Well it’s REI’s big sale time (May 1- 10). We bought the REI Base Camp 6 last year. This tent just happens to be currently on sale for much less than we paid for it :( We have used it once and were pretty impressed.
Rather heavy, when I bought it the woman in the service area felt she needed to point out that “this is a 20 pound tent!”, but what we needed was lots of room for the four of us and that’s what we got – and with our iron horse of a volvo doing all the packing, weight isn’t an issue. I’m afraid I can’t remember if it was easy to set up or not – likely because I let the boys get to it by themselves – but if a dad and two preschoolers can do it you probably can too. What i love about this tent is that you can stand in it, it has pouches and tabs on the walls and ceiling so you can keep important stuff handy and hang a flashlight like an overhead light. The vestibules on both sides also give lots of room for discrete changing, keeping shoes out of the rain and keeping marauders from noticing the beer cooler while we explore the beach.
Some friends that we went to Birch Bay State Park with last year had the REI Hobitat and that is a pretty cool tent too. Tall enough to stand in and it’s got two great big doors on either side. They let the kids play in the empty tent in the afternoon (which was a HUGE hit) and then just picked up the whole structure and just shook it out before setting up the bedding. After seeing how much fun the kids had just playing in an empty tent I'm considering buying a cheapo ‘kids’ tent for them the play in….hmmm….maybe i can get a second hand one somewhere…
Tip: Get at least one (we went 2) ‘man’ bigger than your family size. A four man tent sleeps four and you are going to want some space to move around without distributing the inevitable sand/dirt throughout your sleeping area.