Originally Posted by wis bang
I have a North Face 'Cat's Meow' that I bought at Hermans...remember Hermans, "They were sports"...Still in good shape after 20 years.
Good 2-man tent, Eureka Timberline 2 w/ a vestibule. A sturdy design, quick to put up, stable in a storm, room for one person and a dog.
Wis bang is spot on. The timber line series is classic. Durable no frills that gets the job done.
I still have a bag I bought about 10 year ago, a Kelty 20 degree cloud loft. I too was on a budget. I was always cold in it. I ponied up the dough for a nice bag for my wife. I went with a North Face cat's meow, a 15 or 20 degree bag. I took it along camping one weekend after grabbing the wrong bag, squeezed into it and other than being too short, it was far warmer than my beat Kelty.
A simple Therma-rest ridge rest, z rest or any closed cell foam pad is a must. The self inflating pads are night are day better. I upgraded a few years ago and wont ever look back.
Arts mag is right - you'll want to throw something down like one of those space blankets to help with the dog punching holes. I always put something down under the test as well, keeping it a few inches inside the footprint of the tent so it will not collect water. I use a piece of the felt landscape fabric I sewed together and cut to fit the tents footprint. It adds a few extra ounces but it keeps the water from sitting directly under the tent, touching the nylon and also acts as a barrier from any sharp stone or stick. I don't set my tent up with out it. I do more camping from a canoe, or car camping so the slight extra bulk and weight doesn't affect me. That said, i also pack it if i'm back packing. Which hasn't happened in several years.
Good luck, buy one cry once...But I was there. i bought the best I could, suffered with the things I was lacking but I never did not have a good time!