Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Stonefish, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. I'm in the market for a new tent for use this coming year.
    I've have some gift cards I'd like to use and thought there might possibly be some good deals to be had during the holiday season.

    I haven't shopped for a new tent in years. I'm looking for something that can sleep up to four people.
    Excellent rain protection would be a key feature.

    Any suggestions on brands, models ect to consider or stay away from would be greatly appreciated.

  2. I was just looking last night and theclymb had some great deals on a variety of tents
  3. I have a Marmot Limestone 4 that I love. It's been through lots of wind and rain and has never missed a beat.
  4. Do you actually want to have 4 people sleep inside or are you looking for something the size of a 4 person tent? This may sound like the same thing, but in many cases, it is not. A 4 person tent assumes that people are very close friends, stacked like cordwood, essentially touching each other. This is great for backpacking and mountaineering when the only thing that matters is minimal weight and sharing of body heat is a goal.

    If you are car camping and want to sleep 4, I'd look for a 6 person tent. Even then, pay attention to the sq footage as there can be a wide range. Unfortunately, most of the tents in the 4-6 person category are designed for warm summer nights and clear skies and offer inadequate protection from NW weather.

    Look for tents with full coverage rain flies, fully taped seams, bathtub floors, a minimum of 3 poles, at least one vestibule (for wet boots, etc.) and maybe an awning if car camping. If backpacking is the main goal, there are some very lightweight designs on the market but in many cases you are trading weight for durability and paying a lot more for less weight so figure out what is most important to you. For car camping, many/most of the multi-room tents are crap so tread carefully. In either case, expect to pay a fair bit for a quality 4-6 person tent, usually $400-600. I'd look very suspiciously at anything under $300. I'd be looking at brands like Big Agnes, MSR, Sierra Designs, Marmot, etc. and maybe some store brands like REI and Cabelas, especially for car camping tents.
  5. Betcha Ed weighs in on this one. He's probably owned 3 REI's worth of tents, and can speak to the pros and cons of all of them.
  6. Freestone,
    Thanks for the reply and input. No backpacking involved, car camping for sure.
    I want enough space in the tent have some gear in it and not be cramped while sleeping. This would be for 1 or 2 people max to sleep in. I'd prefer to be able to stand up in it, but that isn't a absolute requirement.
    Rain protect is a major priority and I'd rather pay extra to get a good quality tent. No need for multiple rooms either.
    I'm not familiar with the term "bathtub floor". Is that were the bottom of the tent comes up the sides a ways, forming a tub shaped bottom to keep out water?

  7. My 21 yr old North Face Himalayan (or Expedition???) has been fantastic. Last year I re-waterproofed it, fix a few pin holes, and resealed seams and tent floor. That's the first time I've had to do it and I use it often. Always use a poly tarp on the floor (inside) for whatever tent you get as this will greatly increase floor lifespan and provide extra insurance from water.
  8. For car camping, i'd just check out whatever model Costco is selling in the 4 to 6 person size range. Maybe even go 8 person. Why not. Car camping - so weight isn't a concern. You pay more for ultra-light, so you can stay away from that. Fiberglass poles will be fine. And if you hate it, costco will take it back... I like the designs where you just have 2 poles cris-crossing then you just quickly attach clips to the poles and done in just a few minutes. Vestibles are nice, but I do fine without them. I can set up my ultra-lite backpacking tent (cabelas brand) in about 2 minutes or less if I realy tried. Get a tarp that is a little bigger than the tent to set up on.
  9. I've got a nearly-new (as in, used just four nights) Sierra Designs Mirage 4 I'd be willing to part with at a reasonable price:


    Great storm-proof tent with lots of variable living space. Note especially the roll-up walls on front section to create a covered "porch" like area on drizzly days. No need for a separate awning to sit under when it's wet..
  10. Stonefish- the bathtub design is just as you described it. Since you are car camping, there are soooo many to choose from, it will be easy to find the one you want. Go with quality since its going from storage to the spot next to your car and back in storage.
  11. Take a look at REI's smaller Hobitat and the "garage" that goes with it. The fly's very good, bathtub floor, and I'm over 6 feet and can stand in it no problem. I got the larger one because I wanted the extra room, and I do use it for car camping. I also carry a carpet floor, nice cot and mattress, folding table with a lantern. Another thing, Cabela's sells a lantern with a remote control push button on it-worth the $$ when you're coming home from a long day on the river. The "garage" is really a unique vestibule big enough for another chair and table, kinda like a porch on a house. make yourself a fold-up rod, wader and boot rack, and don't forget the doormat!
  12. If you looking for something for just car camping but also want quality construction and good rain protection then I would check out REI brand tents. They won't break the bank, they are well made, and there is a lifetime guarantee return policy if it doesn't meet your expectations.
  13. I will add a plug for the REI Hobitat. They are large and hold up well in the rain. I used one in Africa and it only leaked when a massive storm rolled through. The REI brand tents are a great deal. I primarily use a half dome for backpacking and think it works better than a lot of other tents I have tried.

    REI changed their return policy this year and they no longer accept returns after 1 year.
    This is totally crap, but I can see why they did it. I remember being in REI a couple years ago and seeing a guy return some underwear because the elastic had worn out. He had clearly worn the underwear for years, and saw the REI guarantee as a free replacement. A visit to the basement in the REI flagship store in Seattle tells the same story. Boots that look like they hiked the PCT, returned because they were "uncomfortable." Abuse of a generous return policy couldn't last forever I guess.
    Andrew Shoemaker likes this.
  14. If weight is not an issue take a look at canvas tents. I purchased a Kodiak Flex-Bow canvas tent because I got tired of nylon tents failing after four or five years of use. I have used my Kodiak for about 5 years now and it still looks like the day I bought it. It is a 6 man tent and uses the flex-bow method to stand it. It is easy for one person to setup in about 10 to 15 minutes. I have used it in the winter time during rain storms without any problems. It has stood up well to the winds in the canyons of the Grand Ronde. Only issue is to make damn sure it is dry before stowing for any length of time. The 6 person tent is good for 2 to 3 people. For more I would look to the 8 person tent. They are not cheap. Mine cost about $500 but if taken care of properly it should be the last tent you buy.
  15. I also have an REI Hobitat and can recommend it. I rode out a massive thunder storm in it. I can't imagine it raining any harder than that. One corner of the tent ended up sitting in a large puddle and there was about a tablespoon of water in that corner. If you want to sleep 4 I'd get the bigger one.

    The Kodiak tents Kerry mentioned are great if you want canvas. The floors look bulletproof.
  16. go to REI and take a good look at the tents,find some that you like and spend some time laying on a sleeping bag in the store display model's that they have set up(or set it up and see how easy it is to set up?). When you have a sleeping bag in the tent it will also give you a visual of yourself in the tent and how much room is needed for you and your tent mates. You will soon find out if the tent works for you.
    Andrew Shoemaker likes this.
  17. I have to weigh in here and say that the Hobitat is a pretty fantastic tent.
    There may be MANY fantastic tents, but.......in my experience, this one is the bomb. PLUS you get the advantages of buying from REI. Just sayin'.
    Oh and....I don't even LIKE tents. Building another teardrop trailer as we speak!
  18. two years ago at elk camp, my buddy Jan Uchytil decided to haul his wall tent, stove, and the "acoutrements" along. The thing was a complete bitch to put up, even with 3 of us working on it, but once up, it worked really nicely. Unfortunately, it rained the entire week-long season, so we got to experience life as homeless people, camped in the rain. I took the trailer, and was really glad I did! Taking down the wall tent was just as difficult as putting it up, and then, as Kerry mentioned, Jan had to dry it off for about a week before he could put it away. He sold it right after that.
    constructeur likes this.

  19. Exactly. Tents are a bitch, and even though trailering is a a bitch too, I have to say that the trade-off works for me. Stop; camp; fish; sleep; cook; drive. No setup, no mold (well, not much....) and naps at rest stops. Yeah, baby.
  20. Brad, give the A-frame popups a look. We have a Rockwood Premier A122BH. Takes longer to drop the stabilizer jacks than it does to put up the rest of the trailer. Weighs about a ton, tows like a dream, and when it's got hookups, A/C, heater, heat pump, hot & cold outside shower, water filtration system, microwave, wired for cable TV, and .... a heated box spring mattress. My big complaint is it doesn't come with a gun cabinet, so I had to build one.

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