I have no experience with cheapo tents, but I own 4 tents now, all good or at least decent brands:
Tent #1 - 2-man Eureka Alpine Meadows (A-frame with vestibule) was a hand-me-down from brother-in-law, when he decided he needed more room, so he bought a 6-man tent. Rec'd it used 20 years ago, still works perfectly, except Eureka re-strung the elastic cords in the poles under (lifetime) warranty.
Tent #2 - 6-man Sierra Designs dome was a hand-me-down from brother-in-law when he decided he didn't want to camp anymore. Was useful when my boys were young and felt safer inside a tent with mom and dad. Rec'd used 15 years ago, still worked perfectly last time I set it up, which was ~10 years ago. Would be 1st choice for car camping, but I haven't done any car camping for a long time.
Tent #3 - Marmot Swallow 2-man convertible (mesh zips-closed, rated for 4 season use) tent, bought 10 years ago for canoe-camping, for mom and dad once kids wanted their own space.
Tent #4 - Alps Mountaineering Mountaineering Mystique 2.0 Tent: 2-Person 3-Season bought in November, as I was wanting a lighter-weight and shorter-pole tent for camping on the 250. Weighs 4 lbs less than the Marmot, and the poles are shorter. This is a 2-man tent intended for 1-person with room inside for some gear. Got it from Steep and Cheap for $70 + $7 shipping (Retail is $219). Haven't set it up yet. Hopefully it is a decent tent, but if not, I'll be able to sell it on Craigslist for more than I paid.
Since decent quality tents, if well-cared-for, seem to last virtually forever, I'll stick with quality, since my tents seem to last (most of) a lifetime. I am careful to put all my gear away dry and clean.
I still have my first 2 Thermarest pads bought from LL Bean in 1990, and my sleeping bags are 35 and 20 years old, both (as far as I can tell) as good as new. I also have 2 newer Thermarests that are 4" narrower and 1/2" thinner, for when space is at a premium.
jon_l screwed with this post 01-01-2013 at 04:02 PM