REI Cirque ASL II for winter

9:58 a.m. on December 28, 2012 (EST)
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Thinking of buying this instead of the LL Bean Backcountry because of the significant price difference. The LLB Backcountry is $389 the ASL is on sale for $269 right now at REI.

I will be using it for winter only, Adirondacks, gets below zero or hovers in single digits at night. I have a -30 bag I use.

Anyone have an opinion either way? I don't go out for more than 3 nights and I only go one or two times a year in the winter. The LL Bean tent looks more suitable but is it $120 more suitable?

Thanks for the help!

11:43 a.m. on December 28, 2012 (EST)
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This REI tent might do for “fair weather” winter camping, but it is a bit underweight for a full-on winter tent.  One area they shaved weight is using minimal poles.  More poles mean a heavier tent, but it can also mean a tent better designed to deal with strong winds and snow loading.  I also am less than enthralled with cramming two people into a winter tent with only a 31 sq ft footprint.  While you may only be intending on one and two day trips, may I advise any time you are forced to experience crapped quarters with another person to ride out bad weather, it is going to be an encumbrance.  It may spec as a 2p tent, but I think it is better cast as a lovers tent (read spooning your tent mate) or a roomy solo tent.  Lastly the LL bean tent has a more protected entrance, something you’ll appreciate if you end up in the rain.

As for your value proposition, comparing the price of the REI and LL Bean models, I think a tent – especially a winter tent – is one of the five pieces of equipment where cost is secondary to function and dependability.  Get the best tent you can afford.

Ed

5:09 p.m. on December 28, 2012 (EST)
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whomeworry said:

This REI tent might do for “fair weather” winter camping, but it is a bit underweight for a full-on winter tent.  One area they shaved weight is using minimal poles.  More poles mean a heavier tent, but it can also mean a tent better designed to deal with strong winds and snow loading.  I also am less than enthralled with cramming two people into a winter tent with only a 31 sq ft footprint.  While you may only be intending on one and two day trips, may I advise any time you are forced to experience crapped quarters with another person to ride out bad weather, it is going to be an encumbrance.  It may spec as a 2p tent, but I think it is better cast as a lovers tent (read spooning your tent mate) or a roomy solo tent.  Lastly the LL bean tent has a more protected entrance, something you’ll appreciate if you end up in the rain.

As for your value proposition, comparing the price of the REI and LL Bean models, I think a tent – especially a winter tent – is one of the five pieces of equipment where cost is secondary to function and dependability.  Get the best tent you can afford.

Ed

 Thanks so much Ed, I really appreciate your input. While it will only be a single person using the tent I concur, you get what you pay for.

I just got an email from my sister in law who works for Prima Loft. She can get me 40% off either a Marmot Alpinist or Thor. Decision has been made!!

Thanks!

Chris

9:22 a.m. on December 29, 2012 (EST)
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whomeworry said:

I think a tent – especially a winter tent – is one of the five pieces of equipment where cost is secondary to function and dependability.  Get the best tent you can afford.

Very good observation Ed. A tent is most certainly one item that I WILL NOT skimp on. 

This is an item in which you health, well being, comfort and safety will most certainly be dependent upon. 

Mother Nature does not care what tent you are in. As I like to say "if she wants to throw a tantrum she will regardless of how well you are prepared."  

Being solo in winter conditions makes your choices on what shelter to purchase all that more important. 

If you get caught in a bad storm(wind, heavy snow, blah blah blah) and your shelter fails you can find yourself in a tough spot very quick with very limited options if any at all depending upon how sever the failure and the weather is.

I mean it is not like you have the option to hop in your buddies tent if your shelter fails. At least that isn't an option for me.  

When I purchase an item I purchase the item that I want. This was the case with my Hilleberg Soulo

Yes, I could have purchase a tent that would have been easier on the ol' wallet but the question I always kept rehashing was would it be easy on me when you know what hits the fan?

So instead of making an impulse buy to get through the season I waited and saved up a lil more coin to get the tent that I truly wanted. 

I have never once regretted this decision. 

2:23 p.m. on December 29, 2012 (EST)
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The Prodeal discount is too risky for me in the end. I could end up with a $600 tent for $300 but it is a warehouse drop ship with no returns, no exchanges, and no customer service. They also take 4 weeks to ship and my trip is in 2.5. 

In the end, I have decided to go with the LL Bean Backcountry Dome. For the amount of winter camping I do I feel this tent will suffice. I have always trusted the LL Bean name and quality. For me and my current situation $400 is not skimping and I feel I am making the right choice. 

I will be sure to let you know how it does. Heading to Crane Pond in Adirondacks for 3 nights of ice fishing and day hikes/walks middle of January. 

Thanks for all the valuable input. You all helped me make my decision!

Happy Trails!

Chris

10:44 p.m. on December 29, 2012 (EST)
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I hope you have a great time on your trip DogWalker!

Mike G. 

10:09 p.m. on December 30, 2012 (EST)
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Campmor has the Marmot Thor on sale right now for $450.-. -  http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___27977#   For just $70.- more than the LL Bean, that would be my choice for Winter trips in the Dak's.

If you belong to the NY/NJ trail conference, you get a 10% discount at Campmor and several other places, though not with online orders, you'd have to drive down to Campmor. The discount might not be worth the gas money. Also, the discount is supposed to be on non-sale items only, but I've always gotten it. Also, FYI, they aren't open on Sundays.

Crane Pond... You'll be camping not far from your vehicle? Still, January there can be brutal.

12:07 p.m. on December 31, 2012 (EST)
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Yeah, not far from the car. It all depends on how far in we can drive. Last year with no snow we made it in beyond the water crossing by truck then also got the first site on the pond. I think it was the year prior that we had to walk in pulling gear on jet sleds from the first parking lot. January is totally random in the Adirondacks. I grew up there so in used to it. At Crane we have had nights in the single digits and one year we went in knowing a cold snap was coming and it hit -25 the first night. That night was my first night in 25 years of camping everywhere from grand canyon to Newfoundland that I thought I bit off more than I could chew. We got through it but it was so cold we could barely keep a fire burning!

12:05 a.m. on January 9, 2013 (EST)
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I gotta disagree with Ed on "necessary" floorspace for a 2 P tent.

My new SCARP 2 has exactly 31 sq. ft. of floor space and is actually large enough to (just) fit 3 people laying head-to-toe.  That should be plenty big enough for two people.

I DO agree about heavier poles and good canopy support. I've purchased a heavier duty main pole (larger diameter & thicker tube walls) for the main pole. Got it from Tentpole Technologies.

For better canopy support I moved the exterior "crossing poles" inside - after a bit of sewing and pole shortening. The canopy now has nearly continuous support from these poles.

Now I have a very good full-on winter tent for two. With these improvements and its four guy-out points it can withstand heavy winds and snowloads.

3:11 a.m. on January 9, 2013 (EST)
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My winter tent is an old EMS Pampero. It is not huge by my standard, maybe 28 sf plus a big vestibule and I use it solo. It is heavy, it is bulky. It is also a five pole shelter that should withstand almost anything including a full on blizzard if I have it dug in properly. I got it cheap on eBay, like new. No idea what the owner did with it, but couldn't have been much.

For winter, for two people, you need room. You just have too much stuff-big bag, extra clothes, etc. Two people in my tent would be pushing it, unless it was a girlfriend. Two guys in a TNF is not too bad. Done that. It is a bit bigger than mine.

fyi, if you Google "EMS Pampero" one of the images they show is one of my pictures I posted here. Not sure how they grab them, but I am not happy about that.

7:19 a.m. on January 9, 2013 (EST)
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I think there's actually two of your pics Tom, as well as your current avatar photo.

8:10 a.m. on January 9, 2013 (EST)
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There are several pics of your tent. But there are quite a few of those tents for sale right now. If you love that tent it might be a good time to buy another for backup.

December 19, 2014
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