I'm not a tent person anymore since I moved to a hammock. Here is a thread on the Hammockfourms.net about riders that use hammocks instead of tents. http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/showthread.php?t=46337&page=5
Give it a look, you might find your self above ground.
Both are good tents, though I don't have either one. Of course, Big Agnes has a great reputation. I have a Kelty Grand Mesa 6 which I am very happy with, and Kelty has a pretty good reputation, so I would definitely expect the Kelty you are looking at to be a good tent, and it is cheaper than the Big Agnes. I'm not sure which I'd go with, either will be a good tent, though I expect that the Big Agnes is probably worth the extra money. While I love my Grand Mesa and I'm happy with my choice when I wanted a large tent, I'd probably have bought a Big Agnes or Marmot instead if I had the money when I bought it.
I do need to ask, since you seem to like your Alps Mountaineering Taurus 2, other than size, why not consider a larger Alps? The Taurus 4, and the Vertex 4, are 7'6" x 8'6" and they pack down to a motorcycle friendly 22"x8. They have pretty similar designs, the main difference I can see is the color, the pole layout, and the Vertex 4 only comes with aluminum poles (there is a version of the Taurus with aluminum poles and one with fiberglass). I have a Vertex 4 which I love, though it would be nice to have more mesh in the hot and humid Maryland summers. Both tents can be had well within your maximum budget, and the Taurus with the fiberglass poles can be around your lower hoped for target. The only drawback in relation to your stated requirements is that they are not 5' tall, only 4'4".
* This post was
edited 04/11/12 09:28pm by Jeff10236 *
Vehicles: 2011 Ford Fusion (for car camping), 2009 Suzuki Boulevard C50 (motorcycle camping) Tents: Boulder Creek Hunter Ridge 4 (cheap 4-season tent from Bass Pro Shops), Alps Mountaineering Vertex 4, Kelty Grand Mesa 6, Big Agnes Fairview 4
Yup, for just a night or two the little 2-man Alps Taurus is fine. I did look at the 4 version of it and other Alps models. The main issue was like you said, 4' 4" hieght. At 43 years, 6'2" and 250lbs. even a 5' tent height is pushing it.
The other was price. Neither of my kids are in Scouts so I don't qualify for the Scout Discount. $112 + $13 shipping for the Trail Ridge 4 was cheaper than pretty much any other 4 man tent and a good deal I think. And the Kelty had positive reviews.