MC Tents, why so much $$

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by BikeMan, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. BikeMan

    BikeMan smoke, drink, screw, ride

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    columbus, ohio
    #1
  2. BMW-K

    BMW-K F800GS FTW!

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,569
    Location:
    Anaheim, CA
    I wouldn't necessarily say that an MC Tent is more expensive as I would say that a GOOD tent really does cost some bucks. (*That is, unless they are cashing in on the marketing of the name).

    Marmot, North Face, Big Agnes, ERI - the big names in tents cost a lot more money because they are made better. Triple-loc seam construction, extra lightweight materials, better pole-connectors and framework, no seam floors and bath-tub floors, extended rain flys - it all adds up.

    I'd suggest looking at Sierra Trading Post and REI-Outlet for good deals on year and two year old models to save some money.

    But as to an MC specific tag? I'd say that's just the marketing talking.
    #2
  3. DaveStockwell

    DaveStockwell Rock Fodder

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Betwix the Cascades and Puget Sound
    BMW-K said it well. With over 20 years in the camping industry, I can tell you with certainty that the cost is all about the quality of construction, features and design. Any good two person tent will easily hit the $300 mark. I agree that Sierra Trading Post and REI-Outlet.com are two great sources for finding discounted product.

    The only tents that I have ever seen specifically designed for motorcycling are the small trailer tents and the Redverz (formerly Nomad Tent Company) http://redverz.com/tents.html.

    Otherwise, look for a good, lightweight backpacking tent with a large vestibule. I generally recommend going one person bigger than you need to accommodate your gear. (eg: motorcycle jackets take up much more space than your average TNF Goretex jacket.)
    #3
  4. NuckaMan

    NuckaMan Space Available

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    354
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    There are many things you can skimpy on but don't on a tent and sleeping bag. Life can seriously suck if either of those suck in shitty weather....even fair weather conditions, a tent that fails just makes the trip a little less fun.

    Same goes for luggage, buy the best you can afford.

    Trust me, learned my lesson the hard way cause I was a cheap ass on the wrong stuff.
    #4
  5. bomber60015

    bomber60015 Anatomically Correct

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    15,980
    Location:
    Chicago-ish
    All the guys above said it well . . . . .

    good stuff costs, almost always . . .

    add to that, good tents (small, light-ish, easily packable, setupable, strikable) . . . . the market simeply isn't very large -- it's not like they make 500K of any particular model . . . .so the cost reflects that small run reality.
    #5
  6. O'B

    O'B Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,343
    Location:
    Passing By The Highway
  7. Stan_R80/7

    Stan_R80/7 Beastly Gnarly

    Joined:
    May 12, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,674
    Location:
    VA
    These are neat tents. I prefer a floor and suffer the weight penalty. My best tent is a MSR Hubba-Hubba, which is a good mid-range (~$300) price tent. I bought mine on sale online at about 1/3 off.
    #7
  8. STUFF2C

    STUFF2C We Ain't Left Yet!!

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,079
    Location:
    O-lando
    watch for the $29 deals at the big box stores (usually Coleman or some major name) and leave them setup when you're done with them.

    I don't do this, but have met a few guys that do.:lol3

    I have a bibler... love the tent, HATE the floor they will leak!
    #8
  9. RogerWilco

    RogerWilco Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    332
    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.
    #9
  10. bemiiten

    bemiiten League of Adventures

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,066
    Location:
    Hamilton NJ.
    Been using a $30 tent for well over a decade, still going strong. I shop new tents all the time and see nothing I like better.
    #10
  11. S/W

    S/W Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    A couple of summers ago, I sat out a thunderstorm with winds so strong I watched a tent in the next campsite lift off the ground with people in it. My forty dollar tent survived undamaged. Part of tent survival is proper set up, allowing for wind direction, and using the right stakes for soil conditions.
    #11
  12. mwood7800

    mwood7800 Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    611
    Ok here's a diff view. My buddy did a trip to Alaska/ key west. Both ways. He started with 500$ tents and ended up with Walmart 50$ tents. His exact words were they were all the same as far as waterproof and bad weather. he saw no advantage between the high dollar and the Wallmart el cheapos. Oh I forgot he was on his bicycle.
    #12
  13. tattoogunman

    tattoogunman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    583
    Location:
    Plano, TX
    I've been looking as well and the only major difference I've seen between stuff at the "everything costs at least $200 or more" stores and what I can get from most sporting good or big box retailers is the weight and how small it packs. Fairly significant, but if you are on a budget, paying $50 for a Coleman (or whatever) and having to fork over $200-$400 for the average REI (or other fancy shop) tent is a pretty big deal.
    #13
  14. mwood7800

    mwood7800 Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    611
    I'm a tent nut still. I have had high dollar and cheaper tents. I am convinced that for 100$ you can get more tent than you will ever need motorbike camping.
    #14
  15. Happy Wanderer

    Happy Wanderer Day Dreaming.. .

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    215
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I'm not convinced. What is this $100 tent you speak of?
    #15
  16. VStromTom

    VStromTom Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,579
    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.
    #16
  17. Happy Wanderer

    Happy Wanderer Day Dreaming.. .

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    215
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    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! :D
    #17
  18. duck

    duck Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2004
    Oddometer:
    10,403
    Location:
    Seattle (Berkeley with rain)
    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.....
    #18
  19. Downs

    Downs KK6RBI

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,347
    Location:
    MCAS MIRAMAR
    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.
    #19
  20. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,462
    Location:
    All over, usually Wales or England
    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.
    #20