Tent suggestions!?!?

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
poppie23
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Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by poppie23 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:40 pm

I plan on going to burning man for the first time this year. I'm really excited, however I'm a little nervous about what kind of tent to buy. I am going to be flying in and I plan to take the burner express bus. Anyone else have experience in bringing a tent that isn't too heavy, and able to handle the harsh weather conditions at black rock city? Much appreciated!

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by gaminwench » Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:32 am

Hi!

Use your Google-fu.

Eplaya+keyword (tent, for instance) will yield results with depth and scope.

Copious information, at your disposal.
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BBadger
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by BBadger » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:30 pm

What I do is print out all the pages and pages of forum posts about which tent I should buy and make myself a tent from those. It's usually a way larger tent than I really need.
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by gaminwench » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:41 pm

Also, stop by the Greeter's Station and introduce yourself.

Welcome!
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Sham
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by Sham » Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:34 pm

Welcome!
My best suggestion is to go shopping for a tent. Lots of general retail stores sell tents as well as specialty sporting goods stores. Packing weight is important to you as well as roominess. Buy additional 8" stakes to secure the tent down. They tend to blow away in the extreme winds on the playa.

An example of a tent is from my first year over 16 years ago. Expecting to only go to this crazy adventure only once, I bought a $30 cheapie 4 person tent. I've used it nearly every year for 10 years, and it's now used by the camp as a spare if needed by someone in the group. It has a few patches on it where things were starting to rip. This year it got used by someone who forgot their tent poles. Worked perfect yet again.

People have very strong convictions as to what tent is the best, or what holds up to the conditions. Weight, durability and cost could best be balanced by you when shopping.

Good luck with your planning and lookk forward to seeing you on the playa.

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by poppie23 » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:42 pm

Thank you all! I appreciate the tips. I will definitely go to a store and find one. I feel a bit better now about the tent situation. I'm going to be alone so I'm trying to be as prepared as possible. Hope to see all of you on the Playa. :D

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Chowski
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by Chowski » Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:46 am

Size doesn't really matter with tents, particularly if you're tenting solo. What matters is that you avoid tents with ANY mesh. mesh lets the dust in, and will make it uninhabitable in hours. If you do get one with very small mesh vents, use fabric and hot glue to cover any open mesh. If you are burning right, you will only use your tent to sleep and store your stuff. The real requirement is shade on your tent, but that's another story.

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by Ratty » Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:57 am

If you stay out all night and need to sleep in the heat of the day.....

Find some shade to nap. It's not hard.

Sleep on a bench outside of Center Camp.

Hit up your neighbors for a small plot behind their motor home.

Shading your tent is nice but may be too involved and bulky for a bus traveler. Don't stress. You'll be fine. Make friends with the camps around you. It's surprising how friendly and generous everyone can be.

Take a look at this thread. Spacetime went all out on prep and documenting his Burner Bus experience. It's a couple of years old. They didn't sell water back then so your water containers could be collapsible now.

viewtopic.php?f=286&t=71830&p=1041404#p1041404
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by poppie23 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:26 pm

Chowski wrote:Size doesn't really matter with tents, particularly if you're tenting solo. What matters is that you avoid tents with ANY mesh. mesh lets the dust in, and will make it uninhabitable in hours. If you do get one with very small mesh vents, use fabric and hot glue to cover any open mesh. If you are burning right, you will only use your tent to sleep and store your stuff. The real requirement is shade on your tent, but that's another story.
Ok, wonderful thank you. I plan to burn right, and you look so majestic in your photo btw!

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by poppie23 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:27 pm

Ratty wrote:If you stay out all night and need to sleep in the heat of the day.....

Find some shade to nap. It's not hard.

Sleep on a bench outside of Center Camp.

Hit up your neighbors for a small plot behind their motor home.

Shading your tent is nice but may be too involved and bulky for a bus traveler. Don't stress. You'll be fine. Make friends with the camps around you. It's surprising how friendly and generous everyone can be.

Take a look at this thread. Spacetime went all out on prep and documenting his Burner Bus experience. It's a couple of years old. They didn't sell water back then so your water containers could be collapsible now.

viewtopic.php?f=286&t=71830&p=1041404#p1041404

I'll definitely check that out, thanks! I dont plan to bring shade. I know it will be challenge, but I am up for it :)

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by Mountain Bobby » Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:34 pm

[/quote]
I'll definitely check that out, thanks! I dont plan to bring shade. I know it will be challenge, but I am up for it :)[/quote]


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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by BBadger » Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:58 pm

poppie23 wrote:I'll definitely check that out, thanks! I dont plan to bring shade. I know it will be challenge, but I am up for it :)
But will you have access to shade? In many ways, I'd rather have the shade than the tent. Aside from privacy, the tent just keeps dust out and lets you leave stuff in it. Without shade, however, it REALLY SUCKS not being able to sleep because it is too hot.
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by silverfish » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:14 pm

There are tents made just for places like burning man.

The No Bake tent handles dust and wind well, and let's you sleep in by reflecting heat away. Shift camp makes an even larger sun blocking tent based on a ice fishing tent design - it weighs 60 lbs and is over 6 ft long when packed up - not sure that would work for flying in and taking the bus. But it sets up really fast. There is also the Siesta4 - it's a tent that has built in fans to keep cool - that might be a problem with dust getting into the tent and trying to fly with batteries large enough to run the fans for a week.

Big Agnes also makes the Flying Diamond series of tents that handle the wind and dust well - but they get hot early in the morning so you can't sleep in. Sleeping past 7:30 am is tough in most tents. Some people like the Spring Bar and Kodiak tents - wind and dust resistant, but both get hot quite early in the morning.

If you get a non-sunblocking tent check out Figjams and other peoples ideas about how to build a bucket swamp cooler. I built one a few years ago and it helps out. With my No Bake tent I only used my swamp cooler twice last year - once for a 3 pm nap and once at 11 am after getting some exercise in - the 11 am time my girlfriend crawled back into her sleeping bag because she was cold!

Happy hunting.

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by Chowski » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:12 pm

If you don't have tent shade, you can sleep through the night. The temperatures are comfortable once the sun goes down (around 7:20) until about an hour after sunrise ( sunrise is around 6:30?) But you will likely want to be up most of the night most nights. If that's your thing. Sleeping in an unshaded tent during the day is almost impossible. So shade on the tent isn't NECESSARY, but it will make a big difference to your comfort.

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by Savannah » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:36 pm

Quite true. I don't shade my tent, I park it next to the tent.

I often nap from sundown until 10pm, go out . . . and sleep again from 1am or 2am until 7am or 8am. Then bam! Out of the tent and into the shade.
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by dragonpilot » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:47 pm

I have two stand-up inside tents that have been Burning for 10 years. One of them is a car-camping tent used for 20 years before the Burn...still in great shape, but well-cared for.

So, they both have the dreaded mesh. I sat down with a cooler full of beer off-season, cut some sections of blanket material to fit the mesh and stitched the sections to the mesh panel. Does an awesome job of minimizing (not eliminating) dust from sifting inside the tent. I cover everything inside with old sheets when I'm out and about so come beddy-bye time I don't have piles of dust with which to deal.
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by BBadger » Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:21 pm

My friend stuffed some foam under the cover of his tent to cover up the vents up top that were allowing in dust. It worked a bit too well because during the night he and his partner felt like they were suffocating in their tent and had to get up and open up the door to allow some air in.
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by DoctorIknow » Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:48 pm

silverfish wrote:There are tents made just for places like burning man.

The No Bake tent...
Shift camp makes an....
Siesta4 ....
Big Agnes also makes the Flying Diamond...
Spring Bar...
Kodiak tents ...
Thanks for all the tent names I can check out....I'm always curious what's out there that would suit the playa conditions.

I lucked out long ago with a totally "closeable" free standing 13' long Coleman tent, but they, like everyone else, went to open mesh tops, and unless one is fortunate enough to find a used one that is 10 years old, Coleman heavy poled NON backpacable are all currently mesh insane, but for one model this year, the "Instant Tent 4" which looks like it has a solid "roof" but for two small vent's that look like they can either seal or be "Burning Man sealed" pretty easily.

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by AntiM » Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:07 am

Sixty second tents have no mesh panels, but are not stand up size. They're a small hex dome, but like the name says, you can set one up in about a minute. We use ours under a carport.

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by claybcook » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:45 am

I'll be setting up my tent beneath and within a 12' X 20' Monkey Hut. Given that, must I still be fanatic about sealing or covering up the mesh portions of the tent? Most tents with mesh have a fly that covers them up for rain protection, are you saying that the mesh beneath the fly must be covered too? And then, with all the mesh covered up and the doors zipped closed, no doubt there's a recommendation to cover your bed/sleeping place with a tarp/sheet during non-sleeping hours so that it won't be sandy when you return, right? I can certainly do all of this, I'm just trying to understand the level of the threat. Aren't we/you creating a very hot and non-breathing sleeping environment? Even with the cooler evenings? I backpack, so I understand tents, but a large non-mesh tent will either be a serious mountaineering tent ($$$!) or a relatively inexpensive Coleman type of tent. It feels like the less expensive route is the way people are going. Happy to hear any and all comments.
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by DoctorIknow » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:10 am

Read up.
The eplaya search function is worthless. Use google and start your search with "eplaya" (Ex: eplaya mesh).

Believe what you read: mesh sucks.
Paint it or cover it because as you said, the only tents that seem to be made without it are very expensive. A fly does nothing for dust or shade, but is invaluable when it rains.
There are many ways to cover it.
Chances are you will not want to remove it once you secure it.
Best yet is to dedicate a tent to Burning Man and do whatever you can do to seal that mesh. A sealable tent is probably the most important priority in pre-playa planning. Shade is equally important as getting baked alive in your tent at 7:45am is a huge suck on ones energy of which there is a finite amount.

A sealed tent is no problem. When there are no dust storms, open the door. Probably 80% of the time you want some ventilation, there will be no windy dust storms. The other 20% you'll be hiding in your tent from white outs and the lack of fresh air will be forgotton as you will be so happy to have a sealed unit where the only dust blasting thru might be where the zippers end.

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by Leap » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:21 am

I used a "HIGH PEAK South Col 4 Season Backpacking Tent" last year.

Image

Pros:
No Mesh/No dust other than what I tracked in
Easy to set up
Easy to fly with (10 lbs)

Cons:
Hot during the day
A little cramped for 1 person over 9 days

I'm upgrading to the Siesta 4, which is a little bigger. My wife is coming with me this year so I'm also bringing our larger family tent for a dressing room.

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by AntiM » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:49 pm

I find rain flys to be dust scoops which direct the dust into the mesh vents and right on top on everything in the tent. We don't use our fly, we just toss a comforter over the top in order to reduce the ambient light. No, the tent does not get overly hot, if it is under even a little shade.

We use a bucket swamp cooler, stick the nozzle in the door, open the back window a little to vent it, and the air pressure being pumped into the tent keeps the dust from blowing back into the window.

During big whiteouts, we seal the tent and sit around the shade structure.

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by claybcook » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:47 pm

OK. Confirmation of what I'd heard. Thanks for the experience and wisdom. I'll plan accordingly and hope to see you there.
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by claybcook » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:34 pm

I've found a recommendation on another blog for the Coleman Signal Mountain Instant tents. $175 for the 6 person 10' X 9' size. It truly comes all together and you simply lift the poles and connect them and it's up. All the mesh windows seem to have zip-up covers, so that should take care of the dust issue. Simple. Anyone else have experience with these?
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by DoctorIknow » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:44 pm

claybcook wrote:I've found a recommendation on another blog for the Coleman Signal Mountain Instant tents. $175 for the 6 person 10' X 9' size. It truly comes all together and you simply lift the poles and connect them and it's up. All the mesh windows seem to have zip-up covers, so that should take care of the dust issue. Simple. Anyone else have experience with these?
From the pics on the Coleman site, it does indeed look like it can all be sealed, but for the little floor vent, a great idea but for the playa, which LOVES to sandblast any object lying on the playa. (but, that vent can easily be negated.)

I've called Coleman more than once, and generally the person doesn't know about vents, but if you are persistant, you can get someone. Missing from all the photos is a direct shot of the top of the tent, so it wouldn't hurt to ask.

I was impressed with the "batten to pole" thing they have goin' on, which I guess is what makes a 60second tent setup possible.

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by claybcook » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:53 pm

It will not be exposed on the playa, but within a Monkey Hut, nevertheless all weaknesses need to be considered. Ok, cautiously moving ahead with this.
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by BBadger » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:05 pm

The only thing a Monkey Hut really protects you against is the sun. It's open on both two and is made to bend and buckle under the wind. You should make sure that your tent is really your castle, because the MH is not going to protect you from much.
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by DoctorIknow » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:24 pm

BBadger wrote:...the MH is not going to protect you from much.
Absolutely true.

Many people put tents inside of a larger tent just for this reason.

For me, I could easily afford an RV, but the whole idea of a tent is to be PART of the windstorm, part of that guy in the morning roaming the streets with a megaphone shouting to everyone to wake the fuck up, part of waking up at 5am because it is TOTALLY SILENT (seriously: the lack of thump thump boom boom wakes you up!) enjoying the shadows of your moving shade structure on the fabric of the tent,,,,in other words, one is not isolated and removed from the environment in some RV or a Hexayurt.

There is nothing like having the spars of the tent stressing so much in a 50mph white out that you think any moment they will fail.

The key to this perverse enjoyment is that almost no playa is getting thru the well sealed tent.

It is flat out a rush.

And then, the whiteout is over, and you know it way before those Burners isolated in their aluminum/plastic/and foam boxes know about it. I remember after the big rain a few years ago, I saw some peeps exit their RV an hour after it was over the first one out the door screamed "Hey, it stopped raining!)

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Last edited by DoctorIknow on Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by Mountain Bobby » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:09 pm

I know that this coming from a virgin this sounds, well strange, but I believe that a tent, even a tent inside another tent is better.
At least for the first year, after that your cherry is gone and if you can afford it do the RV thing.
I usually hate tent camping.
My idea of roughing it is usually staying at a hotel without room service!
But not for Burning Man, not the first time anyway.
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