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  1. #1
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    Free standing vs. non free standing tents

    I know the difference but would like to know how many times a free standing tent has been necessary for you. I have both but my non free standing tent is much lighter and I am leaning towards this tent for a two month trip. Convince me otherwise.

  2. #2
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    I personally like non-freestanding tents for unsupported touring. They are dramatically lighter and unless you need a lot of room and quick-setup, I would receommend them over freestanding. For fully supported touring, I would pick my freestanding tent.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  3. #3
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    With a good set of stakes, there's very few cases where you need to have a freestanding tent. And even freestanding tents should be staked down in windy conditions.

    Most tents come with soft aluminum stakes that bend easily in compacted or rocky soil. A good outdoor store will have replacement stakes that are much stiffer and durable.

  4. #4
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    With a good set of stakes, there's very few cases where you need to have a freestanding tent. And even freestanding tents should be staked down in windy conditions.

    Most tents come with soft aluminum stakes that bend easily in compacted or rocky soil. A good outdoor store will have replacement stakes that are much stiffer and durable.
    I don't think the issue between freestanding and non-freestanding is one of staking. As you've said, all tents should be staked. I do so regardless of wind condition. However, freestanding tents do generally offer more room but they're also heavier. Also, they are (at least for me) quicker to set up.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  5. #5
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    one little advantage for the free-standing tents. If you happen to be able to pitch your tent under a pavalion that has a concrete or paved base, you can set up the tent without any problems.

  6. #6
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supertick
    how many times a free standing tent has been necessary for you.
    Never.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  7. #7
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    Freestanding for me, and I have had quite a few occasions when it has repaid itself with rocky ground or concrete pad. Plus the additional space inside for gear is a major plus. What weight difference are we talking about? The difference between my freestanding and non-freestanding is in footprint area, one aluminium tent pole and maybe four alloy pegs (which have been very durable).
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  8. #8
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan
    What weight difference are we talking about?
    Maybe I just have really cheap freestanding tents or maybe they've come out with newer lighter weight ones but my freestanding tent weighs around 2-3 lbs more than my non-freestanding one.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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    I have put lines on the corners of my non-freestanding tent so I can tie off to posts/ and tables when I need to set up on some sort of a platform and can't use stakes.

  10. #10
    jon bon stovie
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    i am under the impression that while you should still stake down a freestanding tent, you must ALWAYS stake down a non-freestanding. something to keep in mind should you forget a stake or two at last night's campground.

    i'd go for the free standing. some light ones are out there that offer a fair amount of room, should you decide to wait out bad weather in your tent. checkout the big agnes seedhouse sl1, or the sl2 for two people.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    Put me down for another vote for freestanding. I think much depends on the tent you purchase regarding weight or bulk. I have a 10 year old Eureka Skylite (a.k.a. Hobbit??) which offers reasonable ventilation, light weight, small pack size and is free standing. And yes, I've used the tent without stakes and I find that to be an advantage -not just in terms of putting it up inside a building or on a stake proof base, but also in terms of the speed of putting it together and having somewhere to thrown the gear in very quickly. This can be a great advantage in mosquito infested areas.

    That's not to say non-free standing tents are bad (very very very few occasions where I didn't need to put in stakes, but as I said, there are more advantages than that). Your own personal choice I guess.

  12. #12
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    On another note. Has anyone used the Topeak Bikamper? It uses the bike frame and front wheel to support the tent structure at either end. This makes for a really light tent that folds over very compactly.

    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  13. #13
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    That Topeak tent is the worse thing money can buy.

    Supertick isn't looking for a new tent. S/he's just wondering which one to take. A freestanding tent is handy but for a two month trip, I'd choose the lighter alternative. When I face a platform with a non-freestanding tent, I just pitch beside it.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  14. #14
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erick L
    That Topeak tent is the worse thing money can buy.
    Why? I'm just curious as it looks to be an interesting approach. The biggest problem I'd see with it is that you can't pitch base camp and then go off riding since your bike is part of the tent.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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    The other side of this argument is the whole tent vs. hammock thing. A hammock requires really specific pitching conditions even compared to a non-freestanding tent, and yet they seem to get more popular every day. Goes to show it's all hype. As others have mentioned the freestanding tents are great shelters, like the old oval intention you could lean against.

    Carry a few anchors as well as the pegs, anchors will hold well were pegs are terrible. The one I have are made out of wire, imagine a 4" coat hanger where the hook and twist section is cut off leaving a triangle, and one side is cut off leaving just enough bend to hold your line. The long end anchors in the soil. Google the Black Diamond Spectre to get an idea of what is required, though at 35 bucks each, it isn't happening at my end.

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    I think it is mostly an identity product where the tent just yells "bike tourist", it isn't "their" tent, it's our tent.

    That's the main problem with the Topeak, the linking your bike to the site thing, however that is generally how I tent anyway, I drive till after dark then set up and crash, no disco for me.

    Also you may have to choose how you get your bike security, what if the best place to tent isn't near something to lock your bike to.

    There is the whole, I drove my bike through bear poop to get to this site, do I really want to smear it all over my tent in some other bear's territory, or at all.

    Is there a stealth colour? I can't think of a good reason for this thing being yellow unless I set it up on the road.

    Also wonder how it works with road bars and lowrider racks.

    My current bike tent is an MSR, and it's 20 inches long. I like the size this Topeak tent packs to just for cleaning up the carry options. I also like the fact that Topeak is trying to be a touring company, most supliers, all the magazines, pretty much ignore us.

  17. #17
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    http://www.eurobike-exhibition.de/ht...iew/review.php

    seems to be an honorable mention.

    http://en.red-dot.org/282+M5f5a25b8eea.html

    Another award. Check out the wind powered bike lamp while you are there.

    "If Nicole Kidman had one in BMX Bandits, the movie wouldn't have flopped. "

    http://www.thecoolhunter.net/lifestyle/THE-BIKAMPER/

    I looked around a bit on the web, and couldn't find anyone who had actually used it. Would be interested if anyone has. Most people are just jumping on the obvious fact the bike is connected to the tent. That just isn't a problem for some. Things like the fact that you can't use it to hold your site apply to say bivy bags or hammocks, and anyway usually there is a registration system. This design seems to draw fire, whih isn't good for it's longevity.

    Worst point so far is that it costs as if it has poles but it doesn't. if they priced it more than a bivy less than a similar square foot of cloth tent, it would probably be worth it.

  18. #18
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khuon
    Why? I'm just curious as it looks to be an interesting approach. The biggest problem I'd see with it is that you can't pitch base camp and then go off riding since your bike is part of the tent.
    That's one pretty big problem right there. You can tell it's a bad tent on the first look. Good tents look like a cocoon from the outside. The Topeak looks like a sail. It will catch wind and throw the bike down, possibly on your head.

    It looks very akward to set-up. It must take a long time too. Does it work with 700c wheels? (apparently not) It needs more staking down than my non-freestanding tent. How do you keep the bike steady? Will I have to adjust the saddle's height for the tent? My bike can't be put like that without the front wheel because the fender gets in the way, even with the front rack on. It's also heavier and smaller than some one-person freestanding tents so there is really no point in buying it.

    I wouldn't put much faith in "design" and "bike" awards either. For tents, look at what backpackers use.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  19. #19
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    one more thing. If you plan on putting up a tent on the sand near a beach, a free standing tent is much better. Ordinary tent stakes don't work well in soft sand at all. I know because I remember pitching a non-free-standing tent on the Outer Banks of NC at Oregon Inlet and had to purchase deep stakes in order for my tent to stay in place.

    Still with a free-standing tent, there will be nights where putting down stakes will be required.

    I did my longest tour on a non-free-standing tent. The next real long one will be with a free standing tent and I'll accept the little bit of extra weight.

    Cheers

  20. #20
    Senior Member jurjan's Avatar
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    first my disclaimer: I have never actually USED a freestanding tent.

    my take on this is:
    i want some room in my tent to live in when it's bad weather.
    i want to have room for my panniers outside my inner tent.
    i want to be able to cook inside my tent when the weather is VERY bad

    these things are (in my personal opinion) very hard (read heavy) to accomplish in a
    freestanding tent.
    while they are easy in a 'simple', non-freestanding tent (like my hilleberg namatj gt).

    furthermore: even non-freestanding tents can often be staked with only a few (3, 4) stakes, or anchorpoints.

    as i said, just my personal opinion.

    have a nice day
    jurjan

  21. #21
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    to the OP;

    bring the lighter, non free standing tent. i assume it is a hoop type, like a clip flashlight or an MSR zoid, or a kelty lightyear or zen?

    leave the heavy tent at home.

    -recommend bringing a siliconized nylon tarp to make a living room space for when it is rainy out, and to pitch over the picnic table or bike cover for night- a 6x8 or 8x10 siltarp packs up to about the size of a large orange.

    and that topeak tent- HAHAHAHAHAHA. I pity the fool.........
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  22. #22
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    The difference of a pound or two will be completely irrelevant if touring by bike. If you were hiking, it would be a factor. You're not, so scratch pack weight off your list of reasons to take the non-free standing tent.

    Therefore, take the one that is more comfortable, which I'm guessing is the free-standing one.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    Which one can you get in faster when the mosquitos are swarming or the rain has turned to sleet or hail is another consideration.

  24. #24
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    I don't put any weight on the awards either, particularly when it appears they didn't win one of them.

    I think though that a lot of people are guessing about the design. For instance the website says it does work with 700c. Some of the other coment I saw by non-users where that it would get the tent dirty on the iside putting the tent up, while it actually looks like the wheel zips in from the outside (?). Someone else mentioned (and this worried me) that one would get greased up sliding past the bike, while it appears to be a side entry. Others complained it was just as easy to put it up with sticks, which if so go for it and tear up the town on those occasions where.

    I also worry about the seat height thing, since there isn't any way I am adjusting my seat every time I set up my tent, my seat position is way more important. On my current bike it's set up so that my low-riders support the front end when the wheel is off, so I wouldn't have a problem. That's enough fender to stop every drop of water.

    Anyway, so far, nobody seems to like this tent, so I think they are doomed on this side of the water.

    I don't agree about doing what the backpackers do. A different situation in many cases. I don't think the idea of a cycling specific tent is a bad one, or a new one. We used to sell them back in the early 80s.

  25. #25
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    The size of this is tent is small for the weight (3pounds, 9oz total). It only has a height of 72cm. You have to remove your front wheel, which for a lot of bikes means having to deflate it, especially a mountain bike. Then if your tire is wet, you've got a wet muddy wheel inside the tent. You've also got to drive the front forks into the ground. The fly doesn't even completely cover the tent, meaning it isn't great in a rainstorm with wind.

    You can buy a cheaper lighter tent with the same size with a lot less effort to put up. The tent I used when I toured is lighter than this thing. At the end of the day, you really don't want a tent that takes a lot to set up. You'll want a quick setup.

    Here is Kelty one person tent.http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/st...berId=12500226

    --

    And yes, like the above poster said you'll want a tent you can assemble really quick. In fact, it's a good idea to practice a few times putting it up and down. I got mine so well down, I can assemble it in the dark without a flashlight.

    It is the same weight as the biketent but gives you more sit up room and much easier to assemble and disassemble. It's also half the price and the fly completely covers the tent. It's not a standalone tent but real easy to rig.

    This link list a bunch of 1-man lightweight tents.
    http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/st...ategory_rn=250

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