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All about tents. Tell us what you use and help me pick a new one.

Old 04-16-10, 04:00 PM
  #26  
EriktheFish
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We chose a Nemo Asashi for the 3 of us, but for 2 I'd recommend the Nemo Losi 3p. It is more expensive than your budget, but super high quality, light weight, easy set up, super roomy.
https://www.tahoemountainsports.com/product/nemo-losi-3p
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Old 04-16-10, 04:19 PM
  #27  
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I'm really surprised no one has mentioned using a hammock. Hennessey makes great, lightweight, VERY packable hammocks that come with a rainfly. They actually weigh even less than advertised because you can also subtract your sleeping pad weight. My bike and gear fit fine underneath the rainfly.

I realize that you need trees to set up a hammock, so they may not be the best solution for everyone, depending on where you're touring. Also, they aren't great when it's really cold. They work great for me, though.
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Old 04-16-10, 05:11 PM
  #28  
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I've looked up most of these tents on youtube to watch setup videos and to see what they look like inside. I'm really liking the MSR Hubba and the Hubba Hubba. It's just the color that I hate, why would they only give us one choice? I can't really see how it would save them money to get another color fabric for people who don't need to be fully visible. My assumption was that brighter tents are better for being found when the need arises. Even to quickly spot your tent from a distance after a hike, after all they used these colors before GPS became so popular.

I've thought about a hammock too, but I just don't think it's for me. But I'll look at some more. Maybe I need to try one.

On the same note, I both love and hate the idea of most tarp tents I've seen as they seem more of a shelter than a tent, most are not 100% closed from the outside. Not being totally closed in just makes me feel weird after waking up so many mornings on the west coast with 6" slugs stuck to the side of my tent. The thought of waking up with them crawling on me is just wrong. I have slept under the stars before, with no shortcomings, but given the choice I'd rather have a netted view of the sky, than a perfectly clear one.

Here is another tent I just saw. It's cheap but fairly light.

MEC Camper 2
$125
2.2kg or 4.8lbs


About taking things into the tent with us.

I've always found it funny that general logic is to not have food near your tent, some people seem to act as though they think it's one of the biggest sins you can ever commit, to have food within arms reach of your tent. ever.

On the otherhand, I've read sales pitches for tents from popular stores and manufactures that say how nice the large vestibule is so that you can cook in it on rainy / snowy days provided correct ventilation.

Then there are people who will take nothing into their tent at all, except maybe a book, laptop, and their sleeping gear. To do otherwise may (especially with food) get the smell into the fabric.

I have when I was younger taken food into my tent without thinking about it, I can remember one trip having beef jerky under my "pillow". hah. Now that I'm older and wiser I don't. But it makes me wonder at what point do you stop worrying about the smell just go to bed? Hell, even our clothing, our sleepwear, etc. have a smell that could attract a bear. From what I've read one of the bears favorite smells is mint, most people brush with a minty toothpaste... Who's to say a sweaty human in a sleeping bag that's not been washed for three weeks (even more for many) of use does not smell as great to a bear as the smell of the oatmeal you cooked a foot outside your vestibule the rainy day before?

How do you guys handle food near the tent, in the tent, what about bags near the tent? What is the closest you will cook to the tent?

Also, I've heard that bears and most woodland creatures hate the smell of fabric softener. Anyone else ever heard about this? Makes me skeptical, there are so many different types, with different scents. I'd be more inclined to think that smell would attract than to not.
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Old 04-16-10, 05:49 PM
  #29  
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We've acquired quite a selection of tents:

REI Taj 3. 7lbs (3 person tent. We have 2 of these. Got them used at REI garage sales for $30-40 each. They are discontinued, retail was ~$200.)
REI Half Dome Plus 2. 5lbs, Used for backpacking
Marmot Swallow. 2 person, 3-4 season tent. Used for car camping.
another Marmot 2 person 3 season tent, can't recall the name of it.
Alps Orion 1 person tent. Used for single person backpacking.

We use (one of) the Taj 3 tent for touring for 2 people. Roomy for two people and gear. 2 doors. It is free standing, pretty easy to set up and quite weatherproof. When the wind blows I only know it if I hear the trees shaking.


We camped one night on lush grass in a small city park. The grass was so lush because the sprinklers come on at 11pm, 2am and 5am. All we could do was laugh and fall back asleep. We stayed dry.
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Old 04-16-10, 08:52 PM
  #30  
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Since you seem quite interested in MEC tents, here's what I would suggest:

the Camper 2 that you have already pointed out. Can't believe the low price on that thing!

or

for a little more than your budget, either version of the Gemini, depending on what time of year you plan to use it. It's much lighter than what you were looking at.

I haven't actually used either tent, but I have a TON of MEC gear, and have always found it good. I did look at both these tents at the store the other week, and they both seem like very good value. Just depends on how much price is a factor. One thing to consider; if you really get into it, you might find you want an even better tent in the near future. In which case, the Camp 2 is a lot less money wasted.

Personally, I have a number of tents, but use an Exped Andromeda as my touring tent. It is on the heavier side, at about 7.2lbs. However, since it can fit 3 people in a pinch, and has a HUGE vestibule, I'm willing to carry the extra weight. I love having the extra space and vestibule to store the gear in and it makes hanging out in the tent much more comfortable on those rainy nights. For myself, the weight to space trade off is more than acceptable, but others will give you a different story. Only you can decide ultimately.
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Old 04-16-10, 11:13 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by TOLOCOMan View Post
Since you seem quite interested in MEC tents, here's what I would suggest:

the Camper 2 that you have already pointed out. Can't believe the low price on that thing!

or

for a little more than your budget, either version of the Gemini, depending on what time of year you plan to use it. It's much lighter than what you were looking at.
I've been using MEC gear for about 15 years. I love the stuff. However I only use them as reference because the store is Canadian and close, I'm going to get what I think will be best for me, even if it's not from MEC. I've been looking all over. The Gemini is however on my list to check out now.

The Hennessy Hammock is even starting to rank up there on the list. I just don't like the idea of being stuck in a Hammock for any length of time while it pours outside. And what do you do when there are no trees? Just tie it to your bike seat and lay it on the ground?
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Old 04-17-10, 01:02 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I really like my MSR Fling
MSR makes really good tents. Hubba Hubba is a plus. The Fling is a great tent too, but they had manufacturing problems with the seams, that is probably why they discontinued them.
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Old 04-17-10, 01:09 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by tiggermaxcocoa View Post
I'm really surprised no one has mentioned using a hammock.
What am I, chopped liver? See post #4.

Originally Posted by tiggermaxcocoa View Post
They actually weigh even less than advertised because you can also subtract your sleeping pad weight.
In warm climates this is probably true. If it's colder (in my experience about +10C or below) a pad is essential. In a hammock sleeping bag compresses very effectively during night, loosing insulation, and the hammock is naturally very well ventilated from below. The combination leads to a cold night unless you have a pad.

Originally Posted by a1rabbit View Post
The Hennessy Hammock is even starting to rank up there on the list. I just don't like the idea of being stuck in a Hammock for any length of time while it pours outside. And what do you do when there are no trees? Just tie it to your bike seat and lay it on the ground?
I always take an extra tarp with the hammock. That way I can set up a covered area for cooking, changing clothes, digging through my panniers and whatnot. It works in light to moderate rain, but in a windy downpour the hammock is the only guaranteed dry spot in camp. Regarding no trees, have a look at the Hennessy home page, they have several suggestions.

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Old 04-18-10, 10:54 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by eofelis View Post
We've acquired quite a selection of tents:

REI Taj 3. 7lbs (3 person tent. We have 2 of these. Got them used at REI garage sales for $30-40 each. They are discontinued, retail was ~$200.)
REI Half Dome Plus 2. 5lbs, Used for backpacking
Marmot Swallow. 2 person, 3-4 season tent. Used for car camping.
another Marmot 2 person 3 season tent, can't recall the name of it.
Alps Orion 1 person tent. Used for single person backpacking.

We use (one of) the Taj 3 tent for touring for 2 people. Roomy for two people and gear. 2 doors. It is free standing, pretty easy to set up and quite weatherproof. When the wind blows I only know it if I hear the trees shaking.


We camped one night on lush grass in a small city park. The grass was so lush because the sprinklers come on at 11pm, 2am and 5am. All we could do was laugh and fall back asleep. We stayed dry.
This is good news. I bought a Taj 3 for the day when my wife finally comes touring with me (work gets in her way. She's gainfully employed and I'm a teacher.) It's good to know it works for you. (Joke, fellow teachers. The summers off really bother some people. Jealousy.)
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Old 04-18-10, 05:52 PM
  #35  
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Yes, but then they also don't have to deal with 180+ teenagers (or younger children) every day and maybe even worse . . . their parents.
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Old 04-18-10, 08:37 PM
  #36  
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https://www.rei.com/product/794294
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Old 04-18-10, 09:18 PM
  #37  
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Kind of gratifying to see all these people going for the BD Megamid and Megamid Lite, for years I felt like an oddball using mine. My first one was the original Chouinard Pyramid, a smaller version built by Chouinard Equipment before they got bought out by the employees and became Black diamond. In 1987 I was camped at Wonder Lake in Denali NP. The famous Alaskan mosquitoes were out in force, and people were standing around with bug netting covering every inch of exposed skin. When I woke up the next morning, someone told me that the air around my tent had been black with mosquitoes (literally- people told me they couldn't see through the cloud of mosquitoes). I had no mosquito netting of any kind, but not one mosquito got inside my tent. I had pitched the tent quite close to the ground, and apparently none of the mosquitoes tried to go under the tent flap, they just dove straight at the fabric.
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Old 04-18-10, 09:28 PM
  #38  
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I"ve been using an REI half dome for years and years. We used to have a 2-person one when it was just hubby and I. Then when the kids were small and we did a lot of car camping, we got the 6-person REI half dome. Now, we are using the REI 4-person. We actually have some Eddie Bauer tents waiting for us in New York that I'll pick up next week - have no idea how they are!
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Old 04-18-10, 10:36 PM
  #39  
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blaise_f
so I went with Sierra Designs' Lightning XT 1. Just under 3 pounds, packs up *tiny* and comes with some strong weatherproofing. I recently pitched it in a 4 day downpour and slept in it nightly - everything kept dry and dandy. It's smaller inside than most, but it's perfect if you just need a solo tent and don't need 4 panniers inside.

+1 for the Sierra Design Lightning. Light, tough, and relatively roomy.


Versatile too!


Blue sack is the tent and rainfly--water bottle is for scale
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Old 04-19-10, 05:25 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
I have a couple of tents, but my old faithful is a 4 man Eureka Timberline I bought it right out of high school for a month long camping trip. It has about reached the end of it's useful life span some 30+ years later. It was used for the original trip, then used a couple of weekends a month for the next 15 years and off and on after that.

They do make a 2 man version of the tent, my DD has one and loves it. We bought it for her when she graduated from high school.

To me the best feature of the Timberline is the interior volume it has low sidewalls that help make the tent a bit larger, the squared off foot print helps too. Price is usually under $200 for the 4 man and quite often can be found on sale at Campmor.

Aaron
Hey! That's the same tent I've been carrying around forever, and I thought I was the only one crazy enough to lug a big old thing like that all over the country.

It's obviously a bit heavier than most of the tents being discussed here, but it's extremely durable and comfortable at night. I always say that if I get a great nights sleep, due to having plenty of room and staying warm and dry in a good tent, then I'll have the energy to lug an extra few pounds during the day.

I've been using that tent for 15 years now. I tell myself that as soon as it wears out, or if anything goes wrong with it, I'll buy a much lighter tent. But the thing is still in excellent shape after hundreds of uses. Except for all the smushed mosquito smears on the inside walls...
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Old 04-19-10, 01:30 PM
  #41  
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REI has a 3 person tent on sale for $99 as their deal of the day today, 4/19.
https://www.rei.com/outlet/deal-of-the-day
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Old 04-19-10, 06:17 PM
  #42  
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I like my big agnes emerald mountain SL2. I got it plus a zip on HUGE accessory vestibule for a steal (around half price for both). I wouldn't pay full price for the tent, but the zip on vestibule can easily hold a bike, probably two... It has two doors, and two vestibules (one being removed to add the larger accessory vestibule), plus its very light. My only concern is long term durability. If it holds up, its definitely a winner. A final positive point is the sandy brown color... very low key.
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Old 04-20-10, 01:17 AM
  #43  
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Positron,

So far I have spent 60+ nights in my BA emerald mountain SL2 and it is still holding up quite well. One thing that worries me a little is that you can see some stress at the "backdoor" zipper seam on the fly. At the same time it is obviously reinforced by some kind of plastic thread, so I am not too worried about it ripping out just yet. I think that perhaps when I tighten down the fly I tighten it too tight, but I like it that way as it makes for better ventilation and rain shedding.

There were some reports of getting runs in the mesh, but I haven't ahd a problem with that at all.

I don't have a sewing machine, so I am not sure what I could do to reinforce the seam at the zipper, any ideas?
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Old 04-20-10, 01:52 AM
  #44  
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1)All Hammocks are colder than tents, the air circulates beneath them like air under an overpass bridge.
2)All hammocks are way way softer to sleep on than the hard ground in a tent.

To me that's what it comes down to.
Personally, I can deal with cold, I can't deal with sleeping on the hard ground, no way!
I use a Hennessy Hammock Deep Jungle and never will use a tent again.
Everybody has to decide for themselves.
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Old 04-20-10, 06:44 AM
  #45  
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I use my Hubba Bubba for bike touring where a little extra weight is not an issue, I love that tent. If your an ultralight cyclist or backpacker take a look at the Zpack Hexamid, about 11oz all in, I have one on order : )
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Old 04-20-10, 09:13 AM
  #46  
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That Zpack Hexamid seems expensive for what it is.....a tarp and bug netting. Interesting design though.
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Old 04-20-10, 09:25 AM
  #47  
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hey Zoltani, Im not sure about the zipper, but thanks for letting me know, I will keep an eye on that spot. I would consider hand sewing the spot if youre worried, it might give you something to do one evening while sitting around camp... Use carpet thread or similar to reinforce the area that is stressed?

glad to hear you like the tent...
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Old 04-20-10, 12:28 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by a1rabbit View Post
About taking things into the tent with us.

...

How do you guys handle food near the tent, in the tent, what about bags near the tent? What is the closest you will cook to the tent?
My opinion on taking food into the tent was formed through experience. Not with bears, but with raccoons! On one of my first trips as a young backpacker, my friend and I brought some cookies into the tent, and ate them while chatting in the evening. We were awakened in the middle of the night by a raccoon clawing away at the tent door. We yelled at it and it went away. Back to sleep for a bit, then it was back. We yelled and it left again. This was repeated a few times until we realized that it was after the cookies that were down by the door. We flung the cookie bag out of the tent and were treated to the sounds of several raccoons fighting over it.

From that day onward no food in the tent. Period.

In Denali (Brown bear country) we were careful about cooking away from where we camped and changing clothes after we cooked. In Algonquin (Black bear country) we just hung our food away from the campsite.

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Old 04-20-10, 01:13 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
Positron,

So far I have spent 60+ nights in my BA emerald mountain SL2 and it is still holding up quite well. One thing that worries me a little is that you can see some stress at the "backdoor" zipper seam on the fly. At the same time it is obviously reinforced by some kind of plastic thread, so I am not too worried about it ripping out just yet. I think that perhaps when I tighten down the fly I tighten it too tight, but I like it that way as it makes for better ventilation and rain shedding.

There were some reports of getting runs in the mesh, but I haven't ahd a problem with that at all.

I don't have a sewing machine, so I am not sure what I could do to reinforce the seam at the zipper, any ideas?
I would just stop by a tailer/cleaners and ask them if they could do a little repair. Should be a simple fix and cost very little. I had a local shop replace one of the buttons on my Ortlieb map case.. cost me like a buck.
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Old 04-20-10, 01:22 PM
  #50  
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You're all awesome. Thanks for all the suggestions so far.

I'm not going to make any choices until I at least try out a hammock and see how they feel. I'm really worried about getting stuck in one if there is a storm. Their light weight to price ratio is nice, probably a good conversation starter too. Still not sold though.

Have my mind set on something along the lines of the MSR Hubba. I'm content with a tent, I like them to be fully enclosed. The MSR designers need to drop more woodsy color into the mix though.
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