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dryest tent.....

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by GSD17, Feb 26, 2005.

  1. GSD17

    GSD17 Thread Killer

    Feb 23, 2004
    Ok guys I want your imput, tired of messin around with cheap-o tents and getting wet. I need a tent that is reasonable (under 300 bucks) sleeps 3-4 or so, and DRY. That is one of my pet peeves. Who knows of a DRY tent, doesnt leak at corners or anything. I dont even need windows and crap, just a door and DRY. Any help is appreciated.
  2. mpol777

    mpol777 Feral Member

    Jul 23, 2001
    Cochise County, AZ
    You'll want windows. You can't stay dry without good ventilation. Especially in high humidity area like the old "Sawth". Marmot makes a great tub floor and great tents all around. There are a ton of good brands though; Kelty, Mountain Hardware, MSR, Sierra Designs, etc.

    The key is to find a design that completely seperates the rain fly from the tent and keeps the fly taught. When the two breathable layers, usually nylon or polyester, contact they will trap water and leak. The tent material will withstand some moisture, but it is usually made of a more open weave and less resistant material than the fly. I personally prefer nylon throughout. It's lighter than polyester and dries faster. On the downside, it doesn't hold up to tears quite as well.

    Ventilation allows the tent to breathe. If you camp in cold weather and your tent doesn't breathe, you'll wake up wet just from the moisture of your own breath. Same thing goes in hot and humid weather. If the moisture in the air has no way to escape it will condense. You want it to rise through the tent to the rain fly and condense there. Since the fly is seperate from the tent itself it will run off. You can't get away from condensation only try to direct it.

    Also stay away from umbrella style tents. Their rain flies only work if the rain is lightly coming straight down. Otherwise it's hitting the exposed wall. Dome or teepee style where the fly extends to the ground is the only way to go.

    That's my $.02

  3. akbound


    Mar 31, 2004
    Hi GSD17,

    You've left a lot of information out. Will you be backpacking, car/bike camping, or packing it in some other way than on foot? So it makes giving a good recommendation a little more difficult.

    Even the best of tents can leak at inopportune times. So it's best to always have seam sealer on hand. Though the better ones don't leak under usual circumstances.

    I currently own a reasonably large Kelty dome (the particular model is no longer manufactured) that while too heavy for backpacking is great for most other venues. Though it is rated to sleep eight or nine it is usually just the wife and I using it. Sometimes the granddaughter will accompany us as well. We use large comfortable cots, have plenty of room, good ventilation, and with the fly it has never leaked, (to this point in time). Though it also exceeds your requested budget at close to $400. when it was purchased. If current Kelty products are as good, I'd highly recommend it.

    For backpacking, biking, or motorcycling, I have a North Face (3 person) that also has never leaked. It is very serviceable though not nearly as comfortable as has the Kelty been. When I purchased this tent it was slightly under $300. on sale.

    I've used a number of other quality tents that gave exemplary service and I'd have no trouble recommending, if the particular models were still being offered, however they're not. On the other hand there is still a fairly simple offering from Eureka that meets your requirements and at the price you are looking for, it's here:

    I have both a friend and a brother-in-law that currently own one of these and it has given them great service. It will on occasion require a touch or two of seam sealer, (as will nearly all tents eventually), and it will do for three or four. Though it will be tight with four and like most tents is at its best at about half the claimed capacity, (two).

    I hope this helps!


    P.S. This tent (the Timberline) does not come standard with a ground cloth. I'd highly recommend you obtain one.
  4. GSD17

    GSD17 Thread Killer

    Feb 23, 2004
    Thanks guys, I mainly just load up in the truck and go to a secluded place up in the mountains around here. (Alabama) It seems to rain EVERY time I camp. No big deal, you have raised some interesting points that I had not thought of. Thank you for your imput, I will def. include it in my next purchase.
  5. pdxbubba


    Feb 23, 2003
    Elk Snout, Oregon
    Spray it!

    At the start of every season, I put the tent up early in the afternoon and give it a couple coats of water repellant. Once a year I will add some seam sealer drops to the corners and well used/stressed seams.

    Since we live in the Pacific NW, it is hard not to camp when it's not raining. So far this practice has paid off quite well.

    You can pick up a can of water repellant from about any sporting goods store that sells more than 4 types of tents.

    One other tip that will come in handy is to get a seperate tarp, just bigger than the footprint of your tent. Lay it down first, then place your tent over it. It makes it easier to roll up the tent. You can dry off the tarp later as well as hose off any sand or grass that may stick to it, much easier than hosing off the bottom of your tent.
  6. VolFan


    Dec 30, 2004
    East TN
    Take a look at the REI Half Dome 4. These guys are based near Seattle...and know how to stay dry! I have a solo tent from REI and have been very pleased with it. The Half Dome includes vestibules, vents, and a small window...for $269. I didn't look at the weight on the 4 person, but my solo is under 3 pounds.
  7. Tvov


    Sep 30, 2000
    We have a 3-man dome with full fly we got from Gander Mountain (remember them? I don't think they are around anymore). As mpol said, get a full fly. With a full rain fly, you shouldn't have to use sealer on the tent, or many time even the fly. Also, how do you set up your tent with ground cloth?

    What I do is;
    For a ground cloth, I usually use a blue tarp (when backpacking, I use lightweight plastic). I arrange the ground cloth so that it is about 6 inches smaller than the footprint of the tent. I have found that if the ground cloth sticks out from under the tent and it rains, the rain will collect on top of the ground cloth under the tent, and eventually soak through.
  8. akbound


    Mar 31, 2004
    Hi GSD17,

    I noticed the first link I'd provided was no longer working. The new link (in the original post) and here:

    ......not only works, but also has available accessories. Vestibule, annex, gear loft, ground cloth, or you can make do with a simple tarp or plastic sheeting as has been recommended by others. The purpose of the ground cloth is multi-purpose; first it protects the floor from dirt, debris, and to a lesser degree puncture damage. It also helps provide a second moisture barrier, (and has been also suggested by another do not let it extend beyond the tent floor as it will collect water in the event of rain). Also if you bag it separate from the tent it will prevent much of the remaining tent from becoming dirty when it is packed.

    You will notice that this tent does not come provided with a full fly, though the vestibule or annex makes it more nearly so. But it is a very simple tent that works very well within its envelope. My brother-in-law selected this tent over those providing better protection because of its simplicity, (and reasonable price). My friend on the other hand has used his for several trips to the Colorado Rockies, (on the Continental Divide), for walk in Elk and Mule Deer archery hunts. He likes it for its upright center height, simple erection, and airiness. Also its simple wall construction makes for relatively few seams to worry about. It uses aluminum instead of fiberglass poles, (a feature more common in slightly more expensive tents), and only has a few of them, rather nice.

    For general camping and outdoor use it really is a good, servicable tent, especially at its current prices!

  9. bigdaddycool


    Sep 16, 2002
    try the outback lodge from cabelas, best tent i've ever used. bdc
  10. DTQ

    DTQ c8h10n4o2 me

    If you consider a single wall tent then choose very carefully, quality single walls tend to be more expensive than double walls (double walled tents have a full rain fly, single walls have no fly). I usually deduct 1 person from the tents capacity, it just adds room for my gear and makes the tent more comfortable, especially if you need to spend long hours inside. REI has great tents and GREAT warranties. Also, since you’re car camping, check out the Coleman Exponent series. These seem to offer good value and plenty of room, I own one myself.