About | Blog | Forums | People | Free Newsletter
Trailspace is a product review site for outdoor enthusiasts. Use it to find and share great gear.

2 person tent

10:19 p.m. on July 11, 2006 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
3 forum posts

I am looking for a two person 3 season tent. I live in
the northwest so I want it to be reasonably rainproof. I
also don't want to spend too much over $200 or have it weigh over five and a half pounds. A few tents I have been considering the Marmot Twilight 2P, Rei half dome, or The North Face Tadpole 23. If you have a Suggestion on one of these or any other tent that would be good for me I would be grateful.
Thanks,
Thomas

5:03 a.m. on July 12, 2006 (EDT)
(Guest)

Marmot makes the best stuff, period.
When in doubt always go with Marmot

7:12 a.m. on July 12, 2006 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
234 reviewer rep
924 forum posts

Wolf: That's a bit of a broad statement, don't you think? Marmot makes nice stuff, but so do plenty of other companies. Have you used the Twilight?

Tom: I think any of the tents you mentioned should treat you fine. they all have a lot of mesh area for ventilation, but that may not make them the best choice for cooler temps of early spring and late fall. The big difference is shape. The Half Dome is rectangular with faily steep sidewalls and decent headroom. The Twilight is more of an a-frame design, which might feel more cramped but allows for some gear storage space along the sides. The Tadpole's tapered design feels spacious, but you may find yourself bumping feet with your tentmate.

If price is a factor, the Half Dome is a bargain at about $50 less than the others. I have a Half Dome 4 HC; it's a thoughfully designed and very well-made tent. Just make sure to buy a few extra stakes -- ours came with guylines but only enough stakes for the tent body and vestibules.

If you haven't read the reviews already, there are plenty here:

http://www.trailspace.com/gear/marmot/twilight-2p/
http://www.trailspace.com/gear/rei/half-dome-2-hc/
http://www.trailspace.com/gear/rei/half-dome-2/
http://www.trailspace.com/gear/the-north-face/tadpole-23/

12:33 p.m. on July 12, 2006 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,219 reviewer rep
5,181 forum posts

Of the tents you name, I would place the Marmot as the best quality and the REI as the best buy. But all 3 will serve you well. As Dave said, I also have reservations about the amount of mesh. My reservations include not only the cold weather question Dave mentioned, but I have found in the "new fashion" lots of mesh tents (I have 2) that in a heavy blowing rainstorm like you get in the PNW rain can blow up under the fly, getting the inside of the tent wet. Same with early or late season snow storms. Yeah, it is the current fashion (just like the plastic windows that become translucent after 10-15 days being pitched in the sun).

However, since you have narrowed to these 3, I won't confuse the issue by mentioning the dozen other good manufacturers (some of which make better tents than Marmot, despite Wolf's enthusiastic endorsement), or hundreds of other models that would meet your needs. One really big factor in my calling the REI a "best buy" is not only the price, but REI's really excellent warranty policy. You would be satisfied with any of these 3.

Go for it, and just get out there.

8:17 p.m. on July 12, 2006 (EDT)
25 reviewer rep
54 forum posts

Tom,

I use the Eureka Zeus II. I have the old version not the 06 version.

Anyhow, it is a singled walled tent. That is nice for packing and putting up. However, if you are going to be using it any type of heat, you may not want a single walled tent.

I had read somewhere that single walled are better in the rain. I have to say, the last time I used my tent is rained for a better part of twelve hours. I did of course seam seal as instructed and I only found about three or four drops of water in my ten the next morning. I did learn that you need to seal all seams, even the ones under flaps.

On the down side, I was hiking at about 10,500 feet or so and ran into a large amount of snow that prevented me from going higher (lack of snow gear). Anyhow, my tent ended up being in the sun until the rain began. It was 65 degrees outside my tent and 120 degrees in my tent.

I guess what I am getting at is my next tent will have more mesh for comfort reasons.

http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=38470424&memberId=12500226

http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=38470413&memberId=12500226

For the price I am interested in either of these two. I guess I have to decide whether or not I need two vestibules.

-John

5:31 a.m. on July 13, 2006 (EDT)
(Guest)

He asked for an opinion and I gave mine.
I have backpacked on and off for 17 + years if not more. Marmot was not around back then but it sure is now. During that time companies that make good stuff have come and gone. Some are still here but the quality of their items is nothing compared to what it used to be. Eddie Bauer is a great example of this.
Today I honestly believe Marmot is so good that I could buy a product of theirs only looking at it from a website and be completely happy with it instantly when I received it. They simply have never made a single bad product that I have found to date. They are honest as well. We still have companies (Like the North Face) claiming they are putting 900 fill goose down in some of their bags and Jackets when this is a lie. Marmot used to say this as well but when they found out the down they were getting was not actually 900 fill they told the public and stopped advertising their products as such. NO ONE is acquiring 900 fill quality down and may have likely never been able to do so. Yet some companies still lie about it.
For now I am a stead fast Marmot customer until they give me a reason not to be. I hope that never happens.

6:02 a.m. on July 13, 2006 (EDT)
30 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts

Johnson Outdoors:

bring back the Eureka Timberlite 2! (not the xt model)

I absolutely love mine. $70 and it weighs about 4 lbs.

I'd recommend it to anyone...if they still made it.

To be honest, I think all my Eureka and Camp Trails stuff is the best.

For my needs.

1:29 p.m. on July 13, 2006 (EDT)
4 reviewer rep
20 forum posts

I have had a Northface tadpole for almost 20 years & it is still going strong. I used it mainly as a 1 person tent, but now have gone to a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL 1 for my single. I occasionally use the old tadpole for 2 people, but it would be tight with 2 big people!

I am impressed with the size & weight of BA Seedhouse SL 2. Worth investigating...

3:28 p.m. on July 13, 2006 (EDT)
(Guest)

I have had a Tadpole (the original, slightly smaller than the Tadpole 23) since 1992. It has held up very well under a variety of conditions. It will withstand high winds as well or better than any tent I have ever seen.

The Tadpole is not exactly a two-person tent. It's more of a 'skinny guy & his dog' kind of tent. I have slept in it with another adult and it was pretty tight. It's also probably not the best tent for folks significantly over 6' tall.

12:05 a.m. on July 14, 2006 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,219 reviewer rep
5,181 forum posts

Wolf posted, in part -

"... I have backpacked on and off for 17 + years if not more. Marmot was not around back then but it sure is now. During that time companies that make good stuff have come and gone. Some are still here but the quality of their items is nothing compared to what it used to be. ..."

Again, some of your statements are a bit strong. And a bit in error. Marmot has been around for a lot longer than the 17+ years you state (unless the "+" indicates a decade). They started in Colorado (Boulder), then moved to California a bit over 22 years ago. Around 18-19 years ago, the manufacturing and retail divisions separated, with the retail division including the retail store of Western Mountaineering and a couple other shops they had acquired. I have a Marmot bivy sack that I occasionally use and a Marmot sleeping bag that I also use from time to time, both acquired 20 years ago.

It really isn't reasonable to include Eddie Bauer in the group of companies that aren't as good as they used to be. Bauer was the premier supplier of expedition down gear (sleeping bags, of which I still sometimes use the one I acquired in 1960, parkas, etc) from the late 1940s to the mid 1970s. Then they changed to a yuppie clothing shop, so are long since not to be considered as an outdoor shop. They do not sell anything that could be considered backpacking or climbing gear at this point, nor for the past 30 years.

You condemn TNF in strong language, but as several others have posted, TNF makes some excellent gear, despite some periods of problems over the past 20 years or so. The Tadpole, which I have used on Orizaba, for example, is very good for its intended uses. We had winds of 30-40 knots at our 16,000 ft camp, which the tent withstood quite well (except that the mesh let in more dust than I would have liked). I have used their expedition tents and found them excellent in the Alaska Range in winds up to 75 knots (measured) and -40F temperatures, as well as in the Rockies on deep winter backcountry ski tours. I also have a couple of their shells, which I use for "everyday" backpacking. I do use my Marmot Alpinist 3 for most of my expeditions.

You also make some misleading statements about 900 fill down. The main problem is the limited supply, plus the fact that 900 fill tends to lose its loft when stuffed hard fairly quickly, compared to lower fill ratings. There are a couple of companies that regularly supply 800-850 fill bags and parkas. We have 2 in my household, one of which has spent a total of 4 months in the Arctic Range, plus a fair amount of time on backcountry ski tours (one week-long one in which the high temperature recorded was -10F during the week and a lot of the nights below -30F. My wife's has been on some of the backcountry ski tours, including the really cold one, and a few nights in the Arctic Range at altitude. Both Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering re-sort and process the down they acquire, putting the 800 to 850 down in bags on request (at extra cost), their standard bags being 750. I have visited the factories of both of these (FF is in Seattle, which I get to once a year or so, and WM is close to me in San Jose, a 20 min drive away).

You very broadly state that only Marmot has maintained quality. There are a number of other companies making top quality gear out there. And Marmot has made their share of mistakes over the years, including a couple of their forays into single-wall tents. Based on personal experience and usage, I would place companies like Mountain Hardware (my current expedition tent is one of theirs), Black Diamond/Bibler, and several others equal to or superior to Marmot. I would have suggested that the OP look at Sierra Designs as well as the 3 he narrowed down to, (I have 3 of their tents currently, and had one other for a number of years previously, ranging from expedition level to light-packing). And as Ed G notes, Eureka makes inexpensive tents that probably would be more than adequate for the OP's usage for the first few years. However, he has narrowed down to 3, so let's get him settled on one and out in the field actually using it. Only then can he really determine his needs and preferences.

I suspect that I put more nights hard use on my gear in a couple years than you have in your claimed 17 1/2 years, and have been doing so since the 1950s. Plus I spend a lot of time talking to people in the backcountry and observing gear in actual use. In this case, there are plenty of tents out there that will serve well for a lot less cost than the Marmots, as fine as they are. Certainly you are entitled to your opinion. But no need to condemn other choices in such strong language.

5:08 a.m. on July 14, 2006 (EDT)
(Guest)

Bill S,

Seems to me you are taking the things I am saying rather personally. But so be it. Eddie Bauer part your mention I half agree with you on. I see your point but they did not change over night. As time went on and they started less and less technical gear the gear they did offer fell in quality. This is MY opinion.

I condemn The North Face for lying. They still make quality gear yes, but they do lie. When you depend on your equipment to keep you alive potentially when you encounter the unexpected I have no room to trust in lies. This is what I know of 900 fill down. Marmots equipment still has 900 fill down in it. It’s just that it is not 100% 900 fill. Because I have done research on this I found that there is only one company in Eastern Europe who checks the quality of the down coming out of the region. All high quality Hungarian goose down that comes to the US is checked via this company and this company alone. THEY say that unless the companies are further refining the down to 900 fill quality the down they receive is not truly 900 fill quality. It is apparently EXCEEDINGLY difficult and expensive to get this quality. So while some of the down can be considered 900 fill the majority is not. The majority can be labeled TRUTHFULY as 850+ fill quality. The North Face does not have any way to further refine the down (no companies of their own) that can do this. In fact the only places known that can do this are located in Eastern Europe and before any down leaves Eastern Europe it goes through the quality check at the above mentioned company.

Now I have spoken with both Marmot and the North Face about this. If you wish to check these facts please contact them although you will find that Marmot is willing to talk to you about this and the North Face person you speak with will likely have no clue. As I spoke with the lady from North Face I explained these facts I had found. I told her that there equipment was improperly labeled and that I was worried my Quantum Natupse was falsely labeled as having 900 fill plus down in it. Her response was that this jacket had been advertised as having 800 fill quality down in it not 900. To her I said this was interesting because on my jackets sleeve it “(900 LTD) embroidered on the arm as well as the fact it came with a neat little sealed clear plastic pillow with some of the down in it and the pillow was label as (900 fill goose down). That and the fact that at the time not only did every store selling the jack have it labeled as 900 fill but that the North Faces website had it labeled as such. She never emailed me back.

I did not know Marmot has been around that long. I first became aware of them about 6 years ago and quite honestly have been very impressed with them.

Now, at no point did I ever say that other companies do not make comparable quality items. What I DID say is that if you are in doubt go with Marmot because you KNOW you are getting good stuff. You do not have to worry about it at all. Whether or not this person does I do not care. I say again I was simply offering my opinion.

12:05 p.m. on July 14, 2006 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,219 reviewer rep
5,181 forum posts

Wolf posted:

"Seems to me you are taking the things I am saying rather personally. ..."

LOL! As a number of regulars on this forum know (and there are several I have backpacked, climbed, and skied the backcountry with), I have no personal interest in any of the companies. I am long past that. What I am concerned with is getting the facts sraight. My attitude toward outdoor gear is if it works for the person using it, great. Virtually all the gear out there works to some level for someone, but some works better than other gear. I do try to steer people toward better quality and lighter weight, since that prolongs their participation and enjoyment.

In strong language, Wolf next said:

Quote:

I condemn The North Face for lying. They still make quality gear yes, but they do lie. When you depend on your equipment to keep you alive potentially when you encounter the unexpected I have no room to trust in lies...."

This is pretty strong language. I might guess you are a lawyer getting ready to file a suit against TNF for false advertising. Yeah, we do live in a litigious society, mostly unjustified. But, ya know, staying alive in the wilderness is more a function of your individual knowledge, skills, and experience than it is the gear. There are several who post here from time to time who virtually live year around in the Canadian and Alaskan backwoods, or in deserts, or other places with very little gear.

That being said, you always have to take anything said in advertising with a large crystal of sodium chloride. Marketing will always say "our product is the greatest thing since sliced bread" (there is an ad currently running on the tube, er, um, flat screen?, that says literally that), and "our product is superior to any other out there with all the latest greatest improvements and quality." That's why we have Consumer Union and why a number of outdoor magazines have gear testers and why there are websites like this one. What we need is real evaluations, not strong language accusations. I agree (and have posted many times) that Marmot makes excellent gear. I have used and continue to use my Alpinist 3 jacket and bibs, and 8000 meter jacket (which does not claim even 800-fill down, by the way) for extreme cold weather treks, as well as my Marmot bivy sack, etc. But I also have and use several TNF items, and Mountain Hardware, Sierra Designs, Feathered Friends, Western Mountaineering, and yes, even Eureka gear. If it works for the purpose and doesn't cost too much (preferably free, but that's pretty rare - I won a drawing last year that got me a very excellent Osprey pack), then I use it.

Wolf said further -

"... This is what I know of 900 fill down. Marmots equipment still has 900 fill down in it. It’s just that it is not 100% 900 fill. "

Here is what Marmot has to say -

"From the beginning, down has been Marmot’s foremost insulator. No synthetic surpasses the lightweight, compactability and longevity of down. We are proud to use the best down available in our sleeping bags: 850 fill power, 800 fill power and 600 fill power."

They do NOT claim 900 fill down. Nor does TNF on their website or in their catalogs. So are you saying that 850 fill is 900 fill that isn't completely 100% 900 fill? By that token I could say that 650 fill or 500 fill is really 900 fill that isn't 100% 900 fill.

Wolf continued -

"...THEY say that unless the companies are further refining the down to 900 fill quality the down they receive is not truly 900 fill quality. It is apparently EXCEEDINGLY difficult and expensive to get this quality. So while some of the down can be considered 900 fill the majority is not."

Kind of hedging here, it looks like. In fact, Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering, the 2 whose plants I have spent some time touring, do further process their down. And yes, their bags and clothing are very expensive. They do actually measure the loft of the down after their processing (interesting process, by the way, to measure it, but very simple to carry out). Neither claims that their down is 900, and never have. When you pay extra, it is for 800+ (WM no longer does customization, by the way, but some of their bags are shipped with the higher loft). I ought to go up to Marmot sometime, since they are only an hour away from me.

And Wolf said -

"...... As I spoke with the lady from North Face ... She never emailed me back."

Did you actually speak with "the lady" or send an email or 2?

TNF's website does not say anything about 900 fill down, nor do the catalogs I have from several years back.

You have your opinion, of course. I just suggest that you might state it in a bit less strong terms.

8:44 p.m. on July 14, 2006 (EDT)
(Guest)

Bill S,

I did not read all the way through your post as it was rather lengthy. My words are true. Marmot used to post some of their bags as 900 fill. I have a Helium bag that currently is labeled as 900 fill. Just as my NF Quantum Natupse is (all be it not as clearly labeled as the bag) What do you want me to take pictures or something? I can if you’re really interested. As for what they companies say now and what they said then…get into an email conversation with both like I did. Maybe then you will understand what I have gone through. Maybe they have both changed their stories by now? I dont know I dont care. No I am not a lawyer; I just dislike people \ companies that lie and I dislike false advertising greatly.

For the love of God, I just read further into your post… No I never spoke with the lady from North Face. I emailed her back and forth about three times…the last email I sent her she never replied to. I emailed Marmot once asking them what was up with the drop in fill grade and they said they could no longer guarantee 900 fill down which is what sparked my search on 900 fill in the first place. I used the word “spoke” rather then “emailed.” You caught me.
So heres the deal. I grow bored with this conversation simply because it is not that important to me. I have given things you can check out of your own and verify on your own if you are interested. I certainly would not take one persons word for it myself. Want to believe I am making it up? That’s fine as well. I have offered and will supply pictures on the bag and jacket should you want them….but that’s it. I just don’t care about this enough to spend any more time with it.

Thanks

12:38 a.m. on July 15, 2006 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
3 forum posts

Seriously look at Henry Shire's newest tarptent, the Double Rainbow. http://www.tarptent.com/doublerainbow.html
I just got mine last week. It will replace my 20 year + TNF Tadpole (which I dearly love) on long-distance treks. Seems there's quite a Tadpole following and folks tends to keep them a long time - says a lot about the design and quality.

2 doors, 2 vestibules, scads of interior space
Free-standing (with 145 cm trekking poles / 135 cm poles with pole tip extenders)
Total weight with floor, poles and lines = 39 ounces
cost $ 250

You'll love it!

7:35 a.m. on July 15, 2006 (EDT)
(Guest)

Try the Eureka Apex 2xt. This tent is only $109.00 but is worth alot more. Sleeps two with room for gear, has great ventilation, easy set up and I think its under six pounds. Holds up agaist heavy winds and rain. I have never been wet in this tent. It has two vestibules and is great for gear storage.

10:09 p.m. on August 21, 2006 (EDT)
(Guest)

I hold you up on the Eureka. I have the same tent, bought back in '02 at clearance. Loved it. I have had few problems with rain or wind or dark of night (etc). The vestibule space is great for packs, but too steep-sloped for doing anything in it. The only downside I've found is that the rainfly zippers have no covers; heavy rain spurts through them. That, and the fiberglass poles are outdated. But other than that, it's wonderful.

But my dad's been using a troop tent (I'm in the BSA). It's the same type, but it's falling apart. Now I'm looking for a replacement, or at least a modernized partner, for my trusty Eureka.

I saw both the Marmot Aeolos 2P and Marmot Twilight 2P in Backpacker magazine. I had first leaned toward the Aeolos, despite its steep price, because it earned the Editor's Choice Award from Backpacker. Doing some research, though, I found that Twilight is also a very good tent... slightly bigger vestibule, but the tent body tapers a bit toward the back. The sizing of the two Marmot tents is almost identical.

I also noted the REI Half Dome 2 HC, but that trails at third.

What do you guys recommend - the Aeolos, Twilight, or Half Dome?

2:05 p.m. on October 8, 2006 (EDT)
153 reviewer rep
460 forum posts

Trekking Tom,

My favorite tent for three season use is the ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 2. I found this tent to be very weather-proof and I went through numerous rainy days with this tent. Plenty of mesh on the tent body and roof vents so condensation is not a problem.

The only thing is the weight: 8lbs 7ozs.

You may want to try the ALPS Mountaineering Extreme model. Closer to your desired weight.

Hope it helps. :)

April 17, 2014
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

 
More Topics
This forum: Older: Davis Mountains, TX Newer: Thunderstorms
All forums: Older: Magic Heat/Fuel stoves Newer: Eureka! Freedom Tent Recipient of da Vinci Award