Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Central Coast, CA
Bikes: Surly LHT, Specialized Rockhopper, Nashbar Touring (old), Specialized Stumpjumper (older), Nishiki Tourer (model unknown)
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I have similar problems, though I'm only 6'4". My first bike touring tent was an old Eureka Timberline that they used to sell in a larger size - the floor was 5' x 8'. It was great for one person and it didn't leak. However, it was also quite heavy, and I broke a lot of spokes on that first tour. I vowed to lighten my load.
My next tent was a Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight. It was very cramped. I could only sit up in one spot and when I lied on my back reading the top of my head was pushed up against the end of the tent. But it was much lighter. It also didn't have very good ventilation, which was a problem when I went in during the afternoon to hide out from mosquitoes. It was like a sauna bath. Finally, on my last tour, in a rainstorm, it leaked around my feet, and I decided it was time to look for something else.
My next tent was a Eureka Backcountry 1. This is 8' long so I can lie on my back with a bit of room to spare. It weighs about the same as the Clip Flashlight. The fly goes all the way to the ground so I think it won't leak. The ventilation is okay. However, it's extremely narrow. I like to read on my side in bed, and I discovered this was nearly impossible.
So I just bought another tent. It's an L. L. Bean Microlight 2-person. It's also 8' long. It's design is a lot like the Clip Flashlight, except that the tent body is all mesh. This should give it good ventilation when I'm hiding from mosquitoes, and keep the weight down (it weighs just an ounce or two more than the Clip Flashlight.) The fly comes down to the ground so I'm hoping it doesn't leak. It's wider so I think I'll be able to read on my side, and I'm hoping there will be room for my panniers under the end ("vestibule"). I haven't even set it up yet, so I have no practical experience. I'm hoping to take it for a spin on Memorial Day.
The Clip Flashlight and the L. L. Bean tent aren't freestanding. The Backcountry 1 is. In all my years of touring I've never needed a freestanding tent, but if you think you might, bear that in mind.
I've looked at the Spitfire 2 that someone else mentioned. If neither the Backcountry 1 or L. L. Bean Microlight 2 works for me, I may try the Spitfire next. (I'm always on a quest for the "perfect" setup.)