3 or 4 season tent?

8:22 a.m. on April 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Hello Im looking for a family tent, two adults and two children. Im not going camping in the snow but it might rain, blow and be near freezing at night. Should I go with 3 or 4 seasons tent? Any economic solutions?

11:35 a.m. on April 29, 2012 (EDT)
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This tent is a good economical choice:

Alps Mountaineering Vertex.  It's reviewed here on trailspace. It is a modified dome tent with a full coverage fly.  Instead of the poles crossing at the top it has a connector bar which makes the sides more vertical giving you more room in the tent.  This also allows the vestibules to be larger.  

The best way for you to be economical is to buy from departmentofgoods.com, geartrade.com or ebay. If you are willing to wait and have access to the internet most of the time (smartphone will do) you should look at steepandcheap.com. This tent went for $146 a couple of weeks ago.  Use sacalerts.com to monitor the website for the items you want. It's email alerts are very reliable.  I have my gmail account set to forward the sacalert emails to my phones email to SMS address.

I found this Kelty Gunnison on geartrade.com for $170.  If you have elementary age children this tent is probably big enough.  


12:46 p.m. on April 29, 2012 (EDT)
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if car camping go with a 6 person tent.

if car camping and low temp and real windy go with less mesh (4 season ?)

if back packing gor wiht a 4 person tent.

1:18 p.m. on April 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Indeed, if you go car camping then weight is not an issue, go with a big tent with as many features and luxuries as you want, some have different rooms,  cup holders etc... they are also much cheaper than backpacking tents.

If you go backpacking then a 3 season shelter should be fine, if you are backpacking into alpine regions get a tent with good wind resistance, if wind is not an issue, you got tons of options out there man =).  How old are your kids, are you all sleeping in one tent? Be as specific as you can.

3:05 p.m. on April 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Yeah....it will be car camping so weight is no issue.

I was thinking not very big tent (just for 4) because bigger tents are harder to keep warm, especially in wind. True?

Eureka Timberline any good?

4:31 p.m. on April 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Iceland said:

Yeah....it will be car camping so weight is no issue.

I was thinking not very big tent (just for 4) because bigger tents are harder to keep warm, especially in wind. True?

Eureka Timberline any good?

Not really. The tent is designed to shelter you from the elements and the critters. Though a good solid (no mesh) tent with keep the temperature up to some degree, your sleeping bag and matt are the pieces of equipment that are designed to keep you warm while in the tent. While not sleeping, it is the appropriate clothing that you choose that's designed to keep you warm.

I don't know anything about Eureka's Timberline tent.

8:30 p.m. on April 29, 2012 (EDT)
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A common mistake when camping is to try to increase the inside temperature with body heat by fully sealing ourselves inside the tent. When the inside temperature is warmer than the outside your perspiration and breath will condense against the colder tent fly and even the inner at times. (think of when you breathe against a window pain in winter) As the humidity level increases you will feel progressively colder so you put more clothes on, in turn you will sweat more and that is why some wake up cold but with a moisture soaked sleeping bag.

If you had a stove /heater on the other hand , that would burn off the moisture but that is not something I would recommend to most... So as long as the tent keeps wind and rain out and it allows air circulation it will do the job it is meant to do. BTW, if you are not too klutzy and don't have wild ,accident prone children,  a candle may help (in an enclosed container) ...

As for room , for car camping a larger (up to a point) tent will be much more comfortable than a "cozy" one. That will give a bit of space between you and the kids so for example they could play board games in one room and you could read in the other.


10:33 p.m. on April 29, 2012 (EDT)
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It doesn't sound like you are going to be adventurous enough for an expensive 4 season tent or perhaps even a 3 season - 2 1/2 maybe.  If it gets that bad, just pack up and go home/motel. 

A tent has almost a zero insulation value, but it can protect you from wind and water.  That is its main requirement and if you stuff enough 98.4F bodies in there it will warm up some, but it will be going outside as fast as you can generate heat.

In buying a larger car camping tent, make sure it is easy to set up consistently.  If not, hope they will trade it in for another one.  Sears made a wonderful tent that sometimes went up the same way it did the year before - really complicated.

If large enough, you can add cots, which as a child, I thought were great and gives you some sitting room and always pinched fingers.  More comfy for kids than for adults, though. Two smaller tents connected together might be more the plan tho. Just depends upon how much time you will be spending in the tent and how much time you will be out and about.

Whether you want a tent floor or not depends upon how much rain you expect and flooding of the floor area.  And of course proper placement of the tent.

If somebody in the family is handy with a sewing machine you can also produce a tarp canopy 8x12 or so that can be pitched over a picnic table with a re-enforced grommet in the center through which to stick an adjustable pole.  The ends and sides get guyed out to trees or through other adjustable poles.  You can add mosquito netting all the way around stuck up with hook and loop.  Total price for a tarp with bug netting solution would be under $150. 



Those pop up 10x10' tailgate thingys could be used as well.  Again, no floor.

Target, WalMart have all kinds of ideas that would probably suit you, since you won't be carrying it.  It does have to fit into or on the car tho, along with sleeping bags, cook stove and kit and all the kitchen eating things - and things to eat.

11:41 p.m. on April 29, 2012 (EDT)
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+1 on Ocalacomputerguy's suggestions.

6:28 a.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Fantastic input guys. Thanks ALOT

11:19 a.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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lets us know what you buy

11:19 a.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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and how it works out for you/your party

12:08 p.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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You could always save a little coin and still get a pretty nice tent at a place like geartrade.com.

Here is one that looks like it would be a good option for ya:


8:06 p.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Be wary of big family style tents sold at the big box stores like Wal-Mart. While the prices are attractive, these tents, many of which, regardless of brand, come from one source in China, are not well made or well designed.

We used to get complaints all the time about these kinds of tents-leaks and poor construction, lost parts, no customer service, until the site stopped taking questions regarding them.

As already noted, the only way a tent keeps you warm is by blocking the wind. Do not use a stove or fuel-powered heater in the tent without adequate ventilation or you risk CO poisoning.

Want to stay warm? Get adequate clothing and a warm bag.  FYI, my comment on tents also applies to sleeping bags-cheap ones are often poorly made and not as warm as the manufacturers claim.

10:07 p.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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I've been shopping around for a car camping tent too.I like this kelty. http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___28022#. I don't need it for a few months so I'm hoping it goes on sale somewhere. It has a pretty good floor for a tent this size and the fly goesnearly all the way to the ground for windy nights. Aluminm poles too.

9:49 a.m. on May 2, 2012 (EDT)
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Will let you know what I buy.....scanning time at the moment.

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