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Outdoor Retailer: The all-in-one TentPak

12:52 a.m. on January 22, 2010 (EST)
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This thread is for comments on the article "Outdoor Retailer: The all-in-one TentPak"

Mike Bench (left) of TentPak explains the line to Bill. My most intriguing gear discussion on Thursday (Day One) was with TentPak, a company that makes 12 models of a combined tent and pack. Well, that’s an interesting way to describe it, but not quite accurate. What TentPak has done is devised a way of marrying an existing two-person tent with an existing pack. The two tents, a 3-season (H...

Full article at http://www.trailspace.com/blog/2010/01/22/outdoor-retailer-tentpak.html

2:17 p.m. on January 25, 2010 (EST)
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What did you think of the JakPak at OR? Did you see that all-in-one?

2:24 p.m. on January 25, 2010 (EST)
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Very interesting!

5:40 p.m. on January 25, 2010 (EST)
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Hmmmmmm.....

8:16 p.m. on January 25, 2010 (EST)
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I'll go ahead and admit that when I saw the words "TentPak," I thought of not even going to the booth to see it. "Oh no...another combo thingie," I figured. But Bill was interested, so I figured it was worth joining him for a look.

Now neither of us have tested a TentPak out, but we were both pleasantly surprised by what we saw. It wasn't some jerry-rigged contraption, but real packs with real tents. They're on the heavier side, so not for everyone, but they're aimed more at Scouts for ease of use and affordability. The family that started selling them have been heavily involved in Scouting. We'll most likely be testing one out.

As for the JakPak, Tom and I stopped by there one morning (Tom even got inside one). The design of this came from a very different avenue though, originally aimed for the homeless who can't carry around a tent or might have blankets and the like stolen.

They introduced it last year, but changed the materials this year, so it is more breathable due to past condensation issues. Also, it has a use for emergencies. One nice thing they told me is that they're trying to get their extra product down to Haiti.

2:55 a.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
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I have to go hmmmmmm again....Just want to see it in work.

10:13 a.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
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What's the selling point? Lower overall cost than two separate items? Less weight than two items?

8:52 p.m. on February 2, 2010 (EST)
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As mentioned, the TentPak people have a Scouting background. This combination package is one way to get several items of gear in a single package that integrates well together. Look back over just the past few months in Trailspace - questions from beginners about "how do I fit it all in my pack" are common, as are "where do I start?" Scouts generally are just getting into the camping and backpacking, and the boys and girls are growing rapidly. I didn't make it as clear as I could have, but the packs have a well-thought-out adjustment system that will allow a growing kid to use the pack for more than one season, potentially all the way through his/her Scouting career of 5 to 8 years, maybe even into adulthood. The packs appear to be of high quality, as do the tents. Note, though, I did say that I feel that the "4-season" tent is really a 3-season (or maybe 3 and a half season).

One experience I have personally had with youth is that they have a strong tendency to leave things out (or in one case, even take something vital out as they leave the front door of their home). By attaching the tent to the pack inside the sleeping bag compartment and allowing enough room to have tent, fly, and sleeping bag in that compartment, along with a dedicated place for the poles and pegs, it is much more likely that everything vital will get out on the hike and home again.To me, the combination making things harder to forget or misplace (especially in the case of youth) is a strong point, particularly when you do not sacrifice function.

Another point is that this gives a combined package of the important items needed besides clothing and eating/cooking gear, with everything fitting nicely together. I don't know that you could say that the combined weight is less than the separate weights. After all, you can buy both tent and pack separately. Maybe a few ounces, since the sleeping bag compartment with clip obviates having the additional stuff sack. All 3 items, for those packages having pack, sleeping bag, and tent (or both, for those with only pack and tent) are on the light end of the scale, compared to packs and tents from other companies.

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