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Tell me about camping...

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mime:
BG / what led me to my question:
 
I'm in the market for a new tent. My DS is 9 and I have taken him camping since he was 2 years old (mom-and-son weekends).

In my online search for a new tent, I've noticed a few things:

If I were looking for a rugged, intense, braving the elements kind of tent, I have a lot of options, both in the US and the UK. (and elsewhere)

If I were looking for a simple dome-style tent to sleep a handful of people (anywhere from 2 to 8 ), I also have a lot of options.

There are differences though, in larger tents (that don't necessarily have to endure severe weather). I'd like more than one room since I may start to include DS(3) or DS(9)'s friends. I'd also like to set up living or sitting space in the tent in case the weather isn't nice. There are great options in the UK for that. Much less so in the US. Even Coleman--a US company-- has tents I really like that are only available in the UK!

End BG

This makes me wonder: is the camping experience different in the UK than in the US? I'm not thinking of rugged hiking cross country for a month type of camping, but more casual vacation-style family camping. My experience here is that people just sleep in tents then hang around outside, at the lakeshore, around the bonfire, in a boat, etc. It is usually no more than a long weekend. It is typically in the woods or a campsite, definitely a nature-filled setting.

Are these aspects different in the UK? I'm trying to figure out why your tents look so much better than ours!  ;)
I'm about to spend $100 for the shipping alone just to get one.

And this: I really wanted a tent like the Weasleys had in "Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire", but it doesn't seem to exist. Not even in Europe. *sigh*

ETA just formatting to try to de-emphasize my shopping experience and focus on my question.

Harriet Jones:
Have you looked at Walmart's website?  I have a relative who bought a 3 room tent from there.

Edited to add: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trail-20-x-10-3-Room-Tent-Sleeps-10/22954579

PastryGoddess:
I car camp, I don't do much backpacking.  So I carry more equipment than someone who has to carry everything on their back.  I also abide by the car campers guide to tent size. 

2p tent is for 1p
4p tent is for 2p
6p tent is for 3p
8p tent is for 4p

I have this tent for sleeping: http://www.rei.com/product/828150/marmot-limelight-3p-tent

I also have a large screened in shelter for hanging out during the day away from bugs.  http://www.sportsauthority.com/product/index.jsp?productId=21650066&cp=2287066.2279642&parentPage=family

I'm not a huge fan of coleman as I think their setup is overly complicated compared to other brands. 

8 person tents
Marmot http://www.rei.com/product/863990/marmot-limestone-8p-tent  My fave brand
Big Agnes http://www.rei.com/product/779627/big-agnes-flying-diamond-8-tent My second fave brand
REI http://www.rei.com/product/810168/rei-kingdom-8-tent-2012  This tent took about 30 min to figure out, but once we did, it went up in about 5 min


Eureka makes a decent 12p tent http://www.rei.com/product/831232/eureka-copper-canyon-12-tent that is really easy to put up

Anything larger than that and you'll be looking at coleman I think

Hillia:
Try Cabelas.  They sell a wide range of tents from backpacking to luxury safari, in a variety of price ranges.  We have a great 8x12 cabin tent which has a panel that you can zip in to make 2 rooms.  The setup is not too difficult.  I think we paid $179 for it.

Wittyone:
I don't know much about specific tents.  But have you ever considered letting DS9 and his friends have their own tent?  That way you wouldn't necessarily have to have a huge tent, and the boys might love having their own tent.

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