tents: your suggestions and stories please!

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
JulzQ1
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tents: your suggestions and stories please!

Post by JulzQ1 » Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:57 pm

I searched and found a couple of threads that helped me out...But I'd really like to ask some more questions. Forgive me if this has been talked about in depth recently (you can direct me to the threads!) :)

I'm on the hunt for the perfect tent. And by perfect I mean, $250 or under, dome shaped (to withstand high winds), and fairly large- enough to sleep 6. I'm at a loss for what to buy mainly because there's so many options!

3-season tents with FULL rain flies (that extend all the way to the ground) on ALL sides are appealing but I'm wondering if ventilation is a problem because of the full rain fly? Anyone have any first-hand experience with full rain flies on the playa? I want something that keeps dust to a minimum while providing relatively good ventilation.

Our trusty Coleman 6-person dome tent held up well for 3 years out there until I accidentally shrunk it- (long story!)..In any case the zippers held up well and it served its purpose.

We also forgot the rainfly that year. I just used a few extra sheets and rigged them to the top of the tent with large safety pins. Honestly, that seemed to keep out the dust better than the rainfly because it flush with the entire mesh ceiling. It also didn't rip, amazingly, even in the dust storms in 2004.

In any case, I'm wondering if I should just go with one of the Coleman tents from Costco. Either of these:
http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.as ... rowse=&s=1
http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.as ... rowse=&s=1


Any advice or help is much appreciated!!

Julie

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phil
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Post by phil » Wed Apr 25, 2007 1:36 pm

> 3-season tents with FULL rain flies (that extend all the way to
> the ground) on ALL sides are appealing but I'm wondering if
> ventilation is a problem because of the full rain fly? Anyone
> have any first-hand experience with full rain flies on the playa?
> I want something that keeps dust to a minimum while
> providing relatively good ventilation.

I've always had tents with full rain flies. Ventilation has not been an issue, because I'm never in the tent during the day. The tent is cooled off by the time I'm ready to crawl in at night.

Nothing keeps dust to a minimum.

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Post by MrMullen » Wed Apr 25, 2007 2:33 pm

Get a cheap Walmart tent for $60 (9 person tent) and be done with it. Get rebar stakes for each point that touches the ground and for the rain fly.

Your total cost will be about $75 and if you treat it right, it will last 3 or 4 burns and a dozen burner events.

Worst case, it gets lost/destroyed at an event. You just lose a few bucks.
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gyre
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Post by gyre » Wed Apr 25, 2007 4:45 pm

Get a good four season.
Ventilation won't keep you cool.
Shade will.
I have a crappy walmart tent and the zippers lasted thirty minutes.
My good tent lasted years and was stolen before it failed.
It cost a lot more that $250 though.
A dome isn't essential, but a rugged tent is.
Some people swear by the long term expedition style uprights.
And buy real stakes with pull hooks at the end.

I'm still looking if anyone has outgrown a decent tent.
If anyone has a jansport dome, I have all the goodies, except the main tent envelope.
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JulzQ1
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Post by JulzQ1 » Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:02 am

The cheapest tent I'll do is Coleman. And by "cheapest" I mean cheapest in quality. I really don't want to buy anything that's shoddy, no offense to anyone of course. It's just that I've seen two of my camp mates zippers completely rip off the cheap wal-mart/target tents within the 1st day. I'm sure there's ones out there that are made relatively well but I just don't want to chance the zippers failing.

gyre- From what I've read in camping books, the dome style is preferred for camping in high wind areas. Hmm...so much to think about.

And yes, shade is essential, we've got that covered. I guess I'm just concerned that the full fly won't ventilate the tent as well as the half. :)

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Post by Rocket75377 » Thu Apr 26, 2007 11:18 am

JulzQ1 wrote:The cheapest tent I'll do is Coleman. And by "cheapest" I mean cheapest in quality.
Ooookay.... my two cents: I hate Coleman tents. As far as features, function and durability, I'd take Brand X over Coleman anyday. I camped in a Eureka for fourteen years (I got it when I was four and joined the Boy Scouts) before I even thought of getting a new tent. Since then (three years), I've been through three Colemans and an Eddie Bauer. A tent every seven or eight months has seemed the norm, and by god, I'm back in that Eureka.
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JulzQ1
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Post by JulzQ1 » Thu Apr 26, 2007 11:36 am

Thanks for your advice, I will look up Eureka.

It's interesting, we all have different experiences. Personally I only used that Coleman tent for Burning man and a few other desert excursions, not any type of heavy duty camping by any means. So that may be why it held up for a few years :lol: ...But we are wanting to camp more and buy something that's higher quality. I will look into Eureka, thanks.

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Post by skygod » Thu Apr 26, 2007 12:24 pm

Zippers get gummed up by the playa dust and you need to spray em with silicone spray or something every cpl days out there or they just won't work.
"It will seem difficult in the beginning. But everything seems difficult in the beginning."- Musashi

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Post by MrMullen » Thu Apr 26, 2007 4:52 pm

Be kind to your gear and it will serve you well. If you zipper gets a little stuck, which it will, be gentle on it. I caught a guy trying to "fix" a zipper to my tent and I stopped him from breaking. A little gentle work and you can unzip it.
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Post by robbidobbs » Thu Apr 26, 2007 6:00 pm

If you know there's going to be a windstorm, unzip the tent, open the windows and let the air flow thru. That way it doesn't explode from the gale force winds. In the past I'd just cover my bedding with a sheet, and then pull it back when I want to use. I lost a nice canvas Coleman tent because a neighbor zipped it up. The wind ripped it up and broke the poles.

Now I use a cheapo dome tent, and it's served me very well with the above care.

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Post by MikeVDS » Thu Apr 26, 2007 6:37 pm

I camped in a Eureka for fourteen years (I got it when I was four and joined the Boy Scouts) before I even thought of getting a new tent. Since then (three years), I've been through three Colemans and an Eddie Bauer. A tent every seven or eight months has seemed the norm, and by god, I'm back in that Eureka.
I've had an almost identical experience. Both Coleman and Eddie Bower have failed quickly, while I still have every Eureka I've owned. REI brand tents have been holding up well but they've only had a couple years. The oldest Eureka is 10 years, while other brands have yet to last 2 years. Zippers are usually the first to fail. Even within the brand Eureka there is difference in quality. You do get what you pay for sometimes. Their higher end tents zippers are the best I've seen. They don't bind up, do fine on the playa, don't catch fabric seams like most tents and sleeping bags, and in my favorite tent, they shaped the door roundish, so you can easily just open it with one hand.

I'm sure there are other quality tents out there and probably some much nicer than Eureka, but I have to say they are pretty good tents and if you use them a lot then they will save you money in the long run instead of going through a lot of cheapies.

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gyre
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Post by gyre » Thu Apr 26, 2007 9:34 pm

Coleman makes some good tents but you won't find them at walmart.

My last dome would take 130 mph winds.
But you may wish to stand up after a couple of weeks.
And it was not a $250 tent.
Coleman told me that they custom make tents for the big stores.
They may look the same but they are not always.
Usually less so.

A tent that won't zip, is not a tent at all.
My cheap tent has zippers I would not accept on a vest.

You don't need ventilation if you have shade.

A dome will be warmer at night.

What is most important is that it seal up to keep heat out during the day.
The mesh crap lets in dust and heat.
You don't need a tent at all to do that.
A full fly keeps you warm at night too.

There are a few cheap tents that may be okay but I haven't had a chance to check them out.
A proper tent will last twenty years easy.
When the zipper shreds in the wind, it has nothing to do with dust.

It is about the crappification of products.

North Face, Kelty, Mtn Hardware and a few others are good.
There is an expedition type recommended by some.
I can't remember the brand.
Heavy though.
I found desert tents from the middle east.
Triple wall for heat, not cheap.
No domes either.
"Everything is more wonderful when you do it with a car, don't you think?"
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Post by falk » Thu Apr 26, 2007 9:51 pm

Gyre has much good advice.

Coleman sold out to Walmart a few years ago. If you can find a Coleman tent that isn't crap now, I'd like to know what model and where you can get it.

I slept one night in a tent that had lots of mesh openings that couldn't be sealed up. Never again.

All REI tents I looked at were covered with such mesh openings.

The Eureka Equinox tent I looked at looked like the best option. Can't find it in their catalog any more though.

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Post by gyre » Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:19 pm

Coleman designates their best as severe weather or something.
I looked at an exotic pup tent design that was made as a tobacco co giveaway.
Found it at a big lots.
I wish I had bought it now.
Some good stuff is made just for boy scouts and other groups.
Eureka does have some good stuff though I haven't been too impressed yet.
Make sure what you get does what you need.
If light weight counts then pay for it.
My dome was 4-7 lb backpacking and still held up.
Dacron fly of course for uv and light weight.
Ventilating privacy walls on the tent itself.

If I can't get a good tent by august, I'm thinking of building out there.
"Everything is more wonderful when you do it with a car, don't you think?"
-girl by the fire, watching a tree moved by car bumper in the bonfire

It would be a shame if I had to resort to self-deception to preserve my faith in objective reality.

JulzQ1
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Post by JulzQ1 » Fri Apr 27, 2007 12:13 pm

Thank you for all your advice, I really do appreciate it.

I looked on the Eureka website yesterday and found a few tents that really stood out. I read some reviews on Amazon and have it narrowed down to a few.

So yeah, THANK YOU!! You all rock. :)

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Post by StevenGoodman » Fri Apr 27, 2007 12:53 pm

The "best" tents are Springbar. They are tough, heavy and expensive. They will also last 20 years.

http://www.springbar.com/explore/tentmodels/index.html

A 10' x 13' Springbar (Model 4000) will cost you 2.5x as much as a Eureka N!ERGY 1310. But it seals up tight, is waterproof, and 6 rebar stakes (or equivalent) will hold it down in anything the playa will throw at it.
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gyre
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Post by gyre » Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:53 pm

The springbar is much cheaper than some of the other tents out there.
Only problem is the closest store is in utah.
I strongly recommend looking at any brand in person if possible.
Springbar has a tensioned roof arrangement.
It is a very heavy tent though, as they are all canvas.
If you live in a high humidity location, canvas does not do well.
They are heavy enough to affect your travel arrangements too.
A lifetime warranty is great if they back it up.
I haven't owned a north face tent but I can vouch for their service.


Marmot and Sierra Design are tents worth looking at too.
Feathered friends make great down stuff, but no tents.

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Post by littlemonkey » Mon Apr 30, 2007 11:33 am

Anyone have any experience with the Paha Que ScreenRoom at BurningMan? http://moontrailoutlet.com/2373-sp-9.html
Or any thoughts or advice as to how well a structure like this might hold up on the Playa?

Manufacturer says: "The ScreenRoom has guy line and stake points on each corner, as well as two more of each along all four sidewalls. It comes complete with a full set of adjustable guy lines, and full sets of two types of ground stakes (for varying ground conditions), which enable the ScreenRoom to withstand winds up to 40mph. When properly set up, staked down and guyed out."

Thanks in advance,
littlemonkey

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Bob
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Post by Bob » Mon Apr 30, 2007 11:42 am

As with any tent, bring plenty of extra cord & stakes & keep an eye on it.
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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EB
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Post by EB » Mon Apr 30, 2007 4:11 pm

littlemonkey wrote:Anyone have any experience with the Paha Que ScreenRoom at BurningMan?
I can't speak for the ScreenRoom, but I bought & brought the Paha Que Shower Teepee two years ago and it held up great and was well-designed.
Irony. You're soaking in it.

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Dork
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Post by Dork » Mon Apr 30, 2007 4:18 pm

That screenroom looks designed mostly to keep out bugs, wind, and rain. Sun is the bigger concern at BM so you want something as opaque as possible.

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Post by gladeye » Thu May 03, 2007 8:57 am

I've camped in RVs, Cargo Vans, and tents at Burning Man and actually enjoyed the tent the most (hough I've never been rained on at BM). My advice is find out where the sun rises and pitch your tent against the back side of an RV that will block the morning sun. As long as there aren't generators nearby, you're not likely to hear the RV tenants. I've found that being against a big "wall" like that can also cut down on wind. MY tent is nothing fancy and I didn' have any problems.
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gyre
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Post by gyre » Thu May 03, 2007 12:37 pm

I got the new shelter systems catalogs.
They have some nifty stuff and include a sample of the cheap sunproof tarp material.
They have more choices of attachments than any of the conduit based kits I've seen.
A really interesting piece is the adjustable angle joint.
"Everything is more wonderful when you do it with a car, don't you think?"
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Bob
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Post by Bob » Thu May 03, 2007 1:34 pm

Huh . . . . thought I invented this.

http://www.shelter-systems.com/accessories.html
Image
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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Post by hunter S » Thu May 03, 2007 4:17 pm

I can help with the zipper failure! use a bit of soap (any cake soap) on the sipper's. Just drag the bar lightly over the zip's & it reduces the friction. also don't strech the tent so tight that the zipper is under constant stress.

Ah soap! the lube for hardware!
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gyre
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Post by gyre » Thu May 03, 2007 6:56 pm

Friction had nothing to do with my failures.
And when the wind blows they will be stressed.

When north face changed my jacket zippers over to heavy ykk I never had another failure there.
Some tents have zippers I wouldn't trust on a ziploc bag.
"Everything is more wonderful when you do it with a car, don't you think?"
-girl by the fire, watching a tree moved by car bumper in the bonfire

It would be a shame if I had to resort to self-deception to preserve my faith in objective reality.

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Teo del Fuego
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Post by Teo del Fuego » Fri May 04, 2007 7:54 am

my Coleman Mother-of-all-tents (a 10 x 18 10-person tent) worked fine and dandy at BM, Moab and everywhere else I pitched it. Cost $120 at a Coleman outlet store. Neaderthals sometimes have problems with zippers. Somehow, I haven't had any snafus with my zippers (well, not the ones on the tent.)

Get a Coleman, 2 foot rebar, make a billboard vinyl shade structure and dont worry about it.

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I LOVE my tent....

Post by DoctorIknow » Wed May 30, 2007 10:35 am

I know, some use Gorilla Tape and cover the mesh that is in the top of most tents these days... best to have a tent that can seal. Yes, some playa will work its way in no matter what, but even in the strongest whiteouts (8 years in same tent now) it is quite pleasant in a sealed tent.

Of course, every zipper gets full of playa, and I don't agree with the silicone or soap methods mentioned here... they will ATTRACT playa. What I do is use one of those small pump up misters and just blast the entire zipper with water, from inside and out. Don't lube that baby up!

I could never say anyting bad about my Coleman tent.... eight years on the playa and never has given me any problems.

Of course tents SUCK unless there is shade, and making shade doesn't have to include those ugly Costco car ports, LOL.

I simply get 4 eight foot two by fours (the strongest, knotless ones you can find), tie the tops with one line, put two guylines at 45degree angles to each corner's two by four, and then drape camo, snow camo, and odd bits of gardening screen and even a cheap plastic venetian blind over the ropes. As the material over the tent will sag, I have about 6 two by two's ten feet high that I shove the material up. No need to guy those down, just angle them. (see photo below)

The thing Costco dwellers will never get are:
-----beautiful patterns of camo on all surfaces of tent, great visuals inside the tent
-----shifting of fabrics used for shade, and the gentle rubbing of them against the tent, makes for beautiful ambient sound,,,
-----no worries about massive stake downs to keep carport from becoming a sail

This tent has 4 windows, each can open, so that the three divided (if you choose) rooms can be entered without going thru the main door. All windows and door have both a screen and a cover, both zippered....that makes 9 zippers total. When cold, a Coleman type LP gas lantern will heat up the middle room in about 1 minute, great for after twilight showers or bitter cold re-charge time.

BTW, the photo below was taken on the hottest day I ever experienced at BM, 1998 I think.... note the patterns on the tent...not the flow-thru ventilation...the two layers of shade above the end "room" are now snow camo and military green camo (the garden screen as in the pic isn't that great)
Image
Image[/img]
Shop around, no need to pay sticker price:
http://www.coleman.com/coleman/colemanc ... ryid=11020

DoctorIknow
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Shade on sides of tent

Post by DoctorIknow » Wed May 30, 2007 2:32 pm

PS to the above post: you will need shade not only on top, but on three sides, all the way to the ground. Otherwise, the tent will be an oven just when you don't want it to be: especially in the morning WAY too soon after sunrise, but basically any time in the daylight that you want to relax or sleep. Do not face the open area (the entrance I would gather) toward the east.

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skygod
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Re: Shade on sides of tent

Post by skygod » Thu May 31, 2007 8:24 am

DoctorIknow wrote:[ Otherwise, the tent will be an oven just when you don't want it to be: especially in the morning WAY too soon after sunrise, .
Man you are so right Doc! How many Playa mornings have I played the game: "OOO it's too hot to sleep, but it's too early to get up!" As soon as the sunrises it starts to cook me. This year there will be some morning shade.
Also, that's a good idea just to use water to clean the tent zippers. Water or vinegar.
Comfort is the Little Art on the playa! Sometimes it's only just out of reach.
"It will seem difficult in the beginning. But everything seems difficult in the beginning."- Musashi

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