Tent Advice

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BCR, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    I am looking to get a 2-person backpacking style tent and want to hear some advice from the experts. I have a very small budget for this and do not plan to be a heavy user of it---heck, there will be more times I will be 'car camping' than packing it all, so weight isn't a real big issue. I want something that will be water tight (yes, I'd use seam-sealer) and easy to set up and fairly comfortable with ventilation in this humid West Virginia climate.

    I see that Campmor has a Eureka Getaway 2 for $40, and the Eureka place itself has a used one for $30. I'm leaning that way. Is that mudflap at the entrance a good or bad thing? Won't I just trip on it? I will be using it primarily in Summer/Spring/Fall (in order of odds I'll camp then).

    What I have been using is a cheap-o Wenzel that just won't cut it any longer. Last 2 times I actually slept in the car to be more comfortable.

    So should I go for the Eureka or keep looking for a different one used in my local Penny Saver?
     
  2. Anataq

    Anataq Well-Known Member

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    If you are on a budjet and still want a good 2 person backpacking tent buy an REI half dome. The vesibules at the interance are very nice if you ever encounter inclimate weather and if you camp in the spring/fall you certainly will. I am not a big Eureka fan, but they make an alright tent. DO NOT BUY A TENT THAT IS A SINGLE WALL, IT MUST USE A FULL LENTH RAIN FLY, NOT ONE THAT COMES DOWN PARTIALLY OVER THE SIDES- I MUST COME ALL THE WAY TO THE GROUND. Now for those of you who are high teck, I am not talking about a high teck single wall like Bibler makes, or Marmot, or any of the high end mountaineering stuff, obviously the buget won't allow six hundred for one of those.

    Anataq.
     

  3. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    i almost agree. :) i have gotten some amazing deals on good quality camping gear from camp-mor as well as sierra trading post. usually, if i am patient i can find exactly what i want, at a price i am willing to pay. rei makes me nervous with their prices.:) i don't care if stuff is last years style or color, or if it is an overstock, or whatever. i've bought seconds and have never found the flaw. i buy all of my shoes from sierra. got a $200 pair of ecco hikers for 29 bucks, 15 degree kelty bag for 40, thermarest for 29. good stuff.:) my impression is that any eureka tent is a good one. don't forget the ground cloth.:)
     
  4. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    i remember when i was in the army we had tents that were in 2 pices you can cary half and your partner can cary the other halr i guess you can still get them in the army and navy surplus store
     
  5. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    My biggest gripe with the Eureka tents is that they're awfully heavy compared with other 2-man tents out there. I've been using a Sierra Designs Clip-Flashlight for about 10 years now in western Wa and it's still going strong. That thing's been through snow, sleet, freezing rain, lots of regular rain, winds... you name it. This tent's been produced for about 20 years now, so you should be able to find used ones.

    One of my hiking buddies uses an REI Half-dome and really likes it.

    Kelty makes a decent tent similar to the Clip-flashlight. The Zen, I think. I spent a night in one last summer with a friend and there was plenty of room for the two of us.
     
  6. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    My Eureka two man tent is 25 plus years old and has seen a LOT of hard use, including nearly daily use for the ten years I cruised timber. It has held up extremly well. Can't remember for certain, but it may be that I've had two of them for the price of one. I believe that the zipper went out after a couple years of use. I wrote Eureka and they invited me to send it in for repair. They wrote back that it couldn't be fixed and sent me a new tent at no charge.

    Sure can't complain with service like that!
     
  7. mousecat33

    mousecat33 Well-Known Member

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    Can't go wrong buying from Campmor.

    BTW REI stands for " Really Expensive Inventory"

    mcandco
     
  8. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    I believe those were called ''shelter halves'' & they mated together to make a leakey pup tent that had no floor or mosquito netting. You were better off with a poncho. :no:
     
  9. drewallen

    drewallen Member

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    For the money, the REI 2-person Halfdome is a worthy investment. And should you decide venture down a trail to find a campsite, it's not bad on the weight side either.

    For sheer economy, Eureka has some pretty good offerings and Kelty makes some decent tents as well.

    I got a heck of a deal once at www.sportsmansguide.com on a good, car-camping Kelty tent. They carry overstocks of Eureka and Kelty tents as well as some military surplus.

    It's certainly worth a look.

    I'm also in WV... where do you like to camp?
     
  10. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone. I was in the Army and used those shelter halves. Heavy, no air flow and no floor and not worth setting up- I spent many nights sleeping under the stars.

    Thanks for the advice. I will look into the sportsman link. And certainly consider REI, whose stuff I love the looks of but never fit my budget.

    drewallen-I love the state parks here, a favorite being Blackwater Falls. But I'll try any of them. Canaan State Park is my least favorite, as it caters to golfers and not tent/hikers/day use folks.
     
  11. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It sorta depends on your personality, but I've backpacked many hundreds of miles with just a gore-tex bivy sack. It came with poles, but I never bother with them. Sleep in the sack to keep the dew off, with the zipper open. If it rains, I carry a piece of plastic to tie to a tree to keep the rain off my face while I sleep. Never had a problem, even hiking during the monsoon in the summer in Arizona's rim country where rain is a foregone conclusion.

    I also have an oversized poncho (fits over me and my pack) for hiding from the rain during the day so I don't have to get the bivy out.

    Other people find bivies claustrophobic, but I like the light weight and simplicity. (I'm also one who will go days happily on just beef jerky, nuts, hard cheese, crackers, etc. to eat. I HATE cooking on the trail.)

    If the weather is going to be extremely cold -- as in, threat of hypothermia -- then a two-man tent is called for, for reasons of warmth and safety.

    Leva
     
  12. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sounds to me like REI is above your budget level. I've been there several times and rarely find a real bargain.

    I don't know your neighborhood, but k-mart, wal-mart, sears & target often run seasonal sales where you can get what you describe for $40. Watch their ads, or call the manager and ask when they run the sale.
     
  13. Stush

    Stush Well-Known Member

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    This may sound like a stupid question, but are you looking for a tent to sleep two people or a "two-man tent" for you to cleep in alone?

    If you are looking for a backpacking tent for solo sleeping, I would like to reccomend something a little different. Try one of these:

    http://www.hennessyhammock.com/

    I bought one last year and love it. Extremely easy to set up. Very light. Extremely comfortable to sleep in. No need for a pad except in very cold weather. I take it and a fleece sleeping bag and sleep as well or beter than I do at home. :D I was skeptical but am sold completely after a few trips with it.

    If you want something to sleep two people, they do have a model that claims to be suitable, but I have not tried that.
     
  14. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Stush-I went to the site and they do look neat. After reading many reviews I will admit that I am doubtful they are for me. I will be car camping some and the choice of trees to hang it in won't cut it. And I am skeptical of my ability to use it well---I'll have to try one out somewhere sometime cause they certainly sound cool.

    The tent is really just for me/gear (and maybe my dog some day). I know I am too claustrophobic for the bivy sacks, heck I'm too claustrophobic for mummy bags. My mummy unzips to a rectangle and makes me very happy that way. So thanks for the ideas--some of you are really hardcore---something I haven't been for a few years!

    The weight doesn't bother me as I won't be hiking more than a few days anyhow, but more often camping at State Parks and such.
     
  15. Anataq

    Anataq Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I'l clarify a bit. Eureka does not make bad tents, well maybe a few models, but for the most part they are decent, and the old Eureka tents had excellent reputations in their day. However know days they are using some odd plastic parts and often to heavy poles to set up. My biggest complaint is their laminated sides - single wall partial, and partial rain fly. If the weather is inclimate the rain and wind will lift the fly and soak through the fabric. The single wall lower design has a real condensation problem when there is significant temperature change. If you had a larger budget I'd recommend in this order (but a few are real close) Mountain Hardware, Marmot, Bibler, Seirra Designs, Black Diomond, The North Face, Walrus, REI. I hiked the PCT about 2400 miles in 1996 and used a few different tents, my favorite being the Seirra Designs Meteor Light, (when some one else was carring it) Not a bad weight, just not the perfect long distance tent. Eventually I ended up with a bibler I-tent in Northern Washington, which was very nice! I also used a Black Diamond Mega Mid through most of Oregon which served me well, a little tarp on the ground and my trecking pole, worked very well.

    Buy a good tent and you will have it for years and years to come, buy a top quality tent and you will never replace it, the manufacture might say twenty years from now.

    You can find used tents from the top manufactures I listed above and some of them for a steal, search the auctions.

    All the best,
    Anatq
     
  16. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ultralite queen here.
    The important thing in backpacking is weight, and safety. Make sure your poles are shockcorded together so you won't loose a section on the trail and have to mickeymouse lash a green stick in its place.

    You also want a small headspace, since it will be warmed by your body heat in inclememnt weather. I've been snow camping, and I got "confused" for a few hours one dark night when it was 17 degrees and I had just stepped a few feet into the bush in polypropylene lightweights to take a dump. BUt the COLDEST I have ever been was a July night at BS camp in PB County, FL when my tent dveloped a leak in the roof and deluged me and my bag. I had to roll up in my groundcloth to stop shivering (handnt brought any iron-oxide handwarmers with me since it was July, in Florida)

    I have used a used tent for 15 years with good results. Just recived a new tent for Xmas. Guess Grandfatherbear made his intentions known- It's a 1-man.
     
  17. ibcnya

    ibcnya Well-Known Member

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  18. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    I have a tent very similar to this one:
    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/t...-link.jhtml_A&_DAV=MainCatcat20075&hasJS=true


    I have used it for years and love it. It has been rugged and storm proof. It was a little heavy to pack but I like having space for my gear inside and I really like to be able to stand up in a tent. I had a smaller backpacking tent but the lack of room in it was a problem. I had a 4 person dome tent made by Eureka if I remember right. I HATED the thing with a passion and swore off dome tents forever. The thing came apart on me 1 day into a week of camping. It was torn up in a storm and the poles would break far too easily. I had to improvise a shelter for the rest of the trip and we got eaten alive with bugs.

    I've used mine all through the year including several times in the snow. Camping in the snow is an awful lot of fun and I would recommend trying it with the proper equipment.
     
  19. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the other comments. I checked out the bivvy sack at sportsman's and it didn't look like the fly went to the ground or covered up the front vent. As it often rains here, that was a big consideration for me.

    The Cabela's tent is only one layer that I can see and I wanted two for the above reasons, plus it is larger than I need. Cool though.

    I went ahead and ordered the Eureka since it had a fly that reached to the bottom of the tent, sealed/taped seams, windows in the fly to let in light, modest weight (6.5 pounds) and had shockcorded poles (fiberglass) that I found were replaceable should I snap them. For the money, $40, I don't think it was a bad plan. It arrives later this week and I'll let you know if I can stretch out in it with my gear(5 feet by 7 feet). It is a dome tent, but I had been using an A-frame style and didn't like it.

    I'm impressed grandmotherbear...do you camp with friends or head out alone? My partner doesn't want to camp either and I get a little nervous heading out on my own, and I don't even do anything dangerous. I am usually at a campsite of some sort.

    I dread getting wet over and over again which is why I was so particular about the fly and not getting a single wall (condensation issues as well). That Florida trip must have been something.
     
  20. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Well, it arrived today. I set it up in a matter of minutes inside to keep it clean-nothing but mud outside. Piece of cake. All the windows have coverings or zip closed. The 'windows' in the fly do let in nice light. I will fit nicely with my gear/dog should I want to. Not sure if I'll use the gear loft, but the two mesh pockets (1 at each side window) seem very handy. Also the top vent seems very handy. When I had everything zipped up/covered it seemed very warm quickly, which will be good on those 'shoulder season' trips. 4 feet tall in the center which works for me as I am only 5'4". If you were a tall person you might feel close inside.

    I have another question though. I read that you shouldn't seal taped seams. Others say you should seal all seams. What do you say? And do I seal under them like the bottle says or on top or both? There is a lot of conflicting advice. I did seal a cheapo daypack I got as a giveaway and sprayed it with waterproofing and when I tested it water runs off and nothing gets inside. I am very pleased with that as it will hold my notebooks, etc. when I run around. I sealed the inside of those seams.