Tent(s) for family of 5

10:05 a.m. on April 27, 2011 (EDT)
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We'll be hiking/camping in Montana and North Dakota this summer and need to get a tent(s) before we head out there.

We are a family of 5, our boys are ages 8, 4 and 3.  Any recommendations for a lightweight tent?  Should we go with 2 tents?

Thanks!

10:20 a.m. on April 27, 2011 (EDT)
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I camp with kids often and would advise the two tent route.  Mainly, they like it better, but also I sleep better without kids in the same tent.  I just bought a tent for my son from a fellow trailspace member, and it will be used for all my kids.

Five or more person lightweight tents tend to be costly, you can typically find good three person or less lightweight tents for a reasonable price.  Check the Gear Reviews section on this site for any tent you consider, I found the reviews here to be more in depth than sites like Amazon. 

10:40 a.m. on April 27, 2011 (EDT)
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2 tents is the way to go imho. It offers the privacy factor(if caught in a day long deluge)for changing clothes etc, and it will give ya more flexibilty. Kids are gonna get older and so will their desires. Later on down the road if they want to go out on their own they can take one of the tents and wont have to lug around a larger model. Also it will make finding a site to pitch alot easier because a smaller tent takes up a smaller area(footprint.) Ya might be limited on where you can set up a large tent. Not to mention if you are out and a storm creeps in and one of the tents fail ya still have the other tent to climb into to stay dry til the storm passes.

Oh by the way welcome to Trailspace. :)

11:13 a.m. on April 27, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the advice. :)  We'll go with 2 tents then.  Off to read the reviews now.

4:50 p.m. on April 27, 2011 (EDT)
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Check out the Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 2 and 3. I have the 2. A great tent worth twice its price. I did not expect the quality level to be so high at $79 (on sale). Lightweight and great customer service. I've seen the 2 and 3 both for under $100 each. They are both freestanding and set up in about 3-4 minutes, including the fly.

The only thing I replaced were the stakes. They were average at best. 10 lbs, 3 oz Total carrying weight for the 2 tents combined. Can easily be split up between all of you for carry. Happy shopping and subsequent hiking!

http://www.alpsmountaineering.com/tents/lightweight-tents

6:28 p.m. on April 27, 2011 (EDT)
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If you are looking for lightweight tents, check out Golite's Shangri-la tents. www.golite.com under shelters.

7:15 p.m. on April 27, 2011 (EDT)
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hi 

i go camping alot with my granddaughter. no way am i letting her and a friend sleep alone in a tent. i want to make sure that if a raccoon is trying to get into her tent in the middle of the night that it is also my tent that that raccoon is trying to get into. it could even be something as simple as one of the kids has to go too the bathroom in the night and when returning to the tent leaves the door open and lots of mosquitoes attach the kids while your sound asleep in your tent. your 5 and 8 would probably be fine but the 3 year old might want to pet that skunk that looks so cute. none of these scenarios will probably ever happen to you. i am pretty sure they won't happen to me either, if they do i will at least be there with them. i can only remember 1 time in the middle of the night awaking to find a skunk in the tent with me. 

the most important thing is to get out there and have fun wether you have 2 tents or 1 tent. it can be more of a challenge to find a nice spot that is big enough for 1 tent. 

after all i said about security i mostly use a mountain hardware kiva as the tent of choice. it is really light and might even be big enough for all of you. i glued mosquito netting along the edge of the footprint and can attach it to the tent with velcro, that way we can seal out the mosquitos. a raccoon would have no problem getting into this setup, once again though it is also my tent. i can pitch the tent above the floor by about a foot, that way we can get enough ventilation so we don't get wet from our own condensation. the kiva is a single wall tent so it doesn't breath, and ventilation is it's weak point. this particular tent is no longer available but there are similar tents being made. gary's recommendation for golite is a similar tent.

if you can find a store that rents equipment it would be smart to try a couple of different styles of tent to see what works best for you. used to be you could link some tents together so you could have the ability to have two tents or one joined tent. 

best of luck 

7:31 p.m. on April 27, 2011 (EDT)
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If you want a light weight tent for 5 easy, then follow Gary's recommendation and check out the Shangri-La 5 tent. Huge, less than 6 pounds full carry weight with the inner bug-proof nest (can be split up). It is a true 4 season tent. You can probably find it with the nest for $380-$420.

7:31 p.m. on April 27, 2011 (EDT)
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lazya4- I have to ask more about the whole skunk in the tent incident. I am trying to picture this but I am having difficulty with the visualization. Was it in the vestibule or actually in the tent? Not poking a jab but curiousity(as always) is killing me.

8:03 p.m. on April 27, 2011 (EDT)
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Welcome to Trailspace.

I'm glad your taking you kid's out into the wilderness.  We need way more parents that are willing to share the out of doors with their children.

There are good arguments for either 1 or 2 tents.  If your out with 3 young ones and the two of you it would not be a bad idea to have to tents.  Nothing like a tent failure to wreck a otherwise great time.  A  really horrible outdoor experiance can stick with a child for a long time.   5 people have a lot of gear.  You could use one tent for all the gear and one tent for you guys to all sleep in.  You then have a tent for storage, cooking if necessary, time outs ( alot of the tents are not square anymore and it's hard to get sent to the corner   ;-), drying out wet clothing and any other thing you can think of that you might not want in your sleeping area.  If the skunk get's into tent #1, you still have tent #2.   

The best place I can suggest to find inexpensive family tents (as we as all the other gear you will need) is Craigslist.  I'd say check out what's on your local craigslist and then do review's of tent's that you think your interested in (and there's not a lack of tents in the world).  Then when you find some you like ask about them on Trailspace. You would be supprised of the basic info that can be left out of a review.  With Craigslsit you don't pay tax and no postage if it's local and you get to check out the tent befor you buy.   All my tents save two,  were bought second hand and almost all have no more than 2-3 pitchings.  Some were even only pictched once to test or check it out and then they sold it to me after a long time of nonuse.    If you can find two of the same tent then you can swap parts. 

Have fun out there.

8:41 p.m. on April 27, 2011 (EDT)
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Shangri-la-5-tent-from-Golite.jpg

This is the Shangri-la 5 tent. They also make a Shangri-la 3 that looks just like this but smaller and lighter. Maybe to of these one for the kids and one for you and the hubby?

11:57 p.m. on April 27, 2011 (EDT)
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mdmommyof3 

best not to eat, cook. or store your food in your sleeping tent. that way animals won't be as attracted to your tent. most kids seem to attract mosquitoes, make sure you get one with good netting.  

Rick-Pittsburgh 
that must have been the walrus orbit rapide, a six sided tent. it was one of those full moons when skunks are mating. the moon was so bright i could see the skunk slip through the door where it wasn't zipped all the way. what a sinking feeling to see the skunk slip into the tent. knowing there was nothing in the tent to eat and only one way out.... i pulled the sleeping bag over my head and hoped for the best. a couple hours later i peaked out from under my bag and breathed deep of good fresh clean air. i had lucked out. nothing too exciting just glad i heard it come in and didn't wake up with it sniffing my face. 

1:33 p.m. on April 28, 2011 (EDT)
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that must have been the walrus orbit rapide, a six sided tent. it was one of those full moons when skunks are mating. the moon was so bright i could see the skunk slip through the door where it wasn't zipped all the way. what a sinking feeling to see the skunk slip into the tent. knowing there was nothing in the tent to eat and only one way out.... i pulled the sleeping bag over my head and hoped for the best. a couple hours later i peaked out from under my bag and breathed deep of good fresh clean air. i had lucked out. nothing too exciting just glad i heard it come in and didn't wake up with it sniffing my face. 

Great story!  :)

With our youngest only being 3, my husband will sleep in 1 tent with my oldest and possibly the dogs.  And I will sleep another with the two youngest, especially since our 4 yr. is very curious about nature. Don't want him wondering off.  We have a huge 8 person tent, but there's no way we're hauling out into the woods.  Especially with my husband and I carrying most of the weight.

I'll check out some of the tents listed here.

2:41 p.m. on April 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Good luck to you and have fun!

 

5:45 p.m. on May 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Take a 3 man tent for M&D to sleep in.

Then take another, being another same 3 man tent, for the three youngstes to sleep in.

Why ?

M&D get a little night time privacy and chat space,

Split the tent loads amongst the family,

Spares, for the tents, can be reduced/shared,

Boys will get a great experience being in their own tent only feet away,

August 1, 2014
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