Looking at Swiss Gear Tents - Anyone Use Their Family Cabin or Dome Tents?

7:20 p.m. on July 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Same old story. I don't want to spend a lot of money, but want to get a lot of tent for the money. Been looking at some brands like Wenzel, Ozark Trail, and Swiss Gear. I know they're not North Face, but I hope I can save some money for this upcoming camping trip.

I've been searching and researching online. There seems to be mixed reviews with all camping tent brands. Even though some say waterproof, people report them leaking. Who knows what to believe. I've been looking at Swiss Gear tents on sale on that site and others like Nextag, but want to see if anyone here has any input. I saw another thread from 2004, but maybe the company got better?

8:59 p.m. on July 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Hi there and welcome to trailspace Hikercamper. I want to start off by saying that every single item made by swiss gear in my personal opinion is complete and utter garbage, and they should have to pay you to take their trash.

I have had several swiss gear items, as have many others I have seen, and all of them break , malfunction, or otherwise fall apart in a very short period of time. On a scale of 1-10 of quality, 10 being the best, I would rate them a -10. Their quality standards suck to put it mildly.

Now that's out of the way. I personally would recommend Coleman tents if your ona budget. I have had my coleman 8man tent for many many years now, with no issues. They are quite durable for the price, and believe me, I have put mine through some rough times over the past 9 years or so. Including a freak storm in the Adirondacks about 3 years ago where it was a torrential downpour for about 12 hours with winds sustained at around 30-40 with gusts probally up to 80. My little coleman tent held up like a champ. I had to go out and tighten the guy lines once or twice but other than that no complaints. I have probally spent around 4-500 nights in my coleman tent over the years, including many nice days and many bad ones.

I bought my 8 man tent years ago for around $80, they are probally 125-150 now I would imagine.

I understand being on a budget. But I also know first hand of trying to save a dime and end up spending a dollar in the long run. Because just say for example you buy a swiss gear tent for $80, and it doesn't fall apart after a night or two, or during your first storm, it probally wont last you more than a year, and definitely not more than 3. And you will have to buy a new tent. So why not just spend a little more for that extra measure of quality.

Now, I am not saying that you have to buy coleman, but they are a good brand and stand behind their products. Their are lots of other brands as well, just do your research and make an educated purchase.

Best of luck! and have fun out on the trails!

9:42 p.m. on July 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Can't offer much in the way of advice on Swiss Gear tents.

We bought a cheap Magellan brand family tent from Academy years ago. It's held up pretty good. I use it car camping. I've had it out in rain, snow and ice. It's kept me dry.

Are all Swiss Gear products crap? The jury is still out in my mind.

My wife got me a Swiss Gear 0 degree mummy bag for a birthday present last fall. I used it about 20 times last winter. It's toasty warm with temps in the teens. Zipper is smooth. It compresses down enough in a sea to summit compression bag to fit in the bottom of my Kelty Coyote 4750. So far I'm happy with it. Considering it's a $50.00 bag, I've got my moneys worth out of it already. I'm thinking it will get me by until I have the budget for a nicer one.

9:59 p.m. on July 29, 2010 (EDT)
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I have owned a Swiss Gear 4 man tent, a backpack i used for work, a swiss gear suitcase, and a different swiss gear backpack.

Tent-lasted about 3 months, encountered 1 bad thunderstorm and the poles broke and the tent was ripped apart.

Backpack #1-lasted about 1 week of carrying a few notebooks and a laptop, bottom seemed completely failed and spilled the contents of the pack down a flight of stairs

Backpack #2- given to me by my employer, lasted about a month and a half and the side seam began to unravel and the shoulder strap broke.

Suitcase- lasted about 7 airline trips spanning about 6 months, zipper busted, and handle broke and no it wasn't overpacked, never had been either.

So for me, and many other people I know swiss gear=waste of money

10:20 p.m. on July 29, 2010 (EDT)
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I don't blame you for your displeasure over Swiss Gear. I wouldn't be a happy camper either under those circumstances.

10:45 p.m. on July 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Look alittle higher on the food chain. Coleman makes good inexpencive tents. And you can find them on sale all the time. For a low budget tent you cant realy go wrong. I had one that lasted me 9 years.

11:59 p.m. on July 29, 2010 (EDT)
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I have never owned or used a Swiss gear tent, so I can't speak from experience in that regard. But I would also advise looking at Coleman as the cheapest option for getting an acceptable level of quality for the price.
I have had a Swiss gear shoulder laptop bag that has given me five years of every day use and has held up well.
I also just picked up one of the "Everest +5" mummy bags for $20 and am surprised it came with a compression sack. The sack isnt that great, but it will get the bag down to ten or twelve inches in diameter, which is packable. We'll see if it holds up though. But I am helping get my younger brothers get outfitted for backpacking, so I thought, "hey, for twenty bucks, why not give it a try?"

10:02 a.m. on July 30, 2010 (EDT)
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Correction on my last comment- the sleeping bag I bought was not sold by Swiss Gear, but another brand, Suisse Sport.

10:12 a.m. on July 30, 2010 (EDT)
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Correction on my last comment- the sleeping bag I bought was not sold by Swiss Gear, but another brand, Suisse Sport.

I have a Suisse Sport Ultra Compactable 30 degree bag. Use in Spring/fall and my daughter uses it for sleepovers.

12:45 p.m. on July 30, 2010 (EDT)
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I was looking at that bag as a cheap buy for a warm/cool weather sleeper, how do you like it- what's your assesment? I am sure it's not something that will last forever, but at $35 it's hard to justify paying two to three times more when when i don't really have it to spend.

1:08 p.m. on July 30, 2010 (EDT)
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I was looking at that bag as a cheap buy for a warm/cool weather sleeper, how do you like it- what's your assesment? I am sure it's not something that will last forever, but at $35 it's hard to justify paying two to three times more when when i don't really have it to spend.

Probably too soon to have a real feel for how good a product it is. I got it in March for my desert hike.

So far no complaints, but I've only used it about 10-12 times. It does compact down nicely. The zipper looks cheap, but is smooth. I've slept in it about 10 degrees below it's rating a couple times and it was warm. But I was using a bag liner.

Unless there is a major malfunction on it's part, I don't plan on replacing it with a nicer bag at this time. It does what it was purchased to do and I see no reason to spend more for something that "might" do a better job.

9:18 p.m. on July 30, 2010 (EDT)
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Forget the name-this is cheap stuff made in China. If you are on a budget look for a good brand used on Craigslist or maybe eBay. I'm not being elitist, just practical. Cheap gear will fall apart and in a storm, will likely be useless. If you do buy something along these lines, don't stray too far from your car in bad weather.

We generally do not even bother talking about this kind of gear since it isn't for backpacking. We don't answer questions about lost parts, missing instructions, etc. either.

North Face isn't the only good brand, in fact there are plenty of others from big and little manufacturers, many of which you may not have heard of.

6:00 p.m. on July 31, 2010 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the suggestions and discussion. Wasn't expecting all this! But, I will start looking at some Coleman tents. I have a big 5 nearby. I definitely don't want to waste money on something like a tent. Hopefully, it'll be able to last a couple of seasons.

I'm definitely checking out CL and ebay for higher end used stuff too. Thanks for the advise!

7:09 p.m. on July 31, 2010 (EDT)
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Watch ebay and craigslist. I found a Columbia Cougar Flatts II for $90 that was in great shape. Also check the classifieds here and steepandcheap.com.

8:36 p.m. on July 31, 2010 (EDT)
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For base-camping I have had a used the same canvas wall tent for something like 35 years....... I know....... I am old. But hey, it works. I stay dry as well and it has seen more than one heavy snow storm.

12:28 a.m. on August 4, 2010 (EDT)
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Well, I'm going against the majority here. I have a Swiss gear tent and I love it. My son and I have the same 2-man back-pack tent. It weighs about 3.5 lbs. and the pole is a swiss gear trekking pole. I have used mine a few times, my son has used his a few more than I have. I have been in rain and stayed dry but have not been in any storms yet so can't attest to performance there. The model we have is not being made currently but is just like the Bass Pro Hiker/Biker 2 I think. Bass Pro also stopped selling their model for a time(my husband and another son have the older 'Bass Pro). We found my son's Swiss gear on clearance at Walmart for like $20 and just last spring I found mine NIB on ebay for $45, the Bass Pro models were $30 or 40 as I recall. While they may not last as long as the pricier tents, for the money we have been happy with them. I think they are good for trying out backpacking without sinking a lot of cash into it right away.

As for Ozark Trails, our scout troop just replaced ten of them that we used for years. We bought 5 of them 7 years ago and then 5 more the next year. They were the 12x14 model that is still sold for $57. I did not like that the rain fly barely covered the screen on the tent sides and we have had trouble with the zipper flap getting caught in the zipper. But, that is with a lot of hard use by 11-18 year old boys. These tents actually served us very well for what we paid. Last year we started having some problems with leakage and the poles seem to have softened as they no longer withstand wind as they used to. We just replaced them with Coleman tents so we'll see in a few years which was better. While shopping for the new tents this spring, I discovered that most of the tents I could find up to the $200 price range were made in China, even the better name brands. These of course were car camping tents, not backpacking.

Just my experience for what it's worth. Most of the people on here have more experience than I do.

July 26, 2014
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