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tent cot or instant tent?

I need opinions on whether I should get a tent cot or instant tent for Ragbrai?  I want something easy to set up and take down.  I have used a tent in past rides but to stay out of the water I was thinking of a cot type.  But it has its drawbacks, and so what about the tent that you throw in the air and it’s ready? Any first hand experiences to share?  Thanks.

8 Replies

Michrider !!!, January 30, 2011 at 3:57 pm

csommerlot said: I need opinions on whether I should get a tent cot or instant tent for Ragbrai?  I want something easy to set up and take down.  I have used a tent in past rides but to stay out of the water I was thinking of a cot type.  But it has its drawbacks, and so what about the tent that you throw in the air and it’s ready? Any first hand experiences to share?  Thanks.

Put a sheet of plastic under your tent and one inside your tent, quarantied to keep you dry.  Easier and cheaper than either of those options!

#13406

Bad Bobby, January 30, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I have a pop-up tent, nothing to “put” together and easy to take down as it was to put up. I would recommend it just because it saves a lot of time, got mine on eBay for $50, mine isn’t the throw in the air type, but its a dome tent, that takes 5 seconds to put up

#13407

Billp70964, January 30, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I’ve been on a number of RAGBRAI’s. I started to use a cot about 10 years ago. It solves the potential water problem. On the downside it’s heavy and bulky. More importantly I got sick of sleeping on all kinds of contraptions that don’t work and take a lot of time to set up.  A cot is very, very comfortable.  For my money it turns a tent into a bad hotel room (which sure beats a tent). 

#13408

nwiabikr, January 30, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I have a tent cot,  I believe from Cabela’s. It’s fairly easy to put up and very comfortable to sleep in but it’s heavy, 45# and bulky to store. You sleep on a cot and their is a tent over it. It’s not very tall so you can’t stand up in it. I store it in the RV that my team uses. I doubt that it would work if you have to put it into the RAGBRAI  truck. It works great for me as we have hosts that let us sleep in their homes most nights but I have the tent cot for the nights when indoor housing isn’t available.

#13409

SFC JKL 2, January 30, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Personally I use an air mattress.  Most people prefer the thermarest, but I’ve yet to have a problem in years of campimg.  Worst case scenario, I put the suitcase in a garbage bag (even though you should already have everything in ziplocks) everything floats and I’m still dry under my poncho.

#13410

KittySlayer, January 31, 2011 at 7:56 am

csommerlot said: …I want something easy to set up and take down.  I have used a tent in past rides but to stay out of the water….

Well the first key to staying out of the water is staying out of the water. Sight selection is the key. When you arrive look at the lay of the land. Where will the water flow if there is a frog choker rain? Where will the lake form when all the water flows to the lowest spot? Think of how  a golfer looks at the lie of a green.

So often people focus on trying to find shade but remember, everyone is in the shade once the sun goes down. Often times they seek the softest, greenest, deepest grass but remember the water is why that grass looks so healthy. My tent is often pitched on the ugliest piece of the field but I do not fear the rain because I chose my spot wisely.

All tents look great in the catalogue but read some reviews. You want a well ventilated fly as often times the moisture comes from condensation inside from your breathing. Don’t have things like your duffle bag touching the sides of the tent or if they do put a sheet of plastic between your bag and the side  of the tent. If you choose to use a piece of plastic or tarp under your tent make sure it is smaller than the footprint of your tent and is stuff in at least four inches all the way around. If the tarp is not tucked in underneath the floor it just collects water between the tarp and your tent floor and you get wet.

For a simple, effective tent that does not require an engineering degree to erect consider the A frame Eureka Timberline tents. Well made, last forever, dry inside. No you can’t stand up but it is a tent for sleeping, not a house for living.  Easy to take down too. With any tent you buy be sure to use seam sealer on the seams, even if it already says they are sealed.

And someone mentioned a poncho. Far better for wandering around camp/town than any raincoat you could buy.

#13411

Davy Sprocket, January 31, 2011 at 8:13 am

Michrider said:

csommerlot said: I need opinions on whether I should get a tent cot or instant tent for Ragbrai?  I want something easy to set up and take down.  I have used a tent in past rides but to stay out of the water I was thinking of a cot type.  But it has its drawbacks, and so what about the tent that you throw in the air and it’s ready? Any first hand experiences to share?  Thanks.

Put a sheet of plastic under your tent and one inside your tent, quarantied to keep you dry.  Easier and cheaper than either of those options!

If you are going to use a tent footprint sheet under your tent, make sure that you cut it smaller than your tent otherwise it will simply hold water between your tent and the plastic.  Kittyslayer said it best…..pick a location that will keep you out of the water/drainage.

#13412

Anonymous, January 31, 2011 at 12:40 pm

THe coleman enyo 2 is a decent dry lightweight tent for 70$..The best 2 pole tent I ever had was a cannondale but a tornado took it down on a BRAN…the tent choice is more important if you are a bagger..as the years go by, more and more go the bagger route…the thermorest self inflating mattress packs small but they want a boatload of money for the thick ones..

#13413

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