Announcement Module
No announcement yet.

Cheap Backpacking tent

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
Conversation Detail Module
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Cheap Backpacking tent

    My son and I are going on a weekend backpacking trip in August wit the troop. Anyone have an recomendation on a cheap backing tents? I am not sure how much he will be into backpack so I don't want to spend a ton until I know it something the troop will do more off. This trip is our troops first foray into backpacking.

    We are preparing now by doing a bunch of day hikes of varous length to get the boy and adults ready. We could use one of the troops tents but they are a little big.
    Any recomendation would be great.

    Here is what I have found

    Eagle's Camp Crystal Canyon Backpacker Dome Tent $49.99 at Cabelas

  • #2
    Check out the geometry. That 5 feet is at the waist not the head and feet. I hope you like to snuggle with your son in august and someone is going to get stepped on getting out. I would set it up and try it out in the back yard some night first. I personally would rather sleep under the stars than in anything less than a 3 man rated tent with two people in August. You could also look for one that has two doors. I would prioritize what functions you want your tent to serve. Weather protection, bugs, wind, gear, animals, comfort, weight, price etc. Rain flys that go to the ground or near it are great for rain but really suck for ventilation. I like ventilation, my bag will keep me warm if needed. I hate getting stuck in a Marmot, with some moron parent from the troop that insists on the full fly when no rain is forecast. Sauna.


    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      BD is right. That was bad advise. Don't evaluate your tent decision based on YOUR needs and preferences. Base it on his or my needs and preferences. I now highly recommend spending 4 times the amount you are comfortable with for something that has a high probability of never getting used again based on your stated needs and preferences. Don't try it out first and see if works for you, test in the field, that is the only way to go. More adventurous. Two doors is so overkill, oh wait, BD now thinks that is a good thing, I'm confused. Oh well, nothing new.

      Don't even consider not buying a tent. BD would never consider that option for a thrifty scout.

      You should also get an expensive hammock while your at it. Sorry, make that two expensive hammocks. They are compact and will fit nicely on a shelf in your basement until your next garage sale. Since you and your troop are experienced backpackers you know for certain there will be suitable trees where the troop decides to camp.

    • Basementdweller
      Basementdweller commented
      Editing a comment
      KDD since your going to be a knucklehead. I hope you still don't share a tent with your scout.....Seriously. The boy should be sleeping with his patrol....We do not permit parents to sleep with their scouts......Generally the boys don't want to sleep with dad.....

      When my troop started backpacking we used plastic sheeting.....we used treking poles or rope suspended between two trees......10x10 or 20x10, gives you a floor worked really well 3mil or better if you can find it.....

      so you want the cheapest solution......Plastic sheeting and a couple pieces of rope....Not bug proof, no floor Condensation can be an issue depending on how you pitch it........But it is lightweight, water proof and cheap.

      We experimented with tyvek to make our tents....but it was too fragile for the boys.

      So KDD tell me exactly how many nights you have Backpacking????? How many miles a year????? I bet is going to be zero or less than 10... So while you have an opinion.....It is not based on first hand experience..... But what you have read or may have heard......

      The older guys backpack 3 times a the intro trip with the new guys.....We average about 100 miles or so a year..... I am hoping that I can talk the PLC into going to the Dolly Sods in WV instead or the trips we have already completed.

      I ordered Jamboree tents for general troop use....They are 3 or 4 man....they weigh 18 pounds a piece...

      There are many hammock hangers here......I will say it isn't for everyone. I will spend three weeks in it this summer, Troop resident camp, webelos camp and troop backpacking trip. So the extra comfort and expense is warranted in my opinion.......

    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      This gentleman is going on a backpack trip in August, and it it is going to be less than 10 degrees??? On this troops first foray into backpacking ??? Just when and where do you think this troop that has never been on a backpack trip is going to start camping in freezing conditions ? Did you bother to read his whole post? I did. This may very well be the only backpacking trip he or this Scout does EVER. He is trying to be thrifty and your advise on post 7 is not helpful to his stated situation.

      Your right he should not be sleeping with his son but that is his decision to make and indicated he might do so by stating his other option is to borrow ONE of the troops heavy tents.

      The only time my boy was ever in my tent as a BS was when his patrol's tent (kelty) failed and was flooding during a continuous rainstorm at 42 degrees, the rest of the patrol slept in cars. But you already know that story. Would hypothermia have made him a better scout ?

  • #3
    I was thinking about buying one for each of us. I just don't want to spend $200 or $400 for something we oly use once. Anyone have any suggestion?


    • #4
      All I have ever done with backpacking is a military poncho. Stake down 3 corners and lift the fourth with your walking stick. There's a ton of variations one can use to modify this setup. 2 forked sticks and put the walking stick horizontal, using the 4th corner as a mini-awning. Keeps the driving rain out a bit. The poncho can be used while hiking to cover both and hiker AND the backpack. Also can be used as a backpack cover when one is meadow-crashing. Worse case scenario for bad weather? 2 ponchos and they still weigh less than a tent, one to cover your pack at night and the other to sleep under. So what are you out? So what's a surplus poncho running now adays? $20? I got mine so long ago, what I paid is no longer relevant.


      • #5
        Where are you backpacking and for how long?


        • #6
          Check out alps mountaineering and sign up for their program at we have about 8 of their lynx-2 with the aluminum poles we bought during the Christmas sale and they work fine.
          They have a vestibule and an entrance on each side. Their scout direct price is close to $100. You may want to invest in better stakes.


          • dcsimmons
            dcsimmons commented
            Editing a comment
            I also have and like the Lynx 2 tent. I'm not a super scouter so I've only taken it backpacking once. I'd split the load between two scouts; 3 pounds each roughly. They'll be perfectly comfortable inside for sleeping since their gear will be in the vestibules or under a tarp outside. More importantly they'll be tired from a long day on the trail It will catch some condensation with two people inside so definitely keep the vents open. If it's not going to rain and they get stuffy inside, leave the doors open for ventilation. For other trips it's more than comfortable for one person with their gear inside if they must. I've also used it for winter camping in northern Illinois with a dew cloth. Definitely warmer with two scouts then .

          • Jeff in MI
            Jeff in MI commented
            Editing a comment
            I picked up a lynx 2 on sale through scout direct for $75. My son and I fit comfortably in the tent. Scout Direct is the way to go if you're gearing up for backpacking.

        • #7
          So what are your thoughts regarding your tent purchase??? Solely for backpacking???? Troop car camping as well??????

          A car camping tent will not backpack well and a backpacking tent is'nt all that comfortable. It is about weight.....The more crap you put in your pack the heavier it will be and typically the less fun you will have....

          I like a full fly tent regardless of the weather, You can pitch it with out the fly or put the fly on and leave it rolled up high on the tent... Then when that late afternoon thunderstorm rolls thru your good..... We got stuck in our tents one evening for 12 hours it was november and just about dark so it was all good.....Poured buckets for way to many of those hours.... My guys were all dry...It was a good thing it was a 4-6 hour walk back to the cars in the morning.....

          I like vestibule......Keeps muddy boots and gear out of the interior......
          I like Two doors....So your not crawling over each other
          I like the door to secure to the top of the opening....Marmot secures to the bottom and the screens get buggered up.
          I like free standing.....Less likely to have to get out of the tent in the rain to reposition a stake....
          I like full fly
          I like lower profile....less wind issues and the smaller guys can manage them......

          I shop a lot on steep and cheap.....I picked up enough backpacking tents to equip the troop.....We use Sierra Design Zolo2 and Marmot limelight 2's.....The zolo is 8 feet long too.....

          Looking at your cabelas tent.....It doesn't have a vestibule.....A two man tent without a vestibule is a one man tent.....for the price you could buy two......but the tent weighs 5 pounds which is a bit much for a solo shelter.....Depending on where you go the might not allow solo tents....

          I hammock when I can......but that is another thread.Warbonnett blackbird, hammock gear quilts, Super fly......Not as light as a tent but much more comfortable.


          • #8
            Here's a 7'x7' tent weighing less than 5 pounds for $30 at Walmart. It has a tub floor design to keep ground moisture out, but the rainfly is not very substantial. It would make a good starter tent if you are going when the weather is nice and no chance of rain.


            • jblake47
              jblake47 commented
              Editing a comment
              If the weather is nice and no chance of rain, leave the tent at home and carry 7# of something more useful.

            • dedkad
              dedkad commented
              Editing a comment
              @jblake47, I suppose that could work for MichScouter, since he lives in Michigan, but here in California along the coast, August can mean fog and dew. I prefer to stay dry inside my tent. Just curious, though, if you had 5 pounds to spare, what is the "more useful" item you would bring instead of a tent?

            • jblake47
              jblake47 commented
              Editing a comment
              Some sort of waterproof tarp/poncho would keep the dew off would be okay.

              Nicer, less expensive foods that aren't dehydrated would be a "luxury".

              Bit more water that would mean longer time between filtration necessities.

              One wouldn't have to be anal about cutting down on items.

              Maybe a small travel game or two, cards, etc.

              Extra socks or heavier clothing for cool evenings. Or maybe an extra light blanket if the evenings in the mountains are a bit cooler than what the boys are used to.

              Walking stick.

              Mostly things that would not be set aside as not really necessary because of weight concerns.

              What happens especially on the first time backpacking is that the boys over pack their stuff. One doesn't have to be so harsh, the over packing is a bit more forgiving to the newbies. Down the road a bit, they can learn the finesse of doing it correctly, but it doesn't discourage them on the first few outings of misjudgments. Even if one were to pack right and leave a 5# tent behind, the lighter load for a newbie would be greatly appreciated, especially if they are a bit out of shape.

          • #9
            A couple of years ago, I met a troop from Michigan hiking the North Country Trail/Minister Creek loop in the Allegheny National Forest. They packed in 3 boys to a fly (maybe 2 older scouts) and seemed to be having a great time.

            My family, we get tents on sale (never spent more than $200), or at garage sales (Mrs. got me two pup tents for a dollar, I replaced the flimsy poles with cut-down scraps from a dining fly -- best pieces of nylon I ever had.)

            Keep in mind that I'm a tenting optional kinda guy.


            • #10
              Thanks for all the advice. I think we need some sort of tent. We haven't been camping that long so We are not tent option types yet. I have seen the hammock not sure it I could sleep in one of those. I have never been in one but I think I would get a bit clastrophobic.


              • King Ding Dong
                King Ding Dong commented
                Editing a comment
                One option that has not been mentioned is renting a tent. REI stores have lots of various equipment such as tents, packs and pads for rent at reasonable prices. With you along to ensure proper handling there is minimal chance of damage.

                Let me make clear one point. I do not object to a full fly per say. Just getting stuck in one with a tent mate that insists on using it on a warm night with no chance of rain. He was concerned that without it bugs would get through the mesh.

                That wal mart tent has such a small fly that it would be near useless in a storm. I do have a $20 3 person dome tent I got years ago at Aldi that leaks but is fine for fair weather and backyard camping. It is also a great tool for my kids to use for practice pitching and tear down. Cheap tents do have their uses and can save wear on the good ones.

                If the climate is moderate where you will be, you can certainly save weight and space by leaving the bag at home and using sheets or a light blanket.

            • #11
              One more thing to add. Make sure you teach proper use of zippers! Usually there is a flap of material that runs the length of the zipper that is to prevent water from going through the zipper.
              Teach your young scout to move that flap out of the way while zipping and to zip carefully. It's amazing how far a new scout can force that zipper over the flap. We had to learn the hard way that you have to teach these boys EVERYTHING sometimes. Had no choice but to cut the flap so a scout could close the rainfly (in a brand new tent's first outing ugh!).


              • jblake47
                jblake47 commented
                Editing a comment
                Yeah, nothing worse than having to run around with your zipper open all the time.

            • #12
              I'm with dedkad.
              I'd go with the cheap one from walmart.
              I've camped for years in a tent similar to that one but a little bigger my wife bought at Big Lots before we were married.
              Not as good for cliff side top of mountain gales as my kelty, but easier to set up and it's a little roomier.... and since I'm not setting it up in extreme locations it actually serves a bit better.
              The Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or similar tents may not last as long, but as an initial tent I think a much smarter move. They'll work..... and even if you only use it a few times to figure out what your real needs are, there's not much money lost.


              • #13
                Originally posted by Steve534
                Me and my friend wanted to get into camping and found really cheap, really compact, tentson Waterproof, rain-fly, 2lbs. They are so compact you can fit them in any backpack. Very durable, nice looking. I really like them and would recommend them to anyone who wants a 2-person tent. Visit intimepromos and take a look on their tents.
                Interesting I can not find any tents on there..Just stuff to pay to put advertising on


                • #14
                  At bass pro shop I found a 1 man apex that I am happy with. its about $100 and is made by the camping division at Easton. Aluminum stakes, carbon poles.. actually goes back into the bag after use.


                  • Basementdweller
                    Basementdweller commented
                    Editing a comment
                    One man tents are poor choices for scout camping.....

                    First they take nearly the same foot print as a two man tent...

                    Philmont and many land managers don't permit them.

                  • st0ut717
                    st0ut717 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    The one man is for me when I am the adult leader.
                    But Philmont does allow one man tents if the crew has an odd number. but the tip is valid that you shouldn't plan on it.

                • #15
                  I use my own tent rather than the troops tents. I have 3 that depending on tent-mates and the weather I will pick between. The one I take to summer camp would sleep 5 easily on a weekend trip but normally just 2 people and gear just so we are comfy. It does not have a vestibule but I always keep a cheap rag-rug by the door - this one is NOT for backpacking. My other 2 tents I could backpack depending on how many are sleeping with me and sharing the load. 1 could squeeze 4 since there is a vestibule but is best for 3 the other tent will only fit 2. In the winter months I'm usually the only female tenting so I always take my smallest for that, but wish it was a tad smaller so it would be a bit warmer, but I don't want a 4th tent LOL. There is no way I could do a hammock as I have night terrors and my body gets moving around a bit with them - not sure how swinging in a tree would do with those. All of my tents I've gotten on great sales. I think with the 3 of them I may have spent about $100 but that's because the 4/3 man tent was my most expensive on sale for $50. Out of season is a great time to buy so is father's day sales - I keep telling my kids they should just shop for me at father's day rather than mother's day!