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Camping /Caravan Parks/ Campers It's all about the great outdoors. What you have and where you stayed.

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Old 08-04-19
gumbs gumbs is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 20
Default Instant up tents vs dome tents

My trusty old Coleman 5 person tent is struggling to fit my family of 4 and it's time to buy something bigger.

I have a challenger so I'm limited on both space and roof weight so I normally split the tent and throw the carcas on the roof and the poles and Pegs in the draws. With a dome tent this is easy but no one seems to make decent quality dome tents in the medium (6-8) man sizes any more.

Ideally I'd like a 2 room tent, one big enough to fit a queen bed and a second big enough to fit a single down each side with enough space to stand up in between to get dressed.

This size range seems to be dominated by the instant up tents but I don't know how painful it would be to disconnect the frame from each time. I can setup my current dome tent in about 10 minutes solo while the wife distracts the helpers.

Does anyone have an instant up tent that they regularly remove the frame from?
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Old 08-04-19
old Jack's Avatar
old Jack old Jack is online now
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Adelaide
Posts: 6,771

Quick to erect, good quality and very easy to live in but they can be bulky and not cheap are either the Black Wolf Cabin series or the Turbo Twin series. At $1600 to $1900 you would need to make sure you are going to get the use out of this sort of investment. Alternatively look for second hand tents that have only been used once or twice, this is a common situation, where people like the idea of camping but once they have tried it they do not, so near new gear gets sold for 50% to 60% of new price.

Coleman and Oz Trail both do copies of the Black Wolf Turn Twin design at a 1/3 of the price of a Black Wolf but they are not as robust for constant use or in bad weather.

Snowy's has this special on at the moment if this tent suits your needs;

Our tent collection of 5 tents include a small 1-2 person tunnel tent, 2-3 person centre pole touring tent, 2-3 person Ezy Up Dome and a 5-6 personlarge family cabin tent that are all over 20 years old but the tent we use most now, for just the 2 of us is a 2013 Black Wolf 240 Canvas.

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Last edited by old Jack; 09-04-19 at 03:49 AM. Reason: spelling correction and extra info added
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Old 08-04-19
Pauno Pauno is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Newcastle
Posts: 101

I have a Coleman 4 man tent as well, have 2 young kids and it’s perfect for overnight stays. Any longer and it doesn’t fit any of the kids things we bring away like toys, bikes etc.
I bought the one below a few years ago and think it’s great. Yes it’s a little bigger but the extra room is amazing for storing kids things and it’s still possible to put up with 1 person. You can get away without bringing a tarp or gazebo so it could even save you room.
NW Exceed
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Old 09-04-19
gumbs gumbs is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 20

The Black wolf turbo tents are a fair bit more than I would want to spend. I'd struggle to justify spending $1000+ on a tent, especially a nylon one which is unlikely to be able to be repaired.

I just gumtreed black wolf tents and there are a few second hand ones around the $500 mark and the 380 and 450 turbo tents look decent. But they're packed dimensions are listed as 130cm long which won't fit in the back of the challenger. I don't know if that's the length of the poles or the length of the bag it comes in and if it would be smaller if it was separated. They're also way too heavy to go on the roof (30kg takes up more than 1/2 the available weight after the rack). Add the fairly average reviews of the build quality of the later black wolf tents and I think I'll give them a miss.

I'm also still not convinced of the longevity of instant up tents with plastic knuckles in the frames and if they would be any faster to setup than a dome tent once you take into account putting all the guye ropes out. A dome tent might break a pole if you set it up wrong, I broke two pole in my tent when I set it up a bit out of square due to hitting a rock with a peg, but fibre glass poles are cheap and easy to repair. A proprietary knuckle on the other hand...

That outdoor connection tent is much bigger than I would want, but it the smaller herron is pretty close and is worth more of a look. I'm not sold on the front awning design as I'd be worried to leave it out like that if I went for day trip and a storm hit, or even leaving it up overnight. While I'd be confident a geodesic dome tent and my pop up gazebo will handle most weather.

I've found Zempire still make a couple of geodesic dome tents in roughly the size I want so I think I'll have a look at them vs the outdoor connection if I can find anywhere that still stock them.
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Old 09-04-19
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littleriver littleriver is offline
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Old 29-04-19
Mik Mik is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Sydney
Posts: 105

I bought an Oztent Jet tent with the extension a long time ago, one of those pop up tents. It was a monster. This thing had an extension on the back and an option for the front for an additional room with it's side walls. I had it all. 7 something meters long when set up with a strong frame and quality canvas. I had a few weekends of just learning the best way to set it up because it was so heavy it would twist and wobble and refuse to stay up before being anchored to the ground with the ropes. I eventually had a delicate process where I could set it up on my own whilst my wife entertained the kids. I was at wars with myself if I loved or hated it but I promised myself that I would never buy a tent like it ever again.

Finally one day it broke and that turned me off from purchasing an Instant up Tent again.

We bought a Darche safari. It's got a centre pole or an A-frame option. It's so easy to set up and pack up. We can fit ourselves, our 4 year old and a cot for our youngest and have some room for a bag. Everything else goes outside in tubs under the gazebo or the car. You could fit 4 mats but would have to have 3 aside and 1 perpendicular and probably not much room for bags.
We can stand fully in it too.

We have a cheap 4 man tent we can use to store items if we wanted. Have you considered a single pole tent?

Canvas is good quality and keeps us warm through the night and is also heavier material so blocks out the lights. The LEDs from other campers shines bright with nylon tents and makes it hard for little ones to sleep.

Single pole tents pack flat and are quick to set up. There's nothing to break. It's just a few poles and canvas. Also easy to flip over when packing away to let the sun dry the bottom something I found difficult with the instant up tent.

Otherwise you could get 2x dome tents and split the sleeping and that way if you go camping as 2 or 3 you could just take 1 tent.

1 photo is of the jet tent fully set up. It's was a marvelous thing but too much for weekend camping and the other of the Darche.

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