4-Person Tents

-- Last Updated: Jul-28-06 9:57 PM EST --

Our Kelty Vortex 4 tent bit the dust. It allowed fire ants in on my child and a friend at scout camp a couple of weeks ago. An inspection revealed dozens of pin-head-sized holes in the floor, so I bit the bullet and hauled it to the trash. I'd gotten used to the Jacobsen method of lining the inside with 6 mil plastic and hadn't checked the floor well in probably a year, maybe since last scout camp, I'm embarrassed to say. It is 8 or 10 years old and has seen lots of hard use, much of it in the harsh South Texas thorn scrub country.

So I'm tempted to replace it with Kelty's current similar model, the Gunnison 4, which I've found a good deal on. These are inexpensive tents for what you get, and you don't have to wince when you send it off to scout camp like you would an MSR of comparable size.

Here is my question: Has anyone been through nasty storms in one of these 2-pole rectangular dome type tents? I remember some long soaking rains in the Vortex but no really big blows. I've been in my 2 man Sierra Designs or MSR tents more the last few years and through the only nasty storms I can remember. I guess I'm just a worrier -- maybe its having our old scout tents blow down several times as a kid...OK and a couple of tent failures while an adult -- but I'd feel better with a three or four pole dome type tent. We often camp on exposed gravel or sand bars and river terrain can sure concentrate winds.

Any thoughts?

L.L. Bean Anyone?
Anybody have an L.L. Bean dome tent? These look like a good value.


We have an L.L. Bean 6-man cabin tent for family car camping thats about 10 years old and it is very well built.

2 Man, Didn’t Like It

– Last Updated: Jul-28-06 8:57 PM EST –

Had it a few years, gave it away. You cannot tell from the pics, but the back of the tent has a pole that pushes the fly out like a hood; unfortunately, it also pushes IN and decreases the tent size by about a foot. It stuck over my head and on the inside resembled having a stick punching into the tent. I modified it so I would stake out that part of the fly to get rid of that problem, but the fly didn't fit right without it. Well MADE, poorly DESIGNED. DON'T BUY THIAT ONE, ROB! WW

I have been in a couple of
pretty strong winded tstorms with my Eureka Rainier 4 man and it has done very well. It has 2 aluminum poles and they were taking quite a pounding on one overnight trip we did on the Brazos a few years back with wind gusts that had to have been up to about 30+ mph. The fly on the Rainier goes all the way to the ground though so its not the best summer tent for Texas weather. A fellow paddler has the Apex model which is basically the same floor plan and uses the same pole set and it weathered the same storm.

My only complaint with either is that you could never get 4 people in there.

Howdy Rob
Have a look at some of the REI brand tents. We have a 6 person (4 Normal sized people IMHO). Three aluminum poles, rain fly, good ventilation. They are reasonably priced typically, especially on sale. i think we got ours at the online REI outlet site. Just a thought.

Tent Ratings and Fly Poles
Terry, come to think of it our 6- man Bean tent has a couple of little fly poles that extend the fly over the doors, but these are like the ones on a Eureka Timberline and push back against a frame hub so they don’t effect the interior space of the tent. Thanks for the heads up. One great thing about Bean is they’ll take it back if you get something you don’t like.

Paddling pals, yep the Vortex 4 was a comfortable 2 man tent. :slight_smile: We slept 4 in there but two were kiddos and it was still a squeeze.

My MSR Zoid 2 is a good, small one man.

I Kick Myself…
…for not returning it, but I thought “Oh, we’ll get used to it.” WE DIDN’T! Live 'n learn. WW

I’ve got a Gunnison 4
I really like it. Like you, I had some concerns about how it would perform in a real storm, and I got to try it out about the second time we had it up! We were campground camping and my daughter and her friend took the Gunnison. There was a huge thunderstorm, huge downpour of rain, hail, heavy winds, all the big stuff. The whole thing lasted a couple of hours, and we had over 2" of rain in that time. We knew it was coming and had attached all the storm loops to stakes and had it nice and taut. It weathered the storm beautifully, but there were lots of other tents in the campground completely destroyed or at least knocked flat. I went out to retighten the tie-downs once when the nylon had stretched a little, and that was all we did to it. We do the same “innie” liner you do, and the tent was set up on grass. There wasn’t any real water under the liner, just normal condensation dampness.

Of course the problem is now that my daughter thinks this is her tent! Not so! It’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine :slight_smile:



– Last Updated: Jul-29-06 12:05 AM EST –

Take a look at a Taurus 4 by Alps Mountaineering.


Don’t be too hard…
on yourself. We’ve done that on several things. I hate taking things back or sending them back. Just the hassle of it mostly, plus it seems like I lose reciepts and procrastinate past warranties, etc. Then there is the old “I thought you liked it.” " Oh no, I thought you liked it." “You mean you can’t stand it either?”

Thanks for the input folks. Big help. Good to hear of actual wind storms withstood by this style tent. I just ordered a 2nds model Gunnison 4, new with warranty, for 120.00.

I notice the Gunnison has extra guy out points. I’d added some to our Vortex.

Now its off to REI for some hi vis guy line and new plastic stakes. The kiddos managed to mangle a half dozen of those 9 inch plastic stakes. The ground was drought-baked and rocky, but I had to shake my head and have a discussion with my kiddo about that much stake carnage. Story was that there was much help from fellow campers during the various attempts to duck tape holes against the fire ants and then restake the tent. Hopefully lessons have been learned and of course fun had. In a couple of years it will probably be a scraped up vehicle. :slight_smile:

MSR are nice
We’ve had some experience with the “Mutha Hubba” from MSR. It got Backpacker’s Editor’s Choice award for '06. Technically it’s for 3+ gear, but if your Scouts are younger, then you might get 4 in there. I highly recommend getting the footprint.


Mutha Hubba, REI Tents
Sojo, that Mutha Hubba looks great, the mesh walls ought to be particularly good for ventalation. One to keep in mind when looking again when the money is less squeezed.

BryanM, the REIs have always looked good. That Taj 3 really caught my eye. One of those might have to replace my old Sierra Designs Superflash (AKA, “The Sarcophagus”). Guess I need to look at the floor of that tent as it is my oldest. Good winter tent for one if you’re not a stickler for ventilation.

Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Tent

You may want to take a look a the Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Model tent–here’s the link


These are some really tough tents!!! They also have a deluxe vestibule that you can purchase seperately that adds a mess of room for storage. Best of luck in your search…

I have used Eureka! tents…
and have never been let down. They make good quality tents at a very fair price. To add to that, they have a great warranty policy and customer service has been exceptional any time I have needed them. Long after a tent of mine was used I got a few holes in my Outfitter and free of charge they sent me matching color repair material. I did not even pay postage.

As far as a good tent like you are looking for, try the Assault Outfitter 4. A bombproof tent and the 4 season, 3 pole version of their proven expedition tent the Polar Storm. I would not hesitate to use this tent anywhere but at the highest of elevations and where snow loads will be heavy. For that you would need a four or five pole tent.

Here is a link to the tent: http://www.eurekatent.com/assault_out.asp

Good Luck

There are few tents around that have stood the test of time that the Eureka Timberlines have. It would be hard to find a tent that is easier to set up and take down.

Timberline 4
Our first good tent was a Timberline 4. I liked it fine and have great memories of trips we used it on.

My only complaints were 1)The a frame style seemed cramped for a big awkward lug like me. 2)A pole bent badly on us on a canoe trip up in Montana. The tent didn’t come down, and heaven only knows how hard the wind was blowing, but I didn’t trust the tent in nasty winds after that, and Eureka was not helpful or curteous in replacing the pole. Customer service has come back into fashion since the early nineties, but I’ve got choices and still hesitate to do business with them.

Thousands of scouts, outfitters and other folk no doubt will sing the praises of the Timberlines and have tested them through storms that would surpass those I’ve camped through. But my own experiences steered my away from that tent.

Like I said B4
Eureka’s Assualt 4 will easily handle the wind and rain and I agree with you, customer service has gotten better. They are owned by the Johnson Outdoors Company who operates quite a few different brands (Old Town Canoe & Ocean Kayak for example) and has really stepped up their performance as I noted before.

Link to them: http://www.johnsonoutdoors.com/

At a price of $250.00 or so, this tent will out perform what all other tents can do in that price range. Kelty is good, I won’t deny that but dollar for dollar you get more with Eureka. The Quartz is more money for less tent (their 4 season 4 man tent) and WAY better than the Vortex.

BUT, if you have a bad view with Eureka and their past products, to get something that fits your needs, you will have to bump up your cost for a new shelter well into the $350-400 dollar range, maye more.

Again, Good Luck and Happy Camping.

Note: Eureka’s only downside are that they are a bit heaver then others.

Having camped in all parts of Texas
except S. Texas, my opinion on umbrella style tents is to stay away from them in W. Texas. Sudden 60 mile per hour winds have a way of flattening them out, have had two bite the dust that way when I was out in Odessa. Check wind ratings if any on the tent you buy. As for the rest of Texas, except along the coast certain times of the week, almost any tent works ok. Big dollars aren’t necessary.

Eureka tents
I recently emailed Eureka for quotes on some replacement parts for our Adventure Camp Timberline tents. I got an automated reply stating that Eureka is temporarily shut down due to severe flooding out east, and did not anticipate responding to queries or orders for up to 6 months! Campmor had some of what we needed in stock, so we ordered from them. Hopefully the parts supply will be re-stocked before we need to use the tents again.

cYa, Jim