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Thread: favorite festival tent?

  1. #1
    Registered User rnjl's Avatar
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    Default favorite festival tent?

    Hey does anybody have a festival tent they like that's for 1-3 people? That is, a smallish tent, not a big cabin-style family 4-6 person tent. Looking for one that's easy for one person to set up if I'm a solo flyer at a festival.

    Sturdy, rainproof and easy to set up/ use is better than inexpensive or lightweight, since this would not be for backpacking. I'll spend more for the right thing.

    There are so many options out there, just wanting to see if someone had a recommendation.

    Thank you!

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    My favorite tent is my van. Easy to set up, use, and pack up. Good in the rain, OK in the heat, and secure from theft.

    I got tired of tents a looong time ago. But what I had was a Coleman 1-2 person dome tent. A couple of foam pads for sleeping went under the tent to help deter rain/dew seepage. I never had a problem with rain coming through the shell. But while it was compact and lightweight, it wasn't tall enough to stand up in, which can be a drag on rainy days. There are bigger ones, of course.

    But I graduated to vehicle camping first, before upgrading. The VW camper van was the best - I could not only stand up under the pop-top, but make coffee on the stove. Ah, sweet memories!
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  4. #3

    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    I have had a Marmut Limelight 3 person tent for several years. Have used it for camping, fishing and fiddle camp. It is a terrific tent and has held up well. Overkill for most of the time but on the occasion I have been caught in bad weather it held up well and I stayed dry. Listed as a three person tent I would say great for two, you can fit three but cozy. Looks like they have made minor changes since mine. Mine is orange, it gets a little bright first thing in the morning. Looks like they are offering a dark grey as well. They currently have a 25% off sale with code SALE25*.
    https://www.marmot.com/equipment/sho...169870071.html

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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    Back in the 80's to the mid 90's I had an L L Bean tent that was great. Haven't stayed in a tent in 20 years.

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    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    You are correct, the choices are vast. Several factors to know about what you want, including (but not limited to):
    Freestanding or not? Probably yes.
    Able to stand up inside or not? Probably yes.
    Do you really need room for 3 full-sized adults (and gear)? If so, then you need a 4-person tent

    If the tent is for festivals, likely you need a dome-style, free-standing tent with a good rain fly. Most modern tents are easily set up by one person.

    Just go to an REI or a Cabela's and talk with them.
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

  7. #6

    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    A dome style tent is what you want. They are all very easy to setup for one person. It's good to spend up for a tent. I had a Kelty that I used for years before the sun got to it. An REI or North Face would also be great.

    We moved to a family style tent because we now use a large cot, plus we wanted to be able to stand up in it. They are much roomier, but less convenient to set up and less weather tolerant. We've had two cabin style tents destroyed by storms at festivals in the past few years, while all the dome tents our friends had came through the weather just fine.

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    My favorite tent is my van. Easy to set up, use, and pack up. Good in the rain, OK in the heat, and secure from theft.

    I got tired of tents a looong time ago. But what I had was a Coleman 1-2 person dome tent. A couple of foam pads for sleeping went under the tent to help deter rain/dew seepage. I never had a problem with rain coming through the shell. But while it was compact and lightweight, it wasn't tall enough to stand up in, which can be a drag on rainy days. There are bigger ones, of course.

    But I graduated to vehicle camping first, before upgrading. The VW camper van was the best - I could not only stand up under the pop-top, but make coffee on the stove. Ah, sweet memories!
    JB, I am really interested in the idea of van camping, and think the old VW camper vans are so cool. I do not like to sleep on the ground anymore, even with an air mattress. I like the idea of making coffee under a canopy in the morning. Doesn't it get too hot for the instruments inside the van?

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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    i highly recommend the REI Grand Hut 4 for what you describe, and always get a tent sized a person or two from what you expect to use if for. From my experience, like serving sizes on food packages, tent accommodations are often overstated. Also, if you plan to use it a lot I recommend getting a good quality sleeping pad. There are some incredibly comfortable ones out there now, worth the extra money.

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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    i highly recommend the REI Grand Hut 4 for what you describe, and always get a tent sized a person or two from what you expect to use if for. From my experience, like serving sizes on food packages, tent accommodations are often overstated. Also, if you plan to use it a lot I recommend getting a good quality sleeping pad. There are some incredibly comfortable ones out there now, worth the extra money.

  12. #10
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    Doesn't it get too hot for the instruments inside the van?
    That is indeed something to address. The VW campers have plenty of ventilation, plus mine had screens over the side windows to deter bugs - those engineers thought of everything, pretty much. The blessed things are awfully expensive these days, as collectors have driven up prices. Regular vans should still be OK, but you'd want one with windows all around- cracking windows is a must. I've got a '98 Chevy Astro van, and it does have screens that occupy the bottom quarter of the side windows on the back. I'm going to get a sheet of nylon screen to fit the aperture when the back window is open. Not sure what to do about the driver's and passenger's door windows yet. Yet.

    I haven't checked VW prices or ability in a while; should take a look. I saw where they're going to reintroduce the Westphalia as an electric vehicle. I'll bet they'll be nice but very expensive. Make the old ones sound like bargains.
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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    When I was a kid, we camped in my fathers Greenbrier van, dad had done a really clever conversion set up I was small enough to sleep crossways on the front seat. There was a set up that lifted and slid apart to make up a double bed another cross ways bed behind the front and ultimately an old army style pup tent on a sheet of 5’x9’ 3/4” plywood. Three different size tables, good storage spots, and when he got the Apache (super light) chief, that had the biggest “veranda” a full jam at a big show would be possible. That was the nicest set up! It was his version of a Westphalia before VW made the thing. Worst part was not being able to stand up to put your pants on was his only complaint.
    It was a 60 mph car at best but, it was cheap to run back then.
    Between the two units he used to take 8-10 scouts on canoe trips and there was plenty of room. My dad was very clever in his designs for all that sort of thing, I inherited some of that skill and have done some too.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    I have done my time sleeping on the ground. I would rather rent a cabin at a campsite adjoining a festival site, than tent camp on the festival grounds. I am exploring a teardrop camper. We'll have to see.

    I had a dome tent made by REI that I used everywhere. It was one of those that one person could put up in about five minutes, two people it would take about ten minutes. They called it a four man tent but those four had better be really good friends. As a two person tent it was perfect, and one person downright luxurious.

    I discovered that a bit of blackberry brandy makes any tent more comfortable.
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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I discovered that a bit of blackberry brandy makes any tent more comfortable.
    How so? Does one pour it on the floor to soften it a bit? Or on the poles, to relax them a bit?

    Oh, wait - you mean ... not for external use, on the tent itself, but internal use, for those inside the tent. My bad.

    Guess timbofood has been influencing me, somehow. I'm off to the corner. (In dome tents, that's not very far.)
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Registered User rnjl's Avatar
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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    Thanks everyone. I'm an experienced camper and have set up many tents in my life- should'a made that clear- but haven't purchased one in a long time and was just wanting to know what other folks liked. I've been an REI member forever too, so I'll take a look the tent that was recommended. Now I just have to find a festival that isn't canceled !

  18. #15
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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    I happened upon this site a month or so ago. https://www.musicfestivalwizard.com/ Pop in your parameters and see what happens.

    I still think it's best to go directly to festivals' websites for the most up-to-date detailed information. Also, the sooner you buy your tickets, the bigger your discounts might be.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  19. #16

    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    Van is actually the best tent ever, you know. So, I’m sorry that I can’t advise you on anything except a van. That’s why I’d be grateful if you kept us updated on your choice. I’m really curious about it. Actually, my family and I go camping a lot, but we have 2 small tents, so I’m not sure it’s what you need. You definitely need that tent from the Harry Potter movie, lol. I’d also like a magic wand, but I only have this flashlight https://www.amazon.com/Vont-Flashlight-Flashlights-Water-Resistant-Accessories/dp/B089T8HDBV. At least it’s really bright and water-resistant. So, I’ll be waiting for your reply. Keep us updated.

  20. #17
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    The best tent depends on where the festivals are. When I was in San Diego, my old Coleman 4 man tent was fine - even with a couple of holes - because it didn't ever rain during festival season. Before the holes, it was a great tent for light to moderate rain - but anything more wouldn't be good.

    These days, if I'm sleeping in a tent, I either use my Kelty Discovery Basecamp 4 Tent (plenty of room for three people with gear) or my girlfriends backpacker tent (2 person, not much room for gear). In either case, a tarp goes down on the ground (usually folded over since it's a bit one) and the rain fly is on. In a perfect world, I hang another tarp over the tent with some clearance (like 3 feet or so) to provide shade and additional rain protection. That's not always possible - but it's great when it is. I haven't had any issues with the Kelty so far - but it's not an expensive tent (I got it on sale for ~$90).

    Also, no matter how good the tent, they are porous (so you can breath etc), which means that water can get through - especially if you have things touching the wet parts of the tent. Aside from having the ground tarp, making sure you stake out the rain fly properly and not allowing too many things to touch the sides of the tent are good ideas. I would put instruments in the car when possible as well.

    If I'm going alone though - I've been sleeping in my Rav4 more often. Super easy and comfortable when I throw down my sleeping pad. I thought I would hate it when I first did it - but it's great.
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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    Ok they're not tents. I love my Capri Retreat pickup bed slide-in camper. Great for 1 or 2, a little cramped for 3 or more.

    I also love our vintage 25 foot Airstream. Houses 4 to 5 people nicely.

  22. #19
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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    I forgot - One thing I saw a while back which is a great idea was someone using kids foam floor tiles for the bottom inside of their tent. A little overkill if you're only there for a weekend - but it'd be great for some of the longer fests.
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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    Quote Originally Posted by mbruno View Post
    I forgot - One thing I saw a while back which is a great idea was someone using kids foam floor tiles for the bottom inside of their tent. A little overkill if you're only there for a weekend - but it'd be great for some of the longer fests.
    I would use boat carpet cut to fit the tent. It would roll out easy, not be bothered by moisture, feel good, and you could simply shake it out.
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    Default Re: favorite festival tent?

    I do a lot of tenting with kids at festivals in North Carolina. Just a couple things to add:

    --Get a tent you can stand up in -- you may be able to maintain a shred of dignity while getting dressed in the morning.

    --Get some collapsable cots to go with your sleeping pad/bag. Really helps when it's hot in the summer to be off the ground a little.

    --If it's really wet put your blue tarp inside on the floor of the tent. If it's outside and water gets between it and the tent floor you're wet for the duration.

    Cheers,
    Z
    Last edited by mingusb1; Sep-29-2022 at 9:15am.
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