Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

+-Calendar for sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!


Tents for Backpacking

  • 14 Replies
  • 1037 Views
*

Offline backpacker56

  • Coyote
  • *
  • 165
Tents for Backpacking
« on: October 19, 2018, 04:23:31 PM »

I hope for more backpacking or at least tenting and day-hiking.  When you canít get outside, and no one posts any trip reports to read, the only thing left to do is think about equipment. 

My current tent is a Eureka Zephyr, now getting older.  A rectangular dome with two poles crossing at the center, with a separate fly, not full-coverage, supported by a short pole across the top of the dome.  It doesnít do well in breezy conditions.  The sides suck in and out all night, making it hard to sleep.  So, Iím thinking about a moderately-priced, fairly roomy tent, that will stay taut in windy conditions. 

Because of my experience with the Zephyr, Iím not keen on rectangular domes, although this is by far the most common type.  Maybe a full-coverage fly would help, but Iím looking for something with more poles.  The real deal would be a 4-pole hexagonal geodesic dome, like the North Face VE-25, but I wonít spend that much money, and havenít found a cheaper knock-off version.

Hereís what Iíve found so far:

Alps Mountaineering Hydrus.  Looks intriguing, but the photos arenít that good, and I canít see the frame that well.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AMS7W3M/

TAOYA/Hillman Alpine Tent.  I think this is what they call a bullfrog design.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XJ2V6D6/

The next three are all similar, using a hub to create a wishbone joint at either end.
Paria Outdoor Products Zion:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074FVRGNG/
Featherstone Outdoor UL Granite 2:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0727Y4XLT/
Flytop Outdoor 2 Person Dome:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075D84GZS/

Finally, the Mountainsmith Mountain Dome 2. 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UCL8OIW/

Iím particularly impressed by the Mountainsmith.  It seems a little tall, and I donít like the color, but thereís a cool video, and it seems thoughtfully designed with attention to details.  Seems really innovative and distinct from other designs. 

Any thoughts?
"Ah, sure, I'm a gnawed old bone now, but say, don't you guys think the spirit's gone!"

*

Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2286
Re: Tents for Backpacking
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2018, 06:01:36 PM »
Think through your purchase slowly.  If there was ONE PERFECT TENT, you'd have heard about it by now.  All of them have advantages and disadvantages.

Freestanding versus peg-down: freestanding goes up/comes down quicker, but tends to be a bit heavier.

The space you need: many tents advertised for one person are actually very comfortable - for a 16  year-old.  My shoulders are wider and I do not like feeling cramped when camped - if you are like me, you'd better take a close look at dimensions.  Think also about height.  I don't mind a low tent, but some do.  Dimensions must also include consideration for equipment that you'll need to keep out of the rain.

Cost: maybe the more expensive models have advantages (I'm sure the ultra light-weight ones are snazzy) but a lot of people like me just can't go a $450 Big Agnes. 

Getting in and out: in some you slide out sideways; in others you crawl out through the end.  This becomes an issue as you become less limber.

My favorite has been the Eureka Solitaire.  It is relatively light and wide (but low to the face).  Add a tyvek ground cloth and go.  Down side: it it a clumsy to put up and take down as compared with a free-standing tent.



Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

*

Offline Flash

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1857
Re: Tents for Backpacking
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2018, 06:06:32 PM »
I like my Big Agnes Seedhouse 2. Had it for 5 years now. Took it to Philmont. Use in the Bend. Easy to setup. Weighs right at 3 lbs.

*

Offline wrangler88

  • Coyote
  • *
  • 187
Re: Tents for Backpacking
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2018, 09:04:47 PM »
Depending on how soon you're wanting to get it, I'm sure a lot of places are about to have great discounts at the end of November.

It might not be your style but you may check out Tarptent. A little more than you're looking to spend but really high quality and lightweight. Also there are a lot of places to buy second hand tents online. Various Facebook groups. I've been buying things on Backpacking light for years. I have also bought on the Whiteblaze forum before as well. You can get some really good deals for gear that is very near new.

*

Offline House Made of Dawn

  • www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2YJduDyFA4
  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2647
  • Backpacking since '78, Big Bend since '95.
Re: Tents for Backpacking
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2018, 09:52:03 PM »
BP56, your list of preferences is pretty clear and specific. The Mountainsmith tent checks all the boxes. I'm a tarptenter myself, though I do occasionally use a traditional tent for car-camping or backpacking trips with my family. The tent you're looking at is a bit heavier than I would like for a two-person tent, especially one that will probably be used by only one person most of the time. But the price is right. I've never used a Mountainsmith tent, so I can't comment on the build-quality, but I've used a few Mountainsmith packs during my life, and have always liked them.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

*

Offline backpacker56

  • Coyote
  • *
  • 165
Re: Tents for Backpacking
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2018, 08:56:49 AM »
Thanks for your replies.  As you may know from my trip reports on the GUMO forum, I use the Eureka at the drive-in campgrounds, and save my TarpTent MoTrail for going solo in the backcountry.  The last couple of times at Pine Spring Campground I've been unable to sleep well in the Eureka due to the flapping tent walls, finally bailed out and slept in sweet peace in the back of my car.

I like a tent you can sit up and turn around in, which helps when getting dressed or changing clothes, or when tentbound in bad weather.  I was surprised to hear from dprather, that he's (1) a big guy, (2) doesn't like feeling cramped, but (3) likes the Eureka Solitaire.  A tunnel tent 28" high x 32" wide!  I'm a smallish person, and was looking hard at the Solitaire some years ago, but it looked a little too cramped.  I almost bought the Eureka Spitfire, but eventually chose the TarpTent instead.

I know the highly respected Big Agnes brand, but didn't remember the Seedhouse.  I looked it up online, and it looks pretty nice, but how does it do in wind?  There seems a vast expanse of unsupported fabric on the sides.  Also pretty pricey, over $300 for the 2-man model.  I tend to gravitate to 2-man tents even when camping alone, just for the extra room.

So how much stability is gained by a full-coverage fly?  Maybe that's the problem with the Eureka Zephyr.  Maybe they compromised wind performance to get lighter weight, better ventilation, and lower price.  Maybe a rectangular dome with a full fly works well enough in the wind.
"Ah, sure, I'm a gnawed old bone now, but say, don't you guys think the spirit's gone!"

*

Offline Flash

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1857
Re: Tents for Backpacking
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2018, 11:23:10 AM »

I know the highly respected Big Agnes brand, but didn't remember the Seedhouse.  I looked it up online, and it looks pretty nice, but how does it do in wind?  There seems a vast expanse of unsupported fabric on the sides.  Also pretty pricey, over $300 for the 2-man model.  I tend to gravitate to 2-man tents even when camping alone, just for the extra room.


Does pretty well in the wind, but of course not as well as an alpine tent. Has guy-line lugs in the middle of each side panel that I seldom use, then one on either side of the door to stabilize the frame in windy conditions. I usually point the door downwind if I have a choice.  The 2-man size is plenty room for bed and all gear inside. Was able to pitch it in the rain one time without getting the inside too wet.  Use it for backpacking only. For car camping, it's either a Eureka Equidome 6 or a cheap Coleman 4-man tent, so I can use a full-sized cot.

*

Offline House Made of Dawn

  • www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2YJduDyFA4
  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2647
  • Backpacking since '78, Big Bend since '95.
Re: Tents for Backpacking
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2018, 11:57:32 AM »
As you may know from my trip reports on the GUMO forum, I use the Eureka at the drive-in campgrounds, and save my TarpTent MoTrail for going solo in the backcountry.

Rightee-oh. Iíd forgotten that.

As far as full-coverage flies cutting down on wind flap, that has been exactly my experience. Additional guy lines, if available, as on the Seedhouse, usually lock it down 100%. BTW - my brother also uses a Seedhouse, and he loves it.



Sent from my iPhone using Big Bend Chat
« Last Edit: October 20, 2018, 12:14:10 PM by House Made of Dawn »
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

*

Offline Keepa

  • Coyote
  • *
  • 123
Re: Tents for Backpacking
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2018, 01:01:49 PM »
There is no tent that will cover all scenarios. I have 5 tents (1 to 6 persons), each is used for different scenarios.

It comes down to what you want to use it for and how much you are willing to spend.

For car camping, go for the luxury space, and buy the cheapest good one, since weight is not an issue.

For overnight hiking, go for minimum weight. I use a ZPacks Duplex -- pricey, but worth it at 22 ounces. It's a 2 person tent, but for solo hiking, which is what I used it for, it is very roomy.

*

Offline Hang10er

  • Diamondback
  • *
  • 480
  • "Do what you want before it's too late"
Re: Tents for Backpacking
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2018, 02:15:38 PM »

Just my two cents, when you mentioned withstanding wind, I was impressed with my Half Dome Plus. 

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/general-outdoor-stuff-camping-equipment/rei-half-dome-plus-(2017)/msg162693/#msg162693

*

Offline House Made of Dawn

  • www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2YJduDyFA4
  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2647
  • Backpacking since '78, Big Bend since '95.
Re: Tents for Backpacking
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2018, 02:23:49 PM »

Just my two cents, when you mentioned withstanding wind, I was impressed with my Half Dome Plus. 

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/general-outdoor-stuff-camping-equipment/rei-half-dome-plus-(2017)/msg162693/#msg162693

Thatís a good tent. We have one for camping and backpacking with the kids. Itíll fit one adult and two kids in a pinch. Itís a palace for two adults and a Taj Mahal for a solo user, as long as you donít mind a little extra weight.


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

*

Offline GaryF

  • Coyote
  • *
  • 132
Re: Tents for Backpacking
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2018, 02:47:57 PM »
the Alps Mountaineering Extreme 2 is another good option in your price range. https://www.amazon.com/ALPS-Mountaineering-Extreme-Person-Tent/dp/B00BF3T8W2

I use the 3 person version as my campground tent, and the 3 pole design of these tents makes them pretty bombproof. Iíve weathered some pretty good windstorms in mine with just some minor flapping. This tent is kind of a surprise sleeper for a company like Alps, itís quality and performance seem on par with much more expensive options.

*

Offline Cookie

  • Diamondback
  • *
  • 363
  • "you never slow down, you never grow old" T.P.
Re: Tents for Backpacking
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2018, 06:16:14 PM »
the Alps Mountaineering Extreme 2 is another good option in your price range. https://www.amazon.com/ALPS-Mountaineering-Extreme-Person-Tent/dp/B00BF3T8W2

6 lbs 10 oz.    :banghead:
That's a LOT for one person to hump up a mountain. We have a Mountain Hardware (SkyLedge 3) that was discontinued but it has been awesome and only about 4 lbs total. Not bad when you can split the weight.

~Cookie

*

Offline backpacker56

  • Coyote
  • *
  • 165
Re: Tents for Backpacking
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2018, 08:49:07 AM »
Yes, extra durability will add weight and cost, no way around it.  The bomb-proof expedition or outfitter-grade tents are always a bit heavier. 

For years my standard tent was a 4-pole geodesic by Cabela's that weighed 6 or 7 pounds.  It was heavy, but sturdy and comfortable.  I bought the Eureka to cut back on weight and bulk, but as I've said, there were performance losses.  Most recently I bought the Tarptent Motrail.  It saves weight, but I'm not expecting great durability, and it's smaller, more expensive, and is a single-wall design, so condensation is more of a concern.  Still, it's a great choice for solo trips in the desert Southwest. 

As I've gotten older, pack weight has become more important, but a six- or seven-pound tent shared between two backpackers is not too heavy in my view, and for drive-in camping, weight doesn't matter.  I sort-of enjoy balancing these factors against one another in selecting gear, and finding a compromise that does what I want it to do.
"Ah, sure, I'm a gnawed old bone now, but say, don't you guys think the spirit's gone!"

*

Offline Kilo19

  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 14
Re: Tents for Backpacking
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2018, 11:19:43 AM »
This is what I use.

http://www.alpsmountaineering.com/products/tents/backpacking-tents/aries-2

Alps mountaineering Aries 2. I wanted a 2 person backpacking tent that was affordable and this fit the bill (got it on sale for  125.). It is on the heavy side, and at the moment (taken it out 3 times) that's the only drawback. It sets up quick and easy, has a full rain fly that is, in my opinion, a good construction. It fits 2 people with bags/pads pretty well, however these are two 150/160 pound people tall and thin. For just myself it does great, and have  plenty of room for my gear inside and with the vestibules has plenty for shoes or other things. The rain fly does a great job of keeping heat in cuz i took this tent in June and just left the rain fly off, and with the tight fulling netting i had a breeze with no bugs, was great. I'll be using this tent come thanksgiving for a couple days so it'll be the first cold weather trip with it. We'll see how the tent breathes with the rain fly on then. I have since gotten an alps mountaineering red tail 65l backpack. So far I like there gear, its not too terribly expensive, but seems to have good quality to it.
Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning, think what may be the end. Edward Whymper.

 


©COPYRIGHT NOTICE

All photographs and content posted by members are to be considered copyrighted by their respective owners and may not be used for any purposes, commercial or otherwise, without permission.

+-Calendar For Sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!

Powered by EzPortal

Facebook Comments