Alps Mountaineering Meramac

Backpacking Tents for Family Camping:

Alps Mountaineering Meramac

If you’ve car camped with your family before, you probably see camp set up and break down as a sizeable ordeal. And carrying your typical 30 pound tent any further than a few hundred feet from your car, while also dragging along all your other gear, food, and water seems like no fun. Backpacking tents are a great way to simplify your camping experience and allow you and your family to go further into the wilderness.

How can I find a backpacking tent to fit my family?

Though most backpacking tents fit only 1-2 people comfortably, the Alps Mountaineering Meramac 5 and 6 can fit more comfortably and if you are camping with your family (i.e. young children who can’t carry much of their own stuff) this is a good option. The larger size is upwards of 15 pounds, and while you may not want to trek miles and miles through the wilderness with that on your back, it is a good option for shorter hikes or just scaled down car camping.

If you are planning a camping trip with your family, and want to carry your stuff deep into the wilderness you could consider buying two (or more) 3 or 4 person Meramac tents at less than 7 pounds each, to distribute the weight between adults while keeping the burden off the kids. These tents are very affordable -- the three-person version is less than 90 bucks.

If you are hiking away from your car (i.e. your storage shed) you want to consider the footprint of your gear when you choose you tent size. The 2 person tent is really only big enough for 1 person and all of their backpacking gear.

Is set up really that easy?

Set-up is extremely easy and should take you less than five minutes. The tent consists of only two pieces, the tent and rainfly, with just three lightweight, quick to assemble  poles -- two for the tent and one for the rainfly.

The tent follows typical dome-style tent set-up: lay the tent out flat on the ground, put the four pins located at each of the tent corners into the ends of the two poles, so that they create two hoops, and snap the tent hooks onto the poles. The rainfly simply snaps on at the four corners after you insert its pole. The rainfly also has tethers for added stability in bad weather. It’s easy enough you could have your kids set it up. Let them take ownership of the experience, while you sit back and marvel at what a good parent you are!

Will it keep my family comfortable and safe?

This is really a three-season tent. The mesh windows and breathable sides keep it cool in the hottest parts of summer, it is well build to deal with the heavy wind of a summer thunderstorm, and the rain fly and factory sealed seams will keep you dry in spring and fall rains. You may want to consider a nylon floor saver to make sure the tent stays water tight for longer. The tent also has two doors, both with windows for improved air circulation. The rainfly sticks out far enough over each door, so the windows can remain open in a rain storm.

For camping in more extreme conditions, you would want to consider a four-season tent, built to keep warmth in.

Car camping typically means overcrowded campsites, where your neighbor sleeps in a RV with the lights on all night and your other neighbor tramps through your site to get to the bathroom. It can be fun, but you might wish for more quiet and solitude (or at least quiet and solitude from your generator-running neighbors) or want more space for you kids to explore and scream to their heart’s content without worrying about anyone but neighboring wildlife. A backpacking tent, like the Meramac is spacious enough to keep you and your family comfortable wherever you want to camp, yet lightweight enough so you can carry it there.