Best Tent For My Babies

10:02 a.m. on June 4, 2011 (EDT)
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my family and i just moved to wonju, south korea. we're surrounded by beautiful mountains that remind me of home, and i really want to hike and camp with my kids. my son is 4 and my daughter is 7 months, so i want to have something that will be really warm and dry for them, and if possible well ventilated for summertime. my husband has one vacation and its coming up in july. so tonight i was looking to buy a tent online, when i realized this purchase is really important and needs alot of consideration and i need alot of advice, because i have no idea what would be the best. Something light is key, because i'll be wearing  the baby and a small backpack. and ben will be carrying the tent, and sleeping bag. also, actually, i need to know what would be the best lightweight sleeping bag/bed roll for us? i was thinking a 2 person 4 season tent would be best. but to buy something like that by july will be difficult for our budget..all advice is appreciated :)

2:49 p.m. on June 4, 2011 (EDT)
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I'd have a good look through the local Korean hiking/camping shops to compare models and price. If a local brand like Camptown fails to impress, then have a look over at the American online retailer Campsaver. They have free delivery to Korea for orders over US$500. For casual backpacking a four person, three-season tent should be fine. Keep in mind that a good sleeping bag will be much more effective at retaining heat than the tent.


4:07 p.m. on June 4, 2011 (EDT)
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I just looked at the Camptown site. Just looking I liked the Biker tent. 4 person with a large porch area. For a small family that porch would come in very hand.

5:16 p.m. on June 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Hi evermoresmama,

Buying a tent can be as easy or as hard as you want to make it. It's much the same with buying a car.   Some of use here are life long gear junkies.  We look at every stitch, seam, buckle, strap and every part of the gear were considering and compare it to everything else out there both past, presant and future.  If you want to by-pass the joyess examination and comparision part of tent shopping then I would suggest going this route.  1st, write  down everything you want in a tent, X amount of people, X season tent, X size, X color (is that really importand, sadly it is sometimes), free standing or not,  everything else you can think of.  I rate all tents this way.  A 2 man tent is a 1 man + gear, a 3 man tent is a 2 man + gear, and so on.  Ask questions here if your not sure.

I would suggest that you look at a 4 season tent for 4 people.  I would look for a double wall tent ( tent body with a rain fly) with two doors and two vestibules.  If avaliable buy a footprint (csutomized ground cloth) for your tent.  It will extend the lif of your tent many times over.  I would recomend staying away from single wall tents as they are generally specialty tents and tend to be expensive.  1st I would estimate how much gear you will need for 2 grown adults and two growing children.  The next step I would take is to see what tents fits your needs.  This will eliminte 80-90% of all tents out there.  The next step would be to research all the tents your interested in by using reviews.  The reviews section on trailspace is one of the best. With that being said, read all the reviews you can find slowly reducing the number of tents that fit your needs until you have 4 or 5 tents selected and then start asking trailspace members their experiances with the tents, and their makers (customer service).  Was that a run on sentance, hummmm, naw.  Remember that to some degree you get what you pay for, but many tents price's are based on name recognition rather than mateials and quality.

I feel the best deals in your case are to be had on Ebay.  The pro's of ebay are you can find great deals (20-80% off) on equiptment that has hardly or never been used.  The con's of ebay are that you are depending on people to be honest in what they are selling.  I have been doing ebay and craigslist for over 12 years now and have never had a problem with honesty, ever.  You would need to register on the Ebays USA's site to be able to buy in the USA.  There are alot of buyers in South Korea and Japan that buy of of the USA Ebay site.  Since you are not in the USA you will want to ask the seller if they will ship out side the USA.

Remember if you buy locally (new) you have the customer service of the shop you buy at to help with problems or warranty needs.  Some tent makers have lifetime warranties.  Some lifetime warranties are for the buyer of the product (original buyer of the item), and some are on the product itself (the item is warrentied no mater who owns it).

Remember your tent is your shelter for you and your family.  You need to have a tent that will stand up to anything nature will throw at you in whatever situation you are in.  It's better to have a little to much tent than not enough.  I've been in a number of situations in which mine was the only tent standing.  It's not a pretty site, except for the fact that my tent weathered the storm.  Two and Three season tents can be nice and airy on a nice summer night, but you do not want them nice and airy in an on comming thunder storm.  You will quite often find out what your tent is made of when two inches of rain falles in a short amount of time along with hugh wind bursts form multiple directions then the hail starts.  Making it thru one of these cloud bursts make sucessfull tent selection wondrous.  My favorite double wall tents are solid material except for 2-3 windows that zip open for good weather viewing in good weater and for venting when the rain fly is attached.  The only tent i have ever owned with a large amount of screen on the tent body as a Serria designs that I bought used.  It looked to me like a disaster waiting to happen and it was.  The whole thing collapsed under the huge down pour of rain from a  cloud burst.  There was nothing in the tent that did not get wet, nothing. 

Another thing to look for is how well the tent vents with 4 people in it.  Not as important with me as I like to tent alone or maybe one other.

Here are a few tent manufacturies I would start with.


The North face


Mountain Hardwear


These are three tents makers that "I" feel will give you the best value for your money with what you have told us so far.  There are many others.

Please do not forget the tents of the past few years.  Vintage tents are a great way to go if  they are not prized as collectabliles.  If a tent was a 4 season tent 5, 10, 15 years ago then it's a 4 season tent today.  A snow storm dosen't care what brand of tent you in at the time.  As an example I just bought a North Face Tent called the Northstar for $250. It is in mint condition  being used 6 times over the past 32 years and comes from the original owner with original paper work.   Many consider this to be one of the finest all around four season tents ever made, it can handle, wind, snow load, rain, has an floor appeture in the floor to open for cooking (it's not recomended using a open flame in a tent), snow tunnels.   With that being said this is a tent that would be over kill for youre needs both in weight and the options it has.  I was just using that as an example of what you can find.  There are a number of collectors in Hong Kong that regularly post nearly new tents on ebay from time to time.  If looking at a vintage tent as your first tent you will want to examine it first hand as materials can degrade over time.

I would also recommend scrolling thru the gear selection section here on trailspace as there are a number of topics regarding tents which I think will help guide you thru your tent buying process.  Remember ask questions here as many of us have no problems giving out our ideas, recomendations, and experiances with most aspects of outdoor fun.  Good luck, have fun and let us know what you end up with.   One other thing you might do is when you wittle down your tent needs is to see what tents people have for sale here.  Some times people are on the fence about selling gear they have until they see that someone wants it.


Nuff said for me, time to weed the garden.

5:53 p.m. on June 4, 2011 (EDT)
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evermoresmama said:

... so i want to have something that will be really warm and dry for them, and if possible well ventilated for summertime...

...Something light is key, because i'll be wearing the baby and a small backpack. and ben will be carrying the tent, and sleeping bag...

...i was thinking a 2 person 4 season tent would be best....

Not sure what temp you will be sleeping in. That would help us a lot.

If light is key the biker tent is not it. 7.42 kilos is 16.3 pounds.  Most people shoot for a pack weight of 20 pounds without food.

The usual meaning of 2 person tent is 2 people in mummy bags can sleep on their backs with out any gear on the inside of the tent. I would suggest a 3 person tent with at least 2 vestibules.

Eureka tent's Tessel 3 tent  is probably a good choice except for the price. Maybe you can find a similar tent at camptown.  I got an Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 3 because I live in Florida and it gets hot and humid here and the tent is very light.  Alps Mountaineering backpacking line's heaviest 4 person backpacking tent is only 10lb 5oz. The Lynx 4 person is 7lb 9oz. 

As for controlling cost you might want to find out if there is a site like in Korea or possibly rent your tent.

Don't forget your sleeping pad. They're not just for comfort they're for warmth.

6:34 p.m. on June 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Wow, I've never seen Apeman do a response in so much detail.

I agree. :)

9:31 p.m. on June 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Much of South Korea is around the 38th Parallel

It just so happens that the 38th Parallel runs through Maryland and Delaware.   South Korea has more mountainous topography ... but, the weather is very similar to those States ( where I've lived, also ).  Other areas are on-or-near that latitude.   Compare.


2:35 a.m. on June 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Before I forget, welcome to Trailspace, evermoresmama (dang, that's a long name, but I digress).


Thanks Mike, It's hard to get into the gear zone with all this life happening around me.  Today was a good day in the "zone".  If only my proof reading skills were up to par.

9:42 a.m. on June 5, 2011 (EDT)
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wow!! thanks everyone!! i really appreciate all the answers. its late at night right now, but tomorrow i will reply to everything and have more questions.

thanks again!!!



11:22 a.m. on June 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Just saw (10:47 est) an Alps Mountaineering ALPS Mountaineering Phoenix 4 Tent 4-Person 3-Season for $149 on Steep and cheap. This tent is now called the Aztec. 



11:40 p.m. on June 7, 2011 (EDT)
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hello kind people!

  as a mother...saying tomorrow sometimes means next week when both kids have snot from here to yonder, a fever as hot as hades, and a cough that rattles their little bones. *sigh* so anyway, they are strong little rascals and i'm proud of them.

  TENT stuff:

1. my husband is actually not too keen on the tent/gear idea, because he says he will have to carry it and he doesnt want to. that makes the reality seem more like i will be taking the kids on small camping trips without my old man. so either way, whether he comes or whether he doesnt, i think that a reasonably light tent is key. and as i've learned these past 5 years, packing light is the best way to go at all times no matter what. and space is not an issue for my purposes, because i want the tent to be just for sleeping, but that brings me to;

2. temperature...people say its colder'n a mother-in-law's kiss here in the winter (cuddling close is all well and good in cold weather), but i've also been told that the birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground in the summer, so ventilation is important. But as i am from the beautiful state of North Carolina (my hometown is Boone, in the blueridge mountains where the weather is always fantastical no matter what the season) my husband is from Raleigh, where by april, your ice-cream is already melting. so i'm used to the heat, but i reckon its all about my babies these days, and their comfort, one way or another :)

3. rain, wind, wild animals...such as raccoons, etc.

Remember your tent is your shelter for you and your family.  You need to have a tent that will stand up to anything nature will throw at you in whatever situation you are in.

one time, when me and my husband were dating, he took me camping out from the Nc coast on Bare Island. i brought the tent i'd had as a gift, i think i had used it 3 or 4 times maybe..i dont remember the brand, but it was a pretty big tent..too big actually. anyway, that night it started raining, and i'm not kidding, we woke up in 3 inches deep of flood! hauling all our crap back to the ferry dock is a few trips i dont like to remember.  That was the day i decided that packing light is the way i'll go for the rest of my life. and also when i wondered if there could have been ANY tent that would stay dry in such a downpour...when i come to this site, i have reason to hope.

so anyway, it looks like i'll have more time to save up money for this guy since my better half is not interested in camping for his vacation :) are there any other questions i should be asking?

thanks again for everyone's help.

and p.s. to apeman, i'm glad youre in your garden! Wonju is pretty amazing for every person in this city utilizing every square inch that isnt asphault to plant something in :) it makes me feel better about having to live without the woods.

1:02 a.m. on June 8, 2011 (EDT)
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Ahhhh the days of little ones, fond memories but no I don't want another one. (17, 15 and 8, girl, boy, boy respectively).

As for the hubby:

Make him baby sit the 7 month old and take the 4 year old camping.  He'll come next time. 

or guilt him

You could show him the Kelty tc2.0 child carrier which has 1400 cubic inches so you would have plenty of room to carry the heavy stuff like tent poles and stakes and the stove. All he'd have to carry is the bulky stuff like sleeping bags and freeze dried meals. 

on a slightly more practical note

Don't know how big your 4 year old is but Deuter makes a technical pack called the Climber for kids. Torso length from 10-16 inches with 1350 cu in and up to a 15 pound load making it possible for little ones to carry their sleeping bag, change of clothing and games. It has a built in whistle on the sternum strap and a hydration port. Trust me my 8 year old will be carrying his stuff.

PS My Grandfather's home town was Brevard NC. Spent many summer vacations up there.

1:14 p.m. on June 8, 2011 (EDT)
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Mountain Hardware Skyledge 3

2:22 a.m. on June 9, 2011 (EDT)
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hey thanks! this was really helpful :) AND funny :) yeah, i think i unintentionally guilt my husband about so many things that i try not to do it about things i really like :) 

 oh and definitely i want my boy to carry his own, but he is SUCH a whiner that after he's walked a little ways, he's saying "daddy carry me! i'm sooo tired!" hah. funny as that is, its also annoying, and i really want him to be tough. when does the toughness happen? i want my daughter to be tough too :)

 the child carrier thing is more exciting to me than the tent~! hurrah! but i've had problems with them in the past, because i'm really short so every one that i've ever used gets uncomfortable because it cant distribute the weight to my hips since my torso is less than what they are supposing normal torsos to be, and they often dont make them able to tighten enough for a smaller waist. do you know of any made for little mama's? or suuuper adjustable ones? 

 how many questions can i possibly ask, right? i just get excited when i enter a forum filled with knowledgeable people, so i dont have to get lost looking on the internet :)

  thanks again!!


2:47 p.m. on June 9, 2011 (EDT)
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When does the toughness happen? I'm still waiting on my 15 year old. The 8 year old is better at his age than the 15. It's also how much they are enjoying themselves.  Mine all liked to be carried, usually on my shoulders. Someone somewhere has a picture of my youngest sleeping on my shoulders without me holding onto him. They were so amazed they took a picture. As for whining I would never take my sister-in-laws 2. They wouldn't make it back. I'm not kidding. Borrow them sometime. You'll never think your kids are whiny again.

I just read this article which gave me some understanding about getting my 8 year old to bed. He wants to be just like the older kids and stay up as late as them. Also EVERY child is different (except some identical twins). My three sure are and so are my brothers three.

But enough with the parenting advice. As for the child carrier a woman I know from cub scouts told me that she had purchased a back pack from them for her older son (15-16) and the belt was to large. She called them up and they had her send it back and they replaced it with a smaller. No charge just had to pay to ship it to them.  I would give them a call or email them and ask about the waist size.  The torso is from 11-16 inches.  Here's a video of how to measure your torso.

You may also want to check out Deuter's line of kid carriers. They've got several nice models also including the KangaKid which looks to be fairly small and only ways 4lb 6oz. I'm not sure how well it would work for a long hike.  It doesn't appear to have a frame which helps to transfer the load to the hips.

As for tents if you want a 4 season tent check out trouthunter's tent

Ask as many questions as you want.  We're all here learning and teaching at the same time.  Some learning more, some teaching more. I'm mostly learning and really happy to realize that I am able to answer some of the basics.

4:12 p.m. on June 9, 2011 (EDT)
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Some state parks have a junior ranger program. Pick up one of these books. It gives kids things to look for and to do on the trail. They fill out the pages and when the book is full they can turn it in for a patch. You will hear less whining. Plus they will start asking you more questions. Better brush up on your knowledge. Worked for all 3 of my kids.

4:17 a.m. on June 10, 2011 (EDT)
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wanna hear something hilarious? when we moved in, all last month, this pregnant lady in the apartment below us kept on calling and saying we were being too loud, and sometimes she would even come up and knock on our door to ask us to be quieter. i swear we tried. but with 2 the heck, right? and guess's moving out. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. i cant believe we were loud enough to make someone actually move!!!!!!!!!!!! me and evermore have been giggling about it all day as we watch the big loader thing go up and down from under our deck window. poor pregnant lady...she's in for a big surprise when her kid comes out screaming. i wonder if she found an apartment that has no children...literally impossible in korea. anyway. funny thing to brighten our day :)

so off topic, but i appreciate the parenting advice, and i like hearing funny kid stories :) 

2:44 p.m. on June 10, 2011 (EDT)
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There are some sites that have forums specifically for backpacking with kids. (The Lightweight Backpacker) is one. Look for the Community link on the front page.  I'm a moderator there as well.

Dave and Alicia, who own Trailspace go camping with their kid, so do a search and you should find some posts and articles Alicia has written about camping with kids.

8:10 p.m. on June 10, 2011 (EDT)
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ok thanks :) goodbye all! someday i'll be a pro like the rest of you :) thanks for all the helpful information and support ! ! :) :) :)

11:25 a.m. on June 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Two years ago we published a series on backpacking with kids:

Backpacking with Baby

Backpacking with a Toddler or Preschooler

Backpacking with a Grade-Schooler

Backpacking with a Teen

Here are two older articles I wrote:

Hiking and Backpacking with Kids

Getting Kids Geared Up for Outside

I hope they're helpful.

April 25, 2018
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