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Base Camp Tent Options For a Family of 4

KayakMacGyver

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Jun 8, 2018
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246
Appreciate any thoughts or suggestions on extended stay camping solutions a family of 4. Climate would vary from 95 degrees (Florida) down to single digits (rare) and I would expect to deal with snow.

We’ve been heavy into the western stuff for the last 4 years. Wife and I almost always spike out or “rough” camp it when we head out west. We bring our kids on hunting/camping trips in our home state and would like to start expanding that to Western adventures.

Looking for something that will last and allow us to camp in comfort with a 4 and 5 year old as they grow.

Canvas wall tent seems like overkill and probably not suitable for most of our camping in Florida. I’m also not sure how well canvas would do with our extremely high levels of humidity/moisture? I don't know, though. Maybe a canvas is what I want?

The 12X20 Cabelas Alaknak looks like it could be a pretty good option. Though, 12X20 seems HUGE to me and I’m wonder if it’s too much?

Appreciate any thoughts or recommendations you all may have.
 
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crock239

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Sep 18, 2012
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Iowa
I've got a Cabelas Big Horn III, and it's been great. Survived 40-50mph winds and snow well in NM and CO past few years. Not canvas, has a stove jack and floor cutout for a wood stove if interested for winter camping. Lots of room for 4 without the stove, well vented, great headroom etc. Not freestanding though. Weighs approx. 75lbs all-in for tent, poles, floor liner, stakes, etc. but can be set up by a single person in 15-20 minutes. I don't think cabelas is making them anymore, but I still see them on the shelves in store...runs about $1k new.

For freestanding I'd be (am) interested in Cabelas Alaskan Guide Outfitter 6man or 8man, but I don't have have any first-hand knowledge of those (yet).

Interested to see what others might suggest as well...
 

mplane72

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Jan 25, 2016
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Iowa
My family really loves our Kodiak Canvas tent and it would be great for a couple 3 guys in place of our wall tent. Yes it's bigger/heavier then anything nylon or whatever tents are made of but it solid. Don't remember exactly what model it is but its the cabin with screened in porch. Not cheep but an acceptable replacement for our camper. Wife and I really looking forward to using it in Voyagers in about 5 weeks.
 

Birdbander

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Aug 26, 2020
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Langston, Michigan
If you decide on the Cabela's Alaskan Guide, get the 8 person. I have the 6 person and its ok for me and two crated bird dogs with one cot, folding table & Mr. Heater Big Buddy. I've made it work adding another cot when my wife joined but it would be too tight for much more than a long weekend.

I'm looking at the Cabela's Instinct to add when my wife goes. I'm not sure they're still made however.

With a heater, either propane or better yet electric if you have a generator or hookup, the Alaskan Guide is very easy to keep warm.

I would add that if transportation and weight aren't a major concern, a tent that you think might be a little big usually isn't. Space inside of a tent is quickly filled and if there isn't enough, you start sacrificing which is never good.
 

elkduds

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Jan 22, 2016
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CO Springs.
Bunk bed cots for the kids? I love my Kodiak canvas, but for your needs a big dome like Alaskan Guide offers a lot of flexibility.

Others from REI:
 

Shangobango

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Aug 5, 2019
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Louisiana
Love My 12x12 Alaknak with the vestibule. Handles 3 adults with cots just fine without a stove. Is a palace for 2 adults and a stove. If I was buying for a family of four I would by the 12x20 in a heartbeat.

The only downside of the Alaknak that I have found is the room it takes up while transporting it.
 

TheTone

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ID
Friend of mine has a 12x20 Alaknak. We’ve done four adults in it multiple times and never felt like it was “too much”. It does great and giving everyone their little area and some community room as well.
 

Thegreatwapiti

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Jun 29, 2021
Messages
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I bought the cabela's Alaskan guide, 6-man for this year. Set it up in the driveway but haven't tested it yet in the wild. Can't wait!!
 

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Ben Lamb

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Aug 6, 2010
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Cedar, MI
Another w/. the 12x12 Alaknak w/ vestibule.

I'm very happy with it. Perfect for two humans and a couple of dogs, and it's very pleasant with 2 people in it. W/o the stove it's a palace.

The Kodiak Canvas tents would be pretty high on my list if I were looking again.
 

3855WIN

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Jul 17, 2014
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Mississippi
I love my Kodiak Canvas tent. Get it for cooler weather and add a cheaper, thinner, nylon tent for your 95 degree camping. You’ll be able to find the cheaper tent on sale. My last one was on sale from Target.
 

ccc23454

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Sep 22, 2010
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Wyoming
I also have a alaknak 12x12 with vestibule, pretty hard to beat for flexability and packing/travel. Have used in 60+ winds and temps from -10 to 90, good window system allows airflow and barrel stove heats it great but does cost a lot of room. Vestibule provides LOTS of dry storage room.
 

BZNHNTR

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Apr 25, 2021
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Have an Alaknak 12x20 and have been happy with it. Takes a while to setup, probably 30 minutes with two people who know how but once it’s up sleeps 4 comfortably with a wood stove and small table inside. Sleeps 6 just fine if you stack a couple cots for the day. Does take a lot of room up in the back of the pickup but no more than canvas and is a lot lighter. Only complaints were the end vents let wind through, sewed on some velcro and have sheets to attach over them when it’s cold. It also sweats being synthetic (hence the venting) we normally open up all the vents when we leave for the day and it does pretty well though. It has done just fine in eastern MT winds.

Also have an Alaskan guide 6 which is our weekend truck camp tent. Would be tight for 4 but they make an 8. Great tent but really different style camping than a wall tent. If you are normally in warm weather might be the best choice though. We added a stove jack in the vestibule, nice to take the edge off when it’s really cold. If you are moving around you won’t want to tear down and setup an alaknak every other day.

Note both of these are 10ish years old, I don’t know if the new ones are of the same quality. 156B81A4-5F74-4072-BFFF-9F942A032299.jpeg 1DE584C8-A972-4190-94DD-C44CD002053F.jpeg
 

Mthuntr

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In the Sagebrush of SW Montana
Note both of these are 10ish years old, I don’t know if the new ones are of the same quality.
This is the concern lately...2 years ago the Alaknak and Alaska Guide tents were nearly discontinued because of quality control. A friend of a friend had to return 3 Alaknak tents and he finally took the store credit on the last one. I really wanted the 8 person Alaska Guide tent with the stove jack but they don't make them anymore and the ones that were made around 2019-2020 were poor quality.

I'm patiently waiting for someone with these newer version to chime in so I can pick their brains about the quality.
 

Sytes

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Sep 25, 2009
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Montana
The 12X20 Cabelas Alaknak looks like it could be a pretty good option. Though, 12X20 seems HUGE to me and I’m wonder if it’s too much?
I've used 12x14 and it's a nice fit for 2, very tight for four, imo.
I think a 12x20 would do w/ one of those bunk sets (or two) and you would have a comfy setting.

Canvas and moisture... no bueno! I had a Canvas wall tent for some 20 years that one year was put away wet... needless to say, mold so brittle, I was able to poke right through the yellowish mold and it literally broke like glass shattering!;
We had so many amazing stories sharpie written on the walls over the years, it was a real shame! A tough lesson to learn.

As for the bunks:

Screenshot_20220506-161850_Firefox.jpg
 

Backofbeyond

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Jan 2, 2018
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Boise, ID
We’ve got an REI Kingdom 6. We splurged and got the garage with it, nice to have the extra covered space for bags, taking shoes off etc.
 

ajricketts

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Sep 19, 2016
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2,207
Location
East TN
Another fan of Kodak Canvas here. The 10 X 14 works for my family of four.
We just picked up the 12x12 cabin style with the attachable awning. Looking forward to using it with the family and also out west. I haven't even done a test setup yet lol
 

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