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Advice on buying first ground tent

Discussion in 'Outdoors' started by TacoTim85, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:16 PM
    #1
    TacoTim85

    TacoTim85 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Buying our first ground tent for the wife and I plus 2 pit bulls. Any advice? Just for reference I'm not a small guy at 6'1 tall 250 lbs. Thanks!
     
  2. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:20 PM
    #2
    jmauvais

    jmauvais Received 2 votes in a poll one time.

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    ...stuff
    Do you plan to camp in cold/wet weather? Hot weather? For 2 people and 2 pups, get a tent at least big enough for 4, even a 6 person is nice for the extra room when it’s raining and your stuck inside for a bit. Windows are your friend for hot weather, rain flys are good for wet weather.

    Personally I just use cheap tents and use high end sleeping bags/pads for comfort. I only use the tent for sleeping so no real need to spend a lot.
     
  3. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:24 PM
    #3
    tacotroy17

    tacotroy17 Well-Known Member

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    How much are you looking to spend? Do you care about weight? How compact it folds up?
     
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  4. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:28 PM
    #4
    TacoTim85

    TacoTim85 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    For the summer season here it can get warm into the 90s sometimes, but cools down at night. It's pretty dry right now, but all seasons except summer here have significant rain. We also will most likely camp at altitude up to maybe 5,000 ft max, but typically half that if I had to guess.

    I definitely dont want to break the bank on the first tent. Just wanna be comfortable and it to be useful. I think having an entry area to get outta the weather and bugs could be good... maybe help with wiping the dogs feet or taking off shoes before going into the sleeping area during rain etc. Could also be nice to have an area to sit inside a bug net and still have visibility.

    Shade is something we might need so I dunno, I might want a separate canopy or something. Just throwing ideas at the wall.
     
  5. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:30 PM
    #5
    JStarr

    JStarr Life Off the Road

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    Since you are truck camping, no need to pay a light-weight or compact backpacker premium. Agree on going large, straighforward and inexpensive for the first one, ventilation is good, a waterproof pan on the bottom and a decent fly on the top will keep you dry.
    Next season you will know your needs for the ultimate purchase, and you'll have this one as a useful spare.
     
  6. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:30 PM
    #6
    DMZ

    DMZ Having no destination, I am never lost.

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  7. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:32 PM
    #7
    TacoTim85

    TacoTim85 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Budget is low for this one just because I don't know what we are really gonna like or want. This is like a test run. Maybe $200 max because we also need to buy other things.

    Weight and storage size are not a huge concern at this point.
     
  8. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:32 PM
    #8
    El Duderino

    El Duderino Obviously, you're not a golfer.

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    Stuff, things, this, an ADS
    REI Grand HUT 4 will be big enough. Great tent and easy to put up. Just buy better stakes that’s all.
     
  9. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:33 PM
    #9
    JStarr

    JStarr Life Off the Road

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    REI usually has great deals on leftover model years/colors.
     
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  10. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:34 PM
    #10
    El Duderino

    El Duderino Obviously, you're not a golfer.

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    AF65D2FF-69FD-412B-8E92-20CDD2F4F7E1.jpg Fits me my bulldog a toddler and my wife now problem plus a king size mattress pad
     
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  11. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:34 PM
    #11
    0xDEADBEEF

    0xDEADBEEF River Trash Aficionado

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    Here's what I look for -

    - right number of people + pets
    - 2 doors so you don't have to climb over each other
    - a vestibule underr the fly for each door for boots and such
    - a rain fly that goes all the way to the ground (full coverage)
    - A wide open view of the sky when you leave the fly off, but with a mosquito netting
    - tie points for a mosquito trampoline inside
    - Solid anchor points all the way around

    Then when you get it, toss the shitty wire potato spikes and buy real stakes.

    I've owned 2 tents so far, $100 and $200 each, 10 years apart. Probably need to start shopping for number 3 now. Both Eureka. Those were both 2 man though, I would expect to spend more for a bigger one.
     
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  12. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:38 PM
    #12
    jmauvais

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    ...stuff
    Get a chap tent from Walmart, honestly I got mine there 20 years ago, still going strong. Get a sleeping bag that’s rated for temperatures much colder than you are expecting, bring extra blankets too just in case. Air mattresses are comfy, but a pain to inflate/deflate and if they leak, bigger headache. A 3” foam pad from target will run you about 20-30 bucks and will do the job better.

    get a tarp to put down on the ground before your tent, make yourself a “doormat” using extra tarp.

    Use an EZ UP or something similar for shade, they make them with big screens, definitely worth having if you’re in bug areas.

    Get ground spikes for anchoring down the tarp, tent, and awning. They can and will blow away if the wind picks up.
     
  13. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:44 PM
    #13
    KissmyTaco

    KissmyTaco Well-Known Member

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    I have a Gashole
    If you are going to be in the rain, be sure to buy seam sealer. Set it up indoors and be sure to seal all the seams.
    Just go to Wally world or Costco and buy a Coleman. They are cheap and adequate.
    REI makes some great stuff but you will pay a bit more for it. Their closeouts and open box stuff are good deals but sometimes difficult to come by.
    Also you will want a footprint tarp if you are going to be in wet environments. Just be sure it doesn't stick out more than a few inches from the edge of the tent or water can pool underneath. A tent with 2 rooms or large vestibules are useful with the dogs and kids. Gives you a place to keep gear and dirty shoes from getting the inside of the tent muddy.
    Also get good quality sleeping pads or inflatable mattresses, makes for a good nights sleep.
     
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  14. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:52 PM
    #14
    tacotroy17

    tacotroy17 Well-Known Member

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    Have you seen the EZ UP tents? I just found out about those and they are pretty sweet.
     
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  15. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:52 PM
    #15
    blind cowboy

    blind cowboy Well-Known Member

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    Check out REIs 4th of July sale. Fair amount of tents in your price range.
     
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  16. Jun 28, 2020 at 3:54 PM
    #16
    tacotroy17

    tacotroy17 Well-Known Member

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    A couple of people are mentioning EZ UP type shelters and in my other comment I mentioned a tent addition they make. It's a relatively cheap setup and has dual purposes. I just got a Kodiak canvas tent 10'x10' and I'd recoment that, but it's out of the price range. Another option is Gazelle. They are gaining some traction.
     
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  17. Jun 28, 2020 at 4:05 PM
    #17
    TacoTim85

    TacoTim85 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone, this is very helpful.
     
  18. Jun 28, 2020 at 4:06 PM
    #18
    Flowie

    Flowie Well-Known Member

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    I tent camped for a long time.

    If you can get something that you can stand upright in...thats a bonus.
    Its easier to get in and out of clothes etc.

    Put camp dry or some kind of water repellant in your rainfly.

    Get a good air mattress or foam pad...it makes a difference both in keeping you getting cold but also comfort from uneven ground. Ever read the Princess and the Pea? You will live it in a tent.

    There are decent zip together options for sleeping bags for couples...:evil:

    Coleman makes a decent tent...Eureka makes some good ones too,
    As a previous poster mentioned...a tarp thats an inch smaller than the tent footprint will keep ground moisture from coming up..and not let rainwater pool up in it.

    Get a small whisk broom and a dustpan for cleaning up the entry way...we used to also put a small mat in front of the tent entrance for getting muddy stuff off.

    We liked a gear loft...essentially a net you tied up in top of the tent to hold pocket sized stuff and glasses etc.

    I recommend a 10x10 tent for 2 people and 2 dogs...again minimum height 6 feet so you can stand up.
    Changing in the wilderness far from people is no big deal..if you are at a state campground with 400 ppl watching you..its nice to have privacy.

    A catylitic tent heater is awesome...not just to take the chill off...itll dry out the air.
    We camped places where it was damp and misty all the time...after 5 days straight of being saturated with water..its nice to get a little time in a tent with warmth and dry air.
    A Coleman catalytic heater is safe and easy to run...you just screw in a natural gas cyclinder.

    When you set up a site....look for some higher well drained ground. I had a flashflood inundate a tent w rainwater once....and dont be too pround to use a previously used spot. Often times theres a reason a tent was there...lack of tree roots, level ground etc


    Have fun tent camping...pay attn to what other people are doing. We got some of our best camping hacks just by watching what other people were doing in campgrounds.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
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  19. Jun 28, 2020 at 4:14 PM
    #19
    jmauvais

    jmauvais Received 2 votes in a poll one time.

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    i have one actually. It’s really big so o don’t use it much but it’s really nice
     
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  20. Jun 28, 2020 at 4:16 PM
    #20
    tacotroy17

    tacotroy17 Well-Known Member

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    I think the size would be great for OP.
     
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