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mass-klr 01-08-2013 07:21 PM

Help with choosing tent
To everyone doing a lot of motorcycle camping,

Am going to spend a week in the summer riding in VT and camping at night. I need to get a tent but do not know what to get. Are the cheaper Walmart tents ok for this or do I need to go a little higher like the REI tents. I don't want to be wet if it rains but don't want to spend too much for a maybe once a year tent.

Any suggestions?

mookybird 01-08-2013 07:49 PM

I don't know a lot about the tents walmart offers. Generally all tents are pretty waterproof, higher priced tents get lighter in weight and have aluminum poles versus fiberglass and as the price goes up the aluminum gets more exotic and finally goes to carbon.

I own several top of the line backpacking tents, for most of my motorcycle camping I use an REI branded tent I bought on sale for about $100 It works fine.

Claytonroy 01-08-2013 08:07 PM

Your average REI tent vs. a Wal Mart cheapie will be:

-more compact, easier to fit in a backpack/ on the back of a motorcycle
-better construction/ value/ resale
-the latest design, easy set up (esp in the dark after a few beers).
-better customer service & warranty.

I have owned cheap ass department store tents....then graduated to a Sierra Designs Jupiter (over 150 days in use). My buddy works for MSR/ Cascade Designs and gifted me some state of the art kit....can't be happier with my Hubba (roomy one person 3lbs) and my Hubba 3.

But if I was paying retail, I'd probably go to REI. Their online outlet deals are pretty good too.....especially this time of year.

fuhgawee 01-09-2013 12:28 PM


I've had good luck with Kelty tents, bought them online from Campmor. What ever you buy make sure tent fly offers full coverage,
down to ground, not partial coverage on sides. Also, bathtub style floor with sewn edge above ground level is preferable. Recommend
use of a ground sheet, anything will suffice.

While you dont have to spend alot, you do tend to get what you pay for with tents. One night in a leaky tent you'll wished you'd have
bought a better one. Bonus, if you store dry and take care of, they'll last a long time. What ever you buy, test in backyard, seam seal
any leaky areas. You'll appreciate later.

Krazyjohnny 01-10-2013 05:15 AM

Eureka Timberline
Get a Eureka Timberline from Campmor or Cabela's or whoever has the best price. Dead simple and they are made in several sizes to meet your needs. The Outfitter models are very robust (heavy) for lots of use.

GSBS 01-10-2013 05:46 AM

If we're talking summertime...
...get a hammock and sleep happy. Faster setup/take down (about a minute) and rain/dew dries out faster in the morning. Also in warm weather there's no need for a sleeping pad like with a tent.

Price could be less or more than a tent depending on features and brand.

I did a 45-day canoe trip last spring and carried my hammock and a small ($100) one-man backpacking tent. I used the hammock all but four nights when there were no suitable trees for it. Three of the other nights I used the tent and the fourth I just put my sleeping bag/pad on the ground. All four non-hammock nights I woke up sore the next day.

My Hennessey Hammock with traveling companions:

SplitRock 01-10-2013 06:09 AM

I would recommend looking at the Campmor catalog. There is often a "super special deal" section. That is where I got my Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight tent. Simple, light-weight, well made. Besides Campmor, the REI idea is a good one. Also, steep and cheap dot com regularly has tents on sale. Check out Sierra Trading Post as well. You don't have to spend a ton of money if you simply shop around. Hope that helps...

:beer Brent

acap650 01-10-2013 07:04 AM

If you join REI you can use one of their tents on your trip and return it when you're done. They take everything back for a full refund.

Fener6 01-10-2013 07:49 AM

If you have a truck...bought mine for $170

Canuman 01-10-2013 08:03 AM

Three things are going to be critical: bug protection, particularly in the early season, waterproofness, and lack of condensation on the inside of the tent. The third is not often thought of, but you can get just as wet from moisture dripping off the inside of the tent as from rain.

I've slept in a lot of tents in the past 45 years. I'm very pleased with the Alps Mystique. Not only does it fill the three criteria above, it's well-made, packs small, and is easy to set up.

Very good price here, also:

fuhgawee 01-10-2013 08:48 AM


Originally Posted by GSBS (Post 20444117)
...get a hammock and sleep happy.

I'm with ya but wasnt going there.....that would require a whole different thread :deal

bomber60015 01-10-2013 11:25 AM

I've used Walmart (and, slightly better, Target) tents . . . both sufficed, but typically have rain flies that do no go near enough to the ground . . . . any amount of rain will have the tent body wet on the outside, as the fly doesn't down far enough), and if it's wet on the outside, much contact on the inside (from gear, or a sleeper rolling) will result in wet on the inside . . .

If fiscally possible, I'd go to REI (or Campmor) and get a decent brand name tent (rain ly coverage and aluminum poles both being items of interest).

Most importantly, have fun!

Patch 01-10-2013 03:49 PM


Originally Posted by acap650 (Post 20444774)
If you join REI you can use one of their tents on your trip and return it when you're done. They take everything back for a full refund.

:huh I hope you're kidding. Thats a real douche bag move.

Patch 01-10-2013 04:00 PM


Originally Posted by mass-klr (Post 20432336)

Any suggestions?

Are you setting up once or packing up and moving every morning?

Most suggest getting a size one person bigger than you'll need - meaning a 2 person for a solo camper. This lets you stick all your stuff in the tent with you if need be.

As for weatherproof - backpacking tents are the most packable, usually best weatherproofing, and will be the most expensive. Heavier will be cheaper, and for moto-camping thats perfectly fine. The difference between a 5lb and a 7lb tent won't affect your bike at all but your wallet will feel the difference. One thing to look at is pole length... this can be the deciding factor in how you can pack the thing. I'd also suggest staying away from any fiberglass poles.

perterra 01-10-2013 05:14 PM

If your going to be camping in bad weather (meaning the time of year you normally go) and you plan on doing it a lot, but a good tent. If your setting up to do this once a year and in the milder part of the year then a cheap one will probably get you by a few years. By seam sealers for a couple bucks and paint it on the seams

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