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The Tent Thread 
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Joined: Sun Nov 19, 2006 12:59 am
Posts: 57
anyone got a favourite tent? we are looking at the Alaskan Guide tent by Cabela? Anyone had experience with this tent?

Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:13 am

Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 4:46 pm
Posts: 485
I use a 4 person Alaskan Guide tent from Cabela's. It's easy to put up, fairly spacious, well ventilated and never leaks no matter how hard it rains. However, after two years of use some of the seams split around the door of the tent. The problem was repairable but since i do not think poor care or overly hard use caused the splits, i suspect the tent doesn't handle the expansion and shrinking that occurs due to changing weather conditions well. I use a Cabela's XPG 4 season tent too, which is older, but has proven to be the more rugged of the two tents.

Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:08 pm

Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:49 pm
Posts: 1708
Location: West Michigan
I've used this tent for 3 years, it's still in perfect shape. I love it because I can stand up in it, and it's the perfect size for a full size air mattress and my two clothing bins.

It only leaks in the back left corner and the front right corner (I've seam sealed twice) but only when there is a BIG storm. I think it happens because I can't stake down the bathtub bottom that well, so water kind of puddles on it and then leaks inside.

It's super easy to put up (no sleeves for the poles, just clips). I put it up by myself in 10 minutes or so. ... EEQ8wIwAg#

Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:01 pm
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Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:11 pm
Posts: 869
Location: Cambridge, MA
I just saw the most amazing tent in the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog! "The Instant 7 Person Tent". Pops up in 60 seconds. If I was in the market for a big tent, OMG, this is the one I'd buy! My LEAST favorite thing about fest is the 40-minute, sweaty, laborious task of putting up my tent - and mine is relatively easy. (Luckily I'm near the showers, and can just hop in afterwards.) This weighs 33 lbs, but if cost and weight are not an issue, this might be the tent for you!

And while you're there, check out the Evaporative Cooling Hats, and the Heavy Duty Foldaway Utility Cart. The cart looks really cool; folds down to 8.5", but holds 120 lbs of stuff when open!

Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:19 pm

Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 7:41 pm
Posts: 77
Location: WA
(Hmm, a 9x9 footprint is not most people's idea of a tent for 7 people. And 33 lbs for a 9x9 tent is heavy.)

If it's a cold year, note that, while less convenient than 'walk-ins', smaller tents are definitely warmer. One option is a small sleep tent and another small tent as a "garage" tent for extra clothing, raingear, luggage, laundry etc. Keeps the sleep tent more tidy and dry, as well.

Check with friends and see if you can borrow a tent. Save money and resources.

Whether you borrow or buy, ALWAYS set your tent up at home in advance, so you know just how it goes up, maybe color code some pole connections, be sure you have all the pieces, a ground tarp just smaller than the tent floor, etc. That will make it much smoother when you get there. Make your set up less stressful by keeping handy some fruit juice, water at least, a snack, and your bug repellent.

Take time, too, when placing your tent. Sit for a while (perhaps with those snacks) and have a good look at the trees around you (yellow jacket nest holes?), above you (loose dead limbs that could fall), and the ground surface (critter burrows, as well as lumpy roots). One year I had to move and reset my tent three times in a row, for not having done all that first. Live and learn....

Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:41 pm

Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:14 am
Posts: 110
i would be careful of instant tents. the poles can sometimes break because they are usually fiberglass. with tent technology now a days tents are extremely easy to put up. i used the kingdom 4 by REI last time and i think it went up in less then 10 minutes. i also have a marmot limelight 3 which i'm going to use this year that goes up in less then 5. (both of these tents are a great deal and bomb proof.)

brands to consider
Big Agnes (they also have a green collection if being green is your thing)

what to look for
vestibules (great for extra gear storage if it isn't raining)
any type of attic (handy to put a flash light in)
seam sealed and bath tub bottom (the bottom seal sits off the ground so less water gets in)
mesh body (it may seem like having a completely mesh tent would make it cold but it helps the tent breath)
clips instead of sleeves (the poles clip in instead of sliding through sleeves which makes set up so much easier and faster)
DAC or aluminum poles (a lot stronger then fiberglass)

some thoughts
good tents are expensive but they also keep you dry and warm so its worth it to spend money on a tent that is reliable and going to last you
buy the footprint. also put a tarp under your tent. i remember one year i was bailing water out from under my footprint but the tent was dry as a bone. plus it helps protect the bottom of your tent extending the life.
Big Agnes has closeouts. check out they are pre-production models or show room samples and big agnes will still honor their warranty
check out they have what they call slightly soiled tents. basically someone bought it and didn't want it and sent it back.
also check out REI's outlet. they can have some good deals.
always set up your tent before the festival. its better to be frustrated and angry when you have some time on your hands to figure out how to set up your tent.
lastly, if you need a tent you can always rent one from REI. most stores offer this.

Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:43 am

Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:11 pm
Posts: 385
Location: Miami Beach, Florida
I feel that the MOST important thing to look for when buying a tent is : A 'close to the ground' fly not one that just acts as a hat and reaches only mid way down the tent side. Just think of rain falling at a slant - are you covered enough for a good horizontal rainfall?? Even with the longest fly, I still tarp out over the tent - this gives great insulation from all kinds of moisture.

Sun May 15, 2011 2:50 pm
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Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:21 pm
Posts: 179
Location: Columbus, OH
One tent requirement I have is simplicity. Can I put it up and take it down in the dark by myself with relative ease? Not that I want to, but could I? Means I end up buying a tent with a very simple design, which also seems to pose less problems with leaks and such.

Once I have said tent, I like to test it out at home before trying to camp with it. I set it up by myself. Then I turn on the hose, and hit it from every possible angle on full blast. Then I look inside for leaks. In my opinion, good tent should not need to be seem sealed out of the box.

I also like a tent that is tall enough for me to stand up in. I used to be able to tolerate ducking, but not so much anymore.

I like that many tents today have gear lofts for the top. I have found that in a pinch I can use one to hang a wet towel if its too damp out.

Sun May 15, 2011 5:24 pm

Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:14 am
Posts: 110
if you want easy set up look for something with a hubbed pole set up, aluminum or DAC poles (you can flex them more without the fear of snapping them) and a clip system. its also nice if the fly is color coded and is a buckle system.

if anyone needs help with a tent, email me and i would be more then happy to point you in the right direction baileya82 at gmail dot com i like doing things like that.

Sun May 15, 2011 10:04 pm

Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:09 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Minnesota
I just bought my first tent! It's the Kelty Zodiac 4 Person Tent from Target. Only a hundred bucks and is very similar to the tents I've been eyeing at REI. Only thing I dislike is that it has fiberglass poles, but they're thicker so they're less likely to break in the wind. My favorite part is it has a little "porch." I really wanted that, and feared I wouldn't get it with my small budget.

My pile has officially started!

Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:45 pm

Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:14 am
Posts: 110
buy a tent repair kit and bring duct tape with fiberglass poles.

Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:31 am

Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 5:08 pm
Posts: 19
Location: 2d star to the right, straight on till 'morn
I just bought my first grown up tent!!

I got the REI Base Camp 6. and I LOVE IT. Could have gone with the base camp 4 comfortably, but I wanted to be able to use it the rest of the year for more people in it.

With two people, goes up in no more than ten minutes. Probably a few minutes longer when I do it by myself.

Pricey, but I had a 30% off coupon from REI, and I expect to have this one for years. and I love love love having the vestibule. Used it 'out of the box' Memorial Day Weekend in Provincetown, wet rain off the trees every night, tent was dry as a bone, no pre-seam sealing done.

Before this I had a Wenzel I bought on Amazon for $34. small 8x8 tent, but it held up to 6 years camping at fest, minimal leakage (before we started tarping over it), and one four day stretch of ren faire camping in LA where it poured rain for 6 days straight. It leaked at floor level there, but the whole campground was a lake at that point.

Sat Jun 25, 2011 12:02 am

Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:21 pm
Posts: 3
I'm looking to buy a new tent. Anyone have experience with the Wenzel Klondike or the Eureka Tetragon 1210 6-person? Needs to be big enough to put my 17 month old's huge stroller and huge car seat in since we're flying from the west coast and taking the shuttle.

Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:45 pm

Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:59 am
Posts: 93
Location: California
Has anyone used a tent cot before? seems too good to be true lol ... eviews.htm

It is WAY heavier than my tent and yoga mat combination, but I'm used to sleeping on the ground...

Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:21 am

Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:14 am
Posts: 110
my dad has one for hunting and likes it. i would suggest waterproofing the hell out of it. also bring a tarp to wrap your gear in and another to put over the cot in case it leaks. you can never underestimate michigan rain.

Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:38 pm
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