Touring - Floorless Tents?
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Have any of you tried one of those floorless teepee-style single pole tents for bike touring? The thought of having enough room to bring your bike inside without adding much weight is nice, especially if you’re sleeping on the beach or something, but how do they hold up elsewhere? Do they keep bugs and rain out pretty well? Are they convenient enough to pitch and pack on a daily basis?
I have used a Chouinard Pyramid/Black Diamond Megamid for bike and kayak touring with good results for twenty years after modifying with detachable netting along the perimeter. The BD floor reportedly works well but is too heavy for me. I prefer to choose campsites with care for good drainage in the rain.
Quick and easy setup and take down. Small pack volume and weight and reasonable price. The silnylon version is even lighter. I have not used that one. I see that there is now a net with floor insert to handle bugs and ground water. Sounds like a good option.
A friend used one at my recommendation for his C2C bike tour in 2002 and was very pleased. He plans to use it for a pending bike tour around the world. His fear about bike theft is eased with the bike inside with him.
A Canadian friend uses his Mid as home while working in the oil fields in Alberta and then goes off for bike and kayak tours in his free time. He loves the Mid. He has been using them since the first prototypes were available in 1986 from Chouinard and Peter Metcalf the designer, and founder of Black Diamond.
When you pitch a tent over the ground without a floor, any bugs in the grass are trapped inside with you. This may or may not be a problem depending on where you are and the time of year.
i'll chime in with arctos on heartily endorsing the megamid, which i've been using for about 10 years. sometimes i use the floor and sometimes not. even with the floor, bug protection is not absolute, but the overall weight vs. space ratio, ventilation options, being able to cook inside without worrying about burning a whole in the floor, etc. more than make make up for it.
I bought a Chouinard Pyramid in about 1985, and switched to a Black Diamond Megamid in the late '90s. I've used them for trans-Sierra Nevada ski tours, backpacking/mountaineering trips, and a few bike tours. It's really nice to be able to sit upright and have all that headroom inside the tent, I've cooked inside them in bad weather (yes, I know, your not supposed to do that), and they have an awful lot of room inside for the small amount that they weigh. I usually bring a sheet of plastic to lay down as a ground cloth under my sleeping pad, just to keep my sleeping bag clean and dry. I've gone without the pole and hung the tent from a tree branch, which makes them seem a little more spacious inside.
You have to be careful where you pitch them, they pitch best on a perfectly flat area and if it rains it is important to be on a spot with good drainage.
If you pitch the tent close to the ground and zip it shut, the mosquitoes aren't smart enough to fly under the edge of the tent to get at you. When I camped at Wonder Lake in Denali National Park a long time ago, people told me the next morning that the cloud of mosquitoes over my tent was so thick you couldn't see through them. Not one mosquito got into the tent.
04-29-06, 10:02 PM
All this talk about floorless tents got me to pull the plug and order another floorless tent.
I've used tarp and floorless tents for over twenty years- I even made my own, single pole, modified tarp tent back in 1981 or something like that....I still use a Black diamond Betamid (a two pole tarptent)- extensively, since they first came out, and had a Moss Superfly as opposed to the Black Diamond Megamid.
I think floorless is great for bicycling and many other mountaineering pursuits.
This thread got me thinking about my shelters right now - a North Face Westwind, the classic, Antarctic survival-kit approved, sub 6 lb tunnel tent; a Black Diamond Lighthouse- a very nice, 3 & 1/4 pound EPIC canopied tent with a LOT of interior room for the weight; a Black Diamond Betamid - one kilogram; an Integral Designs Svarsky Guides' Silshelter - 12 ounces, very good for ski touring; and assorted silicone and camoflaged tarps and sundry -
so, I bit the bullet and ordered a brand new
GoLite Hex 3, a silnylon, floorless pyramid tent, in sage green for easier stealth camping, 2 pounds 10 ounces without any stakes. I'll add a few lightweight ones. Also has a bug insert available I didn't get.
I am hoping this is a good biking pyramid, will report once it goes out on a trip with me.
The floorless tent has advantages of course, but one does not suit me because of these reasons:
- it is difficult sometimes to pin carefully the edges of the tent. The ground may be too solid or too soft, grass may lift the edges as well;
- concern about snakes;
- a double wall tent is warmer at night and there is an option to take off the outer layer if it is too hot inside, but too much flying insects are outside;
- there are additional restrictions concerning a suitable spot to camp as well.
04-30-06, 06:08 AM
Sleeping with the bugs? Eck...no way.
05-17-06, 08:28 AM
photos of golite hex3....two pounds, 10 ounces. big enough for bike and biker. will add some netting to the perimeter. it has two roof vents with netting. plan on taking it out on a bike tour this upcoming weekend.
having used floorless tents for a couple of decades, i will confirm they work well in more places normal tents dont. snakes and major bug issues aside, i think they work great. for extended, cold season camping, a two wall tent is still preferable, but otherwise overrated.
floorless and bike camping, to keep bike inside tent with you, is a bonus worth considering. i usually lock bike to picnic table and cover with a tarp at least, but inside tent should be more secure.
05-17-06, 10:24 AM
If you camp in areas with lots of trees, you might like one of these. Lots of room underneath. They are very light and the quality is top shelf.
Most of our spots to camp look like this. My two person tent weighs 5.8 pounds.
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