Spitfire 2 vs Gunnison 2.1, Lynx Pass, etc...

1:12 p.m. on February 12, 2011 (EST)
29 reviewer rep
29 forum posts

I'm looking to upgrade my 2-person tent to something more suitable for 2 adults (my current NF Tadpole worked for me and my pre-teen son, but now that he's nearly "full size" and with both of us being restless sleepers, nighttime feels more like a cage fight).

I've done a fair amount of research and checked the great review on this site, including checking out the following tents: Kelty Gunnison 2.1, REI Half Dome, Marmot Limelight, REI Passage, Big Agnes Lynx Pass, Eureka Timberline, Marmot Twilight, Eureka Scenic Pass, Eureka Spitfire 2, Eureka Zeus, and Golite Shangri-La.

My criteria includes the following: maximum shoulder width, two doors or single door at head, 3-season, capable of surviving shoulder seasons in High Sierra (10,000 foot) with fair weather prediction, full tent with bug protection, light weight and as compact as possible. The tent needs to sleep two comfortably, but I often hike with 3, so it would be great if it could seat 3 for the occassional card game, conversation, etc...

At this point I'm thinking about going with the Eureka Spitfire 2. Haven't seen many reviews on this tent here or elsewhere and am wondering if folks had some feedback/suggestions.

In case anyone is interested, my research so far came up with the following comparison (tab delineated, so forgive how it looks here).

Comparison of 2- and 3-Person Backpacking Tents (Feb 2011)         
2-PERSON TENTS         
Name Min. Wgt. Floor Vest Peak Pack'd size # of doors Price Tech Note 

Kelty Gunnison 2.1 4-14 92 x 58 20.4 40 7 x 25 2 152 Incl gear loft 
REI Half Dome 5-8 89 x 56 20.4 42 7 x 21 2 200  
Marmot Limelight 4-10 88 x 54 9 41 7 X 18 1 170 Incl footprint and gear loft ($40 value); single door on side of tent Single door may require stepping over tentmate
REI Passage 4-14 90 x 54 18.75 42 7.5 x 22 2 150 Fly/footprint option 
Big Agnes Lynx Pass 4-14 90 x 58 17 38 7 x 21 1 180 Stake-out awning; fly/footprint option; HUGE single vestibule Door at head of tent eases access
Eureka Timberline 5-13 86 x 63 opt. 42 6 x 24 1 120 A-frame; optional 12' vestibule Door at head of tent eases access
Marmot Twilight 5-4 88 x 61 21 40 7 x 17 2 198 incl footprint and gear loft ($40 value) 
Eureka Scenic Pass 5-8 89 x 59 27.6 44 5 x 24 2 120 incl gear loft; vestibules incl. one large, one small 
Eureka Spitfire 2 4-3 129 x 70-52 0 43 5 x 17 2 130 Non freestanding; trapezoid floor is 70" wide at head/shoulders, 52 near feet; Wgt quoted as 4-0 and 4-3 on different sites 
Eureka Zeus 3-14 89 x 58 12.25 42 6.5 x 15 1 130 Single wall, freestanding; single door at head of tent Door at head of tent eases access
         
3-PERSON TENTS         
Name Min. Wgt. Floor Vest Peak Pack'd size # of doors Price Tech Note 

Kelty Gunnison 3.1 5-14 92 x 75 20 46 8 x 28 2 175 Vestibules quoted as 25' or 20' combined; includes gear loft Collapsed poles are 28" long!
Eureka Scenic Pass 3XT 6-11 90 x 78 28 51 6 x 24 2 180 Incl. gear loft 
Eureka Mountain Pass 3XTE 7-15 89 x 77 33 50 7 x 21 2 210 Vestibules quoted as 50.6' or 33' combined; incl. gear loft 
Sierra Designs Zolo3 6-5 95 x 72 22 45 ?? 2 218 Very vertical walls 
Sierra Designs Meteor Light 3 7-1 93 x 76 30 44 6 x 21 2 250 One lrg, one small vestibule; pole sleaves 
Big Agnes Hager House 3 5-12 86 x 72 20 44 7 x 22 2 260 Fly/footprint options; awning as shade 
Big Agnes Gore Pass 6-10 90 x 70 30 42 8 x 20 2 270 Fly/footprint options; 2 awnings as shades 
REI Taj3 7-0 99 x 95 10 48 8 x 25 2 210 Incl. gear loft; closeout pricing 
Big Agnes Lynx Pass 5-8 90 x 70 15 46 8 x 21 1 225 Awning as shade 
North Face Rock 32 5-15 87 x 70 9 45 7 x 24 2 178 Incl gear loft 
Sierra Designs Lightning XT3 5-10 87 x 70 23 46 6 x 21 2 260 One lrg, one small vestibule 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts and advice.

Dan

8:09 p.m. on February 12, 2011 (EST)
33 reviewer rep
201 forum posts

I have the Lynx Pass 3 and love it. It does not meet your 2 door/door at head requirement. It is light for a 3 person tent. The Lynx is a very roomy comfortable tent, easy set up, solid in wind and rain and no major condensation problems. Of all I have owned so far it is my favorite.

1:33 a.m. on February 13, 2011 (EST)
12 reviewer rep
207 forum posts

I have a Spitfire Solo and love it but I would recomend against the 2 or any other tapered floor plan for your needs. OK for a couple butcan get pretty tight for two guys, especially if one is still growing. It would also be very tight for a three handed card game.

11:48 a.m. on February 13, 2011 (EST)
29 reviewer rep
29 forum posts

Thanks for the feedback. Maybe the tapered floor won't be ideal -- so I think I'll take another look at other options and give greater consideration to some of the smaller 3-person tents.

 I usually research everything to death, so why should this be different.

10:28 p.m. on February 13, 2011 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
223 forum posts

Hey Dan, email me at: abman46@excite.com  I'm in Ben Lomond. I might be able to throw a few more options into the mix... (more research)

11:13 p.m. on February 13, 2011 (EST)
12 reviewer rep
207 forum posts

I don't have any experience with Mountainsmith tents but this one might be worth researching a little. It's definately on the heavy side but for a free standing tent with this kind of room $110 ain't bad.

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/322,2747V_Mountainsmith-Celestial-Tent-2-Person-3-Season.html

4:50 a.m. on February 15, 2011 (EST)
1,631 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts

I always recommend Eurekas Mountain Pass tents. I own the 2 as well as the 3xte. I have done reviews for both tents here. IMHO for the money even at retail they are a bargain. No complaints what so ever. I saw your reference to weight and based on you are not solo its a minor thing to split the tent between partners. For a 2 man the 2xte is just about the largest I have seen. Mind you companies are quite conservative with their occupancy ratings to say the least. Very solid tent dual doors with equal size vestibules. Doesn't hurt to take a look. Just my 2 cents. Happy hiking.

December 29, 2014
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