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Re: Tent advice needed

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Tent advice needed
June 24, 2008 12:50PM
We usually go up to Tuolumne campground every other year. Since about
1980. Still using the same old canvas 14X10 tent. We usually take the
required tarps, since it always rains when we are there. One year it
snowed in August.
Question is most of the affordable 6 person tents I see have no flaps on
windows like ours. Just a rainfly covering the windows. The tents range
is $100 to 120. Most have huge vents on top and seem drafty.
Since it can drop below 30 degrees, it seems lile our old canvas tent with
aluminum poles offers more cold protection. All the windows have flaps.

Are the new tents worth the money, since ours it just dirty and works fine.
Fits two queen size air mats with room to spare. I have been looking at
Coleman 6 person tents and Wenzel. But they just seem too lightweight
for 8000 feet up.

Any advice appreciated.
avatar Re: Tent advice needed
June 24, 2008 01:33PM
This one is on sale at Target this week. It's only sold at Target. I can't tell if there's a zippered window on the door.

http://www.target.com/Coleman-Bayside-7-Person-Tent/dp/B0008FV0ME



Re: Tent advice needed
June 24, 2008 03:51PM
We've been using modern nylon tents for camping and backpacking for years now, in rain, snow and heat, and they work just fine. They keep us generally drier than the canvas tents ever did!





Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
avatar Re: Tent advice needed
June 24, 2008 04:19PM
bpnjensen wrote:

> We've been using modern nylon tents for camping and backpacking
> for years now, in rain, snow and heat, and they work just fine.
> They keep us generally drier than the canvas tents ever did!

Of course good design and quality materials/construction does matter. A bathtub floor with seam-sealed coated nylon doesn't cost that much if you consider using a tent over the course of several years.

I've got a cheap store-brand tent. Supposedly has a waterproof floor (tarp like), but the first time I tried it without using a ground cover underneath. Small twigs managed to poke their way through the gaps in the material. I eventually got a polyethylene ground cover and I figure it gives a tiny bit more water resistance. I think if it ever rains on that tent, I'm going to find a wet floor no matter how much they claim it's waterproof.

This summer I'm going to be camping with a fairly nice "3 person" backpacking tent. Perhaps it's overkill for car camping, but I figure the quality will generally be superior to most discount/sporting goods store tents and it should take up less weight/space in the trunk when packed.

Re: Tent advice needed
June 24, 2008 10:35PM
I remember our old canvas tents from way back, poles of baseball-bat thickness, and canvas that smelled of creosote, though I seriously doubt yours is that old.

For non-backpacking tents, some of the prefs I've developed over time:

A roomy tent, or two if necessary. Forget putting 6 people in a tent that "sleeps 6" 8^). Getting caught in a middle of the night rainstorm is a lot more pleasant if you don't have things or people crammed against the sides, which can cause leak problems. I want to be able to get off the air mattress(es) and be able to get dressed comfortably. So that means a decent center height (nice if you can stand up when you want to).

Some newer tents, as you mentioned, have screened windows all around, some without closures, and depend on the rainfly for both privacy and shelter. I didn't like the idea when I first saw it, however I've found that the tents stay dry inside...no condensation in the mornings, and even bedding stays drier, I guess because of better air exchange. So instead of being colder because of air circulation, you're actually warmer. Tents tight enough to block air circulation will be wet inside on a cold morning, even with roof vents. I've used mine down to about 18 degrees and in rain and snow with good results...nothing beats that rain sound in the middle of the night when you're secure and dry.

Coleman tents aren't too pricey, and I've had really good results with their newer ones at staying dry inside in a storm (I generally use a plastic tarp underneath to protect the floor). No doubt many other brands do as well or better though, just make sure the floor wraps around from the bottom, and the rainfly covers adequately. I guess a big tarp and rope is still nice insurance to have along, in case you get in one of those 3-4 day storms, but usually not needed. One thing I appreciate about Coleman tents is they give you a bag that it actually fits back in once it's been used the first time 8^).

A few other things I do for staying comfortable when "car" camping...in cooler seasons I bring a small 'Sportsman' propane catalytic heater, which uses very little fuel, and is just enough for a few minutes in the morning to get dressed and washed up by (I like to avoid campfires and that heater feels really nice on cold mornings). I also have a small bathroom-type carpet, maybe 3'x4', that feels a lot better to stand or sit on than the tent floor.

Anyway, don't be afraid of the newer lighter tents, you'll probably find that you're actually warmer and drier than in the canvas tent, and they sure are nicer to haul around.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
Re: Tent advice needed
June 25, 2008 02:54PM
Thanks to all.
I am going to keep the old tent. None of the current 3 season tents on sale
from Coleman and Wenzel fit the bill for Tuolumne Meadows. Mine isn't some heavy duty canvas and the poles are really lightweight. Takes me
20 minutes to put up, Fits two queen air mattresses, and a twin. with
room for stuff since it is a rectangle, not dome
I just don't like the idea of all mesh roofs and no covers on the windows.
Not with the weather up there. Gets too darn cold sometimes.
My 12X24 tarp works fine when those black clouds come along
Its funny but even the Kelty tent owners have tarps suspended over
there tents up there. At least those that no what they are doing.

Dave
avatar Re: Tent advice needed
July 06, 2008 05:26PM
We used our nice Eddie Bauer tent that we always enjoy camping in the Valley with and it was freakin cold when we used it in TM! We had out 40 degree sleeping bags with blankets, thermals, sweats, etc and it was very cold. Body was warm but face was way too cold. Our tent is a screen tent with a tarp that goes over it. It worked great in the valley all last week but too cold for TM. We had nice size hail while we were there but luckily the inside did not get wet. You canvas tent might just be the way to go!

avatar Re: Tent advice needed
July 06, 2008 10:03PM
>We had out 40 degree sleeping bag

Those are for slumber parties. Get something real. winking smiley

Re: Tent advice needed
July 07, 2008 09:06AM
All of our bags are rated for 20 degrees for TM just to be sure. It did get that cold about 7 years ago. A lot of people packed up and left the
next day. Mostly those with little kids or even babies. First time campers
up there don't realize how the weather can change.

It was real nice and quiet with less people around the next day.

avatar Re: Tent advice needed
July 07, 2008 09:53AM
eeek wrote:

> >We had out 40 degree sleeping bag
>
> Those are for slumber parties. Get something real. winking smiley

I did fine with a 40 degree backpacking sleeping bag. Of course I added poly layers and I rather prefer it to be cool.

tmcamper wrote:

> All of our bags are rated for 20 degrees for TM just to be
> sure. It did get that cold about 7 years ago. A lot of people
> packed up and left the
> next day. Mostly those with little kids or even babies. First
> time campers
> up there don't realize how the weather can change.

The ratings for different bags are a crapshoot, even among the same manufacturer. I had one 30 degree rated bag that I thought was warmer than another 20 degree bag. In any case, one can prepare for these differences with something simple like extra layers and polyester fleece covers that slip over sleeping bags.

I thought that the biggest difficulty with camping in the snow is that 3-season tents might sag (or even collapse) under the stress of too much snow falling overnight.

Re: Tent advice needed
July 07, 2008 10:40PM
y_p_w wrote:
> The ratings for different bags are a crapshoot, even among the
> same manufacturer.

With an untested bag, I usually figure they mean you can survive at that temperature with a closed-cell pad underneath, wearing socks and sweats with your head covered tightly, and if you want to be comfortable, add another blanket 8^).

I suppose the high-end bags are more reliable for rated temperatures, but I may never find out. I like roomy bags too, which doesn't help for warmth, but sure feels better.

Those cheapie fleece blankets can work wonders if you find out your bag doesn't cut it at the temperature you're stuck with. They have to be INSIDE the bag though, throwing it over the outside does nothing, but inside helps a lot.

A roomy flannel-lined Coleman 10 degree bag is my favorite for most valley camping...using various combinations of the above sweats, socks, and fleece, it's good from warmish summer evenings to at least 15; I haven't tried it below 15 yet. Too heavy for backpacking, but nice otherwise.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Tent advice needed
July 07, 2008 05:40PM
eeek wrote:

> >We had out 40 degree sleeping bag
>
> Those are for slumber parties. Get something real. winking smiley
>

I know, but I am teacher and I only get to go to fun places during the summer months smiling smiley

Like Yellowstone and Grand Tetons in three weeks and Glacier in four winking smiley

avatar Re: Tent advice needed
July 07, 2008 05:45PM
Well, have fun in Yellowstone:



avatar Re: Tent advice needed
July 07, 2008 06:23PM
Yeah. Have a blast. ;-)



Re: Tent advice needed
July 07, 2008 07:26PM
Whoa! Nice Beehive shot. Wish I were there.
avatar Re: Tent advice needed
July 08, 2008 10:12AM
Strix wrote:

> Whoa! Nice Beehive shot. Wish I were there.

That's nothing. I saw Giant erupt. It was very loud and went off for almost 90 minutes. I was at the Upper Geyser Basin for less than 24 hours and saw Giant, Grand, and Beehive erupt within that time. Beehive was just the icing on the cake.

avatar Re: Tent advice needed
July 07, 2008 11:49PM
Great pictures! Thanks for sharing. I will have both "fun" and "a blast".

Robin
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