looking for the perfect tent (aren't we all - lol)

9:31 a.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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apparentely i am one of the ultimate goof balls.  i've been flipping tents for a couple of years, trying to find one that is perfect.  may as well ask for more help. 

i do 90% of my camping sept -may

i am always alone in my tent, but do like to store my gear inside

do not like to be cold (duh)

live in the great plains

i had a mh hammerhead - too heavy

i had a marmot limelight - gave it to my 15 year old

have a bibler ahwahnee - hate the internal poles, but otherwise really like this

tents that set up like hilleberg - snugpak sound like they may be good, but no one locally sells anything similar, and i don't completely understand the concept. of attaching the mesh to the fly. 

whatcha got for me???

10:31 a.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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I have been going though tents too. But I try to look for ones that fit my needs. Right now I have 3 backpacking tents that I use most.  The things I look for most is interior space. I love to beable to stretch out. I like large vestibules and two doors.

In the spring and fall TNF Canyonlands is my go to. Though it has only one door it is a very roomy for a one person tent. The fly can be opened useing two treking poles. In the summer a Coleman Peak 1 Cobra. Two doors and two very large vestibules. Both can be held open using a pole. Making it look like a bird in flight. An interesting note on those two is they are both single pole hoops. In the winter here it is all about rain. Both of the above mentioned tents would (and have) failed. So I picked up a Seirra West. A two pole tunnel. As of this time it realy hasnt been truly tested. I was going out two days ago becouse a storm was moving in. But the wind gust have been over 80 mph. glad I didnt.

Back to the SW tent, it is very long w/o a vestible. I think it is around 9' long so the backpack goes in with me. It doesnt have a all mesh inner. and has I think 14 stake outs on the fly.

Another interesting note is the weights of the 3 tents. Peak 1 right at 3# TNF around 4.5 and SW right at 6. So I guess that I try to pick out the best tent for the season I plan to use it in.

One last thing on inner space. I had a Giga that had that strut pole at the top. Wow, that was a roomy tent. But the rainfly was wrong for me. Maybe a Hubba, or a Hubba Hubba would work.

Many Euro tent use the fly first set-up. If you take a look the poles are on the outside of the fly. This alows you to set up the fly first then hang the inner tent from the inside. Thustly keeping the inner dry when it is raining. I have one tent that does this. It is VERY big and is used for car camping only. The other thing you will find is that the Euro tents are water proof. Most good ones are 3000mm HH or higher. One must remember that it rains alot over there. That might be over kill for where you are. For me on the Oregon coast it is a must in the winter to have the tent water proof. Not water resistant.

11:05 a.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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Caryernst,

1. How far on average do you hike to the spot you will pitch a tent?

2. What is your target weight range for a tent?

3. How important is a vestibule to you as far as storage, and  / or do you prefer the tent to be large enough for all your gear to be inside the tent as opposed to being in a vestibule?

4. Do you know your areas climate type? Or what is the amount of precipitation & type for Sept. - May, plus how humid is that time of year, plus what are the expected high & low temps for that date range?

5. What is your target price range & how firm is that number?

In the mean time I will read up on the Great Plains and maybe someone with direct knowledge of that climate can chime in.

Mike G.

Edit: In reading it looks like the weather in the Great Plains can vary considerably from season to season and by sub-region, so any input you can offer about the weather you expect to encounter based on your own experiences would be a big help.

12:41 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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hey mike-

1)  i camp mostly with boy-scouts.  i work mostly with 11-yr olds so it's mostly car camping for me.  or an occasional motorcycle trip

2)  target weight of 8lbs or less (give or take)

3)  vestibule is not important.  i like to have my gear inside - boots included. 

4)  because i camp mostly fall-winter-early spring the weather is hit & miss.  i live in NE, so we never know what the weather.  i like single wall tents, because they seem warmer, i don't like to be chilly. 

5)  like most, i don't have a lot of disposible $$$, i can go $300 no prob. 

i really thought i wanted an easton si2, but apparentely it went away???  so something like that would be great.  or if my bibler had exterior poles it would be perfect.....

1:11 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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Check out www.goilte.com and look at their extremely lightweigh tents. I used a Golite Shangri-la 3 tipi style tent for ten winters and it worked fine. It weighs about 3-6 lbs depending on what you buy. Comes either with just the rainfly,add a floor or add a floor and bug netting part. I had all three.


Shangri-La_3_Bamboo.jpg

Just the rainfly


ShangriLa_3_Floor_Grease.jpg

The floor (has clips that hold the rainfly onto the floor)


ShangriLa_3_Nest_Grease.jpg

The Bug netting w/ floor

I find the no-see-um netting hold's out the wind better than the old mosquito nettings making the tent warmer holding in just body heat. So with the rainfly also together they make the inside warmer too. And the bathtub floor being higher stops the air moving into the tent.


Shangri-La_5_Flysheet_Bamboo.jpg

Or you can buy the Shangri-la 5 (above) with all three parts together, cheaper than buying each separately.

As you see from the pictures the tent(s) use one single center pole. I had room to stand on my knee's or stooped over standing pulling on pants. I had room for all my extra gear outside my pack. It has two air vents at the top and comes in Bamboo (yellow) above or Forest (green).

You can also set it up with a line from the top to a branch above and have more room without the pole there. The stake pull-outs have reflective strips to see it at night (after you wonder off to use the toilet)

It may not look like much but I assure you it held up even in snow storms on the north rim of the Grand Canyon and in Wyomings mountains in winter. The center pole is adustable for height.

I used the floor sometimes alone when no weather expected as a stakeable ground cover, used the bug netting/floor alone when there were bugs but no weather and just the rainfly when I wanted to go extremely lightweight in early winter and early spring with no bugs.

I now use a Mountain Hardwear Meridian 2, four season tent that weighs 4 lbs.

 

The Shangri-la 5 is $250
Mtn-Hardwear-Meridian-2.jpg

I have been camping Fall, Winter and Spring since 1980. See my profile... In summer I am usually working in a national park or someplace equally as wild! 3 months pay makes 9 months vacations.



 

1:43 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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I like the Euro tents alot. There are many websites. The one I have gone though is http://campingworld.co.uk/Models.aspx?ModelID=2173

 

The one that I posted is a Vango Juno. Very much like the Golite, but heavier. Even with the shipping it falls well into your budget. If you want to look at the outer pitch first, with the inner tent hooking to the outer click on any of the Easy Camp tents there. They have a video on all thier tents. It will help you understand the concept better.

2:29 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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I've read where Nemo is coming out with some amazing new tent designs for the Spring/Summer 2012.  I dont own any Nemo products but they look and review really well made.  Nice small US Microbrew co. which I like. Hilleberg of course everyone raves about but I've never seen one in a store or out on the trails so I cant say anything about them.

2:57 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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mike, how did things work out buying from the UK?  kinda concerns me to order overseas???

3:10 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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Ah, the perfect tent. buying the perfect tent is like buying the perfect car. Whatch gunna do with it. Where ya gunna use is it, when are you gong to use it, how many people are you going to use it with, single wall or double wall, double wall single pitch, pitch the fly without the body, modified fly, pop up tent, car camping tent, base camp tent, full four season tent, bag 'O' mesh tent, need I go on. Again the perfect tent is like buying the perfect car. I really want a Honda Civic so that I can get good gas mileage. Ever try and move a heard of sheep in a Honda civic. All of the sudden the civic ain’t so perfect any more.

The perfect tent is the tent that you have on hand that meets the immediate needs at hand.

I currently have 50 perfect tents. I only buy perfect tents. I look long and hard at each and every tent I buy and if I find that it has any, and I mean any flaws that cannot be easily fixed/adjusted/ it's out the door. Today I'm on my way to by a Mountain Hardwear Kiva Tent for $80 and then down to Gig Harbor to buy another Eureka 4 man ECWT (this is one of the perfect tents sesigned so as not do die in clod weather).   These will be the perfect tents for me under the conditions that I plan to use it for. The Kiva will not be the perfect tent for use on Mnt. Baker in the middle of winter.  It will be the perfedt tent to  be usesd with a tree break in the spring/summer.

Buying the perfect tent is like buying the perfect sleeping bag. There and my be the perfect sleeping bag for use in the middle of the summer, while it will not be so perfect in the middle of winter.

For 30+ years I had the perfect tent that I used for all four seasons. It was/is called the TNF Oval Intention. I used this tent in all four seasons year in and year out without a hitch. It was warm, never once leaked, had enough ventilation as to no allow any moisture to build up on the inside of the tent wall (it did build up moisture on the rain fly(when I used it with tow people)but that did not affect the inside of the tent. It did not get overly hot until the sun had been up for a while say 10/11 pm. I had/have nothing bad to say about this tent and I love/loved it very much, In fact i still have it although the floor is now becoming thread bear. As I bought a second one I have retired it to the being used as a three season tent.

My Perfect tent now is my Mountain Hardwear Double Wall Satellite. I don't know if you will find the perfect tent with the parameters that you have set. So let take a look at your demands.

"i do 90% of my camping sept -may"

This means you need a four season tent to make sure that the early year and or late year  storms don’t' rip your tent a new one.

i am always alone in my tent, but do like to store my gear inside.

I agree with you floorless vestibules suck and are useless unless you use them in the desert are in the snow. Even in the desert small creepy crawlies can get into your gear(spiders, scorpions)  and rodents and larger animals can get under the vestibule walls and drag your gear away. Yes I've had this happen.

do not like to be cold (duh).

A double wall tent holds in the heat much, much better than a single wall tent.

live in the great plains.

Means you are unprotected from big winds and even bigger thunderstorms. Almost all the tent failures I've witnessed have been as a result of heavy downpours, hails storms and high winds from massif thunderstorms.  Seen a couple of tent failures form heavy wet snow as well.

i had a mh hammerhead - too heavy

Heavy usually means heavy materials that can hold up to the demands of nature. I've seen far to many light weight tents in the past crumple and collapse form heavy downpours, hail, wind,  and or snow load. The weight you save in the beginning of the trip may very well come back to haunt you during the night as the sheep pellets are hitting the fan blades. It's always amusing to me as I hear the screams of terror in the middle of the night as peoples tents are collapsing, tearing , poles bending,  And I have to add that it’s only funny cause these are the peole who had mad fun of me for carrying a heavy tent.  Even if your tent doesn’t self destruct quite often in the morning you find that your light weight poles are now newly formed.

i had a marmot limelight - gave it to my 15 year old

I don't know much about the limelight except that it is on of the tents that I consider a Bag 'O' screen. One thing I’ve noticed when at home when have the widows open so that the screens are letting the air in the house for good ventilation is that when it starts to rain I do not cover the screen with the thinnest, lightest material I can find to keep the weather out. I cover the window with the proper material that will do the job when the 80 mph hit the house so that I don't have to worry about material failure.

have a bibler ahwahnee - hate the internal poles, but otherwise really like this.

I like all my single wall tents but also dislike the internal poles set up unless the tents is large enough for me to move around in and properly set up the poles with out sweating like a pig. Single wall tents also don't hold the heat in as well as the double wall tents as  the single wall tents are designed to breath. Most single wall tents are made for cold snowy conditions rather than warm rainy conditions.  I recommend most people stay away from single wall tents as the they can be tricky beasts.

Just as there is not perfect stove, pad, sleeping bag, backpack, boots, any other equipment for all situations there is not tent that fit's the bill either.

Again the closest I've found tents wise is the TNF Oval Intentions type tents of which I now own four (two ring ovals and tow sleeve ovals). My favorite all around tent for all conditions is now the Double Wall Mountain Hardwear Satellite. The only problem is that it weighs a ton, 14 lbs. I would say that you need four or five tents for the different situations your may incur under different situations if you were to camp/backpack year round

One thing I've noticed is that a well ventilated base camp tents meets all the needs of all the seasons in all situations. If all your other gear is UL then you an add a little extra weight for you shelter(tent) and have a tent for all needs. IMHO.  Whit most gear I do pay attention to budget.  When buying a tent I pay no attention to budget.  I either save up the money I need to get the right tent, wait untill it's on sale, or better yet buy it used.  The two tent's I'll be buying today I will save well over $500 on today.

 

3:13 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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I have a MH Skyledge 2.1 for a roomy but still light and small tent for one.  It does sleep two but tight.

LOVE IT

3:17 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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We didnt encounter any problems. The tent arrived in 2-3 weeks. They gave a tracking number. Though it did get stuck in customs for a long time. The biggest draw back would be if you didnt like the tent. Returning it would cost an arm and a leg. But I didnt check out thier return policy.

We Bought the Easy Camp Baltimore 400 as a base camp. There was a small flaw in a stitch on the door zipper. About 1 inch was missed. I noticed it the first set-up and got out my needle and thread. The rest of the tent was what I expected, and very well made. Dont know how they messed up.

But we knew exactly what we were looking for. If you are unclear just what style you want it might be wise not to go this route. I see many tents overseas that I would buy. But right now I'm happy with the ones I have.

6:00 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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I've been switching backpacking tents almost yearly.  I think I've finally setteled on the Nemo Obi 2.  Like all two man tents, it's really a big one man tent.  Sets up quickly, looks good, and handled nightly rains in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument for a week with no problems.

 

http://www.rei.com/product/811994/nemo-obi-2p-tent


IMG_0839_crop.jpg

6:18 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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I am greatly anticipating the arrival of my Hilleberg Soulo. I have the BA Copper Spur 1 now.

I have also had the Hille Akto. That is an awesome little tent as well. 

Honestly, from alot of trial and error I do not think the perfect single tent is out there for year round use. 

Then again this is all dependent upon what conditions one utilizes their tent. 

6:29 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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Cary, if weight isn't a big problem and it seems it isn't, I would look for something like a MH Trango. You should be able to find one used.  My tent is an EMS Pampero, which I doubt anyone here has seen. Long since out of production.

Henry Shires makes some interesting tents-check them out on his website at www.tarptent.com Single wall, lightweight, and he has some all weather tents along with his superlight stuff.

7:52 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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For car camping I would go with a three person tent that has head room.  You have lots of room yet it doesn't take up too much trunk space in the car.   Not a good match for backpacking, however. 

The main problem meeting your spec is you have at least one, perhaps two contradictory requirements.  The first is you want a tent for a wide climate season, ranging from warm/dry, to warm/wet, to cold/rain, to even colder/snow.  Bug nets are good for the warm weather, but must be completely sealed when in blowing snow.  Rain flies with a gap between the ground and bottom edge minimize interior condensation in warm weather, but provide a means for blowing snow to access unsealed openings in your tent. 

The other contradiction is intended use.  You say MOSTLY for car camping.  If you intend to use the tent while backpacking, it is that need that is the dominant criteria, due to weight considerations.  There are plenty of tents well suited to car camping, but weigh too much for hiking.

You also state a vestibule is not a priority, but do consider how you will manage to keep the interior of your tent dry while entering it during a rain.  Thus I recommend your acquisition has a vestibule and tent door configuration that permits opening both without rain getting into your tent.

You should also consider your longer range plans.  For now you are Boy Scouting.  But what about five years from now?  If you like this camping thing, consider a tent that will meet you longer range objectives as well.  Like you, I have several requirements which no single tent can meet without significant compromise.  Thus I bought my first tent to meet my most demanding needs (snow camping), then added others as finances permitted.   I eventually ended up with four tents: a large cabin tent for car camping with friends or family; a 1 man, 3 season, bug net tent with rain fly for back packing; a roomy 4 person, 4 season, tent (I use for 3 people) for base camp snow treks in the Sierras; and a hardcore, 2 person, 4 season, tent for the gonzo winter treks. 

One important thing to consider is the reputation of the manufacturer.  For instance, I purchased a MSR Hubba some years back, but never deployed the rain fly until this November.  The water proof sealing was tacky, stunk badly, and the seam sealing tape was delaminating.  (Despite all of this it kept me dry in a steady two hour late evening rain.)  I contacted MSR and they willingly agreed to exchange the fly, regardless the warranty expired years ago.

Lastly don't make the mistake and get something poorly made because it is cheap.  IMO a tent, boots, pack and stove are gear items where function and reliability should not be compromised for economy.  In that light $300 will get a good, new, 3 season, 1 man bug net tent, or a good, lightly used, 4 season, 2 man tent.  This may sound like a lot of money, but a well made tent will last most people a lifetime. I replaced my I man 3 season tent after over twenty years of wear, and had to replace my gonzo winter tent when I left my Trailwise Fitzroy behind on the mountain due to an emergency evacuation.  Otherwise all my tents have plenty of trips left in them.  The total investment in all of my tents ends up being about $60/year, including the replacement costs, amortized over 40+ year of loving the out doors.

Ed

10:49 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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I may be (fingers crossed) getting a Nemo Meta 2P for the holidays. I hope it's a good one. It may be the last tent I get for a long long time.

4:23 a.m. on November 24, 2011 (EST)
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Tom D  said;
 

"My tent is an EMS Pampero, which I doubt anyone here has seen. Long since out of production."

 

I have one of these and  from my understanding this tent was designed by Charles Duval. The same man who designed many of the Great Moss tents. The colors and designs show it. It looks very similar to a Moss tent.  I believe that it sold for  $200 back in the day.  It's kinda like a Moss with out the Moss price.  I got mine of Caigslists for $100.

11:53 a.m. on November 24, 2011 (EST)
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Brian, it's my understanding that Duvall also designed the Simoom, Forester, and Hyperwing for EMS. I have my suspicions, but no confirmation that Duvall also designed the Thunderdome and Thunderlodge(both resemble the Moss Olympic), and the Thunderhead and Nova 4( both these tents display the classic "Vesica Piscis" pole geometry found in several of the tents designed by Bill Moss.
EMS-Simoom.jpg
EMS-Thunderlodge.jpg
EMS-Thunderhead.jpg
EMS-Nova-4.jpg



12:20 p.m. on November 24, 2011 (EST)
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caryernst,

I think I would have to take a hard look at 3-4 season convertible tents if I was only going to have one tent. I bought one of these years ago for that reason and although the zip out panel (s) and attached zippers that make the conversion possible add weight you only need to take these in winter.

All the ones I have seen are double wall tents not single wall, but the mesh panels in mine can be completely closed up or left slightly open for some ventilation. In warmer weather I can open up the mesh and even roll the fly back for a clear view of the sky on dry nights.

This has worked very well for me.

1:54 p.m. on November 24, 2011 (EST)
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caryernst, I would love to say that there is the perfect tent, but there isn't. We are all individuals so our styles vary. So to do our intended uses. The more that we can understand a tent's intended use, and get into the head of the designer, the closer we can get to find a tent that suits us in particular conditions. As I understand you, you are car camping for the most part, in conditions that could be quite cold and snowy. Even though you are in the flat lands, the winter conditions, I think, demand more of a mountain tent, definitely a four season tent. On motorcycles, a compact packed size is important. Single wall tents will compress more than double wall, smaller tents will be warmer. Something like the I-Tent is worth considering, as would be the Mk 1 XL from Integral Designs.

You will find some similarities to your Bibler Ahwahnee, which you mentioned you like. You didn't like the internal poles. Understanding the philosophy behind them might help you to deal with them better. When Todd came up with the Impotent, the tents that we were using, were things like the Expedition Crestline...big ridge pole tent, sturdy but big. In cold weather, external pole sleeves sometimes froze, and threading them then was a PITA. And while you are doing that, the snow or rain was falling. Todd reasoned that if the poles were internal, you could crawl into the tent with the poles to set it up. The early versions used fiberglass fishing rod material, which made it easy to do this as they were quite flexible. However, in high wind, they were too flexible, so the change to aluminum was made. The other part of the design was that the tent could also be used as a bivy sack, without poles. I had one of the first versions with aluminum poles and used the tent for many seasons until eventually, it just wore out.

I have had a number of tents over the years, though not nearly so many as apeman. I talk to users when I am looking for a new tent, and work to understand a particular design's advantages and disadvantages. When I am satisfied that I can live with the disadvantages, I am ready to buy.

3:32 p.m. on November 24, 2011 (EST)
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abman47 said:

Brian, it's my understanding that Duvall also designed the Simoom, Forester, and Hyperwing for EMS. I have my suspicions, but no confirmation that Duvall also designed the Thunderdome and Thunderlodge(both resemble the Moss Olympic), and the Thunderhead and Nova 4( both these tents display the classic "Vesica Piscis" pole geometry found in several of the tents designed by Bill Moss.
EMS-Simoom.jpg
EMS-Thunderlodge.jpg
EMS-Thunderhead.jpg
EMS-Nova-4.jpg



Thanks for that continuing lesson in tenting, I'm learningsomething new every day.  The only EMS that I own at presant is the  EMS Pampero, and now the Forester which I just picked up for $50.  I bought it (the Pampero)cause I saw one on Ebay and was sure that the lister of the auction had made a mistake as it looked just to much like a Moss.  After doing a bit of investigation and finding out that it was in fact a EMS tent, I thought "when is a Moss not Moss but still really a Moss"  As the Pampero  on ebay started climbing in price I then started searching Craigislist and found one in NJ for $100.  The seam tape on the one I bought has become brittle over time so I'll have to set it up some day and then redo the seams as so often happens with tents of that age.  I thanks yoiu for giving me more information regarding sore of the tents Duvall had a hand in making/designing.  I will now be keeping my ey out for some if not all of these tents.  Thanks again abeman. 

7:26 p.m. on November 24, 2011 (EST)
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EMS Pampero with rain fly and removable vestuibale.
tent3.jpg

 


 

7:29 p.m. on November 24, 2011 (EST)
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The closest to the "perfect " all-around tent for one person, or, two in a pinch, is the Hilleberg Allak, IMHO and nothing is superior in quality. I like and use singlewall tents due to usually being solo as the weight saving really matters to an old geezer on a wild sheep mountain, but, for simple setup and bombproof reliability, the Hilles simply leave anything else I have used in the dust.

10:21 p.m. on November 24, 2011 (EST)
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Is your son a Scout or do you just work with the new Boy Scouts? 

If you have a son in the Scouts you will probably do more backpacking as he gets older and want a lighter tent.

1:27 a.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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Dewey, I agree that Hilleberg tents are very well made and I have experience with the Allak as well as a couple of others in their line. It is not at very light tent at 6 lbs, nor is it a single wall. Though it goes up with the fly and tent as a unit, it is a european style double wall, in which the poles erect the fly, with the inner tent suspended underneath. I think that for cary's budget and intended use, the Allak will simply be too much. He could go with one of Hilleberg's solo tents.

1:58 a.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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Of course, he can go with a Soulo, I had a red one and my buddy went nuts over it and just had to have it, so, he got it and I then bought a green one. But, while these are fine tents for short term solo camping, they are pretty cramped for even one guy on longer adventures and since he is on flatland, the extra 1.5 lbs of the Allak over  the Soulo should not pose an insurmountable problem.

I prefer my Saivo wherever I can comfortably pack it to and the extra room and rocksolid stability is worth using it, IMHO, anytime I can. The Jannu, my ideal one man longstay high country winter tent and the Allak, my choice in warmer weather for the same uses, were not offered when I bought the Saivo and had they been, I would have bought one of each and called it "good" for much of my uses.

I can carry a 45 lb. pack for a week as easily as a 40 lb. pack and I long ago learned that, if I keep fit, I can really benefit by using a tent with the extra room and a bag that keeps me warm by packing the slight extra weight and this makes my whole trip more enjoyeable. However, it is up to each of us to chose what works best for them, I just prefer the Hille. tents based on what I have seen in BC.

11:34 a.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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ocala-

i work with first year scouts only.  after they hit first class, i quit talking to them.  lol.  both of my sons are still scouts, but as they move up the ranks; they leave me behind.

Erich-

i get the concept todd was thinking with the internal poles, but getting them into and out of place is a chore.  i've broke 2 poles so far, and am afraid that one will go thru the tent wall.  which would be a real drag.  i guess that style just isn't for me. 

physically i can carry a 45-50 lb pack no problem, but normally i just don't have to pack that much or carry it very far.  if push comes to shove, i can lighten up with a tarp instead of a tent.  i very much like the single wall bibler tent with both sides opening up into full mesh.  i think that is border-line perfect.  myself (my wife could also) fit into this tent just fine with all my gear.  HATE the poles.  maybe i should just look for someone that could modify the tent for me into an external pole design? 

12:51 p.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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Cary, I don't have direct experience with the Ahwahnee, only the Impotents. However, there is a trick to getting the poles in. I would often put the tent over my head to get the process started. Sorry you have already broken two poles, I had not had that experience myself. You could try going to fiberglass poles, as they bend much more easily. If you are not in high wind, they won't be a problem. You could also try shortening the aluminum poles slightly.

1:32 p.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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The new Hilleberg Rogan, a lighter version of the Allak, weighing just over 4 lbs. and due here in about April, 2012, is exactly what you are looking for. Once, you have actually used a Hilleberg, especially in very wet, rainy regions such as BC, you never want to go back to any other tent.

I had a Bibler, bought 20 years ago and I also disliked the pole setup; the ID ones are much better, but, the Hilleberg system just rocks.

4:19 p.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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Ah ha! It does look like a Moss, so that explains it. Thanks.  I always wanted a Moss Olympic and this is somewhat close to that in design.  You're right, the color scheme is very Moss-like. That's one reason I like it-the colors are not some shocking green or other obnoxious color. Mine has a maroon and off white tent under the tan fly.

Got it off eBay and paid about $100 or so, too, which I think was a bargain. Mine hasn't had all that much use and is in excellent condition.

Here it is at Yosemite with the vestibule folded back-


camp.jpg

 

7:35 p.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

I am greatly anticipating the arrival of my Hilleberg Soulo. I have the BA Copper Spur 1 now.

Rick, please let us know how the Soulo looks when it arrives.  I for one am anxious to hear from a trusted TS member/reviewer on this :).

I was planning to go out for this long weekend, but didn't becuase I don't feel good about going out in this season with the Copper Spur.  So here I be, on the forum instead.

I'm particularly interested in reports by some that Hilleberg tents aren't taut.  If it's all loose and floppy & requires guyline-staking just to be taut,  doesn't that defeat the purpose of it being free-standing?  [I totally get that tents, especially in winter, should be guyed anyway, but that's beside the point :)]

For $600+ with footprint I expect it to be perfect :)

8:08 p.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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When you setup your Soulo, I have had two of them, as the instructions advise you to, the tent is solid and certainly not ...floppy.... In fact, I think that this is one of the toughest and most rocksolid little tents I have ever seen and my only point of discontent is the left side of the entry door could be attached at the bottom to the fly, which it is not, as this one section is a tiny bit "looser" than it could be.

You really ought to see if there is a Hillberg dealer in your area and spend some time actually playing with these tents, they might well surprise you. I am so impressed by them that I ordered, sight-unseen, one of the new "three-season" Anjan III models this afternoon and expect to see it by April/May and be totally satisfied.

Yup they ARE costly, but, what price genuine safety, security and confort on your edventures?

8:34 p.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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Bill-I will definitely keep ya updated on my findings. I will set it up and fire out a few photos as well.

I just looked at the ship date and it said Dec 5th? I may have to contact them to see if they are making it. :)

11:17 p.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks Rick!  Looking forward to your impressions.

And Dewey, thanks for the info.  Since I've read those reports in a few different places, they have me wondering - e.g. does this "free standing" tent require all the guy lines to be staked out for it to be "solid".  Or, like the (much less expense but still pricey for a solo tent) Copper Spur, is it truly free-standing and taut in calm conditions without any tie-downs required.

I know we can't always believe what we read online, and for all I know those comments were seeded by a competitor.  Nevertheless I came close to pulling the trigger on one of these, but it's by far and away more than I've spent for any piece of gear before (and given the macro economic indicators, I feel uber cautious), so my usual "research it to death" approach is in turbo mode :).

The new Rogen sounds interesting, too, but at $790 it's a non starter for me.  That's too much unless I'm planning an attempt on Everest (not likely).  And with a potential availability in April 2012 it doesn't do anything to help me get out there this winter!

11:44 p.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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I still for the life of me cannot understand why Hille set the prices on their 3 season models(Kerlon 1000) higher than the comparable 4 season offerings. 

It just doesn't seem to make any sense to me. Am I missing something here?

I did hear that Hille prices are going to go up due to the drop in value of the American dollar... Not sure how much truth there is to this but nevertheless...

12:03 a.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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Yeah, logically comparing the tents 1:1 it doesn't make sense.   But the dollar drop is what I heard too.

The same thing has happened to the Nikon DSLR I bought last month - it's gone up 23% since I bought it.  Though that's more likely due to the earthquakes and flooding in Japan an Thailand than fluctuations in the dollar...

12:48 a.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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If I was looking for a free-standing tarp, what would my options be?  I've been looking at the Hillebergs, and I like that you can drop the tent proper from the tarp mechanism.

5:20 a.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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Zeno Marx said:

If I was looking for a free-standing tarp, what would my options be?  I've been looking at the Hillebergs, and I like that you can drop the tent proper from the tarp mechanism.

 Are you talking of a tarp/tent such as The Mountain Hardwear Kiva?

11:56 a.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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Brian, here's a photo of fabric sculpture by Charles Duvall. It is called "Fiddlehead".
Fiddlehead.jpg
Fiddlehead2.gif

12:10 p.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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IMG_2294.jpg
After trials and errors this year, I bought the REI Quarter Dome 2+ on sale which is huge, light, a subdued green and grey, and between the gf and myself, 2 and a bit lbs each, about 8 liters, with the footprint.

The best bang for your buck, I really believe.

12:35 p.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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abman47 said:

Brian, here's a photo of fabric sculpture by Charles Duvall. It is called "Fiddlehead".
Fiddlehead.jpg
Fiddlehead2.gif

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, I don't even celebrate Christmas and I want that for Christmas. Is this a piece that you own? That is wonderful. I wish I had the sewing ability and the fabric know how to create something like that. That is a piece of art. About a month ago someone mentioned an "Artist" Christo. This so called "Artist", Christo needs to go back to art school and take lessons from Charles Duvall. I would sleep under that, heck I would have a spiritual awakening under that.

Abman, Thanks for sharing that.

2:20 p.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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bheiser1 said:

Rick-Pittsburgh said:

I am greatly anticipating the arrival of my Hilleberg Soulo. I have the BA Copper Spur 1 now.

Rick, please let us know how the Soulo looks when it arrives.  I for one am anxious to hear from a trusted TS member/reviewer on this :).

I was planning to go out for this long weekend, but didn't becuase I don't feel good about going out in this season with the Copper Spur.  So here I be, on the forum instead.

I'm particularly interested in reports by some that Hilleberg tents aren't taut.  If it's all loose and floppy & requires guyline-staking just to be taut,  doesn't that defeat the purpose of it being free-standing?  [I totally get that tents, especially in winter, should be guyed anyway, but that's beside the point :)]

For $600+ with footprint I expect it to be perfect :)

 I've used mine twice now since buying it 5 weeks ago.  Once on a protected ridge (9800 ft ASL).  Temp just below freezing and winds 15 to 20 mph with occasional higher gusts.  I staked it and used 6 of the 12 guylines.  Inside the tent, once it was all zipped up (I left the fly vent open a little), it was quiet and the tent did well.  I did not have to mess with the lines all night.  No issues with condensation in the tent, but, I was in dry, mountain air. 

The second time the temp was higher, about 45F and I was in a canyon at about 7600 ft ASL.  Winds were 20 to 30 mph with gusts into the 40's.  I staked it and used all 12 of the guylines. Prior to zipping it for the night, I had both inner tent doors open and the outer fly door opened.  I situated the tent into the wind so the vestibule acted as a shield.  It worked well and after a few hours, I zipped it completely and unzipped the fly vent partially (2 inches).  I got up once during the night due to nature calling and I tightened the lines since I was up.  I had one stake come loose because of user error (didn't drive it far enough into the soil).  Again, no issues with the tent and it was quiet.  It was cloudy overnight and slightly more humid than when I had camped on the ridge but no enough to cause condensation.  I feel the tent can handle more wind, however, I cannot.  Gusts into the 40's is about my limit and anything more than that, I do not plan on "purposely" being in.  I'm happy with the purchase of this tent and I have confidence in the protection it provides for the conditions I plan to camp in.

3:03 p.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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I imagine those reports of Hillies not being taught were for the non free standing versions (akto, nallo, etc) and that is probably due to user error even then. Those models require a little more knowledge to get the correct pitch. I have an unna and theres literally no way for it to be "not taught". Of course the guy lines help and I always stake it down regards of weather- improves ventialtion in the summer, and stability in the winter.

6:40 p.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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apeman said:

abman47 said:

Brian, here's a photo of fabric sculpture by Charles Duvall. It is called "Fiddlehead".
Fiddlehead.jpg
Fiddlehead2.gif

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, I don't even celebrate Christmas and I want that for Christmas. Is this a piece that you own? That is wonderful. I wish I had the sewing ability and the fabric know how to create something like that. That is a piece of art. About a month ago someone mentioned an "Artist" Christo. This so called "Artist", Christo needs to go back to art school and take lessons from Charles Duvall. I would sleep under that, heck I would have a spiritual awakening under that.

Abman, Thanks for sharing that.

 What Brain said! WOW!!!!!

7:01 p.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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Another thing that sold me on the Soulo is that you do not have to guy or stake out the vesti in order for it to be utilized. The webbing that spans the entry at ground level allows for this combined with a pole.

Plus little things like a rain gutter above the entry points had alot to do with my decision.

Hille's fabric(Kerlon) is the best on the market imho today. 

Also the tent can be pitched outter or inner only. There is alot of flexibility with this model. 

I think it was previously mentioned in another thread but here is the best video I have seen on this model:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEfmzI1tO6I

7:39 p.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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bheiser1 said:

Rick-Pittsburgh said:

I am greatly anticipating the arrival of my Hilleberg Soulo. I have the BA Copper Spur 1 now.

Rick, please let us know how the Soulo looks when it arrives.  I for one am anxious to hear from a trusted TS member/reviewer on this :).

I was planning to go out for this long weekend, but didn't becuase I don't feel good about going out in this season with the Copper Spur.  So here I be, on the forum instead.

I'm particularly interested in reports by some that Hilleberg tents aren't taut.  If it's all loose and floppy & requires guyline-staking just to be taut,  doesn't that defeat the purpose of it being free-standing?  [I totally get that tents, especially in winter, should be guyed anyway, but that's beside the point :)]

For $600+ with footprint I expect it to be perfect :)

I will tell ya this about the Spur. It is a 3 season tent for a reason. I am not quite sure how this model would handle spindrift(nor do I want to find out.) I do believe it would fare better than many full screened inner tents being there is a fair amount of fabric on the inner from the ground up. 

In excessively humid & windy weather w/driving rains the tents can produce a misting effect.

Many believe the tent is leaking but this is not the case. When condensation is high on the fly inner the combination of the high wind and the pounding rain it causes the condensation on the fly inner to mist off. 

Now the next line of defense is the mesh ceiling of the inner. It doesn't help much.

8:01 p.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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Yep - I have the Spur too, but have really only used it typical Sierra summer weather (dry and mostly rain free).  The worst weather I've used it in was in early October when it was windy & cool (I guess in the 30's).  I got quite a bit of dust blown inside the tent.  I was glad it wasn't snowy :).

To me that tent is great in good weather but I wouldn't feel all that comfortable using it in the winter - hence my exploring other options designed for four season use...

8:55 p.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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Quality Handmade Tents from Light Heart Gear...Ive read nothing bad about these series of tents!
Duo-Wedge.jpg

 

Im hoping santa clause brings me the Light Heart Duo Wedge.....Specs below:

 

Use:3 Season
Style:Hybrid -Double/Single wall
Sleeps:2
Weight:2 lb. +, Add 1.5 oz per Wedge
Head Room:42 in.
Pockets:2
Doors:2
Floor Area:40 Sq. Ft.
Vestibules (2):5.4 Sq. Ft.
Floor Dimensions:L - 101 in. W - 55 in.
Material:1.1 oz/sq yd sil-nylon
Pole Length:125 - 130 cm.
Stakes Req.:8
Wedge Pole:optional

9:03 p.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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Hey otter lake, welcome to the wonderful world of Trailspace. 

I have heard great things about the Light Heart tents as well. For milder below tree line weather they should fair well.

I(notice I said I) sure wouldn't want to get caught in one when mother nature decides to show her ugly side though. 

The extended porch is a nice feature but in driving rain probably wouldn't provide much protection for gear. The only thing I could see it doing is turning into a wind sock and that could be a bad thing. 

1:38 a.m. on November 27, 2011 (EST)
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Welcome to Trailspace otter laker,

Thanx for bringing Light Heart tents to my attention. Ive been eyeball'n some of the other UL tent options. I kinda like the Light Heart SoLong 6. Very similar to a Six Moons Skyscape Trekker but the LH SL6  has much more room plus a roof vent (atleast thats what they say, I cant see it)

Thats what I needed .... more choices   ARRRGGHH!! :)

10:49 a.m. on November 27, 2011 (EST)
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I think the porch on the Light Heart Duo would also work well as a vestibule in stormy conditions below tree line.  I have not yet tried this tent out but hopefully after xmas i will be able to report back. I use the Hilleberg Nallo 2GT during winter and love it however it is a huge tent.  It takes quite a bit of prep work in measurable snow to set up. The vestibule and inner tent have to be over 8ft long....its a work out shoveling and stamping out an area that size. For 3 season camping  I have been  using the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL3  but it takes up a lot of room in my pack however it's bombproof. I just cant seem to find a light weight tent that will keep my dry and my gear protected. I backpack with my wife so I will always need a 2 person tent. The older I get the more concerned i get with pack weight.

7:05 p.m. on November 27, 2011 (EST)
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so, back to my original thought.....

sorry guys, couldn't resist.  i know hilleberg is the best.  but not in the budget $$$. 

if you're putting up a standard 2-piece dome tent, when you hook the inner to the poles, that part goes up super quick.  but when looking for a single wall tent, very-very few have external poles???  seems to me that is they did, they would go up super quick

7:32 p.m. on November 27, 2011 (EST)
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caryernst said:

so, back to my original thought.....

sorry guys, couldn't resist.  i know hilleberg is the best.  but not in the budget $$$. 

if you're putting up a standard 2-piece dome tent, when you hook the inner to the poles, that part goes up super quick.  but when looking for a single wall tent, very-very few have external poles???  seems to me that is they did, they would go up super quick

 One of the things I like about my 3-4 season convertible tent is that the inner can be zipped up tight, each section of mesh has a zippered panel to close it up so water can not get in. This keeps the tent dry until I can get the fly on.

When pitching double wall tents in the rain that are made with a lot of open mesh the tent can get wet inside. With mine I can completely control how much mesh is open or closed. I always pack the tent with the panels closed, then when pitching the tent I can set the poles, clip the inner up, and add the fly without getting the inner tent wet inside. Then I can toss my pack into the vestibule and change clothes, get my sleeping bag rolled out, etc. all without getting too wet.

My tent has two doors with mesh and solid panels, a large ceiling section, and a large rear window all with mesh and a zippered solid panel to close the mesh off.

I can go from summer tent to winter tent in about 15 minutes, and in about another 15 minutes I can add additional external guy lines plus set up the tents internal guy system for windy conditions.

7:43 p.m. on November 27, 2011 (EST)
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The EV series by Mountain Hardwear has outer sleeves. I think there are a cuple of others but those migh all be vintage single wall tents such as the Early Winters single wall tents.  There are two reasons that single wall tents use inner polls that are both weather related. When setting up your tent if it's raining, you will be soaking wet by the time you make it into your tent. If your ok with that then that's fine. The second reason is of it's cold outside and your sleeves freeze then it's really hard to get tht poles thru the sleeves. When you go to tear the tent down if the sleeves and the poles are frozen your can wreck your tent by tearing the sleeves and poking holes in the tent and break the shock cord in your poles as well as bending poles. Not a good thing at 13000+/- ft up some big hill. I believe that the newer Mountain Hardwear EV series now have clips. You do not want on of your clips breaking for any reason in a gail force wind in your skin tight single wall tentor you most likely will not have a tent left. My ideal tent would have tabs on the inside and sleeves on the outside so that one would have a choice of set up. I think it is a terrible idea to have clips on the outside of a single wall tent that will be used in cold high alt. high wind situations. Most single wall tents are somewhat more expensive than then their double wall counter parts. With that beings said if you buy on Criagslist or EBay you might be able to buy your Hilleberg or single wall tent for a much better price than buying form a store. Have you ever owned a single wall tent? They are not for the faint of heart and they were not designed for wet rainy conditions and can be a real hassle to seam seal for rainy conditions? Once you punch a hole in your single wall tent in the field if you cannot fix it your kinda screwed. It's usually much easier to fix a hole in a double wall tent as one usually does not do damage to both inner and outer wall's. if you are new to tents I would stick with a good double wall tent and then pick up a single wall tent to see if you like it. My experience is that almost all people who use single wall tents do not know how to use them in regards to properly venting them and they can be hard to vent in very cold situations. With that being said I sure do love single wall tents, but then again I sure do love double wall tents. It may be time for me to get serious and make the first triple wall tent!

8:04 p.m. on November 27, 2011 (EST)
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trouthunter said:

 One of the things I like about my 3-4 season convertible tent is that the inner can be zipped up tight, each section of mesh has a zippered panel to close it up so water can not get in. This keeps the tent dry until I can get the fly on. 

I agree, this is a great feature. My MH Skyview 1.5 is like this.   I've also appreciated the ability to seal up the flaps during a few stormy nights... like the one leading up to this snow-covered morning a few years back at about 8,000 ft near Tahoe.  With an open mesh tent I'd have had lots of snow inside the tent...


DSC_2054_DxO.jpg

4:31 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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I just wanted to clarify a few things about the LightHeart Gear tents that were discussed above.  The Duo Wedge shown in the picture has the awning deployed.  The Wedge feature allows you to convert back to the standard fly configuration when the weather gets bad.  If you are just in a light or medium rain, you can get dripless entry and exit as well as continuous views and great ventilation by keeping the awning up.  Then batten down the hatches if necessary.  This is accomplished by the wedge (red in above picture but numerous colors available) being sewn onto the standard fly with a nested set of zippers.  Zip one up and the other down to do the conversion.

The newest versions of the SoLong 6 now have two ridge vents as a standard feature.  The Wedge option can also be added to the SoLong 6.

See details on our website: www.lightheartgear.com

Marc Penansky

LightHeart Gear

4:50 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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Hey Persistent, welcome to the wonderful world of Trailspace. Great to have ya aboard. 

Thanks for chiming in on this subject. That makes more sense to me. Some models out there have porches that are only that and not really intended for bad weather as much as they are intended for sun.

This design offers a bit of flexibility as well as protection which is always a positive.  

9:58 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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Welcome Persistent,

Big thanx for jumping in. I couldnt see the vent in the pic but seen where ya said it had one, heck if there be 2 vents thats twice as good! You've def got my intrest with the SoLong 6. The wedge is a nice feature but needing an extra pole for it would probably stop me from getting it on a solo model but I could see it for a 2 person setup for sure.  I'll be giving it alot of thought to the SoLong 6.

I really like the option for chosing your colors... nice touch.

10:20 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks for the warm welcome everyone.

Azrhino,

There are several options on supporting the wedge/awning. You could tie it off to a tree, use a stick, or we offer two kinds of poles.  One is an adjustable aluminum pole weighing 3.5 ounces or the other is a carbon fiber pole weighing only 1 ounce.  Both breakdown to only 11 inches long so that they can be stored in the same stuff sack with the tent.

You're right regarding the ridge vents on the pictures of the SoLong 6 on our website.  This is an earlier model that didn't have them.  If you look on The Jolly Green Giants Blog (link below) from Wednesday Sept 7, 2011 you can clearly see them on a cuben fiber version of the tent.  The two vents are now standard on all SoLong 6 tents.

http://jolly-green-giant.blogspot.com/

Marc Penansky

LightHeart Gear

2:23 a.m. on December 11, 2011 (EST)
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Persistent, out of curiousity I have a question.

Now being the fabric on the Duo has enough length to extend the vesti as a porch wouldn't this make for an excess of fabric when the shelter is used in vesti mode?

I was thinking that this would cause a sloppy pitch for the vesti being there will be an excess of fabric left over.

If this is the case it could be quite "loud" in the wind.

Not to mention the sag may leave what gear is stored in the vesti a victim to the elements.

Then again dependent upon the angle of the slope it very well may be able to compensate for the difference. 

As always just a thought. 

12:06 p.m. on December 12, 2011 (EST)
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I see that you hate internal poles.  The Lightheart tents use internal poles, even if you use trekking poles they come into the shelter with you.

From what I understand, these tents are now made in China which may or may not be a consideration for you.

Personally, I like the idea of supporting the local cottage maker.  Have you considered Tarptent?  The new Notch and Stratosphere tents may fit the bill:

-double walled

-fly first set up (like the aforementioned Hilleberg) - great in the rain

-very lightweight

-lots of room

-made in the USA

Note: these are 3 season shelters.  For the 4th, go for a Hilleberg.

12:12 a.m. on December 13, 2011 (EST)
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Would anyone be interested in custom tents ?

11:22 a.m. on December 13, 2011 (EST)
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Like custom packs?  Sure!

 

But they sort of exist already.  Mountain Laurel Designs does custom work on their Mid designs (plus inner tents). 

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