REI Base Camp 6 is my favorite tent. It's the first tent I've owned that made me not wish for another feature. Very roomy, 2 vestibules, and waterproof. I've camped in it during a raging storm without a drop getting in.
The price is $429. Not sure where this falls in your price range.
Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice
We really like our REI Base Camp 4. A bit over your price point, but it fits our queen size air mattress with room to spare, deals with rain nicely, and packs up nicely.
"Once abolish the God, and the Government becomes the God." --- G.K. Chesterton
Look at the discount places like Walmart On line.
You said float trips and public campgrounds in warmer weather.
Look for a light weight two or three room tent.
Stand up height. One room for the gear and to change from wet clothes into something dry.
Other room to sleep in.
The modern Dome type even multiple rooms are real easy to put up.
You don’t need the expensive ones because of the warmer temperatures you will be camping in.
This is one we have and fits in a bag that is not that large or hard to carry It was a little over 100 dollars if I recall.
Beware the man who only has one gun. He probably knows how to use it! - John Steinbeck
was eyeballing this:
Proverbs 27:17 - As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
For car camping, I would get a 6-10 person tent, no reason not to have plenty of room. They can be under $100.
We have 3 small kids and got an 8 person tent that has a floor footprint of about 8'x12'. I think I paid $150. We have used it 1-2x per year for 3 years now. Super roomy for 2, not too bad with the 5 person family and you can stand up inside.
I also always bring a tarp and plenty of 550 cord to set up an overhead cover for the table/cooking area. Has saved me more than once, cramped in a tent in the rain is no fun.
For backpacking I'm the opposite, a minimalist and use a 1-person bivvy shelter.
“People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.” –Chuck Palahnuik
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I use to use one of those. But my old non limber body and fat gut always nocks down the pole in the doorway and then I am nothing but a shrink wrapped old guy. LMAO.
Beware the man who only has one gun. He probably knows how to use it! - John Steinbeck
|On the DL|
Much like BettysNephew, my wife and I used to do a lot of motorcycle travel / camp (BMW, or course).
We used a Eureka Timberline, 4 person, too. For the two of us, this "four person" tent, with a fly to hold some of our gear, was just barely adequate for the two of us.
Informal non-scientific surveys showed this model to be the most popular at campgrounds for motorcyclists.
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|Just for the|
hell of it
Queen air mattress and gear and your looking at a 6+ person tent. You could get the mattress in a 4 person but the gear would make it tight.
I would normally recommend some of the REI branded tents. Great value for price but I think your size and budget may put you out the their range. I wish you had asked a few weeks ago before there big annual sale.
Since it seems weight isn't a big issue take a look at these two. One's a 6 and ones an 8 person. Kelty's a good company maybe not top of the line but better then most of what your find at Walmart or Dicks.
Sierra Trading Post is a good company. Most of what they sell is last years models and stuff like that. Doesn't mean it's bad just not the newest version. I've ordered a ton of stuff from them over the years. Look for a coupon code or sing up on their email and you can get coupons for 10-30% off stuff.
Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain. Jack Kerouac
I would look at the Ozark Trail tents at Walmart as someone else suggested. I had a couple of good backpacking tents and when I got married/had kids I needed more space and realized that kids and expensive tents are a bad combo. I have a couple of the Ozarks and they have held up very well.
Another option is find a local place that rents and try a couple out to see if you like them first
; > Tent math:
divide manufacturers stated occupancy by 2
if inclement weather is a distinct possibility seriously consider dividing by 3.
Overhead tarps/screen tent/canopy for a sitting area are a multiplication factor.
This is what I have. Highly recommended.
I have the base camp 4 from REI as well, but you shouldn't spend that kind of money if you are only camping once or twice a year. The PU and Silicone coatings on the fabric do degrade over time, so it's not really a buy-once-cry-once type of investment...
If I were in your position, I would go with something like this:
The single dome style is simplest to set up, and is completely free standing so you don't have to anchor out guy lines. The 6 person variant of the dome tent will give you you nearly 6 feet of standing height right in the middle of the tent.
Nicer and more expensive tents will give you aluminum poles, a rain fly that extends all the way down to the ground on all 4 sides and vestibule coverage for foul weather. Very expensive tents will also give you 4 or 6 poles, instead of just 2, to accomplish a geodesic dome. Geodesic domes are very strong and would be what you would use on an expedition expecting heavy snow and wind... But all these features are overkill for fair to moderate weather camping where the worse case scenario is you just get back in the car.
Save your money on the tent and buy a quality camping mattress. Remember: your mattress is part of your insulation system, and you'll need to do something to keep heat from escaping through the mattress into the ground and surrounding air. I prefer insulated individual mattresses (one person getting up in the middle of the night doesn't disturb the other), but adding a sleeping bag under you or foam pad under the mattress will provide insulation.
|Drill Here, Drill Now|
When I moved to Alaska, I found a smoking deal on eBay ($300 for a $450 tent) on the Eureka! Assault Outfitter 4. It's a 4 season tent that sleeps 4 and it's the civilian version of the tent Eureka makes for the military. My tent camping isn't too far from my truck so I was more concerned about durability than weight.
Even thought it's rugged, I still set it up on top of a tarp so no rocks or roots would damage the tent.
Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity
DISCLAIMER: These are the author's own personal views and do not represent the views of the author's employer.
|Washing machine whisperer|
If you are not already a member at Expercity, you should be. You should be able to get a decent price on a quality tent through them.
That said, after much research, we bought a REI Hobitat (now discontinued) about 5 years ago. Great tent for car camping, the big selling feature for my wife was that we can stand up in it. It fits our queen size air mattress (our one concession to being older campers) nicels with lots of room to spare. Only thing e would do differently is to have purchased the vestibule for it as it would give a covered area to put stuff we don't want in the tent as well as a spot for a chair to take our shoes off and on. We were very happy with our REI buying experience. One other thing I'd add is get a matching footprint if it's offered for your new tent. it protects the floor and adds a moisture barrier.
Writing the next chapter that I've been looking forward to.
I was in the same boat a little over a year ago. Back in 2001 I bought a nice Northface 2 person tent and loved it. Great for just me, bearable when my wife came along.
We now have a 3 year old and decided it was time she start camping. I looked at a lot of 4 person tents, but the wife really wanted to take the crib to secure the little one while we hung outside by the fire.
We settled on the Marmot Halo 6p. It has enough room for all my gear, a queen size mattress, and a pack n play crib. I am 6' tall and have plenty of room to stand up and walk around. The full rain fly was put to the test during a crazy storm, not a drop made it inside. I got the footprint for it, but the material is fairly thin. I still use a heavy duty tarp under it.
Here is where I bought it, currently on sale.
Marmot Halo 6p
For the rain test?
Here is the tent set up before the great flood.
We knew it was going to rain, so we were prepared. We had a TON of rain Friday night. Wind was insane as well. Tent did awesome, very pleased.
Saturday it didn't rain much at all, but all of the sudden the river started coming up FAST around 7pm. In case you are wondering, the Marmot Halo fits in the back of a pickup truck completely assembled.
We headed to high ground, this is the picture from Sunday morning. In the middle of this picture you can see our tarps still setup. We didn't have time to get them down, and couldn't get them before we left. We were lucky for sure.
when taking tents... I always assume the "person" is always 1 less than listed because I'm 6' 3"
I picked up a north face last year on sale from Cabelas.
super simple to set up, about 8 pole clips, less than 10min on first time I put it up
Live today as if it may be your last and learn today as if you will live forever
|Middle children |
I have a Marmot Limestone 6P which is the best tent I have ever used. It's on Backcountry right now for a great price:
I'm 6'3" tall and can stand all the way up inside which makes it much easier to get dressed. I'm getting too old to be flopping around on the tent floor trying to get my pants on.
It's big enough for cots or air mattresses for a couple people plus gear without getting cramped. Some of my best nights of sleep have been in this tent.
Bone dry and rock solid in severe thunderstorms. Nice and cool in the summer with all of the venting. Zippers are smooth and reliable with no snags. Quick and easy to setup with color coded aluminum poles.
The front vestibule is so large I can put a folding chair in there for putting my boots on. Boots stay in the covered vestibule keeping the dirt outside the tent.
I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious.
I have a Eureka Timberline 4 that I use when car camping. It is often called the "Boy Scout Tent".
I can get two camp cots in there and have room left over.
One reason why I continue to use this particular tent is that it can be made very weather resistant. When tied down properly, it can survive an incredible amount of wind and rain and not get a drop inside the tent. I've weathered some really harsh rainstorms in it.
Eureka Timberline page
They've supposedly sold over a million of them over the years.
The interior dimensions are 8'7" X 7'2".
Do you have an REI close by? See what they charge to rent a tent. That might be a cost effective option as little as you plan to use it. And you don't have to store it, worry about buying a ground cloth to keep it clean, etc.
Speak softly and carry a
I have used this one many times car camping and canoeing. It fits well in an Old Town Discovery. It is comfortable, roomy, relatively light and sets up very fast, with very few extra part to lose and the patented stakes are amazing. Plus the warranty is extremely generous. This is also a bigger version of the tent used by US Forest Service Firefighters out west.
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