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Shelters The Shelters forum is for the discussion of backpacking shelters (tents, tarps, poncho-tarps, bivy sacks,...).


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  #1  
Old 03-04-2014, 08:59 AM
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IdahoSkies IdahoSkies is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 28
"Real" Family sized Shelter Recomendations

I searched the archives and could not find a post directly on point.

I have backpacked since I was 10. Since I have been married, and adding kids, we have been dragging out our family on trips of various lengths, with various members of my immediate family, and most of the time, with the addition of some extended family. This year, there is no extended family, just us.

We number seven, My wife and I, and our five daughters currently ranging in ages from 3 to 11.

Historically, we have been able to "divide and conquer" our tents between a number of groups, usually three to four between my wife and I, my parents and a sibling or two (of mine). Not so this year. My siblings have all left the nest, and are not around locally, and my parents will not be coming with us this year.

So I need to figure out and divide up shelter for the seven of us. We currently own the following:
1. My small backpacking tent, light 2 person tent. (about 3 lbs).
2. Our early family tent - a 3-4 person (depending on which kid sleeps where) weighs about 11 lbs.
3. Our car-camping tent, sleeps 9, weighs 27 lbs.
(All weights are tent with reign fly, stakes, and poles).

Realistically we have one adult packer, and three kids who will be carrying packs this year. Two kids who can carry some weight (11 year old and 9 year old), and the 7 year old will be able to carry her sleeping bad, pad, water, and a few incidentals.

(the five year old will carry her own sleeping bag this year, but nothing else.) That is a step up for her. My wife will carry the 3 year old and other "baby" related stuff, including our pea-pod, and maybe a sleeping mat.

Our trips are modest, a couple of 1 mile over nighters. Then mid season a 2 mile over nighter, and at the end of our season this year a 3 day 6 miler where we are making about 2 miles a day.

We have been doing this with our children a while, so we have reasonable expectations about what we can do and where we can go. With those expectations comes the fact that we are not real confident about splitting up into more than 2 sleeping groups.

Anyhow, recommendations, thoughts? I would love to hear them.
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  #2  
Old 03-04-2014, 12:25 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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First, I have to say it's awesome that your family (including the little ones) gets out into the wild. Way to go! If you made a movie of your adventures, I'd watch it.

Have you considered a group shelter such as the Hilleberg Altai? With it, you could all sleep in the same tent.

Reality
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  #3  
Old 03-05-2014, 09:04 AM
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IdahoSkies IdahoSkies is offline
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I have never really considered a floorless tent until your post and I did some digging. Its certainly something I might try out, on my own, but with some of the places we routinely camp, the floor would be dirt, and any child under six, and dirt, all day, all the time, are not a good combination. (I think one of our's lives on the stuff).

I have been looking for larger shelters (with floors), but they seem to weigh about what two mid size shelter would weigh. Big Agnes had one, and Kelty had a couple that look like they might work. I'll keep poking around.

I was simply wondering if there was something I was missing, and with the floorless option, maybe there is. But it would likely only work if we laid out a tarp almost to the edges inside.
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:20 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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You wouldn't have to worry about the children bringing dirt into the tent - it would already be in there.

Yes, you could put something down for a floor. The Altai does have an optional floor available, or you could simply use Tyvek.

You could get a larger, fully-enclosed tent from Big Agnes, as you mentioned or go with a couple medium-sized shelters.

The reason I mentioned the Altai, is because it's relatively light for its size and it would be very easy to keep clean with all the children. If you use a tarp or Tyvek for a floor, it's easy to remove it for shaking off or cleaning.

Let us know what you come up with.

Reality
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  #5  
Old 03-05-2014, 01:20 PM
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Grandpa Grandpa is offline
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Backpack: GoLite Pinnacle
Sleeping Gear: Moonstone Lucid 800 w/Neo Air pad
Shelter: Tarptent Sublite Tyvek & Tarptent Double Rainbow
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 430
You might also check out Tarptent. Henry Shires' largest tent, the Hogback, is designed for four adults and weighs about four pounds. You can get an adult or two and several children in a tent that size.
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  #6  
Old 03-07-2014, 09:43 PM
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FirstRWD FirstRWD is offline
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Backpack: Detours 40L or Bike Panniers
Sleeping Gear: Homemade Synthetic Quilt
Shelter: North Face Mica FL 2
 
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Location: WI
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Would a "5" person tent be big enough since you have two+ half sized people? The GoLite Shangri-La 5 is supposed to be just under 6lbs. Maybe the two little ones could be in one line, with the older ones on the top and shorter sides. If you and the lady sleep head to toe, you could still have the little ones face-to-face with a parent to keep them feeling safe and secure to go to sleep. It has a vestibule, so you could store gear there to save space inside. Or as a friend and I did once, use the tent for yourselves and a couple essentials, and take along a tarp or something similar for a "gear tent." The Shangri-La at 6lbs plus a gear tent being under 2lbs is still looking at ~8lbs for both. Not terribly heavy for the size of your clan and you can still all be in the same tent and enjoy your time with all the kids and the lady in one place together.
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  #7  
Old 03-07-2014, 10:13 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FirstRWD
The Shangri-La at 6lbs plus a gear tent being under 2lbs is still looking at ~8lbs for both. Not terribly heavy for the size of your clan and you can still all be in the same tent and enjoy your time with all the kids and the lady in one place together.
While they don't offer as much room as often indicated, I think it's a great suggestion. I think a lot of children would find the shape/type of the Golite Shangri-La 5 to be fun.

A lesser issue, but I like the new "evergreen" color too.

Reality
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  #8  
Old 03-08-2014, 07:28 PM
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richwads richwads is offline
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Shelter: Tarp
 
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For five to fit in the Shangrila 5 they should all be kids - that's if you don't want tent wall in your face. Especially when it gets wet and sags. (I have one and like it for two adults and one kid). Figure a footprint about 7.5 x 7.5 feet that allows some vertical tent wall clearance (1 foot) around the edges. The tent wall in that location is about 1 foot off the ground when it's tight. I guess if you don't mind condensation getting the foot end of the sleeping bag damp, that end could be tucked in closer to the edge. In a pinch I would put no more than two adults and two children in it if there is a chance of rain. I did that regularly in a tipi of the same size that I had sown a sod cloth on to eliminate the "splash factor" and tuck under our ground cloths.

Oh - mine doesn't have the "nest" with bathtub floor included. But that constricts the floor space well below 5 because it cuts off a triangle of floor below the door area. BTW, the area just inside the door is vulnerable to rain when the zipper is opened, plus it would be hard to get in and out if a sleeping bag extends under there.

All the above being said, I LOVE my 3 lb Shangrila 5 (just the fly and pole) for 3 people max. It's real roomy for two adults with cots and a lot of gear.
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  #9  
Old 03-29-2014, 10:39 AM
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IdahoSkies IdahoSkies is offline
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Well, I thought I would updated this thread.

We set up our tents in the backyard and laid out pads, bags, and the pea-pod. We found that if we arranged things carefully, we actually fit in my 2 person Cascade Sports tent, and our "3" person tent. (gotta love the space requirements of short kids. (I'm 5'3" and my wife says she's 5' on a good day).

This likely will not work next year, but it will this year, which gives us time to find a long term solution for our family, AND weighs in at about 14-15 lbs. Very manageable. This is likely what we will do this year, though I will be on the hunt for some good deals over the next year.

Thanks for the suggestions and they will be considered in our long term search.
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  #10  
Old 03-29-2014, 11:36 AM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Please post of photo of your camp from a future trip sometime.

Thanks.

Reality
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