Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by CG » Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:59 am

Before I go buy a $50 backpacking tent from Walmart or Academy, I figured I'd check and see if anybody here has an inexpensive backpacking tent they love.

Requirements:
  • Screened in to keep the bloodsuckers out
    More than one "window"/door so I don't fry during the summer
    Rainfly to keep the water out
    Easily set up by 1 person
    Relatively light (I think the Walmart one is 4.4 pounds)
I'm good with ordering off Amazon or wherever, but would like to be able to get it pretty quickly.

So, any suggestions?
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by CG » Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:24 am

After looking around a bit more, I'm leaning towards this one: http://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/magella ... id=4099211

Slightly on the heavy side (4.6 lbs), but seems pretty good for my purposes.

And $30.
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by grennels » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:39 am

Just realize - you get what you pay for. Don't expect durability.
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by woodsghost » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:59 am

It seems to me all tents need to be hit with seam sealer from time to time. But I believe better tents might come with some seam sealer already applied, and just need touch ups.

I always go with the Ozark Trails $30-$40 tents. Someday, when I have a better paycheck, I"ll spring for something more.

Honestly, I like tarps with a bug net on my face. My wife does not yet like that style.
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by CG » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:34 am

grennels wrote:Just realize - you get what you pay for. Don't expect durability.
I figure I'll need a tarp underneath, and maybe a new tent by the end of the summer if I get to go very often. 8-)

Hubby was pointing out that I'd need to make sure the wind is coming from the right direction with that type.
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by CG » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:41 am

woodsghost wrote:It seems to me all tents need to be hit with seam sealer from time to time. But I believe better tents might come with some seam sealer already applied, and just need touch ups.

I always go with the Ozark Trails $30-$40 tents. Someday, when I have a better paycheck, I"ll spring for something more.

Honestly, I like tarps with a bug net on my face. My wife does not yet like that style.
How long do those tents normally last?
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by woodsghost » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:59 am

CG wrote:
woodsghost wrote:It seems to me all tents need to be hit with seam sealer from time to time. But I believe better tents might come with some seam sealer already applied, and just need touch ups.

I always go with the Ozark Trails $30-$40 tents. Someday, when I have a better paycheck, I"ll spring for something more.

Honestly, I like tarps with a bug net on my face. My wife does not yet like that style.
How long do those tents normally last?
I have not destroyed a tent in 20 years. I did destroy one before that though. I broke some of the poles. I was in my early teens. I think they broke because we were careless putting it away.

I have also seen Ozark Trail tents last about 20-40 days over 5 or so years. Poor packing and letting them get put away wet seems to do more damage than the elements. Losing parts also seems to reduce their lifespan.

I zipped up my current OZ tent wrong and put a 4 inch gash in it. For now we are just ignoring it. I should tape it. But the fabric must be a bit flimsy.

My brother and some friends used to spend a week at a time in a big OZ tent at music festivals. One negative experience was during a 7 hour downpour and they woke up with the tent flooded. It should have had seam sealer. I slept under a poncho lean-too wrapped up in another poncho up the hill a bit and had a much better night.

One surprising experience with our 3 person OZ tent came during some high winds. The tent got flattened several times, so I eventually parked it behind a 4 ft thick tree as a wind-break. If that had not worked I would have parked it behind a vehicle. But the point is the poles seem to be a bit flimsy. They did not break though!

OZ tents in my experience have stood up to 1-2 hours of rain with no problems. 7 hours seems to have the potential to overwhelm them. It also seems to help if you put up a primary tarp above the tent. This would only be necessary if expecting heavier rain. I have done that and it worked out swimmingly....or rather, nobody had to swim their way out ;) Just a 5x7 tarp reduced the stress on the tent in heavy rain. I'd like to have had bigger though.
*Remember: I'm just a guy on the internet :)
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by CG » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:39 pm

woodsghost wrote:I have not destroyed a tent in 20 years. I did destroy one before that though. I broke some of the poles. I was in my early teens. I think they broke because we were careless putting it away.

I have also seen Ozark Trail tents last about 20-40 days over 5 or so years. Poor packing and letting them get put away wet seems to do more damage than the elements. Losing parts also seems to reduce their lifespan.

I zipped up my current OZ tent wrong and put a 4 inch gash in it. For now we are just ignoring it. I should tape it. But the fabric must be a bit flimsy.

My brother and some friends used to spend a week at a time in a big OZ tent at music festivals. One negative experience was during a 7 hour downpour and they woke up with the tent flooded. It should have had seam sealer. I slept under a poncho lean-too wrapped up in another poncho up the hill a bit and had a much better night.

One surprising experience with our 3 person OZ tent came during some high winds. The tent got flattened several times, so I eventually parked it behind a 4 ft thick tree as a wind-break. If that had not worked I would have parked it behind a vehicle. But the point is the poles seem to be a bit flimsy. They did not break though!

OZ tents in my experience have stood up to 1-2 hours of rain with no problems. 7 hours seems to have the potential to overwhelm them. It also seems to help if you put up a primary tarp above the tent. This would only be necessary if expecting heavier rain. I have done that and it worked out swimmingly....or rather, nobody had to swim their way out ;) Just a 5x7 tarp reduced the stress on the tent in heavy rain. I'd like to have had bigger though.
I've made "tarp monsters" for tents when we were camping for the week before.

One of my worries is that we do get wind that can lay over tents, which is one of the reasons I've almost always had dome tents rather than cabins - domes seem to pop right back up, cabins seem to keel over and die.

Honestly, if the forecast calls for much rain, I won't be going at this point, as the places I'll be looking at hiking can get flat out nasty when the clay turns to mud.
Mater tua caligas gerit!

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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by Hiroshima_Morphine » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:41 pm

Not sure where you are planning on using it, but when me and the family were avid hikers back in Appalachia we used tent-hammocks. Very compact. Very Comfy. Very fast and easy set up. If I remember correctly they are 50ish.

But we seem to lack trees out here-

When we went back to GA for the funeral in January, I actually heard the following from my 6YO daughter. We drove through the night, the fog had lifted the next morning while we were between Memphis and Nashville on I-40, she looks out the window and exclaims, "trees! I remember trees!"
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by CG » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:52 pm

Hiroshima_Morphine wrote:Not sure where you are planning on using it, but when me and the family were avid hikers back in Appalachia we used tent-hammocks. Very compact. Very Comfy. Very fast and easy set up. If I remember correctly they are 50ish.

But we seem to lack trees out here-

When we went back to GA for the funeral in January, I actually heard the following from my 6YO daughter. We drove through the night, the fog had lifted the next morning while we were between Memphis and Nashville on I-40, she looks out the window and exclaims, "trees! I remember trees!"
West Texas, where the trees are mesquite. :lol:

And yeah, if you play I Spy with my kids and say something yellow, they both yell "grass" in unison.

I'm looking at Guadalupe Mountains and Palo Duro Canyon for starters.
Mater tua caligas gerit!

...I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention to what I was thinking.

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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by Murph » Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:54 pm

You're not going to find any lightweight backpacking tents for $50.
Does your BOB at least have: water, basic tools, fire, food, first-aid kit, and shelter?
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by CG » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:21 pm

Murph wrote:You're not going to find any lightweight backpacking tents for $50.
I'm not going ultra-light. I'm looking for something to start with and upgrade later.
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by Murph » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:47 pm

CG wrote:
Murph wrote:You're not going to find any lightweight backpacking tents for $50.
I'm not going ultra-light. I'm looking for something to start with and upgrade later.
There might be $50 tents out there for camping. But camping is not backpacking.

I did a quick search on Amazon and even this Ozark Trail (walmart brand) tent is ~$60 and 4.4 lbs.
https://www.amazon.com/Ozark-Trail-Pers ... 01FPW5A5W/

The chances of it actually fitting in a backpack and there being much room left are probably pretty low.

But hey, your money.
Does your BOB at least have: water, basic tools, fire, food, first-aid kit, and shelter?
"When planning, prepare for the most likely, and then the most catastrophic."
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by majorhavoc » Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:16 pm

CG wrote:After looking around a bit more, I'm leaning towards this one: http://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/magella ... id=4099211

Slightly on the heavy side (4.6 lbs), but seems pretty good for my purposes.

And $30.
Without knowing any detail about exactly what your purposes are, I'll just say that's not even close to a full coverage rainfly. Which means those tan colored walls will be coated with polyurethane to lend some degree of weatherproofing. Don't expect that tent to breathe well. Unless there's a stiff breeze, it'll be a sauna on hot, muggy nights.

Kelty, Alps Mountaineering and Eureka all make relatively affordable ($100 - $130 regular price), good quality one person tents. My recommendation would be to look them over on Amazon, throw the ones that look promising in your cart and let them camp there until one of them goes on sale (it will, eventually), and then pull the trigger. Another thing you can do is sign up at slickdeals.net and set up deal alerts for "tent", "kelty" "alps", etc. Do those two things and a killer deal will probably probably crop up within a month or two. Maybe not quite $30 killer, but you'll end up with a much lighter, higher quality tent from a company that will actually stand behind their product if you encounter problems. Something you can actually train with and not worry about wearing it out or being miserable sleeping in.
Last edited by majorhavoc on Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by SCBrian » Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:19 pm

CG - I keep a cheap one person tent around for when I cant hammock. I'm currently using this one:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/40147303?wml ... 3=&veh=sem

this is a single person tent, pretty lightweight, You will have to keep your gear in the vestibule area, as there is limited room "Inside". Sets up pretty easy, and the orange is a rain fly over the netting. I have not used it for any long term camp, and I have not had the luck to use it in the rain, so I cant help there.

I will say for a few dollars more, you can get a better brand name:

https://jet.com/product/detail/a3816df7 ... code=PLA15



If you are taking larger than a solo tent, split the load. One person carries the tent, one carries the rainfly and poles, etc... That way the weight and pack space is spread out...

Good luck!
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by grennels » Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:01 am

CG wrote:
grennels wrote:Just realize - you get what you pay for. Don't expect durability.
I figure I'll need a tarp underneath, and maybe a new tent by the end of the summer if I get to go very often. 8-)

Hubby was pointing out that I'd need to make sure the wind is coming from the right direction with that type.



Line the INSIDE with poly. Wrap it up the walls about 6 inches.
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by grennels » Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:04 am

CG wrote:
Hiroshima_Morphine wrote:Not sure where you are planning on using it, but when me and the family were avid hikers back in Appalachia we used tent-hammocks. Very compact. Very Comfy. Very fast and easy set up. If I remember correctly they are 50ish.

But we seem to lack trees out here-

When we went back to GA for the funeral in January, I actually heard the following from my 6YO daughter. We drove through the night, the fog had lifted the next morning while we were between Memphis and Nashville on I-40, she looks out the window and exclaims, "trees! I remember trees!"
West Texas, where the trees are mesquite. :lol:

And yeah, if you play I Spy with my kids and say something yellow, they both yell "grass" in unison.

I'm looking at Guadalupe Mountains and Palo Duro Canyon for starters.




Palo Duro. Blue Duck!!
Shot 'em, now I'm gonna hang 'em, then I'm gonna burn 'em!
Damn Zombies. Can't ever be too dead to suit me.

- with apologies to Larry McMurtry

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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by Hiroshima_Morphine » Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:06 am

grennels wrote:
CG wrote:
Hiroshima_Morphine wrote:Not sure where you are planning on using it, but when me and the family were avid hikers back in Appalachia we used tent-hammocks. Very compact. Very Comfy. Very fast and easy set up. If I remember correctly they are 50ish.

But we seem to lack trees out here-

When we went back to GA for the funeral in January, I actually heard the following from my 6YO daughter. We drove through the night, the fog had lifted the next morning while we were between Memphis and Nashville on I-40, she looks out the window and exclaims, "trees! I remember trees!"
West Texas, where the trees are mesquite. :lol:

And yeah, if you play I Spy with my kids and say something yellow, they both yell "grass" in unison.

I'm looking at Guadalupe Mountains and Palo Duro Canyon for starters.




Palo Duro. Blue Duck!!
If you ever come north of the Canadian- I'll feed you're lying tongue to my wolf pups!

(I probably just butchered that, but I did it from memory and didn't Google-cheat.)
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by CG » Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:33 am

SCBrian wrote:CG - I keep a cheap one person tent around for when I cant hammock. I'm currently using this one:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/40147303?wml ... 3=&veh=sem

this is a single person tent, pretty lightweight, You will have to keep your gear in the vestibule area, as there is limited room "Inside". Sets up pretty easy, and the orange is a rain fly over the netting. I have not used it for any long term camp, and I have not had the luck to use it in the rain, so I cant help there.

I will say for a few dollars more, you can get a better brand name:

https://jet.com/product/detail/a3816df7 ... code=PLA15

If you are taking larger than a solo tent, split the load. One person carries the tent, one carries the rainfly and poles, etc... That way the weight and pack space is spread out...

Good luck!
I actually had the one from Walmart, but it was on clearance for $20 with no indication as to why - the why was 'cause it was moldy!

The problem right now is that money is definitely not an infinite resource for us. I have $89 I can use to finish up getting my backpacking equipment...including whatever I plan to eat. If I want to be able to go, say, before May, I'm going to have compromise on the tent (I get $20/week I can spend on whatever...most weeks. Depending on budget).

That being said...I found this one from Alps, which might be a better option: https://www.amazon.com/ALPS-Mountaineer ... 00BI30F4E/
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by CG » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:01 pm

grennels wrote:Palo Duro. Blue Duck!!
Blue duck?
Mater tua caligas gerit!

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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by Hiroshima_Morphine » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:10 pm

CG wrote:
grennels wrote:Palo Duro. Blue Duck!!
Blue duck?
Comanche Indian who is the antagonist in several Larry McMurtry books, namely Lonesome Dove and Comanche Moon.

I thought reading those books were required for all residents of TX. :rofl:
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by CG » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:11 pm

Hiroshima_Morphine wrote:
CG wrote:
grennels wrote:Palo Duro. Blue Duck!!
Blue duck?
Comanche Indian who is the antagonist in several Larry McMurtry books, namely Lonesome Dove and Comanche Moon.

I thought reading those books were required for all residents of TX. :rofl:
Apparently not. I thought he was just translating badly. :lol:
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by Hiroshima_Morphine » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:19 pm

CG wrote:
Hiroshima_Morphine wrote:
CG wrote:
grennels wrote:Palo Duro. Blue Duck!!
Blue duck?
Comanche Indian who is the antagonist in several Larry McMurtry books, namely Lonesome Dove and Comanche Moon.

I thought reading those books were required for all residents of TX. :rofl:
Apparently not. I thought he was just translating badly. :lol:
Isn't 'palo duro' Spainish for 'hard stick'?
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Re: Inexpensive Backpacking Tent?

Post by CG » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:22 pm

So, I'm totally going over budget.

Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1 + footprint from Campmor.

Why?

Because you can set up the rain fly with the footprint and basically have a sun shelter, and I live in the freakin' desert.
Mater tua caligas gerit!

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