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Topic: Tent too big??

Posted By: Jellobiafra on 09/06/08 11:34am

Hey, first post here. So hello everyone!

Anyway, my family of two adults, three boys (ages 6, 5, and 3) will be tent camping for the first time in October. We spent a week on the Blue Ridge Pkwy back in June, and decided to go back for fall leaf season. We'll be spending about 10 days between the Pkwy and Smoky Mountain National Park. All but 2 of those days will be spent tent camping.

We'll be staying at some of the official campgrounds right the parkway like Pisgah and Doughton Park.

Not wanting to squeeze into a little tent, we went out and spent some money on a large dome tent. Well, turns out this thing is massive. We decided to put the thing up last night in our living room, just to get a handle on how tough it would be to assemble, but also to seal the seams. Well, as you'll see in the attached picture, the thing took up our whole living room almost, LOL!

So my immediate question, if anyone knows the answer, is whether or not the camp sites along the parkway can even handle a tent of this size. I've seen mention of "tent pads", and wonder what might happen if the tent itself is larger than the tent pad.

I've looked everyone on the net for an answer to this, and hoped that you guys might know.

We've also purchased cold weather sleeping bags, some sleeping pads, back packs (we have some wafterfall hikes planned), flashlights, a couple of heaters, starter logs for fires, and some other odds and ends. Would love any other advice you might have for a family on their first tent camping trip.

So the tent is 16 x 10. The picture is below. And just for fun, I'll include a pic from a waterfall we hiked to in June, called Rose River Falls in Virginia. That's my wife and our youngest in the picture. Hope you enjoy! And thanks in advance for your help!

[image]


[image]

Edited photos to conform to RV.Net maximum size

* This post was edited 09/22/08 07:56am by an administrator/moderator *


Posted By: Jellobiafra on 09/06/08 11:37am

Didn't realize that you specifically have to set your preferences to see the pictures. Just wanted to give you a heads up if you want to see them, but can't. Head to your preferences and check mark the box letting you see pictures. Unless you are on dial up...that might suck a little ;-)


Posted By: Vapor_Trails on 09/06/08 11:51am

Can't help you with your potential tent pad issue. Every CG (campground) I've been to here in So Cal. (Baja Norte) doesn't have designated pads; just relatively level clearings to set up tents.

But, the reason I'm responding to you is that you need to be careful with the camping thing. Pretty soon your wife will be wanting all the comforts of a RV and you will become a Winnebago Warrior. Then the real Jello will make fun of you...[emoticon]


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Posted By: Jellobiafra on 09/06/08 11:55am

LOL, can't have that!

Well, the tent thing was actually her idea. I've been wanting to try it for years, but she's the one that decided on it for this trip.

And anyway, can't afford the 6 mpg gas bill for an RV anyway ;-)


Posted By: NPD MECHANIC on 09/06/08 01:00pm

you may not be able to afford the 6mpg but a pop up would do cheap money and you keep the mpg. as far as the tent goes if you can set it up inside you are all set. we have a pop up now but our tent we cant set up inside. good luck. i get almost 18mpg towing my pup.


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Posted By: Biznaga on 09/06/08 01:39pm

Raised 5 kids camping in various large tents. One or two had two rooms, one for the kids and one for the parents.

After 30 plus years age caught up to us so we went shopping for a tent-on-wheels and wound up with a pop-up camper 5 years ago.

So you can get a pop-up camper after 30 years of tent camping.


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Posted By: SooperDaddy on 09/06/08 03:22pm

When I started out with camping my brothers threw in and bought a 14x18 4 room cabin type tent, huge! It looked like Omar Sherif on a Road Trip! Never had any issues here in California with State and County campgrounds. Usually a dirt pad and/or grass.


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Posted By: mister_d on 09/06/08 04:24pm

We tent camped for years in tents that size w/o a problem.

The list for what to bring depends on the camper - with the scouts everything had to go in a backpack whereas when we had a kid we brought everything except the kitchen sink (if my wife could have fit it she would have brought it).

I suggest you do a 1 night backyard test first - if you need something write it down - then when you actually go take a small notebook to write even more down. You could just say to hell with it and camp nearby a wallyworld and run up there for everything you decide you need(:


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Posted By: Jellobiafra on 09/06/08 04:34pm

A dry run would be a good idea if it wasn't 93 degrees here, LOL! Even at night, the heat and humidity is way too oppressive to sleep in a camp. Another reason I can't wait to hit the mountains next month! It's been a long summer.

I guess the good thing about camping along the Blue Ridge Pkwy, is that if we find we need or want something, we actually can pick it up at a store the next day. With towns like Asheville, Boone, and Spruce Pine never too far away, we'll always have access to some shopping.

Although I'd rather go without stepping foot in one of those stores while I'm gone [emoticon]

* This post was edited 09/22/08 08:08am by an administrator/moderator *


Posted By: Jellobiafra on 09/06/08 04:40pm

fordsooperdootydieselsmoker wrote:

It looked like Omar Sherif on a Road Trip!


Hilarious! That's about what we were thinking yesterday when we put it up. This thing is more like a luxury suite than a tent. But thanks for the info. Main reason I was worried, was because when I ran an image search for tent pads on google, I found pictures of a dirt like area surrounded by wood planks. And that just wasn't going to work if that was the norm. As long as it's just a well kept area of grass, I'm sure we'll be fine.

How about cold weather tent camping? We have good sleeping bags. The kids are mummy bags rated at zero degrees, and the wife and I both have extra large bags rated at 20 degrees. My sister offered up a couple of propane heaters. Do I have to worry about those things burning down my tent? That probably would ruin the trip [emoticon]


Posted By: The_Vintagers on 09/06/08 04:56pm

most of the Fed CGs have a 25x25 area for tent





Posted By: Mongo71 on 09/06/08 05:07pm

Having tent camped this time of year in the same areas you are planning I only have one word "RAIN" Believe me, should you get socked in for a week during a storm like Hanna (Been there done that.) 16 x 10 will seem microscopic. Particularly with children. This is your domicile for a week, make it as comfortable as you can. If you want, pack along a bivy or other small tent for any overnight treks you might take. As far as propane heaters go, be VERY careful. If it isn't catalytic, like the Coleman black cat, I would pass and go with more blankets. As far as bags go... Well, you are from South Florida so what passes as "coolish" up there could be very uncomfortable for you. This is car camping, so my philosophy is better to have than need. Bring extra blankets. You never know. Hope you enjoy. I flew all around the country with my 9X9 Coleman. Never let me down in 75 M.P.H. winds on Cayo Costa or monsoon rains in Central Florida. Still have it. Wish you all well.


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Posted By: Happy Harry on 09/06/08 06:06pm

One thing I like to have is a 12x12 plastic tarp with four corner poles and one center pole, pleanty of 1/8" nylon rope, and some tent stakes, To put a top over your cooking area.

Also another piece of plastic tarp so you can kinda enclose the cooking area on the sides, at least on two sides, to block a cold wind.

What I use to attach the sides to the top plastic are medium sized carpenter clamps, they work real good and don't cost too much.

Good tent camping to you,

Harry


Posted By: Jellobiafra on 09/06/08 09:36pm

Happy Harry wrote:

One thing I like to have is a 12x12 plastic tarp with four corner poles and one center pole, pleanty of 1/8" nylon rope, and some tent stakes, To put a top over your cooking area.

Also another piece of plastic tarp so you can kinda enclose the cooking area on the sides, at least on two sides, to block a cold wind.

What I use to attach the sides to the top plastic are medium sized carpenter clamps, they work real good and don't cost too much.

Good tent camping to you,

Harry


Good idea. I hadn't thought about what we'd do about eating if it rained on our fire or was really windy. Guess that's why I'm posting here, LOL!


Posted By: Mongo71 on 09/07/08 05:39am

"Hrm...the rain thing was something I actually looked into, and found that on average, October is supposed to be one of the driest months of the year."

Yep, reminds me of when I used to believe in voodoo, witchcraft and other primitive superstitions like the weather bureau.[emoticon] I have been caught in more freak rain, snow and sleet storms... All during the weather bureau's "Dry Season" More is better when family camping. As one other reply here said, when the luggage and supplies are inside, there won't be much room left. So true. If you are "polar-inclined" those sleeping bags should be fine. But I cannot caution you enough to check out those portable propane heaters. There is one in particular that doubles as a stove. It acts as a heater when standing vertical, but will empty a cannister of propane in two seconds if the valve is fully open and it gets knocked over. Needless to say, this would be a bummer inside a tent. Whatever you do, go have fun doing it. The Blue Ridge is gorgeous that time of year.


Posted By: pudellvr on 09/07/08 05:53am

We bought a 10x17 last year at the end of season at sam's. We went on our first family camping trip this early summer and it was great. The 2 kids were each on an air mattress and dh on a self inflating and I on a cot. There was still a good amount of room for clothes and moving around. I am looking for a tarp bigger than our tent to go over. It rains every day in the Smokies. It either rains in the day or in the middle of the night. We were beside some long term (10 day) tenters. They set up a great tarp over their tents and were as dry as dust!!! We went in early June. Temps at night in the 40's. We stayed in Cherokee, NC (farther N than Asheville. Great park called Indian Creek Campground.

Have fun!!
Trish

(who has lurked here for more than a year!)


Posted By: The_Vintagers on 09/07/08 07:13am

OK, Now, set it up in the yard, spend a night outdoors, and see if any issues arrive. For us, the test showed we needed a "chamber pot" to eliminate the overnight sojourns to the privvy.

Many campgrounds will require a 2 night stay, so if you are moving every night, it could be twice as expensive as you anticiapte.


Posted By: johnvan on 09/07/08 04:38pm

I just started tent camping this summer and had the same concern about size as you. I bought the Eureka Copper Canyon 12 x 15 which is also quite huge. I camped twice, no problem at the first campground, second was a little tight but it worked fine.
All that space was great, 2 playpens, 2 X-large cots and a portable toilet and still plenty of room.
I definately recommend the cot over an air mattress.


Posted By: Vapor_Trails on 09/07/08 05:45pm

johnvan wrote:

I just started tent camping this summer and had the same concern about size as you. I bought the Eureka Copper Canyon 12 x 15 which is also quite huge. I camped twice, no problem at the first campground, second was a little tight but it worked fine.
All that space was great, 2 playpens, 2 X-large cots and a portable toilet and still plenty of room.
I definately recommend the cot over an air mattress.
Good call going with cots. They are so much nicer than air mattresses. We found out the hard way. You started out right. Also a good call on the Copper Canyon. We have the 10x10; nice tents.


Posted By: skills4lou on 09/07/08 07:14pm

Vapor_Trails wrote:

Can't help you with your potential tent pad issue. Every CG (campground) I've been to here in So Cal. (Baja Norte) doesn't have designated pads; just relatively level clearings to set up tents.

But, the reason I'm responding to you is that you need to be careful with the camping thing. Pretty soon your wife will be wanting all the comforts of a RV and you will become a Winnebago Warrior. Then the real Jello will make fun of you...[emoticon]


I can't help but respond to this. We just sold our TC this Saturday, going back to tenting. In the last 6 yrs we've had (in order): Tents, popup tent trailer, small class A, old TC, newer TC, and now we are back to tents. The decision to go back to tents was and is entirely supported by my wife. By far the least leaky thing we've ever had is our tents! The hassles of RV's just made it less fun.
Enjoy your tent trip, and for sure bring a notebook for a journal/to remind you of things needed and not needed.


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Posted By: Mike Up on 09/07/08 08:55pm

skills4lou wrote:


going back to tenting. The decision to go back to tents was and is entirely supported by my wife. The hassles of RV's just made it less fun.


I totally agree. The problems are usually minor, it's the hassles of getting them repaired. If repairs on RVs were delt with as vehicles are, there would be no hassles.

On the last trip, my campers Shurflo water pump kept cycling (no leak) and shut off from thermo overload. Then my air conditioner went out.

The dealer wouldn't fix the pump under warranty so Shurflo sent me the part. Took me 1/2 hour to fix and all is well. Unfortunately, they couldn't fix the AC because they refused to diagnoise the problem. Simply, they wouldn't fix it. Now today I just spent 3 hours driving to the Starcaft factory, dropping it off, and driving back home for another 3 hours. The worst part was I was looking forward to eating at Amish Acres and the place was just gross. Every dish was dirty, even the new replacements! Then the water glass had food floating in it. Left, got my money back and went to McDonalds. So I drove 6 continuous hours today and didn't even a good Amish meal.[emoticon]

If I continue to have issues with the AC, I'm selling the camper. I'm just not going to play games to get it working correctly when it still has a 1 year warranty left on it.

I just purchased a Eureka Copper Canyon 1312 (156 sq.ft.) and it's huge. It will be the main camping facility if I get rid of the camper. The camper just gets to hot and just can't be moved into the shade like a tent can be.

I still like to tent plus it will be used for cub scouts, so it was the right decision to go with this size.

I have an Eureka Apollo 4 (Exclusive Dick's Sporting Good Model) and it is leaking on a taped seam on the fly and the corners are leaking. I sealed with permanent McNett seam grip so I don't know why the corners are leaking. It's got that cheaper tarp polyethlene floor and none of the seam sealers like to stick to them. So I'm guessing it's the cheaper floor that's causing corner leaks. The fly is leaking at the velcro inside pole tiedown. I could seal this. Eureka gave me the option of getting a Copper Canyon at reduced price instead of sending the Apollo in for repairs.

Have a good one.


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Posted By: jtbeck on 09/08/08 09:48am

Mike Up,

I hear you on the Eureka tent. I had an Apex that leaked like a sieve. Nothing sucks like waking up in a puddle with a drenched sleeping bag. I don't know what happened in that Apex, either. I was blaming the floor at first, but I think the too small rain fly held some of the responsibility. It looked really cool, just didn't work worth a hoot.

Now I've got a 3 man Columbia Hawk Ridge tent for solo or 2 person trips. This tent also has that thin feeling floor, but the rainfly is AWESOME. It totally covers the tent and offers three storage vestibules. I don't think I'll ever get another tent that doesn't come with a total coverage fly again. So far this tent hasn't leaked a drop.

Sorry to hear about your issues with the PUP. Hope we don't run into that sort of trouble with ours. Right now we're just enjoying the heck out of it.

As to whether or not the tent in the OP is too big for tent pads, it just depends on where you're camping. Most of the CG's around here dont' have pads for the tents anyway. Just grassy areas which are WAY better than setting up on a pad or gravel.

My family tent is a Guide Series Condor 10 tent from Gander Mountain. It's 17' x 15' so it takes up some room. I've had some close calls with having enough space a couple of times because the tent is so huge. But so far we've always managed to squeeze it in. Takes some creative angles sometimes, but we don't mind.

But even at that size, once you get 5 people and all their junk inside, it's still a little tight. It's big enough that we can fit a queen air mattress in the "front" room and 3 twin sized air mattresses in the "back". We hardly ever use the divider to turn the back room into two smaller rooms. Shoot, we don't even zip up the divider between the front and the back rooms.


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Posted By: FordDiesel250 on 09/08/08 11:48am

I think that the tent you have will work just fine. I also believe that the campground is more than adequate for your tent and all of your gear.


Posted By: Vapor_Trails on 09/08/08 12:57pm

Slow down traffic climbing hills
Thirty gallons to the mile
Honey, quick, the Polaroid...


Sorry Jeff, I just can't get it out of my head. I guess I can pretty much count on that everytime I see one of your posts. [emoticon]


Posted By: jtbeck on 09/08/08 03:12pm

Wow! A Dead Kennedys reference!


Posted By: Vapor_Trails on 09/09/08 09:32am

jtbeck wrote:

Wow! A Dead Kennedys reference!
You must have missed OP's screen name...


Posted By: jtbeck on 09/09/08 09:48am

I completely missed that. I hadn't thought about them in FOREVER.


Posted By: Vapor_Trails on 09/09/08 11:44am

Oh I get, You're Jeff Beck. OP is Jeff Guelcher. Sorry for the confusion. Whenever I see one of Jeff Guelcher's posts I'm gonna be humming 'Funland at the Beach' or some other such DK tune...

I saw them a couple times decades ago during the brief, but intense, So Cal Hardcore scene. Too much fun. In fact, for retrospective's sake I think I'll play Fresh Fruit at lunch today. [emoticon]


Posted By: niks97cobra on 09/06/08 11:45pm

mister_d wrote:

We tent camped for years in tents that size w/o a problem.

The list for what to bring depends on the camper - with the scouts everything had to go in a backpack whereas when we had a kid we brought everything except the kitchen sink (if my wife could have fit it she would have brought it).

I suggest you do a 1 night backyard test first - if you need something write it down - then when you actually go take a small notebook to write even more down. You could just say to hell with it and camp nearby a wallyworld and run up there for everything you decide you need(:


This is good thought. Always do a test run so you know what you may need. The first tent camping trip is always the hardest experience because you forget to bring something.


Posted By: TheGov on 09/07/08 12:34am

We are a family of 4 and had a 16x10 tent, by the time you add the air matters and clothes and sleeping bags there is not a lot of room and it feels pretty small. Hope yall have a great time. Best of luck to you.


Posted By: jtbeck on 09/09/08 12:44pm

I've been a little retro all day myself. Had Tom Waits "Closing Time" on repeat while I'm working. That was back before he gargled Drain-o or whatever he did to himself.


Posted By: Mudfroglet on 09/09/08 09:55pm

Jellobiafra wrote:

Hey, first post here. So hello everyone!

Anyway, my family of two adults, three boys (ages 6, 5, and 3) will be tent camping for the first time in October. We spent a week on the Blue Ridge Pkwy back in June, and decided to go back for fall leaf season. We'll be spending about 10 days between the Pkwy and Smoky Mountain National Park. All but 2 of those days will be spent tent camping.

We'll be staying at some of the official campgrounds right the parkway like Pisgah and Doughton Park.

Not wanting to squeeze into a little tent, we went out and spent some money on a large dome tent. Well, turns out this thing is freaking massive. We decided to put the thing up last night in our living room, just to get a handle on how tough it would be to assemble, but also to seal the seams. Well, as you'll see in the attached picture, the thing took up our whole living room almost, LOL!

So my immediate question, if anyone knows the answer, is whether or not the camp sites along the parkway can even handle a tent of this size. I've seen mention of "tent pads", and wonder what might happen if the tent itself is larger than the tent pad.

I've looked everyone on the net for an answer to this, and hoped that you guys might know.

We've also purchased cold weather sleeping bags, some sleeping pads, back packs (we have some wafterfall hikes planned), flashlights, a couple of heaters, starter logs for fires, and some other odds and ends. Would love any other advice you might have for a family on their first tent camping trip.

So the tent is 16 x 10. The picture is below. And just for fun, I'll include a pic from a waterfall we hiked to in June, called Rose River Falls in Virginia. That's my wife and our youngest in the picture. Hope you enjoy! And thanks in advance for your help!


A few things I won't camp without (tent or trailer), keeping in mind I'm not in the US, and here not all campgrounds provide toilet paper in the outhouses:
wet wipes or waterless soap (though with three kids you probably normally carry that anyway)[emoticon], garbage bags, camp shovel, can opener, multitool, extra socks, toilet paper, a couple of face towels, basic first aid kit (of course), and a piece of advice - depending on the condensation in the air overnight keep your sleeping bags and mats a few inches away from the side of the tent. With the heater, what I've always seen done is to have it on for an hour or so before bed, then turn it off to take away any of the worry overnight. For starting fires I get the little sticks - as long as you have a few twigs you can start almost anything on fire. I imagine they'd be available there, they are all over the place here.

And have fun!


Posted By: pudellvr on 09/19/08 06:09pm

Just a heads up
Home Depot has battery operated fans for 3.95. They fold up nicely and put out a good bit of air.

Trish


Swiss Gear 12x17



Posted By: Jellobiafra on 10/05/08 06:36pm

Sorry for not keeping up on this. Our wedding is Friday, and we're heading out Saturday morning around 5am for the Blue Ridge Mountains. I appreciate all the tips that were left for me. Some things were unfortunately out of my budget range for this time around, but we'll keep them in mind for next time.

Little update...had some trouble with the tent. As a reminder, we purchased the Coleman Tucana 16x10 8 person tent with the "keeps you dry" guarantee. Well...we put the tent up out front in the yard and waited for the nearly every day Florida rain shower. It leaked horribly. After all was said and done, we dumped about 30 bucks in seam sealer over 3 days, and purchased new tent pegs all the way around for both the tent and the rain fly. The last rain we had was pretty bad, with some wicked rain, and everything seemed to stand up nicely.

During take down, we noticed the rear rain fly pole had broken in half. Called Coleman, and they were willing to send a new one right away...except that the part was on backorder. They sent the closest thing they had, but it's not going to work. They offered to swap the tent out for a model that is definitely an upgrade, but there just isn't enough time left. I may take them up on the offer when we return. I'm going to buy something metal that can slide over the pole to the breaking point, and hope that duct tape will keep it all together. If a pole was going to break, that would be the one I'd want broken though. We'll see what happens.

We've got two Coleman Powercat heaters and zero degree sleeping bags all around, so we should be ok for night time temps. Bought some grill stuffs and are ready to build some cooking fires, although if we're backed into a corner due to wet wood or something, we also have a gas grill with us.

Anyway, I'll do my best to update everyone when we return and let you know how everything went.

Thanks again for all the help!


Posted By: tplife69 on 10/10/08 04:12pm

Tent too big? Absolutely! Bought one and the thing broke when it was set up the first time! The problem is the body is too big for the pole size - the right pole size and you'll need a small trailer to tote the thing around with. And the best tent spots in most campgrounds are limited to 10X10 tent area or less. REI, Sierra Designs, Marmot, and North Face sell top-quality "6" man tents that are ideal for up to four people. Need more room? Buy a 4-man tent as your next "investment", or a 3-man. Keep the littlest one with you and put the other two or more kids in the other tent. This is what we do, and we take a spare tent when others want to tag along. You can buy top-quality tents like Sierra Designs that will last at least 20 years and are cheaper than anything less over the life of the tent. I buy mine new at 1/2 price of retail off Ebay - If I can do it, so can you...
My tents are used often but in top condition (QUALITY):
Sierra Designs Bedouin man, 2007 model THE 27-POCKET MANSION
Sierra Designs Base Camp 4-man, 1988 model OLD FAITHFUL (Now 4-kids)
Sierra Designs Electron 2-man, 2006 model MY HARLEY TENT
Eureka Tetragon 8, 3-man, 2003 model THE GUEST HOUSE

* This post was edited 10/10/08 04:21pm by tplife69 *






Posted By: TheGov on 10/11/08 01:17am

We bought a tent just a little bigger than yours it is 20x10. There is just 4 of us but man we love that thing. It is big enought for 2 twin air matters and 1 queen, plus a place to put the clothes. Stake the corners up in the three poles, then stake the other 8 stakes you are done. A total of about 10 mins. Hey but what ever size tent works for you or you like that is all that matters.


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