Tents & camping gear-field tested reviews | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Tents & camping gear-field tested reviews


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Elite In Memoriam
March 4, 2007
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City, State
anaheim hills,california
Year, Model & Trim Level
95 ranger 4x4/ 91 X 4x4
..I just purchased another tent, in fact I think I have purchased 3 new tents this year alone that I haven't tested yet but will be soon in different environmental applications..:confused:

..Although my Explorer is fully set up for camping and my Ranger has the variable level platform in it, I often find myself in nice to hot weather where I would rather sleep in a tent than a vehicle..

...Sometimes though, I'm hauling different items in my cargo areas that prevent me from sleeping in the vehicles unless I totally unload the vehicle...So no matter what the weather, sleeping in a tent may be easier for just overnight camping or as a longer term base camp..

..If anyone has a tent they like or even one they bought because they thought it was the ticket and later found out you didn't even like it for one reason or another, please share your pictures and stories here..

..This is my latest purchase..

..With the help of Tina who works for the company, she modeled how to carry this if on foot and she demonstrated it for the video below..:biggthump

..I got to thinking with its handles and hooks built into the carry case, I might be able to pack this over the spare tire also..:scratch:



..And after seeing this tall guy climb inside and seeing that I can probably fit a twin or full size air mattress in there..


..This is a quick video and why I bought this new tent from Front Runner Vehicle Outfitters....Ease of set-up, tear down, and packing, not counting how lite-weight it is..


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..Slowly but surely I'll add a review to this inexpensive, lite weight tent I just spent about a week with on an offroad adventure..;)


..In the meantime, here is a video review I found by another buyer of this tent which includes swapping poles..I don't know why everyone forgets to add the weight of their hiking poles when swapping out the tent poles..:dunno:

..It adds weight too if you don't normally carry a hiking pole..


I've had good luck with Eureka tents, I bought a Bike and Hike when I was about 14 and now I'm 36 and still have the same tent. I realize this isn't a review of a current tent but just thought I'd share that I've had good luck with their products and had good customer service when the cord broke after about 6 years of use.

The tent in your video looks like it sets up nice but it took two people to put it bag in its bag.

..I've been so busy so I apologize for being a little slow to reply..

..I also got a new phone and it is almost impossible (still working on it) to get the pictures transferred to my computer..:banghead:

..I have been field testing a few different camping items such as 2-3 other tents not shown as of yet as well as sleeping pads..One of the future tents I do want to test happens to be a Eureka Solitare Tent...

..The video tent doesn't need two people to replace in the bag..The tent is kind of spring loaded but it is not very difficult to rebag but it does go back in snug to save space..I'm thinking of leaving this tent in the X since it is so quick to set up..

..:shifty_ey ..I'm also buying/picking up a new item to test for offroading with a vehicle and my Bikepacking trips..This item will help me stay in touch online and with communications..

BTW...I'm trying to show tents all under $100 such as the blue tent above..I only paid $35 new and it's under 3 pounds..;)

..Hopefully others who have tents either new or old will join in with a review of their tents..:popcorn:

..It takes a lot of research and follow up to find a tent that serves a specific purpose...Even then, reviews help a lot when deciding as I'm always looking for that on sentence that someone has that is different from the other 1000 reviews saying the same ol blah blah blah..:(

..I've also found discrepancies in the actual specs such as weight and size..

..One thing I would like to add that I don't see really anywhere is actual pole length..For those who either keep their poles with the tent while packing and those who pull their poles out and pack them separately, this can make a huge difference when looking for tent.

..I almost bought a tent for over $100 more because it said the packed length were 4" longer than they actually was..

..Needless to say, almost all of my tents have been in the $35 (majority) -$100 range (I think two have been this and the only two over $40)..This has stemmed from lots of research and wanting the most bang for the buck..

..I think most of us can agree there is not much need for a casual camper to spend $200-$1000 for a single person tent let alone going even higher for a 2 or more person tent...

..But there are certain occasions, and those who truly use their tents more than once every blue moon, that demand the highest of quality and the lightest or best endurance tent made, that can also share their experiences and reviews here too..:biggthump

..some of the tents (and a bunch of little gear) I've used this summer and I will be selling a couple of the tents off real soon as I need to thin the herd..:D



I only set up 3 at a time on each outing well, before a planned trip..:p:

I set up 3 tents tonight including the one I bought today for a trip I'm taking later this week..I set up and staked out two of three tents with their rainfly's and the third tent non staked and was finished while a neighbor set up his 10x10 coleman..:D

The new tent happened to be selected because its pole length was 17" so it will fit in the bag I'm using and its just under 4 pounds..;)

REI Camp Dome 2 Review

I have had this tent for about a year now and have used it a few times. I bought it because it was similar to my old tent - it was small, easy to setup and did not have to be staked down to function unlike those tents with vestibules.

Enough room for 1 person plus some gear
Doors w/ windows on both sides
"Bathtub" style design makes it easy to setup with 1 person
REI makes a footprint for the tent so no need to find a tarp that fit
Bag is plenty big to fit rolled up tent even if you do a sloppy job
Low profile and stands up to wind well

The tent will roll up into a small package but the poles do not so the size (length) of the rolled up tent is dependent on the length of the poles.
Door zips down so it falls to the floor and gets in the way and gets stepped on. I would suggest to REI that they move the non zippered part to the side and problem fixed.
Should have come with 2 more stakes for the rain fly lines



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..What is the length of the poles on your tent?

..One of my favorite tents poles are 24" and I almost ordered custom built poles because 24" is an obnoxiously long length to pack..:thumbdwn:..it was actually cheaper just to buy another tent..

..Perfect review though Brian...I can't tell you how many reviews I read that the tents are all "perfect" when in reality most of the people dislike the tent the next trip out because of a few minor/major items that bug the crop out of them and they don't update that info into their reviews..

..One of my newer tents of this summer has rust starting on all the metal parts of the poles..It's never seen fog or any moisture of any kind and I noticed it's kinda bad already..:(

..and I see you cropped my ride out of your tent picture..:mattmoon:..haha

..I hope ScottB and a few other campers can share their tent info and reviews before another trail season gets under way..

Without taking it out of the bag they are about 20-21" long. The tent would easily roll up to 16" and still fit in the bag.

My old tent is a Peak1 Aries by Coleman and it really was the perfect tent. I still have it and may get the zippers redone at some point. I used it for 14 years before retiring it at the end of last year.

And for the record the picture wasn't cropped, I just didn't fit your Explorer in the frame when I took it. :p:

..Well...last nights pre trip test proved successful as I had a failure with the new ultra lite pad...This will give time to get it swapped out..Its rained a couple days here so this was also a good time to test for condensation inside the tents..

The ground is saturated and I was able to see how the moisture would move inside the tents while also checking to see if it would get my down bag wet or not..I am happy to say it stayed dry in the sleeping area..

It is so wet here that even the tent I didn't sleep in has condensation uder the whole rainfly..

About the vestibule tents I have pictured here..

They are totally free standing 3 season tents that can easily set up and moved around as needed..They are designed to be able to be bug free in hot weather and you can stargaze without the fly attached..

Attach the fly for privacy and let the flaps droop or you can tie the flaps back...This feature is handy in thunderstorm conditions..For fowl weather and since most places I get to camp wind is a concern, staking out is a must...

When purchasing these tents I look for the space I need inside a free standing tent first..To me the vestibule is like adding a carport for your wet gear to stay under and out of the tent..It also comes in handy as a place to cook when its raining, with the flap open of course..

Well, I'm down one ultra lite sleeping pad (1#) but gained a new fall/winter sleeping bag to test...:biggthump

I'll have to pull down my tent from the attic to let you know which one I have:rolleyes: Basically it's an REI 4 person dome tent. I like having a bigger tent than I need so I can stash all the stuff I bring with me inside of it while i'm out wheelin'.

I bought this tent after having a cheap 2 man tent that didn't fair well in a windstorm in Ocotillo wells some years back. I ended up sleeping in my truck...well, sitting...overnight.

This REI tent was put to test at KOH in 2010 I believe and while it held up well to 30+ mph winds, I still couldn't escape the dust blowing in between the rainfly and the tent itself. I guess aside from going to a Mt. Everest expedition type tent there's not much you can do about that...maybe duct tape some furnace filters to my tent:p:

Only use a tent for family outings. On solo trips I do the hammock thing. A good tarp makes it good in wind and rain and is multipurpose. Cold is handled by under quilt and a good sleeping bag. I sleep better in the hammock than anything else.


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..What tent do you use for the family camping and what are it's pros and cons?

..Any old hammock will do or do you have a specific one you would recommend?

..Any reviews on these?..I know here are camping gear nuts lurking and your input can prove helpful to someone looking for new gear..:D

..I'm still figuring out the new cell phone pics thing but plan on getting a few updated reviews posted before Xmas shopping..:D

Sorry,Really late on a response. I still haven't gotten the notification settings just right

Tent is a camp valley instant tent. Pro's - its huge, really easy to put up, cheap. Cons - I dont think its a 5+ year tent and I havent done any rain testing with it. Thats why I carry a spare tarp.

Check my signature for my preferred hammocks, but honestly most of the name brands are good too. We just have some customization options that most of the brands do not. Walmart has a good starter hammock for $25 that we still use for guests on our camping trips.

In the end, its all about what you feel comfortable with. The tentsile treehouse is something that intrigues me. you might want to look into that as well. http://www.tentsile.com/

Got this tent a couple of months ago and have used it a couple times so far. Its made by Springbar tents (Kirkham's Outdoor Products) out of Salt Lake City, Utah. They are all handmade from canvas material with a thick vinyl like bottom. They are not the cheapest, lightest or most compact tents on the market but the quality is worth the money. I got the compact 2 model which is a 2 man tent and their smallest but I had plenty of room in there.
Here's some pics from King of the Hammers:


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..I'm out in a tent wind testing tonight..:D

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Yup, it's a tad breezy out...where'd you end up camping?