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Old 11-25-12, 12:07 PM
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I realize no one reading this will put any faith in my opinion alone, but I'm with Cycco, sstorkel, and others on this when I say I'll never own anything but a freestanding tent. Just too many plusses. Nice to be able to pick up the thing and move it a few feet to get it off that rock or stick you didn't see when setting up or to move it quickly into more shade or ideal spot or to pick up the whole thing in one hand and shake it over your head to clean out the tent and floor so easily and of course all this not to mention I've often set mine up under pavilions and on porches and on solid rock overlooking a river or canyon where you can't stake anything down or easily tie it off. Not free standing >>=====> Not coming with me.
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Old 11-25-12, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by robow
to pick up the whole thing in one hand and shake it over your head to clean out the tent
You can take a hoop tent by the end and shake it over the ground, that way you won't have dirt on your face.
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Old 11-25-12, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
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.
Which is exactly my point.

I don't consider a tent pitched unless it can adequately repel rain and keep my safe from bugs, otherwise what's the point? Why do I care if the inner tent can be pitched without stakes? A tent isn't a shelter unless it can protect me from the elements.
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Old 11-25-12, 01:28 PM
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thanks for that this tent looks very like yours .
https://www.backpackinglight.co.uk/pr...3.asp?PageID=1
scroll down for video.
i can't grasp what you mean by saying you put pole on outside how is that possible.

Last edited by antokelly; 11-25-12 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 11-25-12, 02:20 PM
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One of several Design choices.
Liner suspended from the pole supported shell Vs Tent structure , then rain fly added..


I've put up My Warmlight 3Rs, in some pretty stiff breezes
because I assemble the poles, in their sleeves, while tent is Flat on the ground,
staked out on the far end .
last minute is the pull up and stake down the near end. and go inside.

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-26-12 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 11-25-12, 02:40 PM
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My 2c worth. I have come to the conclusion that it is the size of the tent which is more important than the weight if you are having to live in it for any length of time. When I tour with my partner, we use a three person tent, non-freestanding. This gives us several advantages to overcome the weight of the tent. It has two entrances which allows both of us to have one end of the tent and store all our gear under the vestibules at each end. We can exit the tent at our end without disturbing the other. My end has a larger vestibule which allows me to do all the cooking under cover. Very convenient for windy or rainy days, and allowing me to be in comfort inside the tent while cooking.

The inner can be taken down under the fly so I can pack it away dry if we need to pack up and leave in the rain. And erect the fly before the inner so the inner stays dry. Only 4 pegs are needed to erect the tent, any more can be used if a wind is expected. The tent has suffered very high winds and bent the poles a lot during gusts. I wouldn't have liked a lesser aerodynamically shaped tent during these storms (ie a freestanding tent). Most of our camping is in camping grounds so selecting a good pitch is no problem and the tent does not need to be shifted to a better site. Even so, taking out the 4 pegs allows the tent to be moved with the poles still in position easily.

We started of using a two person tent for many years but would not go back to a smaller tent now. The larger tent allows both of us to change clothes inside the tent without being too cramped, and the headspace is higher as well. If you have to spend the day inside the tent, you will appreciate the extra space. Vestibules mean that wet clothing and shoes can be kept out of the inner tent but safe under cover.

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/..._id=96074&v=It picture of the tent at the bottom of the page (Macpac Citadel model).

It lasted us for 4 months touring in Europe although the fabric is starting to become a little brittle after so much use in the sun. Our next long trip is next year and we have bought an identical tent for this trip.
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Old 11-25-12, 03:09 PM
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Black Diamond Mega Light is another center pole tent, they sell a Floor/mozzy net tent to go inside it,
for when the bugs are Not Frozen.

Golite does the same.
IDK if the one in 54 also has that option.
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Old 11-25-12, 03:48 PM
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Color selection can be important for wildcamping situations, when being noticed is undesirable.

Some materials will be more durable than others. Some lightweight tents are significantly less durable, but careful handling can compensate to some extent.

Polyester flies will last much longer than most nylons in sun. Wildlife biologists use them.

Warmlite offers an aluminized blackout fabric, which some people like for sleep, or for sunblock and shade.
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Old 11-25-12, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by fuzz2050
Which is exactly my point.

I don't consider a tent pitched unless it can adequately repel rain and keep my safe from bugs, otherwise what's the point? Why do I care if the inner tent can be pitched without stakes? A tent isn't a shelter unless it can protect me from the elements.
I can put the rain fly on any of my tents without stakes as the fly attaches to the tent with hooks. Some of my tents have vestibules but even without them being staked out, no wind can get under the vestibule and blow it up. I've used the tent without the vestibule being staked out...too hard to put the stakes in the ground...and once zipped the wind actually blows it against the tent, effectively sealing the fly to the tent. Inside I'm protected from the elements and consider the tent to be freestanding.

If a tent needs to have guy-lines to keep the tent standing, it's not freestanding but if it will stay up without any outside support, then it is indeed standing free of other support or "freestanding". Staking it to keep it from blowing away if I'm not in it isn't providing "support" but only keeps the tent from being damaged.
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Old 11-25-12, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MassiveD
It gets mechanical when that doesn't work, in sand, snow, dense gravel, solid rocks, not trees when they are needed, etc...
I've pitch a freestanding tent in sand, dense gravel and solid rock...not sure what you mean by "not trees when they are needed". I've never run across a problem where a freestanding tent couldn't be pitched in those conditions. Since I don't need pegs or anchors to hold guy-lines, the tent will stand up in all of those conditions. There is nothing in any of those conditions...including snow...that would prevent a freestanding tent from being used. A single pole tent might not work in any or all of them.

We have a large area of sand dunes here in Colorado. Hike out on to the dunes for 3 miles where there are no rocks, trees, bushes and only sand as far as you can see. Try to pitch your single pole tent out there. I know that I can pitch mine there because I've done it. It's simple and requires nothing more then setting up the tent. I don't need sand anchors or bags or anything.

Originally Posted by MassiveD
You sound like the stereotype that proves the rule.
I was 16 years old. The tent was a friends and it was the very first time I had every used a tent. My friend pitched it and it didn't hold up. When I decided to get my own tent about 5 years later, I remembered that night and decided right away that anything needing guy-lines was not for me. Luckily for me, freestanding backpacking tents were starting to hit the market...it was 30+ years ago...for much cheaper and I didn't have to go the 'pup' tent route. I usually don't need to be taught a lesson more than once.


Originally Posted by MassiveD
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.
Freestanding tents are good for 4 inches of snow. For my area, you should always have to be prepared for snow. My snow event occurred in late May and the previous day was 65 F.

Originally Posted by MassiveD
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.
Huh? I not sure what your point is but I'll have a go. You said (see above) that freestanding tents don't work in all the places that single pole tents work. Can they or can't they? In my experience they can and they can even be used in many more places because they don't need anchors to make them stand up.

Weight? My 2 man Seedhouse has a trail weight of just under 3 pounds for a 2 person tent. My Fly Creek UL-1 has a trail weight of just under 2 lbs. Not exactly portly. And they have no 'big diaper pin' that I've ever seen...whatever that means.


Originally Posted by MassiveD
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.
Have you ever even seen a two wall tent? Vapors from my breath go through the mesh, condense on the fly and then drip off onto the ground. In a single wall tent the only place for breath moisture to go is onto the floor of the tent.


Originally Posted by MassiveD
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.
Small hooks, rock anchors, boat anchors? Why would I need any of those? Pegs work in every situation that I've ever run across with the possible exception of solid rock. But in that case I didn't need to anchor the tent at all. That is, of course, the selling point. It's also the reason that there are dozens of freestanding tents at REI and few single pole tents. You can try to argue that they are superior all you want but the market has spoken.
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Old 11-25-12, 11:52 PM
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If I can try and sum up all the vitriol and stubbornness in this thread, both freestanding tents and non-freestanding tents both work great. All things considered, freestanding tents are a little heavier, but less fiddley to put up, especially in adverse conditions. And apparently Cycco had a hard time as a teenager with a non-freestanding tent.

There are merits to both designs, and disadvantages, but for the kind of camping most of us do, it doesn't really matter.

If you want an example, the aforementioned Big Agnes Fly Creek UL-1 has a trail weight of 990 grams (by their website, I don't have one to measure myself). It's a great tent, it's more or less free standing, has 22 square feet of space, and is yours for $320 MSRP.

A similarly priced LightHeart SoLong 6 with aluminium poles weighs almost the same (1010 grams), costs almost the same ($330) but gives you 30 square feet of interior space. The trade off is it's a bit more difficult to set up in less than perfect conditions, and you have to live with a a quasi-single wall setup.

Last edited by fuzz2050; 11-26-12 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 11-26-12, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by fuzz2050
If I can try and sum up all the vitriol and stubbornness in this thread, both freestanding tents and non-freestanding tents both work great. All things considered, freestanding tents are a little heavier, but less fiddley to put up, especially in adverse conditions. And apparently Cycco had a hard time as a teenager with a non-freestanding tent.

There are merits to both designs, and disadvantages, but for the kind of camping most of us do, it doesn't really matter.
Agreed.

I have both free-standing and non-free-standing tents and both types work fine. For most of my bike touring trips I prioritize the weight over convenience and since the non-free-standing ones are lighter those get taken on these trips more frequently. And I've had no problem setting them up in all circumstances that I've found - including on snow, sand, solid platforms, rock slabs, etc. But it did sometimes take a bit more ingenuity than it would have with a free-standing design.
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Old 11-26-12, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by prathmann
Agreed.

I have both free-standing and non-free-standing tents and both types work fine. For most of my bike touring trips I prioritize the weight over convenience and since the non-free-standing ones are lighter those get taken on these trips more frequently. And I've had no problem setting them up in all circumstances that I've found - including on snow, sand, solid platforms, rock slabs, etc. But it did sometimes take a bit more ingenuity than it would have with a free-standing design.
I suppose the weight of 50 feet of light cordage should be factored in to the weight on any non-freestanding tent, since that will allow you to set up your tent under just about any circumstances imaginable. That adds something like an extra ounce?
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Old 11-26-12, 12:47 AM
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ChefIsaac,

Have you considered renting a tent from REI to see for yourself what your needs/preferences are? Maybe set it up in the yard or go for a nearby overnighter to get a good sampling. REI in your area rents:

https://www.rei.com/stores/rentals.html#New%20Jersey

Thanks for the thread, I was considering a tent myself last summer. Thank god I remembered I was broke.

BTW I enjoyed the heck out of your blog!
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Old 11-26-12, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by fuzz2050
I suppose the weight of 50 feet of light cordage should be factored in to the weight on any non-freestanding tent, since that will allow you to set up your tent under just about any circumstances imaginable. That adds something like an extra ounce?
And is something I carry anyway since it has many uses - clothesline, splinting a broken pole, hanging food, etc.
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Old 11-26-12, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I didn't have to go the 'pup' tent route.
I think we all are assuming we are sharing a common tent vocabulary. When I was a child a “pup-tent” was as 15 lb+ chunk of heavy cotton duck reeking of creosote purchased from the local Army/Navy surplus store. When pitched it took on an A-frame tunnel shape. It had two solid wooden tent poles and a handful of wood pegs. It had no floor or bug netting and end flaps had no zippers but Levi style metal buttons. My boyhood friends and I would pack it into the hills behind my home and I have many memories and telling tales of the outdoors snuggled inside that tent.

While there have been many technical advancement in tent materials and design in the ensuing years, I think any tent you cannot stand up in is still a pup-tent. That is unless you can’t sit up and then it is a bivy tent or sack. All the tents described in this thread can rightly be described as pup-tents. No matter if they are geodesic domes supported with tensioned aluminum poles (aka free standing), hemi-cylindrical tunnel tents held in place by both tensioned poles and pegged guys, or the classic A-frame pup-tent with two compression struts and tensioned by the staked out tent fabric itself. I tour with the last type and feel no need to evangelize to its merits or criticize the tent choices of others. Whatever makes you happy and lets you sleep well.

The free-standing domes have their advantages and disadvantages. Being able to easily pick it up and move it or shake out the dirt are two. Being blown away while you are not in the tent is one disadvantage (quite common). Being blown away while you are in the tent is another disadvantage (rare but potentially fatal). A properly staked down dome tent can be a very nice place to ride out a storm (I’ve done it), but is a staked and guyed dome truly free-standing? For God’s sake don’t try and move it in a storm!

For the last few years I have been solo touring with a modified Shangri-La 1 A-frame tent. Say what you will, but it is my personal observation that I can pitch and strike its faster than most folks do their dome tents. I going to guess it might take two or three minutes if I want to move it. I am sure that is longer than picking up a dome tent and setting it back down, but it doesn’t seem like enough difference to write home about. I knocked the front pole down in the middle of the night once on my last tour. Perhaps three seconds to put it back in place. I sleep well.
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Old 11-26-12, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
...It's also the reason that there are dozens of freestanding tents at REI and few single pole tents. You can try to argue that they are superior all you want but the market has spoken.
At least the REI market has spoken. Not everyone shops at REI (stands for Really Expensive Inside, right?).

The long distance hiking community, for example, has largely embraced Tarptent, Gossamer Gear, LightHeart Gear, Zpacks, SixMoonDesign, GoLite, and others.

Tarps are not superior to FS tents, or vice-versa. They're just different tools for the job. If there were one best tent, there would only be one tent.
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Old 11-26-12, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Western Flyer
I think we all are assuming we are sharing a common tent vocabulary. When I was a child a “pup-tent” was as 15 lb+ chunk of heavy cotton duck reeking of creosote purchased from the local Army/Navy surplus store. When pitched it took on an A-frame tunnel shape. It had two solid wooden tent poles and a handful of wood pegs. It had no floor or bug netting and end flaps had no zippers but Levi style metal buttons. My boyhood friends and I would pack it into the hills behind my home and I have many memories and telling tales of the outdoors snuggled inside that tent.
My definition of a "pup tent" is a pair of classic US Army shelter halves that use a pole at both ends to hold up the tent in a A shape like you describe. They don't have to be made of cotton nor do they have to be two halves that are connected to make a tent.

Modern framed tents may have the same shape or they may be domes but the difference is that they have a frame that holds the shape of the tent and the material for the shelter is suspended from the frame.

Originally Posted by Western Flyer
While there have been many technical advancement in tent materials and design in the ensuing years, I think any tent you cannot stand up in is still a pup-tent. That is unless you can’t sit up and then it is a bivy tent or sack. All the tents described in this thread can rightly be described as pup-tents. No matter if they are geodesic domes supported with tensioned aluminum poles (aka free standing), hemi-cylindrical tunnel tents held in place by both tensioned poles and pegged guys, or the classic A-frame pup-tent with two compression struts and tensioned by the staked out tent fabric itself. I tour with the last type and feel no need to evangelize to its merits or criticize the tent choices of others. Whatever makes you happy and lets you sleep well.
That's your definition of a "pup tent". I look at tents differently. A backpacking tent...which can include pup tents...are small tents that are meant to be a sleeping structure but not a dwelling. Tents you can stand up in are family, outfitter and/or car camping tents. I've never owned one. When I go camping, I don't spend a lot of time in one place nor do I spend a lot of time in my tent. I certainly wouldn't try to carry a tent that I can stand up in on a bicycle or backpacking trip. I carry too much crap already, I don't need a 50 lb tent.

Originally Posted by Western Flyer
The free-standing domes have their advantages and disadvantages. Being able to easily pick it up and move it or shake out the dirt are two. Being blown away while you are not in the tent is one disadvantage (quite common). Being blown away while you are in the tent is another disadvantage (rare but potentially fatal). A properly staked down dome tent can be a very nice place to ride out a storm (I’ve done it), but is a staked and guyed dome truly free-standing? For God’s sake don’t try and move it in a storm!
I don't see much in the way of disadvantages for a framed tent that aren't there for a tent without a frame. Yes, it could be blown away if unstaked but then so could a nonframed tent. That's why I always stake mine out. I don't necessarily have to but I've lived in Colorado my whole life and we can go from dead calm to 100 mph winds in a matter of seconds. Pinning the tent to the ground is insurance.

A "freestanding" tent is indeed free standing because it doesn't need anything but the frame to keep it standing. The same can't be said of single pole or double pole tents.

Originally Posted by Western Flyer
For the last few years I have been solo touring with a modified Shangri-La 1 A-frame tent. Say what you will, but it is my personal observation that I can pitch and strike its faster than most folks do their dome tents. I going to guess it might take two or three minutes if I want to move it. I am sure that is longer than picking up a dome tent and setting it back down, but it doesn’t seem like enough difference to write home about. I knocked the front pole down in the middle of the night once on my last tour. Perhaps three seconds to put it back in place. I sleep well.
That is exactly the kind of tent that I would call a 'pup tent'. It's the classic style with a two poles and needs guy-lines to hold it up. The experience that I had 30+ years ago is exactly the experience you had. I have never knocked a pole out in the middle of the night with a frame tent nor had the tent collapse in the middle of the night. It just can't happen.

One of the major disadvantages that I see with your kind of tent is that the tent is much more difficult to pitch on ground where a tent stake can't be used or where the ground is too soft to hold the tent stake. On rock, you'd have to anchor the tent with rocks and lines. A frame tent doesn't need that. On soft sand, your tent's stakes might not hold. Mine might not hold either but the tent would still stand up without them...that's why frame tents are called 'freestanding'.
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Old 11-26-12, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus
At least the REI market has spoken. Not everyone shops at REI (stands for Really Expensive Inside, right?).
It's not just the REI market but the entire market. Freestanding tents are far more available in far more sizes, shapes and weight for less (or more) money than the tents you listed. As for weight, my Fly Creek single tent weighs the same as the Golite Shangri-La or the LightHeart Solo.
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Old 11-26-12, 08:32 AM
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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.
Look at the on-line reviews on REI website for the tent models you consider. There often are comments about length, quality, etc.

But, if someone says it is short, but otherwise the tent looks good to you, try lying down in it in the store. I spent two weeks last summer in a tent that some people commented was too short for someone below 6' but the tent length was good enough for my 6' 1/2" length, so don't take everything you read as gospel.

Some free standing tents require stakes for the vestibules to work right, so the comment that you do not need stakes is not always correct.
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Old 11-26-12, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Western Flyer

The free-standing domes have their advantages and disadvantages. Being blown away while you are in the tent is another disadvantage (rare but potentially fatal).
This is just a ridiculous statement and a little over the top. Freestanding tents are not more inherently dangerous than non-freestanding ones.
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Old 11-26-12, 09:35 AM
  #72  
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The market has spoken; but sometimes it doesn't speak truthfully or well. As with certain individuals, it's sometimes best to keep this in mind, and take it with a grain of salt.

There are some excellent specific examples of this -- will be able to post more details later.
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Old 11-26-12, 11:10 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Niles H.
The market has spoken; but sometimes it doesn't speak truthfully or well. As with certain individuals, it's sometimes best to keep this in mind, and take it with a grain of salt.

There are some excellent specific examples of this -- will be able to post more details later
.
Exactly. One example could be the fast food industry. I'm not going to eat at McD's or KFC or Toxic Smell because most of the market eats there and that's what's most available in my town.

I do not watch the "popular" shows on TV. They insult the intelligence.

How about choosing bicycle transportation over the automobile? That's bucking a market trend right there.
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Old 11-26-12, 11:45 AM
  #74  
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I've always liked a good hoop tent, giving users maximum volume per weight as the poles only have to cross the narrow axis of the tent.

I've always wanted a mono-pole hoop tent for maximum light weight and two stake pitch.

Nowadays though, i pretty much use a tarp and bug net if needed. the lightest weight, but this method is usually not wife or girlfriend friendly. Hoop tent for winter, freestanding huge dome for car-camping, three pound single wall tent for camping with a GF.

Last edited by Bekologist; 11-26-12 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 11-26-12, 05:05 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
As for weight, my Fly Creek single tent weighs the same as the Golite Shangri-La or the LightHeart Solo.
I said all things being equal, I listed the LightHeart for a reason, it's the same cost as the Big Agnes, the same weight, but it's nearly 50% larger.

You are right though, freestanding tents do make up a large portion of the market because most people use their tents a few times a year and don't want to fiddle with them to set them up. I'd wager that anything you can buy at Big 5 will be freestanding, because the type of person who buys a tent at Big 5 isn't going to spend the hour it takes to learn how to set up a more fiddely tent.

At REI, most of the tents are freestanding because it is still a mass market store, and most people who shop at REI don't really want to spend the hour it takes to learn a more fiddely tent.

Smaller specialty retailers though, the numbers become different, there are very few freestanding tents, because if you know enough to seek out a TarpTent, LightHeart, Oware or other small manufacturer, you might be willing to exchange a lighter tent for a steeper learning curve.
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