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fish-n-geek

canvas wall tent - or other solution

13 posts in this topic

Every year we take a few days hunting up north with six or eight guys. We've been using a hardside camper that we can just barely get down the logging roads and can only sleep six and still have room to move. The discussion got going this year about switching to a canvas wall tent to eliminate the camper towing issues and give us more space. I'm looking for opinions on this solution, anyone with experience with these tents, other ideas, etc.

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Cold!!!

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not only cold but unless you have an Army Ranger in the group, they're a beech to set up. At least the older ones. If you have a buddy heater the cold shouldn't be a problem.

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You're going to pay some big bucks for a wall tent big enough to sleep 8 people. As for comfort, I've wall tented where we had to shovel the snow off the ground to set up and we got comfortable. But don't try to heat it with a propane heater, they don't make one big enough. Best is a wood stove, preferably a barrel stove. So the tent has to have a stove pipe opening and be flame retardant. Be sure to put a screen spark catcher on top of the stove pipe. A good wall tent with the right set-up can be a very cosy camp in any weather if done right. Good luck.

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As is the case, with anything, you get what you pay for! I have owned and used a 12x14 wall tent for about 8 years now and under the right circumstances, its the only way to go!

Some tips...

a 12x14 will sleep 4-6 guys, on cots, as long as you dont want anything more than a stove in the tent with you. There are bunk cots made by 1 or 2 outfits that will save you a ton of space.

Go with an internal frame. You can just get the connectors and source your tubing locally...save quite a bit. I can set up my tent by myself, if I have to, and have, with the internal frame.

Get a good packer stove or make your own out of a 30 gallon barrel. Most all wall tents come with a stove jack built in that the pipe fits thru that is fire proof. You can usually dictate where they put it. Mine is in the front left corner of the tent and you can pile the wood just outside the tent flap for easy access. Northern tool supply sells kits to convert a barrel into a stove. I have been in 20 below and that stove had us opening the flaps on the tent!

My suggestion would be to go with one tent for sleeping and one for cooking and hangin out. Makes it a lot easier when 1-2 guys want to crash but the rest of the group wants to play cards or whatever. It sounds like you got enough guys to afford it and a quality tent with an internal frame should set you back 600-1,000 bucks depending on your options.

Montana Canvas in Belgrade Montana makes all the tents Cabelas sells and is a great resource for information. Rainier Tents in Oregon also..Just do an internet search for wall tents or outfitter supplies and you will be blown away

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I got a 12X14 from Davis Tent out in Colorado a couple of years ago, and have been more than pleased with it. We use it for 4 guys and the dog during late season duck hunts, and it is cozy with the barrel stove going. They have monthly specials on their website, and I would encourage you to check them out along with Montana Tent and Beckels.

Whatever you do, avoid the synthetic materials and stick to high-grade canvas. I've heard the condensation issues in the synthetics are pretty awful.

Back in the day we used to spend nearly every weekend in the winter up in Quetico sleeping in wall tents heated with barrel stoves. Things can be a bit chilly first thing in the morning, but good sleeping bags and getting up off the ground help to make things tolerable. In colder conditions, putting a thermarest on top of the cot really helps out.

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With 8 guys I would bet that for $200 per guy you could buy a pretty good sized wall tent with a good frame a stove the whole works. I've always thought it would be fun to have one for a week long deer hunting trip.

Good Luck.

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We have an Army Surplus canvas wall tent that we use for our elk camp. It measures about 16 x 32, and we have slept as many as 10 guys, with room for a kitchen area.

The set up is not too bad, and the canvas is good quality and heavy. We heat it with a variable propane heater, that can put out as much as 200,000 BTU. It is more than enough.

One drawback is it is green canvas, thus it is dark inside. We have welded some nuts to the center poles, and then thread long bolts in them to hang lanterns from.

IIRC, we paid about 600-800 bucks 5 years ago. There are smaller models available.

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We've been deer hunting (rifle) for over 20 years out of a 16x32 army tent, and it's become our tradition. 2 of us can set it up in an hour (lots of practice), we heat with a 55 gallon barrel stove, and have slept as many as 14 guys, although 10 is better. We all sleep on cots, bank the outside or run tarp/carpet...up the inside walls a bit to stop drafts, and often have to open flaps once the stove gets cooking! Once everyone knows how to select wood (mix of dry/green) and operate the damper, that stove doesn't need relighting the whole week! I have a link somewhere (let me know if you need it) that sells the tents for around 700 bucks if I remember right. We had to replace ours a few years ago as someone stole it from starage at a buddys garage. They weigh about 300 lbs, but with proper planning, rolling it up right, it's really pretty managable. And sweet to hunt out of...we tarp/carpet much of the floor, but the wood/cooking/door area stay dirt so boots aren't a mess. We run a ridgeline clothsline for drying...now we've upgraded to propane lights, but thats about our only nod to technology. Good luck!

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Quote:

If you have a buddy heater the cold shouldn't be a problem.


My dog and I do a lot of late fall/early spring camping, using my Cabela 8 x 8 pyramid tent or a newer Kelty 10 x 10 dome tent. My dog used to stay in a sleeping bag in cold weather, but she's had some severe medical problems, and will no longer stay covered for more than a few hours... Leaving her at home is not an option.

I've had success this past month using a 3000 btu catalytic tent heater, but I need a more powerful heating unit, like the 9000 btu Buddy or the 18000 btu Big Buddy units by Mr. Heater. A unit that size would also be useful in my portable 2 man Frabill fishing shelter.

When I read the product reviews for these Buddy units at other web sites, it seems they are unreliable and short-lived. Have they been recently redesigned, or improved? Would anyone with experience recommend them for tent camping in cold weather?

Thanks.

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I lived in a wall tent in AK for three seasons from April- Oct. A wood stove kept you warm as long as you had a fire going, pretty hard to stock the stove when your sleeping so plan on enough warm covers to match the outside temps.

We winter camp in January along the border fishing lake trout using a large army surplus tent. That thing was a beast, when it was sold I was happy to see it go. Getting in and setting up is no picnic. In -30 the tent is stiff not to mention heavy and bulky. Setup and tear down is certainly part of the trip you have to account for.

We use a wood stove and stay plenty warm as long as someone tends the fire during the night which in reality doesn't happen. Cots, winter clothes, and gear burn up a lot of room, to help there we made bunks but that was just one more thing to haul in and assemble.

Definitely get the internal frame and a wall tent that the canvas is still pliable unlike the rhino hide tent we used.

.

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I have a 12 x 14 Montana Canvas tent that we use for hunting. I made my own aluminum frame as I had access to free tubing but the connectors sold by Montana Canvas would be my first choice if I had to do it again. Mine takes about 1/2 hour for 2 guys to set up and the total weight is over 100lbs. But they are very nice. We have been using a 30,000 btu vented heater and it is marginal below 10 degrees the first day or so if the ground is cold. Wood heat seems to be the first choice. Either a barrel stove or look at the Riley campstoves. Plus side is no insurance, easy to store and great portability. Many great tent makers out there such as Davis( my neighbor has one), Montana Canvas and some local places make them too. We do sleep on cots and this is much more comfy than the ground. It is a viable option to a camper.

Dr. Ken

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I have the Cabelas 9.5X9.5 Alaknak tent. It is the coolest tent I have ever seen IMO. There is a spot for a wood buring stove. It stays nice and toasy with the stove going. They make them up to 12X20. My guess is that the nylon material may not be a durable as canvas. These tensts are not cheap, but I think the price is simalar to that of a canvas wall tent. Mine sets up in 10 minutes with two guys. They have a vidio clip about this tent on the Cabelas website.

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