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  1. #1
    One legged rider
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    Shelters-Tent, Hammock, Bivy?

    I have spent 20 years sleeping solo outside and have yet to become satisfied with my tent, hammock, bivy situation. I have tried everything, and actually have nearly everything in my garage, Clark Jungle Hammock (I love it but now that I live in California find that I can't always find a way to string it up) solo tent with a tunnel entrance (difficult to get in and out of) Outdoor Research Advanced Bivy (I love it for Alpine use climbing and mountaineering but its a bit Spartan for cycling, best for really, really cold weather. I used one most of my time in the Army in Afghanistan and it worked flawlessly).
    I think my ideal shelter would be a single wall solo tent with a side entrance (certain orthopeadic injury issues make a front entrance tent really difficult). Perhaps a bivy/tent hybrid with a side entrance like the Integral Designs Unishelter would be a good choice. A tent with rain fly would work too, but most interested in keeping weight below 3lbs. Not that concerned about price, as with these sorts of things you get what you pay for, most concerned about finding a final solution to the perfect shelter. I know a lot of people love hammocks, I do too, in my native GA and SC swamps (keeps you away from gators and snakes) they are pretty much the perfect shelter, but in the fairly benign wilderness of the West I am most concerned with ease of entry/exit and stormproofness.
    Any suggestions? I would love to hear what others have tried and liked or not liked.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    I doubt that anyone on here can match your extensive experience with various shelters in so many different climates. But, since you asked, I'll answer.

    KISS. I have used an inexpensive($100) Eureka Spitfire 1 double walled tent for 4 years, pitching it from Florida to California, in swamps and deserts. Relative to any bivy, it is a mansion. Side entry, 43 inch peak height, and extensive mesh for ventilation. Weighs about 3 pounds. With a full length Thermarest, the tent is free standing. Otherwise, 2 stakes keep it up when the fly is not needed.

    The downside is that if you're taller than about 5'10, you'd be cramped. And it is not a tent you want to face a howling blizzard in.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  3. #3
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    Ive had all my bike touring equipment now for about 2 years, but have not had the chance to jump on a long tour yet, prob because of my job.

    since i havent had that much experience yet with actual bike touring, im gonna give my opinion based on my hiking, and backpacking experience (about 10 years worth, and counting).

    I too think of my shelter asmy most important piece of equipment, and the equipment i prob have the most of, and spent the most on. I too have about 8 tents, maybe more.

    In my opinion theres no such thing as the perfecct shelter. I think different situations call for different shelters. Ive yet to find "the do all shelter" and doubt one will ever be invented. So the best thing to do, i think, is to choose a shelter based on the situation ill be in.

    Just my 2 cents, Al.
    Last edited by chomish; 09-30-09 at 12:03 PM.

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    Sounds like you want something Tarptent might make. Other than that, the new Big Agnes Copper Spur looks like the best lightweight solo tent out there for touring to me, but it's double walled.

    I would avoid the Seedhouse line of BA tents.

  5. #5
    Ceci n'est pas un vélo. mtclifford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fantom1 View Post
    Sounds like you want something Tarptent might make. Other than that, the new Big Agnes Copper Spur looks like the best lightweight solo tent out there for touring to me, but it's double walled.

    I would avoid the Seedhouse line of BA tents.
    What is wrong with the seedhouse? I have one and am most pleased it. Light, versitile, and large enough to fit me an 6'4" it is pretty much everything I need.

  6. #6
    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by benajah View Post
    I have spent 20 years sleeping solo outside and have yet to become satisfied with my tent, hammock, bivy situation. I have tried everything, and actually have nearly everything in my garage, Clark Jungle Hammock (I love it but now that I live in California find that I can't always find a way to string it up) solo tent with a tunnel entrance (difficult to get in and out of) Outdoor Research Advanced Bivy (I love it for Alpine use climbing and mountaineering but its a bit Spartan for cycling, best for really, really cold weather. I used one most of my time in the Army in Afghanistan and it worked flawlessly).
    I think my ideal shelter would be a single wall solo tent with a side entrance (certain orthopeadic injury issues make a front entrance tent really difficult). Perhaps a bivy/tent hybrid with a side entrance like the Integral Designs Unishelter would be a good choice. A tent with rain fly would work too, but most interested in keeping weight below 3lbs. Not that concerned about price, as with these sorts of things you get what you pay for, most concerned about finding a final solution to the perfect shelter. I know a lot of people love hammocks, I do too, in my native GA and SC swamps (keeps you away from gators and snakes) they are pretty much the perfect shelter, but in the fairly benign wilderness of the West I am most concerned with ease of entry/exit and stormproofness.
    Any suggestions? I would love to hear what others have tried and liked or not liked.
    Some tents are a lot better than others. I have lost track of how many I have tried.

    If you live in Oakland, you are in one of the best areas for looking at tents. There are several shops in Berkeley that are good. If you ask around, you might find out about some new ones, including outlet stores.

    The ultralight backpacking movement has really taken off, and there are a lot of lightweight tents out there -- more than there used to be.

    North Face and Sierra Designs both have some good tents.

    One of my favorites is a Moss tent. I believe the model is called the Solus II. Dennis Coello also liked this tent.

    Another favorite is a North Face design, something similar to the Tadpole. It is a bit heavy, but I really appreciate the extra room. On a long trip, the tent started to feel like home. It was great. I have fond memories of that tent, and spent hundreds of nights in it.

    Bivies are confining. If you put too high a value on light weight, you can lose out. I would look for a light tent that is still very roomy and comfortable -- especially if you will be spending a lot of time in it.

    Look around, ask around. There is a huge sporting goods store in Fremont that might also be worth a look. There are several REIs within striking range. Some REIs might have tents that the others do not. Marmot Mountain Works used to be there, on Ashby, near the Berkeley-Oakland border. Western Mountaineering had a good store in or near Cupertino, and the Cupertino REI had some good stock. Berkeley used to have multiple outlet stores for backpackers. There was also a good store near the corner of Telegraph and Dwight. If you check and find out everything that is there, you might come up with some good possibilities. Some of the outlet stores have seconds at great prices, with very minor cosmetic flaws. North Face and Walrus used to have great deals on seconds and overstock.

    They usually let you set up a tent and get inside, if there is a model that interests you, and it isn't already set up in the store.

    I've found that having a pleasing design and color is of value. Both the Moss tent and the North Face tent (that I mentioned above) have a soothing, pleasant natural beige color.

    It isn't the most camouflaging color (in most situations), but I cover these tents when needed with some ultralight bird netting, and then camouflage it with some dead leaves and twigs and other items, if needed (it often isn't needed, though).

    I would rather have the pleasing color while inside the tent, especially if it will be used a lot.

  7. #7
    One legged rider
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    Thanks for the feedback. it used to be there were only a few of each type of shelter on the market and now it seems like every manufacturer has tons of types. Its easy to get lost in the shuffle, especially if you are not a gear nut, which I am not. I have seen a Big Agnes and an MSR that I like, the Hubba.

  8. #8
    Gordon P
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    I believe Moss tents were absorbed by MSR a few years ago.

    I used the MSR Hubba this touring season and it worked well enough for an ultra light solo tent. I like the side entranceway as it can be opened wide to allow ventilation and for meal preparation. What I did not like was the colour - garish orange and it was too narrow for me and I would not want to get stuck in it for a rain day.

    Last touring season I used a Mountain Hardware solo tent, can’t remember the name, and I was not that pleased with it and returned it as the seams delaminated.

    I spent nine months in Afghanistan and fortunately for me I did not have to sleep in a tent!
    Gordon p

  9. #9
    eternalvoyage
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    Hammock v tent: Another factor to consider is whether you will be spending more than just sleeping time in it. Sometimes (stormy day or rest day, for example -- or when using it as a base camp), I end up spending more than just sleeping time in the tent. There is reading and writing and and eating and resting time, and just thinking about life time.

    For those times, I would much rather have a good, roomy tent. A hammock or a bivy, or even a less roomy tent, just wouldn't do as well at all. In most cases it wouldn't even be close.

    Also, I appreciate having some extra room -- for panniers or books or food or drinks or whatever. It's great to have a good vestibule and some good extra floor space and storage space. Some tents also have useful pockets and overhead storage areas.

    A solid floor can also count for something; and a solid, stable, non-moving, and *horizontal* floor can also count for something. Hammocks don't have one.

    Head room also makes a difference.
    Last edited by Niles H.; 10-01-09 at 12:40 PM.

  10. #10
    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by benajah View Post
    ...I think my ideal shelter would be a single wall solo tent with a side entrance. Perhaps a bivy/tent hybrid with a side entrance like the Integral Designs Unishelter would be a good choice. A tent with rain fly would work too, but most interested in keeping weight below 3lbs. Not that concerned about price, as with these sorts of things you get what you pay for, most concerned about finding a final solution to the perfect shelter....
    Stephenson's Warmlite single wall tents might be worth a look. Some are roomy but still surprisingly light. They are pricey, but you say that that doesn't really matter.

    Stephenson can also do some customizing, if there is a special feature you would like. The optional tent side windows might also be able to serve as side entrances. They could probably do something along those lines.

    Warmlite have a website that describes their different tents and options.

    http://www.warmlite.com/tents_In.htm

    http://www.warmlite.com/tents.htm

  11. #11
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    When I go on a supported tour I like to have a lot of room, for this I use a Kelty Pagoda 4. Roomy enough to place my bike in the tent if it gets really bad. But for loaded touring I got a Mountain Hard Wear Lightpath 3 this is a 3 man tent that weighs about 5 lbs. It takes about 5 minutes to setup. has lots of floor space (did I mention I like roomy) and the vestibule is good for sheltering my bike but then the bike is in front of the door

  12. #12
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    REI made a nice side entrance single tent, called the Roadrunner, that weighed well under three pounds. Very satisfactory for cycle touring and backpacking. I am not sure if they are still in stock, but there must be many like them.

    I like a small tent for touring - I use it only for sleeping. Usually there are plenty of places to spend my waking hours, when I am not pedaling, even in bad weather.

  13. #13
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    I have tarptent rainbow-
    http://www.tarptent.com/productsheets/RAINBOW.pdf

    34 ounces including 6 stakes. uses treking poles, or bring 4 more very light stakes. I often just bring my trekking poles, they are light enough, and I sometimes hike during a tour anyway. when I dont want the weight penalty, I bring the 4 extra stakes. no fly, but I have spent the night in a pretty bad rainstorm, and it was fine. love this tent
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtclifford View Post
    What is wrong with the seedhouse? I have one and am most pleased it. Light, versitile, and large enough to fit me an 6'4" it is pretty much everything I need.
    I spent about 14 nights in one before getting ride of it. Here's why:

    1) The entrance is a very poor design, and it's almost impossible to get in without getting water inside the tent. It's also just plain difficult to get in and out of.
    2) Not a big enough vestibule.
    3) The mesh is too fine/weak and snags too easily.
    4) The ventilation (and subsequent condensation) leaves a lot to be desired.
    5) Takes too many guyline points to put up. It's advertised as freestanding, but is most definitely not.

    It does its main job, which is protecting you from the elements, but given the other choices out there, I think it's a pretty poor tent aside from the weight and packed size.
    Last edited by fantom1; 10-01-09 at 04:11 PM.

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