Tent choice

Hi everybody. My wife and I are thinking of getting our own tent and using a charter service this year. Any suggestions on tents would be much appreciated. I’ve done some looking but way to many choices and I want to make sure I don’t screw this up. I’m the tallest at 5’10”

37 Replies

jwsknk, January 31, 2017 at 8:02 am

years ago RAGBRAI told teams to figure 10×10 ft per tent. 120 people, 80-90 tents times 100 sq ft per tent….man that’s a lot of ground. I think that 10×10 also include some space in between for pathways, but some people stretch those guy lines way out.


mlwalk, January 31, 2017 at 10:59 am

I use the largest Eureka tent and it is Fabulous. I have a Queen sized blow up air mattress with luxurious sheets and pillows from my bed at home. A nice battery operated fan to blow over me if needed. No need to go with a small tent most of this stuff is hauled by cars or buses. Go luxury, go Taj Mahal, go big and comfortable. You have no idea how many people look longingly at our tent while they sleep on a crappy thin air mattress on the ground and second think their decisions. You just biked 60-80 miles you deserve a little glamping.


KenH, January 31, 2017 at 12:24 pm

My Eureka 3 man tent is about 70 sq ft. It is oddly shaped so it will occupy a bit more area than that unless pitched in a sea of similar tents that can be interleaved to use space most efficiently. And we all know how likely that is at a RAGBRAI campground, at least one that isn’t set up by PBV! Given that people have much larger and smaller tents than I 100 sq ft is probably a good rule of thumb.

Last year I slept on one of those crappy 2 inch Thermarest self inflating pads and I found it fairly comfortable. I might pop for the 3.5 inch version if I need to do it again since now I won’t have to buy a complete camping setup from scratch in a single year like I did last year. But I neither envy nor begrudge anyone their large, luxurious air mattress. Certainly not everyone uses them but they are fairly common and many of them I saw last year with the Argo-Riverbend group were AC powered! People would drag them over to the phone charging station, pump them up, and drag them back to their tents. Check with your charter but it seemed to work fine for them.


Iceman !, January 31, 2017 at 1:48 pm

I have a Kelty Gunnison 4 tent. It’s big enough for my wife and me but it’s so easy to put up that I recommend it even if you are the only occupant of the tent. And the quality of Kelty tents is second to none. The only tent I like better is a tent that PBV puts up for me so I don’t have to drag one around at the end of a hot, long ride.

In any event, don’t settle for a three man tent. Get a four person tent and use it by yourself. Nothing like have room to spread out.

Here’s a tip for you folks that are in a four man tent by yourself. Buy yourself a Helinox cot. They are light and very, very comfortable. I have the Helinox High Cot, sits about 25 inches off the ground. Weighs maybe a bit less than four pounds in its carry bag. If you are using PBV’s tent service you will have plenty of room in your bag for the cot since you won’t be carrying a tent. Breaks down to about 20 inches in length, maybe 10 inch circumference for the bag, and the cot is framed by shock corded side struts. I put a self inflating pad on top of it and you’ll never sleep better. What a luxury – sitting up in bed in your tent instead of getting up off the ground. I have never had a good, reliable air mattress (bet I’ve had six) no matter what I paid for it. It’s even better than my Thermarest airpad. I practiced putting it up and breaking it down and I can easily do either in less than 5 minutes.


Linda Wiard-Bauer, April 24, 2017 at 8:53 pm

Thanks, marcink75. I have an ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 2. I have never used it, but your post has convinced me that it is the right one for RAGBRAI!


Chad Frana, April 25, 2017 at 7:44 am

Just throwing this in for consideration Its big but go’s up FAST 1 1/2 minutes with 2 people. 2 1/2 with 1 person. Take down and pack up about twice as long.


Michrider !!!, April 25, 2017 at 8:14 am

I have 3 tents. The smallest is black, the middle size is green and the largest is blue. During RAGBRAI week, the largest will be set up in my back yard. Beverly will be sleeping inside!!!!

BTW, RAGBRAI don’t care!!!


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