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  1. #1
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    Tent recommendations for a family on tour

    I am planning a three week self-supported tour with my wife and four children this summer in Wisconsin. The four year old will be in a trailer pulled by my wife and the other three will pedal their own bicycles. I have an REI Novarra Safari and will assume the title of pack-mule on this journey. I will be pulling a Cycletote trailer.

    I am considering one tent to be used by the entire family (Sierra Designs Bedouin 8 possibly, 24 pounds) or two smaller tents. I am concerned about the total weight that I will be pull on this trip. My questions are:

    What is a reasonable weight that can be pulled for 20-40 miles per day?
    What tent recomedations may you have for six?

    Thanks for all responses.

  2. #2
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    For 20 miles, you can carry your sofa and TV if you want... 40 miles, it depends on your fitness level and the landscape...

    But my best advice would be to let your kids carry a little bit of the equipment, they will feel proud to have some responsabilities. I did my first tour at the age of 13 with two of my friends who were then 12... (I still don't understand how we were able to convince our parents! - we still had to call them every night and follow a specific route) carrying all the equipment we needed for 2 weeks on the road. We averaged 90km a day with old rusty X-mart montain bikes (roughly 60 miles I think) and were very proud of ourselves.

    I would have loved to do that with my parentsbut they were not into bicycling that much... I am sure your kids will enjoy their vacation!

  3. #3
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    Excellent advice Magictofu. I'll have the children carry their sleeping bag on the rear rack and their clothes and other miscellaneous items in a small pannier.

    I took my first tour when I was 16, but only for four days. To convince your parents of a two week trip must have taken quite a bit of negotiation!

    My kids are looking forward to the trip, my wife is too.

    Thanks for the comments.

  4. #4
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul M
    Excellent advice Magictofu. I'll have the children carry their sleeping bag on the rear rack and their clothes and other miscellaneous items in a small pannier.

    I took my first tour when I was 16, but only for four days. To convince your parents of a two week trip must have taken quite a bit of negotiation!

    My kids are looking forward to the trip, my wife is too.

    Thanks for the comments.
    For tents, depending on the age of you kids, consider using smaller tents. Your body heats the tent somewhat and a large tent is harder to keep warm than a smaller one. My wife and I and our two daughters used to use a large Eureka Alpine Medows tent. It was roomy, not too heavy but tended to be cold in the Colorado mountains. Two smaller tents are warmer.
    Stuart Black
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    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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  5. #5
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    Paul, I am not sure i remember everything perfectly but I think our parents made sure one of them was available 24/7 to go pick us up in case of trouble... plus we were heading to my friend's grandmother on quiet roads in a relatively safe country (Canada... you know were people don't lock their front door... )...

    Good luck finding your tent!

  6. #6
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    I would like to recommend looking at hilleberg tents they are a swedish company that are staring to branch out into USA they have an office in seattle and are very helpful, both before and after purchase.
    IM using a small tent of theirs a nallo 2 that sleeps 2 but could probably fit in 3 and half at a push they are very big tents, my girlfriend has a 2 man mec tent and in comÓrison it is very cramped.
    They do one called a namttj that can store two people and 2 bikes as well if you dont keep the bikes in they can be used in a different way to house more people, they make some of the lightest tents available and quality is excellent recently we were in very strong winds in baja and the tent flapped and made alot of noise but held up so well, when we got out to see about cycling in the wind it was impossible on foot it took us away so the tent is very strong indeed.
    Check out their website, hilleberg the tentmaker, good luck rich

  7. #7
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    I have a Eureka timberline basecamp that sleeps six and has 6' standing room inside. Goes up in 5 minutes t. I have used it 23 years and even lived in it for 6 months while touring the US in an old Volvo. I spent a night in the tent during a 70mph wind storm and it stayed up.
    The timberline basecamp is now sold as the "Timberline outfitter" http://www.eurekatent.com/timberlineoutfitter.asp. I saw it in a Cabelas catalog listed for $350 That is only $50 more than I paid for mine. I don't know what the warranty is now but when I had a zipper go bad after 10 years they replaced it for free ( sans shipping) It weighs about 20#

  8. #8
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    To all: Thanks for providing the good advice. I'll consider all the information in this thread.

    Velonomad: Did you ever encounter problems setting up the Eureka timberline because of rocky ground, etc? The tent doesn't appear to be free-standing.

    Anybody else have any experiences with payloads on their bike or in a trailer?

  9. #9
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul M
    To all: Thanks for providing the good advice. I'll consider all the information in this thread.

    Velonomad: Did you ever encounter problems setting up the Eureka timberline because of rocky ground, etc? The tent doesn't appear to be free-standing.

    Anybody else have any experiences with payloads on their bike or in a trailer?
    The Timberline outfitter tent is just a bigger version on the 2 man Timberline. I've used the 2 man for years without problems. It is a free standing tent that goes together well and stands up to just about anything. The Alpine Meadows I referenced in an earlier post is the same tent with a central hoop to give it more shoulder room. Apparently Eureka doesn't make that version anymore.

    One note of caution on all large tents, carry extra rope and put guy wires on the poles. I tie down the poles on both ends (about half way up) and the hoop in the middle. These are large tents and they catch more wind than the small ones. We had on picked up and folded in half at Taylor Res. in Colorado when a gust of wind got under the floor of the tent. It broke several poles in the process.

    Other than that these are good tents. Get a 4 man for the kids and a 2 man for you and your wife
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  10. #10
    dangerous with tools halfbiked's Avatar
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    [quote=cyccommute]
    Other than that these are good tents. Get a 4 man for the kids and a 2 man for you and your wife [/cyccommute]

    Yes. I'd do two tents, not 1. Though maybe keep the 4 yr old with mom & dad. You might also try a car-camping night first to see how everyone manages in tents & sleeping bags. There is no bailout when you're 20 miles from home!

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