Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

A place to discuss special considerations involved prepping and reacting to a disaster with children, pets and other family concerns.

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roOism
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Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by roOism » Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:34 am

For the past several years the only tent I've ever used/needed was a Golite Shangrila 1 which is basically a tub floor and a bug net just big enough for me. With that and a small tarp I've slept comfortably in a number of different environments from rainy woodlands to cold Sonoran desert nights.


However, I've gone and gotten a family, and I can't fit three plus dog in here.

So I'm looking to invest in a sturdy but lightweight tent that will be comfortable enough for regular camping, but something that would be a good bug out tent as well.

I don't want to get a cheap Walmart tent that's going to tear after two uses, but I also don't want to break the bank. Oh, and an enclosed tent is essential in my area, to many creepy crawlies trying to crash the party down here.


Any suggestions?
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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by Mikeyboy » Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:59 am

Its a shame Go-lite went under. Back in the day you could have just got something bigger from them
I don't know how big your dog is. If its anything bigger than a lap dog, I would go with a 4 person.

3 person backpacking tents
http://www.campmor.com/SearchDisplay?se ... toreId=226

http://www.rei.com/c/backpacking-tents# ... %253D%253D

4 person backpacking tents

http://www.campmor.com/SearchDisplay?se ... toreId=226

http://www.rei.com/c/backpacking-tents# ... U9MzA%253D

4 person Tarptent Hogback
http://www.tarptent.com/hogback.html

The problem is with 4 person tents is they are usually made for car camping. Getting an ultra lightweight, backpackable size full blown tent can cost some major coin. In terms of going with something very durable (you have a dog and kid) and reasonably priced, I would look at the Eureka Timberline 4 or maybe something from Kelty. Marmot, Big Agnes, MSR, Serra Design are nice but spendy

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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by mr_slappy75 » Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:13 pm

I have over the last 20 years have good experiences with Slumberjack brand tents, not fancy or 'hs-ld' by any means, but feel that they are a step or two above Coleman.

Like Mikeboy said, problem with 3-4 peep tents is that they are almost never 'light weight / hiking"

Since you are looking for a family tent, maybe this would be a good starting point? supposed to sleep 3-4, I am inferring that you have little one along with the dog so this may be viable.

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/ ... 4?a=900764

If you wanted to go bigger (and gimmicky!) there is this thing by Kelty. Can't vouch for it in any way shape or form though. At nearly 18 pounds it is a little more than half of what an adult's backpack load should be...maybe get the pooch to drag it?

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/ ... ?a=1702700
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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by Mikeyboy » Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:30 pm

The other PITA thing is the tent color. If you are going for a bug out tent you want subdued earth tone colors and nothing crazy bright and loud, that is going to drop your options down a bit more.

Eureka has plenty of green options, but their green might stick out like a sore thumb in the desert though.

Marmot Limelite 4 has a nice OD green/brownish version . If $350 fell in my lap now, and I was told I must buy a bug out tent, I would consider getting one.

Big Agnes has some nice grays, light green, and tan colors.

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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by mr_slappy75 » Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:41 pm

Mikeyboy wrote:The other PITA thing is the tent color. If you are going for a bug out tent you want subdued earth tone colors and nothing crazy bright and loud, that is going to drop your options down a bit more.

Eureka has plenty of green options, but their green might stick out like a sore thumb in the desert though.

Marmot Limelite 4 has a nice OD green/brownish version . If $350 fell in my lap now, and I was told I must buy a bug out tent, I would consider getting one.

Big Agnes has some nice grays, light green, and tan colors.
Eureka desert tone option...yipes! Spendy though, $450:

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/ ... i?a=189531
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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by zero11010 » Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:45 pm

Very curious to see what your solution for this is. Light, durable, and family tent, don't often go together with inexpensive.

As it's been mentioned you may want to pay attention to color pallet, though, you may not have many options fitting your criteria (still interested to hear what you found!).

Another factor may be both internal and vestibule room. I'm assuming that the third human is small/young and not able to carry much. You may or may not have the ability to put a pack on the dog. A small person and a dog may take up about as much floor space as a person. So, a three person tent may work for you (until the young person grows). However, a lot of people agree that with most tents the max number of people the tent will fit, and the comfortable number of people a tent will fit are not the same thing. I think that if you got a 4 person tent you would likely have a little room inside your tent for a small amount of your gear, and if you have any vestibule space that may be able to store the rest. In a bug out situation you may want things pretty close at hand.

Lastly, how long will it take to pack the thing up? A lot of the ultralight options are doing things like using trekking poles for tent poles. This reduces effective tent weight, and makes taking the thing down much easier. It feels like some of the coleman car camping tents take longer to pack up than they do to set up. That can provide an issue if you have to move quickly.


I imagine this means you're looking for a single wall tent design (they don't breathe as well, but they save on weight), likely with a tub floor. I imagine something that takes advantage of trekking poles would also help lighten the load.

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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by KYZHunters » Tue Jan 06, 2015 2:52 pm

I agree on the vestibule, being able to dump gear, remove boots etc. outside of your living area.
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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by pollock56th » Tue Jan 06, 2015 5:44 pm

Have you thought about hammocks? we use the Hennesy line and have ditched our tents.

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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by roOism » Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:04 pm

Thanks for the input so far.

Currently we just have the baby, but other siblings are in mind for the future so we'll want to be able to fit a few kids in it at least. Our dog is a whippet, mid-sized dog. I'm not overly concerned with it being backpackable light, but I don't want something really big and bulky. Haven't thought much about hammocks, it's an option to consider, but a lot of the terrain down here isn't very hammock friendly.

Thanks for mentioning the color, that wasn't even something I thought about.
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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by Boondock » Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:46 pm

KYZHunters wrote:I agree on the vestibule, being able to dump gear, remove boots etc. outside of your living area.
Yes, vestibule, if possible. And yes, there's nothing light about a family sized tent.

One of my camping buddies has an inexpensive Coleman six-person from Target and it's held up nicely after months of continuous hard use.

Of course, it's hard to beat the Marmot Halo 6p, which is neither light nor cheep, but Marmot has a great warranty and customer service.

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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by ineffableone » Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:12 pm

Image
Image

The Big Agnes Wyoming trail 4 https://www.bigagnes.com/Products/Detai ... trail4camp is a pretty cool family tent with two separate sleeping rooms with a large vestibule/living space dividing the rooms. Basically it is two small tents with poles that connect the two and support a large rain fly over the area between and the tents. This sort of design means you could easily break the tent into multi different packs so one person isn't lugging the entire tent weight. (FYI you can find better prices by shopping around if you like this, for example Backpackcountry has this tent 25% off right now)

Another option but I am unsure about availability is The Asashi by Nemo.

Image

The Nemo Asashi is a fairly affordable and expandable tent that is light for it's size. Though I think it might no longer be in production. Nemo still sells the garage, and footprint but not the Asashi tent itself. But you night be able to find this tent used or new old stock. This tent has had a lot of good reviews for family camping, with a lot of folks citing the expandability as a big plus for it.
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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by zero11010 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:19 am

Just tracking the requests. You want a tent that meets the following criteria:
* Not cheap (not some generic walmart deal)
* Not expensive (no ball park price range, just "not walmart" and not "breaking the bank")
* Durable enough to use regularly car camping
* Enough room for you, your wife, your young child, and a dog of unknown size
* Enough room for the child to grow
* Enough room to fit "a few kids." This may mean you want enough room to fit a few kids as they grow, too.



I don't think I can help any further with those expectations.

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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by roOism » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:53 am

zero11010 wrote:Just tracking the requests. You want a tent that meets the following criteria:
* Not cheap (not some generic walmart deal)
* Not expensive (no ball park price range, just "not walmart" and not "breaking the bank")
* Durable enough to use regularly car camping
* Enough room for you, your wife, your young child, and a dog of unknown size
* Enough room for the child to grow
* Enough room to fit "a few kids." This may mean you want enough room to fit a few kids as they grow, too.



I don't think I can help any further with those expectations.

And yet plenty of excellent suggestion have been offered.

But let me simplify.

4-6 person tent in the $300-$500 price range. That should fit all of the above.
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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by JeeperCreeper » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:31 am

I've never had a problem with Coleman or Sear's Hillary branded tents. Your size can be had for around $200 give or take. Both my tents have been used for week long camping trips throughout the summers for many years without ever an issue. But I always use 2 tarps though: one for a drop cloth and one for a drape (rain fly) cloth. That helps longevity greatly.
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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by Wraith6761 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:54 am

It might be worthwhile to look at the MSR Hubba tent line...a 3 or 4 person version is within your budget, the 3-person variant weighs around 4.5lbs (the 4 person I think is close to 6 lbs), and they make plenty of optional kits for it like gear sheds....it's also got a vestibule built into the rain fly, so your gear stays dry (though the ground mat for the vestibule is sold separately from the ground mat for the tent itself). And, at least on the ones I've seen, the colors aren't the usual "make your eyes bleed from the brightness" (I'm looking at you, Eureka Solitaire); usually the 3/4 persons are a gray-ish white fly and upper portion with a dark red lower portion, though I've also seen some with a tan/brown color scheme and a green color scheme. Like I said, might be worth a look...http://www.amazon.com/MSR-Mutha-Hubba-T ... 00GP11XWM/
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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by Chirpy » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:35 pm

It's a great time to buy tents and stuff, incredible deals to be found. Cabela's is blowing out some of their house brand stuff. 5 man for $72, more than half off regular price.

http://www.cabelas.com/product/EAGLES-C ... Collection

We just finished a brutal Boy Scout Winter camp, where the smaller Eagle's Camp tent's that the Blanco troop had way out-performed our REI Hobitat 4s. Our boys were wet and cold, the Eagle's Camp tents stayed dry under a couple of inches of rain in below 40° temps. Seeing as how we could buy two tents for the price of replacing a zipper, I think our troop will go their way and buy some of the Eagle's Camp tents, and give up on our Hobitats.
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Re: Tent recommendations for a Small Family.

Post by Scottyhikes » Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:27 am

Hello :)

We have 5 members of our family, so we bought a medical/army tent to have enough space if we have to leave our house for some reasons. Its a tent like this but just a bit smaller: Image.
Source. How do you think about this idea? The tent is build up fast and easy and didn´t cost that much. We can add heaters and other stuff to have it warm and nice. We have some good sleepbags too. The army versions of the big tents are good against UV and other weather influences we hope. We hope desaster/apocaliypse or anything similar will never happen, but its good to be prepared. So, what do you think? Would this be an idea for you? I know this solution brings some other problems, for example, we can´t build that tent in the forest, because it has to much height, but i think its better than a normal small family tent with less space which doesn´t allow you to stand up.

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