Tent Suggestions?

1:28 a.m. on June 15, 2009 (EDT)
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I am searching for a new 1 or 2 man tent that is ACTUALLY waterproof. So far I found a Eureka Apex 2 that is already $20 off at sports authority and I have a $25 coupon. Right now that is the most cost effective option I have found and I was wondering what you guys thought about the tent itself and/or had any other tent suggestions.

My need for a waterproof tent comes from a bad experience with my leaky ass tent and a hard rainstorm. I'm prob gonna post the story somewhere on here just for some giggles. But a leaky tent is NO LAUGHING MATTER!

thanx!

4:04 a.m. on June 15, 2009 (EDT)
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Eureka makes a nice product and there price is pretty reasonable too. They will also stand behind there product which is something I look for when I'm buying gear. I don't think it would do very well in heavy rain or cold but for a basic tent. Buy you must read the directions and I am referring to a phone conversation that I had with Eureka 2 weeks a go. I was told on some of there tents needed to be seam-sealed around the bottom edge and supposedly the directions are very descriptive so I am told.

If you are worried about a leaky tent in heavy rain maybe you should look for a tent with a full rain-fly. I know of a tent that will do well in heavy rain because I own one and have used it in heavy rain. Its is a High Peak Hyper Light and I feel if mine leaks is if there were 4-6 inches of water on the ground. It has a full rain-fly and it is very waterproof and the floor is a bathtub bottom made of the same thing they make those blue tarps. I have never put any extra waterproofing on it and it does not leak at all. But that's just a suggestion.

10:05 a.m. on June 15, 2009 (EDT)
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I'll second the notion that Eureka makes a good product at a resonable price. When I was researching tents, I considered the Apex, but since I do more car camping with the scouts, I went for something larger that my family could fit into (Eureka Assault Outfitter 4).

I too was concerned with water. I had spent too many rainy nights in a cheap tent with water leaking on me. No matter what tent you eventually buy, you will want to seal any exposed seams (in particular the ones on the fly, and where the floor meets the walls). It's not a fun job, but it keeps the water from leaking through, and it extends the life of the tent.

Note that the Apex is just a 3 season tent. I don't like cold weather, so I opted for a four season tent (and a zero degree sleeping bag too). That's just a matter of how you plan to use it - three season tents are lighter so that might be better if you're a hiker, but it's still something to consider if you're doing any cold weather camping.

One more note about Eureka: I have not been impressed by their customer support. Like I said above, their product is good and it's a good price - and I'm sure they'd replace a defective product if necessary, it's just takes a lot of time and hassle. Probably wouldn't matter for you, you're planning to buy from a retail store, so if you have an issue you could probably just return it to the store for a replacement.

4:47 p.m. on June 15, 2009 (EDT)
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I considered the Apex, but since I do more car camping with the scouts,

It's really a shame that so much of what the Scouts do now is car camping.

And there are very few tents that don't benefit from seam sealing, just as a precaution.

5:13 p.m. on June 15, 2009 (EDT)
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thanks for the info guys.

I have been doing some more reaserch and found the Coleman Exponent Kraz x1, and the Eureka Solitaire.

What I'm going for is maximum waterproofing and lightweight. Overall I need protection from bad weather. I'm throwing those 2 in there so what do you guys think about those?

7:11 p.m. on June 15, 2009 (EDT)
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If you are going with a one person tent I will recommend the Eureka Spitfire the Eureka Solitaire has issues with the poles braking and I have seen this a few times first hand. The Eureka Spitfire is a solid, spacious tent and light weight at 2.12lb it will give you a good service life.

11:44 p.m. on June 15, 2009 (EDT)
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Mike068-

Do you have the spitfire now?

10:20 a.m. on August 29, 2009 (EDT)
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Check out Luxe Outdoor Habitat reviewed on this site . Great little tents (waterproof) Improved copy of Hubba Hubba style tents . Haven't let me down

10:30 a.m. on August 29, 2009 (EDT)
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this thread disappeared from my memory, like many other important things. I forgot to respond to it saying that I switched to hammocking and that I was no longer in the market for a tent.

But I will check out the Luxe you prescribed, Roy Lipson. Thanks for the update

1:29 p.m. on August 29, 2009 (EDT)
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Kmarr

Sorry about the delay in my anwser to your last question I missed the post as well.

Yes I do have a spitfire now and its a awesome little tent. Top quality rain-fly, very good tent floor, very good ventilation so you get condensation in the tent. I would recommend seam sealing stitching on the the 6 points on the floor that attach the the points for the stakes & poll tabs just because of the extra stitching but its not a big deal. It is a very nice tent that is cheap well made and light weight at under 3 lbs. It makes a nice tent for the area that you and I camp in, I would say that you will be satisfied with it as no tent is 110% perfecta but IMO this tent is 95% perfecta for our needs.

11:46 a.m. on August 30, 2009 (EDT)
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The High Peak Hyper Light looks and sounds too good to be true. $50? It must be made of really cheap fabrics? Anyone tried one in a moderate wind/thunderstorm?

I'm in the market for a tent and so far this one seems to beat everything (for a 3 season tent).

12:14 a.m. on August 31, 2009 (EDT)
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PaulS

I had a High Peak Hyper Lite and it is a well made tent & tough tent, but it is heavy and doesn't very good ventilation so condensation can be a problem. I have used mine in a heavy rainstorm and it did very well with no leaks.

I don't know what your budget is or what size tent you are looking as well as any other wants & needs you may have. If you post them maybe I can offer a suggestion.

10:05 a.m. on August 31, 2009 (EDT)
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My budget is microscopic. I intend to hike with my son (15). Our last outing proved my EMS Scout tent to be too small and leaky. We will be 2-4 day, 3-season hiking in New England.

I like the Hyper Lite's polyethylene floor. Why aren't all tents made so you don't have to carry a ground tarp also?

Has anyone tried a fan to improve airflow and reduce condensation? At least for car camping? I have yet to sleep in a tent that does not have condensation issues and fans can be really small and light.

12:23 p.m. on August 31, 2009 (EDT)
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My budget is microscopic. ...

...Why aren't all tents made so you don't have to carry a ground tarp also?

Has anyone tried a fan to improve airflow and reduce condensation? At least for car camping? I have yet to sleep in a tent that does not have condensation issues and fans can be really small and light.

Good questions, Paul. I will venture a couple of unbiased opinions (WHA?!?! OGBO unbiased? HAH! Opinionated, maybe, but unbiased, never!)

"You know you are a dirtbag when your budget is microscopic". Having almost completed the new house and discovering there's a whole bunch of stuff like landscaping (the People's Republic of Palo Alto doesn't approve of dirt yards for some reason), replacement of things the movers broke, stuff that disappeared into unknown boxes that may or may not be in the storage pile, I can sympathize.

The big problem with tent floors is that they have to sit on the ground, which may be dirt, rock, have lots of sticks and rocks, etc etc (hey, it's ground, after all), plus they have to be light enough to carry if you are backpacking. Only tent I have ever had that had a pretty sturdy floor was the VW tent a guy here on Trailspace bought from me a few years back when we got rid of our last Kampwagen (this was the tent that fastened to the side of the Kampwagen with a rubber strip that clamped on the rain gutter - remember when cars and vans had those?). The floor was a heavy-duty coated fabric that stood up amazingly well to people walking into it in dirty boots and setting up chairs and tables inside. But the tent weighed something close to 40 pounds (er, 20 kilos, since it was German, hence metric).

Thing is, you often don't have a lot of choice where you are setting the tent up. By LNT guidelines, you don't want to set up the tent in a soft grassy meadow, so usually you have rocks, sticks, uneven ground, etc, maybe setting up on a rock surface, but sometimes on snow or ice. The floors of expedition tents do stand up pretty well on snow surfaces.

Hence, you need something to add protection for the tent floor if you want to prolong the tent's life. Used to be the fly was the first to go, due to UV deterioration. But polyester flies have extended the life of the upper part of the tent by quite a bit. So to extend the floor life, you need a floor protector of some sort - tarp or footprint. The big problem with custom-made footprints from the tent's manufacturer is that they are horrendously expensive (back to the microscopic budget problem!), plus they really don't last all that long and add to tent setup time (a real pain in that sudden thunderstorm or blizzard). The solution is to make your own footprint out of cheap but strong material. I have been using the polyethylene painter's dropcloths for many years now - about $3 to $5 or less for a 9x12, 3 or 4 mil sheet. I split it in half to fit my tents, but I am too lazy to cut it to shape (just tuck the corners under the tent. One section lasts 30 or 40 camping nights and weighs just a few ounces. Some people scrounge Tyvek from construction sites (there is often excess there which the contractors are throwing away). I have found, though, that Tyvek lets water through when it is under pressure (as in, your body weight sitting or sleeping on it).

Another alternative is to get a floorless tent (tarp, BD's Megamid or ID's equivalent, etc) and use the drop cloth for the floor. Such tents are lighter and more spacious, but do let bugs in, unless you get the bug inserts, and then the weight is back up.

Airflow through the tent - I once took a small battery powered fan - too heavy for backpacking, actually, and didn't move enough air. For 3 season, some of the current fashion in mesh tents do ventilate pretty well even under a fly. But it really depends on the climate. I have been on staff several times at the Boy Scout National Jamboree in Virginia, and used a fairly high flow fan blowing directly on me - you just can't beat the 90/90 weather - the fan doesn't help the 90% humidity, so you sleep drenched in sweat. So, no real solution. You just have to "sweat it out". Sleeping completely outside the sleeping bag helps some. Adjusting the zippers and having the fly a bit above the ground helps. Roof vents, such as the Bibler and Integral Designs tents have helps some. But, sorry, true air conditioning units are still way too heavy. But then, a genuine macho backpacker toughs it out.

One thing, though, the amount of condensation is dependent on the ratio of sweaty bodies to tent volume - that light-weight, tiny tent with 2 or 3 people in it will condense more than a big family-sized tent (sweat in the tiny tent or sweat under the heavy load of the huge tent - take your choice). Or, just toss the sleeping bag out on the ground and forget about the tent.

1:52 p.m. on August 31, 2009 (EDT)
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PaulS

If you use a piece of cheep dropcloth as a foot print it sill will be lighter than than the polly floor of the high peak Hyper I would say Tyvek is lighter as well considering the weight of the nylon tent floor i conjunction with the plastic or tyvek.

I looked as a few web prices and this is what I came up with for some good tent recommendations for you. These tents are relatively cheap & have good quality.

Eureka Timberline 2, 5.3lb, $95

Eureka Spitfire 2, 4.3lb, $110

Eureka Apex 2XT, 5.6lb, $ 90

High Peak Enduro, 7 +/- 8oz, $100

You can get a Eureka Apex 2 about $20 cheaper but it doesn't have a full rain-fly like the Apex 2XT.

I hope this helps you.

4:06 p.m. on August 31, 2009 (EDT)
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I gotta say, the most waterproof tent I've found is my Hilleberg Staika. Not all tent floors are created equal, and the Staika has a triple coated urethane 100 denier floor which never leaks, at least in my experience. I was at a campsite under an inch of water for a night and didn't get a single drop in the thing.

I'm no Hilleberg fanatic, they have their own set of problems, but as far as rain protection and ground water sheeting and pooling, they just might be the best.

Ground cloths? Yesh, I take an 8x10 silnylon tarp which I fold in half and use inside the tent on the floor, mainly as a protection for my thermarest and pinholes. Why inside? Cuz if used outside it invariably catches groundwater and sandwiches a pool between the footprint and the tent where it remains.

7:50 p.m. on August 31, 2009 (EDT)
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First some terms from The Pedant: Let's call woven polyethylene tarps "plastic tarps" (the blue tarps you see everywhere) and the plastic sheeting used by painters "plastic sheet", even tho' both are made of polyethylene. Plastic sheeting is not as tear/wear resistant as the plastic tarps, but is heavier and stiffer.

Then there is the thickness of the plastic sheeting to consider. 3 or 4 mil is really thin but light, 6 mil (I have used 6 mil plastic sheeting extensively as painter's drop cloths) is really tough but heavier (about 50% heavier, duh.)

Now back to the forum thread: All interesting points, and BillS is as usual very thorough. But still, why not make a tent with a 6 mil plastic sheet bathtub that will outlast the tent on almost all surfaces? My guess is it is impossible to adequately attach plastic sheet to the woven cloth of the tent walls.

Is a light tent plus light ground cloth really lighter than a tent with a built-in plastic tarp floor?

7:50 p.m. on August 31, 2009 (EDT)
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Oh, and thanks Mike068. I'll look into those tent suggestions.

9:04 p.m. on August 31, 2009 (EDT)
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..... My guess is it is impossible to adequately attach plastic sheet to the woven cloth of the tent walls.
Is a light tent plus light ground cloth really lighter than a tent with a built-in plastic tarp floor?

First I would have to agree that the seam that secured the two different materials together would be weaker in the long run. Also I feel that a plastic type bathtub bottom is not as durable over long term use or in extreme temperatures especially cold. In the cold weather it may become brittle and crack.

I use a contractor trash bag cut to properly fit my Spitfire for a foot print and it works well the keep the bottom of my tent protected and it in conjuction with my tent flood I stay dry. As far as the tent floor goes The best advice I can give is find out the manufactures recommendations and use it. Seam seal any seam not sealed or in a stress point like the tabs sewed on to connect the pole and stake to the tent and ground. Use some type of properly fitting foot and the biggest one is pick up the loose sticks, stones, pine-cones etc where you are going to set your tent up also that practice will also help you sleep better.

9:44 p.m. on September 1, 2009 (EDT)
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A long time ago I investigated the GoLite Hex 3 (reviewed on Trailspace at http://www.trailspace.com/gear/golite/hex-3-shelter/) which I guess is now called the Shangri-La 3 Shelter.

I really like the simplicity, layout, and apparent durability, but the price, phew!

1:22 p.m. on September 2, 2009 (EDT)
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Tipi -

I agree that Hilleberg's tents are really good. But the biggest flaw in the present context is that PaulS and Kmarr (and OGBO) are on tight budgets these days, while Hilleberg's tents are pretty pricey. Otherwise, I would have one myself.

1:48 p.m. on September 2, 2009 (EDT)
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Tipi -

I agree that Hilleberg's tents are really good. But the biggest flaw in the present context is that PaulS and Kmarr (and OGBO) are on tight budgets these days, while Hilleberg's tents are pretty pricey. Otherwise, I would have one myself.

Hay you guys are not the only ones on a tight budget these days I am too.

11:03 p.m. on September 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Six Moon Designs has some nice lightweight options.

11:35 p.m. on September 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Bill S said:

Tipi -

I agree that Hilleberg's tents are really good. But the biggest flaw in the present context is that PaulS and Kmarr (and OGBO) are on tight budgets these days, while Hilleberg's tents are pretty pricey. Otherwise, I would have one myself.

Hay you guys are not the only ones on a tight budget these days I am too.

Yep, me too! I'm working harder and earning less these days, I wanted to get the Hileberg Akto for this next years winter trek, but for budgetary (and other) reasons went with an MH Sprite 1.

The Sprite 1 is a great solo tent and will work well for me I think, but I wish I could also get the Hille for use at the higher elevations during January / February. Especially on the NC balds and Blue Wall edge.

8:57 a.m. on September 13, 2009 (EDT)
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The days of wreckless spending on camping gear are over!

9:29 p.m. on September 13, 2009 (EDT)
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I guess I've found thru the years that the expensive, top-of-the-line gear is actually cheaper in the long run due to beefy longevity and other components. I once paid around $300 for a nice Mt Hardwear Muir Trail frog style tent back in 2001 and took it out on many trips. It wasn't long though before the floor leaked and a door zipper blew out. Still a good tent? Now there's always those nagging problems.

Another time I got a pretty expensive Marmot Couloir down bag, rated to 0F, and found it stopped working for me at around 10F. I could've saved money at first by just getting a Western Mountaineering Puma(-15F)and spent the extra cash(but saved money by not getting the Marmot). Same with the tent, I could've forked out a lot more for a Hilleberg and not lost money on "lower grade" gear, which I ended up deep-sixing anyway.

Is expensive, top of the line gear always better? Does it last longer and thereby cheaper in the long run? Probably.

10:57 p.m. on September 13, 2009 (EDT)
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Tipi, generally speaking I would agree with you completely on what is and what is not good value for your money.

Top of the line gear is the best value over the years, you're right.

I have personally had good service from MH tents, I do not however buy their lightweight tents. Boots and tents are one area where I feel a little heft means something, to a point. I have a MH Skyview 2 that I have used quite heavily with good service for 13 years. It did not come seam sealed or taped and I did have to re-seal the fly on one occasion.

My current situation is that I have a budget of 800.00 dollars to get some newer up to date gear to lighten my load a little and get more streamlined. I also need a new sleeping bag, cookset, winter clothes, etc. I probably will get a Hille tent next year, although I'm worried that the inner on the Akto may not offer the same kind of ventilation I get from a mesh inner. One thing I will step up to is a better bag, and I have been looking at getting a bag with Primaloft rated around 0 degrees.

Are you using a down bag, or synthetic Tipi?

4:01 a.m. on September 14, 2009 (EDT)
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Whatever tent you choose, consider waterproofing your tent to decrease the chances of leaks.

10:33 a.m. on September 14, 2009 (EDT)
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Smart advice from the old-timers! Whenever i try saving money on cheaper gear i usually end up with unforseen expenses, like money for gas to get back to the store or mail things to a manufacturer. Plus i have semi-working gear while waiting for an opportunity to get it fixed, then i have to do without while it's at the store, and go back to pick it up! Also, you can't really try to improve the cheaper gear by fear of voiding the waranty.

Making your own gear is always an option too.

Kmarr: you can buy 7 yards of sil-nylon from Questoutfitters for 50$ and 4 yards of mosquito netting for 13$ and make a tarp-tent. The main advantage is that you will have a 100% waterproof really tough shelter. I never got wet after around 100 nights under my tarp, and i would trust a tarp better than the light-weight tents in a storm: no flimsy poles to break. It's probably the best protection you can get under 75$ IMO.

trout: i just bought a MSR Quick 2 cookset and i have to say i'm very impressed with it so far. 1 pot for summer, one for winter, perfect size and smart design. I've been looking fo something like this for years!

2:30 p.m. on September 14, 2009 (EDT)
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Trouthunter--

Your budget of $800 would get wiped out with one Hilleberg tent! I bought my Staika dome for around $600 a couple of years ago, now it's listed at $745!! It went from expensive to outrageous. As far as my bag, I use the Marmot now for summer and my WM Puma for winter. I haven't used a synthetic fill bag since 1977-81 when I lived in my old North Face Bigfoot polarguard(got new for $65).

I'll always stick with goose down cuz I like it's warmth potential and weight. And I always wanted a WM bag. But I would definitely experiment with a Primaloft bag if I had the opportunity.

4:44 p.m. on October 16, 2009 (EDT)
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I bought a comparitively low budget REI 2-man model. I've had nothing but good luck with it.

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