Looking for a lightweight tent that is selfsupporting...

5:54 p.m. on May 7, 2014 (EDT)
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I have decided to sell my 5.10 lb Golite Shangri-la 5 and get a lighter weight tent that is self supporting.

I have looked in the gear reviews here at TS but they are most rated by brand and cost, not weight. I want a 3 season tent that will be big enough for me and my sleeping bag,pad and other things. I would like it to be under 4 lbs, but have its own floor and a vestibule (or 2) It needs to be self supporting.

Idea's?

6:55 p.m. on May 7, 2014 (EDT)
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Gary, do you have a price range in mind?

Double wall or single?

I'm gonna take a guess and reckon you'd be happier in a "two man" tent, unless it is a very roomy solo.

You do spend a great deal of time living out-of-doors in all kindsa weather, and to me that says the extra room of a two man tent would be nice.  

It has to be freestanding? Lots of fantastic lightweight tents out there but many of the real lightweights are not free standing. For solo use I'm sold on my TarpTent Squall 2, which is a two man tent at just over two pounds. I was worried about going to a non-freestanding tent at first but I found it wasn't a big deal, and this tent pitches faster and easier than anything else I've ever tried.

The closest TT can get to a freestanding is the very popular Rainbow  ( solo ) or better yet the Double Rainbow.

The Double Rainbow is a two man tent with two doors and vestibules and only a little over 2-1/2 pounds. It can be set up freestanding with trekking poles ( that isn't gonna help you when cycle touring! ) but even without the trekking poles it is quite a sturdy tent. The two man version should have lots of room for a nice "home-away-from-home". 

Cost is 289, and it is made in the USA, unlike most tents.  Might wanna take a look at it.

http://www.tarptent.com/double-rainbow.html

 

For a more traditional double wall freestanding sorta tent you might wanna look at the Kelty TN2.

Two doors, two vestibules, 4 pounds 9 ounces "packed weight" 4 pounds "trail weight"

I don't care for it myself, the inner is entirely mesh so it ain't a good tent in cold weather or blowing dust, and it is, to me, heavy. But it is a traditional sorta freestanding tent. 

On sale now at Backcountry for 250 clams.

 http://www.backcountry.com/kelty-tn2-tent-2-person-3-season?ti=UExQIENhdDozLVNlYXNvbiBUZW50czoxOjQ6YmNzQ2F0NzExMDAwNDE&skid=KEL000S-ONECOL-ONESIZ

Otherwise, I think yer looking at the Big Agnes and MSR tents. They fit the bill, but are spendy items!

Fer 350 Backcountry has the BA Seedhouse SL2, which is about three pounds packed and ready to go.

You'd have to content yerself with one door and vestibule though. 

And so on down the line. Go to Backcountry, select two person tents, double wall, then Ultralight.

http://www.backcountry.com/3-season-tents?sort=%2Bprice&nf=1&p=attr_capacity%3A2%5C-Person%7Cattr_season%3A3%5C-Season%7Cattr_tenttype%3ADouble%5C-Wall%7Crecommendeduse%3AUltralight%5C+Backpacking

If you can afford one, look at the BA Copper spur UL2 or the MSR Carbon Reflex 2. Good tents, just bloody expensive.

Tents I would recommend against are the Easton Kilo and the BA Flycreek. The Kilo is a floppy, poorly designed  thing and the Flycreek sure ain't no freestanding tent, no matter what they say!

 

 

7:47 p.m. on May 7, 2014 (EDT)
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Gary, have you looked at the BD tents? Also, you may want to look at www.backpacking.net This is a lightweight site I have belonged to for years, like here, it has sponsors and is an easy place to compare weights. I will post there also and see what gets recommended.

7:55 p.m. on May 7, 2014 (EDT)
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+1 on the TT Dbl Rainbow - EarthPig, here on TS, swears by his...and he's also a big dude like yourself, Gary.

That will offer the length (and elbow room) you need. Otherwise, you'll wind up spending more than you'd like and carrying more weight/bulk than you have to on something storebought.  

It's fully freestanding with trekking poles, but then again, you're saavy enough that you could probably get it to stand with sticks. 

Costs less than you probably bought that GL SL5 for. And, for what you get, it's a bargain compared to other tents in the same price range. 

One thing I've learned? While cottage industry gear isn't ever inexpensive, your money goes a LOT further with those home-grown gear makers than it will at, say, REI. Moreover, I firmly believe the retail markup on a lot of tents out there just prices them miles away from their actual worth.

And, if you grow out of it, fall out of love with it, whatever - watch how quickly a TarpTent sells on eBay, or a Warbonnet Hammock in the Hammock Forums. Cottage gear has a great resale value, too, if ya take good care of it!

8:25 p.m. on May 7, 2014 (EDT)
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What exactly do we mean by 'freestanding' or 'self-supporting'?

For me, it means that the tent must be usable without any pegs or stakes, with just some weight inside to keep it from blowing away.

Two examples are the Hillberg Unna and Staika - both heavier than Gary wants, I think - and the Unna wouldn't be big enough, IMO. (I own both). A similar tent is the Exped Venus but it's not self-supporting. All of those are expensive as well.

Tents that are not freestanding or self-supporting by my definition would include the MSR Hubba family, the Kelty TN2, BA CopperSpur - they all need staking for the vestibules to be functional. I can't find a picture of the TarpTent DR that's self-supporting/freestanding...all the pics I found show trekking poles and guys staked out...what am I missing?

8:53 p.m. on May 7, 2014 (EDT)
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No, you're 100% correct, John - it should be said, of all the TT models, that would be their most freestanding model, and not a fully self-supporting tent. 

Far as price goes, Gary, finding a tent to fit your height and come in under 4 pounds and be reasonably-priced is a tall (seriously, no pun intended) order.

Ashleigh's currently reviewing the 2.5 version of the Mountain Hardwear Optic (and I just bought the 3.5 myself for car camping).

$240 for the 2P, $285 for the 3P.

But dang, it's roomy (2P has a 92" x 58" floor and 48" ceiling height), you can totally pull back the two vestibules when you don't need 'em - and because they're on two adjacent sides, you can face the open side away from the trail and have some privacy.

The price you pay, though, is the weight: almost six pounds (and heavier, still, for the 3P).

I know of that tent because I've talked to Ashleigh about it, and I've got one now I use myself. That's my realm of experience as far as tents in the current market. If you can find a way to shave that two pounds elsewhere, though - it's a tent with the interior space and vestibules you're looking for. And fully self-supporting.

Again, the weight may make this one a deal-breaker, and I'd understand. That's my best shot, though, far as personal and firsthand experience goes.

9:13 p.m. on May 7, 2014 (EDT)
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Given the seasons and locations you currently frequent, I would suggest you need minimal shelter, primarily something to keep the bugs and rain out.  The MSR Hubba tents are well suited to your intended use; go with the solo Hubba if you don't mind storing most of your gear outside, or go with the 2 person Hubba Hubba if you insist on stashing your pack in the tent.  I purchased my Hubba solo tent for exactly your intended application.  These are true free standing tents, no additional equipment (like trekking poles) are required to erect these tents. Both versions of this tent have vestibule entrances you can open without exposing the tent interior to rain as you attempt to escape the elements.  Both are double wall tents, with the floor integral to the bug net interior wall.  Both tents can be set up a la ultra light, using just the tent poles and rain fly.  Lastly both have good headroom.  Lastly MSR has a great warranty service, should you ever have a problem.  While I have pitched (sic) the MSR tents, Big Agnes and several other companies offer similar, free standing, light weight tents.

Ed

9:57 p.m. on May 7, 2014 (EDT)
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Gary, I can't tell you anything about this tent, but GoLite has a 2-man UL tent coming in at 2lbs 8oz

http://www.trailspace.com/gear/golite/imogene-ul2/

http://www.golite.com/Imogene-Ultralight-2-Person-Tent-P47236.aspx?gclid=CLfe7fObm74CFckWMgodmWcA_g

10:46 p.m. on May 7, 2014 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

 The MSR Hubba tents are well suited to your intended use; go with the solo Hubba if you don't mind storing most of your gear outside, or go with the 2 person Hubba Hubba if you insist on stashing your pack in the tent.  I purchased my Hubba solo tent for exactly your intended application.  These are true free standing tents, no additional equipment (like trekking poles) are required to erect these tents. Both versions of this tent have vestibule entrances you can open without exposing the tent interior to rain as you attempt to escape the elements. ...

Ed

Doesn't the vestibule on the Hubba require staking out?

10:55 p.m. on May 7, 2014 (EDT)
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I think a freestanding tent with a vestibule is going to require at least 3 full hoop (down to the ground) poles, like the Staika. And, with that the weight (and cost) is going up, too.

I don't know how the manufacturers get away with calling tents that require staking, 'freestanding'. Perhaps the 'tent' is freestanding, but the fly (which creates the vestibule(s) requires stakes??

If it can't be set up fully (with a tight fly or outer tent) on a marble floor, it isn't freestanding!

2:10 p.m. on May 8, 2014 (EDT)
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Actually, I consider the Exped Venus self supporting, though the vestibules need a little help to be staked out. I have had my Venus for ten years now and find it a very good tent. For a tent under four pounds, you might consider the lighter Integral Designs tents. They are well made and essentially the Mk 2 and Mk 1 are copies of the Bibler Impotents that BD is dropping from their line. They are single wall but the non retardant versions breathe better than the BD Bibler Impotents which are flame retardant.

2:26 p.m. on May 8, 2014 (EDT)
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Erich said:

Actually, I consider the Exped Venus self supporting, though the vestibules need a little help to be staked out. I have had my Venus for ten years now and find it a very good tent.

 I have a VenusII also. (tent collection: Don't ask!  ;-) ) Excellent tent; I like Exped stuff- lots of thought put into their products. It's a really luxurious tent for one person; perfectly adequate for two. (Nice for kayak camping...) Sorry to get off-topic, as it's probably too heavy for Gary's requirements.

As you say, the vestibules require staking. I've also found that the tent ends require staking out as well. The parallel end-to-end poles don't tension the width of the tent the way that crossed hoops do. For those unfamiliar with the Exped Venus, the picture below was taken facing one 'end' of the tent; the triangular vestibules & door entrances are staked out to either side. You can see the pole tubes with darker fabric (it's an exoskeleton tent). There's a short 'cross-pole' to support the vestibule peaks.

Minimum stakes for a tight pitch=6

Mid-wall guys at each end=2 more pegs

Optional extra guys- up to 6 (?) more?


Gilbert-tentsite-JA.jpg

4:09 p.m. on May 8, 2014 (EDT)
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I got a Campmor catalog today, I like the TNF Tadpole 2 (page 13) for $389 weighs 4.7 lbs.

I had the original Tadpole tent back when I started bicycle touring and backpacking the Grand Canyon in 1983. I like the fact that like the Mtn Hardwear tent I used to have the rainfly can be used with the poles alone making it even lighter.


TNF-Tadpole-2-tent.jpg

Looks to be a very roomy tent with plenty of head space. 

Or this below, which I just found at TNF site the Tadpole 23 which is the tent I had in 1983 and its $220,  $70 cheaper than the Tadpole 2.


NTF-Tadpole-23-tent-220-dollars.jpg

Still just as roomy and is similar to the Mtn Hardwear tent I had before. Self supporting. And with the green rainfly it looks like the tent I want!


NTF-Tadpole-23-with-the-rainfly.jpg

I like the long front facing vestibule! But its not any lighter than the Golite Shangri-la 5 I have now but it does support it self other than the staked out vestibule. 

Guess I didn't think it through when I bought the S-5. Its a good tent similar to the Shangri-la 3 I had for 12 years, but isn't much good on sandstone where I spend as much or more camping time (Utah,Arizona),also on granite (Sabino/Bear Canyon,Yosemite)

7:56 p.m. on May 8, 2014 (EDT)
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Hey, Gary. I'm not much a guy to tell someone what he shouldn't get, but...

The TNF Tadpole is essentially the same model as the TNF Arcus 23 I reviewed, and the 2014 model you saw on Campmor is only bigger by a couple inches in each direction. And that's really the only time you'll hear me calling it "bigger." Disregard my review for the tent - it needs to be revisited. When I was an amateur and just starting out, I forced myself to fit the gear more often than I found gear to fit me. But, hey, thanks for reminding me to update that review when I get the chance.

These tents are like the Audi TT and VW Bug - two different cars, both built on the same, elongated hexagon chassis. 

Keep in mind I'm shorter than you by several inches, and I found this style tent too small. 

In so many words, here's why you shouldn't:

1.) Height. At best, I could sit up, and sit up facing the foot end. That's it. It's not livable space, and it's barely enough room to change a shirt.

2.) Length. I spanned the full length of that tent, and were I an inch taller, I'd be touching walls.

3.) Storage. You only have one vestibule, and it's in front of the one and only door. Moreover, it tapers toward the groundline, and the only usable storage is - ironically - the space right by the door. Any space near the perimeter is too short to be usable...and likely to get wet. 

4.) Pitch. "Freestanding" ONLY if pitched without the fly, and if you really want to get the most out of the small amount of room in the vestibule, you must pitch it taut. You really ought to find something with a dome shape with usable vestibules that don't impede your entry or exit. Remember, too, the more you can store in those vestibules, the more room you'll have inside for yourself. And if you've got a second vestibule, you can dedicate one solely to gear, and the other for getting in and out. (Also, all the but the foot end vents require the tent to be staked out to prove functional).

5.) Price. $289 for a 4-and-a-half pound tent just isn't a good value. It's not big enough. It's not functional enough. And it's not lightweight enough.

My best advice is take your time, and get REALLY specific on the features you want and need, then go trying to find a make and model. You want the tent to fit you, not the other way around. Look outside discount retailers. Try geartrade.com, or eBay - you can often picked up a lightly-used tent for a good deal off the [often unreasonable] retail price. I find it's a lot easier to first figure out what kind of tent I want, then go about trying to figure out where to buy it from.

And for the record, nothing against Campmor - they're good people - but they only carry so many makes and models, as does REI. You'll limit your options before you get a chance to see how many there are, even if elsewhere.

8:23 a.m. on May 9, 2014 (EDT)
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JohnAbercrombie said:

Doesn't the vestibule on the Hubba require staking out?

Strictly speaking, yes, but I've had no problem fixing that tie-off point tying it to a rock.  No biggie.

Ed

10:48 a.m. on May 9, 2014 (EDT)
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I also often use rocks to tie out vestibules as well as inside the corners of the tent when on solid rock or stone. I think I may go with the $220 TNF Tadpole 23 as I had one before and liked it a lot. 

Seems like many of us here I have had many different tents, kinda I guess like car owners we like to get something different the next time we choose to buy a new one. I have yet to wear a tent out. My third tent was a TNF VE24 that I had and used for 20+ years and only bought a new one when it was destroyed by a bear in the Gros Ventre Wilderness near here in Jackson Hole. 

I like a tent that is mostly bug netting with a separate rain fly that can be used on the poles without the bug netting beneath. Ease of set up is best for me. Most you just lay out the inner tent and then put the poles into the grommet holes on the edges then pop the tent up.

After nearly 40 years of living out of a tent ( about 9000 since 1977) more than out of a house ( 3350) I have come to better appreciate  all the aspects of simple living.

3:20 p.m. on May 9, 2014 (EDT)
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Gary,

I've been really interested in the new Kelty TN2. Here is a link to it (it is out of stock on Kelty's website, but I am sure you can find it online elsewhere). It looks to be very close to your criteria and a reasonable price. The Salida 2 also meets your criteria.

8:56 p.m. on May 9, 2014 (EDT)
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Gary, I have the new Hubba Hubba NX.  Both the new version and previous are 80" x 50".  It can be a snug 2p tent or potentially roomy 1pm with gear inside the tent.  Two vestibules are generous and it's freestanding. Whomeworry hit all the high points too!

The only caveat would be that I would say it may not be long enough if you have a larger (longer) frame.  I'm 5'9 and considering excess sleeping bag length and whatever you may use for head support, it could be tight.  

Other note is that the new HH is around $390+/- not including the footprint. I used my 20% off and a giftcard I had to purchase it, otherwise I would have gone with the REI Quarter Dome 2, new for 2014.  It's pretty much REI's answer to the Big Agnes Copper Spur 2.  It's also longer and wider by a few inches.  Worth a look.

Overall though, I love my HH and will get around to writing a review in the next week or two.

11:58 a.m. on May 10, 2014 (EDT)
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Ashleigh, the Salida 2 looks pretty nice and light and the price is nice (under $200). Thanks for the onfo

4:17 p.m. on May 13, 2014 (EDT)
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You're welcome, Gary. I just got an e-mail from Backcountry Edge that has the Salida 2 listed at $143. You may be able to find it for a better price.

8:30 a.m. on May 14, 2014 (EDT)
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Before switching to the Tarptent Double Rainbow this season, I used the Kelty Salida 2 as my primary tent for a few years.  I found it to be a very good tent.  Easy to set up, take down and packed nicely.  I also liked the fact it could be set up in a free-standing mode or with stakes.

The only drawback was the length.  I'm 6'6" (78 inches) and could never quite stretch out all the way.

With the Double Rainbow, now, I don't have that problem since the bathtub floor is 88 inches.

8:51 p.m. on May 20, 2014 (EDT)
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You ever come to a decision, Gary - what kinda tent did ya settle on?

10:13 a.m. on May 21, 2014 (EDT)
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Plan to get the Tadpole 23. I had a Tadpole in the past and liked it then so will get another. Just started back to work so it will be later in June before I can afford it.


NTF-Tadpole-23-tent-220-dollars.jpg

I like the front entrance and the rainfly has a long front vestibule.


NTF-Tadpole-23-with-the-rainfly.jpg

And I like the color scheme being green. And the rainfly can be used alone with the poles.

It weighs just 1 lb less than the Shangri-la 5 I sold but it is self standing which is what I want.

5:05 p.m. on May 29, 2014 (EDT)
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I finally decided to go with the Kelty Salida 2 Backpacking 2 Person Tent  I found it at Amazon.com for $143.96 including shipping. 


Kelty-Salida-2.jpg


Kelty-Salida-2-b.jpg

9:19 a.m. on June 4, 2014 (EDT)
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My kelty Salida 2 tent arrived yesterday via UPS! 

12:44 p.m. on June 6, 2014 (EDT)
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Looks like that Kelty hits all the right notes for you Gary. Cheers!

12:32 a.m. on June 20, 2014 (EDT)
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TARPTENT MOMENT DW (W/ X-ing pole)

My Tarptent Moment DW is freestanding with the optional crossing pole.

See my review od the Moment DW here at Trailspace.

10:19 p.m. on June 20, 2014 (EDT)
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300winmag said:

TARPTENT MOMENT DW (W/ X-ing pole)

My Tarptent Moment DW is freestanding with the optional crossing pole.

See my review of the Moment DW here at Trailspace.

 Can you please post a picture of the freestanding tent, pitched with NO pegs - i.e. as if on a sheet of glass?

I can't see how one additional pole will keep all the corners of the tent in place, and the outer tent tensioned.

5:20 a.m. on June 21, 2014 (EDT)
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This is about the only use I see for a freestanding design :


Moment-freestanding.jpg
Apart from moving it around you need to stake it down somehow and on a rock slab for example the Moment is easier than most because you just pile up ballast ((rocks/logs/sand bags) over the end tie outs.

10:02 a.m. on June 21, 2014 (EDT)
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The reason I was looking for a freestanding tent is because I often am camped on sandstone in the canyons of Utah or granite in the Sierra. 

And the one I bought the kelty Salida 2 stands by itself without being staked. Though I do use stakes to keep it in place.

I once was camped in the high Sierra and left my tent a North Face VE24 unstaked with all my gear inside on the edge of a huge meadow. I went on a day hike and later came back to where I had left it and it was gone! I scanned the other edges of the meadow with my binoculars and found it way off about a 1/2 mile away where the wind had blown it, having all day to do so.  After that I always staked it down.

9:08 p.m. on June 22, 2014 (EDT)
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Just in case the photo is not that clear , it is the Moment held up in the air keeping its shape including the vestibule (unlike most freestanding tents) .

(this was for John)

However for the reason Gary explained , I would never just put it down like that without staking/anchoring  it down.

The chimney pipe you see at the back as nothing to do with that tent, just something else I was doing at the time.

12:04 a.m. on June 23, 2014 (EDT)
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Franco said:

Just in case the photo is not that clear , it is the Moment held up in the air keeping its shape including the vestibule (unlike most freestanding tents) .

(this was for John)

 Thanks, Franco.

unlike most freestanding tents

That was exactly my point about most of the so-called 'freestanding' tents that were being discussed...unless they can be held in the air (or pitched on a sheet of glass) and keep their shape- with the vestibule - they're not freestanding.

Very clever arrangement in the Moment- the diamond shape and the four extra short poles in the end  work together with the two long poles to make it freestanding.

12:20 a.m. on June 27, 2014 (EDT)
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Thank you Franco, my sentiments persaactly!

You are truly a man outstanding in his field (or back yard in your case ;o)

December 18, 2014
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