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Thread: Tent Selection

  1. #1
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    Tent Selection

    I'll need a tent for the Key West trip but, I know NOTHING about tents & I'm looking for suggestions.

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    Goes to 11. striknein's Avatar
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    I like my Eureka Solitaire. It's a snug fit, but the tent packs very small and doesn't weigh much at all. I replaced the cheap tent stakes with some sturdier (but still lightweight) aluminum stakes. Add a lightweight plastic mallet if you want to make your life a little easier.
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    Someone just suggested the Eureka Backcountry (http://amzn.com/B000EQ8VJC). Anyone have any opinions?

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    Seņor Wences jwbnyc's Avatar
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    Yes. Excellent single person tent for three season use. the weight is listed @ 3lb. 14oz. - but mine comes in at 3.6lb.

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    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    Check out the reviews of Tents on the crazyguyonabike website.
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/revie...rd_id=3562&v=0

    My preference is a relatively small two person tent. You can find them weighing around 5 pounds.
    The 1 person Marmot Eclipse was just too small.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

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    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Tents are as personal as saddles. That's why there are hundreds of variations on several basic designs.

    I'm a fan of the Eureka Spitfire 1. Replaced my first one, $80, with another, $100, after 6 years and 200 pitches, handing it down to a grandchild. It ain't perfect, but what is.

    Features I look at first are sq footage(>18), peak height(>38"), side entry, and fly color. Nothing garish.
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    Senior Member georgiaman's Avatar
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    I would personally go with a two man tent. When rains comes and you are forced into your tent, the extra space helps in not going stir crazy. My tent that I use for backpacking is the REI half dome. I've had it for a few years, and it works great. I also use it at the beach and the screen is wide enough to see but still holds back the angry bugs.

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    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I have a Eureka Backcountry 1. I liked it but I couldn't read on my side. It was like being in a coffin. I bought a Microlight 2 from L. L. Bean. It is just about perfect for me.

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    Pick a good brand, then just find the size you want. I've got one up on Ebay, http://www.ebay.com/itm/180727015972...84.m1555.l2649 , and there are many more like it up there. Can't go wrong with North Face. I tend to go one size larger than what the rated capacity is. Otherwise you can't fit anything in the tent with you at night. So I bought that one years ago for solo trips.
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    high wind sites to put a separate fly up after erecting
    a 3 pole freestanding tent,
    may have the fly as a spinnaker blown out of your hands .

    I found my tunnel hoop tent, that you put together flat on the ground,
    then the last tent stake also set the whole tent up at once, was a better design.

  11. #11
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    On my tour to South Carolina to Key West I used my Big Agnes SL-1. It's small but handled the wind fine.


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    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    No one else has said it yet, so I'll mention hammock tents. I picked up a Hennessy last year and it really changed my attitude towards camping. Until then I had decided that a comfortable night's sleep was something you just went without when camping unless you were willing to take a huge weight/gear penalty. Now I am sometimes tempted to set up my tent just for a nap.

    A hammock tent has a different set of issues then a ground tent, so definitely do some research if the idea interests you, but I've found it to be a great way to camp.

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    Senior Member KLW2's Avatar
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    I have the Eureka Timberline2 and the REI HalfDome. Both are great tents with ample room.
    Retired and now I commute to coffee....!

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    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    Hi

    Don't know anything about the conditions in Key West so keeping that in mind I am in the market for a new tent and my short list so far is:

    1. Tarpent Scarp 1



    2. Force Ten Helium Carbon - two person weighing in at 950 grams



    Backpacklight have a new state of the market report out on lightweight tents (2011). If you PM me I can provide a copy otherwise you can sign-up at BPL and access all of there reports. It is a good resource IMO.

    Regards
    Andrew

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    Kittery Maine / NC
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    You for sure want a free standing tent in the keys. Solid coral rock. No way to drive in stakes. 10" nail pegs are the only thing that will go in the ground. with a BFH. Lived in a tent in key largo, so have some experience.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badgerjohn View Post
    You for sure want a free standing tent in the keys. Solid coral rock. No way to drive in stakes.
    Yes, that's quite true. Thanks for reminding me.

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    If you're going to be in places with plenty of trees, go with a hammock. Otherwise, I'd look at a Henry Shires Tarptent. You can get a 2-person model for what a lot of 1-person tents weigh.

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    I use a hammock as well, but for Florida you will run into problems at state parks, since they have rules against hanging anything from trees.

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    Senior Member pasopia's Avatar
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    I've been really happy with my Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1.

    http://www.bigagnes.com/Products/Det.../CopperSpurUL1

    It's small and light, and packs down fairly small. It's cozy, but I find it comfortable to sleep in. The vestibule is large enough to pull 4 panniers and a pair of shoes in from the rain. It survived 7 months of traveling through South America, including some insanely windy nights in Patagonia. I'm looking around now for a 2 person tent, and I'll probably just buy the 2 person version of the Copper Spur.
    My 2010-2011 tour from Argentina to Ecuador:
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    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Before you ask for tent suggestions, you need to be clear about what you want it to do for you.

    Tents do a few things for you; they keep the rain off, they keep the bugs out, they keep the wind away and they provide a nice sense of home. If you're not expecting some of these conditions, you don't need a tent that addresses them.

    If you're expecting to spend a lot of time hunkered down in serious rain storms, then good for you still going through with your tour, and a nice big tent with a vestibule might be good for you. An N+1 tent (where N is the number of people in your touring party) would allow you enough space to hopefully not killing each in a prolonged rainstorm. A vestibule big enough to cook in is pretty key as well.

    Alternatively, you could try a large tarp. They don't provide the bug or wind protection of a tent (most of the time) but they do give you more space per weight than just about any other option. You can get a massive 10X12 tarp for 19 oz, which is more than enough room for two people (and two bikes) to wait out a storm.

    If bugs are the primary concern, but there is little chance of rain, then it's overkill to carry a full tent, a light bug net and a small tarp for the occasional rainstorm should be good.

    If you want something that reminds you of home, then it's probably going to be overkill for the conditions you actually need.

  21. #21
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    I just bought a tent. Like you, I had no idea about tents. I did plenty of research, and ended up with the Eureka Apex 2XT. Not the highest end tent, but it received good reviews across the board. Do yourself a favor and check out http://www.geartrade.com. It's backcountry.com's pre-owned and overstock site, I believe. I bought my tent for 64 dollars SHIPPED. Retail price is $150.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pasopia View Post
    I've been really happy with my Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1.

    http://www.bigagnes.com/Products/Det.../CopperSpurUL1

    It's small and light, and packs down fairly small. It's cozy, but I find it comfortable to sleep in. The vestibule is large enough to pull 4 panniers and a pair of shoes in from the rain. It survived 7 months of traveling through South America, including some insanely windy nights in Patagonia. I'm looking around now for a 2 person tent, and I'll probably just buy the 2 person version of the Copper Spur.
    How was that roll-down door for you? I just bought a CS UL2 and haven't used it yet, but the door configuration has me waffling about whether it's the right tent for me. Also, it takes a LOT longer to pitch than my old two-pole REI Quarterdome UL - does this get to be fast after you do it a few times, or does it stay kind of awkward & slow?

    Thanks, and sorry for the thread drift.
    ...

  23. #23
    Senior Member pasopia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    How was that roll-down door for you? I just bought a CS UL2 and haven't used it yet, but the door configuration has me waffling about whether it's the right tent for me. Also, it takes a LOT longer to pitch than my old two-pole REI Quarterdome UL - does this get to be fast after you do it a few times, or does it stay kind of awkward & slow?

    Thanks, and sorry for the thread drift.
    The door works fine, I've never really thought about it one way or another. I can setup up the tent really quickly. I've definitely had many "if I don't get this tent up in the next few minutes that thunder storm is going to destroy me" moments, and I never felt slowed down by the design. It's really straight forward.
    My 2010-2011 tour from Argentina to Ecuador:
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    Quote Originally Posted by pasopia View Post
    The door works fine, I've never really thought about it one way or another. I can setup up the tent really quickly. I've definitely had many "if I don't get this tent up in the next few minutes that thunder storm is going to destroy me" moments, and I never felt slowed down by the design. It's really straight forward.
    Great, that's reassuring.
    ...

  25. #25
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    I'm a fan of the Eureka Spitfire 1.
    Yes, I love mine as well. Light, cheap, and functional.

    As was said everyone has different preferences, so YMMV.

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