Looking for a Tent

Updated on August 22, 2009
K.O. asks from New Lenox, IL
5 answers

Hi all,
We're planning our first camping trip with our soon to be 3 year old. I wanted to buy a nice tent since we currently only have a two person tent. It will probably work for this trip but I'm researching a nice one to buy for future family use. I was thinking about a larger one with the side "pockets" that have walls so that the kids could get put to bed and if we come in later, we're not waking them up - or just for their privacy - whatever. I know those larger ones can be much harder to put together though. So I'm wondering has anyone found a nice compromise? Do you need the side pockets? Have a favorite you can reccomend?


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answers from Chicago on

we just bought a tent from Sam's club (Coleman).We went camping a few weeks ago, and we love the tent.It's huge but easy to put together.It has a ceiling light, with remote control, lots of side pockets, for toys and stuff to store,
self roll up windows, and it sleeps 12 !!! For a 199 Dollars, you can't get it any cheaper, I'd looked everywhere.
We slept 5 people in it, and the kids had still so much room for playing,oh and the dog,too.



answers from Chicago on

How fun to go camping, you open a whole new world to your kids! I'm pretty sure there are some sales on now, I think Cabella's is a great place to start for quality, though I remember seeing a sale flier so you may get a deal. Plus it's really fun to go and look there it's my 10 YO daughter's favorite place to shop - go figure. lol. Anyway, I highly recommend getting one you can easily set up, the pop-up type because there will be times you need to set it up when it's nearly dark. My dh says the next time we get one, he has to be able to stand up in it, whatever. You need to know what you want and search around. Cabella's is usually cheaper than Gander Mountain and about the same or a little less than Bass Pro. You can find them at Target & places like that, just you get what you pay for and you'll find more variety in a place that specializes in outdoor fun.

You may find a 4-man tent will be great with a little one in a playpen, then as you have more kids and they grow, you'll upgrade. I have found my kids like to sleep in their own tents next to ours after about 5 years old, so save your 2-man tent for the future!

Have FUN!!



answers from Chicago on

We bought a large tent last year - although maybe not as large as what you mean - after doing some research (and having to return a tent that was cheaply made - make sure you put it together at home after you buy it.) It's fairly easy to put up although because it's large, it helps to have two adults.

I did a ton of research and since we don't camp that often or for long stretches, we decided that it didn't make sense for us right now to buy the very best tent, but we wanted something that would be fairly sturdy and easy to put up. It turns out that a lot of tents are made by a few companies. The one we ended up with is a Northwest Territory brand (it's 18 x 10, and large enough to stand up in), and we got a great price shopping at about this time of year. Check the sporting-goods stores, Sears, etc., for clearance items once you've done your research.

Search for tent reviews, and if you find a brand you're interested in you can google to find out who makes the tent. Here are a couple of links I found useful. http://www.trailspace.com/articles/tents.html, http://www.trailspace.com/gear/tents/



answers from Chicago on

All I have to say is cheap is cheap. If you are looking to save money on a tent, expect cheap materials, poor zippers that jam and snag, poles that bend or break, etc.

Stick with reliable camping name brands - REI, Erehwhon, Coleman, LandsEnd, etc. Of course, they are more expensive, but I liken it to buying a car - you can pay up front for a good product or save money on the purchase and run the risk of being stranded later - who cares if it has a great warranty...if poles break or it leaks when you need it the most, you won't feel too good about saving the money.

Also, buy the bigger tent now. Otherwise, you'll outgrow this "new" one very quickly and in a few years just feel like you wasted the money. Buy the bigger/better one now, you'll be happy you did.



answers from Chicago on

Sounds like compartmental tents are your preference, but would you consider a 6-person with a quiet zipper? Once you know what features are the most important to you, you can review some nice tents at rei.com.

We opted for the REI Base Camp 6. We love it! It is easy to put up, we like the rain fly covering the whole tent, the space inside and pockets/shelf suit us, and there is a covered vestibule. The quality is superior, and the zipper is quiet ;) There are two entrances, too. My hubby is 6'4", so being able to stand up in it is a big plus. We read that the tent gets too hot with the rain fly... I haven't been in a tent that doesn't get hot in the sun. We found that it stays cool enough in shade. Skip the footprint; a 9x12 tarp works perfectly. This isn't a backpacking tent, fyi. Walk-in sites are doable, though, as the tent bag has backpack straps.

Happy camping!

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