Large Tent that Will Resist Wind on Four-Week Camping Trip?

10:15 p.m. on April 24, 2012 (EDT)
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Hello!

I am traveling with a group of 8 students to the mountains of Bolivia for a month starting May 7. While we're there, we will essentially be camping, and I am looking for a large tent that will resist the windy conditions. It will also be late fall/early winter, so anything that would help with warmth is a plus! For safety reasons, the eight of us would prefer to sleep in the same tent with all of our supplies, so I am looking for a tent that will hold 10-12 people. We are also trying to keep the cost as low as possible...

Any suggestions about where to find such a tent or brands would be greatly appreciated!

12:00 a.m. on April 25, 2012 (EDT)
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What speed of wind are we talking about?   What speed does it gust to? 

Without knowing more I would highly suggest getting at least 2 tents each big enough to sleep everybody in case one fails.  Also if you are going to be spending a month in a tent you are not going to want your typical 10-12 person tent.  Those ratings at best mean you can get in and out without stepping on someone if you are careful, at worse it's sardine city.  

Off the top of my head a couple of pyramid/tipi type tents would be your best choice.  Easy to setup with a little practice and you can easily stand up in the larger ones.  

In case you are thinking of cooking in the tent, READ THIS THREAD! http://www.trailspace.com/forums/backcountry/topics/85799.html   Take a tarp and set it up over a table.

As for warmth. What are the temps you are expecting?  Since you have mentioned students I'm assuming starving student budget.  If you are not expecting anything colder than the teens steepandcheap.com has listed Alps mountaineering 0 degree crescent lake synthetic sleeping bags for $42.99.  for a day or two.  Their sister site lists them also but they are more expensive there.  DepartmentOfGoods.com

If you decide to go with a more traditional tent I would look at Alps Mountaineering Taurus line.  Either the regular w/aluminum poles or the outfitter The outfitter version comes in an 8x10 version that has a 6 foot center.  The Taurus tents have a full rain fly making them more weather resistant than usual for a large dome tent. 

 

12:45 a.m. on April 25, 2012 (EDT)
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Where exactly are you going to be? I used to live in La Paz and traveled a bit in the mountains-not climbing, just traveling. I don't recall it being windy though, so no idea where you are talking about. I think taking an 8 person tent is a bad idea, 2 4 person tents will be more manageable and handle the wind better if there is any.

Cheap, big tents can be had, but I have doubts about their durability. I'd look for an army surplus tent-it will be heavy, but should hold up.

As I recall, it's not much colder than around freezing on the Alto in winter and that's at 13-14K.

Don't expect a tent to keep you warm, that is not what they do. Some are warmer than others because they block the wind better, but that is about it.

1:06 a.m. on April 25, 2012 (EDT)
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Before I launch into 10 paragraphs of tent madness we'll need to know some more basic information. First of is why do you feel you need to all be in one tent for safety? Just curious. When looking a base camp tents that can handle what the Andes can throw at you in late fall/early winter you are most likely looking at some serious coin unless you can find one used. The tent I would recommend right of the bat for what you describe is the Mountain Hardwear Stronghold. If you are miles away form help and depending upon a single tent for all of your party (8 people and supplies) then you need a tent that can handle a full on winter storm.

Where exactly will you be in the Bolivian Mountains and at what elevation? What will your activities be? What is your trip mission? Are you leaving this May? If so, that sure doesn’t give you much prep time if you have not even investigated your equipment let alone bought it yet. Do you all have all of the rest of the equipment you need?

To give you a full on tent recommendation well need all the info you can provide regarding the trip your taking.

Remember that you will need to have tested all of your gear before you embark on your journey.  Even the best of gear will be of little use if you get to where your going and find that someone missed sewing a seam on your tent fly and it fails the first day out.  Warranties do you no good on a mountain top.

As the two posts above have suggested for what your talking about tent wise, I would recomend multiple tents.  I would recomend three four person tents that are exactly the same so you can switch out parts if necessary.  But, again we will need much more info befor going any further recomending tents.

http://www.mountainhardwear.com/Stronghold%E2%84%A2/OU9610,default,pd.html

 

1:36 a.m. on April 25, 2012 (EDT)
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If you are carrying the tent any distance, you will be challenged by the logistics of hauling that big of tent anywhere.  Furthermore the gear requirements of a four week trip will more than double the amount of space needed to accommodate your group and all equipment.  Thus you will need two 8P tents to meet your requirement.

I agree with others, however that several smaller tents are better than a couple of large tents.  You won’t necessarily be one big happy family, spending such duration of time in close proximity.  Allowing folks to breakout into smaller “family” units will foster better cohabitation, as well as permit more efficient execution of most group related activities (cooking for eight is a BIG deal whereas cooking for four is more feasible).  And speaking of cooking, augment your shelter with a large fly that can serve to provide shade, as well a place to cook under when the weather warrants.

Ed

1:41 p.m. on April 25, 2012 (EDT)
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2 x 4man with a connecting vestibule

8:31 a.m. on April 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Wow! Thanks for all the responses!

The purpose of our trip is to construct a 63m pedestrian bridge that we designed (we're all engineering students). We were originally expecting to sleep in a school in the community, but just found out that fell through, which is why we're looking for tents to live in. We won't need to move the tents around at all once they have been set up.

We are leaving May 7 of this year and are staying for roughly 3.5 weeks. We are staying near a community called Tiraque which is about 2.5 hours from Cochabamba, and we aren't far from help of we need it. The elevation is roughly 10,000ft. I'm not sure about an exact wind speed, but other students who have travelled to the region and someone we are in contact with on the ground there has told us that it is "very windy". It is also very barren where we will be so there isn't much shelter from trees. As far as temperature, we are expecting it to be between 60 and 70 degrees during the day and between 35 and 45 degrees at night. At night it won't be terribly cold, but because it dips lower I would like to find something that somewhat shelters against wind as well. We aren't expecting to get much rain (if any) while we're there. As of now we all have cold-weather sleeping bags and sleeping bag pads and most of the other equipment that we will need. We also won't need to do our own cooking because someone in the community that we're constructing the bridge for has offered to cook for us.

Although I had originally thought that one, large tent was the best idea, I'm now thinking that several smaller ones would be best. Maybe 3 4-person tents and splitting our group up into two tents with three people and one tent with two people.

6:41 p.m. on April 26, 2012 (EDT)
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That answers many of the questions that I was curious about. I would say that going with a number of smaller tents if the right decision. Again if I had the time I would go with the same make a and Model of tent if possible so that one has interchangeable parts from one tent to another. In this case I would say you have precious little time as you are leaving in 10 day's and must balance the best tents you can get for the money.

These are some of the tent's that I would recommend. Remember you will be out in a place where you will have to fix anything that goes wrong. I would also consider bringing a roll of duct tape. I use Gorilla tape myself as it's stronger and sticker than regular duct tape. Make sure you have the proper pole splints/kits to fix broken poles on your tents. Bring lots of extra cord and stakes to tie of your tent’s in the event of high winds.

Here are some tents I would recommend. I would have many, many more recommendations if I knew your level of experience and if you had more time to buy, test, families yourselves your tents before leaving. If you value your life cheaply then you should go with cheap tents, if you think your life is worth something then spend the proper amount of money to ensure your safety. Tents in a harsh environments are not the place to save money when buying gear.

The North Face Mountain: 25, VE-25

Marmot: Asgard 3P, Thor 3P

Mountain Hardwear Trango 4 4P, Trango 3.1P

There are many more tents that would fit into the High altitiude, windy conditions catagory but seeing that yoiu only have 10 days these are the proven tents I would recomend unless you find something locally. There are more expensive tent lines but you expressed an interest in spending the least amount of money, I assume with the greatest safety factor. The tents I have listed are expensive. With a bit of luck  you will be able to find some on sale or used locally. There are two types of tents that I would recommend for cold windy situations. The dome tent and the tunnel tent. If you have little to no knowledge of tent's I would opt for the dome style tent as you have to set up tunnel tents against the wind and set them up properly or they may fail. The dome tent is excels in setting up on uneven ground and also excels in winds that change direction. You will have much less margin for error with a dome style tent than a tunnel tent. If you have little experience with tents go with double wall tents rather than single wall tents. All of the tents that I have recommended are double wall, dome style tents with vestibules and are rock solid in the wind.

I don't know where you are but you may be able to find some used tents on your local Craigslist. I know do some of these tents around the country on various Craigslist’s but I will not post them here as you are on a time limit and it will blow your plans if you get a used tent in the mail just days before leaving that was not as you had hoped from a far way city. If you give me your city I can take a look at your local Craigslist and see if there are any quality tents that you can go and set up to see that tye are in good condition. This will also give you experience in setting up that particular tent.

 

 

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