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Old 03-11-2011   #1
Whoapiglet's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 296
Plush 2 person tent suggestions?

I'm looking for suggestions for a new river tent. I have a super cramped 3lb 1.5 man backpacking jobber, and this ridiculous 8 man two room Columbia tent that my wife got after seeing her friend's. Its comfy as hell for car camping, but it comes in a rolling duffel that weighs 50lbs and pretty much takes up a whole bay in the boat.

So I need something in the middle, probably about a "4 man", that my wife will love and I can carry on the boat without too much fuss. we don't do the cot thing right now, but might in the future. Not too interested in sleeping on the boat either. Sturdy, spacious, and easy to set up are what I am going for here.

Thanks in advance for the suggestions...


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Old 03-11-2011   #2
montuckyhuck's Avatar
The Bitterroot, Montana
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 451
IMO blackdiomond/bibler makes the best tent you can buy. If you want super dry and more durable than any other tent I have ever seen. I know people with 15 year old biblers that still stay dry on the inside with hardly any maintinance over the years. A little more on the price tag but well worth the investment. In the last 5 or so years BD bought out the bibler name but kept the construction and product the same.

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Old 03-11-2011   #3
bobbuilds's Avatar
x, x
Paddling Since: x
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,634
my wife and i bought a 5 person tent from browning, it is a hunting brand, but was reasonably cheaper all around. i can stand up in it and we can have 2 cots inside with room to move it is tall enough we cook right inside it and the bathtub floor is awesome for keeping mosture out. it is only a 3 season tent but we have used it year round now for 2 seasons.
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Old 03-11-2011   #4
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 683
Big Agnes Pine Island 4. Last time I was shopping for a tent for rafting the two main things I wanted were massive ventilation for those hot nights and full clip construction for ease of setup. I hate trying to thread long poles through sleeves. This was what I found and it has been great. Stuffs in a med-lg dry bag perfectly. (like 40-50 liter’ish) Two doors are great for getting pacos in and out and is really comfortable for two with room for extras or can get a couple kids in there with you no problem. Two vestibules and one is huge with its own pole. (or you can leave that out for the 2am mad dash for the fly, it goes on very quick with buckles) Can’t stand up in it though. For the desert camping thing it has been good.

Big Agnes Inc. Steamboat Springs, CO PineIsland4

I also saw some new ones from Kelty this year that looked pretty good on Cascade’s site with a lot of mesh. My wife doesn’t dig the camping on the beach thing so much and after a few nights on Lodore in a tent without much ventilation that became high on my priority list. Main thing I think is to measure your pads since paco/landing pads are so big they don’t always fit one way or the other. This is the biggest tent I was able to find searching high and low with all clips to attach the poles with mostly mesh construction. The BA has a pretty cool pole hub design where 5 of the poles are all connected through the bungees and two hubs. Up and down is a breeze.
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Old 03-11-2011   #5
glenn's Avatar
BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,489
You can get a roomy 4 person tent that will pack up decently at wally world for like $30.
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Old 03-11-2011   #6
Red Deer, Alberta
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 16
I have used a Eureka 2XT for 11 years, it is still in excellent shape. I specifically bought it for my budy and I on the river, as we are both 6'4". There is plenty of room for both of us due to the 7'6" length. The vestibules offer alot of waterproof space for gear as well. I just recently bought an MEC Wanderer 2, it is bacically the same tent as the Eureka, but with more of a vestibule and more head room
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Old 03-11-2011   #7
shappattack's Avatar
Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,148
Got a Eureka 2 person clip alpine meadows, very roomy fits 2 plus gear and dog. Used the hell out of it since 1992, still going strong (had to re-sew the stake loops though a few years ago).
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Old 03-11-2011   #8
Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 149
I have a REI 4 man that works great. Lots of ventilation and easy to set up. Get one with a separate ground cloth and put your pads between the cloth and the tent. That keeps all the sand out of the tent and helps hold it down. Most nights we don't even neeed to stake it down
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Old 03-11-2011   #9
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 427
In descending order by quality, all at the the top being very good...marmot, black diamond, north face, gojo, REI, eureka, sierra designs, mountainsmith, big agnes, kelty, cabela's, slumberjack, coleman,

and then there's the wally mart stuff. Very inexpensive but there's probably worse out there. If you wanna save a buck they work but I wouldn't trust one on an extended trip. If you do go the W route save your receipt for sure. I have returned lots of destroyed/rented gear over the years.

Check out They used to have excellent deals almost year round. Otherwise google a brand/model you like or do the ebay/amazon routine. My favorite river tent is a 500$ expedition tent I got on ebay for 80 bucks. If you want a good tent that's not too heavy make sure you get alum. poles and a decent repair kit, which all the good ones come with. And make sure, especially if it's raining, that your ground cloth is not sticking out from under the tent. This happened to my brother once in a monsoon and the water flowed under the tent floor onto the ground cloth condensed into his tent making things pretty soggy.

My tent has zippered windows everywhere as well as two doors which is nice. You can get an all mesh upper, which is not as strong as other fabric, but if you do go mesh, make sure the rain fly is high quality. As far as size, pay less attention to the "2 or 3 person" recommendations and more to the actual physical dimensions and measure your sleeping pads to see if everything will fit.
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Old 03-11-2011   #10
castle rock, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 203
I love my REI half dome. it is a roomy two person tent but still kind of light at 5.5 lbs. Also I think they have a three man tent now too in the half dome. Cheap but last and a great tent for many things imo

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