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Champ

Question regarding tent brand names

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I'm looking to upgrade to a larger tent. My current Coleman (3-4 man) has worked perfectly, but just a little small for my growing family of 4. I've read nightmares about Eddie Bauer tent poles snapping. Are there other brand names that are as dependable as Coleman, and which brand names should I avoid?

 

Camping mostly in the southeast where rain, heat, and wind play a role, not much extreme cold to worry about (and no snow).

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You can never go wrong with a Eureka tent. Our troop has some Timberline Outfitters that are over 20 years old and still in great shape. And they are used 10 months out of the year in all weather conditions.

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I too heartily recommend Eureka tents. Eureka's quality is MUCH better than Coleman's (though I've heard Coleman has improved its quality in recent years). You just will not go wrong buying a Eureka tent (I have four of them).

 

With a family of four I would recommend you look at tents that claim to sleep six (room for gear and elbows).

 

I'd recommend something like the Eureka Headquarters ($300 from campmor.com), which is a modern version of a two-room cabin tent (12'x8.5', 7' high), or the Eureka Kahuna ($370), which is a two-room rectangular dome-style tent (11'x7.5', 6' high). The multiple rooms are nice when different genders want some privacy dressing.

 

I myself have Eureka Lodge, which is discontinued, but very much resembles the Headquarters tent. It has an 8'x10' sleeping area with an attached 6'x10' screen room. The Headquarters (and Lodge) tent has VERY heavy duty aluminum poles like those of the Timberline tents, as opposed to the thinner fiberglass or aluminum poles that smaller dome tents have - much more kid-proof.

 

The 6-person Timberline is a solid tent with many years of improvements, but because of the A-frame shape, it may not be as suitable for a family with kids who might need to spend exptended tent time during rainy weather - plus it costs about the same as the Headquarters.

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Just thinking ... some might say that the larger (higher) tents don't do well in strong wind, but they are all built with supplimental lines that are to be staked out in high wind conditions. The manual will tell you how. Even the smaller dome tents need these supplimental lines when windy. Also, ALWAYS make sure you stake down the tent!!!!

 

My suggestion is to replace the lines that come with the tent, which are black, with orange parachute cord (http://www.countycom.com - follow the "other items" link - kind of an odd site, but they have a good reputation and FANTASTIC orange parachute cord - I love the stuff!!). That way kids are less likely to trip over it. Also make great lanyards for knives, flaglights, whistles, etc so you can more easily find them when dropped in grass.

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I'm a self-admitted "gear snob," so I'll avoid mentioning the "good" versus the "bad" brands. I have three pieces of advice, though.

 

(a) Do your research first and then shop the internet outlets. A google search will find most of them, including outdooroutlet.com, rei-outlet.com and sierratradingpost.com.

 

(b) Aluminum poles are going to be lighter and stronger than fiberglass. In fact, the only time I've heard of aluminum poles breaking under use is in extreme mountaineering applications.

 

© Pretty soon, you and your spouse will want some space from your growing family (especially if it'll grow any more). Think about two tents, the parent tent and kid tent. That arrangement has worked very well for my family.

 

- Oren

 

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Ditto the above poster, Timberline Outfitters rule. We have the 4 man with the annex, a large tarp that provides ideal cooking and storage space. Our family of 5, three teenagers, spent a month in France biking and a month in northern Italy hiking with this tent, it was cosy but we have great family memories. Like when we pitched it in Versailles outside Paris at a campground, rode to town on the train, saw gay Paree for around $50 a day. Camped in Pisa, Italy, saw the historic stuff, came back to camp to find a bus load of Dutch girls at the clothing-optional pool, ouch, ouch,.... But I digress. Hard to do these things with aircraft-hangar size tents, I say stick with small, go farther, see more.

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Eddie Bauer is not a brand name perse. It's an outdoor image factory for mallies and retailers. That may be a bit harsh but outside of Sears and Target I really don't see Eddie Bauer tents. To really upgrade your tent you need to upgrade your supplier. I would suggest looking at tents available from www.rei.com and www.campmor.com.

 

I own a four man Eureka with fiberglass poles and a five man Kelty with aluminum poles. They are bothe well made. Both companies have brandlines have design tents to cost whatever I am willing to pay.

 

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To echo what you've heard from It's Me... REI is wonderful!!!

 

We outfitted our troop with their name brand 3 man, we put 2 boys in them. We've only had them for 7 years. Use them every month. Used them at Philmont, used them at Northern Tier, used them in the Sierras, use them on top of Mt. Shasta, and in the Grand Canyon, Sea Base staff thought they were nice, and asked us to use theirs.

 

We are still waiting for our first broken pole, or broken zipper. Now ripped side, we've had... something about boys wrestling in tents. Lost poles... oh yeah, but when we find that we can order more from REI. We've been really happy and would tell you that the trick is to understand that the guys that decide how many campers go in a tent either just plain lie (OK maybe just exagerate), or they are gnomes. I'll let you decide which is more accurate.

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Our Troop has 4 coleman sundowner tents and 1 old Eureka 80's model timberline. During the spring camporee two weeks ago, it rained like Noah was gettin ready to float the ark. We had water ankle deep in our campsite (even had to trench to drain it out)the 4 colemans with the new weather tek system were dry as a bone (had not been sealed yet). Our Northeast Territory HQ tent (SM's personal family tent) had a couple of small ponds in it (ASM soaked SM high and dry since I bring my cot).

 

The Eureka was totally washed out infact the seam cover in the middle floor seperated from the standing water I guess or the glue just gave way from age. The committee decided to replace it with another coleman.

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Our troop uses Coleman 3-4. Personally, I have 3 persons Coleman (6 years old), 2 persons backpacking Alps Mountaineering (2 years old), 8 persons family dome (K-mart out-of-business sale), and my son has an REI Half-Dome 2 (1 year old). All have been very good to us even in a hard wind/ rain storm. Although, I need to retire my Coleman.

 

Have you checked out Alps Mountaineering? http://www.scoutdirect.com/sale.htm They give fairly good discount to scout and scouter. I have always wondered about their Taurus tents as to how good they are. For the discounted price, it's almost cheap enough to give it a try . I have their 2-man Mystique. It held up very well so far for the size and weight. I use it mostly for packbacking.

 

Coleman online gives great discount on their tents as well. Having talked to many scouters in our area, the following names seem to be a hit among them: Eureka, Northface, REI, MSR, and Sierra Design.

 

Check out the tent that you like locally and shop at the various discount places online for the same tent:

http://www.campmor.com

http://www.rei.com/outlet

http://www.basspro.com/servlet/catalog.OnlineShopping

 

1Hour

 

ps: I personally don't like the Eddie Bauer's, Texsport's, Timber Creek, Ozark and the likes.

(This message has been edited by OneHour)

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I second the Alps Mountaineering recommendation! I recently got their Mystique 1.5 (along with some other stuff). All of their stuff seems to be absolutely top-notch quality and the scoutdirect.com pricing is great.

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Champs ... take a look at the Equipment Reviews forum for other threads on tents. Lots of good reviews and stuffs there.

 

http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewForum.asp?forumID=41

 

ManassasEagle ... the only thing that I wish my Mystique 2.0 can do is to stand upright by itself without having to stake it down. At times, I just like to set it up in my living room to dry it or to hold it up to shake loose all of the dews (like the REI Half Dome 2 or Alps Mountaineering' Taurus). It has been very good to me even under extreme storming condition! Lots of breathable space for a small tent! For their "Pro Price" of 60% off ... I can't complain at all for the quality and especially the price!

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i would reccommend Eureka's. we have one for the family that is a 6 or 8 person, that we have had since i was 6 or 7. we have had that out in all types of weather, and it still stands up. few years back, at family renuion, couple of tornadoes passed through not far from where we were. our tent was the only tent left standing after it was all over. on the troop level, that is all we have (small eureka's). we have new ones, and old ones. the old ones are probably about 25 yrs. old. they are still in usable condition. they are built well enough to camp in a blizzard, a pouring rain, or blistering heat.

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