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SammyN
distinguished member (198)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/16/2018 09:55AM
So, I have no problem wading into the backpacking tents (I've owned Kelty, Big Agnes, Golite, MSR, etc..), but, I'm looking for a car camping tent for the family. Something where we can just get away for the weekend, and go to a primitive campground.

Are these "6-8" person tents for $100 worth it? Are there any recommendations for a family tent?
 
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10/16/2018 10:55AM
I have an REI Kingdom 6 which I like a lot. It's quality construction, aluminum poles, easy to set up, plenty of room and has a room divider in the center. There is also a "garage" you can buy as an accessory, for gear storage or setting a small table under, etc.

The Kingdom comes in 4, 6, and 8 person sizes. Mine is the 6. It comes in it's own "backpack" so it is easy to lug and to store. It has numerous pockets all along the inside and several tie loops on the ceiling to run a clothesline through. One room has extra no see um screen so you can roll back the fly and watch the stars if you choose.



REI Kingdom 6 with garage. In this photo, it shows the garage "canopy" rolled up, but the canopy can be set out with poles to provide shade or a cozy area to sit out a rain storm.

Tent without fly, you can clearly see the ventilation. The garage zips into the other end.
TominMpls
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10/16/2018 11:42AM
I've read reviews of the Kingdom tents that say the floors aren't waterproof, which is kind of the point of a tent. Have you found it to be waterproof?
10/16/2018 11:54AM
I have a K8 that worked very well in 2017 in several rainstorms during a family canoe camping trip. Some issues with wind blown water intrusion on the garage side, but that has more to do with the orientation of the tent relative to the storm and how the fly overlaps the garage.
10/16/2018 11:56AM
Oh, a $100 big box store tent likely will not have sealed and/or taped seams. If you know the weather is going to be good and you need the tent more for shelter from bugs, then they're fine.

You could certainly go through and seal a tent like this yourself with seamgrip, but most people don't agree with the idea of needing to improve something you just bought before it's truly usable.
tashit
member (45)member
 
10/16/2018 12:19PM
I don't know if the quality has changed in the past 10+ years, but I bought a 10x10 Coleman Sundowner tent in 2006 (I believe) on sale at Sportmart for $50 and it has been basically indestructible. It has been through nasty winds and 36 hour soaking rains and hasn't leaked a drop. It has fiberglass poles and isn't lightweight by any means, but it has worked awesome as a car camping tent.
THEGrandRapids
senior member (57)senior membersenior member
 
10/16/2018 01:34PM
I have a Kelty Granby and do not recommend it. The "porch" has a flat enough roof that water will continually collect and pool. I suppose a modification could fix that- but why would you want to do that with a new tent? especially for that price. If it were my main backcountry tent- I would get a differnt one that performs better- but since it's just a big car camping tent- I will make due.
WHendrix
distinguished member (381)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/16/2018 01:51PM
I like the Marmot Limestone. I have the 4 person, but they also make a 6 person.
10/16/2018 02:06PM
Another REI King Dome 6 user and very satisfied with it. Do not put too much trust in online reviews, too many folks just want to find a reasons to complain and so generate many poor reviews without looking at simple setup solutions. Never had problems with the floor unless I brought the water in with me into the tent. It is big and needs to be staked well including proper guy-lines. Been thru many heavy wind and rainstorms without problems. It get used about 4 times a year in spring summer and fall. I set it up regularly alone and takes about 15 minutes to fully set up. I suggest looking for them at REI garage sales to take advantage of the one time user who returns it for credit on other purchases. Paid $164 for mine and a month later found a footprint at another garage sale for $25.
Same thoughts apply to other brands of family style tents, good quality to start with, full coverage "to the ground" flys with guy-out lines that attach thru the fly to the frame, sufficient staking to hold down. If new looks to expensive consider Ebay and other used/clearance sources. Mine was returned due to a small hole on the interior wall (a cigarette burn?), so small a skeeter could not get thru, I left it alone.

July 19 2018 Historic Road Races this included 2 full days of rain.

Another used family tent I enjoyed was a BA Big House 4 the early 3 pole version, now in possession of another board member.

butthead
10/16/2018 02:43PM
TominMpls: "I've read reviews of the Kingdom tents that say the floors aren't waterproof, which is kind of the point of a tent. Have you found it to be waterproof?"

It's been through some doozies of storms with no leakage. I can't imagine a tent with a water permeable floor.
10/16/2018 07:50PM
Big Agnus Big House 6. Unless you're in the NBA you can stand up in it
Dooger
distinguished member (139)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/16/2018 10:52PM
Skip the $100 big box tent. I’ve watched people do it over and over again, get soaked and leave.

I spent about $400 on a Cabela’s Alaskan Outfitter and haven’t looked back. My kids are still in preschool and we camped over 14 nights this past summer in varying weather/wind. No issues. The tent is over 5 years old now.
HowardSprague
distinguished member(2900)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/17/2018 08:12AM
I have an LL Bean 6 person tent (name escapes me at the moment) - a predecessor to this: and have been pretty happy with it, held up fine in a rainstorm and wind. The rainfly pole is fiberglass, the rest aluminum...I had an issue with the shockcord just on that pole (used duct tape on trip, was fine), and LL Bean sent me a new one with apology and without argument. I imagine this version is similar, and pretty comfortable.

Northwoods Cabin Lodge tent*SGGSTD_S*Family%20Camping

sorry, seems the link is jacked up
scotttimm
senior member (77)senior membersenior member
 
10/17/2018 10:44AM
tashit: "I don't know if the quality has changed in the past 10+ years, but I bought a 10x10 Coleman Sundowner tent in 2006 (I believe) on sale at Sportmart for $50 and it has been basically indestructible. It has been through nasty winds and 36 hour soaking rains and hasn't leaked a drop. It has fiberglass poles and isn't lightweight by any means, but it has worked awesome as a car camping tent."
+1
We had a beautiful Sierra Designs family tent that got absolutely soaked in Yellowstone a few years back, on our way to Glacier. Cant do much when you wake up and your tent is sitting in two inches of water. The rain showed no signs of stopping, and I didn't want to set up and sleep in a wet tent in GNP with the wife and kids. I stopped at a Walmart, bought a 10x10 Coleman for $75, found one that had the decent fly coverage. The bottom is like a bathtub of plastic tarp. We rigged another tarp like a vestibule covering the entrance, and our family absolutely loved it. So much so, that we took it to the BWCA the following summer and it stood up perfectly fine to downpours and wind. For car camping, I think they work just fine, if you don't mind the 17lbs...but if you get a big family tent for car camping, and don't want to spend $450, all your choices will be 15-20lbs.
bmaines
distinguished member (296)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/17/2018 11:02AM
WHendrix: "I like the Marmot Limestone. I have the 4 person, but they also make a 6 person."

I bought one of these guys about 8 years ago. It is the absolute perfect size for two people with cots, leaving a nice alley down the middle for changing and moving around inside. I have had it set up as a basecamp out west elk hunting a few times, along with a multitude of blueberry, morel and grouse trips. I'm not one to sing the praises of many things, but this tent I will.
10/17/2018 01:36PM
Wawona 6 from North Face
SammyN
distinguished member (198)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/17/2018 03:24PM
Thanks a bunch for all the great suggestions and feedback.

Keep them coming. let me know what you use, even if it is just the name, and if you like it or not. I can always google the tent name.

GM2
Guest Paddler
 
10/17/2018 05:41PM
You might give this tent a look - obviously more than a $100 tent, but much less than some of the $5 & $600 choices. Extremely roomy inside - heavy! - but for car camping doesn't make much difference to me. Never had a problem with ours, reviews all talk about how dry they are in wet weather. For 2 people with cots it's huge... plenty of room for a couple of kids and a dog without crowding.
https://www.amazon.com/NTK-Arizona-Person-Camping-Waterproof/dp/B00NOA1X36/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
Tomcat
member (31)member
 
10/17/2018 06:15PM
thistlekicker
distinguished member (292)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/17/2018 07:30PM
We have been pretty happy with our EMS Big Easy 6. Full coverage rainfly, sturdy aluminum poles, excellent peak height and near-vertical sidewalls for us taller-than-average folk, included footprint, easy setup and takedown. We have portaged it into the BWCA. And you can find them deeply discounted if you keep an eye out.

10/17/2018 08:21PM
Another happy camper with a King Dome 6 here. Bought lightly used, been through a few heavy rains, room divider if you need it but the real game changer is standing up in a tent. Bought a tyvek floorprint from a guy on ebay, will pick up a garage at some point if the price is right.
BWPaddler
distinguished member(9404)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
10/17/2018 10:49PM
I love my Kelty Parthenon 8. I wanted a design where I could still see out the windows in rainy weather. The sides are angled such that it is indeed possible to stay dry and have AIR at the same time. One summer downpour left four inches of water in a pot on the picnic table and the tent was dry as could be.

It has full fly coverage front and back, which I also liked. SO spacious inside - like having a hotel room along with you. You can stand easily and bring your suitcase inside.

I love camping in it with the fly off on clear nights. Almost like being outside under the stars. Even with the fly ON, you can have air flow with the windows open and the front vestibule tied back.

I have set it up solo and camped in it solo when I felt like having space and bug protection.

Great quality - plenty of pockets, a dividing wall if you like, loops for hanging things, zipper for electric cord if you choose.

Down sides?
- so big, you will not share heat with anyone and need the right gear if you are camping in colder temps
- some tent pads are not quite big enough for it, but I've always been able to make it work out and I'm always in rustic campgrounds.

There are smaller versions of same, but I have the 8-person and love it.




ParkerMag
distinguished member(1075)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/18/2018 07:20AM
+1 on Tomcat and Dooger's suggestion of the Cabela's Alaskan guide model. I had a 6-person for nearly 20 years 'till the ex swiped it from me. I imagine it's still going strong. If they still make the extra large vestibule that fits the 6 and 8 person tents, it's a must have as well. You will NOT want to pack this toad anywhere though.
MisterKrabs
member (38)member
 
10/18/2018 01:56PM
I'm not a fan of cheap big box store tents with skimpy flys and tarp floors. Not that they're categorically bad, and they'll do in a pinch, but they just feel cheap and I don't feel like I can rely on them. They're just too much money for what you get.

There's another option though, an entire category of manufacturers in the middle of the market. For just a little more, you can get much better tent like an Alps Mountaineering Meramac/Taurus or a Kelty Outback or a Eureka Tetragon. Personally, after a lot of research, I spent about $200 on an Alps Mountaineering Taurus 5 Outfitter for my car camping tent. I couldn't be happier. Heavy duty everything and a fly to the ground. Of course, you can spend double this amount and get an REI, TNF, MSR BA, etc. tent, and they would be great too, Just not 2 times as great to me.

https://www.kelty.com/outback-4-tent/
https://eurekacamping.johnsonoutdoors.com/tents/camping/tetragon-hd-4-person-tent
http://www.alpsmountaineering.com/products/tents/outfitter-tents/taurus-5-outfitter

edit:timberlines are expensive!
jdevries
distinguished member(1610)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/18/2018 03:37PM
I car camp at Fall Lake for a week nearly every year. I used this Coleman straight from 2006 to 2017 and it survived many downpours with barely a drop. I did seam seal it and I also treated the fly with a waterproofing spray, though. The sleeves that held the poles were getting pretty worn so this year I went with a Bushnell, this time from Walmart.com. I only got about an hour of rain this year but no leaks in that hour. I really like the instant set up and the 'front porch' portion of the rain fly.

JD



jdevries
distinguished member(1610)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/18/2018 03:37PM
I car camp at Fall Lake for a week nearly every year. I used this Coleman straight from the shelves of Walmart from 2006 to 2017 and it survived many downpours with barely a drop. I did seam seal it and I also treated the fly with a waterproofing spray, though. The sleeves that held the poles were getting pretty worn so this year I went with a Bushnell, this time from Walmart.com. I only got about an hour of rain this year but no leaks in that hour. I really like the instant set up and the 'front porch' portion of the rain fly.

JD



SammyN
distinguished member (198)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/18/2018 03:59PM
Thanks.
From what I'm seeing, I'm really liking the idea of a front porch. Especially with a screen. That would help to keep the mosquitos away, while having something to eat, or a place to relax and enjoy the evening.
10/18/2018 07:03PM
If I have the room at a campsite , I will put up my 6 man Wawona, but also my L.L. Bean Woodland screenhouse. The screenhouse has a complete rain fly if you need it, plus a floor. It really could be used as a tent if you needed it to.
proepro
senior member (51)senior membersenior member
 
10/19/2018 05:26PM
HowardSprague: "I have an LL Bean 6 person tent (name escapes me at the moment) - a predecessor to this: and have been pretty happy with it, held up fine in a rainstorm and wind. The rainfly pole is fiberglass, the rest aluminum...I had an issue with the shockcord just on that pole (used duct tape on trip, was fine), and LL Bean sent me a new one with apology and without argument. I imagine this version is similar, and pretty comfortable.


+1 for LL Bean. I broke a pole and they onsistead on giving me the replacement for free when I asked the price.

The ones I have used are heavy but will last a life time. My mom has over 100 trips over 20 years on hers and it is still in good shape.

Nice details like color coded hooks for poles.
JackpineJim
distinguished member(586)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/19/2018 09:32PM
I've had the LL Bean Vector XL-6 for about 10 years and am extremely happy. It's held up in some serious storms and wind without a problem. LL Bean Vector XL-6
BuckFlicks
distinguished member(604)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/22/2018 04:48PM


I'm intrigued by the roof rack car-top tents, but not at well over $1000. I think I'd just take my backpacking tent and use that.
10/23/2018 06:34AM
In the past we used a Eureka 9 man tetragon. It worked well, fiberglass poles broke, but we were able to repair/buy new ones. Has dividers so the girls could dress separately from the boys. Heavy at 27 lbs. (I mostly use it now for weight in my back pack while training!)

We always use a Tyvek self made innie and this has always worked well. The above tent would have been floating in a downpour in Algonquin Provincial park about 5 years ago, but did fine and the tyvek innie gave all the more protection.
bobbernumber3
distinguished member(863)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/23/2018 08:14AM
jdevries: "I car camp at Fall Lake for a week nearly every year. ly.

JD

"



What is your usual week at Fall Lake Campground?

Your picture shows one of the dislikes I have about the sites. Tent pads, ugh. Never the right size or location on the site.
SammyN
distinguished member (198)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/23/2018 08:26AM
This has been a great thread. I'm surprised at the support of Coleman tents. I didn't expect that. Being in WI, I'm thinking something like a screened in porch or vestibule would be nice to get away from the moquitos. A place to eat, without too much grief.
jdevries
distinguished member(1610)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/23/2018 03:21PM
bobbernumber3: "jdevries: "I car camp at Fall Lake for a week nearly every year. ly.


JD


"




What is your usual week at Fall Lake Campground?


Your picture shows one of the dislikes I have about the sites. Tent pads, ugh. Never the right size or location on the site."


Fortunately that tent pad (site #29) is no longer there, the wood box rotted away so they removed it completely. Those 2 pictures are from the exact same spot actually. I'm usually at Fall Lake either the week before or the week after Labor Day and daytrip anywhere from Mudro to the South Kawishiwi River to Lake One.

JD
BWPaddler
distinguished member(9404)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
10/25/2018 05:09PM
SammyN: "This has been a great thread. I'm surprised at the support of Coleman tents. I didn't expect that. Being in WI, I'm thinking something like a screened in porch or vestibule would be nice to get away from the moquitos. A place to eat, without too much grief."

My experience with a Coleman tent (9x9) was that I needed my kid's spare diapers to catch the leaks during a July rain. :(
LindenTree3
distinguished member(2495)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/25/2018 08:45PM
Last nites (free) camping in the Valley of the Gods by Mexican Hat, Utah. BLM.

Using our Eureka Sunrise 8, four person tent. It's good for two people and two large dogs.

 
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