Tent advice for Joshua tree in winter

1:43 a.m. on November 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Hi everybody,

Glad to have found this site. So, my fiancee and I are going to be camping in Joshua Tree in December. We also want a tent for a North America road trip next September. Our preferences:

Some headroom(I'm 6'4). Nice floor space(nice if we could do an air bed when our spot is close to the car). Good wind resistance(joshua tree). Good dust resistance? Super durable. Won't burn alive when used in the summer. 

My favorite so far is this guy:

http://www.alpsmountaineering.com/tents/outfitter-tents/taurus-4-outfitter

I was also looking at the Eureka Timberline sq 4xt. As well, the Eureka Mountain pass 3xte. However, based on the following ratings I thought the outfitter would be best.

http://www.trailspace.com/people/jackpot21n/photos/3-man-tent-comp-2/

Guess I'm just a bit weary of its wind and dust capabilities since it only has two poles. what do you all think? thanks alot for the help.

1:50 a.m. on November 3, 2011 (EDT)
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if these are the only options you are looking at go with the first

1:59 a.m. on November 3, 2011 (EDT)
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I'm willing to look at other tents if there are better products

3:49 a.m. on November 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey asmitty, welcome to Trailspace. 

I had the Mountainpass 3xte. Sold it.

For what it is it is a monster of a tent. Very heavy materials and a very "burly" tent.  I had a conversation with a rep from Eureka and told them it should be classified as a 3.5 season tent at the least.

The Mountain Pass is a 3 pole tent. It incorporates a ridge pole.

Bomber tent for what it is but heavy... This is due to the materials to construct the tent. 

I have said many a time that this tent doesn't get the notoriety it deserves... 

I did a review on this tent:

http://www.trailspace.com/gear/eureka/mountain-pass-3xte/review/19012/

3:55 a.m. on November 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Also looking strongly at this one now. Mostly for the height issue. Flat walls don't seem aerodynamic though. At least it has two stabilizing poles though...

http://www.alpsmountaineering.com/tents/backpacking-tents/aztec-4

4:18 a.m. on November 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Ya. I saw that review. It is an awesome tent; especially the materials for the money.... The size concerns me though with my height. And I was hoping to avoid buying two sleeping pads until summer...just have the air bed right now.
Hmm. You guys think the alps could hold up in terms of wind and cold temps(say 30 fahrenheit/no snow)?.

4:37 a.m. on November 3, 2011 (EDT)
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asmitty said:

The size concerns me though with my height.

 Meaning? I am just trying to get better dialed into what you are looking for in a tent.

4:56 a.m. on November 3, 2011 (EDT)
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cabin-tent03.jpg

I use a 10’X12’ one room cabin tent very similar to the accompanying image, when taking my wife to Josh.  We have been using a cabin tent for the past twenty years.  This is our go to car camping tent wherever we go. You can stand in it and have plenty of room for that air mattress.  We even bring a child’s wadding pool to use for sponge bathing while inside the tent.  We have seen some decent winds on a few of our trips to Josh.  Guy lines on the tops of the corner and center poles kept the tent stable.  The trick in Josh to secure a tent is using the correct type of tent peg.  I found 12” “nails” worked in the firm tera, but sandy sites required those spade shape 12” stakes.  It takes 8 stakes in addition to whatever is required to tack down the floor of this type of tent.  Bring a 5# brick hammer to sink the pegs, and a vice grip to extract them.

No tent in Josh is going to be cool in the summer.  In fact the slant wall designs such as the ones you are considering will be hotter than a flat wall cabin tent, so you might reconsider your strategy, as we find summer heat to be a bigger concern than wind wherever you go.

Ed

5:10 a.m. on November 3, 2011 (EDT)
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5:48 a.m. on November 3, 2011 (EDT)
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whomeworry 
Good info on the stakes. Thank you. The cabin looks pretty cool, but my mazda 3 as well as my wallet might object :-)

Sorry for the misunderstanding. Were going this winter...so  the main concern will be the 30+ degrees at night. Which is the  concern for me with the Alps aztec 4 I was looking at(which I really otherwise like in terms of dimensions and features by the way). To be more specific if I knew the Aztec 4 could handle the wind and cold weather I'd be inclined to pick it up at 180 bucks. 

Rick-Pittsburgh 
Well, it would be nice if the tent was approximately 52 inches tall minimum(since the air bed is 6 inches and I'm 6'4). As well as about 8 x 6 ft for the floor dimensions. I eventually want to get some pads instead of our coleman airbed(5 feet by 6.5 feet). However, were students...so might not be able to swing those until summer(Separate trip). I think if the Mountain pass tent was 6 to 7 inches taller I'd have already pulled the trigger on it. Hope that clarifies a bit

Thanks for the input guys

11:18 a.m. on November 3, 2011 (EDT)
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If you are worried about the winds use this one.

http://www.alpsmountaineering.com/tents/outfitter-tents/extreme-3-outfitter

It's smaller and 2" shorter than the Taurus but close in size to the Eureka.  With the three pole design it has it should stand up to some pretty stiff winds.

Are you planning on backpacking with the tent or car camping only? If you are going to backpack you probably don't want this tent or the taurus 4. They are very heavy. 

Like Ed (whomeworry) said, guy lines and good staking will go a long way in making a tent stable and able to withstand winds.  Some tents designed for high winds have 20+ guy line points inside and out. Check out this thread for more info Tieing out guide lines

11:40 a.m. on November 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Rita and I just picked up this Easy Camp tent. As you can see it is a true tunnel tent, with some 20 guy tie outs. Both ends to the tent are sloped. The porch area is huge. So you could easly bring a heater. We live in the PNW. So we see a great deal of wind and rain. Though it flaps and can be somewhat loud in high winds it has not failed. Plus with the large porch if you have to live in it you would be comfortable. WARNING! This is no backpacking tent!
100_0666.jpg

1:01 a.m. on November 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

asmitty said:

The size concerns me though with my height.

 Meaning? I am just trying to get better dialed into what you are looking for in a tent.

 

Hi, As Rick said: Just trying to get better dialed into what you are looking for in a tent.

Are your looking for a car tent, camping tent, backpacking tent?

How much money are you looking to spend?

What are the specs., parameters you would like to see in your tent, weight, height, sq ft., etc ?  I see you want a tent that 52 in. Tall are you wiling to go shorter for a better tent?  I see that you want 8x6.  Being that your a tall guy the 8 ft seems good are you willing to go say 9x 5 if it means a better tent?

Is this mostly going to be a 2 person tent, which really means getting a 3 person tent so you can have room for gear.

Do you want it to be free standing?

Do want a bomb proof tent that will protect you thru thick and thin or a fuu fuu tent that you can stand up in and have a ball room dance in, but will fall down in the slightest breeze? Or something in between?

Are you willing to look at used tents?

Are you willing to look at old school tents, proven tents of yester year?

Do your require a vestibule or would you rather have more covered room inside tent?

What other seasons and conditions do you wish to use this tent in?

If you want to keep the heat down as much as possible in the summer my experience is that you will want a white or yellow tent. I prefer yellow but they both work about the same in the sun.

" Good dust resistance?" You will want to avoid the temptation to get a tent that has a lot of screen/netting on the body of the tent. Dust is dust and will find its way thru any and all screen even with a rain fly on unless you can cover the screen with a zippered secion of material. You will want a tent body that has widow's that have netting as well as being able to be zipped shut when necessary both for comfort and ventilation.

There are many great tents that "Good wind resistance". Generally the lower to the ground your get the better the wind resistance. Generally. But this also means having a low ceiling height which some people have a hard time with. You can get into taller tents with "Good wind resistance" but the higher you go with a tent with  “good  wind resistance” The higher you will go on  price.

The answer's to my questions will greatly increase the tents that I, and the rest of us can and will recommend. And, even then there will be many choices. With that being said by answering these and other questions, we can eliminate 95% of all the tents out there and start guiding you towards what you feel will be the best tent to meet your needs.

I know it seems like a lot of questions and it is but I think in the end it will prove to be a rewarding experiance in which yoiu will get the tent you want rather than buying tent after tent cause none are meeting yur needs, wants and desires.

 

 

 

 

1:42 a.m. on November 4, 2011 (EDT)
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@apeman 

It can be heavy. I shouldn't have to haul it that far. Basically the basecamp type. Like to spend 250 or less if possible. If that could also be a tent that will last 5-10 years at that price, that would be a plus. I can live with anything down to 4'4 in height...provide the interior square footage is decent...say 6.5 x 8 or larger. However, it would be nice if, unlike, for instance, the Alps extreme3 outfitter, the tent did not taper to the top so fast and limit space.

From what I've read the temperature requirements are a trade off. I.e. while it would be nice to stay warm in Joshua tree during winter, when I use the tent in 85 degree heat I want to be as comftorable as possible. So my thinking is don't buy a tent for its thermal qualities?

It doesn't need to be bomb proof. However, it would be nice if it could handle heavy rain and wind. We're in California. Usually we do spring/summer camping. Just trying to plan for the occasional desert camping in winter. Plus we'll probably go to New Mexico/Yellowstone next September. 

I showed my Fiancee the Alps Aztec 4 i'm interested in, and she liked it as well. Can pick it up for 180. Its nice due to being 5'4 inches height on one side and 3'7 inches on the other side. Also the Alps/Eureka tents look like well made products for the money. However, I don't know if it is aerodynamic enough. My main concern with that tent....do you guys think if I tie it down very well; say two ropes from each of the side guy points...it could handle a random 50 mph gust without collapsing? Also, perhaps not the most dust resistant? However, all the 3 season tents seem to have mesh without the rain fly; even the Mountain pass 3xte....so, don't know what to do for that issue?

To sum up. I think if the Aztec 4 can hold up under those requirements I'd be likely to go that route. What do you guys think?

Also, more of a curiosity. Anybody ever seen this tent?

http://www.bigsupplyshop.com/Chinook-Cyclone-3-Aluminum-11311_p_13025.html

2:09 p.m. on November 4, 2011 (EDT)
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A style of tent that I use for some of my canoe expeditions is a Baker Tent. They are roomy, go up easily, and lighter weight than other similar types of big wall tents for the floor space they give you. Here is a link to one manufacturer.

http://www.churchillrivercanoestore.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=ilvm_fly2_red.tpl&product_id=5&category_id=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1

I have a 5 X 7(10 X 7 with the awning and wings) in nylon. I also have a 3 oz Egyptian cotton 9 X 7 I made.

They have good ventilation, few condensation issues and when it is buggy or wet they are a nice place to spend some time and still look outside. They also allow you to stand. They are OK for wind with the sloping roof, but are not a mountain tent.

They are expensive, but are bombproof, for their designed conditions.

4:37 p.m. on November 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Erich said:

A style of tent that I use for some of my canoe expeditions is a Baker Tent...

 Yea, baker tents are goo car camping tents too.  The built in porch is good for a light rain or glaring sun.

Ed

8:59 p.m. on November 4, 2011 (EDT)
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I appreciate everyone's input. I decided to stretch my budget and get this. Sierra Designs Wu Hu 4 + 2. Paid 280 shipped. Even though its tall it has 5 poles and a bunch of guy out points. Seems structurally sound. Also, some people who reviewed it online said the bathtub floor was good for keeping out sand.  The footprints a little expensive though; Ill try to find a tutorial online and make one out of Tyvek for 20 bucks.  What do you guys think. If I made a glaring mistake I can always cancel the order over the weekend? Otherwise, i'm looking forward to it.

http://www.sierradesigns.com/p-139-wu-hu-annex-42.aspx

10:14 a.m. on November 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Nice tent.  Looks great for base camp and car camping. Lots of room and a full coverage fly.

2:32 p.m. on November 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Looks like a nice base camp/ car camping tent. And at a good price to boot. Good job!

2:50 p.m. on November 5, 2011 (EDT)
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I think it will work well for the parameters you detailed. My only caveat, is that lots of mesh down low(at the doors) will allow sand in if you encounter wind blown sand.

5:26 p.m. on November 5, 2011 (EDT)
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asmitty said:

I appreciate everyone's input. I decided to stretch my budget and get this. Sierra Designs Wu Hu 4 + 2. Paid 280 shipped. Even though its tall it has 5 poles and a bunch of guy out points. Seems structurally sound. Also, some people who reviewed it online said the bathtub floor was good for keeping out sand.  The footprints a little expensive though; Ill try to find a tutorial online and make one out of Tyvek for 20 bucks.  What do you guys think. If I made a glaring mistake I can always cancel the order over the weekend? Otherwise, i'm looking forward to it.

http://www.sierradesigns.com/p-139-wu-hu-annex-42.aspx

Glad you found a tent that meets your needs. Seems it really hard to meet all our needs sometimes when looking for a piece of gear. I'm glad you spent a little extra above your budget on this rather highly regarded tent. I was makiing myself batty trying to find a good tall three season tent that did not have much screening on it for $250 or under.  Seems the American tent inudustry shure likes to sell us a bag 'O' screen these day's.

As Erich pointed out the only thing I think you might need to worry about it is sand/dust getting in the tent due to puffing. That is when, in the wind, the rain fly puff's in and out on larger tents. You can mitigate this in a number of ways if it becomes a problem. Puffing can be minimized when buy keeping your rain fly as tight as reasonably  possible.  This is also usually not as bad if the rain fly comes all the way to the ground.  With that being said some tents will do it no mater how tight you get the fly and you do not want to stretch, tear, weakened the fly. I think it's a great idea to make a footprint and or removable second floors for tents out of Tyvek. I do this a lot and it will only depend on you wish to attach the footprint to the tent. When you get your tent set up shoot me some picts. I'll give you my ideas as I do these all the time for my tents if they don't come with a footprint. Let us know how the tent performs for you.

8:49 p.m. on November 5, 2011 (EDT)
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In case you didn't look this is a link to some pics from one of the reviewers on SD's website. Wu Hu Annex 

You might have some dust problems but not too much from sand as long as you keep the fly as close to the ground as possible.

1:44 a.m. on November 6, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks for the info on the footprints. I priced out some Tyvek on ebay and it was only 9 dollars more to get the footprint, so I went that route. I don't mind sand in the first room; figure it'll be a good buffer and place to stash gear.... Maybe I'll make something to block the mesh door in the larger room. If sand gets to the top of the tent, however, I'm out of luck. Oh well, can't have it all.... I'll post a mini review when I get the tent and/or after Joshua tree in case it is useful to anyone else.Now, looking at tent pegs that grip the sand without spending 3 bucks a piece; since its 18 stakes with 6 additional guy lines.

On another note. Hopefully the retailer (Alssports) sends me a new tent as advertised. They have some mixed reviews, but I used a credit card so I figured I'd chance it... I felt like 280 was a very good deal, 30 bucks cheaper than Amazon.... Then today I saw they have the Annex 6 + 2 for 210 dollars. That's 160 less than amazon, which is a good enough deal to be suspect. Would rather have paid 305 from Amazon than have to refuse shipment/fight with retailer if they are sending me something other than what they advertised. Guess we'll see. 

5:40 a.m. on November 6, 2011 (EST)
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For sand stakes we use 9" Y stakes. Or if the wind really blows I sand anchor. Just use stuff sacks, filled with sand. We fly kites using 300# line and fill the stuff sacks. I've never had one move.

You can pick up the Y stakes on ebay for around $1 each from China. About 2 week delivery to the west coast.

12:15 a.m. on November 7, 2011 (EST)
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So, I cancelled the order for two reasons. I felt like the tent was just too darn long. 13 feet without vestibules. Also, I didn't trust the reseller. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna get this guy instead.

http://store.eurekatent.com/assault-outfitter-4-tent

Seems better with cold and keeping sand out. Also more durable materials. Found it for the same price. 

Also, found a couple different types of Y stakes. Both 12"; One aluminum and the other iron.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120804247612&category=36120&_trksid=p5197.c0.m619#ht_720wt_1396

http://www.cabelas.com/tent-accessories-angle-iron-tent-stakes-1.shtml?WT.tsrc=CSE&WT.mc_id=Shopzilla&WT.z_mc_id1=745671&rid=40&mr:referralID=19266a24-0774-11e1-931b-001b2166c2c0

You guys have a preference?

Last question :-). Eureka doesn't seem to make a dedicated footprint. Would you guys get this?

http://store.eurekatent.com/floor-saver-rectangular-large

Or just make one out of Tyvek this time around? 

Thanks again

2:11 a.m. on November 7, 2011 (EST)
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I'd just get an 8'x 10'  poly tarp (about $7) and cut it down so it gave me a floor in my vestibules too.  Keep the edge of the tarp inside the fly edge by a good 4 inches or so depending on how low the fly gets to the ground.  Its not like weight saving is an issue with this tent and a poly tarp is tough and dry.

3:36 a.m. on November 7, 2011 (EST)
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I like that idea for the vestibules. So, I suppose I can shape the tarp under the vestibules, as long as I keep it 4 inches from the edge, without risking water collecting between the tent and tarp? Also, If you cut the poly what do you use to seal the frayed edges?

9:30 a.m. on November 7, 2011 (EST)
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So you went from a 3 season to a 4 season tent? I'm not going to knock it (fear of Apeman) but in the summer this thing is going to get hot. I camp out on the coast alot. Trust me sand will get into any tent you buy. Most blowing sand will stay out if the netting starts 8" or higher from the floor.

As far as the cheap tarp, they wont fray.

1:20 p.m. on November 7, 2011 (EST)
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asmitty, if you have a tarp that is only marginally bigger than the footprint of the tent, then you can fold it under the tent, and don't have to cut it to shape. I have done this with several of my tents. As well, the tarp(still a tarp and not a dedicated footprint) can be used as a tarp for other purposes.

2:01 p.m. on November 7, 2011 (EST)
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@mikemorrow

I won't ever camp past 80-85 degrees for the peak day time temps. Still, that can be as hot as 70-75 degrees at night..... However, the two huge doors of the tent can be left half unzipped to reveal mesh( + the two other small vents that can be zipped down).....If its super hot can't I just leave off the rainfly and leave the mesh exposed? That looks like a pretty ventilated setup. Am i missing something? I appreciate the counter point.

@erich

How do you get the tarp to stay in place without punching some grommets and threading paracord? 

thanks guys

5:42 p.m. on November 7, 2011 (EST)
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I'm sorry I thought it was a single skin tent. Early mornings I dont look as hard as I should.

After cutting the foot print to size you can use the tape on grommets. You should find them right next to the poly tarps. Just tape them to the corners. I've made them before and they work well.

2:27 a.m. on November 8, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks for the response on that Mike. I ordered the assault outfitter 4 tonight. I feel very good about the purchase. Can't wait to test it out. I'm gonna give those 12" aluminum military Y stakes on ebay a shot. Couldn't find those tape on grommets at Home Depot; but they did have a grommet punching set for 7 bucks. Gonna cut their 10 mil tarp to footprint specs, and then fold the edges back using rubber cement..then punch holes and thread with paracord. I'll share my experiences. Thanks again for all the help everyone.    

1:25 p.m. on November 8, 2011 (EST)
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asmitty, I have never had any trouble not tying the groundsheet to the tent. Grommets in my experience are unnecessary. Leave your tarp intact and just fold the extra under the tent. Make sure you fold the excess UNDER the tarp. Otherwise you will create pockets for water to sit.

4:16 p.m. on November 8, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks Erich. Good to know. So, I decided I wanted a vinyl tarp for durability. I found this awesome company that has a 10oz/per yard vinyl tarps that they cut to size for 35 dollars. I'm gonna have them cut a tarp 1.5-2 inches smaller than the edge of the tent. I'm a bit of a perfectionist :-).

http://www.mytarp.com/8x10-green-vinyl-tarp-10-oz.aspx

1:04 a.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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Any tent that can stand up to wind and won't get wet inside if it rains will be ok. Just make sure you have a warm sleeping bag it will get cold in the winter. If you want a suggestion on a tent I am saving up for a Meta 2P.

5:09 p.m. on November 10, 2011 (EST)
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As it sounds like you'll primarily be car camping,  I'd hafta say that I prefer the Volkswagen Vanagon for such endeavors, over all the other sleeping shelters yet mentioned.  Yeah, sure, it weighs a little more, but when the wind gets nuking 50mph in Josh over christmas (which it does often enough),  I'll take the big fat bed and pillow in the back of my vanagon and a nice bottle of guinness stout to anything yet suggested. 

5:21 p.m. on November 10, 2011 (EST)
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Wher have you been Rosemond? Best car camping tip I've heard in a long time. And in fact we are looking for a VW.

3:05 a.m. on November 11, 2011 (EST)
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Ya, Good call. Whats a few thousand bucks more for comfort :-)

Tent we'll be here tomorrow by the way. Looking forward to sleeping outside this weekend.

Speaking of 50 mph winds. I wanted to make a tarp shelter for the picnic table/campfire. I think I'll get alot of use out of it, especially in the rain. I was planning on getting a couple Kelty adjustable poles and using a 10 x 12 tarp to make an A frame. The poles adjust from about 6.5-8ft. You guys think  it can hold up to the wind if I use 9 inch aluminum Y stakes and attach, lets say, 6 guy lines?

3:15 a.m. on November 11, 2011 (EST)
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asmitty said:

Ya, good call. Whats a few thousand bucks more for comfort :-)

Tent we'll be here tomorrow by the way. Looking forward to sleeping outside this weekend.

Speaking of 50 mph winds. I wanted to make a tarp shelter for the picnic table/campfire. I think I'll get alot of use out of it, especially in the rain. I was planning on getting a couple Kelty adjustable poles and using a 10 x 12 tarp to make an A frame. The poles adjust from about 6.5-8ft. You guys think  it can hold up to the wind if I use 9 inch aluminum Y stakes and attach, lets say, 6 guy lines?

 I think yoiu should try it.  There's only one way to find out!!

3:26 a.m. on November 11, 2011 (EST)
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Thats enough encouragement for me :-). I'll give it a shot. 

By the way. For the tent I was just going to use a bowline and a taut-line hitch to secure the guy lines. It seems like tarps might need increased tension. What do you all think of those guy line tensioners for a tarp?

2:43 p.m. on November 11, 2011 (EST)
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Most normal tent stakes will just come out of the sand. If you go to the dollar store and get garden shovels they make good stakes in sand. Not good for backpacking but should work well for car camping.

3:18 p.m. on November 11, 2011 (EST)
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DrReaper said:

Most normal tent stakes will just come out of the sand. If you go to the dollar store and get garden shovels they make good stakes in sand. Not good for backpacking but should work well for car camping.

 Do you mean the little hand trowels?

3:42 p.m. on November 11, 2011 (EST)
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Just tie a few deadfall sticks off on your guylines and bury them horizontally. Nice thing is they are free. Just make sure they're not rotted and insanely thin and you should be good to go. 

Also a plus to this method is they don't increase pack weight. 

4:26 p.m. on November 11, 2011 (EST)
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So. I looked at a map of the campground(Black Rock in 'Josh'). I don't see any sticks and the sand appears semi-hard; definitely not beach sand. I had planned on some 10 inch nail type stakes or 9 inch aluminum y stakes. However, I could collect a bunch of sticks before i leave. In that type of soil would the stakes hold fine instead?

5:48 p.m. on November 11, 2011 (EST)
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Use the Y stakes. I camp on the Oregon coast all the time. The Y stakes work most the time but if winds gust over 60mph a sand anchor works best.

10:55 p.m. on November 11, 2011 (EST)
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Good deal. I'll get some of the coghlan 9 inch aluminum Y stakes for a buck a piece. I might also get some Exped sand anchors for 10 bucks since I don't have extra stuff sacks.  

1:48 a.m. on November 19, 2011 (EST)
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Finally set the 'Eureka Assault Outfitter tonight.' I'm very pleased with this tent. Feels like a bombproof behemoth for the two of us. It's only 48 Fahrenheit and I can see the usefulness of the zippered mesh vents. At 6'4, I can still move around comfortably stooped inside the tent. Overall the perfect size for base camping with two people. Even though its 13 pounds I feel like it would be fine two throw in a large pack and hike a a few miles with. 

The only negative was that some of the stitching on the outside of the lowest seam on the wall was loose and tattered. However on the inside, the seam had two clean threads. It's like the machine missed the first time and they went back over it; so I'll seam seal it and we'll see how that holds up. Otherwise it is very well built. 

I learned alot setting it up. For one, a cheapo tarp worked fine as a ground cloth.

I feel like there is alot of information available on this tent; but, if anyone wants pics or a mini review let me know.

Thanks again for the input everyone. 

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