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Half Dome 2 plus, Kelty 20, Fox Outfitter airlite 100

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Offline Hang10er

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Half Dome 2 plus, Kelty 20, Fox Outfitter airlite 100
« on: April 16, 2019, 07:35:03 AM »
Put some equipment through a bit of a weather test this past weekend and thought I'd post some comments.

Since 1997, a group of guys and I have spent a weekend camping on the Medina River between Bandera and Medina.  No long epic hikes or anything like that.  Just a weekend away kayaking the river, cooking over a fire, drinks and stories.  Used to play horseshoes but I think they got to heavy for us, so now we use bean bags and play corn hole. 

This past weekend we got hit with that line of thunderstorms and tornado warnings that swept through a big part of Texas Saturday morning.  Temps ranged from high 70's a couple afternoons to mid 40's one night. 

I used my REI Half Dome 2 2017 model tent.  I got there after dark on Thursday night and really appreciated how easy it is to set up.  I set it up in just a few minutes, using the headlights of my truck while having a beer and talking to my brother in law who I haven't seen in some time.  Knowing the weather I put on the rain fly and staked it all pretty good although I didn't put the guide lines on the fly.  Saturday morning, the rains hit and although it wasn't an all day affair, it rained pretty hard.  After the rains, all afternoon we were under a wind advisory and I thought I was back home on the coast.  They had to be gusting 40+ mph.  One of the other guys had a tall tent made so you can stand up in it, it would lay nearly flat every time the strong gusts came.  My little Half Dome just kind of stood there and took it, with just a little shaking, which was good because that blew all the oak tree bloom things off of it.  Tent stayed nice and dry and took the wind like a champ.  I also left some lounging shoes outside the tent but under the protection of the rain fly in the area advertised as a vestibule or gear storage area.  That worked well and stayed dry too.

I used my Kelty Cosmic 20 sleeping bag.  Likely a bit too warm for some people but I don't like being cold while camping.  2 of the nights were pretty cool and on our last night, I had to zip it up all the way.  The middle night was warm and I unzipped the bag almost all the way and used a Kelty "Bestie Blanket" to lay over me.  This worked well for a warm weather bag. 

I laid my bag on a inflatable air pad made by Fox Outfitters called the "Airlite 100".  I picked this up last year when I saw it on some ad on my social media.  They had some type of initial offering price and I got it really cheap.  It's about 3" thick, has a built in foot pump and is made of some pretty thick vinyl.  Probably not for below freezing temps but I think the R rating is 2 or something.  I've used it in BiBE in the low 40's and it was fine.  I like that it's kind of thick and I'll not fill it up to where it's completely hard but leave a little slack and I sleep very comfortably on it.  It's like having a miniature air mattress with a bit of insulating properties.  I'm a bigger guy and it's more comfortable than my Therm-a-rest Prolite. 

For those river running guys, the river wasn't raging or anything but it was up a bit and had more flow than years past.  Maybe we're cycling back to a little more water in our Hill Country Rivers.  Our annual Family Frio River trip is coming up in a few months, we shall see.

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Offline backpacker56

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Re: Half Dome 2 plus, Kelty 20, Fox Outfitter airlite 100
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2019, 09:05:28 AM »
Thanks for the review!  I've heard that the Half Dome is a good tent.  Setup must be easy if it can be done under the influence. :icon_wink:  I'm amazed any 2-pole tent could stand up under those winds, and without guy lines!?

I'm with you on the sleeping bag.  I recently advised a friend not to waste money on any sleeping bag not rated to at least 20 degrees.  Then, on second thought, I said my views were formed in backpacking the mountains of New Mexico.  If you do mostly central Texas, a 20-degree bag might be overkill. 

I have several down throws by Alpine Designs I picked up years ago at Sports Authority for about $10 each.  We call them "Magic Blankets" because you can throw one on top of the other bed covers on a cold night an immediately feel a difference, like an electric blanket.  These are not made of that slippery satiny material that slides off the bed in about two seconds.  I've been tempted to try one of these for mild-weather backpacking, even in the Guadalupes.  Old habits die hard, though, and I hate the thought of sleeping cold.  The throw is only about 5' x 6' so it would be pretty minimal.
"Ah, sure, I'm a gnawed old bone now, but say, don't you guys think the spirit's gone!"

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Half Dome 2 plus, Kelty 20, Fox Outfitter airlite 100
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2019, 01:21:13 PM »
Used to play horseshoes but I think they got to heavy for us, so now we use bean bags and play corn hole.

Thanks for the laugh, Hang10er. And believe me, Iím not laughing at you, Iím laughing with you.

The REI Half Dome series are good solid tents. Iíve borrowed my brotherís many times for trips with family and friends when cowboy camping or my Silshelter wonít do. Itís not too heavy, very spacious, well-organized, and - yes - incredibly sturdy.


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"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Hang10er

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Re: Half Dome 2 plus, Kelty 20, Fox Outfitter airlite 100
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2019, 07:12:33 AM »
Used to play horseshoes but I think they got to heavy for us, so now we use bean bags and play corn hole.


The REI Half Dome series are good solid tents. Iíve borrowed my brotherís many times for trips with family and friends when cowboy camping or my Silshelter wonít do. Itís not too heavy, very spacious, well-organized, and - yes - incredibly sturdy.


Sent from my iPhone using Big Bend Chat


I got my Half Dome specifically for camping Big Bend.  I usually go alone so I got a smaller tent.  Although I don't backpack, I still appreciate the small size and light weight when loading/unloading my truck.  I also wanted a smaller footprint, which makes it easier to find and clear a place to put down the tent.

However, I have never set it up in Big Bend because I love just throwing down my bedroll and sleeping under the stars, even if it's in the bed of my truck.

One other thing I just got that I used on this trip was an all weather of sorts duffle.  I got the RTIC large duffle which is a 140 liter bag.  They had it on sale and I ordered on a Monday and got it on Wednesday! Free shipping.  Thursday they had an even BIGGER sale on it!  I emailed them and they honored the lower price and quickly refunded me the difference.  I got it to put stuff in and then be able to throw the bag in the back of my truck and not worry about dust or rain. 

The bag is a thick tough bag that's listed as "highly water resistant".  It looks like a thick vinyl or similar material.  The zipper is big and has nice little pull handles on it.  The opening is three sided instead of one straight line across the top.  This lets you open and fold back the top so you can easily load it and see what's inside.  It has carry handles and detachable shoulder straps plus some heavy drag handles on each end. 

I was able to throw my tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, clothing pack, whiskey bottle, and all the other little things I took all inside that one big bag.   I then loaded it and was ready to go. 
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 09:33:42 AM by RichardM »

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Offline House Made of Dawn

  • www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2YJduDyFA4
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  • Mountain Lion
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  • 2932
  • Backpacking since '78, Big Bend since '95.
Re: Half Dome 2 plus, Kelty 20, Fox Outfitter airlite 100
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2019, 09:14:49 AM »
Used to play horseshoes but I think they got to heavy for us, so now we use bean bags and play corn hole.


The REI Half Dome series are good solid tents. Iíve borrowed my brotherís many times for trips with family and friends when cowboy camping or my Silshelter wonít do. Itís not too heavy, very spacious, well-organized, and - yes - incredibly sturdy.


Sent from my iPhone using Big Bend Chat


I got my Half Dome specifically for camping Big Bend.  I usually go alone so I got a smaller tent.  Although I don't backpack, I still appreciate the small size and light weight when loading/unloading my truck.  I also wanted a smaller footprint, which makes it easier to find and clear a place to put down the tent.

However, I have never set it up in Big Bend because I love just throwing down my bedroll and sleeping under the stars, even if it's in the bed of my truck.

One other thing I just got that I used on this trip was an all weather of sorts duffle.  I got the RTIC large duffle which is a 140 liter bag.  They had it on sale and I ordered on a Monday and got it on Wednesday! Free shipping.  Thursday they had an even BIGGER sale on it!  I emailed them and they honored the lower price and quickly refunded me the difference.  I got it to put stuff in and then be able to throw the bag in the back of my truck and not worry about dust or rain. 

The bag is a thick tough bag that's listed as "highly water resistant".  It looks like a thick vinyl or similar material.  The zipper is big and has nice little pull handles on it.  The opening is three sided instead of one straight line across the top.  This lets you open and fold back the top so you can easily load it and see what's inside.  It has carry handles and detachable shoulder straps plus some heavy drag handles on each end. 

I was able to throw my tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, clothing pack, whiskey bottle, and all the other little things I took all inside that one big bag.   I then loaded it and was ready to go.



Agreed about the Half Domeís footprint. Itís about 2/3 the size of my Silshelterís footprint, but has maybe a 1/3 more usable interior space. The smaller footprint makes it way easier to find a place to pitch it, and I really appreciate that.


Sent from my iPhone using Big Bend Chat
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

 


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