View Full Version : Recommendations on a family tent?

06-23-2009, 09:57 AM
Hey, All! I know this is the right place to bring this question...!

I have been shopping for a family tent for car camping, and have been positively overwhelmed by the range of reviews on the typical consumer sites.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a family-style tent for "lightweight" camping? We go once or twice a year to a place that has niceties like level organized lots, electricity run to the site, etc., but we need something big enough to accommodate 5-6 people comfortably.

It seems like there are lots of options in my price range ($200) and size (minimum 14' by12'), but the variety in styles and opinions is daunting. If anyone has a recommendation for a style/model, I would appreciate it!

At least I know which bag I am taking! Brain Bag... to the outdoors! :)

Thanks in advance!


06-23-2009, 02:18 PM
I have been car camping, canoe camping and backpacking for more than thirty years (haven't done much backpacking lately though:)), own several different tents and the best advice I can give you is don't cheap out. A car camping tent big enough for six (are some of these kids?) that is worth the money is going to cost more than $200. Some brands I have had experience with and recomend are Eureka, REI, Kelty, Marmot, North Face and our latest purchase: Big Agnes. Avoid Coleman, Columbia, Wentzel and the cheaper Eureka models and you can't go wrong. A more expensive tent will will be waterproof (our new Big Agnes Big House 4 came with the seams sealed with tape), secure in the wind, relatively easy to set up and will last for many years.
Good sources of tents and other camping supplies are REI (http://www.rei.com/search?cat=4500001_Tents+and+Shelters&cat=4500538&hist=cat%2C4500001_Tents+and+Shelters%3ATents+and+ Shelters^cat%2C4500538%3A6%2B+Person+Family+Tents) and Campmor (http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/SubCategory___40000000226_200368488?ip_navtype=sea rch&catFilter=&searchKeywords=200368488&ip_sortBy=&filters=&ip_constrain=&pageSize=24&catType=&searchCategory=browsefilter&manNameFilter=&sizeFilter=&ip_state=&priceFilter=&currentPage=1&colorFilter=).

06-23-2009, 04:53 PM
I think it was 9 or 10 years ago that I went on a family semi-vacation (my sister and mom went along to Ocean City, MD, where our mom was going to a conference) where hotel space was at a premium and a pleasant commercial campground was nearby. There are some outlet stores nearby -- probably in Delaware -- one of which is L.L. Bean. Bought a Bean dome tent there, which I think was advertised as sleeping 5 or 6 (in the way that tents are claimed to -- I like to divide by 2 for the comfortable number), and it's been happily used many, many times since -- the family tent it replaced was probably from the Korean war era, or at least the Nixon era. Sturdy, easy to assemble. Not truly *lightweight,* but quite efficient size-per-weight ratio, and for car camping no problem at all. Have not had need to consult the Bean customer service people, but their reputation is still good, I believe, despite the way they've grown.

Around here (I'm in Seattle), though, I'd go for REI :) -- their flagship store is here if I have a problem.

I understand that in Europe there are lots of affordable, pleasant, high-amenity, city-accessible campgrounds; when I get the chance to go through Europe, I'd like to use them!


07-08-2009, 02:43 PM
Almost all tents are now made in China by the same companies. The tents made at Costco are about as good as any others - at least as far as I can tell. Springbar (http://www.springbar.com/) tents are nice, Made in USA... a 12 x 16 will run you $1000.

07-08-2009, 06:36 PM
Thank you for all the advice! This helps refine the field of options, to be sure!