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Lightweight free-standing 2-P tent recommendations?

Old 04-06-09, 11:32 AM
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Lightweight free-standing 2-P tent recommendations?

Hi,
I've been researching a lightweight 2-person tent which is free-standing and will pitch inner-only for an upcoming solo tour.
So far I have come up with the following list:
Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2
Mountain Hardwear Helion 2
Terra Nova Voyager Superlight
MSR Hubba Hubba (HP)

These meet my criteria and are also the lightest I could find.
I haven't been able to see them for myself, therefore I'm not sure if the materials would be durable enough for a minimum 2-year tour.
There doesn't seem much point getting the lightest, only to have to carry an extra ground sheet as well for example.
If anyone has experience with any of these tents I would appreciate your comments. The Big Agnes tents in particular since they are not common in the UK yet.

What would you choose?
Or is there maybe something I've not considered?

Thanks, Helen
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Old 04-06-09, 12:02 PM
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I use a big agnes emerald mountain SL2 and it is a great tent. Double doors and vestibules, mesh body for ventilation, packs small, and lightweight. It is similar to the copper spur I believe. If I had to do it again I would buy this tent. Personally I would go for the copper spur over the seedhouse, I like the doors and vestibule better.
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Old 04-06-09, 12:03 PM
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I use a tent I got from Sportsmansguide check on line.

Joe
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Old 04-06-09, 01:54 PM
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Must say I think I prefer the side door like on the copper spur rather than the 'front' entrance of the seedhouse.
Do you think I would need the footprint bearing in mind I will probably be camping on hard, even rocky ground a lot of the time? I'd rather manage without if I can, to save weight.
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Old 04-06-09, 02:10 PM
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The footprint isn't very heavy. A lot of folks don't use them and instead cut some home wrap or something to fit under their tent. What I like about the footprint on the EM SL2 is the fact that it really saves the bottom, clips into the fly, and allows you to set up the tent in the rain (set up the fly using the footprint, and then setting up the tent inside). I think the cost and the added weight are worth it to extend the life of your $200-300 tent. I think i got my footprint on ebay for $25 or $30.
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Old 04-06-09, 02:59 PM
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Consider sierra designs as well.
I am looking at them right now too, and sierra designs have a great reputation and are light.
Check campmor.com.
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Old 04-06-09, 04:57 PM
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For what it's worth, I wouldn't go for ultralight kit for a 2-year-straight trip. Ultralight gear usually sacrifices ruggedness for the sake of weight.

Fortunately there are tons of excellent and affordable tents available these days, so I think it'd be hard to go wrong.

I'm not sure if it will be right for you, but I've done pretty well with a Kelty Teton 2. Reasonably light (4 lbs 10 oz), has held up very well in some brutal rainstorms, easy setup, roomy, solid bathtub floor, good ventilation, free-standing, includes a few pockets and a gear loft.

Cost may also be an issue. E.g. the Seedhouse SL2 with a gear loft costs about $340 and weighs 3 lb 10oz; the aforementioned Kelty Teton 2 costs $130 and weighs 4 lbs 10 oz. Spending $210 to save 1 pound of weight? You're a cyclist, not a mountaineer (I presume ). You won't even notice the weight difference when cycling. I think you'd be better off picking up a more rugged and less expensive tent.
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Old 04-06-09, 07:43 PM
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I agree with Bacciagalupe. I currently use an older Sierra Designs Meteor Light. I've had (abused) it several years. It has held up great. The side door is nice.

In the Summer, I have even set up the rain fly by itself using the two tent poles. Works great and saved some weight.

Jerry H.
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Old 04-06-09, 11:19 PM
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I set up most of the tents you listed inside RE one day when I was looking for a tent. I was going to buy the Hubba Hubba because it was the easiest to set up and offered by far the best interoir volume. 2 people could easily sit inside it without bumping heads. It also had nice vestibules, double doors, good wieght, and good quality. Better than the Anges in just about every way. However, I never actually used any of them. Just set them up and set in them so take that for what it is.
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Old 04-07-09, 09:21 AM
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I too recommend you have a look at the Kelty tents -- good products and reasonable prices.
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Old 04-07-09, 10:30 AM
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If you really are using this every day on a two year bike tour, I would worry most about UV damage to the flysheet, and that falling apart as a result. I haven't paid much attention to this question (never having had the luxury of planning a two year tour) so don't know specifically what to recommend. In the old days, I thought polyester was better than nylon and more resistant to UV, but heavier, but sierra designs on their web page say they are using nylon because it is stronger even after UV exposure. Heavier materials are likely to hold up better. How tough and substantial the tent will be in handling wind would be the other major design choice.

If you are solo, you can go really light and small for a 2 person tent, putting aside the question of whether any of these tents could be set up and used daily for 2 years. The REI T2 is one of the lightest and smallest, so you might want to check into that option too.
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Old 04-07-09, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by michaelb05
If you really are using this every day on a two year bike tour, I would worry most about UV damage to the flysheet, and that falling apart as a result.
Depends of where you camp and what time of day you make/break camp. UV will not be a huge problem in two years if you typically break camp early and make camp late in the day. The worst UV is in the middle of the day when the tent is probably packed away. Also depending on where you tour you are likely to pitch the tent in the shade most of the time. It seems to me that most tourists would be pretty easy on their tents when it comes to UV exposure.

I had a tent that lasted 15 years with many hundreds of nights of use and no visible UV damage. That was before my bike touring days though. It was set up in deep shade 99% of the time and usually late in the day. With that kind of use it will die from other causes long before UV does it in.

Your usage patterns could be completely different, so YMMV. If you pitch a tent in an open area and leave it up all day every day. It will probably be shot in a few months to a year.
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