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Tent talk

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 7:06 am
by Farmgirl
I'm in the market for a new backpacking tent. I am curious if anyone has a non-freestanding tent and if they like it or not. It seems you can save on weight but you HAVE to stake it down, which can be a problem...(@ granite park we used rocks!) Also, what features of your tent do you love and can't live without! TIA!

Re: Tent talk

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:02 am
by Talusman
The Boy and I have used a silnylon single wall tent for the last five summers and really like it. Ours can open up to where its mostly just bug screen (like using a double wall without the rain fly) but I can unzip and close it with one hand if a storm pops up. I really like being able to get two people, packs, and a third person (in a pinch) into the tent when it rains. Best of all the whole thing with poles and stakes is three pounds. The trade off for it not being free-standing is the weight savings.

Re: Tent talk

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:16 am
by missguinness
Farmgirl, there is a thread on camping that talks about tents.
viewforum.php?f=22
There haven't been many comments but at least you'll get a little info. Heff posted about our tent, Mountain Hardwear Haven 3. We absolutely love it. While not one of the lightest tents, it gives us room to sleep & put our gear around. We have the tendency to spread out!
Miss G

Re: Tent talk

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:33 am
by Ear Mountain
Farmgirl,
If you're looking for a tent to use at places like Stoney Indian Pass or Fifty Mountain where you camped a few weeks ago here are some things that I would look for:
1. Room: I prefer a tent that accommodates both people and gear. I do not like leaving stuff outside when I camp. Remember the deer at Fifty Mountain?
2. Wind: My tent would have to withstand strong winds. This mean good stakes, plenty of guy outs, strong supporting poles and a good design.
3. Rain Protection: Needless to say if it rains you want to stay dry.
4. Fly: I prefer a tent with a separate fly. The single wall tents I've seen all seem to condense moisture inside making for a damp night.
5. Bug Proof: No tarps or floorless designs for me. I gotta have a good all round protection from the flying, crawling biting critters.

A lot of folks try to go with lightweight designs that don't match the specs I want. They get by but when the weather closes in, the wind blows hard, it's raining or snowing I want a tent that will stand up to the task.

Re: Tent talk

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:04 am
by Farmgirl
Couldn't agree with you more Ear Mountain. We used my friends REI Taj on our trip and it kept us dry and in one place with the "blow-you-to-Kansas" winds and pea sized hail we experienced at Helen Lk. I will more than likely never be backpacking by myself either so the weight can always be distributed. Just was curious what other backpackers use to call home.

Re: Tent talk

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:37 am
by Ear Mountain
My main 2 person tent is a serious mountaineering tent, The North Face Expedition 25. It is roomy, warm in winter and pretty much bombproof. I bought it in 1995 and have used it extensively in some pretty expose places. I've been very happy with this tent. TNF doesn't make this tent any longer but they do make a variety of great tents.

BTW: The fly on my Expedition 25 began to wear out and began leaking. Even though TNF doesn't make this tent anymore I was able to purchase a new fly at a reasonable price so the tent is almost as good as new once again. Also the poles are guaranteed for the life of the tent. Way back when when I pitched this tent in 75 mph winds and rain two of the pole sections bent. TNF replaced them at no charge. I have been extrmely happy with this tent and with The North Face :)

Re: Tent talk

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:39 pm
by dorf
Unless you're going to live above the treeline for an extended period or hiking during the shoulder seasons, carrying a "bomb-proof" tent is overkill, IMO. Even up high I've never had a problem finding a sheltered site. Rocky ground isn't a problem either, just use rocks, trekking poles or a combination thereof.

Triskele Lake, Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness
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That said, my Tarptent Cloudburst (2-person) withstood a night of 40 mph winds (conservative guess) and horizontal rain in the Wind River Range, above the tree line. My gear and I stayed perfectly dry all night---no condensation either.

I also have a Tarptent 1-person Contrail which hasn't been tested in real nasty weather yet, but I suspect would perform better than the Cloudburst. More than enough room for me and my gear and only 23 ounces

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The Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo is another sweet tent and would probably be perfect for you, Farmgirl.

My hiking partner's SMD Lunar Solo
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Re: Tent talk

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:35 pm
by ND Sol
I have used my Black Diamond Lighthouse over the past few years. I like the design and the weight. Below is a picture of it at Boulder Pass in Glacier in 2004. It turns out that the wind picked up during the night and the tent was perpendicular to it, but no problems in the least. It is freestanding, so I find it easier to set up and take down than the non-freestanding tents, but all tents should be staked. They can otherwise easily blow away.

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Re: Tent talk

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:35 pm
by Heff936
The features I've come to appreciate most in tents would be having two doors and two usable vestibules. This allows easy access and you don't have to crawl over your tentmate to get in or out of the tent. Having a vestibule large enough to accomodate your pack and other gear is also important. This comes in very handy when there are thieving deer about. As Miss G. said, we also like to have some room to keep lots of our gear inside. I had carried a bomber 4 season mountaineering tent (Sierra Designs Sphere Expedition) for years. We got used to the 48 square feet of space so when we started looking for a lighter tent, we ultimately went for the Mountain Hardware Haven 3. It gives us 44 square feet and has proven a great choice for us. It weighs close to 6 pounds, all in, but that's at least 4 pounds lighter than our 4-season tent. Personally I would not consider a tent that was not freestanding, but that's just my preference.

Good luck finding just what you want. Make sure and let all of us outdoor gearheads know what you choose and how you like it.

Heff

Re: Tent talk

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:19 pm
by dorf
It weighs close to 6 pounds...


Dude, that's as much as my tent, pack, sleeping bag and pad weigh.

The Contrail in "storm mode" with enough room under the beak for gear storage

IMG_5651.jpg

Re: Tent talk

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 9:33 am
by Heff936
Hey Dorf:

Don't you feel guilty giving Yumi all the heavy stuff to carry? :wink:

Seriously, to each his own. I like the comfort we get in camp with our camp chairs, thick Thermarest mattresses, roomy tent and the rest. We also bring books to read. If my pack weighs less than 60 pounds starting out a 10-day or longer trip, then I'm perfectly happy. Miss G. has routinely carried 50 pound packs on our long trips without complaint. I'd also bet that my pack will be more comfortable carrying 50 pounds than yours carrying 30 pounds so it's just a personal preference. Besides, if I did not carry heavy loads, I would not lose the weight I want to lose every trip. :mrgreen:

I do admit to being impressed with your ultra-light packing ability, but I'll continue to opt for greater comfort in camp. If you want to go even lighter, maybe you can convince Miss G. to carry your gear. Of course it will cost you the price of two airline tickets from Indy to Glacier. :lol:

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Heff

Re: Tent talk

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 4:09 pm
by Farmgirl
I can always make room in my pack too!!!! :wink: