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Thread: Tents

  1. #1
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    Default Tents

    I'm not a big camper, but I kind of have this idea that if you're camping it should be in a tent. Still, I don't want to freeze to death or be eaten by bears either. So, does anyone know if any of these tents would be appropriate for camping in Alaska with the goal of not freezing or becoming dinner? Thanks!

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    Member doug1980's Avatar
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    I have done a lot of tent camping and can honestly say I prefer the camper. If a bear wants in he'll get in whether it's a tent or a camper. As for staying warm, it's more the sleeping bag you choose rather than the tent that will keep you warm. Tents are great for backpacking and things like that, but when I want to camp for a few days the camper is what I choose.
    Former A.F Staff Sergeant

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Hard to argue with the enjoyment of being able to take a house to the woods since it is pretty challenging to take a shower in a tent! That said for most car camping there are lots of great tents for fairly reasonable $$. Just make sure it has a full fly that goes all the way to the ground or very close! Also take the time to seam seal the fly with a quality seam sealer and do it BEFORE the trip so that it can air out properly. Beyond that put your money into quality sleeping bags. Also a good sleeping pad will make the night much more enjoyable. Big Agnes is a company that has good pads, good bags, and good tents for that type of camping. For cheaper sleeping bags that do a good job of keeping you warm slumberjack is hard to beat. If you are camping with a spouse or "special friend" then finding a set of bags that can be mated together (one with left and one with right side zip) is pretty nice. There are also cheap pad couplers to connect two air mattresses together to form a "full" bed. I imagine that you will find most on the forum are into higher end gear but that is because this forum is dedicated to folks that spend a great deal of time in the woods so we get the value out of those items. For the average person who camps 1-3 times a year you don't really need to pay big bucks for super light mountaineering stuff. Besides if you have a car nearby there really isn't any danger if you have a gear failure since you can always just take shelter in your vehicle.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    What constitutes true camping? Diehards who "siwash" with tarp or lean-to look down on those who use a mountain tent as not really camping; people who use a mountain tent look down on people who use a cabin tent; people who use a cabin tent look down on those who use a truck camper; people who use a truck camper look down on those who use a motorhome... and so it goes. And ironically, it probably goes the other direction as well. But they are all forms of camping and some of use several of these modes to camp for varying situations.

    As for safety, if a brownie can drag a full grown moose around, and smash in the wall of a cabin, a determined bear will get into a camper. There is only common sense to ensure safety- especially with a tent- including food storage and cooking away from your sleeping area, and staying away from obvious bear lanes.

    The most important component in camping is to ensure your, and your family's enjoyment. Make camp as comfortable as possible and you will enjoy the experience more and want to repeat it. And camping is a learning experience as well. If something doesn't go right during one camp-out you'll know what to do/not do next time. In my opinion if you can sleep warm and comfortable, you have addressed the main factor in having a successful camping experience.

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    I'm one that prefers tent camping. I like being out doors when I'm out doors. I've owned a camper trailer, a tent trailer and a motor home, but all these, along with truck campers, feel like tiny houses. Why bother leaving home? My wife feels differently however, so to each his/her own.

    I have gotten to the age I no longer like to crawl into tiny tent doors however. I prefer the tent to have a door large and tall enough I can walk into while doning no more than stooping. Actually, for similar reasons, I like sleeping under tarps tall enough to walk into. Tipi style tents seem a good compromise. Floors are optional unless sleeping on very soggy ground. I also prefer cots to pads to sleep on, but usually use an insulated air pad instead. Air pads are very comfortable; far more so than self inflating, or other types of foam pads. Non insulated air pads and cots can be cold however; you will need to add some form of insulation.

    While I'm rattling on about personal preferences, I don't like the confines of sleeping bags unless I'm very cold. I almost always use an insulated blanket or two on top of the insulated pad. That's been plenty warm enough down to the mid teens and I can stretch out the way I want. A small double wall tent (tent and full coverage fly) can warm the surrounding air nearly 10 degrees though, so sleeping without a tent will require more insulation.

    A battery powered electric fence can be put up around the tent if you are really worried about bears. They are very effective and don't cost that much. But as long as you keep food away from the tent you will not likely have any issues with bears. I know there are exceptions, but you are more likely to be killed in a car crash on the way to camping than by a bear once you get there.

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    The most important component in camping is to ensure your, and your family's enjoyment. Make camp as comfortable as possible and you will enjoy the experience more and want to repeat it. And camping is a learning experience as well. If something doesn't go right during one camp-out you'll know what to do/not do next time. In my opinion if you can sleep warm and comfortable, you have addressed the main factor in having a successful camping experience.
    That's the truth. My wife wouldn't do a tent and we've always had a form of camper; pop up, truck camper, and now a motorhome. I'm taking the kids tent camping this summer off the Denali so they can try that. Might do a hike-in and tent camp day with them too. Momma wants no part of a tent though. My son thinks that tents are for hunting because that's the only time we use one.

    Tim

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Agree with Jim Strutz, and the other posts - over the years, I've come to much prefer tent camping to truck camper camping.
    Camping with my wife and daughter has also gone amazingly well since we began using an electric bear fence. Like some other measures taken in the woods, the fence is as much about peace of mind and a good night's sleep as anything else.

    We use a second tent for kitchen duties, and sometime it doubles as our "peepee tipi", using a PETT type toilet for managing waste. Ya - too much information, I know. But the point is, we employ a stove in the tipi (Titanium Goat), which has been instrumental in keeping family happy on trips where we got wet and cold. For warm sleep, we've figured out what bags work just right. On our spring bear hunt last week in Prince William Sound, my daughter and I used a 2 bag system each, a liner bag plus and outer bag. Snug and comfy! Like Sayak says, there's a learning curve.

    Other thoughts: This thread is pretty good for tent ideas: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...-river-camping. If you live in the Anchorage area, visit some shops and start learninga bout the tradeoffs inherent in tent design, features, etc. In Fairbanks, Beaver Sports is pretty good - some good tents to look at, and knowledgable staff. Test your gear at places in close, Eklutna near Anchorage is a good one - before you head out to the boonies. I seal all seams, always. Good luck. Have fun.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    It depends on what time of year you'll be camping. If you include high winds, rain and snow, a cheap tent really isn't suitable for Alaska.

    We've used tents for ~17 years in Alaska, and haven't been bothered by bears, or froze to death. Regarding bears, don't do stupid things in the woods, and they'll leave you alone. Regarding not freezing to death, a good sleeping bag and you'll be fine May through September. If you really want to go deluxe, look at a tent you can use a wood burning stove in. There is something to be said for cutting through the morning chill, and being able to dry out your clothes.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    If you really want to go deluxe, look at a tent you can use a wood burning stove in. There is something to be said for cutting through the morning chill, and being able to dry out your clothes.
    there's a wall tent with a stove jack on cl for $350. too small for what I want or I'd be all over it.
    "When the time comes for a man to look his Maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?"

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