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Camping tent suggestions?

tomtaylz

LJR Addict
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 18, 2018
1,974
San Francisco, CA, USA
I'd recommend checking around on craigslist and seeing what's out there too if you haven't already. Around me there's a ton of gently used tents for cheap, and if you have an idea of what you're looking for there's good deals. I recently purchased an older REI Kingdom 6 with the footprint and everything for $200 (they're very spendy new) and I love it. It's comically large, has multiple rooms and kept me extremely dry during a recent trip, and I can just about stand up in it.

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Farmergreg

Just a "Web Wheeler"
Supporting Member
Mar 25, 2018
530
WC Indiana
I'd recommend checking around on craigslist and seeing what's out there too if you haven't already. Around me there's a ton of gently used tents for cheap, and if you have an idea of what you're looking for there's good deals. I recently purchased an older REI Kingdom 6 with the footprint and everything for $200 (they're very speedy new) and I love it. It's comically large, has multiple rooms and kept me extremely dry during a recent trip, and I can just about stand up in it.

View attachment 86089
Dude you need to submit this for "tent of the month" what a gorgeous spot!
 

Sundowner

Sheepless Hobo
Supporting Member
Feb 6, 2019
828
Republic of Dave
Rather than a 6- or 8-person tent for a family of four, try two 3-4 person inexpensive Coleman tents instead.

Let the kids have their own tent. You'll thank me later
Seconded.

Site selection for a single large tent is often a pain in the ass; my largest tent is about 10' by 16' when fully pitched, and the guylines add another 12' to both of those dimensions...so although that tent is both bombproof and palatial, the footprint is massive. Having two smaller tents will allow for many more possible sites, and also give everyone some much-needed privacy. In a tent, two are comfortable, three are a crowd, and four are a recipe for immediate sectarian violence.
 
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Mrgreg66

Member
Mar 18, 2019
87
Hayden, Idaho
I have probably around 1000 nights of tent camping in my life ranging from winter backpacking to leading youth groups camping in open meadows. I personally think that Coleman's quality is no longer what it used to be. I have purchased at least 40 - 50 tents over the last 30 years for myself and my youth group and the inexpensive ($100 - $200) tents they make do not seem to last more than a year or two now. they are also not very water tight and do not hold up well to significant wind. They are still not a bad place to start to stay in your budget, especially if your camping will mostly be fair weather. But if you decide you will do a lot of tent camping, you should look at the Cabela's Alaskan Guide or REI Basecamp or any other 4 pole tent with a full vestibule. The Vestibule keeps rain from leaking onto your tent floor every time you unzip the door and gives you a place to put shoes and other gear you don't want to sleep with. the four pole design, if coupled with quality fabric and stitching will endure high winds without collapsing or shredding. I also like to put a folding stool in the vestibule to sit on to put on shoes etc. If car camping and weight is not an issue, always prefer a tent that I can fully stand up in for changing etc.

That said, I have not personally slept in a tent more than a few times in the last 10 years, I usually take my hammock or build a shelter - definitely not for everyone. :)
snow trench.jpg
 

Jeanette Ball

New Member
Oct 15, 2018
14
Oregon
Never used a tent in recent memory but going camping in June and looking to buying one. Just a regular tent, not a fancy TJ overland type tent. I’d like one preferably 6-8 ppl for my family of 4, and just as important, one that it fairly quick and simple to pitch as I would probably be doing it solo with minimal help. I’m not familiar with tent pricing but I don’t want to spend a boat load if I can help it. It’ll be a first tent and I’d like to see if I like camping enough to do it often. Any suggestions?
I Just purchased one! Absolutely LOVE IT!!!!!! Mine is a Free Spirit Tent. I purchased the Awning as well. Mine is the larger tent Here is the link if interested. https://gofsr.com

high-country-series-80-roof-top-tent-grey-black-4-season-left-RTHC80305_1800x1800.png
 

qslim

Try putting a torch on it
Supporting Member
Sep 17, 2018
177
Utah
I have a Coleman instatent and a Core. The Core is worth the extra money.

In addition to a tarp to put the tent on, buy some of the small camping cots, and nice (warm) sleeping bags.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VFH1RQS/?tag=wranglerorg-20

I picked up a CORE in the middle of last season, that thing rules. I got the 9 person, and starting with the thing still in the bag it takes me less than 5 minutes to have it up and staked. Only used it 3 times so far so I can't speak to long term durability, but if you're looking for ease of setup you can't beat it.
 
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Aloha Joe

Member
Oct 31, 2018
61
Honolulu, HI, USA
I've had a few of the Coleman Instant Canopies and absolutely love them. They literally go up in under a minute, regardless of your experience, and the quality is pretty decent. There's plenty of youtube videos to demonstrate. Note that (at the time I bought mine) the rain fly had to be purchased separately. Whenever I go camping, it always seems I'm setting up a tent when it's dark and I just want to get inside. These have been perfect for that. I used to sell tents at a world-renowned camping store, FWIW. Coleman isn't a 'high end' tent, but the quality of the instant canopies is pretty decent.
 

Chief Brohician

Member
Supporting Member
Apr 25, 2019
47
Guntersville, AL
I spend (or try) 30+ nights annually camping. I use a tent cot. Simple, comfortable, off the ground and warm. When one of my (adult) sons comes, they bring a tent. When the wife comes, she brings the house.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000I641UQ/?tag=wranglerorg-20

Old school approach but it works great for me.
A tent cot. WOW. The Army uses those now and I have to say the ones we get sucks swampy nuts. The condensation is horrible. Not ventilation. We sleep in tent cots in a GP medium Army tent, so no air flow and it is always cold outside. 4 years and 9 months to go and the party begins.
 

tworley

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
May 23, 2018
2,271
Morrison, CO
I have a kelty 4 person tent, its cramped with two people. However, it is easy to set up, has held up for the last 4 years (minus a squirrel chewing to get in). IIRC it was originally $250 or so.

20170401_182548.jpg
 
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Brian Zemaitis

Member
Supporting Member
Oct 23, 2018
49
Wesley Chapel, FL
I’ve also done a bunch of camping both car camping and backpacking. Lots of great ideas here. I would honestly suggest not spending a lot of money in the beginning. If it turns into something you like to do than invest the money then. For now, if you are car camping go to a big box like Walmart and get the features that you need in your price range. The cost increases when you want something lighter, more durable, something easier to put up. I’d go to Wally World and get one of theirs. Use it. If it works, keep it. If something breaks, take it back. But for a short camping trip, unless you going to Denali park in Alaska, you should be good. Other options are Craig’s list. But that is truly buyer beware. You buy it and if something is wrong you are screwed on your trip.
 
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g.hayduke

TJ Enthusiast
Feb 19, 2019
194
New Mexico
I would not buy a cheap, no-name tent. If you want a good camping experience, you want to check a few boxes:

- Big enough for the number of people to sleep, change clothes, etc. And think about ease of entry and exit.

- Easy to set up and take down and practice doing so before going camping. The last thing you want to be doing is trying to decipher how to set up your tent in the dark and/or rain.

- It needs to keep you dry! Many cheap tents will not keep you dry if it rains. Want a terrible camping experience? Sleep in a leaky tent in the rain. Or a tent with an inadequate rain fly where a light breeze blows the rain onto fabric or screening that offers no protection.

- If you are going to camp in windy areas, it needs to handle that.

- I highly recommend shock-corded poles. I've had some tents where each pole is multiple separate pieces that have to be fit together but easily come apart while you are trying to set up. Nightmare!

Read reviews. Talk to the staff at REI or EMS or maybe Cabellas or Bass Pro.

IMO, any tent is an investment and a cheesy tent is a waste of money.

I am personally ready to buy a new car camping tent but have not started researching it yet. Right now, I have a 2-person backpack tent but it's not ideal for car camping. It's a decent tent (REI), keeps us dry and handles wind pretty well, but tight for 2 people and getting in & out is a pain for my 60-something year-old self.

I'll start my search at REI but will do some googling an read a ton of reviews before pulling the trigger.
 

pagrey

TJ Enthusiast
Apr 10, 2018
810
Los Angeles, CA, USA
@Brian Zemaitis has a great suggestion. There are frequently very new expensive Coleman tents on craigslist for a reason. Buy big new tent, go camping, family doesn't like camping, sell tent. I'm not suggesting buy a used tent, just learn from other peoples mistakes.
 

g.hayduke

TJ Enthusiast
Feb 19, 2019
194
New Mexico
Another option is to try before you buy. REI rents tents and all sorts of camping gear. Might help you decide if you like camping and also what type of gear you really want.

And while a big tent is great in nice weather on a big site, they are less likely to handle adverse conditions like wind. And many places I camp simply don't have a good spot for a huge tent. So think about footprint and my advice is don't go bigger than you really need to be relatively comfortable.
 
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