Family tent advice ... keep confusing myself!

Submitted: Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 21:17
ThreadID: 97564 Views:4936 Replies:7 FollowUps:6
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Hi, I've just joined the forum and am completely new to camping (I think a break of 20 years pretty much means I'm a newbie) and we've been researching family tents for weeks now with the only result being a vague short list and the need to open another bottle of red! We are a family of 4 (kids are 8 and 11) and we're after the kind of tent that has separate rooms for us and them.
Friends have recently bought themselves the Retreat 360 from Kathmandu and they love it (but it is their first tent so maybe they don't have anything to compare it to?). Our list consists of that model, the Coleman Montana 12 (yep, it's big but I don't want to have to upgrade any time soon), or the Black Wolf Turbo Lite twin 300 (seems to have a good rep and I like the idea of a quick set up). Hubby reckons we could then get a smaller additional Black Wolf tent and have a little annex between them so the kids are in their own tent and the rest is used as storage and living.
So firstly, are there any opinions on the tents I've mentioned, or any new ideas to add to my list? And would we still require a separate enclosure/screen house to do the cooking in to keep insects at bay?
Sorry, there's SO MANY questions...thanks in advance!
PS: We bought a Cobb Premium oven which I can't wait to christen - I've heard great things about them.
PPS: I'm looking forward to not being a newbie :)
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Reply By: chisel - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 21:21

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 21:21
2 small blackwolfs (eg. turbo lite 240) and a gazebo for living would be my pick.
You could get 2 oztents but you're looking at a grand each for those.

I can't see you needing a turbo lite twin 300 AND another tent. That's overkill.
AnswerID: 493362

Follow Up By: the_fitzroys - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 21:59

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 21:59
I agree with Chisel. And we're a huge fan of Black Wolf - can't go wrong there. A good sized screen tent is a must - we have the Coleman geodesic and it has an amazing amount of room and is incredibly easy to set up.
Good luck with getting back into the camping!
Louise
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FollowupID: 768949

Reply By: SDG - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 21:26

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 21:26
I got a big family tent, and found when I use it, i'm the only one in it. My 11 year old prefers his own tent, and the 9year old that travels with us prefers to be on his own as well.
Even the camper trailer I now use is pretty much pointless on my own.
AnswerID: 493363

Reply By: rocco2010 - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 21:34

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 21:34
Gidday

No two lots of campers are the same and what suits them might not work for you. Is it possible to hire some gear for your first few trips? That way you can maybe try different setups to see what works. The hirers should be experienced and and should be able to give you a few tips as well. And while you are away you can have a look around the camp and see what other people are doing and learn from them. Wiith Blackwolf and Oztents for example costing what they do it can be expensive if you buy in haste.

Cheers

Rocco
AnswerID: 493364

Reply By: Life Member - Phil B (WA) - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 02:31

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 02:31
Hi Bekka

When choosing a tent one of the first things you need to consider is - are you talking about static camping or moving every day camping.

If static camping then you wont mind taking a while to set up the tent, ropes etc.

If moving every day you'll soon get tired of threading poles, tying guide ropes, attaching flies etc if its one of those tents that need a lot of time to set up.

cheers
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AnswerID: 493370

Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 07:52

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 07:52
Bekka

If you are static camping, have the space which typically means a box trailer and somewhat dependent on where you camp (rainfall), the best bit of tent advice I can give is get a good K Mart style tarp that will cover your tent footprint + some additional area.
Yes it means additional steel poles, pegs, a centre beam and cheap 3-4m guy ropes which you leave permanently attached, but knowing you will have additional sun/rain protection and be able to pack up a dry tent is well worth it.

We started with a cheap 2nd hand tent, then a large K mart tent which was great, had separate kids tents, now onto our 2nd camper trailer. Don't spend a fortune, your circumstances are bound to change and don't buy at Kathmandu unless it is 60% off (not knocking them, I have plenty of their gear, just their standard price).
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Follow Up By: SDG - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 09:17

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 09:17
Staff discount at Kathmandu is abot 70percent according to one staff member I know, and occasionaly get stuff off.
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FollowupID: 768963

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 07:36

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 07:36
A pair of Oztent RV4's and side panels would be pretty much the best you could have but as has been already mentioned, the cost may be a draw back.
Also the Oztents ned to be carried on roof racks due to their length (2 metres).

When we were looking for our tent, we had narrowed our selection down to either the Oztent or the Black Wolf Turbo 240.
What decided it for us was the more practical awning on the Oztent which gives protection from both sun and rain. Add the peak side panels and you have a protected kitchen/living area that is hard to beat. We have never bothered with another front panel to fully enclose the living area, but it can be done easily.
The good thing about joining two Oztents is that there is a purpose designed joiner available that takes any water runoff away to the side.

When we looked at the Black Wolf Turbo, we determined that the awning was much smaller, could not be added to with accessories and they provided a video on how to collapse it when packing up.

The Oztent won it for us, but we only needed one.

As for the Cobb Cooker, you will soon become enthused with its capabilities, although I also use a Hillbilly Camp Oven which I am "addicted" to.
The Cobb is great though and you only need 7-8 heatbeads.
Two tips for you.
Stick with the Heatbeads for a consistent result. Don't attempt to use the Cobb brand cooking disks if you can even get them. They burn too hot.
As your Cobb Premium has a flow through mesh outer cover, air tends to flow through and in stronger conditions can affect the cooking temperature.
Buy a Cobb Bra from In Front Camping and this will solve this problem.
Mine is left permanently inside the cooker and will not burn. It is a simple but effective canvas wrap with velcro straps that wrap around the inside, or outside of the mesh wall.

Cobb Bra

Good luck and good times camping with whatever you decide to buy.


Bill


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AnswerID: 493374

Reply By: Neil - ACT - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 07:42

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 07:42
We now have 2 Quechua Base Seconds 4.2 tents that we purchased at the start of camping holidays that we have had in France in the past 2-3 years. We have found them to be fantastic tents, set-up is easy and very fast, and packing up the same after a couple of practices. They are very light, and compact when packed up (90cm diameter, 11cm thick, and around 12kgs). All stays are integral to the tent, and if the weather is OK, no to use the well thought-out guy ropes - which are permanently attached to the tent.

These tents have easily coped with a couple of serious storms, both in terms of stability and water-tightness. The 2 sleeping areas at either side of the tent are fully insect-proof, and have their own waterproof "tub" sewn in. The living area in the centre has a "tub" built into the groundsheet that goes under the entire tent.

The one that we purchased for the trip that we did earlier this year cost 259 Euros! Cost us $20.00 in extra baggage costs to bring it back with us.

When we compare all of the features and convenience of these tents to many - if not all - of the more expensive brands/types currently available in Australia, we cannot understand why the Quechua tents are not being sold in Australia. Quechua has a large range of tents, and the brand is extremely popular in Europe.

Check them out - www.quechua.com
AnswerID: 493375

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 21:21

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 21:21
Those Quechua tents don't seem to be sealed around the bottom especially in the sleeping area. Is that correct?
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FollowupID: 769019

Follow Up By: Neil - ACT - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 22:40

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 22:40
Mikehzz - not correct. The sleeping areas are fully sealed, but the living area in the centre isn't. However, the inbuilt tub has coped with heavy rain etc on more than one occasion. We think that they are a great 'convenience' package, and value for money. However, as always in life, what suits one person will not suit another, and we respect that viewpoint.
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FollowupID: 769025

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Thursday, Aug 23, 2012 at 09:06

Thursday, Aug 23, 2012 at 09:06
No it looks pretty good actually but I was worried about snakes slithering in if I had it set up for a few days somewhere. I only saw the youtube video of the setup and it wasn't clear what was sealed and what was not. Cheers
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FollowupID: 769037

Reply By: BekkaW - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 11:31

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 11:31
Thanks everyone for the helpful advice! So glad I joined this forum....I'll be sure to let you know what we end up doing. Oh, and thanks for the advice on the Cobb Cooker too - we did buy the Cobb disks because they were 30% off at Anaconda but might take them back and stick with the heat beads which seems far more economical anyway.
AnswerID: 493386

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