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the tent commandments

6393 Views 21 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  ashley8072
What are some good tips for investing in a tent? I am looking for features that will indicate a good tent, but I need one that is easy to set up also
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You need to get more specific. Are you looking for a tent for one or ten? Light or heavy? One room or more?

It entirely depends on your purpose in getting a tent. Remember that backpacking tents have to be light, so buying one of those can get more expensive than you need to get. How you intend to use it, and how OFTEN you intend to use it matters too.

You will NEVER regret getting a tent with a reputation for being waterproof.

You should also remember that a totally waterproof tent will also keep the moisture from your breath INSIDE, so ventilation is important.

Never throw a tent directly on top of the ground if you can help it, use a waterproof tarp or other tough material to preserve the bottom. Good tents can have an accessory known as a 'foot' meant to be attached to the bottom of your tent to keep it safe from rips and tears.

I like Marmot tents - other brands exist, but on a trip to alaska a few years back, I saw more Marmot tents than anything else, and the southeast panhandle is WET. I've never regretted being a copycat!
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Never heard of a Marmot until I took a vacation/hunting trip to Alaska...
About 2/3 of the tents I saw were Marmot.
I've owned so many cheap tents that have ripped or the zippers have broken. I'm done buying cheap tents.
I feel your pain!

I have a pile of tent rods, rain flies, ect for tents that I got disgusted with and threw away!

Nothing like buying at Wally-World to ensure your tent won't last the first good blow!
(or drunken zipper incident! :D )
As long as you don't modify them all marmot equipment is warranteed for life - and if it IS your fault, they have an inexpensive repair program.
You should read through campmor's faq:

They also have some great deals sometimes. Lots of "last year's model" discounts.

Most of our camping is done in new england. We've been sporting a Kelty Gunnison 2 for the past few years. We've taken decent care of it (maybe 5 trips per year) and it still looks like new and keeps us dry. It's not a big tent though, but we're small folks so we get a lot of space 'for free' :).
Cabela's Alaskan Guide

One you might consider is Cabela's Alaskan Guide tent, it's a four season tent, well constructed, reasonably priced for what you get and they have several sizes. I do a lot of camping and have been in everything from a deluge to blizzard conditions and it's never failed me yet. It's very well made and really stands up to some very severe winds. Product support is exceptional as well. I bought mine almost 15 years ago and it's as good today as it was when I first purchased it, of course, like anything else it will depend on how well you take care of it. I have included the link if you care to take a peek. Good luck!

What are some good tips for investing in a tent? I am looking for features that will indicate a good tent, but I need one that is easy to set up also
Hi Landshark,
You haven't indicated what size tent you need and the enviroment you will be using the tent - there's many good tent manufacturers and a trip to the local outdoors store and a discussion with a salesperson is highly recommended. Personally I have purchased ex military kit (both new and partly used military kit) and have always been surprised at the high quality of manufacture. The ex military tents come in various sizes from single person to multiperson. The only problem with ex military tents are that they come in a limited number of colors (green, camouflage for forest and desert etc)!!:)
Good luck
A good tent definitely is something that will last you and will make camping more comfortable than some cheapo thing.

Let's see... some features of my tent:

I love having a gear loft (basically a netting that clips at the peak so you can put gear in it overnight.

I like the tents that don't have the cheap tarp material in the bottom. My good tent is all the same fabric.

I like tents with a full coverage, fully waterproof rain fly. I hate tents that just have a tiny little rain fly and leaves the actual tent to fend off water. That's what the rainfly is for.

Its nice if the rainfly rolls up, too.

I like having a decent vestibule in the rain fly to store stuff that doesn't need to be in the tent with me/us.

Aluminum poles that fit flush are great, versus those that have cylinders around the fitment points that stick out and catch on the tent as you're threading it through.

Mine is a two pole so it is crazy simple to set up. I would rather have a tent that is simple to set up-- a hex shape with 3 poles, for example, rather than some weird igloo looking thing with poles at weird angles everywhere.

A tent with a matching ground tarp is great -- too big and it lets water go under the tent. Too small and, well, it doesn't keep the tent from getting dirty & abraded by ground.

My tent and rain fly have excellent tie downs that keep the tent staked down in high wind but also keep the rain fly away from the tent proper to keep water/moisture off it.

For size... I like to use a 4-person for two people (my cheap tent which I'm not super fond of but it does ok and it was free so who am I to complain) and a 2 person for just me. That gives me room for backpack and other gear. But the 2-person has slept me and my wife before... and it works... but that's why we got the 4-person :D
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Don't forget to hang a tarp over your tent. The tent won't get wet. It also protects the tent from tree sap, leaves, falling branches, bird poop, and the uv rays of the sun. All of the above will damage the skin of your tent. It's much cheaper to buy a new tarp than a new tent. A few weeks with no tarp and your tent will be badly worn by all of the above. If the tarp is large enough you can hang outside the tent during storms too. It'll also keep any outside gear dry.
What are some good tips for investing in a tent? I am looking for features that will indicate a good tent, but I need one that is easy to set up also
great article. I will bookmark this
I have a question on maintaining your tent, re-sealing the seams is the seam sealer applied on the outside or indside of your tent or both?

Exterior. If you just do it on the interior the water has already entered the tent through the exposed seam and will wick into the inside.
I can only say that my tent is an L.L. Bean backpacking tent that is twenty years old, has received a lot of use, as well as a lot of care, and is still going. I did replace the poles a few years back, but that was because the elastic shock cords were shot, which made them a pain to get in and out of the sleeves. Not so much a problem with newer clip designs.
So what kind/brand of tent is it that you have, AgentFlounder?
It sounds like we should all just go out and get us one of those!

And Canadian, you are right about the tarp. Your tent will last 10x longer with protection.
Even though it has no floor (which is easily fixxed with a tarp), my pup tent works awesome. Canvas is a durable material, and they're usually pretty cheap, both new and used. Reasonably light, and they keep outside air out (aka, deflecting cold). If you're not sleeping 2 people, you have plenty of room for you and your gear.

However, don't associate their cheapness with crappy. They're pretty decent tents in the 2 and a half years I've owned mine. They're hard to wreck, and will get the job done. There are a few cons however. It's canvas, so, once it's totally soaked (not just wet), it's soaked for a while. But it takes quite a lot of heavy, heavy rain to do that. The final major detriment is it's lack of a floor, haha. But like I say this is easily fixxed with a sturdy tarp. The water problem can even be solved the same way.
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