Tent experiences/choices?

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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Tent experiences/choices?

Post by cap6888 » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:18 pm

Soooo, I am in the market for a new family tent. This will primarily be a car camping tent. Only need a 3 season tent, and would like to spend less than $200. I came across these two tents on Amazon..........

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0064L ... rt_title_1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And this one......

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003YF ... rt_title_2" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I believe both of these are better quality tents than say, Coleman. Was wondering if anyone has experience with either of these tents? Any suggestions between the two from anyone? Thanks in advance.

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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by Neddog » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:13 pm

I've had positive experiences with Eureka tents. Not that model specifically as I have never had need of anything that big, but Eureka makes some pretty decent tents. Never had a Slumberjack.

One thing you'll notice in the description is that the Eureka tent has a bathtub style floor. If you do tenting in ANY kind of rain, this is an all-important feature. The floor should be seamed well above the floor base, and should be made of a tougher, more water-repellent tarp-like material rather than the light nylon used on the rest of the tent.
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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by duodecima » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:44 pm

I've got a Eureka Grand Manan 9. Which is the same size as the Apollo but heavier and the vestibules zip fully closed. It did fine in moderate gusty wind and light rain. Full rainfly to go with the bathtub floor is also a good idea!

I can't find the Apollo on the Eureka website for some reason, tho it's clearly there on Amazon. My google-fu is weak tonite. :?
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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by Boris » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:50 pm

Do you have gift cards to amazon? Otherwise, I would suggest looking at some other places too, such as REI and Campmor.
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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by JackBauer » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:20 pm

+ 1 on Eureka tent!

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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by offcamber » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:34 pm

To clarify, how many folks are in you family?

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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by cap6888 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:47 am

Thanks for the replies. To answer a few questions......

I have two kids who go camping with me, on occasion, an extra friend may get brought along. If the moon turns blue, one of these days my wife may come along. I have always used a "6" person tent because the size is more comfortable.

As far as looking other places, I would be open to it, but I would imagine a 6 person tent would be way out of my price range at REI. Campmor would be an option too, I will check them out. I like surfing Amazon because they always seem to have the best deals.

Duo- you may not have found the Eureka if it was discontinued, or an older model. Sometimes that is why Amalzon has those great prices.

ETA- I know Eureka makes the USMC tent, which many of you have said is a good piece of kit. That's what made me look at Eurekas.

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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by GSHX2 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:07 am

When I was a summer camp counselor we used Eureka tents on our 3 day canoe trips and I have seen those things last for at least 6 seasons of 8 weeks of use three days a week. Always used a cheap poly ground sheet and seam sealed them yearly. We were set up in the wood line so they didn't get a lot of direct sun. Some minor tears here and there that were fixed with duct tape but those things would last! I think at the end they just gave in because we folded them along the same creases every time and eventually it wore the fabric. Just need some good stakes, seam sealer, thick poly cut smaller than the footprint and you should be GTG!

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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by majorhavoc » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:47 am

I would agree that the Eureka is definitely known for better quality than the Coleman. I don't know for sure about the Slumberjack vs. Coleman, but I will say it's nice to see the SL with a full coverage rainfly. Way too many Coleman tents come with a rainfly that covers three quarters (or less!) of the tent and appear to be designed with the expectation that rain only falls straight down and that storms occur in perfectly still air.

All other things being equal, you will definitely be more comfortable in a 6 person tent versus a 5 person tent if you're sharing it with two, possibly three youngsters. But a roomy tent that leaks, falls apart or that you can't trust in iffy weather is never one you'll be comfortable sleeping in.

Zero experience with Slumberjack. My experience with Eureka tents has been very positive, but that is restricted to a 2 person TImberline (that I owned and used the bejesus out of) and a 4 person Timberline (that I borrowed to climb Mt. Kenya). Those were bombproof, but extremely heavy, cramped tents, And that was 30 years ago.

Overall, my vote goes to the Eureka. If nothing else, they'll have a better warranty organization than Slumberjack if you encounter difficulties. But do you need the tent soon? We usually sniff out good tent deals when they appear and post them on the bug out deals thread.

PS: Both tents have fiberglass poles, which I get, given your price range. They are more prone to breakage than aluminum poles. The number one mistake that leads to breakage is not fully seating the bare fiberglass end into the aluminum ferrule of the next section. And that often comes from pulling, rather than pushing tent poles through pole sleeves. This is especially an issue when you get children to help you pitch the tent. Get in the habit of double checking all the joint connections before lofting the tent. In a pinch, tightly wrapping a splintered fiberglass pole section with dental floss can salvage a damaged tent.

Don't ask me how I know any of that.

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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by JackBauer » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:51 am

cap6888 wrote:
As far as looking other places, I would be open to it, but I would imagine a 6 person tent would be way out of my price range at REI. Campmor would be an option too, I will check them out. I like surfing Amazon because they always seem to have the best deals.

Duo- you may not have found the Eureka if it was discontinued, or an older model. Sometimes that is why Amalzon has those great prices.

ETA- I know Eureka makes the USMC tent, which many of you have said is a good piece of kit. That's what made me look at Eurekas.
Very good. bought my 6 man Eureka pictured above at Campmor. Great place as the have almost a 100 tents set up so you can check ' em out.
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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by cap6888 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:47 pm

Cockroach wrote:Very good. bought my 6 man Eureka pictured above at Campmor. Great place as the have almost a 100 tents set up so you can check ' em out.
I wish I could go to Campor (as opposed to online), but that is too much of a drive. If you have the same Eureka that I am looking at, any chance you have pics? That would be awesome!

Thanks again to everyone for the input.

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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by Dawgboy » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:09 pm

My Eureka Tetragon 1210 died in a year and a half from pole failure. I was very disappoint...
Although the poles are covered by the warranty, I replaced it with a much more expensive tent made of canvas and steel.

My advice on a flexed pole tent over say, 4 feet tall, is to spend the extra money and get one with Aluminum poles. The fiberglass just can't handle the strain in that square design in any wind at all, and they will crack. I use my stuff a lot though, so if it's just an occasional camping trip, you will probably be just fine.

I also recommend shopping around and looking for deals on the more expensive tents you dream about.
I like Campmor and Cabelas for their discount stores, some great deals can be had there.
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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by sheddi » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:58 pm

cap6888 wrote:Soooo, I am in the market for a new family tent. This will primarily be a car camping tent. Only need a 3 season tent, and would like to spend less than $200.
I'm in a different market to you, and a quick look at Amazon.com didn't show anything quite like it, but our "car camping" tent is the 4-man version of this 6-man tent. We've had it for six years, have typically taken it away for a couple of weekends plus a week-long summer holiday every year, and so far it's going strong.

Edit to add: I'm not suggesting you buy a tent from the UK; rather, I'm suggesting you review exactly what arrangement of accommodation you want.

Here's a pic of our 4-man one pitched on a soccer field as part of a Scout group camp-out:
Image

The 6-man is wider and taller. We've never needed the guy lines, but if the wind was to get up I daresay they'd be useful.

Having two separate bedrooms allows us to put our two children to bed and then not disturb them when Mrs Sheddi & I come to bed later. You also benefit from the communal space in the middle being separate from the sleeping area.

The only drawbacks we've seen are in rain; the central living area has a loose groundsheet so any run-off comes through, plus in heavy rain the water pools against the external pole sleeves and (if you've not sealed it effectively) the water can seep through the stitching.
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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by Neddog » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:51 pm

sheddi wrote:the water can seep through the stitching.
This won't help the other rain problems of your tent, but you should pick up some Seam Sealer for the stitching...
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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by smallthunder » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:39 pm


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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by majorhavoc » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:00 pm


That seems a little small for 3 to 4 people. I believe that's a 2 person backpacking tent.

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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by CoffeeGuy » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:15 pm

I am consistently converting everything Coleman over to Slumberjack. Coleman used to be solid camping equip but slowly over the years I feel the quality has dropped. Slumberjack has pulled into that vacancy with force. Just compare the zippers on a Coleman sleeping bag to that of a Slumberjack. Seriously. The stoves are not backpacker weight but you can get three 5gallon crab pots up to a boil in no time on them.

I have not see their tents yet but am very interested. We currently own an old Coleman American Heritage 9x12 cabin-style tent (that means you can stand fully upright all the way from edge to edge and corner to corner - maximum room) and have not found a replacement. We can a queen and two twin air mattresses stuffed in there plus have room to stand on the ground - fits our Jeep camping family of 5. You can still find them online here and there for under $100 new in the box.

As to the tents you are looking for... think of how you plan to use it - what's the footprint and how are you going to arrange things inside when you are transitioning (going to sleep and getting dressed for the day). How many stakes and guy lines are needed to put it up and keep it up? What is the grade of material used for the walls and the floor? Water resistance measures?

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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by cap6888 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:05 pm

I'm glad someone popped up talking about Slumberjack. Although the Eureka reviews are pushing me in that direction, the vestibule on the Slumberjack seems much better.

Any other people with positive/negatives about Slumberjack?

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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by smallthunder » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:53 am

majorhavoc wrote:

That seems a little small for 3 to 4 people. I believe that's a 2 person backpacking tent.
:shock: That's what I get for posting before the first cup of coffee. :lol:

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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by Tribunal Power » Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:06 am

Call me crazy, but I love Coleman and Ozark Trail tents. Why? They're easily replaced.

I'll be honest. I've only ever had one tent actually fail on me, and it was a several hundred dollar tent that belonged to a friend. It was in a pretty bad storm, but still, the only tent that I've ever seen destroyed was a pricey one.

I've camped my whole life, and other then that one tent, the most expensive tent I've ever slept in was a $70ish Coleman tent my parents had. I've bought several different tents, all different shapes and different sizes for different expeditions. All of them have been used through storms, all of them have survived and served me well, and all of them are Coleman or Ozark Trail tents-- and none of them cost more than $50 for a three-sleeper.

And if one of my tents fails eventually (hasn't happened yet in the past four years, camping in multiple storms across multiple states), who cares? I've had my tents for years and they cost very little to replace. Plus, with cheap tents, I can afford to have multiple backups.

Just my two cents. Normally I'm not in the "quantity over quality" camp, but I've had extraordinary good fortune with cheap tents, so I'd rather have two three-sleepers for $100 than one for $150-200. Coleman and OT all the way.

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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:08 am

Try the Meramac by Alps Mountaineering. Very sturdy and well made tents. Plus they give a massive discount to Scout through ScoutDirect.com

Considering that it is rare for all six persons, it might be smarter to buy a three or four person tent and a two person tent for when the whole gang is going. Besides, two smaller tents are easier to place, than a large 6 person tent's footprint.

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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by DesertGuy » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:12 pm

Had the Apollo 9, seemed nice. Had an area on it where the fabric pinched and would drip.

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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by CoffeeGuy » Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:54 pm

offcamber wrote:To clarify, how many folks are in you family?
I grew up tent camping. Camped since I was an infant. We camp with our kids since well before they could walk. That's one of the reasons we went to the wall-style cabin tent. The taller side wall allows for day-use portable cribs and more flexible use inside. Not that they are getting older I might look at other designs once this one starts wearing out. Hopefully something I can put a wood stove inside when needed.

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Re: Tent experiences/choices?

Post by Kutter_0311 » Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:12 pm

cap6888 wrote:I know Eureka makes the USMC tent, which many of you have said is a good piece of kit. That's what made me look at Eurekas.
I used Eureka tents while I was in the Corps(use what you get issued), and when I got out I bought a Diamond Brand USMC tent(that's what was available). I'm very happy with the prformance of these tents, and If you can find a couple in your price range, I would encourage you to buy two or three.

Here's one for about $100

I encourage using newer milsurp tents as you get some great features for the money. Mil tents will generally be built tougher, last longer, and parts will be readily available. Modularity makes replacing parts easy.

Having 2-3 smaller tents beats having one big tent in that you can all spit the weight if you need to hike, finding room for 3 is easier, you always have a backup, and the modularity allows you to part out damaged tents or replace parts from your own pile.

You know what sucks? Inventorying 300 combat tents! Set up 10, check for damage and all the parts, tear down and repack them, then set up 10 more. That was a long week, and we only had about 250 full tents when we were done.

Here's another one! Search "USMC tent" on eBay, and read descriptions carefully. Buying 1 tent 'brand new' may cost more than buying 4 'used, good condition' tents. Set up whatever you buy, and do a thorough parts/function check.
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