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Tents: Family of 4: What are you all using?

FleshEater

Ordinary Average Guy
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Looking for a tent for the whole family. Kids are 11 and 7, and we’re planning on camping near the vehicle. Time spent camping will be one or two nights at a time, before packing it up and heading to another location. Longest stint might be 3 nights.

Ideally we want it tall enough to get dressed in, probably won’t be camping in cold weather.

So what are you guys using for the whole family?
 
When the girls were little (3 & 6), we tent camped quite a bit (which may be the reason that didn’t last long :laughing: )

We had a Coleman tent with 3 hoops intended to sleep 4 adults. It was a PITA to set up, and barely had room for 3 adults

I’m doing some “Spring cleaning” now that we have the trailer. If I still have that thing I’m going to give it a proper Viking funeral
 
When the girls were little (3 & 6), we tent camped quite a bit (which may be the reason that didn’t last long :laughing: )

We had a Coleman tent with 3 hoops intended to sleep 4 adults. It was a PITA to set up, and barely had room for 3 adults

I’m doing some “Spring cleaning” now that we have the trailer. If I still have that thing I’m going to give it a proper Viking funeral

Lots of tents online for sale. This is what I DON’T want to end up buying.

The price of some tents is also outrageous. I’m not rock climbing for a month on Everest. :laughing:
 
The price of some tents is also outrageous. I’m not rock climbing for a month on Everest. :laughing:

I haven’t looked at tents in a while, I can only imagine what they are going for now :eek:

Have you considered 2 tents?

Find something easy to setup that doesn’t break the bank, and have the “Master bedroom” and the kids room?
 
one of my best friends just bought a large tent after extensive research.. so he can camp out at the family ranch.. he should be in bed by now, but i will ask him tomorrow what he has.. i read some about it..

I know with the exception of the stakes holding it down.. you can get it up in less than 2 minutes.. part of their advertising gimmick..
 
I haven’t looked at tents in a while, I can only imagine what they are going for now :eek:

Have you considered 2 tents?

Find something easy to setup that doesn’t break the bank, and have the “Master bedroom” and the kids room?

I have, but I doubt my kids would sleep as they’re, well...pussies and are afraid of the dark and the woods (we live in the woods). :laughing:
 
So what are you guys using for the whole family?

A camper because fuck tents. I am too fucking old to be sleeping on the ground if I dont have to. Family camping trips qualify as "dont have too".

That said I do have a big ass older canvas one that looks like a lodge style tent. The floor is a heavy tarp material that comes about a foot up the sides. It also has a seperate rain fly that overhangs the sides by several feet. The canvas and zippers get treated yearly to keep it newish. Grab the air mattress and Im good.

I doubt I will ever do another several night elk hunt or anything. Guess Ill see when the boys are older.
 
A camper because fuck tents. I am too fucking old to be sleeping on the ground if I dont have to. Family camping trips qualify as "dont have too".

That said I do have a big ass older canvas one that looks like a lodge style tent. The floor is a heavy tarp material that comes about a foot up the sides. It also has a seperate rain fly that overhangs the sides by several feet. The canvas and zippers get treated yearly to keep it newish. Grab the air mattress and Im good.

I doubt I will ever do another several night elk hunt or anything. Guess Ill see when the boys are older.

If we were planning on spending many days at one site a camper would be better, but I hate towing through certain conditions; cities, tight, windy mountain roads, etc.

I don’t want to say it, but this will slightly be like that ghey new trendy name...overlanding.

We love to travel and explore. I’ve discovered that renting cabins sucks as you’re tied down to that spot for weeks at a time. There’s too much to see in many parts of the country and setting up camp every other night will allow us more abilities to move around a state.

Or we’ll buy all this gear, do one trip, and fucking hate it. :laughing:
 
If we were planning on spending many days at one site a camper would be better, but I hate towing through certain conditions; cities, tight, windy mountain roads, etc.

I don’t want to say it, but this will slightly be like that ghey new trendy name...overlanding.

We love to travel and explore. I’ve discovered that renting cabins sucks as you’re tied down to that spot for weeks at a time. There’s too much to see in many parts of the country and setting up camp every other night will allow us more abilities to move around a state.

Or we’ll buy all this gear, do one trip, and fucking hate it. :laughing:

Look for a nice pop up. Small no issues towing. If this would ha e been last year a buddy of mine was selling a really nice pop up just north of you (youre just north of da 'burgh right?)for $3k. Were talking toilet and shower pop up but still small when closed up.

It doesnt need to a big camper. My parents had an 18' with 3 boys when I was 10ish and we did just fine.
 
I love my RTT, that's roof top tent for you non-hip dirt sleepers. :rolleyes:

I have the cheap smittybuilt one. It's a bit bigger than a King size bed. I added a foam mattress topper and sleep like a baby. I've done below freezing for a long weekend in Feb with just a down comforter.

Size wise it might be a stretch, mine could easily sleep 3 adults without getting too intimate.
 
Not sure I saw a budget or location... I have done a lot of tent camping (all car camping, so no hiking with a tent on my back!) with a wide variety of tents. The tall "cabin" style tents are nice in perfect weather, add a little wind and the sidewalls will be blowing in on you. Add rain to that wind, and there is a decent chance you will have some wet gear someplace in the tent. That goes for any of the tents that don't have a full coverage rain fly. The only time you are using your tent is to sleep or to get out of a nasty storm, both are times you don't want to be wondering if all is ok... I have used the second tent linked below for over 15 years and would use it for another 15, it is a great tent. The "West-Wind" tent is also a solid tent that my sister and her family have used for the last 7-8 years after seeing ours hold up to typical CO afternoon monsoons in the mountains!

https://www.cabelas.com/shop/en/cabelas-west-wind-8-person-dome-tent

https://www.cabelas.com/shop/en/cabelas-alaskan-guide-model-geodesic-8-person-tent

You'll notice both are "8-person" tents and have vestibules. With kids, you want the extra space and the vestibule will keep a lot of dirt out of the tent. In my case, camping with 3 females, I set up a "bucket bathroom" in our vestibule, so middle of the night nature calls were easy and comfortable for them.

Don't forget a quality sleep mat- don't do the air mattress thing, they suck!

All that said, now I use a 14X16 wall tent, just too damn nice to have a 225 sq ft "cabin"!
 
I used a Coleman 5 person tent, it was perfect for two adults. They rate them like it's the hold of the Amistad with no room for boots or baggage.
 
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We bought a used excessively large tent last summer for use on some property we have. The vestibule is really nice to have and being able to stand up in the middle is nice. I wish that tent didn't have side rooms as it would be much more practical and would get used more elsewhere.
 
Pop-up is out. I don’t want to pay 3 axle tolls while traveling the eastern side of the states or going across the mid-west.

Thank you for the info and links CoCamper! I’ll be checking into those tents and studying features. Are either of those relatively quick to put up and tear down? Also, what would be a good sleep mat in your opinion? Wife wanted to do air mattresses. I’ve never liked sleeping on those though.

VG, I’m not against the idea of RTT. Would be nice for camping out west. I’m not sure if those would offer enough room, but like the above I’ll have to research and see.

Definitely liking the idea of a domed tent for all the above mentioned reasons.

I’m looking at (probably going to buy after all the recommendations here) a 4Runner next weekend. It’s a 4th Gen and I have no idea how much room there will be in the back as I’ve only seen one of these in person. So an RTT might be a better option to save some room inside.
 
A camper because fuck tents. I am too fucking old to be sleeping on the ground if I dont have to.

This is where we are now. We just bought a little trailer that sleeps 2. Oldest kid is living in NY state, youngest is in college and not too interested in camping so the little trailer is perfect :grinpimp:
 
I'm running a 10x14 Kodiak tent with the disco-cots so the kids stack and don't take up as much room. :grinpimp:
 
I read no pop ups but we've had a livin lite tent camper since 2015 and it's perfect bare bones and easy... all aluminum and not much to go wrong. Kids are 3 and 5, when they are bigger will bring the tent back out or rtt. We used the earlier mentioned huge Coleman last before ther pop up purchase. It was big but such a hassle.

just put a lift on it, 900 lbs dry

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We have the bigger "instant" tent from Costco. I think it's 10x14, which is pretty big. We've slept 2 adults, 3 kids and 2 dogs in it and it wasn't cramped. Goes up easy and down super fast with the built in poles. It's kinda bulky and awkward to roll up, but still better than messing with a bunch of poles.

I will say it's not great for snow camping :laughing: but it's not meant for that at all. ​​​​​​
 
I was looking at RTT’s. One I saw for four people was priced at $3,400!

The RTT would save storage space inside. I’m not aure how easily they go up or down though.
 
These RTT’s sure seem like the way to go if you want to move around while camping: https://www.ikamper.com/collections/rooftop-tents/products/skycamp2

The other thing I kind of like about this is that when you leave camp each day in the vehicle you’re not worried about your stuff getting stolen or destroyed, because it’s all with you. The one thing I don’t want is to be tied down to a site every day we’re camped.
 
I like the eureka copper canyon. It’s tall enough to stand in and it goes together pretty easily with 2 people. It’s manageable with 1 person.
 
4 people won't be comfy in a rtt, the big tents are fun but that and gear for 4 will fill up a 4runner fast. Have you looked at the awning rooms? Arb has a floor and ceiling to keep bugs and critters out. That with a rtt will keep you all close if 2 tents are out of the question... sucky part is not being able to drive away without taking everything apart/off.
 
4 people won't be comfy in a rtt, the big tents are fun but that and gear for 4 will fill up a 4runner fast. Have you looked at the awning rooms? Arb has a floor and ceiling to keep bugs and critters out. That with a rtt will keep you all close if 2 tents are out of the question... sucky part is not being able to drive away without taking everything apart/off.

Some of these RTT’s are the same size of what were looking at for the ground. I think the one I was las looking at was 10’x10’. That’s a decent amount of room for two adults and two kids.

Agree about the big tent and gear occupying too much space. I’m basically just looking for sleeping items to go in the tent, and the rest of the gear will remain in the vehicle all night.

Take that back...looking at too many tents and RTT’s! Yeah, an RTT might be tight for a family of four.
 
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I bought a Cabelas 8-person dome for hunting several years ago. It is huge for 3/4 people. It has held up under some light rain well and one brief furious thunderstorm downpour. Ventilation is marginal on hot days but thats not really a problem unless you sit in a stuffy tent when the sun is shinning. For those that said they cant sleep on the ground and get a Camper - COTS :flipoff2: Cabelas had two versions and I got the lessor one on sale for under $400. It goes up and down pretty easily, perfect to get your kids to fight over :laughing: Here is what they profer now under the Bass Pro Cartel - its 12x12 foot print. - http:// https://www.cabelas.com/shop/en/cabelas-alaskan-guide-model-geodesic-8-person-tent?ds_e=MICROSOFT&ds_c=Shop%7CGeneric%7CAllProducts%7CHigh%7CSSCCatchAll&gclsrc=ds
 
Pop-up is out. I don’t want to pay 3 axle tolls while traveling the eastern side of the states or going across the mid-west.

Thank you for the info and links CoCamper! I’ll be checking into those tents and studying features. Are either of those relatively quick to put up and tear down? Also, what would be a good sleep mat in your opinion? Wife wanted to do air mattresses. I’ve never liked sleeping on those though.

VG, I’m not against the idea of RTT. Would be nice for camping out west. I’m not sure if those would offer enough room, but like the above I’ll have to research and see.

Definitely liking the idea of a domed tent for all the above mentioned reasons.

I’m looking at (probably going to buy after all the recommendations here) a 4Runner next weekend. It’s a 4th Gen and I have no idea how much room there will be in the back as I’ve only seen one of these in person. So an RTT might be a better option to save some room inside.

Either of those aren't bad to set up, Spilb referenced the same tent I did in my post (Cabelas Alaskan Guide 8 man). As with any tent, practice setting it up once or twice before your first trip, once you now the best order to put the poles thru, it goes up pretty quick. I'd be willing to bet it will hold up to anything you might encounter, I "inadvertently" spent the night in ours during a wet spring snow storm where we got about 6-7", other than my daughter waking me up to tell me a "bear" was outside, it held up great! That "bear" was the snow sliding off the tent!

As for sleep pad/mat- I'll warn you right now, a nice thick pad will take up more room than your tent when packed up! For my daughters, they each just used a standard "thermarest" type of pad:

https://www.cabelas.com/shop/en/cabelas-standard-sleeping-pad

Wife and I have a little nicer pad, something similar to this. The one we have is discontinued, but is basically one of these but 2x the width.

https://www.cabelas.com/shop/en/cabelas-ultimate-xl-sleeping-pad

You can buy a lot of air mattresses for the cost of decent pads, but in the long run it's well worth it. Plus an uncomfortable night of sleep or two is one of the quickest ways to end current and future camping trips!

Like I said in my first post, I do a decent amount of camping, probably averaged 25 nights living out of a tent a year for the past 20 years. My input isn't geared towards being "mobile" with my camp though, one thing I don't do, and haven't in a long time, is weekend trips. It's not worth it to me to set up camp on a Friday and take down on Sunday, find a way to get an extra day or two. I haven't done a trip shorter than a week in the last 8 or so years.
Happy to answer any other questions, you make it comfortable and enjoyable for the ladies in your family, and they will be asking you when the next trip is when your pulling into the driveway from the last one.
 
I guess another concern I have is setting up a tent and then the next day leaving it, and hoping to come back and find it still there after a day adventure away from camp.
 
We have an older (maybe 2011 model) Big Agnes Big House 6 with the vestibule. Its huge for the 3 of us, I wish the vestibule was taller. You can sit in a chair under it, which is nice. But you are ducking down a lot to get into the tent. We have used it a few times in early summer months and I wish it had better ventilation. We got a CVT Mt Rainier Summit Series RTT a few years back so the Big Agnes hasn't been used since. But its great quality. FWIW the new Big House has a taller vestibule.
 
I guess another concern I have is setting up a tent and then the next day leaving it, and hoping to come back and find it still there after a day adventure away from camp.

In all my time spent camping, I have never had an issue with anyone messing with my campsite. I like to think there is an unwritten "code" among campers/hunters/outdoorsman, maybe my little ounce of faith left in humanity! Tidy up camp before you leave, put anything of "value" out of sight, and if you're around other campers, be friendly, they will look out for you as you will look our for them...
 
we have a big family get together every summer at our cabin, it requires some to sleep in tents. we use 4 of these to handle the overflow https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...h_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1&tag=91812054244-20\n\nwe have really good cots and that makes sleeping in a tent kind of comfortable. \n\nhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...h_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1&tag=91812054244-20\n\nmake sure to get the pad that go to them and if you have decent bags, you\'ll sleep great. \n\nIf your kids are squeamish, the cot will help, they even make bunk bed versions. \n\nWhen my kids were little, I had a 27\' class C and we went just about every weekend and every vacation all over the place... they loved it and still feel like it was a \'best part\' of childhood. We used it for family visits too and for overnight baseball tournaments... \n\nWe did some tent campling too... having a good BIG, TALL tent helps. but, the cots made it so I wasn\'t too creaky and pissed off in the morning.
 
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I had said a close friend had done research etc..

this is what he just told me..

"I have the Hyke & Byke Zion 2 person tent.

I can understand wanting a larger tent for family, but you might suggest getting 2 two person tents."
 
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