buying our first tent

Submitted: Sunday, Oct 04, 2020 at 01:38
ThreadID: 140584 Views:25919 Replies:9 FollowUps:9
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Hi there,
Im planning to buy a tent for a family camping trip for around $500 -$600
i want a 6 person tent but there is so many to choose im confused.
please any advice would be great.
i am in sydney and would probably buy from tent world.
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Reply By: Tony F8 - Sunday, Oct 04, 2020 at 08:30

Sunday, Oct 04, 2020 at 08:30
Have a look at the Coleman Instant series, a good tent, easy to pitch and will certainly fit your budget.
AnswerID: 633618

Follow Up By: shane b10 - Sunday, Oct 04, 2020 at 11:49

Sunday, Oct 04, 2020 at 11:49
thanks tony for your reply i will take a look at them today.
FollowupID: 910680

Reply By: Hoyks - Sunday, Oct 04, 2020 at 10:32

Sunday, Oct 04, 2020 at 10:32
You're after a 6 man tent, but whats the breakdown of those going camping?

I have a big 6 man tent, but it has only been used 3 or 4 times. Set up, pack up, lifting it (must weigh 35kg) and fitting it in the vehicle were all painful experiences, so I ended up going with a couple of 3 man tents with a vestibule.

Easier to move and set up, as well as fit into available space in the car and camp ground. If taking young kids camping, a bit of separation can let them chat and giggle all night without disturbing you too much, yet be close enough if someone has issues.

AnswerID: 633621

Follow Up By: shane b10 - Sunday, Oct 04, 2020 at 11:48

Sunday, Oct 04, 2020 at 11:48
its 2 adults and 1 child,im going today to take a look at some tents,the Oztrail 6 person fast frame looks ok,but i will take a look at the quality of it.
we will generally be camping on the coast so the waterproof factor is important because you get the heavy rain storms sometimes,thanks for your assistance
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Reply By: Member - Bigfish - Sunday, Oct 04, 2020 at 10:53

Sunday, Oct 04, 2020 at 10:53
If a tent is advertised as a 6 man tent I,ll bet you will have trouble sleeping 4 people in it. Same goes for a 4 man tent...maybe sleep 2. I bought a Coleman 6 man tent...just sleeps 2 on individual camp stretchers. All good if you all weigh 35 kilos each and only 5 foot in height....
AnswerID: 633622

Follow Up By: shane b10 - Sunday, Oct 04, 2020 at 11:51

Sunday, Oct 04, 2020 at 11:51
thanks Bigfish your advice is appreciated
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Reply By: Member - silkwood - Monday, Oct 05, 2020 at 19:51

Monday, Oct 05, 2020 at 19:51
Hi Shane, your answer depends upon a range of questions: 2 adults and a child, why a six person? How often will you be pitching (every night or staying n one place for two nights or more)? How long and often will you be using it (for 3 months' consistent use, or two or three nights, two or three times per year)?

A comfortable tent (say a two room dome tent like this Wanderer tent can be great, but a pain to put up every night and take down each morning, and be less than durable over a long period . Having said that, the space to live on one area and sleep in another can be a godsend.

A faster pitch tent (say the Coleman fast pitch) can make a daily move easier, but offers less living room (particularly in bad weather) and is still only a moderate use tent in terms of longevity.

A tent like the Oztent can be easy and quick to put up, as well as last a long time. But it offers little room and is expensive (additional room can be gained by the add-ons, which negate some of the rapid pitch and add to the expense).

A couple of "instant" pop up tents coupled with a good vehicle awning or separate gazebo-style shelter suits many and is flexible enough to suit a number of conditions.

Why not give more information about your requirements to aid suggestions, but, remember, the best set-up is the one which suits you, you will find a huge variance in opinions about what works.

AnswerID: 633640

Follow Up By: shane b10 - Tuesday, Oct 06, 2020 at 22:03

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2020 at 22:03
I see what your saying silkwood,
when we went to the camping store alot of the tents were sold out before the long weekend so we had to settle on a cheaper spinifex 6 man tent.we pitched it in the backyard and it was pretty easy to setup.
this trip is a two day trip so hopefully the weather will be ok.
i think the option of getting a good gazebo (i was thinking the coleman event shade with some side panels) with 1 or two tents is a good idea for protection from the weather(i was thinking to put gazebo over the tent)
i have a toyota aurion with roof racks and ludgage pod on top so i have to buy to suit my veichles limitations.
will see how it goes if we decide we are going camping more often i will decide on the best option.
thanks so much for your help
FollowupID: 910713

Reply By: Malcom M - Tuesday, Oct 06, 2020 at 12:41

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2020 at 12:41
If you are touring around then you need a rethink:
The Coleman 'Instant Up' tents are brilliant (owned two) but they are nylon material and are not waterproof unless packed away bone dry.
They have a fly which is great but if you have to pack it all up wet, the water will wick through all fabric.
If its raining the next night and you have had to put it up again whilst still wet it will leak like a sieve.
We had two weeks in the Vic High Country and it rained for 12 of the 14 days so could never dry out. Pretty miserable holiday.

We now use a Darche Air-Volution which come in a 4 or 6 person size. We have the 4 and its big.
These are made of lightweight ripstop canvas so remain waterproof when packed away wet.
The don't use poles but but have two inflatable tubes which hold it up. This gives the tent a slightly bulbous shape effectively making it bigger on the inside that the outside (Tardis). For two people its huge inside, I'm 6ft 3 and can stand up ok.
Pumping it up seems odd and attracts some attention but you can pump the tent up with the supplied hand pump in about 60-90 seconds which is great when its raining. Dumping the air takes maybe 10 seconds and you just roll it up.
I love this tent and its far away the best We have owned.
6 weeks around Cape York with a set up/down every day produced no problems.
I wanted to have some spare parts on board for the next trip and Darche were extremely helpful. Darche sent me what I wanted with no charge. Can't give them a high enough recommendation.

Tent World place sell these but I bought mine on sale at
It was a couple of hundred off plus as a new customer you get a further discount (think it was another 10%) so it can be bought pretty cheaply.
If you have a tent world close by then you should take look at one.
AnswerID: 633649

Reply By: Mark C9 - Tuesday, Oct 06, 2020 at 18:47

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2020 at 18:47
Buying the tent is the easy part. Then you have to get all of the stuff to go with it from lights, cooker, chairs/tables, beds, boxes and esky
My mate used to spend 2 ½ days setting up with all of the gear he wanted every year.
You will love it (I hope)
AnswerID: 633653

Follow Up By: shane b10 - Tuesday, Oct 06, 2020 at 22:15

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2020 at 22:15
we have most of the esseintails already,but we cant go big with all the gear coz my car is family sedan with racks and roof pod.
im sure we will enjoy it thanks
FollowupID: 910714

Follow Up By: Member - silkwood - Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 14:36

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 14:36
We set up at Moreton Telegraph Station for the night, a few years ago. Along comes a couple in a n SUV of some kind. they got out dressed like they were on a photo shoot in the outback. He sets up a dome tent (didn't do a bad job, actually, must have practiced) while she sets up a table, complete with table cloth, and a couple of directors chairs. she then fixed up a couple of cocktails. So far so good, I was jealous!

He then proceeds to set up the double stretcher, with double air mattress, two more small side tables, a pantry and two small folding wardrobes! Took over an hour and a half (I know, I was past my second beer and had had a fish). I have no idea how they fitted that lot in.

They left early the next morning...
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 06, 2020 at 19:22

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2020 at 19:22
We have a Black Wolf Turbo 210, 210 cm square supposedly a 4 man tent. It's comfortable for two. They
also make a 240 model which would give a bit more room.

We are severely impressed with our Black Wolf tent. It is super strong and waterproof. We camped once at Birdsville and while out on a day trip, Birdsville had a sandstorm. When we got back every other tent in the campground was rolled up in a downwind corner. Our little BW Turbo210 was the only one standing, all lonely, and completely undamaged.

They are quick to set up and quick to take down, with a clever, folding, strong internal aluminium tube frame that stays attached, inside the canvas. Peg out the 4 corners, step inside and push up the roof. Easy as. Throw the fly over and clip it on, then do the tie down ropes and you're done. The 210 packs into about 1200 x 400 x 400 (just guessing from memory, it's packed away ATM.)

I don't know what storage options in your vehicle you have, but given that you're 2 adults and 1 child and you're looking for a lot of extra room, I think 2 of either the 210 or the 240 models or maybe one of each. Mine is not particularly light, I suppose because it's strong and durable - generally that doesn't come without a bit of weight. They make Lite models now , which implies a weight saving.

Check out the Black Wolf tent range.Well worth considering, IMO.

I just checked the prices. Gulp - about twice what we paid about 10 years ago. :-(

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AnswerID: 633654

Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 18:35

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020 at 18:35
I am a great believer in the KISS principle when it comes to tents. If you get the right one it will last you for as long as you want it to, it will be incredibly simple to put up & will be the cause of a little inward smile every time you do. The sort of smile which you get whenever you use a quality item & you can congratulate yourself on the decision you made to purchase.

Yes there is such a thing, but unfortunately it is way out of your price bracket.

BUT because these things last forever if looked after & stored dry the good news is that you can pick up a second hand one within your price range.

I am talking about the Southern Cross range of touring tents. We sold our one after 20 years of ownership a few years back for $500, only because we were no longer up to sleeping on the ground. My wife called it a 'marriage saver'! We expect the family who bought it will be able to enjoy it for as long as we did.

Google 'Southern Cross Canvas'.
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Follow Up By: shane b10 - Thursday, Oct 08, 2020 at 14:22

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020 at 14:22
Thanks for the advice Cuppa,that brand looks good i was not aware of them ,can you remember what model tent it was and how good the waterproof factor was?
i will take a further look,i have been looking at blackwolf but i see really mixed reviews and bad warranty service.
i am impressed by the advice in this forum from everyone who has replied.
FollowupID: 910740

Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Thursday, Oct 08, 2020 at 15:03

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020 at 15:03
The 'waterproof factor' was 100%. Never, ever leaked a drop.

A little anecdote.
We were fairly 'green' as far as camping in Australia went, having only been in the country a short time. First night out we found a nice looking flat area & put the tent up for the very first time. It rained for much of the night & we awoke in the morning to what felt like a water bed beneath us. Turned out we had camped in a dry creek bed which was no longer dry. The heavy vinyl floor, which extended 4 or 6 inches up the walls didn't let a drop in, even when I unzipped the door & stepped out into water running over my feet. :)

Not sure what model it was - they have changed a little. Ours had a rectangular base so was a little bigger than the square based models. It had two short poles & ropes to hold up the 'extension' area. Later models used an external frame for the extension. On one occasion we had 6 adults sleeping inside it, but alcohol was involved on that occasion!

When I advertised it for sale at $500 when it was 20 years old I had a lot of interest & could have sold it several times over. We had originally paid $1200 for it, which was a great deal of money in the late 80's, but they had the reputation of being the best touring tents money could buy even back then. I later found the original awning we had bought with it, when moving house. We still have this, cut down to size, as a sail track awning on the side of our patrol.
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Follow Up By: shane b10 - Thursday, Oct 08, 2020 at 15:30

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020 at 15:30
That's impressive for any tent ,many thanks for the story interesting indeed.
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