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Old 12-19-2012, 08:28 PM   #16
VStromTom
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Ditto the "you don't need to spend a lot of $ for a tent" sentiments already posted. Been using on sale tents from discounters and Wally's on sale for years. Never leaked, never blown over, never had a pole break, pack small, light wt, etc. Don't drink the you gotta spend alot to get a good tent bullshit, cause that's exactly what it is! IMO of course.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:42 PM   #17
Happy Wanderer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VStromTom View Post
Ditto the "you don't need to spend a lot of $ for a tent" sentiments already posted. Been using on sale tents from discounters and Wally's on sale for years. Never leaked, never blown over, never had a pole break, pack small, light wt, etc. Don't drink the you gotta spend alot to get a good tent bullshit, cause that's exactly what it is! IMO of course.
Meh... I think "you get what you pay for" applies here. The key word for me in your post is "tents" as in several "throw away" type items I suppose. I prefer to find a good product and use it as long as possible. Less haste, less waste.

I bought one of the first geodesic dome tents from Taymor back in 1982. It lasted till my kids took it to a concert at the gorge in 2010. They and several friends had a party in it and busted the zipper. I lived in that tent for six months at a time TWICE during long tours through Mexico and Guatemala during the 80's and countless campouts over those many years. I can't recall what I paid for it but it seemed expensive to me at the time. Not now! 28 years use out of a tent is pretty darn good.

I replaced it with a good two man tent from MEC that should ride out any storm and last a heck of a long time as well. Time will tell but it should outlive me!
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:16 AM   #18
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Given some of the gear snobbery that goes on here, I'm surprised at the number of "cheap tents work just fine" posts in this thread. However, I am of the same opinion. Several years ago I was checking out at Big 5 and noticed a cheap Chicom tent they had set up near the door on sale for $20. It was 7x7 and the roominess of it looked appealing so I figured it was worth the huge investment even if it only lasted a few nights and considered it a throw-away item.

Much to my surprise, it works quite well at keeping me dry, has held up and, dollar-wise, it is probably the best bang for the buck piece of gear I've ever purchased. I know the zippers are cheap so I'm careful not to overstress them. I've used it a fair amount and it is now well below the $1/night benchmark. So far, the only part of it that has failed is the bungee cord in one of the poles but it still worked and was a $2 DIY repair when I got home.

Now all I need is a KLR and a milk crate to go with it.....

duck screwed with this post 12-20-2012 at 01:56 AM
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:21 AM   #19
jeepinbanditrider
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Most tents go to crap becuase people store them in the stuff sack for long periods of time. This is horrible for the tent material and you WILL ruin a tent doing it over time.

I've slept in tents ranging from 20 dollars to 300 dollars. Right now I'm in a mid range 2 person tent made by Kelty. Didn't cost me an arm and a let but isn't a crappy as some of the Colemans at Wally Mart.

One of the biggest areas of failure in the cheap tents is the poles. They are usually thin, spindly and fragile and give easily in high winds having parts of the tent laying over the top of you instead of holding it's shape. They sometimes have a tendency to snap in high winds, I've seen lots of snapped tent poles out of cheap tents. The higher end tents usually use some sort of aluminum instead of the fiberglass the cheaper ones use and they hold up much better and are much stronger in higher winds.

The next area which is a big deal to me cause I do a lot of backpacking also is material weight. The cheap tents tend to weigh a ton compared to a higher end tents.

I've had condensation issues with lower end tents that I simply haven't had in the more expensive ones.
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:25 AM   #20
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There's a British tent marque, Vango who I really like for the money. They make the Force Ten tents, which have been around for ever and as the name suggests, are great in high winds. They do make some mid-high priced tents, but practically everything they make, even their cheaper stuff, that I've tried is great. For pack size I've still yet to come across anything (at any price) as good as the Spectre 300 for a 2-3 man tent for motorbike camping. Poles fold down nice and short to fit in panniers, pitches as one, waterproof, good control over venting, green colour that's great for stealth camping.

A few people will tell you that you need self supporting tents, but I have never had a situation where I couldn't pitch a 'normal' tent. You just need to learn how to make and use improvised deadmen and take the right peg for the ground. To me, they're just not worth the weight/pack size penalty (and generally, high cost).

Motorcycle-specific tents are going to be costly in part because there's such a limited market for them. At least a $500 normal tent can be sold to mountaineers, serious hikers, etc. if it's limited to people on large motorbikes are prepared to carry a massive tent, you have a small market share. You'll struggle to recoup R&D costs and won't have the economies of scale of people who produce regular tents. Consequently, generally speaking, you'll get less tent for the money.
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:34 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerWilco View Post
One time when I was assigned to lake patrol duty, there was quite a bad storm that ripped through a couple of the campgrounds. Even some trees were uprooted and vehicles damaged. I noticed the only tents left standing were the good ones, all the cheap stuff had ripped apart at the seams, spars were snapped, outer flys torn up, etc.
The "expensive" tents came through it all: my own Dana Design tent, which I had loaned to a camping friend, was one of the ones left standing.
Darwin missed.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:36 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepinbanditrider View Post
Most tents go to crap because people store them in the stuff sack for long periods of time. This is horrible for the tent material and you WILL ruin a tent doing it over time.
Bullshit. This only happens if you store a tent in the stuff sack with any moisture in it. Get home. Set your tent up and let it dry out before putting it away. No issues.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:51 AM   #23
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A tale of two tents

I found a Swiss Army tent I wanted about 12 years ago; but balked at paying over $90 for a tent that I was likely only going to use a couple of times. It went on sale for $39.95. Over ten years later and a lot of use, it is still a great tent. I wanted something that would hold two people and two dogs with enough headroom for my over 6' large frame and bought this;


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Old 12-20-2012, 03:52 AM   #24
Ceri JC
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Originally Posted by duck View Post
Bullshit. This only happens if you store a tent in the stuff sack with any moisture in it. Get home. Set your tent up and let it dry out before putting it away. No issues.
Plus one; dry your tent (and if it's dirty clean it) when you get it home and then put it back in the stuff sack for storage. Takes up less space, good to go ready for next time and it will be fine. The scout troop I was a leader at did this with dozens of different tents; absolutely no problems, despite some of the tents being stored for almost a decade without an 'airing' at one stage.

It's people putting away tents that are wet that's the problem. I've gotten into the habit of unpacking in the garage as I get home from a trip and laying the tent out to dry in there. 2 days later, I put it back in the bag and take it into the house.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:54 AM   #25
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It is huge

Yes, I know it is huge; but it packs small and only weighs 14 pounds. That is three pounds more than my old tent that was only 48" tall. You will be able to see it at any campsite; that helps when I have been drinking.
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:18 AM   #26
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I am an admitted gear snob...i am not proud of that fact and i attribute it to my upbringing in the cradle of materialism OC CA. So be it... this is one of my few vices. I have a garage full of name brand expensive tents..and I would bet I haven't bought my last... that being said I don't see any reason a cheapo Walmart tent wouldnt serve for many years as a MC tent... my tents all serve double duty as backpacking tents so I pay a premium to get the weight down to a minimum. On my R1200 that is not an issue so i could certainly see using a Wally world tent if didn't already have a garage full of expensive tents. Go read Walter Colebatch's current ride report...a Coleman tent made that trip all the way across Kazakhstan and Mongolia. If you aren't concerned about weight/pack size i think a cheaper tent will serve you well. Learn how to tie it down...prob have to buy a few extra pegs and tie down lines, as the cheapo tents don't always come with them. IMHO YMMV

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Old 12-20-2012, 09:12 AM   #27
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What you get with the more you spend with tents and sleeping bags is smaller packed size and less weight, thats about it (talking about 3 season stuff). Most of the Walmart type 2-4 person tents are around 10-12 lbs packed weight, higher end 2-4 man tents are usually in the 4-6 lb range and can go as low as 3 pounds packed weight.
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:22 AM   #28
DaFoole
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I have a 12 yo cheapo Eureka dome with a plastic tub floor that is still going strong after a lot of hard use. Has remained waterproof and I can stand up in it. I was in a wind storm in Moab that blew trees down and I expected the tent do the same. Other than slapping me all night as the poles bent flat (I was actually hoping the poles would break so I could get some sleep...) it was none the worse for the wear. Other than the smell (It's gotten kinda rank over the years...probably has absorbed too many farts... ) I still love it. YMMV
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:08 PM   #29
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In 2004 I decided to retire my 2 person Andre Jamet center ridge pole tent originally bought in 1971 after 33 years. It was used all over Southern Africa, Europe and 28 US States. Light( 6 lbs), waterproof, wind proof, but a little small. Even back then it had a vestibule! Today it would be classed a a 4 season tent. It is still usable. Back in 1971 it cost me $70 - a lot for the time. I really got my monies worth out of it!

Not all tents are equal. Coleman make a range from the $39 Wally specials to better class $200+ ones. At one
point Coleman sold an 'Exponent' range of tents and bags - these were excellent value and quality.

Some tents one does pay for the name. How I now buy is by the technical specifications. Some sellers, such as Campmor, give the detailed specifcations of the tents they sell. An example is cheap tents tent to have coating thincknesses in the 800 range. Some of the 4 season tents in the 3000 - 5000 range. Poles from fiber-glass to aluminum.



And as others have commented, on several occasions, after a storm, the so-called cheaper tents were flattened, blown from their stakes or soaked through. Some also dont vent well and condensate badly inside.

My current tents are a Eureka Alpenlite XT for 4 season camping. Extra thick coating, extra strong and additional poles, well designed stakeout and support lines and one is able to close out the wind. For 3 season camping an REI Quarter Dome that is spacious and well ventilated. These can often be bought off-season for good discounts.

Go on-line. Read the technical specifications. Search for reviews on particular models you are interesrted in.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:17 AM   #30
Rick West
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Originally Posted by Happy Wanderer View Post
Meh... I think "you get what you pay for" applies here.
As it does in pretty much every product made. There will always be someone who has to tell people that his $39 disposable Walmart tent is as good as the premium ones that cost hundreds of dollars more, but nobody is fooled by it. If you can't afford a premium quality tent, then buy one that is in your budget. No need to pretend it's as good or has the same features that the expensive ones have.
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