Recommend me the best Tent...

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Mane, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Mane

    Mane Been here awhile

    Apr 16, 2002
    I've never camp before but I plan to do so in the future, however a situation has come up and I'll have to camp for one night with my oldest daughter (7 years old) in a few weeks. No bike related at this time...

    Here's the deal..

    Since I'll have to purchase a tent, I would rather purchase the right one than get a cheap one and throw it away soon after.

    Since I know near to nothing about camping and related stuff I would like hear some recommendations on which gear (specs, brands, etc) I should look after .:ear

    Thanks for your advice...

  2. mookybird

    mookybird Gramps

    Nov 4, 2011
    Olympic Peninsula, Washington State
    Steep n Cheap had a good looking three person tent for $127 a couple of days ago, if budget matters you might look there. Sierra Designs, North Face, Marmot and a bunch of others all make good quality tents. I would look for something 3 season that is the size you want.

    Hillebrand is the maker if your going to get into a who spent the most on their tent contest, I haven't owned one but I'm sure their nice.
  3. Patch

    Patch Long timer

    May 4, 2011
    Southwestern New England
    If you get a 2-person, look for vertical walls and a tall inside height (so you can sit up comfortably) - a 3-person will likely have greater dimensions in these regards, and a basic recreational tent will be less costly and should hold up well for occasional use.

    These suggestions based on the fact that most kids LOVE camping and as for my son, his favorite part was being in the tent... its like a fort! Sitting up and playing cards, games, etc is more comfortable in more space. Plus, if she's not camped before (or often) camping out, even with Dad, can be scary so the safety of the tent might mean you spend more time in it rather than around a fire, etc.

    And if it rains ... you already have enough space to be inside comfortable.
  4. gweaver

    gweaver NorCal is Best Cal!

    Aug 20, 2005
    Sonoma County, CA
    If possible, try to visit your local outfitter. A tent might look good based on its specs, but it's pretty important to set it up and crawl around in it. If you've got an REI or similar store in your area, an opportunity to get inside, lie down, move around and really check it out will be invaluable. Don't forget places like Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain all sell tents too. We have a 4-man dome tent, and for my wife and I and our two kids, it's way too small. We're actually looking at upgrading to an 8 or 10 man, just to have plenty of room. Never underestimate the value of a large tent. :deal
  5. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Farto Motografist

    Jul 23, 2010
    Twin Cities, Minnesota USA
    Get the really expensive one that everyone is typically out of.

    Call around frantically, and find one, only to race others to get there and find it gone.

    Couple years ago, I was getting ready for a couple week long adventure, and was tent shopping. I read everything I could, and made a choice based on what I learned or wanted in a tent.

    And then could not find one in stock anywhere.

    This was the one, a quick search and I clicked on the first link, and walla, it's still OUT OF STOCK today, two years later.

    I would have considered the two person one as well. Link below.

    That must say something about the quality. I bought a shiddy no name tent instead. :cry

  6. mulausk

    mulausk n00b

    Mar 13, 2013
    Manhattan, KS
    Tents... like many other things in life, you get what you pay for.

    As mentioned, the above brands will be quality. I'd also add Mountain Hardwear to the list.

    Check for sales, and also Closeout tents are great deals, typically.

    I will cast a vote for Sierra Designs. My favorite tent is a 2-3 person Meteor Light that my wife & I received as a wedding present... 18yrs ago. It's still the tent I use when I solo camp, but there is plenty of room for 2-3 people (or 2 people & a Labrador :D). Rock solid, never leaks, everything works like it is supposed to, zippers still going strong, easy to put up, and packs small. We now have a 6-person Sierra Designs tent for our entire family, but it would be too big to pack on a bike.

  7. bomber60015

    bomber60015 tikkun olam

    Sep 11, 2008
    Figure the number of folks that will occupy the tent, then add 1 to the number to reach the size of the tent you desire -- this'll have room for your gear and you.

    Set a budget, and go look at actual, real world tents. This will help a great deal when you buy one . . . .

    suggest you avoid tents with sleeves to contain the poles, but choose a test with hooks that allow the tent to hang form the pole . . . .

    3 season will likely serve you well . . . .

    as with so many other things, what is best for you may not be in the running for me . . . . . .
  8. Juggernaut

    Juggernaut Been here awhile

    Apr 7, 2009
    Wherever my GSA takes me
    Personally I like the Big Agnes Fly Creek tent. Lightweight, and extremely weather resistant.
  9. terryckdbf

    terryckdbf Pickles

    Jun 1, 2006
    Perry, Ga
    Based on "never camped before and 7 years old" I can relate.

    I have a Marmot 4 person, several hundred dollars, you know, two vestibules, two entrances, etc., very good tent. My High school daughter needed a tent for a weekend river campout with the school. I said "Not gonna take mine and ruin it." Went to Target and got this Coleman on sale for $49 thinking go ahead and destroy it. She had a great weekend. 12 year old son and I went camping on the bike and took the Coleman just so I could see how it did. Rained all night, not a drop of water got in, ventilation good even with the fly, plenty of room, packs very small, not backpacking small, but small enough. Kids can and will break anything, trip getting in and out, spill dinner inside, knock over everything moving about, you know, kid stuff.

    This tent has held up beyond anything I expected, and yes it is not perfect and has flaws but when the kid and I go the Coleman goes.

    This is the tent, not on sale:

    Not trying to talk you out of a better tent as I believe in quality, just a different perspective and no matter what you get your daughter will remember the camp out forever. Have fun.

    Don't forget a footprint, it will save the day, I use an inexpensive tarp from Lowe's.

  10. Rider_WV

    Rider_WV Long timer

    Apr 3, 2008
    Leon, WV
    My Big Agnes tent is the best quality tent I have owned. They sell very nice products.
  11. Dale950

    Dale950 Long timer

    Sep 7, 2004
    Melb / Australia
    The Nemo Losi 2 is a nice tent , I own one .
    I like the look of the MSR Hoop tent too .
    Exped tents are very good .
  12. el Pete

    el Pete toda su base

    Mar 3, 2009
    colinas del norte, california sur
    This is great advice.

    And make sure you look for features suitable for your climate. If you're camping around Central America, you likely want something with good ventilation and rain protection.
  13. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

    Feb 21, 2010
    Canada's ocean playground
    Get something for 3 people, maybe in the 7x7, 7x9ish range, and a vestibule.

    I don't agree about spending lots for a one nighter, first trip. Try to look at some at your local camping stores to give you an idea of floor space and height. Once you got the size figured out then it comes down to cost. I have a 50 buck tent that my daughter (now 11) and i have used 5-6 times a yr for the past few yrs motorcycle camping, still looks new and works great, and the only difference in that and a tent that costs 4x that is packed size, ease of setup and a few extras. But if you and daughter are car camping who gives a crap about minimal pack size and 3 extra minutes to set up.

    Save the money on a tent and get a good bag with pad. With a tent, it only has to keep you dry, you can spend a 1000 bucks on a tent, but if you spend 30 bucks on a sleeping bag its gonna suck. Buy a 50 buck tent and a good mat and bag and you'll be in heaven.

    Good luck and have fun with the daughter.
  14. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

    Jun 19, 2010
    You don't have to buy a tent, you can rent one. Then you get some experience before dropping $350 on a decent tent.

    Some self supporting tents have more guy lines than others. less is better. Then buy reflective lines to replace the originals.

    Avoid Goretex. (single wall tents)

    Get a footprint. it allows you to see the footprint of the tent on the ground. You then lay down and roll around on it to find the rocks and pine cones. You can also check to make sure the slope is ok. You want your head uphill.

    Tents with big vestibules are nice.

    Get a couple big cheap mesh duffles and store the tent fluffed up in them when you aren't using it. Only pack it down for a trip. Dust the coated side of any coated nylon with talcum powder before storage.

    Stakes often suck. Test them on hard ground before a trip. Get good aluminum Y stakes as needed. If you will be on sand, get sand/snow stakes as needed.

    4 season tents are sturdier than 3 season, but the may not have the headroom, which is nice. Cost more too.

    Rain flys should be factory seam sealed.

    Scotchgaurd everything before a trip.

    Some tents have the poles running through sleeves, some have the tent hanging from the poles with clips. The clips are a lot easier to deal with in the dark, rain and when severely intoxicated.

    REI has a lot of house branded stuff. Chinese made crap. Avoid. They are also often pretty expensive. I've owded 3 good tents, one was an REI 6 man expedition tent from the 60's or earlier. One pole up the middle and a lot of guy lines, snow tunnel entrance, tunnel ventilation for getting drifted over, etc. . You could stand in it next to the pole. killer tent. Only info I could find on it was some pics of an Everest expedition. Died the death of tent funk. (smelly deterioration of the coatings on the nylon). Then I had a Walrus 4 seasom. Didn't like the pole sleeves but excellent otherwise.. it got stolen. Now I have a Mountain Hardware 4 season. Great tent, not a ton of headroom. Will withstand anything. Has internal lines you can rig for severe wind. Fast to set up, no leaks, no bugs. Good volume at the shoulders.

    Most good tents will have a couple interior side pockets. Overhead hanging loops are nice. Hang up your lantern. Gear lofts only for the hardcore, they kill headroom.

    Lot of contenders here, I would lean towards the Mountain Hardwear and Marmot tents:
  15. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

    Feb 8, 2008
    Collingwood, Ontario
    I'd be leery of buying the "best equipment" if you never camped before. Like trying to buy the perfect motorcycle when you're just learning to ride.

    If you start camping and enjoy it, you'll quickly decide what works for YOU, and then you can decide what is the "best" tent.

    This is a steal for $80:



    Reviews indicate that Alps is very good quality for the price point. Only knock on this model, which matters to some folks and not to others, is that it isn't free standing. The poles don't connect or cross each other, rather it uses the tie-out stakes tension the roof, rather than poles. As long as you can pound a stake into the ground, or find melon-sized rocks to anchor the corners, this works fine. This design helps increase improve headroom, and reduce weight.

    It is pretty light, and packs pretty small. I like side entry much better than end, and having 2 doors and 2 vestibules.

    I wouldn't choose a 2-person tent for 2 adults, but the 2-person size should be fine for 1 + a 7 year old, and perfect for solo.

    I bought the same tent from Steep and Cheap last Fall, but as it is still winter here, it has not be used yet.
  16. CJGamer

    CJGamer Adventurer

    Feb 11, 2013
    South Central Pennsylvania
    I have an ALPS tent and love it- mine is a 1 and a half person model perfect for on my bike to put gear in with me. Good quality for the money- light enough, and enough room.
    That said- We also have a Kelty that I got a few years ago as a special one they made for Target- it was $99 and a 4 person that really is a 3 person tent- that we use all the time in the backyard etc.....great for the kids. A lot of times the big companies have a special line for target etc...
    that said- a basic coleman 7 by 9 or something like that for 80 bucks is prolly all you need. Target, Dicks, bass pro etc.
  17. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

    Feb 8, 2008
    Collingwood, Ontario
    What's cool is that right now, the Alps 2-man is $80, so I'd choose that over Coleman or made for Target, as those are made to sell for $80, not $220, and tend to be heavy.
  18. Cerberus83

    Cerberus83 The Wingman

    Feb 4, 2010
    Cleveland, OH
    I got Mountain Hardware Drifter 2 with the footprint for ~$140 @ Sierra Trading. Takes 5min to pitch and it's a great 1 person tent (plus gear). Super light with aluminum poles. You can def fit 2 adults (made for two people, hence the name) but I think it's going to be quite cozy :)

    There's Drifter 3 as well, but more mula...
  19. Mr. Fisherman

    Mr. Fisherman PROUD 2B Riff Raff!

    Oct 8, 2006
    Drinking from the Stanley Cup!
    First, Maybe try borrowing a tent or get a cheap one to see if you are going to be up for tenting.

    After you have decided you are up for it, go for it.

    It took me along time to step up to what I have now and I love it. I saved enough money camping vs staying at hotels to cover the cost in my mind. Besides, hotels are too far from the fun around a camp fire and the views are not even close. This outfit goes anywhere and I am comfortable rain, snow or shine.







    It is a Kifaru Sawtooth

    More info on their forum here:

    Not for everyone, maybe not for you.

    Their gear is expensive and addicting. I started with a 4 man tipi that I found used, then got a 6 man, now I have the Sawtooth.

    Getting older I appreciate being sable to walk into my tent, not having to leave my boots outside if they are muddy or wet, being able to sit in a chair by the fire in the rain, sleet or snow and being able to dry gear on the drying line when needed.

    The shelter weighs less than some 2 man tents at 4 pounds 8 ounces.

    The wood burning stove weighs 4 pounds 10 ounces and packs smaller than some laptop computers.

    So for 9 pounds 2 ounces I have a true 4 season shelter that can withstand more than I want to that can keep me comfortable and provide shelter in case of whatever an adventure might bring.
  20. danh600

    danh600 Been here awhile

    Jan 23, 2011
    South Florida
    Lots of good suggestions in the follow up posts. I would just add a few things.

    1. Buy as nice a tent as you can afford.
    2. Put it up at home BEFORE you go camping. Every tent goes together a little different. The modern tent poles are very nice, but can take a bit to get the concept the first time you put the tent together. A dark camp site is not a great place to put together a tent the first time.
    3. Make sure the tent is clean and dry before you store it. If it was wet when you packed it camping take it back out and dry it when you get home.