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  1. #1
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    Tent and panniers

    Hello,

    My husband and I went on a bike tour for the very first time a couple of weeks back. It was our very first camping experience too.

    We had rented a Tarn 2 (MEC brand, two person) tent. It was a bit on the small side for the two of us. One major problem we had was that we wanted to put our panniers inside the tent and there was no space in the Tarn 2 for that.

    So my question is, is it preferable to keep the panniers inside the tent or is it ok to leave them outside?

    Also, we are looking for a lightweight tent that doesn't make us feel claustrophobic..any suggestions?

    Cheers,
    Raji.

  2. #2
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    I prefer to keep all gear in the tent.Keep in mind when it says 2-person tent there are true two person tents and what are really 1 1/2 person tents with only room for 1 person and gear confortably.You probably want a large 2-person or small 3-person to comfortably hold 2-persons plus gear hopefully others will mention specific brands as I haven't been in that market myself.

  3. #3
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    tent companies smoke a bag of weed before deciding how many people can sleep in a tent. At least that's this guys opinion. There are a lot of good tents on the market. There are too many variables to just say....get this tent. Here are some things to look for....
    1)claims to sleep 3 or 4 (best to find out the area, make sure there's a little extra space, first rainy night you'll thank me)
    2)Find out how hard it is to set up. This doesn't sound important until it's dark, raining, and you haven't eaten in hours.You're cold, hungy, and you're fingers won't work right. Then it becomes the most important thing in the world.
    3)Quality of construction. Some tents will survive a hurricane, others will up and die if you look at them the wrong way.
    4)Weight- why does less always cost more?
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

  4. #4
    Gordon P
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    Yes keep you panniers inside with you, but with no food (be aware of bears).
    Try the Tarn 3 it is 1 sq. metre bigger and weighs 700 grams more or find a tent that has two vestibules.

  5. #5
    extra-t Resident's Avatar
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    We use a North Face Nebula. It's on the expensive side ($450 Cdn), but well worth it.
    It is designed as a 4-season, 2-person tent. What makes it valuable are two doors and two vestibules! We store our panniers in there no problem. If it's raining, we can cook in the larger of the vestibules.
    If you're camping regularly, or doing some long tours, don't hesitate to pay a bit more. The conveniences are worth it!
    Taking photos of your lovely planet...

  6. #6
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    i have a Sierra Designs Clip CD Flashlight (about 4 years old but i think they still make it). it's called a "2 man" but that's pushing it.

    i've used it solo and it's great and i can fit all my gear inside.

    but for 2 people (i've toured short 2-4 day trips with 2 different no ex-girlfriends) it's on the small side --- and most of the gear has to either go down by your feet or in the vestibule. and i must say i would not share the tent with another guy - it's just too small!

    although the vestibule is decent sized so i have always been able to fit all my gear there for safety and rain protection.

    so it comes down to a question of weight or comfort. for my short trips my tent is fine (i should also note 2 summers ago we camped next to a river and woke up in like a waterbed with 4 inches of water outside the tent and we and all the gear inside the tent stayed dry! although i had one of my drybags not fulled sealed out in the vestibule that leaked water b/c i wasn't expecting a flood)...

    if i were touring for a week or more i might get really sick of being crammed in the little tent -- it's so small that when you want to change clothes in the tent, one person pretty much has to get out to give the other some elbow room - literally.

    IF you leave the panniers outside then you have to really secure them fro theft which could be difficult to do. i would recommend inside the tent or in the vestibule.

    oh, and i agree with late: tent companies seem to have no standard on what a 2-man or 3-man tent means and i've seen 2-man tents with more room than other 3-man tents. a 2-man means that two 5'10", 165lbs people CAN fit somehow into the tent. now if they have any room or someone a little larger will also fit, is unknown...
    why drive when you can ride?
    now a fully certified German MTB Guide! (DAV)

  7. #7
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    Apart from floor space for storing stuff, you should also consider the headroom needed to change clothes comfortably.

  8. #8
    Gordon P
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    I always forget to mention that green is a good colour for a tent if you plan on doing any stealth camping. I have had a couple of people stop their cars and come over to investigate my tent while I was in it! I am sure they had evil intentions.
    In regards to floor space, most tent manufactures should have this measurement available in their products information sheet and if they don’t, the tent is not for serious use. Ventilation is also a big concern for those who live in wet places. I would continue to rent a few different models until you find the one that is suitable for you and your husband. More money means more features and I would pay the price for a good if not a great tent.

    I was just on the MEC website and the heaps of info on tents at:
    http://www.mec.ca/Main/articles_main...x1m0aai2OoP2jI!-1169910205!170918944!2003!7002?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=645179&bmUID=1052241873698
    Last edited by Gordon P; 05-06-03 at 11:29 AM.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all your suggestions. I was looking around in the web yesterday and found something called "Asteroid CD" by Sierra Designs. It has a floor space of 40 sq ft, a 10 sq ft vestibule and weighs only around 4 lbs...Here are some details about this tent.

    http://www.sierradesigns.com/cgi-bin...f=tent_show_03

    It looked like a good option except for two things:

    1) There is only one tent pole, so my husband fears that it might not do well in heavy winds.

    2) The way it has been shown in the picture, the door is parallel to our bodies when we lie down in the tent. This means that the person sleeping farther from the tent door can't get out of the tent at night without waking up the other one.

    I am just wondering if anyone has had any experience with this particular tent or the scenarios I have described....Once again, thanks for all your input..We were originally thinking about getting the Clip Flashlight, but after what nathank has said, that is out..

    Cheers,
    Raji.

  10. #10
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    I am a big fan of Sierra Designs tents. I think they offer a-lot of tent at a fairly reasonable price. While I'm not familiar with that particular model, I think the reservations you express about it are right on the mark.

    I have the Orion AST which I like alot so far (just got it last summer). But I haven't used it enough to offer any detailed opinions. It costs only a little more than the Asteroid.

    I recommend (as another poster did) that you continue renting a variety of quality tents. That way, you will learn what features and design elements you like and dislike. You may also find a particular model that you want to purchase.

  11. #11
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    i could be wrong, but for some reason i think Sierra Designs may also make a 3-man version of the Clip CD Flashlight... of course it would weigh a little more, but probably worht looking.

    otherwise it's a great tent for pretty much everything but super-hot desert camping or brutal winds (then i take my 4-season dome tent but it weighs twice as much)
    why drive when you can ride?
    now a fully certified German MTB Guide! (DAV)

  12. #12
    Junior Member pets_or_meat's Avatar
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    Check out the REI Half Dome +2

    It got a great review in Backpacker Magazine

  13. #13
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    Rain, animals, and theft are good reasons to keep your panniers inside your tent at night.

    If you're going to be doing any extended touring at all, I wouldn't skimp on the tent. Be willing to spend for adequate room for 2-- a backpacking tent advertised as 3-person is probably the minimum if you're going to keep gear inside.

    Newer, hemispheric tents are a nice design. Most are free-standing, and easy to set up. A separate fly is a nice thing. You don't need it in the warm weather. In the rain you have extra protection and a vestibule.

    If you're using the tent for bike touring or car camping, as opposed to backpacking, you don't have to keep as close an eye on weight.

    One thing I love about my Arkel panniers, by the way, is the sleeve for the tent poles and the air mattress. Tent, poles, mattress, and everything else can travel completely enclosed.

    I have had a couple of people stop their cars and come over to investigate my tent while I was in it! I am sure they had evil intentions.

    Yikes. I hate that sort of thing.

  14. #14
    Super Biker Mtn Mike's Avatar
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    I have to give another vote to Sierra Design tents. I have a SD 3 man tent, (I forget the model). It comfortable sleeps 2 people, with extra room for gear. If you go to a good outdoor store you'll find tents that are set up as demos and also plaques set up that give the demensions and a "floor plan" of the tent. I am 6'2'' and I looked long and hard at tent designs that didn't leave my feet or head hitting the walls. Also try looking at websites such as http://www.outdoorreview.com/defaultcrx.aspx for reviews.

  15. #15
    Jungle Explorer
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    When shopping for a tent or any other kind of campsite gear, you may find it useful to ask yourself the following question:

    "Is bike touring about riding or sitting in camp?"

    Different folks will have different answers. Some will gladly spin harder all day with more weight on their ride so they can have a comfortable few hours in camp. At the other end of the spectrum, the minimalist will enjoy less weight on his ride for a little less comfort at the end of the day.

    Personally, I do my best to blend the two and make sacrifices to each side of the argument where they count.

    As for tents, I converted to a single-man with a large vestibule some time ago because I sleep so much better alone. There are plenty of choices out there that are light and small (check out www.campmor.com, www.rei.com, www.mec.ca, etc.). I don't find it necessary to keep all my gear inside the tent with me, but I am a fan of big vestibules so everything is sheltered and close by.

    ALWAYS HANG YOUR FOOD! I've never had problems with bears, despite camping in places where there are lots of 'em. You still need to be diligent about protecting your food from chipmunks (aka "microbears"), mice, raccoons, crows (remember that big black bird you saw on the way to camp pecking away at roadkill?), etc.

    The first sleeping bag I bought as a new backpacker was constructed with synthetic insulation because it supposedly would still insulate when soaked. When this bag wore out after five years of heavy use and I realized it never once got wet, I instead bought a down bag as a replacement and have never been happier. It insulates better, it compresses better, and is lots lighter.

    Good luck and have fun!

    B.
    Light, cheap, strong; pick any two.

  16. #16
    Cycle Harlot arijane's Avatar
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    i got a SD clip flashlight 3, and will tour with it solo. this summer, it will be my home away from home, my writer's shack, and the place i spend my evenings. i think that the larger size will more than make up for any additional weight, especially since it is still under five pounds. not bad for a house. the thing sets up easily and blends in to its surroundings very nicely and is reputed to be very very sturdy in inclement weather.

    btw, is there anyone else who agrees that down bags are the way to go?
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. ~Christopher Morley

  17. #17
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    Hi all!

    Thanks again for your comments. We went to a tent store last evening...We saw a few tents and liked only some of them....These are the tents that we considered:

    1) Eureka Zeus 2 and 3 - They are good, light-weight and roomy (esp the 3 person one)..But they are single-walled tents..We read somewhere that single-walled tents don't perform well in bad weather.

    2) Eureka mountain pass - It is a bit heavy..about 7 lbs. But I guess that is not too bad.

    3) Eureka Moonshadow - Perfect in terms of weight, room, weather-proofness etc..but is not freestanding.

    4) Kelty Cyclone - A VERY good tent, except for the price.

    5) North Trail - This is from a Canadian company. It was at a good price (159 CAnadian $). Very spacious (36 sq ft with 19 sq ft vestibule), weighed 4 lbs, freestanding and double-walled. Seemed like the perfect fit for us...until the store guy told us that the poles were not as good-quality as the other ones...although there is warranty on them. Too bad!

    6) "Rock 22" from North Face...It seems pretty good too. We have to investigate the web and see if there is some place where we can get it for cheaper. Any comments on this tent would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Raji.

  18. #18
    Jungle Explorer
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    In my experience, you get what you pay for in this industry (backcountry equipment, that is). Eureka! makes very nice and affordable tents (I own two) and TNF is top-notch, "bomber" equipment.

    Single-wall tents are made for mountaineering where the air is dry and the desire to carry less weight is high. These tents are notorious for condensation problems in other climates. If you're cycling in the desert or at high altitudes (> 5,000'), single-wall tents would be fine. In the Great Lakes (where I live) and the Pacific Northwest, however, you will create your own weather systems inside one of these.

    My suggestion would be to look for something double-walled and spec'd for three seasons (four season tents are bomber but are heavy and overkill for what it sounds like you are trying to accomplish) with a bathtub-style floor. Several posters have mentioned Sierra Designs tents, particularly the Clip Flashlight 3D; in my opinion, this would be an excellent balance between light weight, good workmanship/reputation, and cost.

    Check any potential tent for workmanship in the area of seam sealing/seam taping. Quality tents will already have factory-taped seams; lesser tents will forgo this "service" and leave it up to the buyer to seal himself/herself.

    Finally, get a ground sheet and use it! This will extend the life of your tent floor immensely and in some cases, is the only way to validate the warranty on the waterproofness of your tent. Most tent makers will offer a ground sheet for ~$25-$30, but I've found a material called Tyvek to be the best option. Tyvek is a vapor barrier material used in residential/commercial building; it's lightweight, waterproof, strong and can be custom-cut to the footprint of your tent. Stop by any construction site with a six pack and I'm sure you can pick up a 5'X8' sheet without any problems.

    And make sure you set up your new tent a few times before you really need to--erecting a tent for the first time during a downpour has been known to be hazardous to a relationship!

    B.
    Light, cheap, strong; pick any two.

  19. #19
    Jungle Explorer
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    I forgot to address your comment about free-standing tents; realize that this only applies to the tent body. Unless you're not expecting rain, you still need to stake out the rainfly on these tents in order for it to be effective. In areas where the soil is shallow or no-existent (e.g., the Canadian Sheild), you can easily overcome this by using piles of rocks instead of stakes.
    Light, cheap, strong; pick any two.

  20. #20
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    Hey Braumeister,

    Appreciate your suggestions....Regarding the Clip Flashlight tent, isn't that a non-freestanding one? I thought that I must go for a freestanding tent. Is this not an important feature to look for?

    Thanks,
    Raji.

  21. #21
    Jungle Explorer
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    I've been backpacking for years and have found the most helpful attribute of a free-standing tent is the ability to raise it above your head upside down to shake all the dirt out of it. Otherwise, it's not any better than a non free-standing tent, IMHO.

    Since I saw somebody's free-standing tent tumbling down the side of Mt. Rainier full of their sleeping bags & equipment, I always stake down my tents, free-standing or not. And as I said in a previous post, you still need to stake down the rainfly on a free-standing tent.
    Light, cheap, strong; pick any two.

  22. #22
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    You don't have to stake the tent fly on many tents (the fly clips where the poles attach) but it will be saggy and reduce its effectiveness considerably. A free-standing tent is much easier to pitch. It's also easier to clean by turning it upside down and shaking it. Free-standing tents are heavier though.

    I also have a clip-flashlight and some other Sierra-Designs stuff and their products are top-notch. They have a new light free-standing tent this year. Click here to see it. I'm sure it'll be a winner.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  23. #23
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Oops! I posted at the same time as Braumeister.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  24. #24
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    On my freestanding tent the rainfly attaches to the pole ends and if you keep gear in the tent its not likely to blow away.Keep in mind you can stake a freestanding the benefit is the range of choices where you can set the tent up and this depeds on some degree the type of camping you will be doing.I sometimes set the tent up on concrete etc. where nonfreestanding is not an option plus I just don't like staking a tent.I suggest you take lates advise and set up any tent your seriously considering a good shop will encourage this.

  25. #25
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    i have a 4-season freestanding dome tent (REI Geodome) as well as a sierra desings Clip CD Flashlight 2man.

    yes, the free-standing is nice in that you can set up the tent and then move it around or lift in up and shake all the dirt out as someone said.

    BUT generally a free-standing will weigh more, so for cycling i find it no problem. i have often had to use rock piles or whatever where i could not stake my SD, but not a big deal.

    as for the double-wall - if you're in BC definitely get one.

    and as a mountaineer i have also seen tents blow down the mountain before! so a free-standing should be staked if you leave it for any length of time (especially in high mountain environments with strong wind potential - maybe not so critical for cycling)
    why drive when you can ride?
    now a fully certified German MTB Guide! (DAV)

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