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Old 08-20-2012, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Georgia
2,545 posts, read 6,257,532 times
Reputation: 718

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Hi everyone,
Can you guys suggest a dependable tent for a family of 4.
A screened porch will be a plus, but we can live without it. We probably will use it twice a year and mostly in the summers, so no need for 3 season durability (just saying).

I would be happy if it can withstand the wind and rain (very important) reasonably well.

Will be camping mostly in the tristate area.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:20 AM
 
Location: California
11,436 posts, read 17,157,275 times
Reputation: 12500
I would go to the local Walmart, they have a good variety of decent tents that should serve your needs.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:24 PM
 
61 posts, read 192,877 times
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Or just check out Amazon. Read the reviews. For your needs, yes a Coleman offering at WalMart or Sears is fine.

But for the love of god... ignore the sleeping capacity tent makers advertise on the box. A tent they claim will sleep 4 is intended for people with names like Grumpy, Sleepy, Doc... etc... Find one that sleeps 6 or more.
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:18 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,508 posts, read 62,235,289 times
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Buy TWO of the so called "4 person" tents.
One for the adults and one NOT for adults.
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Old 09-03-2012, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Way on the outskirts of LA LA land.
3,040 posts, read 10,451,853 times
Reputation: 1927
Quote:
Originally Posted by zulu400 View Post
Hi everyone,
Can you guys suggest a dependable tent for a family of 4.
A screened porch will be a plus, but we can live without it. We probably will use it twice a year and mostly in the summers, so no need for 3 season durability (just saying).

I would be happy if it can withstand the wind and rain (very important) reasonably well.

Will be camping mostly in the tristate area.
Wow, there's not much to go on here...
Quote:
Originally Posted by zulu400 View Post
I would be happy if it can withstand the wind and rain (very important) reasonably well.
When you say it should withstand wind and rain, what type of wind and rain are you talking about?
In some areas, a 30 MPH gust is as much wind as you're likely to encounter, while in other areas, 30 MPH is a light breeze... As for rain, are you talking a 15 minute shower during the summer, or the kind or torrential downpour that comes from a monsoonal type of storm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zulu400 View Post
Will be camping mostly in the tristate area.
When you mention the "tristate" area, is that WY, SD, NE? AZ, NV, UT? ID, WY, MT? WV, OH, PA? AR, TX, LA? Your post did not indicate which area you were in. It is difficult to know what type of weather to expect in your area considering we don't know what your area is...
Edit: I saw in your profile that your location is New York, but this still doesn't tell me much about the "tristate" area in which you plan to camp...

As for the suggestions of a Walmart or Sears tent, yes they are adequate for camping in many areas during the summer. I've had several of them, all of which have served me (and others) well. I still have most of them, or have passed them on to others who still have them.

The only problems I ever had with any of them were due to either age or wind.

One Walmart cabin tent that I had failed after being set up in the yard for several months, for the kids to play in. I believe it was done in when the snow fell on it, which it wasn't strong enough to handle, especially after months of being exposed to the sun.

Another (a family "dome" type) tent that I had suffered pole breakage when hit by a particularly strong wind gust. I wasn't around when it happened, and returned to a fallen tent. Because I wasn't there, I don't know how strong the gust was, but judging by the wind later that day, it was very strong. It required repair of the broken poles, and patching of a couple small holes, and was still very usable. I bought a repair kit at Walmart that had what I needed in it to fix the poles, and I just used duct tape to cover the small hole in the rain fly. A year or two later I gave it away to a friend who still has it, as far as I know.

Another source for a great selection of tents is Cabelas. They have many different types from basic tents like those at Walmart to "wall tents" that are intended to be used for several weeks at a time (or longer) during all kinds of weather. For durability during most kinds of weather, a canvas tent will be superior to a nylon or polyester tent. The major trade-off is weight, since canvas tents weigh significantly more than their synthetic counterparts. Kodiak and Springbar are two well known brands of canvas tents.

The other suggestion to ignore the claimed sleeping capacity is a good one. Take those numbers with a grain of salt. They are based solely on square footage, calculated by dividing total square footage by the space "required" for one person. This requirement takes into account only room to lie down, not room to move, room for equipment, room to change, and so on. If you are sleeping on pads on the ground, you can probably cut the number in half to achieve a reasonable person calculation. If using air mattresses or cots, cut it even further, possibly as much as 1/3 of the stated capacity. For myself and my two teenagers, we use a 16 x 10 tent for the three of us. This allows adequate room for cots, luggage, a place to change, etc. It doesn't feel particularly large, even though this tent is rated to sleep eight people, if I remember correctly.

If you want some privacy for the adults, consider getting a two room tent. If you do so, make sure there's enough space in each room to accommodate the sleeping needs of all the occupants. There are even some tents that have two rooms in addition to a screen room, though I can't think of who makes them at the moment. I believe I've seen this arrangement in the Cabelas catalog. Another option is a separate screen house, which can be where you go to eat, or just to escape bugs, if needed.
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Old 09-08-2012, 02:02 AM
 
Location: Near Nashville TN
7,201 posts, read 11,910,695 times
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Outdoor World aka BassProShops has a really good selection of tents. The Wal*Marts and K-Marts where I live tend to have the smaller and cheaper tents. If there are four of you, get a tent meant for 6 and you wont be on top of each other.
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:39 AM
 
47,573 posts, read 60,666,358 times
Reputation: 22283
I would go with a tent that pops up like an umbrella because you can set them up so quickly and they're not very expensive. Two minutes and you've got your camp set up.

I also like the idea of having 2 tents instead of one big one for a family. Even if one is used for changing clothes and everyone sleeps in one, if kids are smaller. The second tent makes it easier if you have "stuff" like books and toys, or a porta-potty for the kids in the middle of the night.
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:09 AM
 
Location: SW MO
1,238 posts, read 4,041,630 times
Reputation: 986
Always put a tarp under the tent floor, or your stuff will get wet. Make sure the tent comes with a rain fly, since even heavy dew can seep through if you touch the wall. An entryway or screened porch is really helpful to put your shoes in-keeps dirt out and the shoes dry. And yes, get at least a 6 person tent for 4 people. We also like the kind that has a hanging pocket inside the tent-great for storing small objects that might get lost, or a flashlight that tends to roll away during the night. Shock cord poles are great because you can't lose pieces. Don't know what stores are in your area, but Bass Pro, Cabela's, Academy and Dick's all have good choices.
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Old 09-11-2012, 01:55 AM
 
39,496 posts, read 40,823,172 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firebll31 View Post
Always put a tarp under the tent floor, or your stuff will get wet.
That's not something I would recommend but then again I have expensive tents that really need to get soaked for really long time before it starts coming through the floor. The issue with the tarp is now you have a moisture barrier between the tent floor and the ground. Water that does come into the tent has no where to go. If you going to use a tarp make sure it's completely under the footprint of the tent and fold the edges of the tarp under itself so you create a lip. That will help prevent any water that is flowing across the ground from getting between the tarp and the tent floor.

@OP, the Wal Mart and Kmart tents are adequate for weekend adventures in decent weather but if you want a good tent go to an outdoor store. Expect to pay something starting around $300 for a good tent. We were down Assateague Island once and this big storm came through, I literally saw tents flying away in the wind and many of those that remained were destroyed. They aren't going to hold in a big storm.

I never did much family camp as adult but I do recall the one time me and the GF and her daughter went with some her friends. They all had these new Coleman tents and the GF wasn't happy about the ratty looking Hillary tent I had borrowed from a friend, it was an old tent but this was a really good tent with a nice canvas roof. That unhappiness went away right after the big downpour. Wasn't a drop of water in it, the others were all flooded.
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