Stephenson's Warmlite Warmlite 2R
Design: Semi cylindrical one entry, 4 season
Ease of Setup: Easy - (< 5 min) Some fooling with multisectional poles but that is minor.
Weight: Under 2.75lb (stakes+poles+bag+footprint)
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $US 500+ (with options)
For its weight, footprint and ease of setting up there are few tents that can compare to it. It is an expensive purchase but it doesn't take long to amortize the 'sweat savings' carrying it and using it. Plenty of room for two and luxurious as a solo tent.
- Ease/time of set up and striking
- Pack size
- Footprint is very large.
- Minor condensation problems, but it is there.
- It takes some care in its handling, storage and use until it is set up.
- The pole set is not 'klutz' proof and are at risk until under tension in errected tent.
- Foot end is a bit small - minor problem
- Foot print is very large. There have been two times (out of hundreds) I wish it were smaller.
As of 11/2000 we have had ours 3+ years. Lightweight, robust tent even though it is made of quite fragile looking supports and fabric.
This is a specialized tent and not the kind you would let your kids use in the backyard with the neighbors kids sleeping over (at least not ours). It is a tent for someone who wants the lightest weight for two large people. I use it instead of a bivy -- luxury accommodations and lighter weight. There is room for two subzero bags and some gear.
First time setup is a bit of a problem so should be done in good weather in the daylight and backyard. After that it is simple and obvious to set up. Usually am the first set up in multi-tent camps. Only been beaten by popups.
The poles need some care as they don't withstand stomping upon. I put some silicone grease on the ends and that seems to have solved the problem of sticking sections. There are two shock corded, pre-formed, multisection poles that have to be assembled and then threaded through forward and rear tunnels. A single line pulls out from the rear for a stake and two pull out from the front. That's it. The four ends of the poles provide strong tension to form the floor. In really nasty weather, you can nail those 4 ends down with more stakes.
Because of its size, I had early on worried about finding a spot big enough to put it up. Haven't had that problem in actual use, however.
Normal routine camping requires three stakes. We have at times replaced two of those with trek poles to reduce weight. Recommend you carry the seven required to bombproof the tent (one at each corner extra). Have set the tent up in driving rain and blowing snow in temps below zero on exposed ridge. No exceptional problems in any case. Did have to sit on tent while threading the poles during a 40+ mph wind. But after the rear stake was nailed into the snow the wind helped by erecting the rest of the tent. Only had to stick the two other stakes and climb in. Maybe 5 mins total?
Mine has the optional side windows (barn doors). Have used a few times but would pass on that option on next tent. Might be good if used as a fair weather tent a lot or if you expect to spend a bit of time in it and can extend the windows. My use has been usually in bad weather or because of bugs.
Can tighten or adjust tautness from inside tent -- which is nice on cold wet camps. A V24 next to us kept us awake all night in a strong high altitude blow. Ours was quiet with no flapping. Spills blowing snow and wind well.
Wish it had an awning or some cover over the door (can have it added by other than Stephensons) as entry and exit during a driving rain does let in some rain and spindrift. Entry can be standing upright and then crouching.
Also ask for as many ridge ties as they can put in as well as extra mesh pockets for small stuff.
It does not come with mosquitoe netting (the optional side windows do, however) over the doors. It has not been a problem with us so far.
Does not come with seams sealed. Requires part of an afternoon and a few of your favorite drinks in the backyard for that. Easy to do but messy and a bit time consuming. Good instructions for it. Also does not come with a footprint. Easily made from any number of materials. We made ours out of the lightest weight material available and replace when needed.
Does not come with stakes either. Your choice on those.
The material of the tent is so slick that nothing sticks to it, including you. So it is suggested that you put a little extra seam sealing (GE Silicone II mixed in odorless mineral spirits 50/50) on the floor so you don't slip and slide.
The tent is designed to spend time in your pack and not as a base camp. You are cautioned about UV eating up the fabric, but am guessing that I will be too old to worry about it when it does come apart. By that time I'll be ready for the 'better' tent.
Holds two plus easily. I would go for the 3-person tent if I were to do it again. A few extra dollars, a whole heck of a lot more room, two doors (nice when you have a full house) and only about 1 lb more.
I bought it because there is no tent with as much space for the weight on the market. I compared it against all the big names. It is just the lightest weight tent. I solo a lot and it fits inside my 5000ci pack with 5-8 days of food. It (tent,poles,stakes, footprint) is about the size of two wine bottles stacked on top of each other.
I'd suggest yellow as your primary color. Green is not that pretty.
Some condensation on the end pieces (beyond sleeping area) but not any more (or less) than any other single walled tent. Easily handled by either getting more ventilation or swiping with a towel. Worth the effort considering the pounds saved.
*** April 2012 and still going strong and no significant repairs (repaired netting that ripped loose). Have been in all kinds of weather including high winds above 12k'; major mountain (Sierra, Rocky Mountains, Cascades) thunderstorms with pelting rain, wind, and hail; 3 days of drizzle in the eastern and NW US; heavy snow fall over two days.
It is my solo tent as well. In retrospect I should have bought the 3R with a pound+ handicap. It has two doors and better ventilation. Plenty of space in the 2R however.
Design: claimed 4 season bad weather but more for warm nice weather
Ease of Setup: very difficult
Weight: 2lb 12oz
Price Paid: WAY too much for what you get
All I ever heard is how great these tents are. Great for what?
They are not seamed sealed, but come with a tube a silicon to do at home. Very messy and smelly task for a tent over $500 retail. I will not dispute the light weight. The tent did breathe quit well in the rain/snow/sleet conditions. The foot of the tent was set-up into a stiff wind so the flow-through effect was at its greatest. In a cross wind or other type of wind don't know how the tent would breathe. There was some condensation on the entry zipper.
The main problem is with setting up. The fragile pole ends have a very tight tolerance and warp out of shape (become oval) and takes some effort to shape back to a round surface and then force together. Feeding the poles into the sleeves took some effort in the wind and cold, resulting in very cold hands and a very wet body which lead to shivering and loss of energy staying warm. Staking out took time resulting in more body heat loss. The footprint is huge giving lots of interior room but took up lots of room.
How can anybody state this tent is for full-on alpine conditions climbing? Way to hard to set-up in a blow and the large footprint means lots of construction to find a place for it to fit. Compared to a single-wall tent like Integral Designs and Bibler where you can throw the tent out on a tiny space, jump in out of the weather and set the tent up in minimal time and minimal loss of energy in full alpine conditions, the 2R is for nice summer weather use.
Design: 4 Season
Ease of Setup: Very easy
Weight: 3 lbs
Price Paid: $500 +
I just spent 17 days in Southern Colorado on the Continental Divide. We had rain almost every day. The tent performed beautifully. There was some condensation on the end "cones," but a few swipes with a pack towel took care of that.
Setting up in the rain is a joy, since with the single wall design there is no chance for rain to get into the tent while you struggle with poles, pegs, and hooks.
The tent, when wet, weighs just over 3 pounds. When dry it's less than 3. There are 42 sq. ft. of interior space, and lots of head room.
Although not free standing, it is a breeze to set up.
Still the lightest tent going for people who want to be able to move around in their shelter.
Design: 4 season, hoop tent, double wall, side windows,
Ease of Setup: This tent sets up with ease, even in high winds. Two curved aluminum, shock-corded supports are easily used. Only there stakes are needed, one in rear and two in front to secure the tent.
Weight: 2 lbs. 12 oz.
Price Paid: $500
I recently spent the night in my warmlite in the April Fools Blizzard of '97 in southern New Hampshire. Went to sleep in high wind, with light blowing snow and awoke to 30+ inches of snow. My Warmlite was all it was supposed to be. Warm, lite, strong, well ventilated and easy to put up and maintain through the night. I only woke up twice in the night to tighten two front tie downs. I did this without leaving the warmth of my bag. What a night and what a tent. Obviously I recommend the Warmlite. I scoff at those who say this tent is so light as to be fragile. They should have been with me in 20 inches of wet snow.
Design: double arch
Ease of Setup: very easy
Weight: 3.2 lb
Price Paid: $550
The design is good. The tent is lightweight and easy to set up. My tent had four faulty joints in the poles. This caused the front pole to fail while sleeping in a high wind area when the tent was less than a year old and had limited use. They refused to stand behind their product. The low quality of workmanship is not acceptable for such a high priced tent.
Where to Buy
The Stephenson's Warmlite Warmlite 2R is not available from the stores we monitor.
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