Family tents, porta potties, etc. - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-18-2008, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We have just discovered the joys of camping with a group of unschoolers and it is so fun. :

We have decided to go ahead and splurge and buy a tent so we don't have to keep renting and borrowing tents, since we plan to go with this group once a month and we really enjoy it.

If you have any other suggestions or general comments, please, speak up!

We want a huge tent so that we can use air mattresses or cots and so that we have room to set up a privacy area with a porta-potti for use at night for our young daughters. The last place we camped we had to walk almost two blocks to the bathrooms once per girl in the middle of the night, including crossing a bridge, through a patch of forest, and up and down stairs. We would prefer to have a place they can pee in privacy in the tent if necessary, even if it means setting up curtains inside of the tent.

So we have narrowed it down to a few huge tents, and I wonder if any of you have tried them:

Eureka 1510 Copper Canyon http://www.familytentcamping.com/sit...roduct/2601310

Black Pine Pinecrest Turbo Tent http://www.familytentcamping.com/sit.../product/30071

We are OK with huge heavy tents and we have adjsuted to paying for the tent. I will of course hunt high and low for bargains between now and January, which is when we plan to go camping again.

We are mildly curious about the Eureka tent with electricity, but we do not plan to buy it unless someone tells me it is absolutely fabulous. It's too small for our needs.

Thank you for your advice. We are new to all of this. :


PS:
I could not find a discussion on this subject, but it seems that there would be plenty of family camping experience here at mdc. So if I am in the wrong place, please know that I hunted and searched and finally decided that this is the best place to post this.
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Old 11-18-2008, 01:34 AM
 
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My own personal preference is no electricity. That's not real camping. The big two room tents are great. We have a Eureka two room tent and the lets DD have her own space. I don't know where you are, but at least one tarp is a must. We usually have one under and one over our tent. Our tent's water proof, but a BC rainstorm is nothing to take lightly.

Other things to get if you don't have them:
Camp Stove
Hatchet or Ax
Camping cookwear
Water jug (big but not too big)
Camp dishes
waterproof matches
First aid kit (you'd be surprised how often people forget that one)
Sleeping bags
A good flashlight
Lantern (not necessary, but definitely a bonus)
Something to put all of the above in for easy car packing.
Cooler

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Old 11-18-2008, 03:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Musician Dad, which tent do you have exactly.

Yes, we are definitely in the lazy camper category now, no more packing our own water to a primitive site. I really appreciate your list. The reason the electricity intrigues us is that we had a heck of a time at the last site filling our air mattresses. Our battery pump didn't go far enough so my dh had to carry an air mattress through the same path we took to the bathrooms -- fill it, and then tote the huge thing back. The tents wired for electricity have outlets for air pumps.

Here's a link to the fancy electrical tents, which seem a bit too small for my porta potti plans, since the largest is a 13 X 10. If they had a 15 X 12 I might get it. http://www.eurekatent.com/nrgy.aspx
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Old 11-18-2008, 05:23 PM
 
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where do you live? If you have an REI nearby, I would highly recommend them. Everything has a lifetime warranty. It's worth paying extra
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Old 11-18-2008, 05:49 PM
 
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Do you think you will be doing a lot of cold weather camping? We don't, so we chose a huge but relatively inexpensive tent purchased at Costco. I think its a Coleman product. We call it the "Taj mah tent". It wouldn't work for severe weather, but heck, we live and camp in So. CA, so its not so much of an issue. Ours has the ability to curtain off 4 separate areas, so one for a porta-potty would work. Generally though we just choose a site close to the restrooms, which is nice because those aren't generally popular sites. Loss of privacy and toilet flushing noise is worth it for ease of midnight potty needs. Of course, we are completely "sissy campers" and generally chose campsites with running water and flush toilets.

For air mattresses (we use them too), we bought a pump that plugs into the car's power and blow them up that way. Again, we are car camping and its not far from back of the van into the tent.
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Old 11-18-2008, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are spoiled. We're wondering about cots instead of air mattresses, because of the fumes from the PVC in the air mattresses. Most of our camping will be in Texas, so it will be hot more often than cold, but it does get rainy here. We don't choose our campsites -- we go to the group campsites which are usually set away from the restrooms. We had to park pretty far away from our campsite, too -- a few hundred yards. But the car adapter pump is a great idea!
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Old 11-18-2008, 10:56 PM
 
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I cannot for the life or me remember what our tent is. I know it's Eureka and that it's about 8 years old. You can get air matresses that have a foot pump installed in them which isn't as much work as it sounds, as well as electric pumps that will plug into the cigarette lighter in your car (those things are wicked useful when you get past the "Ick smoking!"factor)

Close the bathrooms is good, too close to the bathrooms is bad since it puts you in the busiest part of the campground.

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Old 11-19-2008, 09:27 AM
 
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We have an LLbean vector dome and love it! We've had it for about 10 yrs and never had any problems that could not be fixed. The only issue we had was with the zipper and llbean fixed it for us. They have such a great return policy I wouldn't hesitate to order from them. Do NOT buy Coleman.....they're awful and will fall apart. kids calling

momma to 4!
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Old 11-19-2008, 01:53 PM
 
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We're big time campers!!! : I think my parents took me camping for the first time when I was only 6 weeks old! I've been camping multiple times a year ever year since then! My DD was 10 weeks when we took her for the first and now, at 16 months, she a seasoned veteran!

First, I want to second the REI suggestion! They are fantastic. If you have on locally, you can go in and see lots of tents on display. They also stock nearly anything you can think of needing for a camping expedition!

Second, about tents. We have almost always had a Eureka tent and it has never let me down. I've used other tents too, with friends and family but still prefer the ease and durability of a Eureka tent. Another inexpensive suggestion, which are good but not as reinforced as Eureka, is a Sir Edmund Hilary tent. I think you can get them at Sears?

For a sleeping mat, I would recommend looking into Thermorests or a similar type camp mat. They are basically self-inflating mats that rolls up fairly compact. You can get different thicknesses and lengths depending on who's using them. We're spoiled, so we like the 3.5 inch mattresses. I have used air mattresses too and they are a PAIN. You never know if there is a hole or if your batteries have enough juice left. When it's cold, they get too smooshy. When it's hot, they are too hot and sticky and firm. I've done my air mattress time and I am sooooo over it! If you do NEED to have an air mattress, you can get a pump that will use the car's power to inflate an air mattress. Our pump has clamps for direct access to the battery. Some will plug into the lighter socket. These are better and stronger options that the battery pumps.

And for late not potty usage, we've always squatted over a coffee can. It's big enough to be easy. Comes with a lid. And is small enough to not take up room. Or if the weather is temperate enough, we just use the out of doors. (Of course there are times where we are dispersed camping with absolutely zero amenities, including running water and toilet facilities.)



R~Mama to my sweet A 7//07 & bubbly Z 3/12

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Old 11-19-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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I would be worried about the stink of a porta potty in my tent! Is this not an issue?
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Old 11-19-2008, 11:18 PM
 
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We have 2 tents, a kid tent and our tent. We just put the doors right next to each other and the dog(s) sleep in the kids' tent. A 2 room tent would be nice, but we didn't like the idea of the setup time and geting a huge tent back into a tent bag, lol. Our kids would never go wandering at night, so thats not an issue for us. And the dogs would bark if there were any other issues.

We always get camp sites that are near the bathrooms. All the parks we camp at are pretty nice (North Shore MN) and even being near the bathrooms we still have privacy and nice sites. It really depends on the camp grounds, though, and you need to be picky and look ahead of time. If we couldn't get a site near the bathroom we'd just have them squat in the weeds near our site.

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Old 11-19-2008, 11:42 PM
 
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I am not an experienced camper but I was looking around and saw this.

It seems like if you set that up at your site you wouldn't need such a large tent and could keep the smell away from your sleeping area.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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Old 11-19-2008, 11:58 PM
 
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Sounds like you are my kind of camper.

We have a three room tent, two queen sized mattresses, and all kinds of gadgets. Love it!

We didn't got to go this year, though. That's okay, I plan to make up for it next year

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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Old 11-20-2008, 12:37 PM
 
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My parent have one of the separate toilet tents (very similar to the one linked above). It works well altithough they are pretty small.

Before getting that we just used to bring the porta potty into the porch part of the tent at night. During the day we would take it out and just put it beside the tent. We never had a problem with the smell.
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Old 11-20-2008, 03:20 PM
 
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We usually primitive camp, but one thing about the cot vs. air mattress. If you are up on a cot, you will be colder as there is air circulating under you . I don't know about Coleman tents, but I tried their sleeping bags once and they were horrid. They were rated to 40 degrees and I don't think that was a true rating. Took them back and got the LL Bean 20 degree bags which we love. I don't know how young your kids are, but mine never relished the thought of venturing out to a porta potty in the middle of the night so we never had issues with midnight potty runs.
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Old 11-20-2008, 03:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treasuremapper View Post
We are spoiled. We're wondering about cots instead of air mattresses, because of the fumes from the PVC in the air mattresses.
Depending on how old your children are and what they are used to by way of sleeping arrangements, the big problem with cots is that they really only sleep one person. So if your children are used to co-sleeping, even only part of the time, this is going to be a problem. At home mostly our kids (5 and 9) sleep on their own, but camping at least one of them gets scared or cold and snuggles in with DH and I. So air-mattresses are really the only way for us to go -- nice big queen size ones. Also, I like being able to curl up with DH, so we have sleeping bags that zip together on top of that air mattress.

I do take a fitted bottom sheet for the air mattress to avoid the slipping and plastic-y feel of them.

I guess I worry less about the fumes in camping situations because things are so open. But then, this isn't one of those areas that I worry much in any situation.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:33 PM
 
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We have a cheap tent from Target and a Queen mattress and a twin as well. I have had pretty good luck with the Greatland tents. We have a little one that the boys will use when they get older.

Everybody but our youngest has a sleeping bag, but we choose to get mummy bags. The youngest will probably sleep with me next year.
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Old 11-21-2008, 06:04 AM
 
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Teach the girls to pee outside! We camped all the time as a kid, and the rule was after bedtime, ya pee outside the tent (and it's another thing to take into consideration when figuring out where to put the tent and which way to face it). I can still cop a mean squat. It's a skill every woman should have.

I've done it when the temp is below zero. Not necessarily fun, but necessary at times.

Me+DH+DS1+DS2+Dog=me and a house full of guys, which is really just peachy, thanks.
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