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Help me choose a family camping tent

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Stretch15, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. Stretch15

    Stretch15 Member


    I'm in the market for a family size camping tent - should fit 5-6 people comfortably, needs to have at least 7 feet of clearance in the inside center (I'm 6'9" and I'd like to stand up every once in a while), rain resistant, and easy to set up.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Active Member

    My two-man tent is a Sierra Designs and I've never had any problems with it.

    You might go to llbean.com to see what they have. Campmor.com usually has a bunch of good deals on a lot of different camping equipment.
  3. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Five-six people and a 7-foot ceiling?

    Sounds like you'll need one of these...


  4. Stretch15

    Stretch15 Member

    Inky - have you used either of those models, or are you just making recommendations based on my specs?

    Thanks for the help.
  5. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Just on your specs.

    When the wife goes, we stay in a cabin. But when it's just me, I either sleep in my Jeep or one of these ... http://www.rei.com/product/9842836.htm
  6. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Haven't camped in 15 years or so, but we did a lot of family camping up through my teen years.

    One big question: How many of your camping party are of reasonably useful age in helping to set up? As the oldest son, I was always drafted into helping Dad set up the trailer, add-a-room, and all the other gear, from about the age of 10 on.

    If it's just you setting up all the gear, then ease and speed of setup become paramount considerations. If Mrs. Stretch and maybe one or two of the kids are at the stage where they can drive tent stakes and attach guy lines, it becomes less of an absolutely vital factor. The newer, fiberglass-pole, light nylon tents are much, much easier to put up than the old canvas behemoths with steel poles and dozens of stakes.

    Remember also, that tent specifications are based on very minimalist space requirements, established by backpackers who are used to a sleeping bag and a few inches of clear space being "sufficient" for their needs. Most tents that are listed "for 5-6 people" are actually fairly tight for 3-4 people. (Needless to say, these listings are also based on the 'average adult' size of maybe 5-10 and 185 lbs. Being 6-9 you're probably used to this.)

    Plus, if you bring any clothes or any other items inside the tent, that cuts the available space down even more.

    For 5-6 people to "fit comfortably," I'd think about going with a pair of 4-man tents. Or one tent with a listed capacity of 8-10.
  7. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Be sure to try sierratradingpost.com and the Bargain Cave at Cabela's (cabelas.com) before you pay retail anywhere else. LL Bean and Campmor were good suggestions as well, and often have clearance items available.

    The best tents are made by Mountainsmith and North Face, but as previously posted, they're designed with backpacking in mind, and are usually very high-tech, but fairly small. And pricey. If camping is going to be an infrequent weekend for you, there's no need to buy a high-end 4-season technical climbing rig.
  8. Stretch15

    Stretch15 Member

    Way ahead of you Starman...we're a family of three, so I figured that a 6 man tent would give us ample space to sleep comfortably and keep all our gear inside.

    My daughter is 8, so she wouldn't be too much help in setting the tent up.
  9. OTD

    OTD Well-Known Member

    When we were still tent camping, we bought a cabin tent at Target. It was actually fairly nice, and not too much money. I'd check there. Ours was tall enough for me, but I'm only 6-foot. You might have trouble finding a 7-foot tent. Of course, you might want to decide how much time you'll really be standing up in it. Mostly, you'll be sitting or sleeping.
  10. Idaho

    Idaho Active Member

    6-foot-10 ceiling, sleeps 6.
  11. Stretch15

    Stretch15 Member

    You have experience with this tent, Idaho, or just making a suggestion like Inky?

    Both are appreciated.
  12. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    starman is right... the whole "sleeping comfortably" thing is way underestimated... 5-6 people usually means "like sardines'.. starman has a good idea about getting a pair of four man tents...

    that way, you can actually pretend to get some sleep in one tent, while the missus and the offspring allegedly sleep in the other... until the missus calls bullshit and then you get kid duty.

    the Eureka line of tents is pretty well known for durability in family tents. We have had a series of them, and i loved my four man eureka.

    and by the way... head clearance is way overrated in a tent, unless it's raining...
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