Which tent to bring?

9:48 a.m. on May 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Hello, I have a Hilleberg Allak winter tent and a Tarptent Stratospire2 (made with Silnylon) 3 season tent, I will be going to Yellowstone next week and I'm unsure which tent to bring. The weather looks like it will be on the lower to mid 30s at night, right now it's snowing there.  I'm being inclined to take the 3 season tent, but I live and hike mostly on the lower east coast using a Kelty 20 degree sleeping bag, I'm not very used to the cold and my wife is even less used to it.  The silnylon from the Stratospire will add very little protection against the cold and the wind, while the Allak double wall will be perfect, but if I take the Allak I will be carrying an extra 4 lbs of tent.  If it was a little colder and snowing, or a little warmer, the decision would be easier, but staying just around freezing temperatures, the chances of snowfall and the extremities of my tents this decision falls unto a gray area. Anyways, what do you guys suggest? 

10:18 a.m. on May 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Going from Florida to Wyoming?  Better bring the Allak.  The weather in Wyoming is unpredictable, even when it is predicted.

11:38 a.m. on May 29, 2012 (EDT)
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From what I've read around here you definitely want to take the Allak.  I'm not sure what kind (if any) of snow load the tarptent would handle.  You may want to get yourselves some bag liners or one of these: http://www.trailspace.com/gear/adventure-medical-kits/sol-thermal-bivvy/review/19018/ 

12:30 p.m. on May 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Yellowstone has been having snow at Old Faithful this last week, Its clear and sunny now in Jackson Hole just south of the park. It'll be still cooler and possibly rainy up in the park.

12:54 p.m. on May 29, 2012 (EDT)
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To bad you don't have a tent between the two of those. Out of the two, take the Allak.

1:39 p.m. on May 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Maxx,

Well….for a guy who lives in Florida, what better opportunity are you likely to have to use that fabulous Hilleberg tent? :)

On the other hand, I’ve used my thin little three season tent down in the single digit temps (in the snow) with no issues (but also no snow load). But I typically spend most of my days hiking (only in the tent for sleeping) and don’t have my wife with me (major consideration of course)

I guess put me down for “bring the Allak”….

2:03 p.m. on May 29, 2012 (EDT)
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I would also say bring the Allak!  Just because conditions can change drastically in Yellowstone and it may snow while your there..Have a great trip..

2:52 p.m. on May 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Couple questions that might help with a more reasoned answer -

1. Are you strictly car camping or are you going into the backcountry backpacking?

2. Are both your bags 20F bags? What is the lowest temperature you have used them in (both you and spouse)? At that lowest temperature, how comfortable/miserable were you?

If you are strictly car camping, I agree with the above posts - take the Hille! But keep in mind that, even in a double-wall tent, the temperature inside is at best 5 or 10 deg warmer than outside. You will get a bit of help by cutting the windchill factor.

If you are headed out backpacking, I would say take both (assuming you are driving). You will probably need to spend a night camped by the car at the trailhead, so you can try the tarp. If it is warm enough, leave the Hille in the car and go with the lighter weight. I will note that I find my BD Megamid to provide enough wind blockage and almost as warm as any other tent.

But having camped in Yellowstone a few times, I will note that I have had a few chilly nights in my 15F bag in the northern part of the park in July and August. I think 20F bags are marginal (though I have also had overly warm nights in Yellowstone as well). An overbag helps, as does sleeping with some clothes (long johns, especially).

7:47 p.m. on May 29, 2012 (EDT)
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To answer Bill, I will be on a 10 day backpacking trip into Yellowstone, that's why I'm even considering the 3 season tent because it's so much lighter. Both bags are 20F, we are bringing several layers to keep us warm including heavy columbia baselayer top and bottom, northface trinity alps fleece jacket, marmot down jacket, plus tshirt, gloves, balaclava etc...
I've used my 20F that sleeping bag to lower 40s and upper 30s with no problem, but those temps were temporary with much warmer daytime temps, however, I wasn't layered like I will be on the trip also.
 
It seems the Allak is getting an unanimous decision here though. I'm pretty sure the Stratospire could handle some snow loads, it's an incredibly sturdy tent, the material would probably just sag alot, what I'm worried is that it could make the interior super cold!

9:21 p.m. on May 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Allak. It sounds like an amazing adventure and you should make sure your friend wants to come along on the next one! 

10:35 a.m. on May 30, 2012 (EDT)
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First and foremost you mentioned something in your initial post that stood out to me. 

Your wife is not use to it.

You also mentioned that the Allak double wall will be perfect... Seems like ya kinda made your decision already in a sense. This is not only about you enjoying your trip but also your wife.

I was looking at the Stratospire 2. Alot of mesh there plus from what I see the fly doesn't extend completely to the ground. 

My #1 worry with this is spindrift. I have been I less than adequate shelters when the winds kicked up and the snow was coming down sideways.

Its not fun being in an unexpected snowstorm but it is even less fun literally being in a blizzard inside your tent. This can make for a bad trip.

Why leave it to chance?

Look, 3 season tents are dubbed 3 season tents for a reason. Same with 4 season models.

If you are possibly expecting 4 season conditions why even consider pushing the parameters of what the Stratospire is designed for? To save a lil weight?

You can make that difference up elsewhere.

Do I believe it will handle a snowload? Absolutely. I think most any tent now a days can handle some snow but that doesn't equate to inside comfort/protection.

The Allak will offer much more protection in bad weather than any UL tent. I mean, that is what it is made for.

If you know what hits the fan at least you know you are prepared for it. 

It completely behooves me at times. I read reviews of some 3 season tents and see statements where the reviewer will say "the tent was horrible in the snow so only a 3 out of 5 for that."

I just laugh and think to myself "ya don't say it was horrible in the snow." IT'S NOT DESIGNED WITH THAT USE IN MIND...

maxx, I gotta be honest here. When people decide to roll the dice on the chance that things will be okay because they want to save weight I just shake my head. 

Just take the Allak and make sure you as well as your wife have a great trip. 

Heck, I forget if you have the footprint for the Allak(I thought you had it up for sale at one time) but if ya do just leave the inner at home. This will cut down on the weight and if ya encounter blowing snow/bad weather you will probably still be better protected than ya would be in a 3 season UL shelter just based on the Hille's design with the outer extending flush with the ground.

Just my .02.....

11:15 a.m. on May 30, 2012 (EDT)
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I don't think I've ever seen a thread where everyone agrees 100%.

Kinda worries me. 

12:29 p.m. on May 30, 2012 (EDT)
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I know Mike, this is first time I see this hehehe, makes me feel like this question was a no brainer, I'm taking the Allak for sure now.
Rick, I had two footprints for the Allak, one as a precaution if the other ripped, but that thing is so strong I am selling my spare that never saw any use.  This trip I'm taking the whole setup, what you said about this whole snow spindrift thing is crazy, I never been on a snowstorm or blizzard before, I didn't know I could see that at Yellowstone in mid June but since everyone says weather there is unpredictable I gotta watch out.  I was only expecting to see rain there, and left over snow from the snowfall that just happened, or worse case scenario some light snowfall, that's why I even considered the Stratospire. The fly does extend all the way to the ground, you can set it not to, but for the short time since I got it I've always set it all the way down, but the inner is all mesh so if anything but bugs manages to get in I'm doomed.
We are planning to cover alot of distance on this 10 days 9 nights trip, that's why I was mentioning the 4lbs as something significant, but I would even take 10 extra pounds if it meant I would enjoy the trip more, but if there was an argument that the Stratospire would keep me and my wife safe and comfortable in this trip, I would gladly chose to take the lighter tent =).

12:43 p.m. on May 30, 2012 (EDT)
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I watched the videos on the Stratospire(at least those that are available) and I really didn't notice when set that they were flush but this would all be dependent upon how ya set your poles. 

I dunno. I am kinda of a stickler when it comes to proper tools for the job at hand I suppose. 

I typically use my solo 3 season tent late spring through early fall then the 4 for mid/late fall through early/mid spring.

The weather here can be wacky. 

I have tried out my Copper Spur 1 in the snow just to see what it was like and needless to say I wasn't very happy. 

For the trip you are going to go on I would err on the side of caution and just go with a burlier(heavier) tent. 

That's just me though. 

Now that I took a 2nd look at the design of the TT ya might be okay with that. 

Then again might is a pretty strong word when its your/your wife's tails that are on the line. 

Just for the added security and peace of mind I would prolly go Hille though.

I mean you 2 are going to be out there to enjoy yourselves. Having a storm worthy shelter just gives ya one less thing to worry about if ya see clouds on the horizon. 

1:02 p.m. on May 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Maxx, when I lived in Colorado and camped in the mountains, it wasn't uncommon to see some new snowfall in the mountains during every month of the year.  Graupel is a common type of precip you will see at higher elevations also.  It could be raining at a lower elevation and then higher up you have the Graupel.

1:03 p.m. on May 30, 2012 (EDT)
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mikemorrow said:

I don't think I've ever seen a thread where everyone agrees 100%.

Kinda worries me.

Well Bill_S did say:

If you are headed out backpacking, I would say take both (assuming you are driving). You will probably need to spend a night camped by the car at the trailhead, so you can try the tarp. If it is warm enough, leave the Hille in the car and go with the lighter weight.

With two ifs, one assumption, and an overnight test he said it would be Okay to take the tarp tent.  Call it 99%.  

2:44 p.m. on May 30, 2012 (EDT)
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I would say that for me the logical choice would be the Allak hands down. It sucks to be in a three season tent in four season conditions stuck in the middle of nowhere. It would suck even more with the disapproving knowledge of the person I was with knowing that I could have made a better choice for them/us. I would guess that there is a 95%+/- chance that the Stratospire would be a great tent for the trip but the other 5% would have me worried. I would think that you would not want the worries so that you could pay attention to the things that you would want to be paying attention to at Yellowstone. Yellowstone is amazing. You bought the Allak for a reason and I would think that this is one of them.

There was the suggestion of bring both tents with you and leaving one in the car at the trailhead. If you can bring both and are comfortable with that then I would but I would not leave anything in your car at the trailhead.  I would leave nothing in your car that you ever want to see again.  If I was a thief and wanted to break into car's I would wait at the trailhead(s) and watch for people going out on multi-day trips.

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