LL Bean Backcountry Two Person Dome Tent

2:03 p.m. on December 26, 2012 (EST)
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I am thinking about purchasing this tent strictly for winter camping. Anyone own one and want to share their opinions on it? 

Thanks!

11:53 a.m. on December 27, 2012 (EST)
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I have not used this tent, but I would have reservations for use in snow as the fly does not come all the way to the ground.

Ed

3:29 p.m. on December 27, 2012 (EST)
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whomeworry said:

I have not used this tent, but I would have reservations for use in snow as the fly does not come all the way to the ground.

Ed

I see your point. I would be more concerned about that if it had mesh on the sides but since it doesn't I am not too worried. If I didn't have a budget I wouldn't choose this tent. Sadly, I do have a budget. I have always appreciated the LL Bean return policy and customer service as well as the quality of their products. 

Can you suggest a 2 person winter tent in this price range ($350-$450) that is better than this one?

Note: I am selling a 1970 Holubar on this site in the classifieds forum. Whatever I can get for that goes towards the new one. I am moving on from the Holubar due to weight and ease of set up. Aside from that the Holubar is a killer tent.

Happy Trails!

 

11:15 a.m. on December 28, 2012 (EST)
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DogWalker said:

Can you suggest a 2 person winter tent in this price range ($350-$450) that is better than this one?

Off hand I am not aware of the current offerings, it has been quite a while since my last winter tent purchase. 

Ed

9:32 p.m. on December 28, 2012 (EST)
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The Backcountry looks like a solid design if I am looking at the same tent(here.) If you are up for alternatives here are a few other 4 season offerings that are in your price range(with the exception of the Nemos, the Northwest Territory family tent, and possibly the Oware which use would be dependent upon experience with this type of shelter.)

http://www.geartrade.com/browse/4-season-tents

Hope this helps.

Happy hiking.

10:29 p.m. on December 28, 2012 (EST)
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Buying a used tent is an option. I bought a great winter tent for around $100 on eBay a few years ago. The caveat-there is a lot of cheap junk on eBay. I knew what I was looking for and although not familiar with the tent, knew the brand. Apparently no one else did, so few bidders. Craigslist may also be a good source-depends on your area.

But, before you buy from eBay or Craigslist, check around. Some of the online retailers have outlet sites (REI, for one) and sell last year's or discontinued models at steep discounts. A lot of what you see on EBay now is new stock from retailers selling at full retail.

I looked today and saw a few good tents on eBay, but no real bargains. Did see a Trango 2, supposedly brand new, but I don't trust anyone who uses a stock photo or just a picture of the bag. That's like selling a car and putting up a picture of your garage-stupid.

I would look at TNF's Mountain 25 (about as stormproof as they get), MH Trango 2 or Trango Assault (both no longer made), EMS Pampero (my tent, but hardly any around), Hilleberg (very pricey when new).

If I was buying a new tent in your price range, there are many - REI, Mountain Hardwear, MSR and TNF, among others, all make winter tents in or close to your price range.

An alternative is to buy one of the pyramid or teepee designs which tend to be much cheaper. Never used one. BD, Golite, Titanium Goat make them.

If you want a UL tent, look at Henry Shires' Tarptents. He now has a couple of winter tents. Franco (a member here) reps the brand so he knows about them.

1:23 p.m. on December 30, 2012 (EST)
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The Eureka Alpenlite 2XT seems to be well regarded.

10:07 p.m. on January 1, 2013 (EST)
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Holubar -- there's a name I haven't heard in a long, long time.

I wouldn't go with the Bean tent. You are paying some just for having the LL Bean name on it. The time has come and gone when they were purveyors of fine outdoors goods. They are now "lifestyle" merchants, with some exceptions. The pac boots are still good.

Go to Campmor and REI and look at their tents. It will give you a starting point. You might find something perfect there, or get ideas for where else to look.

For $350-450 you can do better in almost any dimension -- size, weight, reliability.

Look for a tent company, not a lifestyle company.

9:25 a.m. on January 3, 2013 (EST)
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I decided on the LL Bean tent. I agree that over the years they have turned in to a yuppie depot. I do feel though that they still make a good product and their customer service is unbeatable. There is a store in my town to boot so I can walk in and talk to someone in person any time I have an issue, if ever. 

I also ended up getting the three man backcountry dome for two reasons. One, it went on sale and was $90 less than then 2 man and now I have a tent big enough for all my gear to stay inside as well as a tent I can use with my wife and dog. I also feel that when you buy an LL Bean product you are buying a piece of equipment for life. 

I looked at tons of tents before making this decision. The two biggest factors were brand quality and price. I agree there are some items you shouldn't skimp on due to their importance on a trip but I don't feel I skimped. I just got a good deal. I could have spent $100 or $200 more but would I really have gotten that much better of a tent? In the end in my price range every tent has essentially the same features, is made from the same material, and for the most part has the same design. 

I did look at REI and Campmor. REI had no tents under $500 aside from a Big Agnes for $440, out of my price range. To be honest, REI isn't a far cry from a rich guy gear shop either, no more so than LL Bean in my humble opinion. One could make that argument about all the high priced stores these days. Campmor is the only one I can't say that about. Again, they too only had tents $450 and up, out of my price range.

I paid $299 for a solid three man tent that will no doubt suffice my for my one or two real dead of winter trips a year. I don't think anyone can find me a winter tent from a reputable company for $300. It was also only 1lb heavier than the 2 man, not that weight was a real concern. This isn't a backpacking tent. My buddy did make a good point last night though that now we can break is up and carry it between three people and have it for an emergency on longer backpacking trips with room for two or three plus gear. 

I will absolutely report on how it works out. Going two weeks from today for probably 4 nights, maybe only three. It will no doubt be tested in sub zero temps and hopefully some good snow! Thanks for all the advice and input. I am new to this site but plan on visiting regularly in the future.

7:05 p.m. on January 6, 2013 (EST)
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I don't understand your comments about REI and Campmor. I just did a quick search on tents for family/car camping on REI. They had 13 tents for sale below $500 and only 5 that were above $500. For backpacking tents, there were 14 above $500 (I included the $499 tents in that group) and 37 for less. Didn't check Campmor, as I know from experience the price and selection will not be that different.

I've also got to say that, if you think REI and LL Bean are on the same level, we are gauging them by very different criteria.

7:29 a.m. on January 7, 2013 (EST)
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Winter and four season tents only, two man or three. That was what I was looking for, talking about, and searching on the sites.

Like I said, I got the tent I wanted and I'm not really giving it any additional thought.

As for REI and LLBean, to each his own. I buy what I need from the place that sells a quality version for a reasonable price. Sometimes its EMS, REI, LL Bean or Campmor and then other times for less important items it is Army Navy, Amazon, or Walmart. I don't outfit myself entirely from one place and I have no loyalty to any. REI has no $299 three man winter tents. So in this instance I went with LL Bean.

8:23 p.m. on January 28, 2013 (EST)
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It's hard to tell.  The yuppie brands seem to be stepping up their game as the more serious outdoor brands erode their gear sales.  I know with Eddie Bauer,  the ultimate yuppie depot, they doubled down on their First Ascent line's design and quality and the result is great gear that's pulling down sweet reviews.  I haven't seen much LL Bean gear rated but I don't see why they aren't capable of making a great tent.  They claim it's ultra rugged, it looks to be high quality, and I have to say that I'm impressed by some of the unique design features.  Dual doors and dual vestibules sounds hella ergonomic for two people.  The vents on the fly also seem like a good idea but they seem a bit susceptible to rain/snow...the other manufactures use tube vents or much lower profile ones.  Let us know how it performs and holds up.

September 23, 2014
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