Q:

Which car-camping tent will comfortably hold a family of four?

We purchased a Sierra Designs Bedouin 6 tent thinking it would be the perfect size for our family of four. But it’s just a little too small. We need something that’s just a foot or two wider and longer. Any suggestions? Dawn Minneapolis, Minnesota

Jun 14, 2007
Outside
Outside Magazine
Sierra Designs Moken 6

Moken 6

A:

I’m going to assume you aren’t hauling a big tent such as the Sierra Designs Bedouin 6 ($360, 18 pounds; sierradesigns.com) on a backpacking trip. You’re car/kayak/boat camping, or something like it. Right? And the Bedouin is great for that. It’s a family camping tent that’s built more like a backcountry tent, with aluminum poles, high-end fabrics for the floor and fly, and a sturdy design.

Have you looked at Sierra Designs’ Moken 6? It’s also a six-person tent, but has a “common" area between two sleeping wings, so has about 60 square feet more space than the Bedouin 6. It weighs about 24 pounds, but can be trimmed to 18 if certain pieces are left behind in fair weather. Price may be an issue: it’s $550.

REI’s Hobitat 6 ($340; rei.com) is a little like the Bedouin 6—a single big space for six people. But it’s a bit larger than the Bedouin (83 square feet versus 76) and has walls that are a bit more vertical, so you might find that those two things make a difference. It’s also roughly as sturdy as the Sierra Designs tent, with aluminum poles, tough taffeta walls, and a heavy coated floor. Very weather-proof. And an excellent buy.

Look as well at The North Face’s Trailhead 6 tent ($400; thenorthface.com). It’s a six-person tent but, at 94 square feet, is a little larger still than the Hobitat 6. It could sleep two people on each side, with an open space in the middle. It’s 24 pounds, so a bit of a heavyweight. But that might not be an issue.

Ideally you can find a store that has these tents set up so you can all pile in and try them. But I think any of the three I mention will give you that extra space you crave.

You’ve seen our picks for 2007 Gear of the Year, and now the entire Outside Summer Buyer’s Guide is online. Check out this year’s more than 400 must-have gear items, including tents.

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