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Thread: touring tents

  1. #1
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    touring tents

    I can look through loads of reviews of tents, though most of them talk from a backpacking point of view.
    What do you peoples have to say about the touring tents you have used in your long treks?

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    I come to bike touring from a backpacking perspective and in my experience my backpacking stuff and methods work fine on the bike. I use the same shelter, a Henry Shires Tarptent, for both.

    Within both worlds there are many different sub-categories--length of trip, climate, terrain, budget, comfort level (fear), etc. Some do well with a simple tarp, some need a double-wall domed monster with room for bikes, dogs, gear and cooking, wired for internet. If there were one best tent, there would only be one tent.

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    Heretic Caretaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redrawlly View Post
    I can look through loads of reviews of tents, though most of them talk from a backpacking point of view.
    What do you peoples have to say about the touring tents you have used in your long treks?
    I've used a 2kg 2-person tent for solo cycle tours. Don't see much difference between the needs of the average backpacker and the average touring cyclist.
    History is the future

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    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    IMO, if a tent works well after a hike, it'll work well for you after a bike ride, so backpacking reviewers IMO will be valid for you. I've used two models , one European and the other from MSR, both were fine.

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    Heh. I just looked at the blog kept by a guy who is riding across the country. He passed through Guymon, OK.

    In any event, as long as it's light enough, spacious enough and pack down small enough to meet your needs, it's all good.

    I am currently using a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL 2. Packed weight is 3.25 lbs. I am 6'2" with broad shoulders, and I do more than sleep in my tent, so the space is just right for me.

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    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    If money is no object, then look for the lightest, most compact tent you can find. Big Agnes has some very lightweight models at prices that are not outrageous. I got an REI Quarter-Dome on sale because it was half the price of a comparable Big Agnes model and only weighed about 1 lb more. If money was not an issue, I would have gotten a Big Agnes Copper Spur.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The market is dominated by hikers , but you can use a back packing tent and carry it on your bike ..


    I liked the made in New Hampsire, USA Stevenson's 3R, (but most brands are sewn in low labor cost Asia.)



    FWIW, the design feature: the whole tent is sewn in one piece, the hoops pre-curved go in while the tent is flat on the ground .

    and the stakes set on one end ,

    and so in a Stiff Gale the tent parts dont blow away while you are putting it Up.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-03-14 at 11:58 AM.

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    I have the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1. It weighs 38 ounces, including all stuff sacks ,titanium tent stakes and the footprint but it's really small, it's kind of cramped when Ive got my panniers inside with me but it does the job.

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    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    The Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 passes my minimal livable space requirement at 22 sq ft. It exceeds my maximum budget, x3.

    Been a fan of the Eureka Spitfire 1 for years, modified to suit myself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Been a fan of the Eureka Spitfire 1 for years, modified to suit myself.
    I like that one too. Well designed, light, cheap... Not many tents pull that off.

    That said lately I have been going with either a tarp and bivy or bug bivy (depending on temperature and likelihood of mosquitoes). It works for me. Less than a pound for the whole setup. I usually don't pitch the tarp unless I expect rain. If I don't pitch the tarp I keep it handy to pull over me in case it unexpectedly rains. I often sleep on top of the bivy under the stars. In addition to being light weight the setup has the advantage of allowing me to camp in places where I might be run off if pitching a tent.

    As far as backpacking vs touring. IMO the requirements are identical shelter wise and gear wise in general. The biggest difference is that you don't need to carry much food when touring since you can usually shop every day or at least every couple days.

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    Yeah it's not cheap.i think I paid close to 300$ not including the ti stakes or the footprint.

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    The one (admittedly slight) difference between a backpacking tent and a bike touring tent are the poles. Some backpacking tents use trekking poles to set up in an effort to save weight, this negates some of the advantages of a tent like the Stratospire. It's especially minor, as replacement poles are almost always available, and not terribly heavy.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
    The one (admittedly slight) difference between a backpacking tent and a bike touring tent are the poles. Some backpacking tents use trekking poles to set up in an effort to save weight, this negates some of the advantages of a tent like the Stratospire. It's especially minor, as replacement poles are almost always available, and not terribly heavy.
    Good point. I tend to forget that since I don't use trekking poles.

    With a few tents you can use the bike as a support, but not others. It works well for pitching my tarp, so while I am likely to take one pole when hiking I usually don't when touring. THere was a thread on doing this at:
    GEAR Tarp pitching on cycling trips -- BackpackingLight.com Forums

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    Senior Member Lanovran's Avatar
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    I recently did a tour with a Nemo Morpho 1-person tent. It's one of Nemo's tents which uses "airbeams" instead of poles, so it's very lightweight and packs up small, with no poles to worry about. It comes with a small foot pump (I used it with my hands, 'cause I'm a rebel like that ) to inflate the airbeams. Inside, there was plenty of room for myself and all my panniers and gear.

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by redrawlly View Post
    I can look through loads of reviews of tents, though most of them talk from a backpacking point of view.
    What do you peoples have to say about the touring tents you have used in your long treks?
    Camping is camping - whether it's part of a bicycle tour or climbing a mountain. It all comes down to your shelter preferences. So, for shelter you can choose a simple tarp or a bivy sack or a tent or a hammock or nothing at all and sleep (at your own risk) under the stars (or rain clouds as it happens from time to time).

    Like others here, my perspective is derived from decades of backpacking. As andrewclaus said, I use (strictly for summer use) a Henry Shires "Tarptent". My preferred model is his (now discontinued model) "Cloudburst 2". From his current selections (for a 2-person size), I'd choose the Henry Shires Tarptent "Double Rainbow" without hesitation.

    My Cloudburst 2 tent has seen several mountain "camping" uses and is custom-made quality for a *very* reasonable price. Over the years I've had other custom-made camping/climbing gear and can attest to Shires manufacturing quality as absolute top notch. It's a very lightweight shelter and great for late spring/summer/early fall use.

    Here is a pic of mine on a spring hike in the mountains:



    For camping/climbing gear you can choose 2 from the 3 main qualities of 1) strong/durable or 2)lightweight or 3)inexpensive but you can't get all 3!!! I suspect the same holds true in bicycling gear as well.
    I'm planning on de-branding my 23" Schwinn High Plains updating components and powder-coating the frame - metamorphosizing it into the ULTIMATE TOURING MACHINE!!!

  16. #16
    I fear angry birds Santaria's Avatar
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    I was looking for some good recommendations; glad I found this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    ".....and so in a Stiff Gale the tent parts dont blow away while you are putting it Up."
    I had a friend one time who went by the nom de plume "Stiff Gale" and he was always talking about "putting it Up"!! Actually, I'd be interested in knowing whether or not putting up a tent in a "stiff gale" is fairly common or if it's a rarity. I'll be purchasing a tent soon and it'd be nice to know whether or not it becomes MUCH more difficult to set up in a "stiff" wind of any kind, gale or not. If that's a common occurrence I'll be looking for reviews that say "ease of setup in the wind". BTW, I'm planning a cross country tour (NW to SE) so there'll be a big variety of weather to deal with.
    Last edited by Louis Le Tour; 06-04-14 at 03:11 PM.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I live on the Coast. force 6 (out of 12) starts getting to be an issue .. separate rainflys are a PIA then ..

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    Senior Member capejohn's Avatar
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    I have been using the Camp Dome 2 from REI since 2009. I'm using it again next month on a 6 day tour and again in October for a x country bike ride. It's roomy, light and easy to set up. You can get one for a bit over a hundred bucks.
    Bike riding New England gentleman.

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    I hope I never have to sleep in a tent again. Hammocks for life for me. I even sleep in one at home.

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    Senior Member capejohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piratebike View Post
    I hope I never have to sleep in a tent again. Hammocks for life for me. I even sleep in one at home.
    I'm with you. A tent is not my idea of comfort but it's sometimes necessary.
    Bike riding New England gentleman.

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    Junior Member PMCT's Avatar
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    We've been thrilled with our Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2. The footprint is a bit wimpy, so we use an emergency blanket to reinforce the bottom and keep any thorns from popping our air pads. The tent is roomy enough for both my husband and I (we're not terribly big people, though), and kept us warm in 20F weather as well as dry in a downpour. Super light, compact, waterproof. What more could you ask for? (Except a lower price tag, of course...However, it's been well worth the money for us.)
    www.pmcycletouring.com

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    I have camped in winds that are storm force. Hilleberg are good for harsh conditions but too much tent for milder summer use.

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    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    There are many good lightweight tents available. Regardless of brand, I believe that free standing models are more versatile.

    IMO, Besides being easier to pitch, they are also easier too keep clean.

    Heck, even our daughter can pick it up and shake it out, or move it.

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    I just bought this tent and so far it's seems pretty awesome. Yes, it's a bit heavier than I'd like it to be, but comfort and piece of mind is paramount to me. If I don't get a good night sleep, my next day will be hell and I won't enjoy myself. I also love the fact that my expensive bike is protected from the elements and hidden from view... It sleeps right beside me.... So the MSR Hubba Hubba (with the Gear Shed) is my home away from home... I Love it.







    Last edited by B200Pilot; 06-04-14 at 09:57 PM.

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