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BD says, "I would never buy walmart tents....or off brand names... "
My experience may very well be an exception, but I have to share.
I have a small Kelty tent ($$$$) from my bachelor days, and my wife has a cheap, off brand tent she bought at Big Lots when she was single ($)....
I have to hang my head and admit, that her tent is better, in almost every way. Easier to set up, a little roomier even though both are three man tents..... weight is approx equal, It doesn't leak a drop, and we used it for years after we were married and has held up well. We don't use it much any more since we have outgrown it, but it's still in great shape.
I think the only place my high dollar Kelty excels, would be in a gale on the side of an exposed mountain.
Again, this might be an exception, but brand isn't everything....
A lot of it comes down to what kind of weight you are willing to deal with. Looking at the Teragon 7 I was about to cry thinking about being 12 years old and adding an extra 5 pounds on my pack, but that's mostly due to the hiking focus of the troop I grew up in. If you are doing less distance and closer location, that sounds fine. With lighter weight comes more fragility and need for care, and yes, higher cost, so that is something to take into consideration.
As a starter tent though, the Teragon sounds like a fair trade off. If you can really fit 3 in there, the weight can be brought down to 3 pounds or so a boy, which is managable. If it's closer to 2, it's a pain but can still be done.
When I was looking for canoe paddles I called Carlisle, maker of paddles, owned by Johnson Outdoors. They set me up with a factory rep who enrolled me in a program for groups and businesses that buy gear. I bought a dozen paddles for almost 50% off retail and picked them up at a local Carlisle retailer.
Johnson Outdoors owns Eureka Tents, maybe a call could get you a decent discount. Ask to talk to a factory rep.
Sound advice, Eagle. Another option is to call around to local businesses and see if they can cut you some deals. Might not be the best deal you get, but it never hurts to shop around and support the local businesses if it makes sense.
Barry, sorry, I missed your earlier response. I was distracted by another thread :-).
Yes, we've contacted Eureka, and we're working on getting replacement poles. I did that for one of my 5x7 tents too, a couple of years ago, and when another tent pole shredded, I bought a pole repair kit. But a free replacement from Eureka is a much better deal. :-)
Get them making their own gathered end hammocks! About half of our scouts have their own. On our Appalachian Trail weekend, every scout slept in a hammock. Check out hammockforum.net to find plans. It can be thrift if you shop around for the ripstop.