3 man Tent Comparo

1:21 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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I am looking for a 3 man tent for my son and I. We will probably be mostly camping at campgrounds but may venture to the backcountry. The tents I currently have are a Eureks Sunrise 11 and Eureka Tetragon 5. The Sunrise is perfect for the whole family (son age 10, dauter age 4, wife, and I) but is a pain to setup for just my son and I. The tetragon 5 May be to small for us but not sure because I never really used it. The tetragon 5 is the old style with the pole in the fly to create an awning over the entrance. I think it may be just a tad heavier than the new style. I wieghed it at 7lb 2oz.

I put together a excel worksheet to compare some of the tents I am interested in. (really cool) I gave each of them a rating 1-10 in a bunch of categorys and averaged them out for a final score. I used the rating for being able to backpack due to size and weight twice, to give tents a better or worse rating.

There are tents in the comparison that are just to heavy to backpack but, I am considering them because I would probably primarily be camping at campgrounds. Would my Tetragon 5 be a fine choice to use when I want to backpack with my son?



1:41 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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I have the Mountain Pass 2 & 3xte. Both are great. I use the 2 as my solo and the 3 as my 2 man. The 3 is definitely packable. But then again I also use a 85L pack. As far as weight the 3xte is my cut-off point(I dropped the weight w/a set of MSR pegs.) The material on these tents is great. I have never seam sealed and have never had a leak. Snow, rain, etc.

I have the pics on my profile. For the $ I always recommend them. They have never let me down. The military uses Eureka and they have been in business for over 100yrs. Thats gotta speak for something. Customer service is great too.

I am not familiar with the Scenic Pass. Can't seem to find it anywhere.

Any chance you would be willing to send that to my email(posted on my profile?) Its kinda small on here.

1:47 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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I like Eureka also as you can see its the only brand of tent I own. The scenic pass is a 2010 Eureka model. You can find it on ebay and I seen one at my local outdoor store. The weight on the box in the store said 6lb 11oz

Here is a link at Eureka that will have some pics of the tents for retail purposes. The scenic pass is a little ways down.

http://beta.eurekatent.com/dealers_art/tents.html

2:23 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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Scenic Pass- Seems like a nice tent depending on the application. I personally have 2 issues with that type of design.

1-The zipper "flaps" remind me of the same basic design of my Columbia Cougar Flatts(the way they reverse on the exterior.) This design seems to funnel water more than shed it. Alot of Kenyon and the addition of velcro took care of that fairly well but modification will void your warranty.

2- The fly design. I almost purchased the Pinnacle Pass but the reason I ended up was with the Mountain Pass was fly design. If you notice on the side wall of both the Pinnacle and Scenic the fly is cut off 3 qtrs(just an estimate) down the sidewall.

If your bag or anything else for that matter would come in contact with this area in less than perfect(wet)weather it may cause some moisture issues..

Plus. On the Scenic Pass it looks as though it is a "half fly"(as I like to call it) at the entry point. This could possibly present a problem if a wind gust was to occur and turn the tent into a kite or shred it at which point the tent is not covered by Johnson Outdoors(storm damage.)

The design of the fly on the Mountain Pass(as well as the Alps Mountaineering)alleviates these issues. Granted they are gonna be a lil heavier but with a full fly/dbl wall tent you are gonna have that unless ya sheel out the extra $ for a UL model.

At the same time the "peace of mind" to be able to "batten down the hatches" should the weather surprise you is well worth the weight IMO.

2:28 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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I just noticed the Scenic Pass XT has full coverage on the entry point. I was looking at the Standard model above it. Its nice. I would still have an issue with the way the fly is cut on the sidewall though. Just throwin some ideas out there. Hope they help.

1:33 a.m. on January 21, 2010 (EST)
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Oh btw, if you are going to purchase a new tent for you and your son I would personally go w/a 3 man model. Being he is 10 over time he will grow as will your need for space. Not to mention space for gear and what not. My 2xte is 7'6"x5'(which is comparable to the dimensions of the Tetragon)and I would not want to cram 2 people in it w/gear. I like a lil "elbow room."

Tent manufacturers are a little "optimistic" in their ratings as far as occupancy is concerned.

8:38 a.m. on January 21, 2010 (EST)
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Rick,

Thanks for the replies! Do you take your Mountain Pass 3XTE when you backpack or is it to big and heavy? Would I be able to backpack the Alps Taurus 3 OF, or is that tent to heavy as well?

1:41 p.m. on January 21, 2010 (EST)
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I personally don't feel its too heavy(8lb.) I ditched the original pegs that came with it for a set of MSR Groundhogs which lightened the load a bit plus I ditched the stuff sack for the tent itself because when I pack it I can just roll it and tie it off so it doesn't unravel. I also ditched the sack for the poles. They hang out in the side pocket of my pack until I reach my next destination(just have to watch for over hanging brances which is minor.)

Now mind you I carry a 85L pack and I normally carry 35-50lbs in it depending on how long I will be out. Sometimes its a weekend, sometimes its alot longer.

If ya split the 3xte between 2 people(in your case you carry the fly/body/ and your son carries the poles/pegs/etc) it will be under 4lbs a piece.

I usually carry the whole thing myself because I am normally with my wife and she has back problems. Its not bad as long as you distribute the load correctly in your pack (which is typical of anytime you pack) and I can normally cover 10-12 miles a day with no problem.

I looked at the Taurus. At 9lbs 8oz for me it seems a lil heavy. Its more in the realm of a 4 season tent as far as weight is concerned. My 3xte comes in at 8lbs. With the changes I have made as fas as packing it its around 7.5 now. The tents I own are primarily for backpacking purposes.... Except for the Cougar Flatts of course(54lbs.) Pics are on my profile page.

2:58 p.m. on January 21, 2010 (EST)
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Rick, do you also carry a footprint for the Mountain pass 3? Just woundering because the Taurus 3 OF has a heavy duty floor and I dont think I would need to carry a footprint with that tent.

To be honest I am kind of leaning toward the scenic pass or the taurus 3 right now, or just use the tetragon when backpacking for now and get the Meramac for capground use. Idk?

3:13 p.m. on January 21, 2010 (EST)
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I make my own footprints and use them depending on where I am at. In sandy areas I do not use 1 but if it is an area with rock, roots, etc. I definitly recommend using one in these type of conditions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RueJ7t2J6t0

If ya dont want to go thru this process a tarp cut to shape works fine and doesn't weigh much. Regardless of how thick the floor material is a sharp rock, branch, or even a thorn can do damage. Even if the damage is only an abrasion it will get worse over time with use.

9:58 p.m. on January 21, 2010 (EST)
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I was looking a little more at the Alps Zepher 3 and it lists as 40sq ft. I think my tetragon 5 is about 37.5 sq ft. Would the Zepher 3 be to small for my son and I? It also looks like it has good weather protection and obviously great ventilation with the all mesh tent body. The mesh body also makes it pretty light for backpacking. Would this be a good spring, summer, and fall tent, or would it be to cold for early spring and late fall?

12:50 p.m. on January 22, 2010 (EST)
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In response to the Zephyr-design wise I do not believe you would have any problem in the seasons of use you have mentioned above. Even with a full body of mesh the fly should do an adequate job at trapping in some body heat during the fall/late fall season. At 5lb 7oz its also fairly light.

The base size is 6'2"x7'5" which is only 3" narrower than my 3xte. I would be comfortable putting 2 full grown adults in it w/a little room to spare. 2 doors is a big plus at night when nature calls(no crawling over top of your partner) and 2 vestibules will make up for the storage area. It looks like a fairly solid design.

Anytime I look at any gear to purchase I review the daylights out of it. If I were you I would search reviews of any model of tent you are looking at. The reviews here at Trailspace are great and you can also type in the model in your search bar with "review" after it and you will get hits.

Granted one can look at manufacturers specs all day long but that doesn't help with "how it works out in actual use/etc." Looks can always be deceiving.

I found a review for this tent here on Trailspace. The link is below.

http://www.trailspace.com/gear/alps-mountaineering/zephyr-3.0/review/16900/

1:05 p.m. on January 22, 2010 (EST)
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Thank you very much Rick!

After further consideration about the patial fly on the scenic pass, I agreed with you in the less than perfect protection in the rain. Why would Eureka even do something like that? Maybe it is a good design for places that do not recieve that much rain.

It definetly came down to the Mountain Pass 3, Taurus 3 OF, and the Zephyr 3. I will probably go with the Zephyr, maily because of weight and, I do not think I will be camping in the winter just yet(backpacking is a new concept for me). If I were to backpack in the winter I would definetly go with either the Mountain Pass or the Taurus. These all seem like simple and useful tent designs. I like to keep it simple.

1:07 p.m. on January 22, 2010 (EST)
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I updated the post I previously made. I included a link from an individual who has used the Zephyr. Sorry, but I gave a bit more thought to it at the last moment and decided to add a few more suggestions. Hope it helps.

1:31 p.m. on January 22, 2010 (EST)
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Thanks again Rick. I have already read that review and also found some reviews on REI.com which all seem pretty positive. One of the reviews is the same as the one here on trailspace. It seems to have pretty solid reviews. As for the review you linked with the water, I think that if any tent was sitting in a puddle for an extended period of time would also probably take a bit of water.

I am like you in the fact that I research the crap out of anything I buy (hence the goofy comparo at the top). I definetly try to weigh the pros and cons. That is also the reason I am here asking questions, for more real world answers from experienced backpackers such as yourself.

Thanks for all your help!

1:32 p.m. on January 22, 2010 (EST)
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Here is a link to the REI reviews of the Zephyr 3

http://www.rei.com/product/782936

Click on "Customer Reviews"

1:39 p.m. on January 22, 2010 (EST)
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Never a problem. If ya have any questions for me in the future and what not please by all means feel free to contact me via email. My contact info in on my profile page. I will do my best to give you any info I can. Happy hiking-Rick

1:44 p.m. on January 22, 2010 (EST)
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Hey if your ever up in WI come show me the ropes!

3:09 p.m. on January 22, 2010 (EST)
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I have the pinnacle pass 3xte, and I am not pleased with it at all. I noticed in your chart you have the ventilation of the PP3XTE as a "10," and the waterproofing as an "8." After using it on many trips at this point, I would only give it a "2" in ventilation, and a "5" in waterproof. The Rain Fly barely covers down to the tub floor on three sides, which just doesn't do the job in anything other than dry or drizzle conditions. Though it has a ventilation opening on the side of the tent, there is no ventilation port anywhere near the top. The result is that on a cold night it will be quite drafty, but still produces enourmous amounts of condensation.

3:14 p.m. on January 22, 2010 (EST)
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Thanks Gonzan,

I have eliminated the Pinnacle Pass from my tent choices. I also did not like the 800 mil coating on nylon. I would rather have polyester and at least a 1000 mil coating. I am pretty sure that Eureka has discontinued that and will be replacing it with the Scenic Pass.

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