3:53 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
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I have been backpacking for quite a few years now but I have always just used a tarp and a ground cloth (and sometimes a bug net) as a shelter. While this works fine most of the time it can be a pain to set up in the rain or wind and it is not the warmest shelter. I am looking into investing in a backpacking tent. Although price is somewhat of a factor I will put the money toward the right tent. I am looking for a 3 person and a warmer 3 season, or a 4 season. The biggest things that I am looking at are weight and packed size, it also needs to be able to accomodate 6 foot tall people. I would like to spend under $300 but definately under $400.


5:28 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
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Welcome ATRemy,

A tarp is a pain to set up in windy storms? Not the warmest?

Yep.....I agree!

I did that for a while too, the UL aspect of the set up sure is attractive. Works pretty good a lot of the time as you stated.

What weight range are you shooting for?

Here is a link to the gear selection guide on Trailspace, this page deals with 3-4 season convertible tents:


6:57 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
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I'm looking for under 7 lbs. One that I liked was the Black Diamond Guiding Light, but unfortunately it is expensive. It's only 5.5 Lbs and it packs to 7" x 12" which is impressive since it is a 4 person. I have looked at a lot of reviews for many different tents, but it can be hard to judge who has actually used the tent, and who just used it for a weekend once. I was hoping that some people on here would be able to tell me a little more about the tents that they have used and what they liked about them and what they thought were drawbacks.

7:26 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
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Right.....just sit tight, I'm sure there will be many recommendations coming.

I tend to be partial to Mountain Hardware's 3-4 season tents myself.

9:59 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
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Mt Hardwear tents are pretty dang good--I have 4 of them--Muir Trail, Hammerhead 3, Mountain Jet, Light Wedge 2. I left the Mt Hardwear fanclub after several mishaps, a broken Atlas pole on the Light Wedge(broke when cinching down the fly), a busted zipper and leaky floor on the Muir Trail(got a lot of use), a rank flame retardant chemical stank inside all of them when new, etc. The Hammerhead 3 is nice for several people as it has about 50 sq ft and no unsealable mesh.

When you say you're looking for a 3 person I guess you know such a tent(esp a four season)will weigh you down with at least 10lbs, but you can easily split it up amongst the 3. My choice? The NF VE25. Bombproof. Big. Ample lay-down room. Heavy. Expensive. Time tested. All fabric panels and no unsealable mesh.

Otherwise, there are many 3 season mesh tents available in a 3 person configuration and they are light but they're mostly just bug screens covered by a fly, like the Mutha Hubba, etc. Not so good with high winds and spindrift.

11:29 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
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The VE25 is very nice, Eureka Assault Outfitter is a tank(weight wise too), I like my Mountain Pass 3 ya see in the pic. I dunno, the choices are endless.

Big Agnes Emerald Mountain SL3....REI QTR Dome T3......

3:27 p.m. on January 27, 2010 (EST)
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The VE25 is very nice, Eureka Assault Outfitter is a tank(weight wise too), I like my Mountain Pass 3 ya see in the pic. I dunno, the choices are endless.

Big Agnes Emerald Mountain SL3....REI QTR Dome T3......

I just reviewed my Assault Outfitter here on Trailspace - I really like the tent, but you are correct about it being heavy (around 13 pounds).

12:43 a.m. on January 28, 2010 (EST)
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theres a north face rock 32 on ebay, grab it.

Jim S

6:32 p.m. on January 28, 2010 (EST)
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I like the rock. Thats a nice tent.

12:20 a.m. on January 29, 2010 (EST)
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I like my Marmot tent. It has two big vestibules that I can fit my pack in nicely and still cook in the other one.

I've heard nice things about Tarptents' Rainshadow 2. It holds 3 people and weights 40 oz.

3:55 p.m. on February 1, 2010 (EST)
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Thanks for all of the input everyone. I found a Marmot Crib 3p on Steep and Cheap for $200 so I bought that. I may not end up keeping it if it is not the right tent for me. I appreciate all the help, it certainly gave me a lot of options. If any one has had any experience with the Crib, or other Marmot tents I would be interested in hearing about it, as I still need to make the desicion whether to keep it or not. Thanks

4:16 p.m. on February 1, 2010 (EST)
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I just bought my first Marmot tent too. I've been anxiously awaiting a dry spell here in Ohio to set it up in the yard, but it has been cold and wet. =(

5:24 p.m. on February 1, 2010 (EST)
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I just bought a Marmot Limelight 3P and it is awesome! Great quality tent! My tent is to small for 3 people but perfect for my son and I. I think the crib 3 is a bit bigger than mine so you should deffinetly be happy with that one! You paid $200 for the crib 3 wow! I wish I had seen that before I got the Limelight. Mine was $239 and smaller than yours. I think the crib 3 retails for like $389, great deal on steep and cheap! Enjoy the Marmot, you wont be dissapointed!

8:27 p.m. on February 1, 2010 (EST)
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Ummm, yock,

Cold wet weather is the best way to test a new tent. First time I set up my Trango 3.1 expedition tent was in a blizzard, as was the second time I set up my Bibler Eldorado - tells you really fast whether the tent does what it is claimed to do. Well. ok, if you are trying to figure out the instructions, you might want warm and dry. But that's what living rooms are for, with garages second choice (only if you have a non-woodsy spouse).

8:42 a.m. on February 2, 2010 (EST)
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Bill, my wife and I live in an apartment. We have cats and no garage. =)

8:44 a.m. on February 2, 2010 (EST)
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I just bought the Limelight 2P for myself. It's effectively a 1-man tent for my build, but I'm hopeful for some breathing room. The thing that concerns me about it, before I've had it out of the sack, is that it isn't packed very tightly. I think I'll be able to compact it some by stuffing it rather than folding it, and by keeping the stakes and poles separate. We'll see.

12:46 p.m. on February 2, 2010 (EST)
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Back a few decades when I was a starving student living in a dorm room, I used to set my tent up in the dorm room after trips to dry it out. Luckily my room mate was also a woodsy sort. I did the same when I lived in an apartment when in grad school. "where there's a will there's a way".

2:03 p.m. on February 5, 2010 (EST)
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To answer your question about Marmot tents, I've been very happy with mine. I've been able to set mine up in a few minutes which makes it nice while setting up in the rain. Their website has some instructional videos about all the features of the tent. I've never had leaking problems and if you open the vents condensation is not a problem. The two vestibules is really nice as well. The bright orange might turn you off but the color really does go well with the mountains.

12:58 p.m. on February 8, 2010 (EST)
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I have a Stephensons 2R and a 3R. The 3R is a LOT bigger and is luxurious for two adequate for 3. Both set up quickly in stormy conditions. The 3R has door in front and back and is a welcome addition if you have 3 in the tent as you don't have to crawl over everybody to get out/in. The 3R vents better than the 2R.

Both are simple effort to set up in a blow. The 2R needs one peg for the rear and two in front to pull bottom of tent taut and you are inside dry. (3R needs two in front and back). There are two multisectional hoops that set up in under 30 seconds for both, takes about a minute to thread the hoops through the sleeves. Usual set up is well under 5 minutes (less if two people) even if you have to prepare the site a bit. If nasty weather it takes 4 more pegs in the corners. If REALLY nasty there are two guy lines out from front and an internal stabilizer for winds up to 160mph - so sez the advert. Not sure I would want to test that. The 3R comes with an optional additional hoop for expected large snow loads.

Both can be kept taut throughout a storm from the inside. Only your hands get wet or cold.

It is single wall tent. If you provide the proper ventilation designed in and keep the wet stuff out of the tent, you will have minimum condensation problems. I always expect a bit of a shower in the morning on my face. No big deal and I suspect it is not more than any other tent of similar materials. I have a tent chamois that only takes a second or two to fix the problem.

My 2R has the barndoor side windows that are used occasionally when new hiking partners or wife is along. They are completely waterproof, provide bug proof cross ventilation when hot, a look at the starts if you wish and can be propped out with trek poles to provide two external smaller storage areas for pack and dry wood. It also provides a welcome look outside if you are cooped up for a day or so in the rain.

The 3R is just BIG and, because of its weight and pack size, I can still take it on solo hikes as it does come in handy for those that either forgot or chanced the weather and bugs.

The entire tent stuffs into a bag about the size of two wine bottles punt to cork.

You have to seam seal the tent yourself. It is a simple job that takes a couple of beers on a hot afternoon. You also provide your own footprint of the material you want to carry. I have used painter's plastic drop cloth for over a decade.

I have had no problems except I slammed the trunk on a hoop section bending it. They provide overnight delivery if they can get it to the carrier in time. It was in the town closest to trail head the next day.

11:40 a.m. on February 11, 2010 (EST)
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See my response to Solo Tents above.

12:29 a.m. on April 19, 2010 (EDT)
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i have a sierra designs stretch tiros 3 which is a convertable, and its the reason i bought it. More options ya know. I can leave behind the rear vestrbule and one pole if i choose, but to be honest i just leave it as is. I figured taking the rear vest. off and leavign the pole for the vest. would be great, but honestly i just leave it on now its a good place to keep things and is still waterproof and really dosnt make it much light...the tent is bomb proof IMO i know your looking for something lightweight, but to me this tent weighing 9 pounds is weight well worth it. I don't feel skimping on tents is the last thing you wanna do.....im sure you have spent time in a tent that just sucks. leaking and about to collapse.....like i said with it being suck a sturdy tent and having conversion options, it gived me alot of options for winter camping and summer as well. only downside they are pretty expenvise, to me anyway. I think 550 or 600 new.

Just a little side story, if any of you live in the north eastern part of the country. especially near pittsburgh where i do. we just had something similar to a sunami. well i figured id set up my tent just to see what shape it was in and plus i hadnt had it set up in awhile. after our 8 feet of snow melted iv been anxious to get it put up. Anyway, it was up for a few days and i spent some time in it in the backyard. planning on taking it down before the storm. well i didnt get it in time, now i cant say for sure but the news said some of the winds were around 70mph. the sierra designs took every bit of it along with all the hail and about 2 or so inches of rain, never toppled once and everything inside was bone dry. i did have it guyed out in a few places though. and was useing msr groundhog steakes.

over all very impressed with the tiros 3.

1:33 p.m. on April 19, 2010 (EDT)
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Once you get into backpacking a little more, you will see why some gear costs more than seemingly "equal" items from other makers. Then, IF, you are into serious hiking in all weathers and especially in genuinely remote areas, Alaska, the Canadian north, much of BC, etc., you will find that a costly, four season tent is WORTH buying and carrying.

I have owned and used quite a few and also made my living selling gear, until I retired "young" at my wife's request. I have seen which brands do and do not come back for "warrantee" most frequently and base my opinions on this experience. I have lived alone in mountain tents, in the BC mountains for periods of 4-6 weeks, in about every season and this also influences my choices.

I agree with the "old, grey bearded" guy, BillS and cold, wet weather is no stranger to us here in BC. It is THE most difficult weather to keep safe and comfy in and far more people perish in this here every year than due to sub-zero conditions, so, choose your gear accordingly.

In a single statement, I will never buy another tent except another Hilleberg, NOTHING comes close in ease of erection, weather stabliity and quality. For most backpackers, the "Allak" is a fine choice, I have a "Soulo" and a "Saivo" and would love to have a "Jannu" for high base camps on hunting trips.

You "owe it to yourself" to check these out, they are just outstanding.

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