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  1. #1
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Looking to upgrade to a 2-person tent

    A spinoff thread from my camping ramble thread, in which my touring partner and I experience our camping deflowering.

    My tent was a Eureka Solitaire, a 1-person tent that was designed for bike touring. The tent is sized to fit one person (It's almost 3 feet wide by 8 feet long). While I think it's a very good tent, I'd prefer some more room. Based on camping experience, are any of these features useful and worth hauling and paying for? I suspect I can't find all of the features I'd like on this budget.
    • It was a rainy night, and getting in and out of the tent in the rain wasn't much fun. A small vestibule might be good for this, but is it worth hauling around?
    • A 3-season tent should work. I don't see myself camping in the snow.
    • Something large enough to keep at least some of my gear accesiblee inside the tent would be good. A small hanging shelf would be useful, for oft-accessed stuff - mostly the alarm clock and iPod.
    • Something I can sit up in! The solitaire starts to feel like a roomy coffin after a while.
    • I'd like to stay under $200 if I can manage it; is this realistic?
    • Freestanding


    Thanks! (I'm not asking to be spoonfed with specific models, just what features tend to be useful.)

    Note: I'm keeping this updated, edits are in italics.
    Last edited by neilfein; 04-29-08 at 07:41 AM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Freestanding is a big deal for me. On the TA camping under pavilions in city parks was nice since you can leave the fly off for good ventilation and not worry about rain. Since the surface is likely to be concrete it is nice to be able to skip the stakes.

    Good ventilation is a big plus too.

    Being able to sit up is nice.

  3. #3
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    A spinoff thread from my camping ramble thread, in which my touring partner and I experience our camping deflowering.

    My tent was a Eureka Solitaire, a 1-person tent that was designed for bike touring. The tent is sized to fit one person (It's almost 3 feet wide by 8 feet long). While I think it's a very good tent, I'd prefer some more room. Based on camping experience, are any of these features useful and worth hauling and paying for?
    • A larger tent for the next tour is on my short list. I have a few features in mind I'm going to look for. I suspect I can't find all of the features I'd like on this budget.
    • It was a rainy night, and getting in and out of the tent in the rain wasn't much fun. A small vestibule might be good for this, but is it worth hauling around?
    • A 3-season tent should work. I don't see myself camping in the snow.
    • Something large enough to keeop at least some of my gear accesiblee inside the tent would be good. A small hanging shelf would be useful, for oft-accessed stuff - mostly the alarm clock and iPod.
    • Something I can sit up in! The solitaire starts to feel like a roomy coffin after a while.
    • I'd like to stay under $150 if I can manage it; is this realistic?

    Thanks! (I'm not asking to be spoonfed with specific models, just what features tend to be useful.)
    The Columbia Lost Lake, which you've seen, is about 80 bucks, and allowed a fellow who stands 6'1" to sit up. It's a three season tent with a hanging gear loft - which I didn't use - and plenty of floor space. I kept all my gear, except the bike, in the tent.

  4. #4
    nun
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    You might want to look at these "tents". They have more space than your current tent and weigh less. The cost is in the $200 range.

    http://www.tarptent.com/products.html

  5. #5
    Senior Moment Member jagraham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    A spinoff thread from my camping ramble thread, in which my touring partner and I experience our camping deflowering.

    My tent was a Eureka Solitaire, a 1-person tent that was designed for bike touring. The tent is sized to fit one person (It's almost 3 feet wide by 8 feet long). While I think it's a very good tent, I'd prefer some more room. Based on camping experience, are any of these features useful and worth hauling and paying for?
    • A larger tent for the next tour is on my short list. I have a few features in mind I'm going to look for. I suspect I can't find all of the features I'd like on this budget.
    • It was a rainy night, and getting in and out of the tent in the rain wasn't much fun. A small vestibule might be good for this, but is it worth hauling around?
    • A 3-season tent should work. I don't see myself camping in the snow.
    • Something large enough to keeop at least some of my gear accesiblee inside the tent would be good. A small hanging shelf would be useful, for oft-accessed stuff - mostly the alarm clock and iPod.
    • Something I can sit up in! The solitaire starts to feel like a roomy coffin after a while.
    • I'd like to stay under $150 if I can manage it; is this realistic?

    Thanks! (I'm not asking to be spoonfed with specific models, just what features tend to be useful.)
    Useful = free-standing

    Staking out a tent is OK, but when you're camping on hard pack and rocky areas, you really don't want it to be *mandatory*. I'm sure you can find a free-standing model with all (or nearly all) of the features you're looking for within your budget.

    Something like this, maybe? http://www.rei.com/REI-Outlet/product/767268

  6. #6
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  7. #7
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    Been using the REI Half Dome 2HC for about a month with plenty of wet weather so far and it has been great. My favorite thing is how easy it is to set up and take down...easiest tent I've come across. Plenty of room for all of my gear and me, minus the bike.

  8. #8
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    Ahh, one place in the touring forum where I can be of some use, as camping on a budget with as light weight gear as is practical, is something I am quite experienced with. 2-man tents seem to come in 3 weight categories: 3-5lbs, 6-7 lbs, and 8+lbs.

    Like a bike, you have to pick two of the following three- light weight, cheap, and works well. I have had a cheap light weight tent, and it was crap. I have also a cheap ($85) but heavy tent (9 lbs was as light as I could get the last one) which worked well, but was not too "Backpacking" friendly. There is, however, a mid range- the middle weight, middle priced tent, that is of high quality. If you are going to be camping a lot, but can't get a high end tent, this is what I would recommend. By middle range price wise, I mean in the $150-$250 price range.

    My current tent is a Mountain Hardware Hammerhead 2, with a footprint. Including the footprint it weighs in at about 7 lbs. It is a free standing tent, which also has the option of just bringing the footprint, rain fly, poles and stakes for a much more lightweight (~3.5-4lbs) waterproof shelter (without a tent). What I really like about the hammerhead, is it has 2 largish vestibules which gives you a place to get out of wet clothes, shoes, etc.. before hopping in the tent, and plenty of storage space. It is a 3-season tent, but is probably heavy enough to do some light winter camping. Finally, it is a very solid/tough tent. My wife and I spent several nights in it, pretty exposed at 11,000' on the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton. We weathered a couple of nasty storms while we were up there, and the tent held up like a champ. The Hammerhead 2 is one of many tents in this middle price/weight category (it just happened to be one on sale when I was purchasing).

    One tip, if you are not in a big time crunch, is to look at the various camping outlet online stores (e.g.: Sierra Trading Post) as they get clearance tents in at great prices. I picked up my Hammerhead 2 a few years back for around $175.00 on STP (it is usually in the $250.00 range).

  9. #9
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    REI Quarter Dome UL - 2 doors, 2 small vestibules, plenty of room for all your panniers in side, under 4 pounds. I used it on my Australia tour, it has nice ventilation and is OK in the rain (no tent is really great in the rain). The zippers are a little delicate, so be gentle with them.

    http://www.rei.com/REI-Outlet/product/767268#prodSpecs

    I also really like my single-wall Eureka Zeus 2 (old style). Very fast and easy to set up. one door. Not as good ventilation, and if you put it away wet it gets wet inside (same w/all single wall tents).

    http://www.hiltonstentcity.com/library/eu-zeus.htm

    Either of these have enough room to sit up, change your clothes and have all your panniers inside with you. They can be used for 2 people, but the gear has to stay outside.
    ...

  10. #10
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    +1 on the REI quarter dome T2. I just put mine through a trial run and I'd give it 4/5 stars. It was light, very easy to put up and since I went with the 2 person version, had ample space inside for what little gear I did bring inside. The 4 side pockets inside were handy too - between them and the extra space a two person tent gives you, I could keep every thing inside if I wanted even if it was wet. (I left most of my gear outside like my helmet, shoes and other misc. stuff that the elements would not harm). It loses a star since (as you noted) the zipper seems a little fragile (but is is an ultralight so this may be the norm) and the two vestibules are small - you're not going to be able to undress in them (unless you're a munckin) nor would they help much keeping the weather out upon entering or exiting. Headroom was fine, I'm a shade under 6' and could change clothes just fine with only a bit of contortion needed. I did not need to sleep diagonal although if you're a good bit taller than 6' you would push the limit
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  11. #11
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Has anyone used the Kelty Gunnison 2.1? Two vestibules, freestanding, and a good size. $180.

    The REI half dome 2C is in the running. Best value for the money, I think.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    You're still not going to be able to do much de-clothing in those vestibules, they're stricly for stashing gear, but that tent looks fine (fein?), but as noted the extra room will allow you to sit in the door way with your bedding off to one side and take off your wet gear etc... so you'll be good.
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  13. #13
    It's as easy as riding a dannwilliams's Avatar
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    http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/st...Id=40000000226
    North face rock 22 at Campmor.com.
    A lot of tent deals there now. Experience says get double walled. If anything touches wall of single walled tent in rain water will seep through.
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  14. #14
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    I use a Kelty Gunnison 2 tent that has good room, vestible on two sides (it has two doors), and is under 5 pounds. I paid $120 for it, but I see it is more expensive this year. Similar tents, but with only 1 door, are these (note most under 5 pounds):

    Kelty Teton 2 $120
    http://www.rei.com/product/747994 (see reviews)
    http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/st...Id=40000000226

    Kelty Grand Mesa 2 $110
    http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/st...Id=40000000226

    Kelty Gunnison 2 (do search for prices, some can be found under $130--has two doors which is nice feature other tents here may not have)

    REI Sierra Dome 2 $100
    http://www.rei.com/REI-Outlet/product/750075

    REI Camp Done 2 $100
    http://www.rei.com/product/731378 (excellent reviews; no vestibule)

  15. #15
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the recommendations; I've narrowed it down to two tents, the REI Half Dome 2HC and the Kelty Gunnison 2.1.

    They're pretty close in terms of features. the Kelty is $11 more and a few ounces lighter, but the REI packs up a little bit smaller and the peak height is a touch higher. The REI has better visibility, an attic, and interior pockets, and I think these are optional on the Kelty.
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  16. #16
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    FWIW, I toured last summer with a trailer. My tent is a 3-4 man tent and it worked well, if a bit heavy. I use a Walmart tent I bought for just under $50.00 and it stood up well, even in heavy storms on the Upper Peninsula last Summer.

    Very easy set up, and a good tub type floor. Good ventilation and the fly can be either on the tent or off and it will free stand.

    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  17. #17
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Walmart tents are very good and hold up well. The only real difference is weight, Walmart tents do weigh a pound or two more.... Unless your hiking, that's nothing.

    Tom,
    How did the Schwinn 2 wheel trailer hold up during your tour?

  18. #18
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake View Post
    Walmart tents are very good and hold up well. The only real difference is weight, Walmart tents do weigh a pound or two more.... Unless your hiking, that's nothing.
    But are there Wal-mart tents in one or two person sizes? All the stores seem to carry are large tents designed for folks who use RVs.

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    The Half Dome is a great tent. Super sturdy and easy to set up, keeps the rain out very effectively. If I were buying a 2 man tent, I would get that one.

  20. #20
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake View Post
    Walmart tents are very good and hold up well. The only real difference is weight, Walmart tents do weigh a pound or two more.... Unless your hiking, that's nothing.
    I would disagree on how much a few pounds matters. If crossing mountains, it matters a great deal. On the Trans America last summer several times we sent stuff home that we weren't using. I offloaded between 1 and 4 pounds on these occasions consisting of either things I decided we didn't need or things that were needed on a different part of the trip but were no longer needed (like cold weather gear after we were out of the Rockies). In every case the difference was VERY noticeable. Every pound you can eliminate without breaking the bank is worth it.

  21. #21
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    I packed my tent and my thermarest pad into the tent stuff sack and there was still room for a footprint or extra tarp if one wanted. It made the whole package easier to handle and bungee to the top of my rack as one single unit. I bet if I went with a compression sack I could of squashed it down even further. I don't see what harm it could do to the tent. I think the only real limiter in pack size is the tent poles themselves which in my case were on the short side - I packed them separately anyway so it was moot.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    Another vote for the half dome. Not only is it an excellent tent, it's backed-up by REI. They're great if you have any problems, even if it's 10 years old. My half dome stayed perfectly dry when a 3" lake formed around it in West Texas one night. I appreciate the two doors and vestibules--room enough for my BoB trailer in one of the vestibules. It's also great in dry weather with lots of screening and great ventilation. It goes up fast, about 3 minutes, and packs down easily. If you can wait for the annual discount, or new member discount, it's even cheaper. I like my half dome!!

  23. #23
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    Speaking from direct experience, I concur. An attitude of "its only a pound or so more" will get you into trouble if applied too liberally when hills are in the mix. On a reasonably flat tour like what the two Neils are planning, it probably is not a big deal.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freemti View Post
    Speaking from direct experience, I concur. An attitude of "its only a pound or so more" will get you into trouble if applied too liberally when hills are in the mix. On a reasonably flat tour like what the two Neils are planning, it probably is not a big deal.
    I'd say weight is a factor; I do a bit of touring in northwestern NJ and Checter county, PA, and the hills are pretty epic there.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Skyler_WA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    The REI half dome 2C is in the running. Best value for the money, I think.
    The "value for the money" on the REI Half Dome 2 HC gets even better on Friday...

    I just got my REI Anniversary Sale (May 2-11, 2008) catalog in the mail yesterday. It's at home right now, but I'm 95% positive that the tent inside the front cover was the Half Dome 2 HC and it's going to be on sale for $109 (maybe $119). Also, you can see the Half Dome 2 HC listed on their "Anniversary Sale Preview" web page, but the sale price won't be revealed on the web site until 5/2:
    REI Anniversary Sale preview

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