Have you looked at any of the Sierra Designs line? It's been years since I've used one, but we did get a bunch of Clip Flashlights to outfit a Scout troop a couple of years back, and they're working out very well.
It's also been years since I've used any Eureka tents, but they were excellent quality the last time I did.
Both lines are somewhat heavier than I prefer to carry now, but as long as weight isn't critical (and, despite what a lot of us choose for ourselves, it usually isn't) Eureka or Sierra Designs are economical and viable backpacking choices. I can't provide any input about those particular models, but I do know that I'd probably choose Eureka over Coleman.
1) the original post doesn't say where they (since 2P tent wanted) are hiking. I like the Tarptents' quality and ingenuity, but have found that, in the heat and humidity of Ohio summers, they are not as comfortable as the mesh inner of a tent like the MSR Hubba/CR or Big Agnes Seedhouse/Fly Creek/Emerald Mountain/Copper Spur. In late fall through early spring, they do fine here, and you could probably make do with them the rest of the time, but they're not my first choice. (And that is a personal preference, not an objective condemnation of the product.)
2)The original poster did not indicate whether the $100 price point was a deal-breaker. I didn't consider it a firm ceiling when I recommended Sierra Designs, and I know it's a good bit lower than a TarpTent.
But I agree - TarpTent is definitely a brand to consider.
Have you tried looking at the REI Clearance Section online? If you haven't signed up for their emails, you can, and should then get a coupon good for 15% off; members also just received an online coupon good for 30%. The Mystique 2 is going for around $130, before coupon; it's a good intro tent at a fair price. A friend has one and it's nice - well made and functional. My first BPing tent was their Mystique 1 - I liked it. They're technically not on the light side (4-5lbs), but reasonable for the price point and REI's return policy can be a good thing. REI clearance backpacking tents
I've 'heard' good things about Eureka, but have returned several tents myself and know many more that have, too. Quality seems to be hit or miss.
Henry Shires' TarpTents are great pieces of kit, but unless you find one used, you won't get close to your $100 mark.
A good point was brought up: where will you be doing the majority of your hiking? In what season(s)?
Don't do anything until billstephenson chimes in! He'll have some great recommendations - that's his neighborhood, and he doesn't spend recklessly - may even have some ideas none of us have thought of.
You might check these REI-brand tents out - their stuff is usually as good or better than Sierra Designs. The three person tent for $100 doesn't look bad; a tad heavy at 5 pounds, but roomy; maybe heavier than many of us would carry, but that doesn't mean it can't be carried. Also, I'm not sure whether the fly is full-coverage in the back - if it is, you'd just have to be sure to pitch the back into the wind/rain, since the front isn't full coverage. If the back wall is not full-length, you might have some trouble in a God-hates-hikers, full-out windblown rain - but it should handle the normal rain you're likely to encounter.
I really appreciate the help! I have looked at numerous tents and I cannot get the Coleman Cadence out of my head. It is under $100, it is the largest at 90'' by 60'', weighs 4lbs 7oz, and has a full mesh body with full cover fly. I'm new to backpacking but have camped my whole life and always had good experiences with Coleman tents. Their Weathertech system hasn't failed me yet.
I really appreciate all the help! I have researched numerous tents and I cannot get the Coleman Cadence out of my head. It is under $100, it is the largest at 90'' by 60'', weighs 4lbs 7oz, and has a full mesh body with a full fly. I'm new to backpacking but have camped my whole life and always had good experiences with Coleman tents. Their weathertech system hasnt failed me yet.
1) What time of year do you intend to use the tent in?
Reason I ask is that bug netting becomes a lot less important Oct-Apr than in May-Sept; and this influences your design preferences.
2) Who are you going to use the tent with (#people total) and do you intend to bring gear (pack, etc) in with you or leave it outside. This effects how big the tent needs to be. A four person tent can feel really empty with one person in it, and it's a pain getting your pack out of the freezing rain in the winter - better to have it inside.
I've used and liked Coleman and Eureka tents, and am starting to like my TarpTent. Many of the tents should really go on sale here in the fall/early winter...
I haven't been able to find a Coleman Cadence tent to look at what you are looking at. However, Eureka, Kelty, North Face, etc form the middle tier of tent manufacturers (in increasing cost order). Coleman is the top of the bottom tier. For a 2-3 person tent from these companies, 4lbs is light, 5lbs is average, and more than 6lbs is not abnormal. All are good tents; most need seamsealed, but they'll generally keep you dry and out of the bugs.
I really like the Eureka Timberline 2-man tent, but it's heavy; almost 6lbs. The Eureka Tetragon 5 (5x7 ft, old style) that I picked up 8 years ago did well for car camping, but it was 5-6lbs to get it up the hill. Ditto with the Eureka Sundome 7s the troop had in HI.
TarpTent is a specialty manufacturer that caters to the light/fast/thruhiking group. They will save you a lot of weight - my Rainshadow 2 (a three person tent) weighs 2.5 lbs. It cost $265, but it got 2.5-3lbs out of my pack, and made it practical to take my 2nd child out on trips. I could have gone with a tarp (which would be lighter and probably simpler and lighter in fall/spring) but my wife wanted kids confined at night - probably a good call with how they roll around.
You've got three picks - any will probably work and keep you dry. If you want to flog the data a bit more, and keep your cost down to about $100, I'd go to the Campmor website, look at the 2-3 person tents, sort by price, and "compare" them. It sounds like you've got some preferences in design based on car camping experience.
A good alternative is to take whatever 2-3 person tent you already own out (you know what is weather worthy) and try it. After you've played for a while, you'll know how you really want to spend your $100, or if 5lbs is just too much. A big blue tarp (10x8 to 12x12) used in Fall/Spring conditions (no bugs/no snow) will do the same thing.
Try Ebay. I have one of these I bought new that we used one season for three or four trips. We have since added an 85 lb lab that made a three person tent a better choice. You should be able to pick one up in your price range. The last one sold for $93.00. It only weighs 4lbs 8 oz http://cgi.ebay.com/REI-Sub-Alpine-Ultra...=item20bb582aa1 If you can't pick one up, and want one, let me know I could probably part with of my tents. With my big old dog, I probably won't go back to a two person again.
The Coleman exponent Cadence that I'm looking at is essentially the Coleman Hooligan 2 only smaller and half the weight. That REI sub alpine looks pretty good. Unfortunately my girlfriend might have already bouGht the Cadence. It's a birthday present for me. If she did already get it, I'm sure it will work fine and if not I can always sell it and get something else. If she hasn't bought it, I might try to get that REI sub alpine. The weight looks good and it has good reviews. I mainly just want something that has room, won't leak, and doesn't weigh 6 lbs or more!
After reading many many tent reviews and seeing that many people were saying Coleman's higher end Exponent line of tents ranks up there with brands such as REI and Sierra Designs, I decided to go with the Coleman Exponent Cadence. I was trying to get the REI Sub Alpine but it was just a bit outside of my price range. The Cadence came in yesterday and after setting it up this morning I have to say I am very impressed and think I found a great tent that fits my needs. If anyone has seen the Coleman Hooligan 2 tent, the Cadence is a better quality, smaller version of the Hooligan. The Cadence has a full mesh body with one large window and one large door with a decent size vestibule. It is 90in by 60in and very roomy for 2 people. The size was one of the main selling points for me. It came with a full rainfly that clips into the tent with side clips and has just one aluminum pole. The tent also came with some nice thick aluminum stakes and the guy lines are reflective so you can see them better in the dark. It packs down very nice and on my scales weighed 4lbs 7oz. if you havnt got the chance to see Coleman's Exponent line of gear I would highly suggest just taking a look. Thanks to everyone for your input, I have learned alot.
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