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Car Camping/Basecamp Tents?
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May 26, 2016
So I'm shopping around for a car camping tent because my backcountry double rainbow is taking a bit of a beating on climbing trips. Was hoping you'd guys have some recs/things to look for.

What I'm looking for:
  • Good ventilation, reasonably sturdy - generally only climbing in fair weather (no ice), so think front range. Should be able to handle some wind and storms, but trips are generally planned around fair weather. Summer temps need to be mitigated, bonus points if the fly vents/breathes well too.

  • Weight isn't an issue, until it is - While I won't be hiking with this thing I will be flying with it and stuffing it into economy rentals. So weight and pack size are definitely a consideration, maybe not a driving force. Also, NRG platforms are 10x10 - so that's my size limit.

  • Talllll - Standing or near standing height inside, what's the point if I still have to put my pants on laying down.

  • Cost - I'm hoping to hit around 300, which shouldn't be a problem with current sales.

  • Chillin - more bonus points if you can fit a chair under the vestibule and chill or even cook (backpacking stove) under it.

  • Privacy - not paramount, but would be cool for me and my partner to be able to change in private.

Of the tents I've looked at, I'm gunning for around 60 sq ft. floor space and over 60" head height. I'm only 5'11" and don't mind having to bend. But the taller the better.

Some I've found:

  • REI Kingdom 4: This thing seems like a palace. Having to buy the ground sheet separate is a bummer (but I'm learning that's kind of the norm). Windy condition performance seems to depend on who guys it out. Love the split room idea.

  • Marmot Limestone 4: more backpacky, better shitty weather performance. Lower standing height, but a more straightforward tent. Has sleeves though :( Tooonnns of ventilation, but much much less with the fly.

  • Big Agnes Chimney Creek 4 - This is one of those mtnglo tents, which is whatever. But it's got good height, 2 vestibules and good floor space. Can't find much on the tent itself though. Seems pretty cool. Also, 40% off. Awesome ventilation and nicely ventilated fly.

  • REI Basecamp - An REI standby, decent floorspace, decent room and decent ventilation no frills. REI backed.

Got anything else for me? Anything else I should consider?
Chris Reyes
Joined Nov 20, 2014
40 points
May 26, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Shucka Bra.
Chris Reyes wrote:
Got anything else for me? Anything else I should consider?


Zippers!

Most all modern tents from the big companies have woefully small zippers to shave weight so their tents look good in a catalog and the guy in the shop can tell you about how light the tent is. Use my tents a ton and have had the last 2 have problems with the zippers failing (of course always in mosquito season). Last tent I bought I tried to find one with some regular sized (more durable?) zippers but could not. The big agness failed after 2 seasons and when I tried to take it back for repair it was a huge pain in the ass...and I live in the town where the company is headquartered, was offering to pay for the repair and had a flexible time window.I don't like their gear at all really, it looks good in the catalogs but in the real world...lets just say I wouldn't take anything of theirs on an expedition. My nemo just failed last weekend and I am not looking forward trying to get the zipper replaced or repaired. I honestly think next time I'm getting a shitty coleman from walmart as those atleast have regular sized zippers.
Dustin B
From Steamboat
Joined Jan 29, 2006
1,533 points
May 26, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: bolt porn
Check out the big Agnes Wyoming trail. We have the Wyoming trail 4 as a family tent for four of us. But the two person. One looks awesome. Huge vestibule. bus driver
Joined Aug 16, 2009
723 points
May 26, 2016
Dustin B wrote:
Zippers!.


Good call! Definitely something I'll have to check out in store.

bus driver wrote:
heck out the big Agnes Wyoming trail. We have the Wyoming trail 4 as a family tent for four of us. But the two person. One looks awesome. Huge vestibule.


Actually the 4 looks pretty sweet. I guess when solo I can use one for gear, one for cooking and one for myself. With a partner, it seems pretty awesome - you get your own room (only the kingdom had something similar). It's a bit beyond my price range, but I'll poke around a bit more.
Chris Reyes
Joined Nov 20, 2014
40 points
May 26, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: yukon
I have the Big Agnes Chimney Creek 6 and love it. The mountain glow was a "meh" feature for me too but when you have it, it's really nice. Seth Jones
Joined Feb 17, 2015
39 points
May 26, 2016
I have used and reviewed A LOT of tents and honestly for a car camping tent you can go with some of the family friendly brands like Kelty, Eureka, REI, etc. and get a great car camping tent for not a lot of money. The quality of materials is usually up with the better brands, they just weigh more. My favorite car camping tent is a 3-4 person tent that weights about 10 lbs. fits 2 people and gear comfortably. I can't remember the brand, but it has been used around 100 times everywhere from desert rock and sand to rocky campgrounds on motorcycle touring trips, and is still going strong Ryan Hamilton
From Orem
Joined Aug 11, 2011
34 points
May 26, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: new selfie
Chris Reyes wrote:
Good call! Definitely something I'll have to check out in store. Actually the 4 looks pretty sweet. I guess when solo I can use one for gear, one for cooking and one for myself. With a partner, it seems pretty awesome - you get your own room (only the kingdom had something similar). It's a bit beyond my price range, but I'll poke around a bit more.


We just picked up BA Tensleep 6 and while we haven't used it yet it looks like a really nice tent for the money. We have a backpacking tent from BA and it's been a good tent so I expect the Tensleep will be as well. The Tensleep allows you to roll up the lower sections of the fly to get better airflow in good conditions without removing the fly.

If you're an AAC member you get discounts for some Big Agnes products through Promotive, think the Tensleep cost around $250 which isn't bad considering that's what we paid for a crappy Coleman that we tossed into the dumpster a couple of weeks ago in Zion.
Ralph Kolva
From Evergreen, CO
Joined Jun 5, 2006
271 points
May 26, 2016
Chris Reyes wrote:
* Marmot Limestone 4: more backpacky, better shitty weather performance. Lower standing height, but a more straightforward tent. Has sleeves though :( Tooonnns of ventilation, but much much less with the fly.


This has been the exclusive car camping tent for my wife and I for three years.

Easy to assemble/disassemble, very well vented (even with fly), handles heavy rains just fine, it's freaking enormous. Still looks new despite getting used ~20 times/year.

I really like it.
Eric G.
From Saratoga Springs, NY
Joined Apr 18, 2012
78 points
May 26, 2016
FWIW since this may be piling on...

We've got an ~8 year old REI basecamp variant that sleeps six (we've got 5 other tents for other extended- hiking/duration activities).

It's been to Maine, Alaska, Montana, Arizona (118F), etc...you get the picture. TSA hasn't treated it well, to boot.

Bomber. Sets up in maybe 2 minutes, even in gusty winds. Thought about getting a new one this Spring...nope, this one has taken a licking and keeps on ticking.

And, when you have a vehicle to carry it, the ability to fully stand up inside your tent is much appreciated by all parties.
yukonjack
Joined Mar 20, 2015
15 points
Administrator
May 26, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Artist Tears P3
The REI Basecamp has worked out well for us for all our car camping. Some years we do over 100 nights and the first one lasted about 6 or 7 years until UV damage finally destroyed it.

We purchased a replacement last year during one of the 20 percent sales and the new design is an improvement. When that one dies I'm sure we will get another one.
John McNamee
From Littleton, CO
Joined Jul 29, 2002
1,929 points
May 26, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style
Zippers are big deal to us, because we spend a lot of time in the desert. The sand just eats zippers. When I was shopping for a tent, I also looked for minimal mesh especially down low on the ground level - again thinking about camping in sandy environments.

This led me to Kelty Outfitter Pro tent - I don't remember if we ended up getting the 3 or 4 person version, but it's pretty roomy and we could almost stand up in it. I really like beefy zippers, that are not sewn at the ends, so you could easily change them in the field. The tent also comes with a field repair kit (zipper and poles). The poles are super thick sturdy too. Super easy to pitch by yourself thanks to the clips (color coded I believe). And I love that the mesh is only at the top, so I don't end up in the sandbox on a windy spring day. amazon.com/Kelty-Outfitter-Pro...

I believe other tent manufacturers have similar models (something with a word "Outfitter" or "Guide" in the name) - designed for abuse especially by river guides. I think Kelty's was the most affordable at the time and also in stock when I was looking for a new tent.
doligo
Joined Sep 26, 2008
412 points
May 26, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Yosemite
Check out the TNF Kaiju 6. Amazing tent design with an enormous vestibule. Ryan Hex
Joined Sep 23, 2013
30 points
May 26, 2016
I dont recommend Big agnes. I used to love their brand but they are extremely overpriced for what you get. You can get the same quality tent from walmart for a tenth of the price, especially if you are looking at car camping tents. Kelty has been impressing me lately with all of their gear. Like others have said, buy a Big A tent if you want to look cool, or buy a cheaper tent and some extra cams. If you do go with a bigger brand like Big A or Marmot, check their outlet or clearance section. Usually there is a decent deal. Matt.H
Joined Apr 11, 2011
203 points
May 26, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: yukon
mattharon wrote:
I dont recommend Big agnes. I used to love their brand but they are extremely overpriced for what you get. You can get the same quality tent from walmart for a tenth of the price, especially if you are looking at car camping tents. Kelty has been impressing me lately with all of their gear. Like others have said, buy a Big A tent if you want to look cool, or buy a cheaper tent and some extra cams. If you do go with a bigger brand like Big A or Marmot, check their outlet or clearance section. Usually there is a decent deal.


I have to disagree with you.

Show me a tent that will keep you bone dry in a nasty storm for 1/10th of the price of BA. Sorry but I'm calling your bluff.

After camping through horrible storms in 2 different BA tents as well as several Walmart tents, you really do get what you pay for. That being said, I've always gotten at least 40% off retail on my BA stuff. Obviously you shouldn't pay retail for any top of the line gear.
Seth Jones
Joined Feb 17, 2015
39 points
May 26, 2016
Ryan Hex wrote:
Check out the TNF Kaiju 6. Amazing tent design with an enormous vestibule.


Actually went and walked inside the 4 today - It's enourmous. I'll have to check out reviews as I saw they were mixed, but it was definitely a really interesting tent.

Seth Jones wrote:
I have the Big Agnes Chimney Creek 6 and love it. The mountain glow was a "meh" feature for me too but when you have it, it's really nice.

Yea this one's riding high towards the top of my list (the 4 person). Awesome head height, spacious but reasonably sized for a 4 person. And it's on sale.

doligo wrote:
Zippers are big deal to us, because we spend a lot of time in the desert. The sand just eats zippers. When I was shopping for a tent, I also looked for minimal mesh especially down low on the ground level - again thinking about camping in sandy environments.

I never even considered low mesh as an issue, but this totally makes sense, another thing on the list.

Ralph Kolva wrote:
If you're an AAC member you get discounts for some Big Agnes products through Promotive, think the Tensleep cost around $250 which isn't bad considering that's what we paid for a crappy Coleman that we tossed into the dumpster a couple of weeks ago in Zion.

Oh man, I'm not an AAC member, but that's a pretty heft discount. Definitely has me considering it.
Chris Reyes
Joined Nov 20, 2014
40 points
May 26, 2016
Seth Jones wrote:
I have to disagree with you. Show me a tent that will keep you bone dry in a nasty storm for 1/10th of the price of BA. Sorry but I'm calling your bluff. After camping through horrible storms in 2 different BA tents as well as several Walmart tents, you really do get what you pay for. That being said, I've always gotten at least 40% off retail on my BA stuff. Obviously you shouldn't pay retail for any top of the line gear.


If your buying your gear at 40% off then yeah it might be a good deal. Im guessing the OP will not get that. If you read my post, I made mention that you can find BA tents on clearance. BA tents are not worth full value IMO. So Im saying, if you are looking for a car camping tent, Ive slept in $50 tents from Walmart that kept me bone dry as well. Also met people who dirtbagged in a $30 tent for the summer. You dont need a $450 tent to car camp fine. And DONT ever buy MTNglo tents. I bought the same led lights at hobby lobby for $10. not $50.
Matt.H
Joined Apr 11, 2011
203 points
May 26, 2016
mattharon wrote:
If your buying your gear at 40% off then yeah it might be a good deal. Im guessing the OP will not get that. If you read my post, I made mention that you can find BA tents on clearance. BA tents are not worth full value IMO. So Im saying, if you are looking for a car camping tent, Ive slept in $50 tents from Walmart that kept me bone dry as well. Also met people who dirtbagged in a $30 tent for the summer. You dont need a $450 tent to car camp fine. And DONT ever buy MTNglo tents. I bought the same led lights at hobby lobby for $10. not $50.


Actually part of the draw of the BA is that it is 40% - which still puts it at a solid three hundo, but it's down from the seemingly insane price of 500.

Your post prompted me to look at Kelty, because I've definitely noticed the same thing - their gear has been improving a ton. The trail ridge 4 comes close, but it does have less space and a shorter internal height, it's also $100 less. They've got other tents, but then weight starts to become an issue. Still they're definitely worth looking into.
Chris Reyes
Joined Nov 20, 2014
40 points
May 27, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: yukon
mattharon wrote:
If your buying your gear at 40% off then yeah it might be a good deal. Im guessing the OP will not get that. If you read my post, I made mention that you can find BA tents on clearance. BA tents are not worth full value IMO. So Im saying, if you are looking for a car camping tent, Ive slept in $50 tents from Walmart that kept me bone dry as well. Also met people who dirtbagged in a $30 tent for the summer. You dont need a $450 tent to car camp fine. And DONT ever buy MTNglo tents. I bought the same led lights at hobby lobby for $10. not $50.


Anyone can get 40% off BA. Just gotta get accepted into a promotive team which isn't that hard if you know which team to apply to :)

I got lucky with my Chimney Creek 6 and got it for around $250 during a big REI sale after my activejunky rebate. I woulda paid that much for the same size Coleman at Walmart.

Edit: Check out the bag that comes with the Chimney Creek tents. Hands down the nicest tent bag I've used. It folds open like a suit bag with slots for the rainfly and the tent with built-in pole bag and zippered pocket for your stakes. Once it's all packed up, you fold it closed and buckle it, then tighten the straps to cinch it down. It's amazing for packing up camp quickly. You don't even need to roll anything up and everything fits easily. Like the Mtnglo, I wouldn't buy a tent for it but it's a really nice feature to have.
Seth Jones
Joined Feb 17, 2015
39 points
May 27, 2016
Seth Jones wrote:
Anyone can get 40% off BA. Just gotta get accepted into a promotive team which isn't that hard if you know which team to apply to :) I got lucky with my Chimney Creek 6 and got it for around $250 during a big REI sale after my activejunky rebate. I woulda paid that much for the same size Coleman at Walmart. Edit: Check out the bag that comes with the Chimney Creek tents. Hands down the nicest tent bag I've used. It folds open like a suit bag with slots for the rainfly and the tent with built-in pole bag and zippered pocket for your stakes. Once it's all packed up, you fold it closed and buckle it, then tighten the straps to cinch it down. It's amazing for packing up camp quickly. You don't even need to roll anything up and everything fits easily. Like the Mtnglo, I wouldn't buy a tent for it but it's a really nice feature to have.


Went and checked it out last night. The store had the 6 set up, but had the 4's in the bags inside it. Definitely some cool, seemingly quality stuff AND I can totally swing it as a personal item if I throw my rope in my pack.

Price wise the discounted BA comes in at 335 w/the footprint (-20 w/activejunky), which puts it $100 over the cheapest tent I was looking at, Kelty Ridge Trail 4. The limestome falls in the middle of both. Tough decision.
Chris Reyes
Joined Nov 20, 2014
40 points
May 28, 2016
Chris, In my opinion, I would go kelty. 2 doors on a tent is nice when you have several people. Also look around. Sierra trading post has the kelty for 30 percent off. Or check out promotive like Seth said. Promotive really is pretty easy. Also another brand I just thought of worth checking out would be Mountainsmith. They have a lighter weight 4 person tent for the same price as the kelty. Matt.H
Joined Apr 11, 2011
203 points
May 28, 2016
mattharon wrote:
Chris, In my opinion, I would go kelty. 2 doors on a tent is nice when you have several people. Also look around. Sierra trading post has the kelty for 30 percent off. Or check out promotive like Seth said. Promotive really is pretty easy. Also another brand I just thought of worth checking out would be Mountainsmith. They have a lighter weight 4 person tent for the same price as the kelty.


Yea I'm leaning towards that more just because as someone put it, 'save some money and get some extra cams' (I could use a #4). I sacrifice being able to stand up, which is a bummer, but it's a good cost savings.

On Promotive, are the discounts pretty good? Does it work similar to sierra trading post? I was considering the membership to check it out and while it's a good thing to do, I've been burned before with some of these member discount thingies.
Chris Reyes
Joined Nov 20, 2014
40 points
May 28, 2016
Promotive is fine. its nothing like sierra trading post. But hey its free!. No card required. You get some decent deals. However, with any type of prodeal read the fine print and check the shipping costs. sometimes its cheaper to go to backcountry.com and get 20% off with free shipping than 40% off and 30 dollars in shipping costs. Also If you want other prodeals you can get libertymountain prodeals really easy. But once again, the costs are weird. so yeah get a promotive. Everyone should honestly. its free, and if you ever work outdoor retail, you get really good discounts off of their other site, 3point5. Matt.H
Joined Apr 11, 2011
203 points
May 28, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: yukon
mattharon wrote:
However, with any type of prodeal read the fine print and check the shipping costs. sometimes its cheaper to go to backcountry.com and get 20% off with free shipping than 40% off and 30 dollars in shipping costs.


Good point here. Usually pro deals are only worth it for big orders or brands that are hard to find on sale.
Seth Jones
Joined Feb 17, 2015
39 points
May 28, 2016
Limelight is a great tent. Just spent two weeks in a MH drifter 3, which is a great cost effective choice when considering packability and size, but it does lack ventilation, which was tough when it was really hot, but not unmanageable. Did stay dry the entire time and that's what counts Max Forbes
From Burlington, VT
Joined Jan 6, 2014
94 points


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