Tent Purchase

Hi Guys,

46-year-old single dad who hasn't been camping since he left Scouts 30 years ago. I'm looking to buy my kids Tents for Christmas but have no idea what to get. BCF and Anaconda have a range of tents such as Oztrail and Coleman. Or should I go to Tentworld?, I'd assume they'd be experts in every aspect of tents.

$64,000 question which is the better brand?.

Which has the better floor?, I don't want tears in the floor from a rouge stick or rock on first use
Which has the more durable outer fabric?
Which one withstands rain and wind better?

Should I buy 2 x 2,3 or 4 person tent?. I was considering at least a 3 person so they have room for themselves and their gear to keep it dry, and possibly a friend?. When I was in the scouts we would take 1 tent for every 3 people and take turns in carrying it on hikes instead of each person having their own tent. Do the scouts still do this?. I was think a 4 person tent might be a better option even though they're ~2Kg heavier, as outlined above, less overall weight on hikes, plus the 4 person generally higher allowing you to stand up, plus we can use one of the 4 person tent on family holidays.
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Reply By: Paul W43 - Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 17:38

Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 17:38
What is your budget? How old are your kids (what weight are you looking for)?

This one has good reviews - https://www.snowys.com.au/nomad-2-hike-tent

Three person - https://www.snowys.com.au/howqua-3-hiking-tent

Or a bigger budget - https://www.snowys.com.au/grasshopper-ul2-hiking-tent

Good luck in your quest.

AnswerID: 638624

Follow Up By: Peter Ando - Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 17:48

Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 17:48
Woops sorry, Fogot most important info. 10 and 8. But I'd buy tents for adults so they don't grow out of them after a few years of use
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 17:54

Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 17:54
Go back to your local Scout Shop.
Not only do they sell them, but they know them and use them.
Cheers,
Peter
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AnswerID: 638625

Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 18:21

Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 18:21
.
Hi Peter, I can't be much help in deciding brand & size but I will offer this..... if you buy polyester, and you possibly will because of weight and economy, make very sure that the kids do NOT have candles, lanterns or any hot material inside the tent. And keep it away from campfires. Polyester does not easily ignite but will melt at 220C and I'm sure you don't want holes in your tent.
If a sales assistant tells you that the product is "fire resistant" ask if he will allow you to apply a cigarette lighter as a test???
Cheers
Allan

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AnswerID: 638626

Reply By: Member - Core420 - Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 19:48

Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 19:48
I have had the Coleman Instant Up 4P for a couple of years now. Easy to setup/set down by one person and roomy enough for 2 adults on a stretcher bed. The roof is high enough to standup inside. Lots of ventilation openings. Happy with it.
AnswerID: 638628

Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 19:49

Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 19:49
Are you car camping or backpacking?
Anything more than a 2 person tent is unrealistic if backpacking

A two person tent won't allow much more than two persons with minimal gear inside, you will need always need a tent with one extra person rating than you will actually put inside it if you expect to have packs inside as well
Your first purchase will rarely be your last purchase (unless they quickly decide to ditch camping)

I am leading up to saying buy a cheaper one, with a view to if successful work out what you need to buy in another couple of years.
Our family has progressed from tents (canvas and synthetic) to camper trailers, K Mart tents served us well for a decade
I still do multiday backpacking on my own with a lightweight backpacking tent.
AnswerID: 638629

Follow Up By: Member - rocco2010 - Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 20:12

Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 20:12
Good thoughts

I've still got a Kmart cheapie dome tent in the shed that I'd still be using in good weather if advancing years had not made it tricky for me to sleep on the ground.









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Reply By: Member - Rowdy6032 (WA) - Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 20:19

Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 20:19
May I suggest that whatever tent you purchase you use a ground sheet under the tent to help protect the floor of the tent.
Car camping or hiking will be a decider.
In the price bracket you are looking at I doubt that there will be much difference in materials etc despite what the advertising may say.
AnswerID: 638630

Reply By: Member - silkwood - Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 20:22

Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 at 20:22
Peter, too many questions not yet answered. Car camping or bush walking (or both)?
Price range, what compromises (there are always compromises)?

A modern , lightweight 3 person tent can be easily managed by two on a bush walk, but would cost significantly more than most basic tents ( Coleman, Black Wolf etc). If looking for lightweight but on a budget, don't overlook newer brands like Nature hike (yes, Chinese, but most f the more expensive tents are made there).

Best advice here is go to one of the specialist shops (Paddy Pallin, Scouts, etc.). They may not eventually have the tent you want but you'll get good advice).

Cheers, Mark
AnswerID: 638631

Reply By: Member - shane r1 - Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021 at 07:36

Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021 at 07:36
I agree with Mark’s comments
Buy cheap ,that way you get to use the tent and you’ll work out what attributes work for you. You could spend a heap on something and not suit your purpose. What’s good for one person may not suit everyone.
I’ve done this with various things over the years. I might buy a cheap tool and if I use it a lot when it’s stuffed I get a quality replacement.
Good luck nothing like camping with kids
AnswerID: 638633

Reply By: Chris J16 - Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021 at 08:08

Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021 at 08:08
Hi Peter
My two cents worth assuming you are car camping
I find canvas tents warmer, generally hardier with tougher floors than synthetic tents
Downside they are heavier and bulky and take longer to dry.
I have a larger southern cross canvas tent 25 years old and still in perfect condition
Also have a Oxtrail tourer 9 which l use more often but is a budget canvas tent quick to erect you can stand up in it, sleeps two adults easily with room for gear, would do two adults and two children
They cost about $300 at present
When I was in Scouts we had large ex army canvas tents with no floors and poles we had to
cut down three saplings one for a ridge pole and the other two as vertical pole’s lashed to the ridge pole then dig a trench around the tent to stop water flowing in. Imagine doing that today at a campground cutting down three trees and digging a trench on a tent site.
CJ
AnswerID: 638634

Reply By: Member - peter_mcc - Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021 at 08:51

Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021 at 08:51
Everyone is going to have a different idea of what is best. You haven't given enough info to really answer the question but I've assumed you're car camping in normal weather (so some rain but you're not camping in the snow).

My thoughts below based on being a Cub Scout leader and being responsible for the camping gear. We've taken the approach of really cheap tents because the payback period for a higher quality one isn't worth it (in my view). We protect the tent floor by putting a tarp down first - this stops sticks and rocks putting holes in the floor.

We've had a bunch of Tasman 4V Plus tents since 2017 and they are doing well. I think we've busted one pole but that was done while drying them - we tipped them on their sides to dry the base and the way we did it over stressed the poles on one.

Our Scout group also has some higher quality tents but they tend to suffer from broken zips well before the rest of the tent breaks.


Something like an Oztrail Tasman 4V Plus isn't bad. They are cheap - $150. They say they sleep 4 but 3 is more comfortable. They have a large covered vestibule for "stuff" and so you can get in without getting the tent part wet. Plus if you leave the door open the water doesn't drip into the tent (a problem with Cubs who don't shut the tents - I've seen whole tents flooded because some designs let the water run straight inside). They are pretty simple to put up but really need 2 people - one person to hold the poles in position while the inner is clipped on. Yes, you can do it single handed but it's harder and stresses the poles more.

https://www.tentworld.com.au/buy-sale/oztrail-tasman-4v-plus-dome-tent

I'd spend a bit more to buy a canvas bag to put it in. The standard bag is a bit tight and not very strong so unless you are super careful it will break. Something like this:

https://www.tentworld.com.au/buy-sale/tentworld-50l-canvas-duffle-bag-grey

I'd also recommend buying a cheap canvas tarp to put under the tent to protect the base. A 2.1 x 2.7m one will go under the sleeping area and a bit under the vestibule.

And some of the clip together foam mats (about 1m x 1m) to cover the vestibule floor. Aldi has them on special sometimes.
AnswerID: 638636

Reply By: qldcamper - Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021 at 17:11

Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021 at 17:11
Take a leaf rake, best bit of gear we carry.
Not only will you get holes but cut, splintered feet and you get to see if there are any ants around too.
AnswerID: 638640

Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Thursday, Nov 18, 2021 at 09:41

Thursday, Nov 18, 2021 at 09:41
Understand where you are coming from, but a bit difficult to do if hiking.

Macca.
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Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Thursday, Nov 18, 2021 at 10:36

Thursday, Nov 18, 2021 at 10:36
For lightweight useable accommodation this Black Wolf 'Wasp' is what I used for years on my motorcycle travels & pleased to see they are still available. Packs up very compactly, and importantly has two entrances an two 'vestibules' for storing stuff out of the rain. Quality of mine was high. Had a lot of use & nothing broke, tore or ripped. If I could still get up & down off the ground like I could when younger I'd have it in our 4wd with us, as an occasional alternative to our Tvan.

This will take two adults. Squeezy, but the 'vestibule' spaces make a lot of difference. Also good airflow in hot weather with the two doors. We have also just used the inner tent alone in hot dry weather.

https://www.snowys.com.au/wasp-ul-2-hiking-tent

I might add that I don't really agree with buying cheap when it comes to tents. I don't think doing so will tell you what you want, more so it tell you what you don't want, like cheap zips which fail on wet nights to make camping miserable. Whatever you buy, look at both quality & design. Personally I think the Wasp scores highly in both of those areas. Money saved at purchase is not worth anything when you are needing a good nights sleep in the pouring rain & a tent that has let you down. IMHO the cheapie tents only have a market among fair weather campers where a broken zip is not a big deal.
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Reply By: Member - BenKFNQ - Friday, Nov 19, 2021 at 14:01

Friday, Nov 19, 2021 at 14:01
There are quite a lot of cheaper tents that will do the job you want. I wouldn't spend too much (as already mentioned) particularly while your kids work out whether they want to continue camping or not.

Three features I look for are:
a) a design with two simple cross over poles - this means that you can often get away without having to need pegs.
b) a design with some shelter over the entrance that prevents rain getting on your bedding when entering / exiting, and;
c) good ventilation to help deal with condensation.

Having a waterproof fly over a mozzie mesh type tent isn't a bad way of going.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" - Charles Darwin

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AnswerID: 638653

Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Nov 22, 2021 at 16:16

Monday, Nov 22, 2021 at 16:16
" this means that you can often get away without having to need pegs."

I never set up a tent without pegging it down. Every time I see someone do it, they have grief.
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Follow Up By: Member - BenKFNQ - Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021 at 16:43

Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021 at 16:43
Been doing it for years Frank. It works well if weather is fine and you are just overnighting or short staying.

I wouldn't be going without pegs if camped up for a week or leaving camp unattended, but I've found it handy to be able to do it all the same.

A mattress and bedding and bit of gear generally mean the tent stays where you put it.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" - Charles Darwin

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Nov 29, 2021 at 12:16

Monday, Nov 29, 2021 at 12:16
Must be me that attracts the wind, BenKFNQ. LOL

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Reply By: desray (WA - Sunday, Nov 28, 2021 at 21:18

Sunday, Nov 28, 2021 at 21:18
get some swags ..
AnswerID: 638720

Reply By: Peter N25 - Friday, Dec 03, 2021 at 20:57

Friday, Dec 03, 2021 at 20:57
G'day Peter, there are many factors to consider in regards to the tent quality, packed size, weight and erected dimensions. Do you want to be able to stand in the tent? = larger packed size tent to carry or transport. Do you intend hiking with the tent or are you looking for a touring tent?
Decisions to be made.
In my experience I have found Snowys and Tentworld very helpful. Very fast delivery with both.
Trying to get assistance at an Anaconda or BCF store .... good luck! I have found BCF prices generally more expensive. I zeroed in on the touring tent I wanted for my needs which was a Coleman Northern Light 4P and found one NEW in unopened box for $80 less than best retail price. Good luck.
AnswerID: 638767

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