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"best" tent?

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by canis latrans, May 7, 2002.

  1. canis latrans

    canis latrans

    May 29, 2000
    I'm looking for a good quality, reasonably-priced tent for three season use in the northeast. since I work outdoors, I don't usually go camping for vacation, but OCCASSIONALLY we might have the need.

    What do you all suggest? oh, yeah...this will NOT be for backpacking. you know the "actual" versus "stated" sleeping capacity of tents?...Divide the "stated" sleeping capacity by two, then subtract one...thus, a "sleeps six" person tent is a two person tent, etc.
  2. Glock You!

    Glock You!

    Mar 17, 2002
    I REALLY like the "Insta-set" tents available at Target. They have the poles connected at a central hub instead of a bunch of loose shock-corded poles. I can completely set-up my tent in less than five minutes and take it down and pack it in about the same. My prior tent probably took 20 minutes to set-up and take down. I would really highly recommend checking them out.:)

  3. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    There's the trick to figuring out how many people will fit in a tent. Usually, the number is about right, but with conditions. First, it allows no room for gear in the tent. Second, it assumes that everyone is about 5'8" and 160 pounds. If you want to stash gear in your tent or if you will have larger people, start subtracting from the number of people who will "theoretically" fit.

    I would gladly suggest a few good brands/models for you, but I need to know roughly how many people you want to be able to fit in your tent. As a general rule for a fair weather non-backpacker, the Kelty tents at Costco are hard to beat for price and quality.
  4. sharpshooter

    sharpshooter Member Millennium Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    Those Costco tents aren't bad at all for $50 or so. Compare them to the CHEAPEST backpacking tents at the outdoor stores and prepare to see the cheapest models at $200+. It goes up from there.

    My Costco tent might weigh 1/2 pound more than the best ones, and it's not a cool outdoors name brand, but mine only cost me a FRACTION of what the "good" tents cost. Like it matters anyways for the casual camper or the average backpacker. As long as it keeps the wind and rain out, who cares?
  5. FunkJammin

    FunkJammin Millennium Member

    Oct 10, 1999
    NH - Live Free or Die
    I love to camp and hike. By far the best tent for the money is Eureka 2 man timberline:

    Got mine for $99 at a camping outlet.

    20 bucks wont buy quality.

    200 bucks is a little extreem.

  6. mpol777

    mpol777 Feral Member

    Jul 23, 2001
    Cochise County, AZ

    REI brand is good. i also like Marmot and Kelty, but those are mostly backpacker tents. any tent will pretty much hold up on most occasions. there are 3 things that seperates the good tents from cheap tents: wind, rain and cold. most tents will do a fair job in a light rain, but a heavy rain or rain with a lot of wind will soak through cheap tents. with poorly designed ventilation, even if the tent does keep out most of the water, you will still be soaked by condensation.

    i also like the clip setup tents better than the sleeve style. feeding poles through sleeves is easy in the living room. but drop the temperature, add some rain, and do it in the dark and it sucks. the clip style is much much easier in any condition.
  7. canis latrans

    canis latrans

    May 29, 2000
    I appreciate the replies.

    There are three of us, so I need an 8 person tent.

    Keep the ideas coming...I'm learning.

  8. Deuce


    May 1, 2002
    Does it rain there?

    The best tent I've ever owned is my Eureka Mountain Pass XT (they come in 2 and 4 man last time I bought one ... about 4 years ago). Eureka likes to discontinue models, so, in case they don't make it anymore, here's what I liked about the Mountain Pass.

    Rainfly goes down to the ground all the way around.

    Two doors and both with vestibules (where the rainfly comes down to the ground away from the tent so you can take off/put on your boots outside the tent to keep mud and stuff out of your tent and keep your boots dry ... you can keep a backpack in it as well, but, you stated that doesn't apply here). Two doors are really nice for when you're next to the only door and your buddy has to get out to pee in the middle of the night.

    Breathable ... if the tent doesn't utilize some sort of noseeum netting in the majority of the roof with a good rainfly, the condensation of your breathing during the night will make you damp.

    It's actually waterproof and I've never seam-sealed any Eureka I've owned. You can spend $50-$100 less for a Target tent, but, at some point, you'll rather be dry.

    Easy setup ... only two poles (in an X from overhead) with clips so you don't have to spend a lot of time trying to "thread" the poles through sleeves.

    Aluminum poles ... vs. fiberglass ... aluminum poles are stronger and lighter (again, for backpacking) ... they seem to slide together nicer too.

    Reasonable cost ... you could spend $1000 for a Bibler, but, for around $200, or less, you can get a nice 4-man Eureka.

    It sounds like you're looking for a tent that you could actually do more than sleep in. If that's the case, check out the other tents offered by Eureka and find one with a rainfly that goes down to the ground all the way around ... or the closest thing to it ... and get that one.

    Kelty is a slightly "cheaper" brand, but, before I went to them, I'd check out REI ... if Eureka doesn't have the tent you're looking for, REI likely will.

    Something else to consider, if there are three of you, I'd recommend two 4-man tents. You'll have plenty of room in one of them for gear and you won't have as hard a time, as with a 6 or 8-man tent, in finding a good spot to set them up. Also works good if one guy snores too much or had too much beer and beans.

    Good luck.
  9. shrpshtr


    Jan 25, 2001
    Sumter, SC, USA
    canis, i have been camping for years and years and gone through several tents. the best by far is the one i currently have, the Eureka Equinox 4 Man Tent. it is plenty roomy and is unbelievably weather resistent. we have been in terrible wind and rain with no problems whatsoever. if there are 3 of you, this tent would be perfect for gear and all. setup is less than 3 minutes if you have two left feet and no thumbs. (read: incredibly quick and easy). the only drawback is that is isn't the cheapest tent in the world. but, imo, you get what you pay for.

    one recommendation i will make regardless of make and model tent, get a FLOOR SAVER for it. you can use a tarp if need be. they prevent tears and moisture from coming up through the floor of the tent. especially if you will use sleeping bags vs. cots, air mattress, etc.

  10. P-990

    P-990 Certified Nutz

    Feb 1, 2002
    Almost There
    I recommend a Eureka! Sorry, but mine is a lightweight backpacking tent (kinda, its a Timberlite 2). Ask many Boy Scout troops and they will tell you that the TimberLINE is a good value. If you need more elbow and head room find a dome-type. Hope this helps a little bit.
  11. cf4surrf


    Apr 6, 2002
    Chad City, FL
    I'm a surfer and started camping when I began visiting the Outer Banks of North Carolina during the early 70's. I remember the first tent I had, a 2 man pup tent with a wax paper floor. After a rough weather night, soaked and chilled, me and my buddy toured the campground to see what tent remained standing. Down every turn we saw Eureka tents standing and their owners managing to get a good night's sleep dispite horizontal rain. They cost a bit more but are well worth it....especially if you camp where the weather can get nasty.
  12. I used to sell high end backpacking tents from The North Face,
    Walrus, Sierra Designs, etc. For the best value, where price is a factor, the best all around three season non-backpacking tents are from, you guessed it........EUREKA! Where price is not a factor, try a The North Face VE-25 in the snow. But it costs about as much as a Glock.

    Try to get some low vent window(s) and some high vent window(s), this combination changes your air best when there is no wind, and that reduces condensation. Two doors are also best in case rain or snow is pounding against one door and you need to get in or out the other side..

    A ground cloth is more important INSIDE the tent than outside, you and your gear, zippers, etc, are rougher than the ground. Of course a second ground cloth under the tent floor can be a luxury, unless it sticks out and collects rain!

    If you reserve your tent for sleeping, and do everything else outside, your tent will outlast most of your gear. Don't eat, drink, or cook in your tent if possible. No shoes inside. Sometimes my set-up tent stays empty, when I stay outside under the stars.

    My late '70's Eureka Catskill 3 man A frame is still going strong, but I normally carry my late '80's vintage Crescent 2 man half-dome. Both of these old Eureka models were discontinued just before I bought them on sale.
  13. canis latrans

    canis latrans

    May 29, 2000
    it's just my wife, daughter and me. THEY are the ones who have to worry! LOL

    Anyway, GREAT replies here! Much appreciated! I couldn't find some of the Eureka models you all mentioned, but I DID get the drift. I went with the Eureka Dome 4XT with vestibule...$140 from

    bought Coleman air beds last night (hey, I'm getting OLD) and now need a couple sleeping bags.

    ALSO, let's hear some of your best, proven camping tips.

  14. Deuce


    May 1, 2002
    1. NEVER, under any circumstances, bring any food, candy, pancake mix, whatever, or any beverage which is not simply water into your tent ... do this and the bears will bother someone else who has instead of you.

    2. The "ground cloth" goes on the "ground" not inside the tent ... it is intended to keep rocks and sticks from poking holes through your floor ... it should be sized slightly smaller than the floor of your tent as to avoid collecting water.

    3. Always set up your tent on a slight slope (usually with your head positioned at the high end) ... this prevents water from collecting under your tent as well as, potentially, urine.

    4. ALWAYS keep any food, candy, etc. locked in a bear-proof locker or hung from a tree ... don't keep it in the car unless you've got good insurance ... my buddy was in the BWCA one time and swears that he watched a bear try to use his claw to untie his food-bag rope ... I've had two bears in one day (no, they weren't one bear ... they were different colors and sizes) empty two food coolers (except for fat free chips and rice cakes ... for the wife) ... my buddy and I were a couple miles away shooting our .45's when the first one attacked and ate everything ... I scared the he11 out of the second one that night with my .45

    5. Which brings up a good point, keep a pistol handy ... it needn't be big as the sound alone will scare a black bear away ... during the aforementioned attack, neighbors used an airhorn and my wife used the car horn, neither of which even got so much as a look from the bear.

    6. Pack a couple 5-6 gallon jugs of clean water ... you never know when the well pump will pump nothing but rust ... seen it happen.

    7. Pack, at least, a 16' x 24' el cheapo tarp (shouldn't be much more than $10) and 100' of cheap rope ... if you're camping, it WILL rain ... it's only a matter of "for how long?" ... it might be nice to have a few dry square feet ... you're not going to sit in the tent all day.

    8. Pack some newspaper and kindling ... maybe even a couple cords of firewood ... in case all the wood around the site is wet ... and don't forget a little "boy scout juice".

    9. While not nearly as important while car-camping, it's a good idea to pack good quality rain-gear ... if it ain't breathable, you're likely to end up wet anyhow.

    10. Also while not nearly as important while car-camping, a comfortable pair of waterproof boots are nice too.

    11. A small portable propane grill (uses the little disposable propane bottles) is great for cooking ... even if it's not raining ... they're only about $20-$30.

    12. EARPLUGS! ... if you're not sleeping in the tent alone.

    13. Extra batteries.

    14. Oh ya, if you've got an extra $30, get one of those Tikka LED headlamps ... they're awesome for grilling in the dark.

    15. A canteen or bota is pretty slick if you're going to hit the trails.

    16. A $5 pair of welder's gloves is nice if you're going to handle a tripod.

    Well, that's all I can think of for now. Oh, and don't forget the beer and beans;f
  15. Fox

    Fox Varmit Control

    Nov 7, 2001
    Get a tipi, the best tent ever made for year round camping.
  16. Fox

    Fox Varmit Control

    Nov 7, 2001

    What? Thats not you? ;v
  17. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    Rule #1 of camping: If it can go wrong, it will. (rain, snow, mosquitos, no smooth ground to set up your tent on, loud neighbors, illness, no toilet paper in the outhouse, burn ban preventing cooking fires, etc.)

    Rule #2 of camping: If you didn't bring it yourself, don't count on it being there.

    Rule #3 of camping: Congratulations on remembering your tent and food, but did you remember all the other things that will let you enjoy them? Examples: mosquito repellent, sunscreen, extra matches to start cooking fires, extra wood to burn in place of the wet stuff at the site, sunglasses, enough money to be able to buy those one or two items that you forgot, more fresh water than you could ever possibly need, plates and utensils to eat with, etc.

    PACKIN' PLASTIC 4,500+ posts

    Jul 18, 2001
    Cloud Nine

    HELL NO!

  19. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    Rule #1 of avatars: If your avatar is of a very attractive young lady, be sure to put a disclaimer in your signature line to let the resident horn-dogs know that it is not a self portrait. I see that you have now done so -- good choice. And good taste.