Not ready for just a tarp. Help me !

7:10 p.m. on October 14, 2008 (EDT)
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I'm going lightweight with my backpack (I'm getting old). I like the protection of a tent but not the weight. I'm looking at three single wall shelters. Six Moon Disigns Lunar Duo, Tarptent Double Rainbow, Mont-Bell Crescent 2. money is no object, because they are all the same price. please help me pick one.

12:24 a.m. on October 15, 2008 (EDT)
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I think if you will not be sharing the shelter I might look at one of the solo versions that both Tarptent and 6 Moons sells. Honestly they are palatial.

With respect to the Montbell, www.backpackgeartest.org has a few tests of the tent. Do a search.

8:05 a.m. on October 15, 2008 (EDT)
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I have a Golite tent that is light and stable. It looks like a Tipi and has but one pole in the center. You can buy the tent in three parts, either just the rainfly (about 2 lbs) a no-see-um netting with sewn bathtub floor (about 4 lbs) or just the floor (about 1 lb). The rainfly will work by itself with the pole and ground stakes and is very roomy for two people. The bug netting/floor can e carried if you like tohave a floor and keep out the insects or the just floor section with adapters with the rainfly to have a floor and fly.
Some seasons I use just the bug netting and floor (about 6 lbs) if I know its not going to rain, and sometimes I use the rainfly and floor section at 3 lbs total if there are little or no bugs.
The tent is called the Sherpa. Go to Golite.com and look it up. I will write up a review about it.

12:06 p.m. on October 15, 2008 (EDT)
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Have you looked at Gossamer Gear?

3:20 p.m. on October 15, 2008 (EDT)
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I have recently gone lightweight as well, yes getting old sucks... I have done alot of research on lightweight tents and found many options. The Cossamer Gear tents, specificaly the "One" is a great choice if you can find one. Currently they are not in production due to supply problems with tent material. They may be back in production soon.

Since I did not want to wait, I looked at the Six Moons Designs Lunar Solo. It weighs 23oz, (not including tent stakes) has a built in no-see-um netting, and a built in bathtub floor. It is not cheap at $235, but it has alot of room. The tent recieved great reviews from Backpackerlight.com and a few other review web sites.

I purchased one about a mounth ago, and have only used it three times. It is a great tent.

The stong points are as follows:
1. Veary light and compact. It packs down to the size of a 1 liter water bottle and weighs about 24oz. after seam sealing.
2. It hold up very well in wind and rain (no snow yet).
3. Can be pitched in different configurations depending on the weather.
4. Alot of room. I am 6'1" and I have plenty of room. You can fit your all you gear in the tent with you, with enough room in the vestibule to keep your boots dry and do your cooking.
5. No need for different parts i.e seperat netting, end covers, vestibule, floor cover or bivy.
6. Not as delicate as some lighter modles.
7. Has a zipper door instead of velcro like some of the other models I've looked at.


There are a few down sides that I have found:
1. It has a large footprint and needs alot of room to setup.
2. It is hard to setup on a tent platform since it is not free standing and needs a hiking pole and stkkes for support.
3. You have to buy tent stakes. For the price you would think they would be included.
4. You can not remove the netting during the times when it is not needed.
5. If you keep it tight to the ground due to heavy wind, you will see alot of condensation on the walls. Grented this is typical for most single walled tents, but if they used event it might breath better.
6. There are no hooks, pockets or any extras for small gear storage.
7. It would be nice if the bathtub floor came up a just few more inches on the sides.


Don't get me wrong. I love this tent. It is just what I was looking for. I just thought you may want to know both sides.

There are lighter tents. Even Six Moons has the Refuge X, that is a two man tent for only 13 oz, but the material is very delicate.

Look around. Read the reviews. Let me know what you find.

9:33 p.m. on October 15, 2008 (EDT)
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Thanks you for the input, keep it comming. Also I forgot the shelter is for my wife and I. Make it for two.

11:45 a.m. on October 16, 2008 (EDT)
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I am a headcase when it comes to shelters. Lately I've been experimenting with tarps. I like the roominess of tarps, but do not care for the breeziness of tarps and am always a bit nervous about rain. Last weekend while using a tarp I survived a fair amount of rain with my bag getting only slightly damp on the surface from ground splash. The first night (also rained a lot) I used a gore tex bivy sack under the tarp which kept the splash off, but there was some condensation inside and my bag got damp from that as well. Therefore, I'm less inclined to carry a bivy sack as my bag got equally as damp - just from different sources.

Every time I look at light weight tent options, I come back to the lean shelters from Cooke Custom Sewing.
http://www.trailspace.com/forums/gear-selection/topics/47845.html

I live in Minnesota and nearly always camp in wooded areas so finding trees to support the tent is easy. If I had a spare $250 burning a hole in my pocket I'd buy one. In the mean time, I just look with admiration at the design.

Pros - lots of room; sidewalls; awning that can be pitched down in a heavy rain

Cons - large footprint (hence more interior room); you are limited in terms of site selection

What else is there to consider?

12:34 p.m. on October 16, 2008 (EDT)
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gearjunky -
Good points about the tent. But I do have to point out that several of the deficiencies you note are the sacrifices that have to be made to lighten the weight of the tent. Anytime you add pockets, loops, a higher sidewall for the coated bathtub floor (heavier material), and so on, it adds weight. Another way to reduce weight is to make the tent smaller. For example, I have an Alpine Designs "tent" that is little more than a bivy sack with hoops for poles. It weighs 18 ounces total, including the necessary stakes (3 of them). But no storage pockets, I can't sit up, etc. It is big enough to put my ultralight weekend pack inside the tiny vestibule, so if the vestibule had been eliminated, it might have been 2 or 3 ounces lighter.

Years ago, I had a Sierra Designs Sleeve Flashlight. This weighed 3.5 pounds with the needed pegs (8) and was adequate for 2 for 3-season (I did use it in snow a few times). When it wore out, it had been replaced by the Clip Flashlight, which weighs 5.5 pounds with the needed stakes. The added 2 pounds came from plastic clips for the poles instead of sleeves, a real vestibule (more material), several gear pockets inside, loops to hang stuff, and a lot more pegs to get it pitched correctly (13 or 14, with all the guy lines to get the fly to stay away from the tent wall). The tent body has more mesh in an attempt to lighten it some, but that just made it a definitely no more than 3 season tent.

Same thing with packs. I had a climbing pack from a big company that makes excellent packs that weighed 2.5 pounds with the closed cell foam pad that served as "frame", sitting pad when taking a lunch break on the glacier, and emergency splint (just under 2 pounds without the pad). It had 2 ice tool loops and a crampon patch on the lid. The company "upgraded" the pack a few years later by putting in a plastic sheet for a frame, adding more loops on the outside, beefed up the crampon patch, increased the size of the lid pocket, added ski/picket/wand attachments to the sides, and changed the various top closure drawstring/strap/lid buckles. The result was a 3.5 pound pack - still a good pack, but a pound heavier and in some ways less versatile.

It is always a tradeoff to get lighter weights. The most effective way, I have found, is to eliminate all those "comfort" items that really don't add to the comfort - books to read, Walkman (and even the tiniest Ipods to save a couple ounces), the Crazy creek chair (sit on a log), and so on. Just keep a list of what you take and when you return, note whether you actually needed each item. Then eliminate the items you do not actually use (except for emergency things like the first aid kit).

REI is currently having a sale on the Hubba (1 person) and Hubba Hubba (2 person). Light, reasonable quality from a good quality manufacturer, but pretty tight quarters (bigger than my Alpine Designs, though).

1:52 p.m. on October 16, 2008 (EDT)
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Bill, just when I thought I knew what I wanted your comments about the sleeve flashlight have added a wrinkle to my very foggy brain. A 3.5 pound sleeve flashlight via ebay will only run about $75. I do have a question regarding the extra staking on the fly. Did the new design change and not have the same guy out points as the original? That is, wouldn't you still want to guy out the old fly to keep it away from the tent sides? I tend to think this is a design flaw of many tents - the fly touching the bath tub floor creating condensation inside the tent causing sleeping bags to get damp.

I'm trying to figure out the pack you are referring to - Kletterwerks Terraplane?

1:59 p.m. on October 16, 2008 (EDT)
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Bill S,
You are right, if you want lightweight there is always a trade-off. I have found that I can do without every deficiency I mentiond, but not everyone can. As you say, it is up to the individual to determine what his or her level of comfort. What can you do without in order to lighten the load. I have found I can leave alot home, just to get further and enjoy the trip more.

Funny, I had the Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight tent. Good starter tent. I loved it until I started to look at the weight. That was one reason for going with the Six Moons tent. I tried tarps, but found that once I added up all the parts needed during bug season (tarp, line, stakes, bivy, netting) I found there were lighter options.

Sometimes it is easier to have everyone bring a solo tent then try to bring the right 2-3 person tent. Solo tents are more versatile. If we are talking about going with your wife or girlfriend (as krshome), well there's your trade-off...

I have heard good things about the Hubba Hubba. Has anyone heard much about the Six Moons Refuge X at 16 oz for a 2 person tent? Cost $400 but its 16oz.... WOW!

6:28 p.m. on October 16, 2008 (EDT)
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I also started with the sierra Design clip flashlight, I liked it but it was a little tight for hanging out in in a storm with another person. I bumped up to a bigger tent from EMS bad idea! now I'm back to square one. The three tents I have listed seem to fit the bill. I will have a 21Lb. pack for three days, thats everything food water ect. including one of the three tents. I can live with that. I also did the math the times when I will be out packing I will need(tarp, line, stakes, two bivys and netting)that end up weighing the same as the shelters give or take. My wifes pack will also be lighter than mine, she will not have the shelter or food. The tarp thing is not for us. Anyone have any experiance with these Three tents? thanks for the help

8:48 p.m. on October 16, 2008 (EDT)
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alan -
The Clip Flashlight's fly is different in several respects from the Sleeve Flashlight's. In part this is because the tent body is slightly different, in part because of the way the clips are placed, and in part because of the real vestibule. The result is they changed where the guy lines attach. The fly hangs differently, so where you could get away with the Sleeve's fly with no extra pegs (just the 6 for the body sharing with the fly's attach points, plus add 2 for the mid-fly if the wind was blowing and lots of rain, the Clip has to have all the attach points guyed out to keep it clear of the tent body. In effect, that doubles the number of pegs you MUST use to avoid the condensation from dripping on you. That's an extra pound right there, even with the light aluminum wire pegs.

The pack is one of Lowe Alpine's "Attack" series. The model names changed slightly from year to year.

9:02 p.m. on October 16, 2008 (EDT)
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I have stayed in a SD clip flashlight, I thought it was a good 1+ (person & gear) tent. It was necessary to guy it out fully.
I liked the simple front entry as well.
I used one (borrowed) for a week while camping at the blue ridge escarpment in NC, there were daily thunder showers with wind and the tent did fine.

July 25, 2014
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