Hillary Grand Safari Tent

12:27 a.m. on May 5, 2007 (EDT)
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Anyone have any feed back on the Hillary Grand Safari 12 Person Tent? Pros and cons would be most appreciated as we are looking at purchasing.

3:53 p.m. on May 9, 2007 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
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There are a bunch of Hillary reviews here (although none for that particular tent): http://www.trailspace.com/gear/hillary/

The general consensus seems to be that they're spacious, but hard to set up, not waterproof, and easily damaged by wind. That goes for most "store brand" tents, including Hillary (Sears), Ozark Trail (Wal-Mart), and Northwest Territory (Kmart).

I'd lean toward a tent by an established company. Kelty, Eureka!, and Coleman all make large family-camping tents of reasonable quality.

8:13 p.m. on May 9, 2007 (EDT)
(Guest)

If you are looking to make an actual "investment" in a tent, buy the best one you can afford. You won't regret it. If you're just trying to figure out whether to be a tent camper, then borrow one (if you can). Construction quality, ease of set-up, and longevity of a model are important factors.

Back in 1991, my wife and I (then newlyweds) did a cross and around the country trip. We invested in a Eureka Willow Creek (not absolutely sure of the name, but pretty sure) 10 (they had 8's, 10's and 12's - based on the length of a side) and we used it plenty. We still have it. It ran us about $300. at Campmor in NJ. The tent's been erected in 28 states and Mexico. 18 months ago, we bought a second, newer one at a garage sale for - get this - $30.00 - and it looks like it was used once.

Not to knock them, but I'd purchase a tent through an outdoor outfitter rather than a mass merchandiser. Mass merchandisers are great for some things (ponchos, flashlights, mess kits) but critical outdoor gear (tents, packs, sleeping bags) should be purchased at an establishment where the staff actually USES the gear they are selling, and can answer serious questions.

That is all.

- Paul in AZ

8:53 a.m. on May 10, 2007 (EDT)
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Thank you for the reply. What about Wenzel? It appears to be sold by most outfitters vs. mass retailers. It also appears they make many of the "big names" such as Kelty? Other than Eureka, it seems like most tents are made by the mass retail companies manufacturers?

5:12 p.m. on May 11, 2007 (EDT)
MODERATOR
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Many companies that started as small independent manufacturers are now divisions of large conglomerates (large by outdoor gear standards)such as K2, who own many different brands. There are previous discussions about this same topic here, which you might find by searching through the archives. For example, K2 owns Marmot, Atlas, Tubbs, K2, Vokl, Morrow, Marker and other brands; Johnson Outdoors owns Eureka, Scubapro and other brands; Cascade Designs owns MSR, etc.

Wenzel is owned by American Recreation Products, which also owns Kelty, Sierra Designs and Slumberjack; they are all separate brands owned by Kellwood Company, which owns 36 different clothing and outdoor brands.

There are still a number of small companies that make tents here and in Europe; many of them are micro companies, often referred to as "cottage manufacturers" because they are so small. Many only sell on the Internet or by mail order. Tarptent is a good example-innovative products, well made and good customer service. Unfortunately, some of the others have interesting designs, but can't deliver what they promise.

You aren't likely to find the kind of tent you asked about made by any of the small specialty companies; they can't compete with mass marketers selling Chinese made tents. Instead, they make and sell primarily high end lightweight or expedition quality tents.

6:12 p.m. on May 15, 2007 (EDT)
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Thank you very much for all of the information it is appreciated!

October 24, 2014
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