complexity and more points for failure but the price was right and the rest of the tent features seems to suit our needs. Weíll see how it goes.

We almost went with a good ole Coleman that a dark light filtering feature that might help a kid sleep better but ultimately went with the core.  I went as far as trying to purchase the Coleman but I had a kid napping on me and couldnít get my wallet to verify credit card info. In that delay my spouse went down the rabbit hole againÖ

And here we are.

Thanks for the input!

Now weíre getting excited and started making lists and menus and dragging out all our gear to check it over before packing.

getsorted

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Re: Tent recommendation 2 adults 1 kid
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2023, 08:22:22 AM »
@deborah Aldi is stocking those tents where I live next week!

I had arranged to buy a three-man tent on Marketplace, but the woman apparently sold it to someone else after telling me when and where to meet her. I was like, "Lady, you chose the time and place! If you had wanted to sell it sooner, I'd have been down!" Hate when that happens.

Congrats and happy camping, @PMG !