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Tent for solo tourist

Old 05-01-10, 05:53 AM
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Tent for solo tourist

Hey touring forum, I'm planning on doing the transAm this summer. My previous tours have always been with one other person, this one I'm going solo. So the one piece of gear I'm missing is a small compact one or two person tent.

What tents are you solo tourers using? I've never done any solo camping and have no clue as to what to get. Is it better to carry a two person tent so I can stash some of my gear in there overnight - this is what I have always done when using a three person. Or should I go for the ultra portable and light weight? I don't mind leaving my panniers outside, they are the waterproof ones. Will the weight difference between a one and two person be worth the extra sleeping and storage space?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-01-10, 06:11 AM
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I have a msr hubba tent,it's a good single person tent.However I would preffer a two person tent for the extra room in it.I don't think that the extra weight would be that much,I think that in the future I will be getting a two person tent.
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Old 05-01-10, 07:20 AM
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I like my Eureka spitfire. Easy set up, light, just enough room. I just wish they made the fly some sort of green for stealthing.
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Old 05-01-10, 07:58 AM
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Not so much the weight difference as the bulk that is the problem with a two man. I prefer the two man for obvious reasons if I still have room on the bike for all my other gear/food/water needs. Most of the time, it is no problem.

I too am a fan of the Eureka Spitfire, both solo and 2 man. Most bang for the buck there is in a tent IMO. Both have great peak height and are very durable. Be less than 5'10" tall for the solo version. I don't have an issue with the fly color for stealthing, tho would prefer a dark green or brown. For some reason, tent makers don't seem concerned about us stealth camping folks.

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Old 05-01-10, 08:47 AM
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Opinions are all over the place on this. I think extra room in the tent is over rated. I used a two man tent on my last solo tour and didn't find the extra space to be a big deal. I still left all my gear in the panniers and left the panniers on the bike. I took it because it weighs almost the same as my solo tent, but next time I will probably take the solo one to save a few ounces.

I tend to either be sleeping or listening to an audio book if I am in the tent so extra space isn't really needed.

If you like to lounge around in the tent and or insist on taking gear inside a bigger tent might be worth the weight. Even in that case watch the ounces. They add up and comfort on the bike is greatly affected by weight carried.
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Old 05-01-10, 11:26 AM
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Here is a thread I made a couple weeks ago about tents for solo touring, might have some info for you.
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Old 05-01-10, 12:11 PM
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Check out Henry Shires Tarptents. Super light and compact. About the size of a 2 liter bottle of soda, a little skinnier though, and only weights 1 and 1/2 pounds. It's not freestanding, which means you have to stake each corner in dirt or use rocks to hold the corners out but it only uses one pole and set up is very easy. Also, the one man is enormous. I use mine for hiking as well and have plenty of room inside for all sorts of gear. They are a olive fatigue color for good stealth camping.

Highly recommend the Contrail.

https://www.tarptent.com/products.html
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Old 05-01-10, 12:42 PM
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The North Face Particle 13 is what I've been using but don't think they make it anymore. The reason for my post is let you know that I have never had any issues using a one person tent, especially the small amount of room it takes up on my bike. I usually put my panniers under the vestebule unless there's food in one, then I'll hang that one up. There is enough room to sit up and I don't need more space for anything. I do remember one night during a heavy rainstorm bringing my panniers in with me and still had plenty of room to sleep.
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Old 05-01-10, 12:54 PM
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I've posted the same reply in several threads, but here goes again: I would NOT look into 1 person shelters unless I was walking and carrying all the gear in my back (where every kilogram counts), or the shelter was a hammock/bivy (most if not all of these are for one person).

But if you're riding and specifically want a tent, look for 2 person tents at minimum. The weight penalty is not a big issue on the bike IMO, and extra tent space is valuable for me. YMMV.

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Old 05-01-10, 01:50 PM
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I have three tents that fit your needs. Here are my thoughts:

1. Big Agnes Seedhouse UL2. This is my favorite tent. Big enough for me and my "stuff." Works better staked out, but I have slept in it many nights using it with no stakes. Can be set up and moved around. Not much heavier than the UL1 (one person version) that is cramped. Weighs about 3.5 pounds with ground cloth, tent, fly, poles, and enough stakes to make it comfy. (Given the interior space, flexibility (freestanding), weight, this tent seems like a no-brainer.)

2. Big Agnes Seedhouse UL1. My least favorite tent. it is just to small.

3. Six Moon Designs lunar solo. Almost the same floor space as the Big Agnes Seedhouse UL2. It is a tarp tent like the Henry Shires but side entry instead of end entry. You would need a pole for bicycle touring, so the weight savings over the Big Agnes would not be as much. As a backpack tent, using your treking poles you can save 1.5-2 pounds over the big agnes.
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Old 05-01-10, 02:57 PM
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I'd check out Hilleberg tents. Three of their models, the Akto, Nallo, and Unna tents, are very highly recommended for bicycle touring. They pitch fast, are around 4 pounds, and are available in a really nice forest green color. I also like the fact that they are made within the European Union by well-paid labor. While this means they are not cheap, they are definitely built to last, with many people claiming to have heavily abused them without any problems.

Also Warmlite tents of California make a really fancy tunnel-tent, that is stupid light but that also has a great reputation.
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Old 05-02-10, 07:10 AM
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I use a very 1-man tent for European touring in Sept.
It was quite cheap and I shed a lot of weight by replacing the steel pegs with Alu.
The main features it lacks are
Headspace to sit (useful if you are trapped by heavy rain)
A covered bell area
A fly-first pitch. Pitching in heavy rain can mean a wet grounsheet if you are not careful.
The are some much better tents out there but they all cost 5x as much.
For a cheapie tent the gelert comes with top-class construction and good backup for the company. When my fibre-glass oles cracked they sent me new-improved replacements.
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Old 05-02-10, 07:34 AM
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Tarptent Contrail. Packs down so small and light I can fit it under my seat. Plenty of room inside too once it is set up..
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Old 05-02-10, 09:18 AM
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I was leaning towards a Big Agnes Emerald Springs 1 but the salesperson at REI suggested the Sierra Designs Light Year 1. For $169, it is pretty hard to beat. If money were no object I would go w/ the BA mostly due to the much larger vestibule area.
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Old 05-02-10, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by newenglandbike
I'd check out Hilleberg tents. Three of their models, the Akto, Nallo, and Unna tents, are very highly recommended for bicycle touring. They pitch fast, are around 4 pounds, and are available in a really nice forest green color. I also like the fact that they are made within the European Union by well-paid labor. While this means they are not cheap, they are definitely built to last, with many people claiming to have heavily abused them without any problems.
I would also suggest the Hilleberg "Soulo" tent... I had one on my two month tour of the Californian deserts this winter... the stormiest winter in many a year in those parts... Even in the strongest winds and heaviest rains it stood solid as a rock and didn't let in a drop of water.

Hilleberg are absolutely top of the range expedition tents, which is of course reflected in their price...
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Old 05-02-10, 01:49 PM
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The REI Quarter Dome or half dome used to be a great tent. I don't know how the changes they made to it have affected its quality. My son worked for REI for 10 years he had 5 or 6 different tents and the one he usually took was the Quarter dome or half dome. I would take at least a two man tent so you could take in your panniers at night just for my own peace of mind. If you have to spend a day in the rain cooped up in a tent a two person will at least give you a little more breathing room. IMHO of course.
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Old 05-02-10, 06:24 PM
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I used an REI Quarter Dome (2 person) for the second half of my trans-am tour last summer, and was very happy with it. The OLD North Face Rock 22 that I had been using just had too many problems that I had to fix on the road, so I sprang for a new tent when I got to the Nashville REI. Like I said, I am very happy with it so far; it sets up very quickly, and is about 4 1/2 lbs packed. One feature that I really like is that the pole sections are short (about 17 inches versus 22 inches for the Rock 22) so that the tent doesn't stick out as far off the end of my rear rack. I can even put it in my panniers if I am touring light and have the extra space. I have not used it in windy conditions, but it handles heavy rain quite well. Anyway, to answer stringbreaker's implied question, the Quarter Dome is still a great tent.
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Old 05-02-10, 07:04 PM
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Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 is my current home away from home. It's a great tent that is light and easy to setup. The color is very neutral for blending in with the surroundings. Plenty big enough for one and extra gear.

I'm guessing I've spent 100 plus nights in this tent. I'm guessing 25 of them with some rain. Never leaked ever. That makes this tent tops in my book.

STAY AWAY FROM THE SEEDHOUSE NON SL VERSION. The poles are crap. If you have this tent and they haven't yet...... they will start to crack before long. Trust me.

Plenty of other good tents have been mentioned above.
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Old 05-02-10, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by twinkles
3. Six Moon Designs lunar solo. Almost the same floor space as the Big Agnes Seedhouse UL2. It is a tarp tent like the Henry Shires but side entry instead of end entry. You would need a pole for bicycle touring, so the weight savings over the Big Agnes would not be as much. As a backpack tent, using your treking poles you can save 1.5-2 pounds over the big agnes.
+1 on the lunar solo. I either use it or the wild oasis, which is the same as the lunar solar minus the floor. It pitches with one single pole. For touring, buy the carbon pole fitted to size and weighs less than 2 ounces. Also, spend the extra cash to have it seam sealed by them. Great tents! Impressive room for such a light weight, lets you sit up in mid tent, and nice vestibule. Perfect for solo use. I carry the carbon pole velcroed to my top tube.
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Old 05-02-10, 09:17 PM
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I've been more than pleased with using REI's T2 Quarterdome tent. I used it last night in the rain and not a single drop entered the tent. It's lightweight and compact, and looks pretty cool too.

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Old 05-02-10, 09:55 PM
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I use this tent its a Zeus 1 ClassicTent
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Old 05-02-10, 10:17 PM
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Another option is a hammock. One of the best is the Blackbird:

https://warbonnetoutdoors.com/blackbirds.php

combined with Big Mamajamba tarp:

https://warbonnetoutdoors.com/tarps.php

The tarp can be use separately on those occasions where the hammock cannot be hung. Another popular make of hammock is Hennessy:

https://hennessyhammock.com

My last two tours (NC mountains and Banff/Jasper parks) I used a hammock. To get some ideas of hammock camping, have a look here:

https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/index.php
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Old 05-03-10, 06:25 AM
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Think a tent would be easier to set up than a hammock and a tarp. For those prices you can get a decent tent and be done with it. IMHO. that said sleeping on the ground is getting harder and harder ( literally ) for some of us over 50 crowd, might be a decent option
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Old 05-03-10, 06:42 AM
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I'm starting the Northern Tier end of June, and I decided to replace my REI Roadster with a Big Agnes Emerald Mountain SL1. I haven't slept in it yet, but I've set it up. Based on the reviews I read I expected it to seem bigger inside: I'm 6'2" and just barely fit length-wise. (I read several reviews prior to purchase from people claiming that this was the best solo choice for those over six feet.) I'm not sure why the Emerald Mountain costs and weighs more than the Seedhouse -- it doesn't appear to be any bigger. It does seem to be quite sturdy, and the vestibule is nice (perhaps that's the difference?).

Originally Posted by foodman
Hey touring forum, I'm planning on doing the transAm this summer. My previous tours have always been with one other person, this one I'm going solo. So the one piece of gear I'm missing is a small compact one or two person tent.

What tents are you solo tourers using? I've never done any solo camping and have no clue as to what to get. Is it better to carry a two person tent so I can stash some of my gear in there overnight - this is what I have always done when using a three person. Or should I go for the ultra portable and light weight? I don't mind leaving my panniers outside, they are the waterproof ones. Will the weight difference between a one and two person be worth the extra sleeping and storage space?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-03-10, 07:29 AM
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Similar to Hilleberg but not as expensive, Exped is rarely mentioned. Check out this solo tent.
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