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avalmez's avatar

Tent campers: what specific 6-person tent would you recommend for city folks?

Asked by avalmez (1611points) May 8th, 2009

for some reason, i have a yearning for roughing it out this year. getting out in the great outdoors, and hopefully enjoying some fresh air.

but, i am a totally inexperienced camper and i have no idea what kind of tent i should buy.

there are 3–4 of us so am thinking a 6-person tent. tub floor, rain fly, vestibule attachment..beyond that, i could find myself at a hotel before nights end. any recommendations?

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20 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

An air mattress will make people happier. Definitely.
Coleman products are what you want.

avalmez's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic yep, air mattresses defintely going on the list, thanks for that

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Other things you may want to consider are a camp shower and an unfolding portable shade

Darwin's avatar

I prefer dome tents because they are easier to put up and don’t depend on getting some sort of stake or tent peg into ground that might be pure rock, all sand, or mud.

A six-person dome tent is about right for three to four people as long as all you want to do in the tent is sleep.

avalmez's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic yes, showering and etc have been a concern. am thinking to start, need to camp out at a developed camp ground. camp shower will go on the list for sure anyways (i’m shy)

avalmez's avatar

@darwin no stake or pegs would be good…dome tent…thanks!

YARNLADY's avatar

Ask the camp supply store in your area. They are trained in the variety of choices that are available for the different needs of the customer. It entirely depends on where you are going, how long you will stay, how many people you have, and such.

I have a very nice two room tent for taking my grandsons camping, for privacy. They use inflatable mats to sleep on, and they like sleeping bags. I don’t like bags, so I take my sheets and blankets which fit the inflatable bed that I use. I have an air pump that fills the inflatables (including the water rafts they use)by plugging in the cigarette lighter. Our van has several accessory plugs to use.

Tents come in so many sizes and endurance levels that you have to do a lot of research. I got one I could conceivably put up by myself, since I used to take the boys by myself.

avalmez's avatar

@YARNLADY thanks! i will definitely consult camp supply store. power has been a big question for me. i have a f-150 truck and think i can harness it for power. other than that, developed camp grounds offer power, right? what are alternatives to developed camp grounds as i think some developed grounds (e.g. KOA) are like parking lots, you know?

Darwin's avatar

The other thing to consider is that many campgrounds also have cabins – that way you don’t even have to buy a tent, although you might still need the air mattresses and so on.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@avalmez Some facilities have showers but part of the fun is being away from all those amenities. Bathrooms are a must though. I’m not into Survivorman style camping. Camp shower is cool because you just pour out the cooler water into the bag and then you leave it in the sun all day because one side is black and heats up the water. Nail that to a tree and you’re in warm water for a good few minutes.

Just stay away from the KOA. You’ll thank me.
If the only places you stay are KOA, you’ll hate camping.

Also get something called “Camp Suds”. Biodegradable soap basically. Your average bar soap is really bad for the water.

avalmez's avatar

@darwin thanks for that, but i have have done the cabin thing and while it was fun, i’d like to go a step further. if i don’t find a tent solution i’m comfortable with, cabin it may have to be the way to go.

avalmez's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic yes, being green about this would be important as well…biodegradable suds (as well as suds for entertainment!) on the list

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

When I camp it’s after a long hike into the mountains to a pristine snow-melt lake. Because of the hike we carry super light one man tents and food that isn’t heavy on our backs or our stomachs. Showers are a swim in the icy cold lake. To me you aren’t really camping until you’re ready to give up the comforts of home and actually rough it.

For that reason I can’t relate. All the bells and whistles of a fancy tent are unnecessary. It need only keep you dry, separated from biting insects and spiders, and be capable of physically containing everyone. Anything else is superfluous, imho.

There’s nothing quite like being in a wilderness.. far from all the troubles of the world. No signs of humanity beyond your campsite. Just you, whoever else survived the hike, and a lazy campfire. I wish I was camping right this minute.

Darwin's avatar

Actually, most recently I simply camped in the open air. There was no risk of rain and I could dress in my sleeping bag, so all I needed was a flat spot and a tarp to keep the damp and the bugs out of the bag.

However, my kids can’t abide sleeping without a “roof” over their heads.

avalmez's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater thanks and your perspective sounds real cool…hopefully i will graduate to the same perspective some day soon. for now, thanks for your response

ru2bz46's avatar

Oh, @NaturalMineralWater, that is the way to go. I’m going on a short 6–7 mile hike tomorrow with a group. I’m packing my little daypack, and eyeing my 2–3 day pack in the closet. I want to take off for the whole weekend, bathe in the lake, and sleep on the ground like @Darwin. Oh well, deer season is only a couple months away. I’ll take care of responsibilities for now…

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@Darwin I would also do open air if it weren’t for the lovely mosquitos . That’s really the only thing the tent does for me that a tarp doesn’t. We’ve built our own shelters before too which was fun. Unfortunately my kids are still too young to make the hike. But one day soon they’ll be up there with me.

@avalmez I didn’t grow up in a city so it’s hard for me to walk in your shoes for a day. To me a city is a much more daunting place than a mountain with some trees on it. People are far more vicious a predator than any old brown bear. =)

@ru2bz46 Take me with you.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’ve stayed in camps all over California, and parts of Colorado in just about every kind of weather, but I have usually stayed in minimal services camp sites, with showers and bathrooms with in walking distance of the site.

I have also stayed in so-called wilderness sites, with only outhouse, no water or other amenities, for a few days. I have not seen campgrounds that allow tents and also have electrical hook ups. Those are usually reserved for RV’s.

As a tour planner, I visited many different KOA’s, and they are all very different. Some are just like staying in a parking lot, but most are well laid out, with RV’s on one side, and tenting on a different side. The advantage of KOA and the like is the swimming pools.

Darwin's avatar

The KOA nearest us is a very nice place to camp. I don’t know what the RV section is like because I have never bothered to head down that road, but the cabins are nice and well-screened, the tent sites have a great view of the lake, and on holidays the manager and his wife set up a pot luck event at the main office for anyone resident at the time.

I am sure some KOAs aren’t as nice, but I haven’t seen any much nicer than this one.

On another note: in Arizona we tended to go to wilderness sites because the idiots mostly wanted to be where there were flush toilets. But one time we were ensconced at one such site and already in our sleeping bags, planning to get up early the next morning, when the idiot next to us decided he needed more firewood. He fired up his chain saw.

It is a very good thing for him it wasn’t hunting season. There might have been an “accident.”

RedPowerLady's avatar

If you are inexperienced and want to be comfortable I recommend tall tents and square rather than dome. It is more like “home”.

I also reccomend a fly tent. It isn’t a tent buy it is extra covered space. You can take your shoes off in that area and such so you aren’t tracking it in your tent.

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