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#186287 - 07/25/14 02:48 PM UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 717
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Even though this is a tent question, I'm posting here instead of the light gear section for reasons that will become clear. A friend of mine has asked my help picking out a tent, and I know he's not going to want to spend much money on it at all, so light weight is out the door (the same reason I made mine of plastic). I know he could use a tarp and still get by cheap and light, but I think it would be cruel on my part to leave him exposed to the mosquitoes. He'll be wanting something that sleeps at least two and maybe as many as four. Are there certain things he should look for in a department store type tent, or is it pretty much one's as good as the other at this level?

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#186288 - 07/25/14 03:06 PM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: 4evrplan]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1507
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Not really sure I'd use the word "good"...

What about Eureka or REI's house brands?


Edited by Glenn Roberts (07/25/14 03:07 PM)

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#186290 - 07/25/14 05:26 PM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: 4evrplan]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2802
Loc: NorCal
For some reason this reminds me of the guy in the checkout line at Costco with a tent and two Costco-sized jugs of vodka. Best. Camping. Trip. Ever.

All I can suggest are a few dividing lines: Fiberglass or aluminum poles? Steel or aluminum stakes? Woven plastic "blue tarp" or coated nylon fabric floor?

There are bargains and then there is throwing your money away on a one-time-use shelter.
_________________________
--Rick

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#186291 - 07/25/14 05:56 PM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: Rick_D]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 717
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Well he said he doesn't want to spend any more than $100 (which is more than I was thinking, but I'm a cheapskate). So I guess that's right on the edge of better but also heavier tents. I told him to shop online (REI, Campmor, etc), but I think he really wants to buy local. About the best we have around here is Academy. I've been furiously googling to see what the trusted brands are, and I'm getting a feel of what to look for (Eureka, Kelty, select Coleman, etcetera).

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#186293 - 07/25/14 06:01 PM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: 4evrplan]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6518
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
He needs to (1) make sure he can return the tent and (2) test it in his (or a borrowed) backyard with a hose to be sure it doesn't leak, before taking the tent on any trips.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#186294 - 07/25/14 08:30 PM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: OregonMouse]
bluefish Offline
member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 678
The one thing a cheap tent won't stand is wind. The cheapo Colemans and Eureka's seem to fold up at about 30 mph. I camp and fish a lot on the coast and after a good wind comes up, lots of the campground is flattened and the dumpsters are filled with Wally World tents. He may be way better off using a tarp and some netting and a bit of practice setting up. Used, would be another option. I guess it doesn't matter if you're not going in to anywhere more than a mile or 2 from the road, but after that cheap can get very uncomfortable. He'd be better off staying small, like no more than a 2 man. 100 bucks for a 4 person is really pushing the envelope.
_________________________
Charlie

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#186357 - 07/30/14 09:37 AM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: Rick_D]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 717
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
After a bit more research (AKA reading a ton of forum threads), I've seen that the ability to keep water from soaking through can be an issue with $100- tents. It seems like most of them use 800mm fabric for the fly and floor. When I picture a piece of fabric holding back 800mm of water in a lab, that seems like it'd be plenty, but what do you guys think? What should be the minimum? 450mm? 800mm? 1500mm? Does anyone have anecdotal evidence for how these different ratings perform in the real world?

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#186364 - 07/30/14 02:19 PM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: 4evrplan]
PEARL DRUMS Offline
member

Registered: 09/18/13
Posts: 42
Loc: Central Michigan
Not to mention one-time use zippers, ripped stake loops and no high wind tie downs. Kelty makes some decent 1-2 person tents in $150 range that wont let you get wet and wont crap out on the first set up.

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#186365 - 07/30/14 02:45 PM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: PEARL DRUMS]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 717
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By PEARL DRUMS
Not to mention one-time use zippers, ripped stake loops and no high wind tie downs. Kelty makes some decent 1-2 person tents in $150 range that wont let you get wet and wont crap out on the first set up.


From all my reading and comparing, I was thinking either the Kelty Grand Mesa 2 or the Eureka! Amari Pass would be a good fit for him. They're a bit more than he wanted to spend, but only a bit, and they're highly regarded. Plus, I figure if he wants to accommodate four people at some point, he can just get another of the same.

All this window shopping has got me wanting to buy one for myself. I just have to convince the misses. grin

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#186367 - 07/30/14 03:48 PM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: 4evrplan]
dylansdad77 Offline
member

Registered: 03/12/14
Posts: 158
Loc: New Jersey
I picked up a Koppen Maelstrom 2 at Dick's Sporting Goods for $80 (on sale from $100). It will sleep 2 medium sized adults (in the spooning position!) but it offers a decent sized vestibule for gear storage. The drawback is that is it not self-sustaining, i.e. requires stakes for proper set-up. However, it packs up small and at less than 5 lbs makes it a decent light/cheap option. Like you said, your friend could always pick another one up down the road.
_________________________
Did you know that 83.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

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#186369 - 07/30/14 05:26 PM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: dylansdad77]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 717
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
It doesn't look like the Maelstrom is available anymore. That may be why you were able to get a deal.

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#186384 - 07/31/14 04:36 PM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: 4evrplan]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
amazon: ledge tent

I bought some ledge tents for my scouts a few years back. I bought the 3 person recluse at 6 lbs. I split it 3 ways so 2 lbs per person. Anyways, they have held up really well, and is some stiff wind, snow, and heavy rain.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#186386 - 07/31/14 05:14 PM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: 4evrplan]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3915
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
For cheap tents I'm a fan of Coleman's stuff. I feel they've always been a pretty good value.

Here's what they have now.
_________________________
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"You want to go where?"



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#186388 - 07/31/14 05:53 PM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: billstephenson]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 717
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Bill, I'm not super impressed with Coleman's current offerings. I like the look of the Cadence 2 (not in their line up anymore but still available new from online retailers), but the fly material supposedly soaks through on that one. The only backpacking tents I see with a full fly in their current line up are the Hooligans, which are similar to the Cadence in design and cost, but are heavier, mostly because they use fiberglass poles, and the fabric is a 450mm fabric, half of the hydrostatic head of the fabric used in the Cadence, so theoretically, it would soak through even faster.

Everything I'm spouting is based on reviews I've read online, and I know that people sometimes give ridiculous reviews because they have unrealistic expectations or they're misusing the product. Maybe they look down on a product because they have an elitist attitude, even though they've never actually used the product. With that in mind, if people here can assure me a 450mm fabric or 800mm fabric will keep you dry, I'd be happy with that. But, cheap tents is all I've ever had, and I know I've had some issues with them getting wet. Since my buddy has a bit more disposable income, I really don't want to steer him wrong. I want to make sure he ends up with something that will work well in any conditions he might encounter and will last for years. If I were buying it myself, I might be willing to make a few compromises, knowing I could modify the tent to overcome any potential shortcomings. For example, I wouldn't mind a bit sewing on extra guy line loops. I've never done it, but I'm sure I could figure out how to spray on extra water resistant coating. My friend on the other hand, will not do any DIY; he's just not that kind of guy. So, the tent needs to be ready to use straight out of the box.

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#186406 - 08/02/14 09:02 PM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: 4evrplan]
SC Forester Offline
member

Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 27
Loc: SC
I have the Grand mesa 2 and think itís a solid tent, but I think that is heavy and small for a two person tent. I use it when I take my wife, I donít mind being close and with her its short and easy hikes so the weight is not an issue. I also have had good experience with REI brand tents but like the Grand masa there heavy. For about the same price you could look at the Skyscape Scout by Six Moon for only $125 @ only 34 ounces minus poles.

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#186430 - 08/04/14 09:36 AM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: SC Forester]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 717
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By SC Forester
I have the Grand mesa 2 and think itís a solid tent, but I think that is heavy and small for a two person tent. I use it when I take my wife, I donít mind being close and with her its short and easy hikes so the weight is not an issue. I also have had good experience with REI brand tents but like the Grand masa there heavy. For about the same price you could look at the Skyscape Scout by Six Moon for only $125 @ only 34 ounces minus poles.


The Skyscape Scout looks like a great solo option. Unfortunately, it has to sleep at least two. Plus, saying it's 34 ounces is a bit misleading, or at the very least not comparing apples to apples, because a) the stakes aren't included and b) you either have to carry trekking poles or purchase tent poles separately. Under different circumstances, I think the Scout would be a really great option, and it's really affordable for what it is!

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#186431 - 08/04/14 09:45 AM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: 4evrplan]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 717
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By 4evrplan
All this window shopping has got me wanting to buy one for myself. I just have to convince the misses. grin


Mission accomplished. My friend went with the Grand Mesa 2 (four pounds even for a buck 25 + tax), and I just ordered an Amari Pass 3 for my family (just shy of five pounds). And as far as convincing the misses - it was actually her idea! I think she just really hated the homemade tent. I'm going to test it out on my car camping trip this weekend, if it gets here on time.

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#186434 - 08/04/14 10:20 AM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: finallyME]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 717
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By finallyME
amazon: ledge tent

I bought some ledge tents for my scouts a few years back. I bought the 3 person recluse at 6 lbs. I split it 3 ways so 2 lbs per person. Anyways, they have held up really well, and is some stiff wind, snow, and heavy rain.


Overstock has this tent for $88.20, but it's currently out of stock.

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#186442 - 08/04/14 05:43 PM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: 4evrplan]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
There is a local store here that used to sell them for $99. I bought 4 and the scouts have tried to break them. I have only had to do a few minor repairs with stake loops.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#186451 - 08/05/14 10:53 AM Re: UC (Ultra Cheap) Tent [Re: 4evrplan]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 717
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
My tent just shipped and is supposed to get here on Thursday. Man, I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. I feel like a kid on Christmas eve.

One side note: The way the tent is built, the fly doesn't attach directly to the poles. Instead, it has buckles that clip to the tent body, so if I'm understanding everything right, you can't "past-pack" without the matching footprint. The website said fast-packing was an option, but I haven't seen the footprint available for sale anywhere. Of course, I probably wouldn't spend my money on it anyway, but I'm thinking of making one. As soon as I can, I think I'll go down to Lowes and see if they have any scrap Tyvek (their lumber is shipped in it). If so, I'll add some webbing and gromets for the the poles to attach to, and buckles for the fly to clip to.

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