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Darin Boville
30-Apr-2016, 15:29
I'm kicking around the idea of buying a large tent. I'm not looking for a backpacking tent or anything back-packable but something I might have set up for a week or two near where I park the car, something I can work in during bad weather. It would be cool to have a foldable writing desk and chair inside.

There will be one, two, or four people in it. More space is better. It will need to fit into national park car camping sites. Maybe state park sites. Must be good in higher winds. Must not be a hideous color.

I googled and the brand Big Agnes keeps coming up a lot. Price seems to go up to about $500-$600. I'm willing to pay for for a better tent, if it exists. I cannot use a combo truck/SUV tent arrangement. It must be a freestanding tent. I value ease of use, quality of construction, and stuff that will fit easily back into the storage back it came out of without me having to becoming a master of tent origami.

What have you guys used?

--Darin

David Lobato
30-Apr-2016, 16:11
I used to have a Eureka 6 person tent. It had 6 sturdy aluminum poles and was 6 feet tall, and easy to set up, even in the dark. Very comfortable for 2, with cots, and small foot lockers for storage or side table for an electric lantern. The screen windows could be zipped shut with fabric panels for max warmth. In high winds it was enough to guy it out tightly at each corner. I spent several multi-day periods in it with no complaints, none. I gave it away and now regret it. Unfortunately new ones like it can't be found.

A couple of years ago I bought a Big Agnes 6 person tent. It is NOT a replacement for the Eureka. It is hard to set up, especially solo, not near as strong, and the mesh near the floor allows constant cold drafts (my wife hated that). It is susceptible to winds, even guyed out. It's also big, almost too big for tent pads in organized campgrounds. I don't have much confidence with it should it ever rain hard. I don't recommend getting one. Maybe others have better opinions than me.

I have an extensive backpacking and camping history and appreciate a tent for its specific purpose. A good one is a pleasure. Bad designs are no fun. A really good tent keeps you dry and secure for 18 hours of driving rain, whether backpacking or at a base camp.

Chuck S.
30-Apr-2016, 16:26
Google "traditional wall tent". Had a 4 or 6-man to myself when I spent a summer in BC decades ago, where I only moved camp every week or so. Plenty of standing room, and ability to put folding table & chair, cot, etc. close to vertical sides. Front canopy made for a porch. Would have max. room for sharing. Might take a bit longer to erect & take down, but not tent origami by any means. Did it by myself.

jloen
30-Apr-2016, 17:15
I would recommend an Easy-up or comparable. They can be set high enough to stand up in, and you can nail them to the ground (10 penny nails work well). You can get sides as well. I'm sure you've seen these at farmer's markets or art fairs... Pretty heavy and bulky, but maybe OK for the purpose you are describing. I think these would be great for a long term camp, car camping. Only downside is they have no floor, so creepy crawlies can come in...

Willie
30-Apr-2016, 20:48
http://www.cabelas.com/product/CLAM-DS-SIX-PACK-MAG/1956442.uts?productVariantId=4098672&WT.tsrc=PPC&WT.mc_id=GoogleProductAds&WT.z_mc_id1=04112832&rid=20&gclid=CPGY4436t8wCFYSDaQodqp0K8Q&gclsrc=aw.ds

http://www.basspro.com/Clam-Jason-Mitchell-Elite-Series-Thermal-5000-Ice-Shelter/product/1305061246/

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/index/eskimo-fatfish-6120i-insulated-six-sided-ice-shelter?a=1727975



Take a look at ice fishing tents. Built to withstand sub zero winds on bare ice, they tend to hold up well.
Links are to show what may be available. One big advantage to many of them is how easy they set up and take down. Subzero temperatures and wind make for miserable times if you can't get the ice tent set up quickly. So the designs tend to go up and take down without problems. They do last with many set up and left on the ice for months at a time once the lakes freeze over.

Willie
30-Apr-2016, 20:50
http://www.cabelas.com/product/CLAM-DS-SIX-PACK-MAG/1956442.uts?productVariantId=4098672&WT.tsrc=PPC&WT.mc_id=GoogleProductAds&WT.z_mc_id1=04112832&rid=20&gclid=CPGY4436t8wCFYSDaQodqp0K8Q&gclsrc=aw.ds

http://www.basspro.com/Clam-Jason-Mitchell-Elite-Series-Thermal-5000-Ice-Shelter/product/1305061246/

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/index/eskimo-fatfish-6120i-insulated-six-sided-ice-shelter?a=1727975

http://www.geteskimo.com/pop-up-portable-ice-shelters

Take a look at ice fishing tents. Built to withstand sub zero winds on bare ice, they tend to hold up well.
Links are to show what may be available. One big advantage to many of them is how easy they set up and take down. Subzero temperatures and wind make for miserable times if you can't get the ice tent set up quickly. So the designs tend to go up and take down without problems. They do last with many set up and left on the ice for months at a time once the lakes freeze over.

Leszek Vogt
30-Apr-2016, 22:44
Can't say this is most reasonable, but you can poke around the store (.com) to see what you prefer.

http://www.cabelas.com/product/cabela-s-hybrid-cabin-tent/1942322.uts?Ntk=AllProducts&searchPath=%2Fcatalog%2F

Les

Darin Boville
1-May-2016, 01:31
Thanks for all the links. Sent me in the right directions, I think.

From what I've seen so far this one catches my eye the most.

http://www.kodiakcanvas.com/10-x-14-ft-flex-bow-vx-tent/

Expensive but well-made, I can stand up in it easily, room for small table to work.

Thoughts on this one?

Still pondering.

--Darin

John Kasaian
1-May-2016, 06:32
Check Montana Canvas. Get the fittings for the pipe frame and an extended fly for a front porch and you'll be set (in one place) all summer
http://www.montanacanvas.com/

Roger Thoms
1-May-2016, 07:50
Here's another one to consider, http://www.kirkhams.com/index.php?p=home. My folks bought a "Spring Bar" tent back in 1965 for family camping trips. The tent has served us well over the years and still gets occasional use.

Roger

Fred L
1-May-2016, 12:14
It's way out of your price range but Snowtrekker (http://www.snowtrekkertents.com) makes great tents and if you find yourself working in cold weather, adding a stove makes life downright pleasant. I have the 10x13 Crew for use in all seasons. Very roomy for 2 and palatial for one. No floor but some good tarps and wool blankets make for a comfortable space.

again, spend but will last a long time and also self supporting.

HMG
1-May-2016, 13:59
There are benefits to a canvas tent but, for the usage you describe, I'd go with a nylon tent. Better water resistance, less resistant to mildew, lighter, smaller bundle, faster to dry after being wet.

Mark Sampson
1-May-2016, 14:01
look at the L.L. Bean King Pine tent.

Peter Langham
1-May-2016, 14:22
For something a little different, check out: Shiftpod.com

Born out of the trials at Burning Man.

Drew Wiley
2-May-2016, 10:24
Big Agnes tents set up nice; but the floor material is thin to keep weight at bay. If you select one of these, get some Tyvek truck wrap or something like that as additional ground protection. The question is, will the tent always be in immediate proximity to your vehicle, where overall weight will be a non-issue and canvas
realistic, or will you also potentially use "walk-in" campgrounds where you need to haul gear a hundred yards or so?

Darin Boville
2-May-2016, 11:56
I'm still leaning toward the Kodiak. One major concern is the canvas material. It needs to dry out before being put away to avoid mildew/mold but I live in a foggy, coastal area. I can easily seeing it raining at a campsite, I pack up, and come home with fog or damp weather for days. The tent will never dry out. I'm not sure if leaving it set-up until it gets sunny (a week or more) will prevent mold but it makes me uneasy. I wish they had a Kodiak style with synthetic material. I think I'll write the company...

--Darin

seezee
2-May-2016, 14:05
And then there's this (http://www.sheridantent.com/walltents.html). It is canvas, so the same caveat Darin mentions applies.

Struan Gray
2-May-2016, 15:11
An alternative to the home on the range cowboy cabins would be this style of tent:

http://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/se/vaude-badawi-long-6p-tent-d1612095?id_colour=151

Some have three or four pods off the central atrium, this model has only two. They can usually be pitched by one person, and man-packed some distance from a vehicle if necessary. There are models (way out of your price range) which will stand up to Alaskan winter storms, and at all price points down to the use-once-and-dispose-of festival tents. They work very well for groups of 4-6 friends.

Drew Wiley
2-May-2016, 16:09
I obviously have the same problem - I need to clean and dry out the tent in the mountains before returning to the Bay Area or risk waiting for a dry week gosh knows when. But at least synthetic fabrics dry quickly.

Jim Harris
2-May-2016, 17:30
My last Motorcycle ride was 10,000 miles long. This is the tent I took. https://redverz.com/motorcycle-tents/atacama-green/
It worked well for the times I wanted to stay in one place for a while or be comfortable in really bad weather. The design is brilliant!

Vaughn
2-May-2016, 20:24
I would have chimed in earlier, but I was thinking changing bag sort of tents. This is what we got for car-camping with our triplets. Well made, very roomy. We bought ours about 15 years ago, so the tent names have changed, more sizes, but looks about the same. My ex has it now. We did break a pole when we set it up at Zion without guide ropes. I left for the day to photograph and a thunderstorm came through with high winds. Tent came with a repair kit, so it was fine for the rest of the trip.

An old packer I met just used canvas -- he'd re-coat every once in a while with Thompson Water Seal.

http://www.pahaque.com/pq/product.asp?pid=105495&ret_id=1455119

Axelwik
10-Jul-2016, 14:04
I've had a Kodiak canvas tent for 3 or 4 years. Mine has been through high winds, torrential downpours, and heavy snow-loads. Never a problem. I'm 6' and there's plenty of headroom standing anywhere inside the tent. With two cots there's still enough room for a small table and chairs. It weighs about 70 pounds, but goes up in less than 15 minutes if I'm by myself and about ten with a helper.

tgtaylor
11-Jul-2016, 08:49
I've used a 2-person Big Agnes for 10 or more years now. Great tent: quick set-up and tear-down, roomy for two, dries quickly, lightweight and packs compact. It does have a "thin" floor as Drew mentions but as with all tents you should use a ground cloth to prevent small holes from developing. Once, while bicycling up the Spanish Mediterranean with an Australian cyclists, he complained about ants getting into his tent. The bottom of his tent - much thicker than the Agnes - was full of small holes where they could crawl through and was a result of not using a ground cloth.

The most utilitarian ground cloth I've found was a military tropical weight poncho. Not only does it serve as a ground cover for the tent but as a rain poncho to cover you and your gear - down to the mid part of lower part shins so expect from there to the ground to get wet. It also works as a lean-to (which is how I used it while on active duty) and two snaps together to make a regular tent with common floor. Very lightweight and packs compactly - I usually wrap it around the air mattress when backpacking.

Thomas

John Kasaian
12-Jul-2016, 19:36
Google "traditional wall tent". Had a 4 or 6-man to myself when I spent a summer in BC decades ago, where I only moved camp every week or so. Plenty of standing room, and ability to put folding table & chair, cot, etc. close to vertical sides. Front canopy made for a porch. Would have max. room for sharing. Might take a bit longer to erect & take down, but not tent origami by any means. Did it by myself.
+1 for the traditional wall tent. You can build a metal frame from electrical conduit, or use timber lashings for extra strength since you won't be back packing. Montana Canvas has a factory surplus store that sells returned tents you can get at a substantial discount. Relite fabric is a lightweight alternative to canvas.

chassis
11-Dec-2016, 18:31
For almost 20 years we have had an 8 person Eureka tent, similar to the Copper Canyon model. An 8 person tent similar to the Eureka design and square footage would fit your requirements in the original post. Agree that the Eureka colors seem odd these days.

Cabela's wall tents are good options, heavy though.

fralexis
11-Dec-2016, 20:59
The canvas tents are great but exceedingly heavy. Some of them you can't lift by yourself! Plus they rarely have sewn in floors which I think is a must, especially where there are snakes or other hazards. Someone else mentioned Eureka. They are great and hold up well. Big Agnes are good as well. Even REI has some good tents.

h2oman
16-Dec-2016, 09:05
Darin,

Regarding rain, here is what I learned from the kayakers in the Humbolt area: set your tent up under a large tarp. One guy took it a bit farther - he pulled his small pickup with camper shell under a tarp!

Gregg W

John Kasaian
16-Dec-2016, 10:38
The canvas tents are great but exceedingly heavy. Some of them you can't lift by yourself! Plus they rarely have sewn in floors which I think is a must, especially where there are snakes or other hazards. Someone else mentioned Eureka. They are great and hold up well. Big Agnes are good as well. Even REI has some good tents.
I agree that modern tents are sure convenient, but for long term camping in one place, wall tents and miner's tents rock. They can also be made of Re-lite fabric which is considerably lighter than canvas. With a sod cloth and separate floor, I haven't had problems with serpentine trespassers and the separate floor keeps tents much cleaner than bathtub floors. Also if a bear decides to join you, it's easier to quickly get out of a wall tent, LOL!