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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 4:24 pm 
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Joined: April 16th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Ontario, Canada
Just curious but, when you shop for a new tent is it the norm for most people here to buy the high end tent that costs a lot? The reason I ask is this.....

I've been camping for over 30 years now and have never bought a tent worth more than $150.00. I buy my tents from Canadian Tire, WalMart or other like store. I always get a tent with a tub floor and a fly that covers the entire tent. These tents usually last me in the neighbourhood of about six to seven years. I waterproof my tent each spring, use a seam sealer and have yet to see any of my cheap tents fail me in a downpour.

So given that, is there any advantage to buying a high-end tent that I'm not aware of? I have to replace my cheap WalMart Orion tent this year and was curious if I should spend more or just keep on buying the tents that work for me.

Any "Pros" or "Cons" on this subject would be appreciated.

Thanks
Dave

P.S.
The tent is used when camping with the family. When alone or with my regular tripping group, a simple tarp is all we use as a tent. And there isn't anything in the Gear Review section on cheap tents.

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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 5:27 pm 
Nothing wrong with a cheap tent as long as:

You don't mind a little extra weight, you're not backpacking 20 miles a day
You don't encounter severe weather ie horizontal rain for days at a time

That said, after you've used a 250-400 dollar "bombproof" tent from Mountain Hardwear, Bibler, and the like, you'll never go back...ease of setup, quality and features not found on cheaper tents do pay for themselves in the long run.


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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 5:36 pm 
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Joined: February 11th, 2003, 7:00 pm
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Location: Casper, WY
Less expensive tents usually don't have taped seams (which can be solved by seam sealing) and are sewed with a lower stitch count which can make the seams weaker. Also, they are going to be heavier since some lighter nylon is actually more expensive than heavier weaves.

But, I don't really consider $150 to be a "cheap" tent. I reserve that distinction for tents in the $50-$75 range.

Chuck


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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 6:03 pm 
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Joined: December 15th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Shelburne, Ontario Canada
The original version of my tent was 350$ Eureka version, which i bought 50/50 with my GF of the time. When we split she got the tent. I found a $145 dollar knock off of the same tent made by Luger. Except the Luger was a little bigger, , bigger floor area by maybe 6 inches and 6 inches taller, which actually made it a much nicer tent. Though both were 3 man tents the Luger had room for 2 people and all their gear. The Eureka, you had to leave some stuff out in the vestibule. The Luger has fiberglass poles, the Eureka had aluminum poles. 12 years later it Looks like I'm going to have to replaces the zippers in the Luger. However for my one man Eureka tent, for which I paid well over $200 and appears to be made of the same materials as my old 3 man Eureka, I replaced the zippers 5 years ago and the aluminum poles have a bend in them I can't get rid of. It isn't concentric when it stands up any more. The difference in weight was within 1.5 pounds and the Eureka was smaller. I'm sure there are differences in gereral, but in my experience with these two products, you might actually be happier with the knock off than the original, even with a much lower price.

On the other hand I paid under 100 dollars for a cheapy CTC tent last year, one of those pop up units, and found it sleeps cold. The fly doesn't go all the way down, the vent that covers the top of the tent prevents heat build up in the tent. That's great if you're camping somewhere really warm, but anywhere from Algonquin north in Ontario, the nights are cold enough you may end up wishing you had a 3 seasons tent. This year we're going to try out a Coleman Excursion 3 man tent, we picked up on sale over the winter for under $80. Ask me again after the Long May Weekend, and I'll give you a report on it.

Personally I think the high end companies put more time and effort into designing their products, or maybe they just have more talented designers. But if you can find a knockoff, I'd give it a good hard look. The knock off boys may have improved on the original design. At least that's the way it happened to me.


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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 7:58 pm 
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Joined: April 16th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Ontario, Canada
Just to add to my original post:

My first tent was a second from Tent City. It was a 7'x7' Hillary that had some of the stitching missing along the bottom near the side wall and tub floor. Bought it for a song. I machine sewed the missing stitching and it lasted me over six years.

My last tent was bought from CTC (7'x7' Orion) and cost about $120.00. It still works but the poles need replacing. I can't find any replacement poles so the thought of a new tent came to mind.

Thus the reason for my post starting this thread.

I'd have no issue buying a high end tent if I could justify the cost. But will it last longer than the cheapie tents and will it give me more value for the money? I don't want to buy a name brand tent if all I'm paying for is the name.

Thanks for all the input so far. It's very informative and very appreciated!

Dave

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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 8:06 pm 
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Joined: February 7th, 2004, 12:37 pm
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Location: Guelph, ON
Tripper:
Just out of interest, how many days on average do you use your tent each year?


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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 8:18 pm 
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Hi Mac,

I'd say about two to three weeks on an average per year plus some week-end runs as well. It depends on the trips. I usually don't use a tent unless I'm family camping or out with those that would preferr a tent over a tarp.

Dave

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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 8:32 pm 
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Joined: November 18th, 2003, 5:35 pm
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Tripper,
If you go out there often and long enough, sooner or later you will encounter a situation where you are glad to have or wish you had the best possible tent for that situation.

Did you check your emails and get that photo I sent you.

Gerald G.


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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 8:38 pm 
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Joined: June 25th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 3197
Location: Kanata, Ontario Canada
had a colman tent for a couple of years and it was fine....until our first real backcoutry storm spent the night holding the poles up because the high profile was killing the tent, but it did not leak and the poles went back in shape. It wasn't the price but the profile of the tent. We opted to go for the best quality we could find in a 4ish man tent with the lowest weight. That was a SD stretch prelude. Expencive, yup but we have had it in many storms since then, a couple on the Missinabi alone last year and it does not move. There are cheaper tents out there that would suit us fine but I sure like having the confidence I have with this one. We use it 30+ nights a season.


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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 9:43 pm 
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Joined: April 6th, 2003, 9:04 am
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Location: winnipeg
I bought a $30.00 tent at CTC last year.It's big enough for 1plus gear,as long as you're under 6' it weighs under 3lb,and rolls up small enough to lose in my pack.It rained every night I used it last summer,and I didn't get wet.That's good enough for me.
Greg


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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 9:56 pm 
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Location: Guelph, Ontario
I dropped over $300 on a Kelty about 3 years ago and, in my mind, its worth every penny compared to CT tents I had in the past. Like, Gail, my first storm really convinced me as have subsequent storms. Having 2 doors is also a very convenient feature not found, I don't think, on cheaper tents. In the heaviest downpours I don't even think about the possiblility of my tent leaking anymore :clap:

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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 10:08 pm 
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Location: Scarborough, Ontario Canada
I wouldn't pay $330-$400 ( or more ) for a high end tent unless I was to do a lot more extended expeditions in extreme conditions. I own a Eureka Apex 3 and an Aurora solo tent and paid less the $300 for the 2 of them in total at different sales about town. Both have served me well and I expect to get many more years service out of these moderately priced tents. My tripping gear is one of my few spending vices but I always shop around for price and quality before buying.

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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 10:16 pm 
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Location: Newmarket, Ontario Canada
Are you family tripping with this tent, or base/car camping? That can make a difference too.

Also, for the amount of time you are using it each year, and the care you are taking of it, you are not going to get the UV damagae of the 30 yearers.

I have a Eureka A frame that is now 9 years old. Paid about 200$ for it (2 doors, and 2 vestibules) and it has seen heavy use (of up to 50 nights one year). it is looking a little thin, and no the shape is not the best in sev. storms, but it has stood up well. I think the best thing to do is familiarize yourself with the quality products, and take a look at the convenince features that make it a quality product (the extra little clips and vents etc.) and then decide how beneficial they will be to you. If you can do without, then you are fine.

Also, when I agonize over buying a tent, I just remind myself of how many nights I would have to spend in a hotel to match the cost of a tent. Hmmmm, then the cost of the tent is pretty cheap accomodation, even for a top of the line Moss!


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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 10:36 pm 
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Location: London, Ontario CANADA
I'm one to believe that there is a good design in a modest price point tent.

My pally has bought the Coleman Excursion tent (appx. 8'by8'). I find it's been a great tent for removing condensation from the sleeping area into the front vestibule.

Its' only downfall was when the Fall/Winter season took out the clear fly panels.

This being the only downfall I had seen in the Coleman tent

On a trip, I noticed another camper with a Northern Escape of similar design save that of the clear panels....I'm not sure if it is made any more....

ALthough I enjoy the tent I never bought, I have purchased a few family CTC lemons I'd rather have not bought now considering tents of fair comparison.

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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 11:12 pm 
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Joined: March 19th, 2004, 10:35 pm
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Location: Lino Lakes, MN
I've had cheaper tents all my life and have never been very happy with them. It seems like it always rains or storms when I camp and I end up wet. I've had my eye on a Marmot tent for several years and when they were discontinued I picked one up at the REI outlet at half price. What a great tent. My North Face sleeping bag was discontinued when I bought it. That's the way to go for me. I don't need the absolute latest gee whiz technology. I'm fine with the last generation if the quality is good.


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