What I recommend is a camper conversion of the Dodge Sprinter van. Winnebago makes a nice one called the View which sells for $80,000. Shower, TV, and everything else. But maybe it would not be in keeping with the spirit of a Renaissance Festival to show up with a Sprinter. And perhaps there are budget issues. The latter is why I dont have one (Note to editor: can this be fixed? Thanks, GG).
What you need to do, I think, is simply bite a small bullet and invest in a quality family-size tent. I cant promise infinite durabilityMr. Sun, who is very hard on fabric, will take care of thatbut you should get at least two or three years of use out of it.
For example, you might get a Kelty Pavilion 4 ($450; www.kelty.com). Its a big tent80 square feet, nearly six feet tall at the centerso youd have a big, comfortable space for you and any knights and maidens you choose to invite in for a friendly mug of mead. The fly and canopy are made out of durable, coated polyester and nylon, and the poles are tough aluminum. Its not cheap, though. The Eureka! Equinox ($350; www.eurekatent.com) offers similar construction and size for a little less gold. Both tents should offer excellent durability and weatherproofness.
If you want to get really fancy, Sierra Designs ($700; www.sierradesigns.com) makes a giant family tent called the Benjari 6. It has three rooms so you can really turn your tent into a little Renaissance Fair Nerve Center. Its peak height is seven feet, and its made of the same durable materials that Sierra Designs uses in its expedition tents. The price, though, is steep.
Get more advice from the Gear Guy as he picks this seasons top gifts in Away.coms Holiday Gift Guide. Youll probably find a few things to put on your own wish list, too.