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Tent recommendation needed

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We have a really old tent and have been considering replacing it. I've seen several on sale, but don't want to make a bad purchase. Dick's Sporting Goods have Quest and Field and Stream tents marked down considerably, but not the Colemans. I know I can get a discount through Coleman but then you pay shipping.


We need a tent to accomadate 3. Hubby is over 6'. Right now we camp a couple times in the summer and a couple in the fall, but that will soon change as our son moves up to BS.

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Gunnison 4 by Kelty!


I have a 3 man tent by Kelty that's almost 20 years old and looks brand new. I've been in a lot of tents over the years and Kelty is worth every penny spent!


I like the Kelties because they have great vestibules that double the size of your "out of the weather" storage and the rain flies go all the way to the ground.


Gunnison 4 has double doors and double vestibules and the fly goes to the ground all the way around.



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1)If the label/box states that it is a "three person tent", consider carefully the dimensions of the floor, and diagram if offered. Where you gonna put your pack? Three usually means two in the real world.

2) If a "rain fly" tent, Always see the tent set up before you buy, either in the store or a friends copy. Look and see how far down the rain fly really comes. Does it at least come close to the reinforced bottom? Are the zippers covered against the rain? I've seen some tents that were great so long as the rain came straight down, but give it even a little horizontal vector and regret sets in. Ventilation? you can always peel back the rain fly.

3)Personal preference: Tough reinforced waterproof built in floor that wraps up the sides about a foot (so called bathtub floor), or just tough nylon on floor (use your own groundcloth "footprint"). Both have advantages: BT is total protection UNTIL you have a leak, then the water can't get out! Ordinary nylon is fine if set up allows rain to run down walls and UNDER the GC. Either way, does the rainfly come down far enough? Will the bottom seam CATCH water rather than shed?

4) Read the fine print. What part of the fabric is really water proof or merely nylon tricot? And then, even the close sewn fabric and properly arranged seams (overlapped so as not to CATCH water) need to be properly sealed. If the tent is "factory sealed", you will pay extra, and even then...

5) Plan on buying some spray fabric waterproofing and/or seam sealer. Talk to someone you trust or a knowledgeable store person about this. Set the tent up on a sunny day and work over the whole thing from the inside and then the out with the seam sealer. Be methodical and obsessive. Don't miss any seam, the rain will find the lacking-of-sealer areas. If you run out, go buy more. From the outside, spray water proofer on the rain fly and lower fabric areas generously. Let it dry. Spray again. I am told the silicone spray also provides some UV ray protection, hence the tent will last longer.


I bought a relatively cheap (oh, I'm sorry, inexpensive) Texsport 3-person tent and after $25 of seam sealer and silicone spray, am very happy with it. It is tall enough for my 6'2" self to kneel up in it, and Scoutson and I are not overly crowded. It is abit heavy for distance hiking (Scoutson shared an REI 2 person on Philmont trek), but serves well in other venues. It has withstood storms and rain and snow over the last three years with only one splintered pole section, which was fixed with a kit.


The last campout I went on with the Troop (october), I laid out a 10' by 20' tarp, staked down about 4 1/2' of the twenty, curled it back over itself with four poles I cut about 4' tall, so I had an open tube. Room for backpack and gear, open to the scenery to the side. Slept well.


Please note: When son becomes BS, you will no longer need a "three person" tent. Let son join Troop, and gain from older Scouts experience therein. Any other lil' Scouts coming along?(This message has been edited by SSScout)

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A couple years ago we had one of our older scouts do the research for us on this and came back with a recommendation of Eureka Apex tents. I think his biggest reason was they were recommended and used by several other troops in the area. Our local ourdoors shop owner (a former Scoutmaster himself) recommended them for troop use as well.


The committee made one change which was to upgrade to the Eureka Pinnacle tents. Pinnacles are the same tents as the Apex except they have aluminum poles and a heavier floor fabric. I think it was about a $20 per tent upgrade, but the committee felt the added durability was worth the extra cost.


We bought a mix of 2- and 3-man tents. Each patrol has one 3-man tent to accommodate an odd number of Scouts or the bigger tent goes to the PL as a perq of the job. In hindsight, I would have liked to have all 3-man tents. When they tell you a tent sleeps two, that mean two very good friends sleeping shoulder-to-shoulder with your gear outside. The Apex/Pinnacles have nice-sized gear vestibules on both sides of the tent, but I still like a little more room.


Beyond the purchase, the best thing we did with the new tents was to buy enough as if we have 100% attendance, number each tent and permanently assign tents to patrols. Previously, we only had enough tents for the number of guys who attended an average campout. Consequently, they were all kept in one pile and guys just grabbed one. There was no accountability with that. If you had a problem with a tent, you just dumped it back on the shelf and hoped you wouldn't get the same tent next month. With the new system patrols have the same tent every time. Fix your problems or deal with it next month. Now, when kids come whinning about missing poles or pegs, I just shake my head and tell them, "they're your tents. You're responsible for taking care of them."


Twice a year, a PL election time, the troop QM does an inventory and inspection of all the gear and the patrol members are responsible for paying for loss or damages.

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Don't worry our son already has his own tent. He sold enough popcorn this year to get one as a prize. He's past the staying with mom and dad, but I'm keeping the option open if we go out as a family.


Any comments positive or negative about Coleman?(This message has been edited by ManyHats)

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"It was a dark and stormy night"... troops pulling out at 10 pm due to rain. As they were checking out in the office the campmaster pointed out that only one troop was sticking it out for the night (ours). Heard a SM reply "well sure they are staying, they have all Eureka tents."



Eureka 4 man timberline outfitters. The outfitters are heavier and cost more than the standard outfitters but you won't go home early or wake up wet.

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I would recommend Eureka Mountain Pass 3XTE (see below). This tent had plenty of room, and it weighs only 8 pounds, so you can split the tent/poles with a buddy when backpacking. It's a bit pricey (about $230.00 new), but you may get a discount from Eureka or other resellers. If it's too big for you, try the Alpenlite 2XT which is another great 4-season backpacking tent.




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Sounds as if you're looking for a family tent for car camping. Coleman's are good for that - get a dome, and get one that is at least 72" in the center - that way, your husband can at least mostly stand up. I use the Coleman Sundome 10x10 for car camping when I'm going to be in a site for more than a couple of nights. It's very large inside (it's said to be a 5 to 6 person tent) - almost large enough to set up my REI Quarter Dome inside. Yes, there is way more space than I need (I camp alone), but when it's raining, I have plenty of room to set up a chair and table, stretch out, relax, and not get tent fever. It has the "bathtub floor" which holds up very well and doesn't require a ground cloth, though I usually put an old blanket on the floor of the tent because walking on the floor is like walking on one of those blue poly tarps. The best part is that with a 72" center, I can easily stand up in it (being only 5'10") without hitting my head on the tent. The fly doesn't reach all the way to the ground, but on this tent, it doesn't have to as the fly does reach below the level of the screens. It's a bit pricier than sales tents at Dicks (about $129 - though I see Amazon has them for about $100)) but if you have a real old tent now, that tells me you expect a new tent to last more than a couple of years. The dome style is also much easier to set up than many of the other "family" tents out there. The Sundome requires two poles to set the tent up and one pole for the fly. One person can easily set it up if need be.


Quest tents are the house brand for Dick's Sporting Goods, like Greatland's are the house brand for Target. I'm always wary of house brands for "big box" stores like Dick's, Target, Wal-Mart, etc. because you don't really know who has manufactured the tent. Quest tents are manufactured by a number of different companies for Dick's. Field and Stream tents seem to be exclusively sold by "big box" stores as well - I know Dick's and Costco carry them, and may be a "generic" brand. The only time I would buy a house brand is if I know the tent was manufactured by a known tentmaker (such as a hypothetical "Woods and Waters" brand tent that was actually made by Eureka or Coleman) or if the "house" is a known quality tentmaker selling their own tents (I would buy a Northface tent in a heartbeat from a Northface store) or is an outdoor gear store that is known for having a rugged testing process for their gear(for instance, REI or LL Bean).


Coleman, however, is a very well known manufacturer of outdoor goods, and their tents and outdoor gear is sold throughout many different outlets. For some of the "big box" stores, Coleman's are their "premium" family tents - thats the tent a step or more above their house and generic brands. Eureka is comparable to Coleman in quality, reliability and affordability.


I'm not meaning to knock Quests or Field and Streams - they have a definite place in the market. Most people who buy them seem to be the folks who go out camping one week a year at a local state park, or are just seeing if they like camping and don't want to spend a lot of money on a tent yet. However, getting replacement parts for these tents can be pretty difficult - break a pole and you may end up having to buy a new tent. Break a pole on a Coleman and you can get replacement parts from the company (unless the tent is ever discontinued - it happens). Same is true for Eureka - easy to get replacement parts.


It's also tempting to get tents that are marked down considerably - that's a red flag to me - it generally means the tent is about to be discontinued or there is no value in holding over the inventory for later sales. If the company can afford to dump the overstock at such deep discounts, what might that mean as far as quality comparisons go?


Just some things to think about.

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I have about 20 tents. They are kinda like golf clubs to me. I am a gear nut. MSR, mountain hardware, Coleman, Big Agnes, Marmot, Golite,Sierra Design, alps mountaineering, LL Bean, BSA issue. I camp way too much.


My opening question is What exactly are you looking to do? Car camp, back pack, family camp, camp with the troop. 2 season, 4 season


Some Coleman tents are ok. The timberline and apex series are great. I don't like the giant cabin tents, they take to long to set up and take up too much real estate.


Things I would find essential in a single tent


1. Free Standing, for camping on Professional Ball fields they don't allow stakes.

2. Has a full coverage fly that does not require staking out. for those wet weekends

3. Foot print must be available, cause plastic or tyvek hasn't worked well for me.

4. 2 entrances for those late night trips

5. Large vestibule for equipment, only bags and boys inside tent

6. Fly venting, either can be closed with velcro or zipper, stick hold opens are nice. control temp and condensation.

7. Three season


I have three tents that I use most of the time, the son uses the rest.

1. MSR fling for backpacking single wall condensation is a problem but is weighs less than 2 pounds

2. Big Agnes Big house 6 with vestibule for taking the entire family

3. Marmot Limelight 2 harsh weather backpacking with son and outings requiring free standing tents.



Far as reasonable decent quality and performing tents, I would not buy quest or Field and stream. I would look at rei outlet http://www.rei.com/outlet they have some good deals on great gear.




Just my 2 cents worth, well maybe a quarters worth.


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When we joined Cubs I bought a big honkin' Coleman 6-man from Bass Pro Shops. It's just a big, solid no-nonsense family tent. I think I paid about $125 for it.


It has the plastic-coated tarp material for a floor (and 6" up the side). Rarely does it ever leak and usually only in driving rain when the rain blows against the sides and the zippers drip. It's now over 10 years old and I think I treated it and sealed the seams once. One of the fiberglass poles split not long after I got it, but I wrapped it up with electrical tape and haven't had a problems since.


Now that the boys are older and tent on their own, I'll take it car camping along with my big REI camp cot. Nice and roomy for one guy.

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Thanks for all the feedback. Right now I'm not looking to spend a bunch, so $100+ is not an option. I forsee this as an in between tent. We're at the Webelos stage. It will be used for car camping and family camping. Down the road we'll look at a more expensive tent when we know what road the troop will be taking and what we will need. Right now they are car camping, but I see that changing soon.

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