Question please respond

6:38 p.m. on January 19, 2010 (EST)
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HI guys i am currently looking for a new tent . i am a boyscout and am sick of using my friends leaky tents . I think i am going to get an alps mountaineering extreme al 3 . Does anyone have any experience with this tent ? And my other question is in the tent description it says : "The vestibules also serve as automatic guy-out points when the weather gets a little nasty" . , i am wondering what the heck a guy out point is !! thanx for any help you can offer :P

7:51 p.m. on January 19, 2010 (EST)
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Welcome TJS,

Lets do the easy one first, shall we?

A guy out point is any loop, hook, hole, etc on a tent or tent fly put there by the manufacturer to allow you to attach a guy line (also known as a string or cord) to the tent on one end, and to a tent stake, rock, root, etc. on the other. The purpose of guy lines is to add stability to your tent in high winds, thunderstorms, or under snow loads.

I think the term "automatic guy out point" refers to the fact that you stake the vestibule out when setting the tent up, and the vestibule material acts as a guy line of sorts, same effect. Most tents with vestibules do the same thing as far as I know, I think this is a bit of marketing talk, but is factual.

Guy lines do not help with falling tree branches or flash floods, so be careful where you pitch your tent!

Your first question is subject to opinion, don't worry there is plenty of that here on Trailspace.

I don't have any experience with Alps tents, but they do seem to be well made from what I read, not top notch, but decent.

Also consider Sierra Designs, Eureka!, and Kelty as good tents at a decent price.

Here is the tent review section here on Trailspace:

http://www.trailspace.com/gear/tents/

Here is a Guide to buying tents, also here on Trailspace:

http://www.trailspace.com/articles/tents.html

Hope that helps.

8:27 p.m. on January 19, 2010 (EST)
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Thanx for the info ill definitly check out those other tents .

8:41 p.m. on January 19, 2010 (EST)
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I was looking around and i found the alp mountaineering tent for 140 dollars on overstock .com , this seems like a great price and i think im going to jump on it . but before i do when you say not top notch you mean as compared to more expensive tents right ? the only tents my friends have are colemans that leak , the alps will be better than that right?

8:47 p.m. on January 19, 2010 (EST)
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I have several viewpoints on tents, and I have spent many nights in tents. I advise that you keep a tent simple, provide enough room to move about comfortably, and don't be impressed with the "high-end" expensive models. Usually,the lighter the weight, the heavier the price! I bought another tent today from L.L.Bean, their Microlight, 1 person, at less than 3 lbs. and $129 w/ free shipping until Feb 16, and no tax on the item. They have a 2-person model for $20 heavier, and one pound, too. A smaller internal space is warmer on cool nights and a well-designed tent ventilates adequately. The ground sheet is another $15 and 8 ozs. but I advocate a degree of comfort, of peace, of bug-free and mouse-free space, and the need to set up in a small space. Look, also, at the Six Moon Designs Greenwood Cape, which looks like an oversized pocho, can be set up in pouring rain because you are inside the cover while you set it up. Phone them, in Portland, OR; they are in Troop 265 in Cascades Pacific Council BSA, and will advise you honestly. That "tent/tarp" becomes a teepee with a 45 in. hiking staff and should be used as a tent and not a backpacking poncho. Wear a raincoat/rainpants for wet-weather hiking. Nysilk is a rather delicate fabric; treat it carefully.
If the weather continues rainy and nasty, find a Starbuck's! Appy Tents have some similar shelter items, but use with a groundsheet and they give instructions. These all pack up into small size so you don't have to contend with large rolls of sleeping bag, pad, and tent--ideally, your sleeping system should be under six pounds. Having the highest-tech gear will not insure a superior outdoor experience but will lighten your wallet considerably.
Look at the gear lists from Camp Sheppard (campsheppard.org which is the Chief Seattle Council High-Adventure Base) and on this Trailspace for ideas. Keep your total pack weight to about 25% of you net body weight. I have "cute" seventy-pounders in some of my Troops and it is a challenge to outfit them lightly. Oh, yes . . I am a Unit Commissioner in two Districts in two adjoining Scout Councils. Don't be overburdened with Stuff! Select carefully and good luck in your quest for outdoor adventures.

9:38 p.m. on January 19, 2010 (EST)
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I was looking around and i found the alp mountaineering tent for 140 dollars on overstock .com , this seems like a great price and i think im going to jump on it . but before i do when you say not top notch you mean as compared to more expensive tents right ? the only tents my friends have are colemans that leak , the alps will be better than that right?

Yes that is what I meant, when I say a decent tent, I mean a tent that will perform at an acceptable level for your current needs.

Many 'high end' tents cost 500.00 bucks or more. I think most people would advise you to get a decent tent that won't break the bank for now. It will take a while before you know enough about your specific needs to understand how to pick out the right high end tent for you. Same for all of us I think, it takes some experience.

The fact that you went to the trouble to ask this question tells me you probably will learn fast if you do some reading on the subject, and that you will make a good camper.

Oh....and stick to basic tent designs for now, don't get a minimalist type shelter like a tee-pee, or tarp just yet, these can be problematic in storms and freezing temps until you gain some experience. You need a shelter that will function for you even in those conditions. That's just simply part of being prepared and staying safe.

10:15 p.m. on January 19, 2010 (EST)
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As an additional invesment in staying dry, regardless of what tent you buy, consider buying a tube of Seam Grip and sealing the seams of the fly and floor of your tent. (Don't bother sealing the seams of the body of the tent other than the floor, since presumably the fly will protect them.)

Here's a link for Seam Grip, so you'll know what I'm talking about:

http://www.rei.com/product/603034

I think the experts on this site will agree with me that almost all tents, even very high end products, require a little seam sealing to be fully waterproof. The process is a bit of a pain in the rear, but the results are worth it.

- Bill

3:53 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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thanks for all the replys guys . when howard says ground sheet what is he talking about ? is that the same thing as a ground cloth ? ive heard of a ground cloth before but dont know what it is . thanx again for all your help

5:20 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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On the subject of seam sealing I have yet to have to do this on either of my Eurekas and they have both been through driving rains, snow, and what not. Eureka told me that on the particular model I own it is not needed because the seam is taped, then stitched, then there is another layer of tape heat applied over top of the stitching which takes care of any holes that may develop during the manufacturing process. I do suggest taking a new tent and setting it up in the back yard. Find a friend, stick em inside, and hit the tent with a garden hose(with a nozzle.) The friend on the inside won't get soaked but can pin point areas of concern if any.

The pressure that the nozzle generates will more than make up for the force a driving rain will produce. Plus on the bright side you are only stuck in the backyard as opposed to being stuck in BFE in a bad situation.

Seam Grip(McNetts) IMO is good for floors. Or if ya want a mess. The brush applicator that comes with the tube is completely worthless. I used Seam Grip on my Cougar Flatts Condo and ended up applying it with my index finger (clean up was alot of fun but it was a cleaner job) and I didn't have the run off into the tent zippers that I 1st experienced. Plus the curing time on it is ridiculous (8hrs+ depending on temps.) Then again it may work better for you. Its all just a matter of personal preference. The Seam Grip is good stuff. I just had a bad time of it.

Most flys are factory taped anymore and occasionally you will get a hole here and there from the manufacturing process. I use Kenyon(1hr cure time) for all of my applications just because simply put its easier to apply/clean up, and it works.

I used Kenyon on a Thule rack(soft shell) zipper for the SUV that was leaking. After applying the Kenyon this thing has gone through downpours at 70mph+ on the highway and not a drop of water got in. If it works in that scenario I trust it on a tent. If its coming down worse than that I may wanna pull out the dive gear.

5:48 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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thanks for all the replys guys . when howard says ground sheet what is he talking about ? is that the same thing as a ground cloth ? ive heard of a ground cloth before but dont know what it is . thanx again for all your help

Ground sheet, ground cloth, or footprint...all basically the same thing. A piece of plastic, or tent material that goes under your tent to help protect the tent floor from abrasion, or pokes from roots. A ground cloth also acts as a moisture barrier.

You can easily make your own ground cloth, or what tent manufacturers call a 'footprint', (many tent makers offer a footprint for their tents, but more $$) by getting a piece of .3 mil. plastic from any hardware store or friend who has some. You need a piece of plastic bigger than your tent.

Set up your tent with the plastic spread out flat underneath the tent, get a Sharpie or magic marker and trace the tent shape on the plastic, but draw the line an inch or two smaller than the tent so that the plastic does not stick out past the tent floor. If the plastic sticks out past the tent floor it will catch rain water and funnel it under your tent, not a good thing.

5:55 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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trouthunter-If ya want to get really creative this works well. I've done it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RueJ7t2J6t0

Plus it give the option of fast pitching a shelter on some models w/o the tent body(fly/footprint only for those who read and are not familiar with this technique.)

I typically use a thicker grade tarp. It works well.

7:19 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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Yes my MH Sprite will do this, but I didn't buy a footprint ($46.00) thinking I would do as you suggest but haven't gotten around to it yet.

What brand of grommet kit did you use, and did you like it?

I would point out that a simple piece of plastic is cheap, easy, and very light. You can also use Tyvek, a vapor barrier sheet used in building construction. But a foot print that allows you to pitch your tent without the inner is a cool option, no doubt.

7:58 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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trouthunter-If I remember I am pretty sure I used 3/8. I actually had a kit in the basement that is about the same as what the guy used in the video. I bought it some time ago to fix a boat cover. The kits are pretty cheap although they come in an array of designs. You can even get one that adapts to a pair of vise-grips but the basic kit will work just fine. I think I paid like $8 for it when I got it. Home Depot, Sears, Ace Hardware, etc. Any hardware store will normally carry them. Pretty common item. If ya want to be sure of the fit take one of your poles(or if ya can just the insert in the end of the pole) w/ya and size it up to the grommet. I believe you have aluminum poles so ya may be able to unscrew the end out. Mine are 7000 series and I can unscrew the end out w/o them falling apart so I just figured this may be the case for you as well.

The nice thing about making your own is you can account for vestibule space(if needed)to keep your gear out of the drink and off wet ground. If you're not using your fly and ya don't feel like looking at the extended material protruding from your tent fold it up under the tent. Out of site out of mind.

....on the plastic ya mentioned. I have researched a bit and have heard(who knows if its fact) that normal plastic contains weakeners that will decrease the lifespan of your tentfloor. Have you ever heard of this? Not sure how true that is but just thought I would throw that out there.

I just took a look around online and found this kit for $5

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/grommet-kit.aspx?a=72181

You can have a pretty nice footprint for under $20 max maybe even cheaper depending on what ya use and how much ya use. Hope this helps.

9:22 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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I have heard about the weakeners in plastic before, I tend to think that's a rumor to sell factory footprints, but I could be wrong. I'll look into that, maybe someone knows.

Just checked, my tent poles will fit into 3/8 ths grommet. maybe I'll get started on this project, tell ya what, when I'm done I'll post photos.

Don't be surprised if it takes a couple weeks though.

10:04 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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Lol. Its a pretty good option as opposed to shelling out $40+ on a footprint for a tent. Plus you can customize it anyway ya want. IMO you can make it more durable compared to what alot of these companies currently offer. For some tents they don't offer one at all. When I bought my 3xte Eureka suggested I use the same fp that was offered for the 2xte. Kinda had me scratching my head in regards to the size difference.

With regards to the different shapes of tents currently on the market and what not this seems to be a pretty good alternative. It works and saves cash.

10:12 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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.....and DIY projects are fun too.

Honestly that's why I make stuff myself mostly, for the fun of it, to say, "I made that"!

10:19 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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It is a great feeling isn't it?

12:29 a.m. on January 21, 2010 (EST)
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I think I am gonna post this on a forum. Maybe it will help someone out.

12:33 a.m. on January 21, 2010 (EST)
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Hey Rick-Pittsburgh

Thanks for the recommendation. I've never seen Kenyon's seam sealer over here, but I'll be keeping my eyes open. Seam Grip is definitely a pain to use.

It's great that your Eurekas have held up so well, and I think your idea of testing with a hose in the backyard is a good one. (Sadly, I have neither a backyard nor a hose...) Even in the case of some seam-taped tents, a little additional work may be needed, but if you can get away without it - great!

- Bill

12:57 a.m. on January 21, 2010 (EST)
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11:46 a.m. on January 21, 2010 (EST)
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wow thanx for all the help guys i checked out that youtube video and might try making one of those some time .

12:45 p.m. on January 21, 2010 (EST)
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Hey TJS, Maybe your troop can get together and do it as a project. Not sure if its applicable towards a merit badge. Its been so long since I was in scouting. Hope some of the posts help you. The Alps is a decent tent. I have not personally used them(I have seen them though)but I have talked with owners and have not heard many negatives in regards to the product. With any item as so many will tell you there is no "perfect" product. No matter what you get there will always be something that you find over time that can be improved. I would make 2 suggestions from my own personal experience.

1- Get a tent with aluminum poles(light/strong/durable & they last.)

2- Get a tent with a full fly. Some of the tents on the market have a fly that only go part way down the sidewall. This worries me because as we sleep we tend to move around. The area that is not covered by the fly can be a problem area for moisture if its raining. If your sleeping bag/gear touch it during inclement weather moisture may come through and ruin your trip.

Example of "partial fly"(as I like to call them. )Notice the sidewall by the vent that is exposed. Your head or feet will be in this area.

`

Example of a full fly model. The fly goes almost completely to the ground. It gives you a complete barrier of protection to shield the interior wall(and you) from mother nature at her worst.

You will definitely gain alot of useful information on Trailspace. Its a great site. Good luck with your new tent purchase. Happy hiking-Rick

3:25 p.m. on January 21, 2010 (EST)
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ya i might get sum people in my troup to help good idea . and this tent does have aluminum poles and a complete fly so i should be ok .

3:34 p.m. on January 21, 2010 (EST)
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I just looked at that tent again. Its nice.

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