3 season tent recommendation

2:14 p.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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I'll have to give a little background to this, before I post my question. I own about 6 or 7 tents, and they all work great for their intended purpose. However, all my tents are at either extreme, lightweight single person tents or heavy duty 2 person mountain tents. I had nothing in between so I was on the lookout for a 3 season 2 person tent.

After a review in backpacker, I picked up a Mountain Hardwear Drifter 2. Whilst not the lightest it's a great tent and I really like it. The one drawback is I find its 50 inch width a little coffin like for 2.

So I'd like to replace this tent with something wider, hopefully 54inches or above, but without adding too much weight. Being that this isn't a lightweight tent to begin with, this shouldn't be too hard. I'd also like to keep the double door, double vestibule setup, and the gear loft.

So the criteria in order of preference:

1. 54 inches or wider

2. Double door/double vestibule

3. Plenty of mesh. If I need winter protection, I’ll take another tent.

4. The lighter the better, but preferably under 4lbs

5. non tapered (ie same width for the whole tent)

6. gear loft included (or at least available)

Oddly, I’m finding it hard to put many tents into this category, the shortlist at this point is:

Marmot Earlylight 2P (not sure about the window idea, and the reviews are not that great)

TNF Rock 22

Mountainsmith Morrison

Are there other tents I should be investigating?



3:26 p.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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I have the MSR Hubba, and find it a good 3-season solo tent.  I would consider the Mutha Hubba for your application.  Like the Hubba it is free standing, has a dry entry vestibule, tall ceiling, and steep sidewalls, affording more interior space.  And since it is designed as a 3-P tent, it is plenty roomy for two.


4:13 p.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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thanks for the recommendation. I've got a couple of MSR tents, and I really like them. I'm not sure if I want to carry the bulk and weight of the three person tent, although the space would be appreciated.

Looking at my original posting it's a little wordy. A condensed version would be:

I'm looking for a tent that is almost exactly the same as the Drifter 2, but around 6 inches wider, and a little lighter.

There's got to be some out there....

10:11 p.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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I don't own this one, but I have one that is similar by Marmot, here is comparison of things that matter to you:
Drifter 2

Floor Area - 32sq ft

Vestibule Area- 10 sq. ft

Packed weight- 5 lb. 5 oz

Boreas 3P 

Floor Area - 42 sq ft

Vestibule Area- 9.75 sq ft

Packed weight- 5 lbs 6.5 oz

You get 10 sq ft of interior space, in trade of .25st ft of vestibule and adding 1.5oz over the Drifter, id say that's pretty good! And the review note, like I say, I have the Aeros 3P tent and love this tent, I have other tents that cost over double this one but this is my go to tent for 3 season. You can see a guy reviewing the Boreas on the marmot site and says it its better than the Aeros, also the Aeros has 45sq ft that I slept 4 people in sometimes, 3 with comfort, you will for sure fit two people and even all your gear if not some inside the Boreas. 
Hope this helps, also you should watch some videos on youtube or marmot website of the guy pitching the tent to see if its the way you want it. 

11:01 p.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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Hey jay l a, welcome to Trailspace. 

I personally would recommend taking a look at the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL3. 

Pricey but a pretty sweet rig. I solo so my tents are solo tents but my 3 season solo is the Copper Spur UL1. Its been a great tent so far. I have a review up on it but other than my covering the materials, etc there isn't much that is applicable to the UL3.

Never the less if ya want to take a look at the review here is a link:


The UL 3 is light @ 4lbs 6oz(trail weight,) and the head height should be adequate @ 44".

Here is the spec sheet for the tent(s):


Here is a link for the tent:


Happy hiking, and once again; welcome to Trailspace...

5:36 p.m. on January 20, 2012 (EST)
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You might want to add tarptents to your list to consider. Take a look at these in particular:

Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo

TarpTent Rainshodow2

TarpTent Hogback

LightHeart Duo

No gear loft in most of these, alas, but most of them do have gear pockets, and they do meet your lightweight/lots of mesh/easy access for two people criteria.

8:12 p.m. on January 20, 2012 (EST)
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Please note, before you are turned off by the weight of these tents they usually have slightly heavier fabrics than most 3 season tents and are meant to be more durable. Their motto is "A little bit more for a little bit less."

Alps Mountaineering Chaos 2.


Base Size: 4'8 x 7'2
Center Height: 3'5
Vestibule Depth: 29"
Tent Area: 33 sq. ft.
Vestibule Area: 17 sq. ft.
Tent and Fly Weight: 4 lb. 14 oz.
Total Weight: 5 lb. 6 oz.
Packed Size: 6.5" x 22"

I have the Chaos 3.  Vertical walls and decent sized vestibules.  Little wider and a little heavier than you wanted.

Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 3

Center Height: 3'5
Vestibule Depth: 28"
Tent Area: 40 sq. ft.
Vestibule Area: 17 sq. ft.
Tent and Fly Weight: 5 lb. 3 oz.
Total Weight: 5 lb. 7 oz.
Packed Size: 6" x 21"

I have one of these.  Well Built. Lots and lots of mesh.  It is tapered but the skinny end is 54" which meets your width requirement.  They have a 2p version but it is a bit on the small side. 

10:56 a.m. on January 21, 2012 (EST)
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121 forum posts

Zephyr 3 is an awesome tent for 2 people.

My wife and I used it for a week last Oct. frost on day to 68 degrees at the end of our trip.  Only thing I did was re-waterproof it. Inside and out.

You can find it on Ebay for about $100.00

11:42 a.m. on January 21, 2012 (EST)
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Just a foreward of caution of Alps and other lower end tents. They work great in fair conditons, but strong winds or a snow load can very easily break their poles. The one flaw of Alps tents specifically is the lack of strong poles IMO.

1:52 p.m. on January 21, 2012 (EST)
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Two other tents you might want to consider, currently on a good sale (but you'll need to act NOW if you want either of them!):

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 4

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 3

They're both front entry tents (so no double door, double vestibule) and they do taper from the head to the foot end - but their minimum widths still exceed what you're looking for, and they're very light for their size. And they're on sale!

1:59 a.m. on January 22, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks for the time and effort you've put in for your replies, definitely given me more than a short-list to look at :)

I'll spend some time reviewing all the recommendations. When I do pick another tent, I'll post back here with what I bought, and the thought process behind the decision.



10:43 a.m. on January 22, 2012 (EST)
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If you haven't bought yet you want to check out www.geartrade.com.

12:20 p.m. on January 22, 2012 (EST)
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mountain hardwear

2:44 p.m. on January 22, 2012 (EST)
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Ooooh, a quick mention of importance...

When looking into specs in regards to floor size on tents keep in mind that alot of manufacturers get their dimensions from grommet to grommet measurements.

This means that the inner dimensions will be somewhat smaller than the actual dimensions listed on the specs by the manufacturer. 

Just wanted to give you(or anyone else for that matter) a heads up being floor dimensions are part of the criteria in your search...

11:08 a.m. on January 30, 2012 (EST)
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The decision (but not the purchase) has been made, it's going to be the BA Copper Spur UL3.

It's lighter than the tent it's going to replace, yet with palatial size. I bounced between the Copper Spur and the Jack Rabbit, but it seems the CS is the way to go.

Thanks for all your help on this.


11:27 a.m. on January 30, 2012 (EST)
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I used the Golite Shangri-la 3 tent for 10 years. I had all three parts, the main rainfly, the begnetted part and the floor section. I used them together and separate. Sometimes I just used each part depending on the hike. The rainfly by itself is great in alpine areas during the cooler months when there are no bugs, the bugnetting part is good when it isnt going to rain(hopefully) and I have just carryed the floor section when all I needed was a ground sheet to sleep on.

I really liked mine and stupidly sold it a couple years ago to someone  else. I should have kept it. They are very light, pack small and have lots of head room. The inner single pole can be replaced with a cord tied to the loop at the outside top of the rainfly and tied to a limb above giving you more room. I could stand up inside on my knees or hunched over to pull on my pants inside the tent.

It as I said comes in three parts but just the rainfly and bug-netting sections together weigh 4 lbs 4 oz and right now you can get both for about $198



This what the inner bugnetting section looks like. It can be used alone without the fly and the fly can be used alone too.

I have used the Shangri-la 3 in all weather, it will handle light snow, I used it in Alaska during rain and it works well.

It also comes in forest Green.

The Shangri-la 1 weighs just 1.4 lbs and is $79 now at www.golite.com



3:34 p.m. on January 31, 2012 (EST)
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40 forum posts

I know the purchase has been made, but I must throw Big Sky's tents into the pile. I've owned a Big Sky Revolution, http://bigskyproducts.com/Big-Sky-Evolution-2P-shelter.aspx, since 2007 and have absolutely loved it. My two-person comes in right at 3 lbs, with two doors, two vestibules and lots of room. It also boasts a porch and a window. The interior walls are mesh and the tent is free-standing, aside for the vestibules. We've been though blizzards, wind storms and plenty of crashing-anywhere-the-tent-will-fit-after-dark-offtrail-meanderings-that-became-crazy. This is four years of 20 to 30 day years backpacking. Sadly, not American made.

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