Tent Rec

3:09 p.m. on June 17, 2011 (EDT)
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I'd love someone's opinion on a tent. I need to get a new one, basically looking for something I can use car camping and hiking trips. I'd like to get a tent that I'll have for awhile and will be light enough if I ever want to take it on a long trip. I'm thinking a 2-3 person tent so I can store belongings in it.

I've narrowed it down to the Mountain Hardwear Drifter 3 which I am able to purchase for $135 which seems like a great deal. However does anyone think that the Marmot Limelight is a way better tent? It would cost more and I could probably only afford the 2 person size. Do people find that the MH tent gets dirty as it's white and are their coverings around the mesh windows? (in the pics it looks fairly open). I'd love to hear people's thoughts... Thanks!

10:12 p.m. on June 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Welcome to Trailspace Paige.

You've come the right place for tent and other outdoor gear opinions! And since you asked....

Basically they're the same materials wise. The main difference between them will be the amount of usable space inside. The Limelight has a cross bar at the top. This makes the door sides straighter and gives you more useful room inside.  

Take a look at this page http://www.alpsmountaineering.com/tents/backpacking-tents Take a look at the difference between the Aztec and the Lynx.  I have the Zephyr 3 the front and side walls are almost vertical giving me lots of useful room. You might want to check out the Chaos 3 it's similar in design to the Limelight. The list price is $239 but I just found it for $125.

I've got a few of questions for you.  How many people will be using it? What seasons will you be using it? Where will you be using it?

9:33 a.m. on June 18, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the suggestions and welcome!

I will definitely look on the ALPS website. Are these ALPS tents a bit heavier than the ones I mentioned? It looks like they are pushing over 6 pounds. I will mainly be using the tent in the mid-Atlantic but hope I could use it out west. Definitely not 4 seasons. Probably just spring and summer and early fall. I'd like to definitely be able to ft 2 people plus gear and possibly 3. I will most likely use it for car camping / light backpacking but would like a tent that I could ideally use if I decide to go on a longer overnight hike, etc. Basically I'm ok investing a bit in a tent that I will get good use out of and that I can hopefully use for most situations without having to buy something new.

10:41 a.m. on June 18, 2011 (EDT)
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Welcome to trailspace paige!!

I own a mountain Hardwear glacier I use in the winter..Their great tents. Cant say I have an issue on getting dirty. But you do have 2 great options. MH also has great customer service if something does happen and you need a repair for some reason. I'v had them send me a Pdf for my tent even though it was no longer manufactured.If you do get it muddy or really dirty a tech wash and hang with a little bit of elbow grease will do wonders. Both tents you mention are in the 5 pd range and you can easily break that down between 2 of you if you take it backpacking. I also saw a Marmot Aelos 2 for sale today for 130 with shipping. Hope that helps you make a decision for you. But both great tents you mention.Good luck and love to hear what you decide on.

8:25 p.m. on June 18, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks Denis for the recs and welcome. Do you find that the Marmot Aeolos 2p can hold 2 people plus gear? Also, may I ask where you saw such a good price on this tent? Thanks.

8:52 p.m. on June 18, 2011 (EDT)
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It could hold 2 people from what I have seen of the tent. I saw it on www.Backpackinglight.com

 in the gear swap section. You would have to register as a member just to purchase, But that is free. It's also a great place to get good deals on used gear from Lightweight backpackers. I buy mine from friends. save some money buying used from backpackers who use it..I also know 2 people who have used the aelos in snow..It's a good 3 season tent as well. same weight range.The aelos 2  won backpackers 2006 award if that helps..

2:46 a.m. on June 19, 2011 (EDT)
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The person rating on 90% of the tents out there mean that you can sardine that number of people in the tent, the other 10% mean really skinny people. The aelos gives you 28" per person and is fairly large for a 2-man. Most hikers consider 2 person tents as 1 person + gear, 3 person tent - 2 people + gear. You mentioned you wanted to 3 people sometimes. The aelos won't fit that many unless they're REALLY friendly or waiting for rescue.

I would stick with something like the Chaos.  Lots of room not too heavy for backpacking especially if you split it between 2 people. The Zephry might work for you also. Don't worry about all the mesh, tents don't provide that much insulation your sleeping pad and bag do that. A tent's job is to protect you from wind, rain, snow and insects. If your camping in humid weather you want good ventilation.

Since you are mostly car camping you might want to take a look at the Eureka Tessel 3. Its got a neat feature that lets you use the vestibules as awnings. You can also get a Lite-set foot print that will let you use just the poles and fly, great if you don't have a lot of insects.

P.S. Read this thread about heavy stuff. It'll give you a different perspective about weight.

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/gear-selection/topics/91734.html

4:24 p.m. on June 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey Paige, welcome to Trailspace,

 

One of the nice things about being in the outback, is that you tent is suppose to get dirty.  My theory with camping is about the same with Motorcycling.  If your bike is clean you ain't riding it, or would you rather be cleaning your bike or riding it.  A lot of my friends would rather be cleaning their  bikes instead of riding them.  Tents are very easy to clean after your trip and it only takes a little time and effort to keep them clean when using them.  With that being said you will be pitching your tent in the out of doors  on a variety of substrates and living plant matter.  Have fun, get dirty,  that's part of the fun.  The most important thing for me is to try and take your foot wear off before getting in the tent as well as brushing of all of the debris you have collected while playing in the wild.

The best way to see how much room you need in your tent(s) is to figure out how much room you take up in side a tent.  Measure your sleeping pad.  This is the min. amount of space you can crame yourself into.  I have two main pads I use, a 20X72 in. and a 24x 72 in., or 10 sq ft for the smaller pad and 12 sq ft for the larger pad.  Now look at the measurements of the tent.  Can you fit two and then three pads in side by side, or in another comfortable way?   If you can't sleep side by side do you want someones four day old stinky feet in your face?  Are you willing to sleep side by side with mats and sleeping bags touching or do you need a little space in between.  Before answering remember you may be out for multiple days at a time or stuck in the tent with your tent mates for the duration of a storm front or two.  Now each of you will have a back pack. Each back pack is about 2x4ft +/-.  That is another  8-10 square ft per person and that if everythings is packed in all the packs and nothing is left out.  Vestibules (sometimes, they can be a hassel depending on conditions)  are wonderful on a tent but remember most come without a floor so that anything left in them both during the day and at night can be chewed on my rodents and if it rains, thur the wonders of wicking, the rain will seep in and  will soak the bottom of your pack(s).  I always keep my pack in the tent with me and use the vestibules as a mud room for wet boots and gear and as a  place to change out of and into gear if the weather is nasty.  What this allows you to do is to gear up and take all you gear with you to the store where your going to buy the tent from and check it out.  Take that second and or third person with you to  the store and get in with all your gear.  Now pretend you all haven't showered for 4 days.  Set up your mats, bring in your packs,  try change into other gear with other people in the tent.  I get many of my tents new or only used once due to people buying the wrong size tents.  Personally when I go out I pack my own tent or bivy and sleep solo, but that's just me.  For me tent shopping is fun, for some its a hassel.  Make the right choice now so you don't have to get rid of it and lose money because you have a used tent on your hands.  I guess the exception is REI.  You can buy gear there and then bring it back for what ever reason you want for a trade.  Let us know what you decide on and have fun.    Oh yea, It sounds like your going to buy a new tent rather than a used tent.  I always recomend have a footprint with your tent weather it's the manufacture, after market or homemade (very easy and cheap to make).  There have been alot of topics under gear selection in the past few months dealing with buying a new or used tents and you may just want to scroll thru and read those as well just to make sure you've covered all your bases.

4:48 p.m. on June 19, 2011 (EDT)
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I found that the Kelty Gunnison 4 is perfect for 2 people and their gear.  The vestibules are large enough for shoes, but not for comfortable cooking. I put 4 people in the Gunnison one time and woke up with my 10 year son's arm across my head and him crammed against the screen part of the wall.  It has held up pretty good, but we have switched to hamocks when its practical. (i sleep a LOT better!)

8:41 p.m. on June 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Wow- thanks so much for the outpouring of responses! I really appreciate everyone's suggestions and help. I went to the store today to check out some of the tents in person. I'm going to go ahead and purchase the mountain hardwear drifter 3. i just don't think i can compete with the price on it. i'm super excited to try it out. hope i'm making a good selection!! thanks again everyone :)

10:04 p.m. on June 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Sweet, As someone famous once said "shopping is fun".  And please let us know if you made a good selection.  I don't think I've ever heard anyone complain about his/her Mnt. Hardwear.

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