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Old 02-19-2010, 12:53 AM
Location: northeast US
739 posts, read 1,766,778 times
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You only have to look at the photos coming from Haiti to figure maybe it's time to think differently about owning a tent. Most tents will leak, blow over in high winds, difficult to erect under stressful conditions, elastic shock cords wear out, cheap ground stakes...

Best tents for long-term survival in relative comfort?
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:25 AM
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My tent never leaked...It sleeps 10, but that would be tight.....But I'm sure a strong wind would have no problem blowing it into the next county..
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:43 AM
Location: Corydon, IN
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I'm sure there will be varying opinions, and for good reason. People tend to have different criteria for tents.

My favorite tent in the whole, wide world was a model by Eureka, which was a hexagonal tent, the Equinox 6. It was advertised and obviously meant as a three-season tent BUT I spent a LOT of time camping in Japan, during ALL seasons, and that tent was not only amazingly sturdy (stood up to a couple of typhoons and some tornadic winds, although the tornado was some way off) but with moderate treatment when I first purchased it (waterproofing and seam-sealing), it lasted for five years of hardcore outdoor time with NO need to re-treat, and I still have the same tent today.

Purchased in 1994, still in use in 2010, although showing wear and tear.

Super-easy to put up, turning raising a multi-person (three easily, although gear will crowd) tent into a one-man job.

The umbrella hub is key to that aspect of the tent's ease in raising.

Looking at the Eureka website I see they still produce the Equinox 6, although there have been some modifications. The fly appears to be larger now, covering more area, which is a good thing. I wrote to Eureka years ago about that, maybe it was my suggestion, maybe it was a thousand suggestions.

Things to consider when you're thinking about a long-term tent are:

- ease of construction/dismantling
- protection from weather types
- all-season capacity
- room for sleeping AND equipment
- overall STURDINESS; nothing ruins one's security like a giant storm that tears a tent apart OR like unending rain for days and days
- a washbasin floor -- ALWAYS make that a consideration

You'd do much better with this question if you actually outlined some of your criteria. There are a lot of tents out there, and a lot of different gear to consider in any disaster scenario.

I'm currently in the process of outlining and slowly constructing my own GOODy bags (Get Out Of Dodge) and kits, so I'll be doing some of this research myself and a tent is, as you stated, a real consideration.
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Old 02-19-2010, 08:07 AM
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Tents are many things to different people. I do both modern camping year round in New Hampshire, and primitive camping restricted by the rules of the game to the years 1750-1840.

I am 58 years old now and have literally worn out tents. In my personal experience nylon tents tend to be short lived in the elements in use, and I have worn out several of these to be nothing more than shade.

There isn't one i would consider as 'long term' in part because term long means cooking.

Tents you can live in and cook inside of tend to narrow things down quick.

Then this becomes a study of what is there in tents you can live and cook in side of. Here my personal experience is limited, and I admitt I don't know it all.

Of what I do know, is cooking on a fire that has become a bed of coals, and so where there is fire there is smoke, and that smoke has to go.

A tee pee made of canvass in my opinon is best, and can last a good long time. You can cook inside and have flames enough to see. The cover can be un-laced in warmer climates to become shade. I liked in one a bit over 3 years counting winter, every day with no place else to be.

The next is also a historical type, and seemingly forgotten. This is a 'Hunting Lodge' used in the same apx times by both western and eastern Native Americans. It looks like a Military of the times "Bell Wedge" other than it may have 2 double Bell, meaning a Bell on either end.

Looks is where the similar features stop, since a Bell Wedge is sewn across the ridge, and smoke can't get out. A Hunting lodge is not a true tent, since it is made of 4 tarps, so smoke can get out anywhere in the center line at the ridge.

Mountian men of the 1805-1840 time had a low variation also made of tarps, sometimes sails, where the roof was off set to vent smoke, and tarps were added to the sides as was wanted to cut off weather. This tends to maximize living space to more, but you can not stand up at any time ever, and in long term standing up is nice.

Long term to me means more than 10 days stay some where.

I still use both types, and my back pack Kelty tent is great for my uses. I forget the fancy name and don't belive they are made any more.

It is a tiny 2 man tent with 2 polls that slip in pockets from just one end. The end with the openings are factory marked with refelctor tapes. There is a door on both long sides and the fly creates a vestibule where muddy boots can be left to dry, even in rain. very light to pack tent, but it isn't any good for long term living a bit. I hardly dare light a candle lamp inside it.
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Old 02-19-2010, 08:54 AM
Location: Corydon, IN
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Yeah, Mac_Muz brings up some great points that I kind of lost along the way. I'd kind of gotten into long-term as five or six weeks, whereas you could be talking months or even a year in the event of the right (or wrong) disaster.

If you're really talking long-term living then larger tents will be what you're looking at; however, as M_M said, there comes a point when you're going to have to be looking at cooking inside -- which removes any notion of floored tents.

I'm ONLY mentioning this because your topic has to do with long-term living in a shelter in the event of disaster (assumed since you reference Haiti); but have you considered sandbag housing? I won't dwell on it since it's not the topic, just another thing to consider. I hate it when you're asking a specific question and people tell you to ignore it in lieu of something else!

Recently there was a picture of a homeless man (a growing problem in my area) who was enduring the snow here in the shelter of a tent. He had a cot and some kind of small lantern, a couple of belongings which were hanging about.

The real question here is HOW basic you're willing to go, and for how long, before you're determined to improve your situation and look for more? What kind of scenario are you picturing? Because with a few basics covered, trash and debris can become your best friend, with a little Yankee ingenuity. May not LOOK nice, but will keep you warm and alive.
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Old 02-19-2010, 10:20 AM
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I've used Moss tents for many months over the years, and they're indestructible.

Also have a canvas 8' Dia Thermos brand "Pop Tent", which has given super service for over 30 years. No longer made, but these were a really nice car-camping tent which worked great for a lot of my trips around the country.

I wouldn't consider any synthetic material tent as a durable or long term use tent. All of the ones I've ever used always "sweated" on the inside or would seep through in wet weather anywhere an object was inside touching the fabric ... even when they had a rain fly cover over the rest of the test. And I've used Marmot Mountain Works, Kelty, and a host of other top quality brands. Canvas is simply more durable, breathable, and quiet ....

Take a look at the Cabela's line of "outfitter" tents for a reasonably priced durable canvas wall tent, in various sizes. They are optioned with a reinforced vent for the cook/heating stove, so it's safe and convenient to run a stove in there for however much you need it. Having straight walls gives a lot more useable interior space for the footprint of the tent, too. I've camped with this type of tent in high winds where all the other tents ... domes, or whatever shapes they had with lots of rods reinforcing them ... blew away and I had the only structure that remained standing. It may have swayed around a little bit, bit it stayed standing and comfortable and dry.
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Old 02-19-2010, 11:01 AM
Location: Planet Eaarth
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IMO, the most durable ,long lasting tents are made from waxed canvas. All the modern day material are nice and weight less than waxed canvas but none will out last waxed canvas.

That said, if it's long life you want then waxed canvas , or tent canvas, is what to look for in the tent you buy. If not, then any quality made tent will do.....for short awhile.
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:57 PM
Location: Back in the gym...Yo Adrian!
9,371 posts, read 17,018,158 times
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Some options to consider:

Get a heavy duty tarp and learn how to build a teepee. It worked for the native Americans for hundreds of years.

If you're going the tent route, I would still have a tarp as an additional means of shelter. It's also handy for hauling firewood and keeping it dry among other things. Make sure you have some paracord to set up the tarp.

Another option to consider is a camper shell for a pick-up truck. Get yourself a good 4x4 truck like a Ford F-150 or Chevy Silverado, and get yourself a camper shell which range in size from something just enough to provide shelter lying down to near RV size. John Steinbeck survived for months like that while writing Travels with Charley in the back of a 1960 GMC 3/4 ton pick-up and camper shell.

Or, you could get yourself a pop-up camper that can be towed behind your vehicle.

Some good tents:

Cabela's Alaskan series

North Face Foundation 6

Mountain Equipment Co-op (Canada's REI) Frontenac

Good tents are pricey, but it's tough to put a price tag on long term survival necessities.
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:59 PM
Location: AK
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i'd say it all depends on how mobile you need to be.
if you have a way carry one, a wall tent is the ideal thing, especially if you have a wood stove to put in it. people live in the AK interior in wall tents with temperatures at -40 or lower.
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Old 02-19-2010, 03:08 PM
19,122 posts, read 20,593,998 times
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Correction: For some reason I can not edit?

This line above " I liked in one a bit over 3 years counting winter, every day with no place else to be."

SHOULD HAVE READ: I lived in one a bit over 3 years counting winter, etc etc..

I should have added that a tee pee will tend to mock winds... 2 winters were in Maryland one had a storm called Storm of the Century. To me this was a wing dinger of a snow storm, and the last year I saw winter in New Hampshire where I come from, so winter wasn't a new thing in md. The winter in NH we saw -50 below which is a little un-common, but-40 isn't.
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