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Feedback on Stephenson's Warmlite

11:34 a.m. on April 27, 2012 (EDT)
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6 forum posts

Over the years I've read many reviews and comments on these tents, from very positive to utterly negative.

Still, after all this reading, I'm baffled by a few features and characteristics on which I'd like to have feedback from anyone with hands-on experience (I live in Europe and it's unlikely that I'll run into a Warmlite, short of buying one).

1) the middle portion of the canopy is double walled. How are the two layers kept separated? Is the inner one hanging from the other (like in a Hilleberg)?. From pictures I was not able to tell

2) the door lies above the floored "vestibule" (their quotes). Doesn't this render impossible to keep rain out when entering? Doesn't rain simply pool on the floor? 

Thank you for your help.

8:55 p.m. on April 29, 2012 (EDT)
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459 forum posts

Amazing, I've had the tent over 15 years and really haven't thought about the construction that much for years.  So up it went to take a look.  From in the stuff sack to in the tent was bit over 2.5 mins of unhurried activity.  For the 2R one peg in rear two in front.  For 3R two in rear.  If a wind/snow add 4 more at the corners.

The entire tent is single ply syl-nylon. The ends (to the north and south of hoops) can be a different color, and are single ply.  The core portion between the hoops has a second layer of syl joined only at the seams right at the hoops (or at the canopy cover if you get 'windows') and ridge and is open - unattached - at bottom. There is no clearance between them.  In my case, the inside layer (second layer) forms the basis for the 'barn door' zippered windows on both sides.  The outside layer has a zippered opening along near each of the hoops (zipper in front to about 15" of ridge and back to about 4" of ridge) to provide a canopy (if needed) formed by the material. From inside, access to the net covered windows is by a single zipper that forms a 'C' standing on its legs. When the inside is zipped up the tent is still water and wind proof but would not trust it in a true gale. The windows provide ventilation or a view. Two treks on each side holding up the canopy provide some (no wind) weather sheltered storage.  I have added tie downs at the ridge to manage the material away from the netted openings in normal use.  The windows have been well worth the few ounce addition.  The tent is usually used only when inclement weather or vicious bugs.  Otherwise we sleep on the tent shadow/foot print under, hopefully, the stars.

The end of the 2R (both ends of 3R) have an inclined entry with two zippers. There is no netting covering the door opening.  When fully opened, some spin drift and a bit of water does enter as you do. The floor is temporarily exposed about 22" wide by 15" deep away from front of tent after you unzip the front. And if such a down pour that Noah would be in his element, would pool in the front on the 'vestibule'.  We do try to pitch the tent with the breeze coming from the back of the tent.  Mind you, we are not always that foresighted.   In all the times in bad weather, it has not been a problem and is water tight once the entrance zippers are closed.  It does allow someone entering to step 'inside' then move to get in.  We generally don't enter with boots/crampons on unless the tent bottom is well protected.  Perhaps the tent mate's sleeping bag could work.

More water comes in on clothing than unaided through the door opening.  There is always a flurry of activity opening and closing the door if it is really nasty out.

I seldom use the door end ('vestibule') as a storage area except for necessary kit used at night or in an extended stay in the tent.  I think they are stretching a point to call it a vestibule of the ilk other tents might have. I have yet to store a pack there (15+ years). I would be cramped with two large packs and two large guys in the tent at the same time.  Doable?  Sure.  We have had 5 in the tent one bad night at 12,000'. Was hard to shuffle the cards and NOBODY was sleeping.

During really crappy weather, we have done considerable cooking on a protected tent floor near the front however.

We keep a rag/small sponge handy for the inevitable condensation on the single ply ends.  Condensation is not that much of a problem normally. I've had worse in tents with a rain fly. Can get a wet face shower of frost some mornings.

I at times wished I had taken their advice many years ago and purchased the 3R.  It has two doors and better ventilation over all. The 2R can stop ventilating if the back end is stuffed full of sleeping bag, clothes and feet.  Then there is condensation.

But I like what I have, and have only rarely had to worry about the footprint being too big to fit where I'd like to pitch it.  That is a problem many would like to have, I'd gather.

Happy to take some pictures for you. 

11:21 a.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts

yes pics please

8:20 a.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
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6 forum posts

Wow, thanks for you thorough reply!

More of a full review actually, I really appreciate it.

So, even if there's no clearance between the two layers, I gather from what you say that they work pretty well at avoiding condensation. Remarkable.

Still, I guess I'd be too clumsy for that kind of door...

11:26 a.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
10 reviewer rep
459 forum posts

"Still, I guess I'd be too clumsy for that kind of door..."

Depends on amount of your need to get in/outside of the tent.  It is 24"wide x 40 high.  Step in, drop to your knees and you are in. Getting out is not that graceful.

Internal condensation is a factor of managing venting of moisture.  If you dry your socks inside at night it could be on your face in the morning. Cool air comes in at bottom back and front netted vents and exits out as heated air thru top vent - supposedly. We used to carry a tent candle for the purpose.  Haven't in years now.

I'll get some pictures of what I discussed in a couple of days.  Really rotten weather here.  Have to take advantage of it - 70'sF, cool breeze, fluffy clouds lots of flowers and citrus fruit for the picking.

Unlikely running into any of Stephenson's products unless you buy one here as well.  They still have no distributors of the tent as best I can tell.  Truly continues as a 'cottage' industry in New Hampshire someplace tucked back into the woods.  They used to have a VHS video of their products.  I suspect they now have a digital vid you can download...if you ask.

4:32 p.m. on May 12, 2012 (EDT)
10 reviewer rep
459 forum posts

If you are interested in the pictures about above email me xpeacock at pacbell dot net.  This is in lieu of me posting ... you will get the pics faster.

April 25, 2014
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