Help with choosing tent

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by mass-klr, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. mass-klr

    mass-klr Been here awhile

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    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?
    #1
  2. mookybird

    mookybird Gramps

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    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.
    #2
  3. Claytonroy

    Claytonroy Been here awhile

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    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.
    #3
  4. fuhgawee

    fuhgawee Thats a road?

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    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.
    #4
  5. Krazyjohnny

    Krazyjohnny Been here awhile

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    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.
    #5
  6. GSBS

    GSBS FunHog

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    ...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:
    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. SplitRock

    SplitRock Been here awhile

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    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
    #7
  8. acap650

    acap650 acap650

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    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.
    #8
  9. Fener6

    Fener6 The Container Man

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

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    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: http://www.cabelas.com/view-all-tents-alps-mountaineering-mystique-1-5-tent-1.shtml?WT.tsrc=CSE&WT.mc_id=GoogleBaseUSA&WT.z_mc_id1=03555046&rid=40&channel=GoogleBaseUSA&mr:trackingCode=7F42B4ED-D5D5-E111-8DC4-001B21631C34&mr:referralID=NA
    #10
  11. fuhgawee

    fuhgawee Thats a road?

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    I'm with ya but wasnt going there.....that would require a whole different thread :deal
    #11
  12. bomber60015

    bomber60015 Anatomically Correct

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    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!
    #12
  13. Patch

    Patch Been here awhile

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    :huh I hope you're kidding. Thats a real douche bag move.
    #13
  14. Patch

    Patch Been here awhile

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    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.
    #14
  15. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    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
    #15
  16. Hughes500Pilot

    Hughes500Pilot Adventurer

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    I have been using a REI Camp Dome 2 for a while now. It's good quality, packs down small, has two poles that are the same size (makes setup easier) and has plenty of room inside. And it is only $100 (plus another $25 for the footprint). Here is a photo without the included rain fly on it. -Steve

    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer

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    With tents, you'll regret going really cheap I'm afraid.

    If you have equipment that is easy to use and functions well .............. you'll be apt to use it more often. :D I'd shoot for something more "middle of the road" pricewise. I think high quality expensive four season mountaineering tents are usually overkill for bike camping ......... unless you are going to be doing a LOT of it.

    I agree with looking at REI and Campmor. But if i were you, I'd go to the vendors section here on ADV and look for the thread for Full Throttle Camping. Every Fall/Winter they have a "yardsale" and try to move stock to get ready for next year. They have some great deals on some quality gear. I've also found the reps there to be extremely knowledgeable and helpful.

    Good luck!
    #17
  18. DRGNHTR

    DRGNHTR Dragonhunter

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    Don't buy for a one week trip.

    I've owned the Timberline (a good, cheap tent), a North Face ( a good expensive Tent) and currently have a Mountain Hardware. If your not sure what you want and it's for a one week trip I would suggest renting. Talk to the people, set up what they recommend or offer and go with what works for you.
    #18
  19. genka

    genka SUV hater

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    I got a killer deal in Flea Market for an expensive ($400+) tent from Mountain Hardwear. It is pretty light, but it packs pretty big, even $40 tent from Walmart fits in a smaller sack. It also has a low roof and the material is very thin, although I had no problems with it. While weight is the top priority for a backpacker, I'd look for a tent that packs small for bike travel.
    For the best bugs and moisture protection pick a mostly mesh tent with a separate rainfly.
    #19
  20. eddie98

    eddie98 Been here awhile

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    We invested in a good tent last year for our trip to the SW. we bought a Marmott from REI. We had it setup in the store so we could test it out and see how big it was.
    #20