A nice large tent.

5:09 a.m. on May 10, 2005 (EDT)
(Guest)

Could anybody give any advice on a big tent(8 to 12)person that would comfortly sleep 4 adults and 4 children and still have a little room for supplies. Would be summer tent. Also what not to buy. Thank you.

6:38 a.m. on May 10, 2005 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
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Welcome to Trailspace, stoogesrule.

I'll do the easy part first: what not to buy. Stay away from the store-brand tents you see at the discount stores (names like Northwest Torritory, Hillary, and Ozark Trail). They're big and cheap, but they tend to leak and break under only moderate rain and wind.

Most family camping tents top out at a maximum stated capacity of 8, although their actual floor sizes fall into a pretty wide range. Kelty, Eureka, and Coleman all make decent tents in this range.

If there's any chance you'll be camping in the rain, I'd strongly suggest a tent with a full-coverage rain fly. There aren't many family camping tents that have them, but two that come to mind are the Sierra Designs Bedouin 8 and the L.L. Bean #8 Dome. Both tents also have sizable vestibules for storing gear, something you won't find on most tents this size.

Also look for a tent with aluminum poles. Fiberglass poles are not nearly as strong and a very prone to breaking either through careless setup or in moderately windy conditions.

For more flexibility, you might consider buying two smaller tents (a 6- and a 4-person, for instance). They can provide more setup options in tight campsites, and are more practical for trips where the whole family might not be coming along, and many 4-person tents can even be light enough to carry backpacking (split between two or three people).

11:45 a.m. on May 10, 2005 (EDT)
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What Dave said -

Dave's recommendations are right on. I would add that we used to have a "VW" tent (a tent that attached to the side of a VW campwagon) that we used a couple times in the back yard for my son and his buddies to have a "campout". They packed up to 10 in there when they were about 8-10 years old. But you couldn't get your 4 adults and 4 kids in, and they never got much sleep.

The two tent route is really the way to go. There are outfitter tents (see the Cabela catalog or website), but these are heavy and expensive. You can get 2 good 4-man tents that are much lighter and less expensive than the huge ones of equivalent quality. Mountain Hardwear and North Face make very large expedition tents (one is called the Mountain Hotel) that are high quality and have the capacity, but they are in the several kilobuck class.

Big advantage of the two tent approach is that the kids can go in one and the adults in the other, so the adults actually get some sleep. You can set up a tarp or dining shelter for everyone to get together for meals, perhaps one with mosquito netting. Be wary of the dining shelters and shades, though - some of these have really poor pole setups. The orienteering club I belong to got several cheap shade tents that turn out to need at least one person at each corner to set up, and will blow away, over, or puff up enough in a light breeze to pop the slide-together poles apart.

I will really emphasize Dave's comment about sticking with the quality tent manufacturers. Eureka is the cheapest of the tent lines I personally would consider if I were going to use a large tent more than once a year (I have a 4-person Eureka that has served well, except I don't trust the fiberglass poles - plenty of room for 4, I can stand up, reasonable rain protection, holds up well in moderate winds, even used it in snow a couple times). Cabela has some good large tents, but they tend to be more outfitter oriented.

8:59 p.m. on May 10, 2005 (EDT)
(Guest)

Thank you for the info. I had bought a tent two years ago from walmart but zippers busted. Seen a nice coleman on ebay. Going to Assateague Island at the end of the month. Looking forword to that. Will keep you posted. Again, Thank You

9:19 a.m. on May 25, 2005 (EDT)
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Eureka's "luxury family" line is a much better option than the regular family line - aluminum poles, heavier fabrics and zippers, etc...

I have two large Eureka tents and they both work well for me. One is a newer equidome that is no longer made. I also have an older great western that I found at a goodwill. The older tent is made much better than the new tent - heavier floor fabric, better reinforcements, - little touches like that. Watching ebay for an older model in good shape might be a good way to go.

September 1, 2014
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