Tent for overnight hike

5:59 p.m. on October 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Hello all,

I'm looking for a lightweight tent (not ultralight) for an upcoming overnight trip. I'm an avid hiker, and am starting to incorporate camping into my routine. In the future I will probably be doing a multi-day hike.

Anyways, I have been looking at the Big Agnes Lynx Pass 1, but have also read that the Eureka Spitfire 1, Alps Mountaineering, Kelty Gunnison 1.1, and REI make good tents too.

I'm 6'-1", 175lbs, and I'm looking for a one person tent (enough for me and my gear, basically), free standing, around 4 lbs or less, sturdy floor so I won't need a footprint, and around $150 or less. I've been looking online for used, and I'm ok going that route, but I could use some advice on which brand would have enough room for me lengthwise.


7:59 p.m. on October 23, 2012 (EDT)
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go to your local rei and try on some tents. you'll have a job finding one for 150 but it's worth a try. for that money your best bet would be ebay. search backpacking tents and see what you come up with. I defer to others for brands, both the tents I have are small. for that money your looking at a fiberglass poled three season tent, with winter coming on. you could also look at tarptent.com and check out some of his, but like I said,you'll have a job finding new for 150. you didn't say what type of terrain/localle/weather your expecting?

10:15 p.m. on October 23, 2012 (EDT)
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You'll not find a state-of-the-art gnatweight tent for $150 or less, which is fine as you'll be going out over night, not circumnavigating the Yukon.  So, you don't need a state-of-the-art gnatweight tent.  

This is a good place to start.

You need an adequate tent.  And those can be had from Eureka! or Kelty or other vendors on sale routinely, especially this time of year. 

Here are a couple. 

The Kelty Salida 2 is available on Amaxon today for $140 - less than 4 pounds of tent. 

The Eureka Backcountry 1 is available on Amaxon today for $140 - less than 4 pounds of tent. 

Both of these tents come with 9mm DAC 7000 aluminum frames - light and strong. 

Both of these tents are good investments and would likely serve your purposes - which is to help make you a happy camper. 

Enjoy your walk and always,



10:40 p.m. on October 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Amaxon is wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon.com.  Free shipping and no tax, that's what they are there for.

10:44 a.m. on October 24, 2012 (EDT)
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Last summer I picked up a used Big Agnes SL 2 for $125.00.It can be done it just may take some time to find the rightr deal.By the way do not buy a tent with fiberglass poles.Happy search.

2:20 p.m. on October 24, 2012 (EDT)
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Yes, do steer clear of glass poles. Aluminum poles are the way to go for lightweight strength and durability.

3:11 p.m. on October 24, 2012 (EDT)
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go with the aluminum poles if you can get them, both the eureka and the kelty are good tents although a little heavy...I don't know about the roominess of these tents, although the kelty is a two person tent, should be plenty of room for you and your gear...

5:32 p.m. on October 24, 2012 (EDT)
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I've seen a spitfire completely fail in a heavy rain once. Also heard some other horror stories about them.

On the flip side, although I've never seen one in person, I've heard nothing but great things on the gunnison line. The 1.1 is one person tent, not a 2 as jester says. There is also a recent thread about Ed's (whomeworry) experience with keltys excellent return/ repair policy. They are on sale now for $130, I don't think you can go wrong there.

9:20 p.m. on October 24, 2012 (EDT)
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I dont know where you are but craigslist new hampshire has several tents that fit your criteria and price range. Should be easy to find one as prices will drop for winter.

9:22 p.m. on October 24, 2012 (EDT)
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That garuda atman that was just.listed is a great tent for just a little more money

9:29 p.m. on October 24, 2012 (EDT)
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Look at the Alps Mountaineering Chaos 2. It can be had for $130.00, and is an amazing tent. I love mine!

9:57 p.m. on October 24, 2012 (EDT)
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Check out the REI passage 1.  

It is $119.  Available through REI's website.  

Not the lightest tent out there, but for the price, you can carry an extra pound or so.  Roomy, dry, vestibule, everything you need.  

10:01 a.m. on October 25, 2012 (EDT)
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Never used either tent but if looking for used a Serria design electron 2. Have used this tent in some nasty wind and rain and stayed dry. I am 5'11" and was very pleased with length. This is the first tent that really is a two person tent. Weight not bad pack weight without foot print about 4.5 lbs

10:59 a.m. on October 25, 2012 (EDT)
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  Just to pitch in my 2 cents ...
  I agree, no fiberglass poles.  There's nothing good about them except that they're cheap.

  The REI Passage 2 is a lot of tent for the money ($149) and it's over 7 feet long inside. You get the REI lifetime warranty so it's pretty hard to go wrong.  If you carry the minimum required lightweight stakes, and no stuff sacks you should be able to keep the weight close to 5 pounds.  
  If you can wait until the next 20% off coupon you can get this tent for $120 or so.  Or, use that coupon to get the new REI Quarter Dome T1 for more money but it weighs 3 pounds.

1:24 p.m. on October 25, 2012 (EDT)
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Well, it sounds like you've given it a lot of thought, but you might want to reconsider your criteria. Over the years I've watched countless folks buy entry-level gear only to regret it when they find what they REALLY want. Then, of course, nothing really takes the place of buying good gear, slowly discovering the drawbacks, and then buying new top-notch gear to replace it, and the elation that follows.

If you'd like to make the hyper-leap directly, I would highly recommend the Moment, by TarpTent. It's $235, 2 lbs, and extremely long and roomy inside. Sets up FAST with only 2 stakes. A "1-person", I can fit all my gear inside, my dog in the vestibule, and in a pinch add my hiking partner. Add optional 7-oz pole and it's freestanding, but I only use mine in the snow. It's single-layer, but has an optional liner (I use in snow). I use a scrap of landscape cloth under the floor to protect it and keep it cleaner. As with all sil-nylon tents, one must take care not to thrash it.

The Moment is actually a notch heavier than the lightest, most austere tiny 1-lb ultralight tents. It's about comfort, and roomier than most of the tents mentioned in this thread. Shaving 2 lbs is about comfort too.

If you can't afford it now, you can rent tents and save up. 

And no, I'm not from TarpTent or anything. Hope this is helpful.

3:23 p.m. on October 25, 2012 (EDT)
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Take a look at at the REI half dome 2 plus. Its over 150 but they will have it on sale for around 130 usually. I bought it earlier and love it. It has plenty of room for 2+ gear lofts and gear storage in the corners.

10:53 p.m. on October 25, 2012 (EDT)
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I would like to chime in here about the Moment. Very nice shelter. Henry Shires has designed some very nice features into his tents. I have a Skyscape as well, but to be honest I go to the Moment time and again. Excellent suggestion to rent. It really is an efficient way to experience a variety of shelters and sorting out the their most attractive features, making a well considered decision before parting w/your hard earned cash.

3:59 p.m. on October 26, 2012 (EDT)
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the OP still hasn't come back with his localle/conditions. would be nice to know...

9:58 a.m. on October 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Well, my first mini backpacking trip will be to the Angeles National Forest area, I believe. Hiking up to the Little Jimmy Campground. I was up there a few times already just looking around. Seems to be a very popular site. Thank you all for your insight! I'm actually on my way to an REI garage sale this morning to try to pick up a few bargains and cross stuff off my list. I'll let you all know if I find anything good!

5:11 p.m. on October 28, 2012 (EDT)
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the kelty salida 2 is a two person tent, jake. they can be had for 159.95 on the kelty website. 2 person, al poles and under four pounds. good enough for the angeles national forest. 

9:32 a.m. on November 17, 2012 (EST)
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This past summer, I got a hold of a North Face Flint 1 tent at a good price. Didn't really need it, but wanted a back up/just another solo tent, but use it a lot. I'm 6'3", and find it to be a good size for me. The head room is great! Materials are tough, ventilation is good, size is nicer than it appears, very easy 2 pole x set up. Vestibule is a bit small. Not a bad tent for the price (Sunny Sports has it for $120). Tent body, fly and poles come in at around 3.5 pounds. Packs small.

I like the end entry. Its easy in and out and I feel I have more options on where to pitch it - compared to my Gloite Eden 1 (which is bigger, side entry, not freestanding, needs full guy out, etc).

It's worth a look.


7:46 p.m. on November 19, 2012 (EST)
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Hello all. Thanks for your input. I was able to stop by an REI garage sale a few weeks ago and picked up a Marmot Limelight 2 person for $80, with footprint and fly, almost brand new. Enough room for me and a few things inside. Vestibule had enough space for my gear and boots. I took it up to Little Jimmy Campground this past weekend, with rain and wind. Held up fine. a bit of splashback from the rain though. Otherwise, the length was good, has lots of ventilation so it was a bit chilly, but it was a good buy and is a great tent. Much easier to set up than the cheapy ones I had when I was little =)

11:30 p.m. on November 19, 2012 (EST)
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$80 is a good deal, the tent retails for $219 on Marmot's website. I have two questions, though- where was the wind coming in and where was the water coming in? In looking at the website, it appears that the fly pretty much covers the whole tent almost all the way to the ground.

ps. Don't expect a tent to keep you warm, that's the job of your bag, clothes and you (meaning you are your own heat source and your bag and clothes retain that heat). Your tent will help somewhat by retaining the air your body may warm up slightly, but that's pretty minor.

2:09 p.m. on November 20, 2012 (EST)
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Congrats on your new tent! You got an incredibly good deal on the price, and the weight is not bad if you are dividing the weight with 2 people.

I do understand how Traylwocker would find wind on his trip "a bit chilly". I have found that the tent does make a substantial difference with temperature. I change my gear because of that factor.

I used a ponch shelter/bivy combo for several years in summer. I sleep very cold, almost comatose as far as metabolism is concerned, making pack weight challenging for high altitude, shoulder-season, and winter.

I found that I just about had to pitch the poncho down to the ground on all sides (to eliminate breezes), and added an extra sheet of sil nylon (doubles as a pack cover) to cover the open entrance side for frosty nights, and it made the difference between sleeping or shivering all night.

I also found that a two-layer tent (tent with fly, but only if the tent has a cloth body, rather than a mosquito netting body), keeps a few degrees warmer than a single-layer tent. Just enough to let me carry a less heavy bag, or one less layer.

I sure envy those "warm sleepers", since they can do with less weight.

2:53 p.m. on November 21, 2012 (EST)
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I sure envy those "warm sleepers", since they can do with less weight.

I am definitely a cold sleeper. I like it nice and toasty, even a little bit of cold air coming in turns into an uncomfortable night. So I have to think about extra clothing/padding.

I have two questions, though- where was the wind coming in and where was the water coming in? In looking at the website, it appears that the fly pretty much covers the whole tent almost all the way to the ground.

I'm not sure if it's visible from the picture, but the rainfly doesn't come all the way to the ground. I stretched it out the best I could with guylines, but there was a good 6 inches exposed all around the bottom of the tent. That is also where a strip of mesh begins, all around the tent. So as rain hits the ground, it bounces up, through the mesh, into the tent. I noticed this in the morning as all the clothes I had near the tent walls were pretty damp. No condensation in the tent though. I imagine that's where the wind also came in. Also, there is a vent on the rainfly that doesn't close completely.

I also had an issue with my BA mummy bag. How do people deal with cold air coming in through the face opening? I couldn't sleep, even with thermals and a cap on at night. The cold air through that hole kept me awake and shivering at times, even cinched as tight as it could go.

7:40 p.m. on November 21, 2012 (EST)
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what rating is your mummy? the little bit of exposure you get through the face hole shouldn't be enough to make you shiver. I'd look at getting a warmer bag. also look at what's under your bag. sleeping mats are inportant. it must provide enough insulation from the cold ground. that could be another reason why you where shivering. I think your finding out why that tent was only 80$...

8:41 p.m. on November 21, 2012 (EST)
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It is not necessarily the tent that is the issue. It is a 3 season tent for a reason. The fly is apparently designed for the purpose of ventilation. I recently found myself in a similar situation(somewhat) with a Hilleberg 3 season tent and I spoke in reference to my experience here.

3 season tents are typically(not always) designed to provide great ventilation. 

From what I am hearing here the tent is designed to create a chimney effect and maximum airflow with the top vent & elevated fly. 

I personally have always purchased tents that have some type of material other than mesh extending above the bathtub floor section of the shelter inner.

Such as shown in the photo below:


This will somewhat alleviate the issue encountered to an extent but it WILL NOT alleviate it 100%.

Direction of pitch can have alot to do with it, so can area of where the shelter is pitched, so on and so forth.

I am not saying direction of pitch will cure the problem but maybe try pitching the vestibules(either/or being I think that model has dual entrance/vestis) facing towards the wind. 

Another option would be to try and find an area to pitch where you have some type of wind brake. 

There is even another option which would be to pitch the tent in an area where there is some vegetation. This should somewhat cut down on the rebound of the rain splashing up and misting out the inside of the shelter. 

....and to be on the safe side carry a few trash can liner bags to put your gear/clothes in at night. They are cheap, light, multi-functional, and can save your tail in a major way. 

Hypothermia sucks, I have experienced it. AVOID AT ALL COSTS !!!

The Limelight is not a bad tent at all. I have slept in one on a few occasions over the years in some pretty good driving rains and didn't have much trouble. 

Now on the bag.

What is the model of BA bag that you own and what were the temps?

I like the winter/late winter the most out of all the seasons and I am on trail during this time of year the most. I do more solo trekking at night than I do during the day on some trips. The snow, with a clear sky and a bright moon, is priceless...

Anywho(sorry I had a moment.)

I am thinking that it is possible that you may have an inadequate bag for the temps. I have slept many a night on trail where when I woke the opening in my "super powered sleep sack" had a film of ice around it so I am kinda scratching my head on this one. 

It is possible that you had inadequate insulation under you. By this I mean some type of pad to keep the cold ground from sucking the heat from you internal combustion chamber. 

When you lie in a bag you compress the insulation under you in a major way. While compressing said insulation you also seriously compromise it's ability to insulate you...

(Remember, a bag doesn't provide heat, it just holds in the heat your body generates.)

This is where a pad comes into place. 

Were you using one?

If not I strongly suggest you consider it. It makes a ton of difference. 

Another suggestion I have is that if you are using the bag outside of the parameters for what it was designed(temp rating,) instead of dropping the dough on a new one consider purchasing a liner.

Numero uno on my short list would be Sea to Summit's Reactor Extreme

This could possible help ya out as well and will not drain the wallet. 

Just a few thoughts. Hope it helps.


11:14 p.m. on November 24, 2012 (EST)
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Traylwocker said:

I also had an issue with my BA mummy bag. How do people deal with cold air coming in through the face opening? I couldn't sleep, even with thermals and a cap on at night. The cold air through that hole kept me awake and shivering at times, even cinched as tight as it could go.

 How cold was it, what temp rating was your bag, and what sleeping pad did you use (and was it full-length)? Often the culprit is the pad. The ultralight inflatable ones don't usually insulate us cold-sleepers enough, in colder temps. And for snow, you need two, one being closed-cell. (I'm testing a NeoAir Therm, we'll see).

Being a cold sleeper (but still always trying to keep my pack lightweight), I wear a lot of my clothes in my bag, except my hiking pants (and/or shells) because they're usually filthy or wet.

Tip: My last layer in the evening is often my down sweater (on top of my base layer and a couple thin cashmere sweaters). When I bed down, I take that off and put my legs in the arm holes to the tips of my feet, and lay the body of the sweater on top of my torso (while in the bag). This is on top of my power stretch pile pants I always put on under my hiking pants (or other shell pants) in the evening when it's cold. I leave on all the other upper body layers while in the sleeping bag.

Tip: I wear a hat (windproof pile or wool) that has that extra fold up part. Then at night I fold it down over my eyes and sinuses down to my nose (in snow I put on the neck gator too), then cinch up the hood of the sleeping bag to expose only my mouth and tip of nose. They get cold in freezing temps, but if the rest of my gear is warm enough, especially my pad(s), I'm warm enough to actually sleep.

Tip: Don't let your buns get cold in the evening while cooking dinner and such, or they'll never thaw out all night. I bring a little square of closed-cell pad to sit on in camp, then put it under my sleeping pad when I bed down.

Tip: Right before bed, boil water and put it in the cheap and light Crystal Geyser water bottle you brought, then put it in the bubble wrap envelope you brought (normally to keep your dinner warm), and take it to bed with you.

Tip: Eat a stick of cheddar cheese or two right before bed. And NOT the nonfat kind. The oil you burn will help you keep warm.

Warm sleepers, don't laugh!

11:14 p.m. on November 24, 2012 (EST)
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Sorry, I guess I'm off topic.

4:25 p.m. on November 26, 2012 (EST)
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all good suggestions...you must be toasty with all that clothing!

7:22 p.m. on November 28, 2012 (EST)
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Barely, in sub-freezing temps and snow.

Thanks for the kudos!

1:39 p.m. on December 1, 2012 (EST)
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How cold was it, what temp rating was your bag, and what sleeping pad did you use (and was it full-length)?

The thermometer we brought read in the 40's, but it didn't account for wind chill. We estimated in the 30s. I have a Big Agnes Encampment 15 degree, sleeping bag so it's probably rated at 25 or so. I used a Big Agnes Insulated pad R-value 4.5, long. 

I brought a cotton sleeping bag sheet, and it was a big source of warmth that night, but as I toss and turn, the sheet and its side slits widened as I shifted, and did not cover me well. If the sheets came with side zippers instead of just left opened, they might work better.

6:56 p.m. on December 1, 2012 (EST)
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I think you were pushing the limit of your bag, thats why you were cold. you might try a silk bag liner. I have a -5 bag for winter, a 15 degree just isn't warm enough.

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