Tent Choices -- HELP!

12:08 a.m. on November 28, 2010 (EST)
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I'm wanting to get my nephew a 4-season tent for Xmas.  Most are out of my price range, but I did find a High Peak South Col 4-Season tent for around $150.  Description sounds like it is a decent tent.  Problem is that now I'm finding out that he would like the tent to accomodate up to 4 people.  Based on measurements 4 people under 6' could sleep crossways; over 6' would have to sleep lengthways and that would be very tight.  Tent measures approx 7.5' x 6/5'.  My nephew is over 6'.

Was just told that I could purchase a slightly lesser quality 4-Season Dome Trek Tent that is 8' x 8' for about the same amount of money.  Description sounds like it is a decent tent, too, but I'm concerned about the 'lesser quality'.

Any input you could give me on these two tents would be greatly appreciated!

5:16 a.m. on November 28, 2010 (EST)
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You may reconsider your desire to get him a tent.  Many outdoorsmen can be really particular about their gear, especially stuff like tents.  It would be a shame to put out all those ducats for gear that may not meet his expectations.  Take him window shopping if you can, or ask one of his friends for a suggestion.  While it may seem tacky a gift certificate will be really appreciated when you explain the sentiment.


8:44 a.m. on November 28, 2010 (EST)
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I have to agree with Whomeworry. But if he realy spends alot of time outdoors he might realy like a base layer or some good socks. That doesnt seem like much, but some good Merino Wool clothing will be used for years and years. And he will love you for them.

12:02 p.m. on November 28, 2010 (EST)
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another thing to consider -


ask him what he will be using it for. If he is going to be backing packing or hiking in remote areas, he isn't going to want a 4 person tent to carry around - that's going to be crazy heavy, and take up most of his backpack. If he is just winter car camping, then the 4 person tent will be fine.


If he is back packing but plans on going with 4 people, it would be recommended for them to take two 2 person tents in my opinion. Looks like some of his friends will have to pitch in and get their own tent too.

12:28 p.m. on November 28, 2010 (EST)
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The thing is, I don't think he really even knows what he wants.  He's just a poor college kid that likes to go out with his friends and camp occassionally year round, so I wouldn't call him an avid camper.  He's not going to be backpacking into the wilderness or high country.  He might do some hiking, but would come back to 'base camp'.  Now, he has an outdoorsy girlfriend that likes to camp, too, so he's wanting to go more with her and another couple.  If he goes once a month, I'd be surprised, so he doesn't need high priced, top-of-the-line gear.  Right now I think he is borrowing gear from another college kid, so no telling what he's used to.

Really, I think a solid, well constructed 3-season tent would work well even during December/January in the midwest, because he won't go during frigid temps or if there is forecasted snow.

The suggestion that the others in the group bring their own tent is a good one.  Not having to find a 4 person/4 season tent expands the options.  Besides, I wouldn't think he would want another couple in the tent. . .

So, anyone familiar with High Peak or Trek?  Any other tent suggestions since I've decided not to go the 4-man route?

12:49 p.m. on November 28, 2010 (EST)
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I agree with the view that selecting a tent for him may not be the best idea.  Here's another idea:  buy him a gift certificate at REI or whatever decent brand name outdoor gear retailer he likes.  And, knowing that he wants a tent, tell him you're giving him the certificate to apply toward a tent of his choice.

If you're not sure what store carries brands/models he likes, consider a VISA Gift Card that he can use anywhere.  Actually I like this idea even better, as it gives him the most flexibility (e.g. he might see the tent of his dreams at a local retailer, but see it online for considerably less $$$).

This way you're not locking him into something he may not like, or that may not meet his needs, but you're still helping him acquire the tent.

1:04 p.m. on November 28, 2010 (EST)
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I have a High Peak Enduro 4-season tent. I got it on ebay for 70 bucks brand new, and it has been great. I have used it in some pretty extreme weather and it's been great so far.


My last trip with it saw 15 degree temperatures with hail, snow, and sustain 70 mph wind. 


The tent is def. a 2-person tent, for people who know each other well. It's cramped, shoulder to shoulder. I am 6'2" and I only have a few inches of head room to spare.


It's, in my opinion, as high quality as much more expensive "name brand" tents, without the price tag.


Tent snobs might tell you otherwise, but there's a reason why they say that - they're trying to justify the fact that they spent $500 or more on one tent.

3:09 p.m. on November 28, 2010 (EST)
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Thank you everyone for your thoughts and suggestions.  All are appreciated.  My son went to the movies w/my nephew earlier and actually got some specific tent suggestions.  Wish they would have gotten together sooner as it would have save me some research time.

Thanks again, and hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

3:59 p.m. on November 28, 2010 (EST)
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Kesta, What you buy isn't dependent on how often you go, it's dependent on where you go and when. Sure, it's hard to justify a $500 tent for casual use, but as IClimb said, there are alternatives.

A four season tent is really a one season tent-winter and by winter, I mean snow, not LA winter. A four person tent is not a practical backpacking tent-too big and heavy, unless you always have 3-4 people. I'd rather have 2 2 person tents if I was with 4 people, especially if one was a girlfriend.

A winter tent is not a practical 3 season tent for the same reasons-you can get by with a lot less shelter in mild weather.

There are a lot of great outdoor gifts you could get, but I agree with Ed, I have yet to have anyone pick out anything for me that would have been my first choice. A gift certificate to REI or a similar store would be a good alternative. That way, he can pick out just what he wants.

If you are set on getting a big tent, here is a reasonably priced 4 person tent that could be used in mild winter conditions, judging from the specs-


5:09 p.m. on November 28, 2010 (EST)
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Ok. He is into the car camping, Partying thing. For a 4 person tent you are looking at a 6 person tent. Coolers, air mattress, Lighting, stoves..... and all those clothes. I would tend to agree that two tents would be better. But for the room he needs get a 3-4 person tent. I have heard that High Peak tents are good. Might look at Coleman tents too.

5:48 a.m. on November 29, 2010 (EST)
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Well lets see, car camping, 4 season, 4 people. Eureka Assault Outfitter 4 comes to mind(check here or ebay.) It has a lifetime warranty to boot. I think around $350 retail + or -.....Granted its not a Hille but it would take the abuse. Truthfully, I would go with the giftcard. Just my 2 cents.

8:52 a.m. on November 29, 2010 (EST)
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Ok I'm not too familiar with the stuff you can get in the US but wouldn't a REI Halfdome 4 do the trick? I just checked and there on sale at 190$.  It's a cold tent for winter but a nice one for summer and let's be honest will he be using all that much during the winter? Personnally I dont think the term 4 seasons is readily applied to tent. A good winnter tent is an oven at best during the summer highs. (No ventilation). It's higher than what you want to pay though so ganging up could be an option. But I believe that reviews are good. In Canada we have MEC that sell really good quality tents that look somewhat like the one REI make. At roughly 8 pounds he can even go backpacking with friends with it. You just seperate the fly from the tent and voila. 4 pounds each. Simple, effective, and the warranty seems awesome

 My guess is, he'll love you and it.

7:59 a.m. on November 30, 2010 (EST)
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Just ran across this one


I dont know your budget. But for car camping it looks like a fine tent.

5:03 p.m. on November 30, 2010 (EST)
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Just from personal experience I just looked at the above link and I wouldn't purchase a tent with fiberglass poles if there was any chance it was going to be used in cold weather. Then again I won't buy any tent with fiberglass poles. Maybe its the "peace of mind" factor. If you are going to buy a tent go with a brand that has a good reputation, good customer service, and most of all a warranty. Lets say ya buy "a no-name good deal" it fails and the company says. Well we can't cover the problem, it was user negligence. Then you are out the $ spent on the tent, plus the $ that has to be spent on either repair or replacement. Ya may as well just go with something with a good rep. from the beginning because it could quite possibly save ya $ in the long run. Ya get what you pay for. Then again I'm still in total support of the gift card idea because I as well have never had anyone purchase a piece of gear that I would of purchased myself. Everyones preferences/needs are different. If you are seriously considering going and getting a tent my strongest suggestion is research. There is no better place to start imho than here in the gear review section. Happy hiking.

12:49 a.m. on December 16, 2010 (EST)
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A four person winter tent, if you are not going to pack it into a rmote area, then places such as Bass Pro Shop, Cabela's (the Cabela's Quad Pole Dome Tent or Cabela's Deluxe XPG), a Eureka Timberline 4 Person Tent, etc.
I also have to agree with Whomeworry, a gift card/certificate is a good option.  There are simply to many variables involved for 'you' to make the perfect choice.

The number of tents available and, cheap just before Christmas!

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