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Tent Camping Lets talk about tent camping

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Old 07-05-2012, 05:37 PM   #1
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Default Looking for a good size family tent

I looking for a good size family tent and I could use some help. I want to be in the 10x14x at least 6 tall (8-person) range. The tent will typically be used for two adults, two kids and two large dogs but will also be tricked out on occasion for a luxurious romantic outing for two. We will primarily be car camping by a lake, beach, in the desert or up in the mountains. I think on person set-up requiring no more than 30 minutes is a must. It goes without saying that staying dry and comfortable is very, very important too. I want something that is durable but Im not sure it needs to last 20 years or more. I just dont want something breaking after a few uses. The manufacture MUST have a good warranty/replacement policy as well as great customer service. Im expecting to pay between $300 and $400 for a good tent but might be willing to save a little longer for the Kodiak Flex Bow it the majority of responses point me in that direction. Im currently looking at three different tents but Im open to other suggestions as well. My biggest question is how well does the Cabelas tent compare to the Kelty tent? I really like the Cabelas design and price but Im nervous because its a new design and no one has reviewed it yet. Has anyone had experience with their tents in this price range?


The three tents Ive been looking at are:

Kelty Parthenon 8-Person Tent

Cabela's new Bunkhouse Tent series

Kodiak Delux Flex Bow 8-person canvas tent



Thanks in advance for your assistance,

Travis Handschug
Tempe, AZ.


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Old 07-05-2012, 06:54 PM   #2
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Our church sponsored boy scout unit (which also has a very good independant outdoor girls program) currently has Kelty, Cabella's Alaska guide, Springbar, and Kodiak tents. I was told a couple of weeks ago they are phasing out all the Kelty and Cabella tents for Kodiaks. He said the Springbar and Kodiak were comparable but since the Kodiaks cost less, that was the direction they were going.


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Old 07-05-2012, 08:32 PM   #3
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I'd eliminate the Cabellas tent for a couple of reasons. The rainfly is fairly skimpy and leaves a lot of exposed seams vulnerable to leaking. Even more importantly in my view, the fiberglass poles are prone to breaking and splitting. The bigger/heavier the tent, the more important it is to have good quality aluminum poles instead of fiberglass.
You can't go wrong with a Kodiak or Springbar canvas, but if you want to spend less, I think you'll be happy with a Kelty as long as you go with one of their higher end aluminum models. We've been using a big Kelty for family car camping for about 8 years, and I've had three or four Kelty backpacking tents over the years. We've had occasion to use the customer service/warranty a few times and always been very pleased. I've also been responsible for upkeep of the tents our church uses for its youth programs the last several years. I've always been very upfront with Kelty about the reasons repairs are needed (zipper was forced through a snag by a rowdy 12 year old boy, the girls bent a pole trying to force it through the wrong sleeve, etc). They've always done the repairs for free even though user error was to blame.


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Old 07-06-2012, 05:30 AM   #4
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I dont have any experiance with any of those brands. However, for good car camping tents I have always used Colmen tents. They have several different ones so I am sure they have one that will fit your needs, they are easy to set up, farily inexpensive, and they last.


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Old 07-06-2012, 06:37 AM   #5
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You want romantic?

One tent for the adults, one for the kids and dogs.

It's usually much easier to find a flat level spot for two small tents then one large one.


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Old 07-07-2012, 12:12 AM   #6
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While all of the above tents are of good quality, and any of them will be fine, I have always been happy with Eureka. They have many tents to choose from and prices are some what moderate.


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Old 07-07-2012, 07:12 AM   #7
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I own the Kodiac 10x10 and love it for car camping (photo of it here in my album). I set it up myself in about 20-30 minutes, but you will be able to do it quicker since you are stronger. I love the flexibility of the windows for ventilation, the awning is nice for shade, and it holds three single air mattresses and gear, plus a small dog comfortably.

That being said, I've seen light cabin tents that I would purchase instead if you wanted one big enough for four or more. Not many families want to fight with a tent for any length of time right after reaching a destination especially if it is hot. My BIL needs color coded instant set-up, my sister has the patience to lay out a heavy canvas tent correctly for the sense of a more secure structure.

Lamebeaver addresses a very real issue if you are camping in a campground. I have to check out the size of a tent pad when deciding if there is room for my Kodiac and not have it too close to a fire. I have set up two tents for my sister and her family, but she likes to have the kids under the same roof with her so two tents don't work with all families.

Have fun!


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Old 07-11-2012, 09:05 PM   #8
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I'm another who uses Coleman. Work good for me.


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