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Old 01-19-09, 05:46 PM   #1
5kdad
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Tent Size for Tour Camping?

I've done a couple tours, but only took a tent and camped out once. Planning to do more tour camping this summer.
Have been looking at tents for one person, but then I had a thought. Do I need a larger, 2 person tent, so as to give me more room to keep my pannier's inside at night?
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Old 01-19-09, 06:09 PM   #2
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I was thinking the same thing last year.
I bought a Columbia Frosty Ridge II which is listed as a two man but is really a one man.
It gives me the extra space I need for gear, shoes ect. It was on sale for $90.
I was out in very heavy rain and wind and the tent performed beautifully.
http://www.buy.com/prod/columbia-fro...204542659.html

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Old 01-19-09, 06:11 PM   #3
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No one answer to that one. I am fine with relatively tight quarters. My panniers stay loaded and on the bike. Only my handlebar bag (with my valuables and electronics), sleeping bag and pad, pillow, maybe a book, and clothes for the next day.

Some people feel the need to have more space and to take their panniers inside. You need to decide what works for you.
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Old 01-19-09, 06:18 PM   #4
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A tent with a vestibule is handy for storing your panniers, that way you do not have to get the tent dirty or risk food smells inside your tent. I guess it is a personal preference. Two of us tour in a two person tent, the Big Agnes emerald mountain, and it is tight, but not crowded. There is still enough room for the things we want to bring inside the tent (same as staehpj1 more or less).
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Old 01-19-09, 06:20 PM   #5
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Ignore what the label says. Buy enough room, and add a little extra.
When you have to spend a day in it; thank me.

You want a 2 man tent, and a 3 man tent would be a good idea. You may not always be alone.
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Old 01-19-09, 06:29 PM   #6
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Just a bit more...
A lot depends on how much time you spend in the tent. If I am in the tent I am probably sleeping. I like to be able to sit up, but it isn't a necessity. If you like to lounge around in the tent or move around much you will appreciate the space.

For 3 of us we used a 4 person tent on a long tour (73 day) and were pretty happy with the amount of space. A bit less would have been OK. I would be fine with something just a bit bigger than a bivy if it is just me. The extra weight is a bigger factor than the space is for me. You may be the opposite.
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Old 01-19-09, 06:29 PM   #7
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I borrowed a tent for one tour last summer. It was the kind that sloped down to where you would place your feet. It was not fun at all. Very cramped and I was glad to have tried it, so now I know better.

I then used a two person tent and toured with a person. We were cramped and for a couple of nights it was ok.

This winter I bought a two person tent with a vestibule and intend on only using it by myself. It is tall enough to sit up straight and actually dress my torso. It also has two doors to crawl out of.
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Old 01-19-09, 06:42 PM   #8
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enough said

http://www.msrgear.com/tents/hubba.asp

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Old 01-19-09, 06:54 PM   #9
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My wife and I have a 3 person tent, but I'd sure hate to sleep in it with 2 other full sized adults!
Here's one I've been looking at, says it's a 1+ tent:
http://www.tarptent.com/contrail.html
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Old 01-19-09, 07:19 PM   #10
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I have one of these and also a two person hubba hubba. I originally intended to do my six month ride across EuraAsia with a two person hubba hubba and am embarrassed to say I didn't set up the tent before leaving and hence was surprised to find what I thought was a two-person tent was actually a one person tent.

Here are the pro/con I found for this particular tent:
- There is a bit of a vestibule on each side, so it is possible to duck four panniers under each side to
keep them out of the rain.
- It is nice and tall. I'm 6' 4.5" and it was nice to be able to sit up. The floor of the tent was basically
the same size as my thermarest so there wasn't much room for anything else when I was lying down.
- One of the poles started splitting after three months of camping on the road. There was an extra
sleeve and some duct tape kept it working for end of the trip.
- It is not the best tent for staying out of swarms of flying and biting insects for six weeks on the
West Siberian Plain. For most of that time, it wasn't tolerable to be outside for long when stopped
for the day. When spending 12-14 hours per day in the tent, it is useful to be able to bring your panniers inside.
(When we stopped for the day in June/July, we would typically suit up in rain gear and mesh like this:
http://www.bikerussia.com/photos?pat...f=IMG_0780.jpg and then set up our tents as quickly
as possible before ducking inside for rest of the day). Similarly the following morning, we'd try to get
our tents packed as quickly as possible in futile attempts to escape the biting insects.
I accidentally ripped part of the screen in one of those frustrating moments of trying to temporarily
quickly get panniers inside while also battling an infestation of ants. Duct tape helped there as well.
- It is pretty light to carry.

When my brother came and joined us for a little over a week, he brought out a hubba hubba. There were two
of us sleeping in that one tent and it was a bit tight, though fortunately we were past regions with worst
infestations of biting insects and hence only moderate mosquitos. After my brother left, I had the larger
hubba hubba tent to myself. That was a nice change.

So on a following long expedition, particularly where I might be in the tent for extended periods, I'll bring a two person tent, but for shorter trips, the hubba is a reasonable shelter.
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Old 01-19-09, 07:28 PM   #11
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I use a two person REI half - dome. It is spacious, easy to set up, relatively inexpensive and weighs in at a tad over 6lbs with ground sheet and a few additional pegs. If I had the funds I would go for one of the UL Big Agnes offering or a Hubba-Hubba.
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Old 01-19-09, 07:48 PM   #12
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As others have said, it's really a personal preference. Having used both solo and 2-man (translated to "one man with a small bit of extra room") I much prefer the 2 man. Solos are too claustrophobic and when you're holed up with a book in nasty weather, it's nice to be able to sit up and move. The extra pound or so is quite well worth it.
Get one with a vestibule for your stinky shoes, socks and panniers (the ones your not using for a pillow).
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Old 01-19-09, 07:52 PM   #13
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2 man tent is really a one man tent.

3 man tent is really a two man tent.

1 man tent is really a one child tent.

YMMV.

I use a two man tent for bicycling solo, a three man tent for solo camping on my motorcycle (where weight and packing size is not a constraint).
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Old 01-19-09, 07:57 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by 5kdad View Post
My wife and I have a 3 person tent, but I'd sure hate to sleep in it with 2 other full sized adults!
Here's one I've been looking at, says it's a 1+ tent:
http://www.tarptent.com/contrail.html
From what I've read around here the consensus is that the contrail is an excellent tent. Its the tent I'm planning on buying.
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Old 01-19-09, 08:10 PM   #15
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+1

Great post, sums it up nicely. I have a 2 man tent (packs to 18x6, 34 square feet, about 4lbs), I would never want a one man tent (at least the ones that are generally classified as such). The extra space means being able to have your panniers and bags in your tent, space to properly stretch out and a little extra sanity for times when you are might be confined to your tent or have visitor.

Horses for courses; but I can't see myself ever going with a one man tent.......

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2 man tent is really a one man tent.

3 man tent is really a two man tent.

1 man tent is really a one child tent.

YMMV.

I use a two man tent for bicycling solo, a three man tent for solo camping on my motorcycle (where weight and packing size is not a constraint).
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Old 01-19-09, 08:27 PM   #16
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I've got one tent that's about 5'x7' and tapered. It's theoretically a 2-man tent, but best for 1 person. The vestibule is not big enough to store any gear.

I've got one tent that's about 5'x7' and rectangular, with door and vestibule on each side. It will actually work for 2 people, since the vestibule is big enough for all your junk.

I've got a 1-man tent that is very compact. Main drawback to it is that it's low enough that you can't sit up in it, making it very hard to change clothes. Especially if you're very tired and having muscle cramp problems.

Part of it depends on your organization. My backpack is a non-frame pack with one big compartment, which involves dumping everything out to get to the sleeping bag at the bottom. A roomy tent is helpful there.
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Old 01-19-09, 08:40 PM   #17
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Sounds like maybe I should be looking at the "Rainbow" model, instead of "Contrail":
http://www.tarptent.com/rainbow.html
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Old 01-19-09, 08:40 PM   #18
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I replaced my ancient 6 lb Eureka 2 man tent with a Agnes Seedhouse 1 last summer. Rated as a 1 man tent, it is roughly 3'4"x7' x3' tall inside and is pretty roomy for one person. I would call it a 1.5 man size.
It is also 3 lbs lighter than my old tent.

First time I used it was on a kayak tour through Maine's Allagash Wilderness Waterway. The old joke in Maine is that the state bird is the mosquito. When not in the boat I was in the tent and the tent easily held me and two dry bags with room enough to cook in the vestibule.

I haven't used it on a bike tour yet.
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Old 01-19-09, 08:48 PM   #19
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I replaced my ancient 6 lb Eureka 2 man tent with a Agnes Seedhouse 1 last summer. Rated as a 1 man tent, it is roughly 3'4"x7' x3' tall inside and is pretty roomy for one person. I would call it a 1.5 man size.
It is also 3 lbs lighter than my old tent.

First time I used it was on a kayak tour through Maine's Allagash Wilderness Waterway. The old joke in Maine is that the state bird is the mosquito. When not in the boat I was in the tent and the tent easily held me and two dry bags with room enough to cook in the vestibule.

I haven't used it on a bike tour yet.
Maine must have stolen that line from Minnesota.
As we say to visitors: "Man... that ain't a hummingbird, that's a MOSQUITO!"

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Old 01-19-09, 09:13 PM   #20
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Maine must have stolen that line from Minnesota.
As we sat to visitors: "Man... that ain't a hummingbird, that's a MOSQUITO!"
Our skeeters arm wrestle vultures.

And win
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Old 01-19-09, 09:21 PM   #21
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Our skeeters arm wrestle vultures.

And win
Down under, parents of small children worry about the Dingo.
Up here, well..... you know.
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Old 01-19-09, 09:31 PM   #22
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From what I've read around here the consensus is that the contrail is an excellent tent. Its the tent I'm planning on buying.
The Tarptent may well be a fine tent, but 2 or 3 vocal members of this forum does not amount to a consensus. I do a lot of camping and have never seen one in the real world.
I think if you were to take a poll, I think you would find the most popular tents are the REI Half Dome or Quarter Dome, the Big Agnes Seedhouse and the Hennesey Hammock. Those are what I see in the real world. There are hundreds of tents out there and I doubt any of them would get more than 10%.
I have a Half Dome that I really like, but my son likes it more, so I usually use my Sierra Design Sirius.
I prefer the design of the fly on the Sirius. You can close it up in about 10 seconds. This comes in handy during those unexpected summer storms. It is also lighter than the Half Dome.
If you are really trying to go light weight, a solo tent might be a good idea and the Tarptent looks like a good lightweight tent. However, I have a 30 lb. bike and 35 lbs. of stuff to go with the 220lbs. i carry around normally. At most, I am looking at a 1% weight savings. To me it is not worth it for the type touring I do.
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Old 01-19-09, 09:34 PM   #23
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I have this tent by Eureka. It is pretty roomy for a one man tent, with enough space to store panniers either at your feet or at your head. Also, there is another thing to think about when getting a tent. A smaller tent will be warmer when the weather is a bit marginal than a larger one, because your body heat is more effective with a smaller volume.
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Old 01-20-09, 12:35 AM   #24
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#1, go for a "self supporting tent" where the poles cross over the top or otherwise create a fixed volume to the tent. Tents which rely on guy-lines to keep single poles up are a pain; take up more ground area (for the guylines), can't be picked up and moved as easily, etc. With a self supporting tent, once everything is out of the tent and the corner stakes are pulled, you can pick it up and shake the dirt and crumbs out by holding the tent upside-down overhead.
#2. Storing your gear in the vestibule just means there will be more to stumble over when you're answering nature's call in the middle of the night. An exception could be one of the two-door, two-vestibule, two-person tents ... might be enough space in the vestibules to keep panniers mostly out from underfoot. From backpacking experience, a single-door, vestibuled, 2-person tent just means you'll have two packs and boots out there to stumble on.
#3. Having a bit of extra floor space in the tent is very welcome. Even if you don't normally drag your gear in, you can if you wish, and you can have it along the side walls .
#4. Unless you're climbing Mt. Everest, cooking in any tent, or in the vestibule, is hazardous.
#5. Very nice if you can see the tent set up in person before you buy.
#6, an extra pound or two on a bike, touring, is not as heavy as it would be backpacking.
so - for one, get a 2-person tent, and, if you expect to tour with a friend, get a three-person tent.
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Old 01-20-09, 12:48 AM   #25
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My wife and I have a 3 person tent, but I'd sure hate to sleep in it with 2 other full sized adults!
Here's one I've been looking at, says it's a 1+ tent:
http://www.tarptent.com/contrail.html
Consider also the double rainbow, unless you really need something light. It has enough room for 2 and is quite long, so some room for gear at the feet. Also, has vestibules and good airflow. Weight of mine is 1160g including pole / pegs / bags. The only downside is that the pole sections are a little long to fit in a pannier, you can order it with 14-inch pole segments though.

I haven't tried the contrail; I'm considering it, but if you're worried about space I don't think it is the way to go.
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