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Old 11-24-12, 11:28 AM
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We use the Jack Wolfskin Tundra III. You've probably made up your mind on a lightweight free standing dome tent but you just might want to consider a tunnel tent.
The big plusses are a lot of room in the vestibule for all your gear, its a three person tent so we have plenty of room in case we need to wait out a storm, extremely stable in foul weather, can be pitched outer tent first (great if you're pitching the tent in heavy rain) same in reverse (the inner tent is tucked away dry in the panniers before we get out into the rain), it has a side entrance right into the sleeping area which is great for warm weather were we open both entrances which creates a draft (both have mosquito nets). The big minus is the weight, just over 10lbs
We've only used the Tundra III for a couple of years now without any problems. Our older tent was the Worlds End RT, its bigger brother.
More pictures and info. on our site.
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Old 11-24-12, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by xilios
We use the Jack Wolfskin Tundra III. You've probably made up your mind on a lightweight free standing dome tent but you just might want to consider a tunnel tent.
The big plusses are a lot of room in the vestibule for all your gear, its a three person tent so we have plenty of room in case we need to wait out a storm, extremely stable in foul weather, can be pitched outer tent first (great if you're pitching the tent in heavy rain) same in reverse (the inner tent is tucked away dry in the panniers before we get out into the rain), it has a side entrance right into the sleeping area which is great for warm weather were we open both entrances which creates a draft (both have mosquito nets). The big minus is the weight, just over 10lbs
We've only used the Tundra III for a couple of years now without any problems. Our older tent was the Worlds End RT, its bigger brother.
More pictures and info. on our site.
That my friend, is a very nice tunnel tent. I have no real clue about the advantages and disadvantages of tunnel tent versus dome tent.

Any thoughts?

This tent is roomy. Perhaps too much for now but I am not closed to the idear. I know I want to stealth camp or at least have that as an option. This looks like it might be a little big for that purpose but I am totally open to hearing opinions and such.
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Old 11-24-12, 01:01 PM
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We have a Northface Tadpole, and absolutely love it. We used it for two tours in IRELAND, some of it in sideways rain, and it was fabulous. Even in 40-50mph winds it was stable and from inside the tent the rain never even woke us up. My only critique of this tent would be the fact that you enter it from the end rather than the side, which (a) makes it more difficult (IMHO) to get two people bedded down comfortably and (b) makes the vestibule smaller so that we had to leave some of our waterproof panniers sticking out in the rain. Both panniers (Orbliebs) and tent were brilliant. Wish I could say the same for the Irish weather.
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Old 11-24-12, 01:02 PM
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+1 for Hennessey Hammock if you are going solo. For 2 people, I have a USMC Combat Tent. Weight can be split up easily (one person carries tent, other carries rain fly and poles). The 'bathtub' floor design coupled with seam sealer will keep you dry, and the blackout rainfly will keep enemy snipers... oh wait, never mind. It's a good tent with plenty of room for 2+ gear and a nice vestibule for cooking. Made in USA by Eureka or Diamondback so that's a plus. The military grade Easton aluminum tent stakes and poles are both ridiculously light and super strong. There are newer 'single' versions of this tent from Catoma and others.
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Old 11-24-12, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Cache
+1 for Hennessey Hammock if you are going solo. For 2 people, I have a USMC Combat Tent. Weight can be split up easily (one person carries tent, other carries rain fly and poles). The 'bathtub' floor design coupled with seam sealer will keep you dry, and the blackout rainfly will keep enemy snipers... oh wait, never mind. It's a good tent with plenty of room for 2+ gear and a nice vestibule for cooking. Made in USA by Eureka or Diamondback so that's a plus. The military grade Easton aluminum tent stakes and poles are both ridiculously light and super strong. There are newer 'single' versions of this tent from Catoma and others.
Thanks for the info.

Thought hammocks are out for me.
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Old 11-24-12, 02:00 PM
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I'm one of the few people who thinks that non-freestanding tents are a good idea. I still maintain that there are very few real freestanding tents, and that even the oft touted 'freestanding' tents like the REI (Fraction) Domes, and the Big Agnes lines are not really freestanding.

I have a Quarter Dome myself, and it's a great tent, but it takes at least four pegs to actually erect it, and is a lot more stable with six or eight. If I was in a real storm, I'd want close to ten.

A Big Agnes Fly Creek also takes at least four pegs to pitch, and would probably benefit from a few more.

In my mind, if I need four pegs to erect my tent and fly with a reasonable pitch, it isn't freestanding.
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Old 11-24-12, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
That my friend, is a very nice tunnel tent. I have no real clue about the advantages and disadvantages of tunnel tent versus dome tent.

Any thoughts?

This tent is roomy. Perhaps too much for now but I am not closed to the idear. I know I want to stealth camp or at least have that as an option. This looks like it might be a little big for that purpose but I am totally open to hearing opinions and such.
The Tundra III is on the large side but many (world) travelers use the Hilleberg Nammatj GT and the Helsport Fjellheimen X-Trem Camp :
The Tundra III is the longer of the three 15cm and 20cm, +/-2lbs heavyer, nearly €600 cheaper and has the side entrance (which really comes in handy in warm weather).
But I think the biggest adventages for using a tunnel tent (for us) is the amount of space (very comfortable while waiting out a storm) and the possibility to keep the inner tent and the rest of our gear nice and dry (while setting it up or putting it away) in bad weather.
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Old 11-24-12, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by xilios
The Tundra III is on the large side but many (world) travelers use the Hilleberg Nammatj GT and the Helsport Fjellheimen X-Trem Camp :
The Tundra III is the longer of the three 15cm and 20cm, +/-2lbs heavyer, nearly €600 cheaper and has the side entrance (which really comes in handy in warm weather).
But I think the biggest adventages for using a tunnel tent (for us) is the amount of space (very comfortable while waiting out a storm) and the possibility to keep the inner tent and the rest of our gear nice and dry (while setting it up or putting it away) in bad weather.
Would you use it if it was just you?
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Old 11-24-12, 02:58 PM
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If you'll be using it in hot weather, you might want to consider something with lots of mesh. Some tents are much, much better than others in this area.

Also, some types of mesh are much better than others in allowing air to move more freely.

There are small-AA-flashlight-sized fans that can also help.

Tents can be very stifling in the heat.

There are many viable choices out there.

A lot depends on values or priorities. Some people place a high value on light weight and compactness. Others are more concerned with cost. Or comfort. Or extra room. Or long-stay comfort. Or durability. Or stormworthiness. Or manufacturer/dealer support. Or aesthetics. Or ease of setup. Or versatility. Or personal connection/appeal.

I really value exceptionally good ventilation, along with aesthetic appeal.

Some people use their shelter just for sleeping. Others use it more like a home away from home, spend much more time in it, and need a different sort of space.

Some like roominess, and feel too confined or even claustrophobic in a space that another might experience as cozy.

That North Face Bulfrog type of configuration is one I really like. But there are others that are comparable.

The Ray Jardine tarp-plus-mini-bug-shelter idea seems good. But mesh is fairly light if you want more room.

You might have a look at his site, and his designs, ideas and prices.
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Old 11-24-12, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Niles H.
If you'll be using it in hot weather, you might want to consider something with lots of mesh. Some tents are much, much better than others in this area.

Also, some types of mesh are much better than others in allowing air to move more freely.

There are small-AA-flashlight-sized fans that can also help.

Tents can be very stifling in the heat.

There are many viable choices out there.

A lot depends on values or priorities. Some people place a high value on light weight and compactness. Others are more concerned with cost. Or comfort. Or extra room. Or long-stay comfort. Or durability. Or stormworthiness. Or manufacturer/dealer support. Or aesthetics. Or ease of setup. Or versatility. Or personal connection/appeal.

I really value exceptionally good ventilation, along with aesthetic appeal.

Some people use their shelter just for sleeping. Others use it more like a home away from home, spend much more time in it, and need a different sort of space.

Some like roominess, and feel too confined or even claustrophobic in a space that another might experience as cozy.

That North Face Bulfrog type of configuration is one I really like. But there are others that are comparable.

The Ray Jardine tarp-plus-mini-bug-shelter idea seems good. But mesh is fairly light if you want more room.

You might have a look at his site, and his designs, ideas and prices.
Thanks for the info.

Currently looking at these two tents: https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...t-to-Two-Tents

I like the REI tent because of the mesh screening. So many options. Yikes!
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Old 11-24-12, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Thulsadoom
Don't hold back, say what you really mean!

he does thats why we love him
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Old 11-24-12, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
any recommendations for an rei tent for a real tall guy that has enough room in it? I am 6 foot 4 and a big boy. Would like room for panniers too.
GOOD LUCK

The very geometry of geodesic dome pup tents (aka "free standing") is such that they don't accommodate tall people until you are looking at a 4 to 5 person dome. The stated floor dimensions can be very deceiving. At best they give you the length of the projected floor, but often they are the fly measurements or even to the peg loops. What they never give is the plane extending from the top of your head to the tip of your toes when lying on your back, which can be a foot shorter than the floor. This results in the "tent-on-your-face syndrome." One of the main benefits I see in dome tents is a lot of them can be set up on the showroom floor. I suggest you crawl into any tent you are interested in and lay on you back on top of an inflated air mattress. Remember when the tent gets wet the nylon will sag a bit.

I realize I am very much in the minority, perhaps 1 out of 100, but when I tour solo I use a one person A frame pup tent >2lb. With my wife, we use a three person teepee tent with a single pole. I am sure there must be some place where I couldn't set up a non-freestanding tent, but after decades of camping I have yet to come across it.
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Old 11-24-12, 04:00 PM
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Great info! Thank you!

Originally Posted by Western Flyer


GOOD LUCK

The very geometry of geodesic dome pup tents (aka "free standing") is such that they don't accommodate tall people until you are looking at a 4 to 5 person dome. The stated floor dimensions can be very deceiving. At best they give you the length of the projected floor, but often they are the fly measurements or even to the peg loops. What they never give is the plane extending from the top of your head to the tip of your toes when lying on your back, which can be a foot shorter than the floor. This results in the "tent-on-your-face syndrome." One of the main benefits I see in dome tents is a lot of them can be set up on the showroom floor. I suggest you crawl into any tent you are interested in and lay on you back on top of an inflated air mattress. Remember when the tent gets wet the nylon will sag a bit.

I realize I am very much in the minority, perhaps 1 out of 100, but when I tour solo I use a one person A frame pup tent >2lb. With my wife, we use a three person teepee tent with a single pole. I am sure there must be some place where I couldn't set up a non-freestanding tent, but after decades of camping I have yet to come across it.
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Old 11-24-12, 04:20 PM
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Western Flyer do you by any chance have a photo of your T-Pee tent pluc cost weight.
thanks i like the idea of a teepee tent myself but are they hard to pitch and heavy just asking.
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Old 11-24-12, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by antokelly
Western Flyer do you by any chance have a photo of your T-Pee tent plus cost weight.
thanks.
Antokelly

Here is a url photo of my tent from my Klamath River trip a few years ago. Very few people notice there is no center pole in the photo. I added a short extension and put the pole on the outside of the tent. Much more romantic, especially on a freezing night on the side of Mt Mazama (Crater Lake). The tent is an older version of the GoLite Shangri-La 3. The only modification I made besides the external pole is replacing the plastic snap which attaches the peak of the inner tent to the fly. I used a little aluminum key chain carabiner.

I love the tent. It is very easy to put up. It is listed as a three person tent and I have had my wife, my grandson, the dog and myself all in it at once. It was tight! For two people it is luxurious and for one - palatial. While it doesn't have standing headroom, the peak is high enough to put my pants on with just bending my head and shoulders a bit.

Last edited by Western Flyer; 11-24-12 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 11-24-12, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Thulsadoom
Don't hold back, say what you really mean!
Sorry but I get a little testy when someone implies the kinds of things that MassiveD implied. If single pole and tarp tents were so superior why do you find dozens of freestanding framed tents when you walk into REI and very few single pole/tarp tents? Are those of us who use freestanding tents just unenlightened?
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Old 11-24-12, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by fuzz2050
I'm one of the few people who thinks that non-freestanding tents are a good idea. I still maintain that there are very few real freestanding tents, and that even the oft touted 'freestanding' tents like the REI (Fraction) Domes, and the Big Agnes lines are not really freestanding.

I have a Quarter Dome myself, and it's a great tent, but it takes at least four pegs to actually erect it, and is a lot more stable with six or eight. If I was in a real storm, I'd want close to ten.

A Big Agnes Fly Creek also takes at least four pegs to pitch, and would probably benefit from a few more.

In my mind, if I need four pegs to erect my tent and fly with a reasonable pitch, it isn't freestanding.
I'm not sure what you would classify as a freestanding tent. You don't need any tent pegs at all to pitch a freestanding tent...not something that can be said about single pole tents. You can assemble it and leave it standing free from any kind of support.

Now I always stake my tent out because stuff happens. But that doesn't mean that the tent isn't 'free standing'. It just means that I'm being realistic.
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Old 11-24-12, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
Thanks for the info


Any recommendations for an REI tent for a real tall guy that has enough room in it? I am 6 foot 4 and a big boy. Would like room for panniers too.
The REI Quarter Dome Plus is a 94" long tent.
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Old 11-24-12, 08:45 PM
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I'll throw in a recommendation for Tarptents. Single walled tents that are good in spring, summer, fall (and light winter conditions). I use one of these for the occasional bike tour (haven't bike toured in 2 years) and more extensively for backpacking. I've got an older Cloudburst (no longer in Tarptent's lineup) and its similar to the current Squall or Rainbow tents. These are tunnel tents and should be long enough for two persons and some gear. And since they are single walled tents, they're incredibly light.

https://www.tarptent.com/#
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Old 11-24-12, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I'm not sure what you would classify as a freestanding tent. You don't need any tent pegs at all to pitch a freestanding tent...not something that can be said about single pole tents. You can assemble it and leave it standing free from any kind of support.
The REI Half Dome is a bog-standard dome tent, just about the definition of freestanding, but without at least two pegs, the vestibules covering the doors will flop around and provide no protection from the wind or rain. It isn't really pitched until those two corners are staked down. I've found that my Quarter Dome also needs the mid panel tie outs at the head and foot staked out for internal space.

You can put the inner tent up without any stakes, but it's a flimsy pitch, and you need a minimum of two stakes to pitch the fly.
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Old 11-24-12, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
Would you use it if it was just you?
Not a three person tent, but a two person tent like this Jack Wolfskin Sanctuary II (granite color)

Last edited by xilios; 11-24-12 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 11-25-12, 12:22 AM
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I use my tents in some pretty challenging conditions, and definitely prefer free standing models.






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Old 11-25-12, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Total crock. What's "mechanical" about sticking a pole in the ground and running a bunch of guy wires out to keep the pole from falling over? And then hoping that the wind doesn't come up and blow the whole thing down?
It gets mechanical when that doesn't work, in sand, snow, dense gravel, solid rocks, not trees when they are needed, etc...

"
I've used a non-freestanding tent exactly once and ended up rebuilding the damned thing in the middle of the night when it collapsed.
You sound like the stereotype that proves the rule.


On the other hand I've used freestanding tents for hundreds of nights without any issues in all kinds of weather from wind storms to thunderstorms to 4" of snow in all manner of locations.
Tarps are a bad choice for 4 inches of snow. I replaced quite a few Everest worthy FS tents when I was in the biz. VE24 where the main ones. But the conditions were generally extreme. The kind you could not make forward progress on a bike in. FS tents are good if you like the weight and other problems. Everything has the flaws of it's strengths.

They can be used in as many places as tarp tents
That is meaningless, every time you move your tent 1 thou "hey look, it is a new place". If you have the ability to get your tent/tarp up anywhere you need it, it comes down to the other features. If you aren't mechanical in that way, you need a tent with a suitable big diaper pin to hold it all together for you.

and offer some niceties that are often missing in tarps tents like double walls to reduce condensation
Now that is funny, double walls are the next best thing to a solar still. They provide the illusion of ventilation with none of the pesky reality.


And each freestanding tent I've owned has come with anchors...they are called tent pegs.
I'm sure when you were a child you got a paintbox, that does not make you an artist. There are a lot of better tools than pegs, and there are a lot of different levels of ability, take your story for example. Small hooks are lighter and a lot more secure. Then a background in anchors also helps, mainly the rock climbing kind, but also the marine, or something equivalent. FS tents have a lot of pluses, but you could see it on their shinning faces as they plunked down the cash, the certainty that the dang things would not fall down was the selling point.
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Old 11-25-12, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by fuzz2050
The REI Half Dome is a bog-standard dome tent, just about the definition of freestanding, but without at least two pegs, the vestibules covering the doors will flop around and provide no protection from the wind or rain. It isn't really pitched until those two corners are staked down. I've found that my Quarter Dome also needs the mid panel tie outs at the head and foot staked out for internal space.

You can put the inner tent up without any stakes, but it's a flimsy pitch, and you need a minimum of two stakes to pitch the fly.
Sorry but by your definition, no tent is freestanding. I consider a tent to be "pitched" once you can crawl into it. The rainfly...which I almost always use...has nothing to do with the freestandedness of the tent.
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Old 11-25-12, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
That my friend, is a very nice tunnel tent. I have no real clue about the advantages and disadvantages of tunnel tent versus dome tent.

Any thoughts?
Basically, the only disadvantage of tunnel tents is that they aren't freestanding, and that scares a lot of people.

In general, tunnel or hoop tents have a better floor space to weight ratio. This is more obvious in small tents and the reason why I prefer a 2-person hoop tent for solo trips over a coffin size FS tent. FS tent usually have steeper walls which makes their space more usable for people.

Tunnel tents are more aerodynamic and do better in windy conditions. They also bend more in a crosswind. A dome tent won't bend as much but there are more chance of breaking poles or having the tent blown away if you're not in it. My little Clip Flashlight sheds the wind better than a 4 season Marmot dome tent I had. BTW, the first time I heard of a Sierra Design Flashlight was in the mid 80s, when a guy climbed Denali solo with one (there were no "clips" then and only the door had mesh, which he sew fabric over it).

Hoop tents tend to be much cheaper, especially in the smaller tents. Another reason why I prefer a hoop tent for solo use. But there are also high-end tunnel tents like Stephenson's Warmlite which cost mucho dollars. They often have the tent inner wall sewn to the outer walls and are very quick to set-up.
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