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Tent comparison questions

Does anyone have experience with these two 4 season 2 person tents? Whether or not having experience with these particular tents do you feel the difference in price is justified by a similar difference in quality? From my inexperienced position it looks like the Geertop 4 season 2 person tent might be of a heavier more robust material than the Flytop 4 season 2 person tent which looks again from my ignorant position to be of pretty much the same design. The difference in price certainly is significant, but is the difference in quality also as significant as the difference in price?

Thank you for any help!

David
Maine, USA

Can't tell  sh__ about a tent from a picture (let alone a text without a photo).  So I Googled these tents.  More revealing is the lack of outdoor retailers selling theses tents - almost as revealing as the price.  They photo like the hard core 4S tents mountaineers choose to hunker down in, while paying their, painful, frozen homage to the mountain gods.  Those tents all cost multiples of the models you cue up for us, here.  Better material, better workmanship all cost $$$$.  I would not buy the Geartop or Flytop, based on the info at hand.

FWIW, you may want to hold off getting a 4S tent until you gain the knowledge from experience that will make you more savvy in your equipment selection.  At the very least ask someone with winter camping experience what they use.  My current choices are among the pyramid  tarp tents.  Very roomy, good at sheding wind and snow. No floor, but you develop the skills to camp on ground cloths.   

Ed

I still want to camp with Ed. 

i have never heard of the brands. generally, a four season tent that's actually going to protect you from heavy snow and high wind costs $400-500 minimum. you're paying for heavier fabrics and poles. the tents you suggested both sell for $150 or less.  that's a pretty big red flag. the last thing you want is to pitch your tent somewhere in the winter & have it collapse under snowfall or get shredded by high wind.  

the online reviews sound suspiciously similar to each other, and they are uniformly on sites that (a) i have never heard of and (b) compare the tent to brands like Alps Mountaineering that I know are low-cost, budget tents I would never choose for winter hiking.  

i recommend against buying these and opting for tents with a proven history and a track record of reliable reviews, particularly for winter hiking.  

Hilleberg is the only true 4 season I’ve owned. It was lighter than other of the same size and very versatile. Mine shed 75mph winds, was quick to set up. It all toggles together so it didn’t get wet inside when erecting in rain. It was very roomy with huge vestibules and near vertical walls. It was home for a long time. 

ghostdog said:

Hilleberg is the only true 4 season I’ve owned. It was lighter than other of the same size and very versatile. Mine shed 75mph winds, was quick to set up. It all toggles together so it didn’t get wet inside when erecting in rain. It was very roomy with huge vestibules and near vertical walls. It was home for a long time. 

 I like the way the fly goes down not only to the ground but lays on the ground. Maybe that's points off like the low price but I don't know this stuff and so far I still like both.

leadbelly2550 said:

i have never heard of the brands. generally, a four season tent that's actually going to protect you from heavy snow and high wind costs $400-500 minimum. you're paying for heavier fabrics and poles. the tents you suggested both sell for $150 or less.  that's a pretty big red flag. the last thing you want is to pitch your tent somewhere in the winter & have it collapse under snowfall or get shredded by high wind.  

the online reviews sound suspiciously similar to each other, and they are uniformly on sites that (a) i have never heard of and (b) compare the tent to brands like Alps Mountaineering that I know are low-cost, budget tents I would never choose for winter hiking.  

i recommend against buying these and opting for tents with a proven history and a track record of reliable reviews, particularly for winter hiking.  

 I haven't done winter camping and probably won't, but would like a fly that goes all the way to the ground if I do any camping in the fall as I did one time but made my own fly because the one that came with the tent didn't go all the way to the ground. It seems to me a fly that doesn't go all the way to the ground would be inviting cold air to come into the tent, but maybe that's entirely incorrect and I just don't understand why it's better for the fly not to go all the way to the ground. If it's ever better that it would it seems you would want one that could even if in many/most situations you would want an air gap for ventilation or something in which case it would be easy enough to make the gap when you want it.

David N Harrison said:

leadbelly2550 said:

i have never heard of the brands. generally, a four season tent that's actually going to protect you from heavy snow and high wind costs $400-500 minimum. you're paying for heavier fabrics and poles. the tents you suggested both sell for $150 or less.  that's a pretty big red flag. the last thing you want is to pitch your tent somewhere in the winter & have it collapse under snowfall or get shredded by high wind.  

the online reviews sound suspiciously similar to each other, and they are uniformly on sites that (a) i have never heard of and (b) compare the tent to brands like Alps Mountaineering that I know are low-cost, budget tents I would never choose for winter hiking.  

i recommend against buying these and opting for tents with a proven history and a track record of reliable reviews, particularly for winter hiking.  

 I haven't done winter camping and probably won't, but would like a fly that goes all the way to the ground if I do any camping in the fall as I did one time but made my own fly because the one that came with the tent didn't go all the way to the ground. It seems to me a fly that doesn't go all the way to the ground would be inviting cold air to come into the tent, but maybe that's entirely incorrect and I just don't understand why it's better for the fly not to go all the way to the ground. If it's ever better that it would it seems you would want one that could even if in many/most situations you would want an air gap for ventilation or something in which case it would be easy enough to make the gap when you want it.

most two-layer tents (inner tent plus fly), the bottom and lower sides of the inner tent are waterproof nylon, and the fly extends below where the waterproof sides end, down to within a couple of inches of the ground.  the waterproof side and the waterproof fly overlap so rain doesn't get in, but the design does allow some air to circulate. 

sleeping in a tent is a balancing act - on one hand, you want to keep high wind and rain out; on the other, you want enough air circulation that you don't feel like you're sleeping in a jungle. a fly that pitches low (but not all the way down to) the ground helps with air circulation. many tents will have a vent in the top of the fly to help achieve the balance between protection and ventilation.  (in the winter, lots of condensation means frost on the inside of the tent fly, maybe the inner tent if it's not easy to vent it appropriately). 

the tent's primary role in keeping you warm is stopping the wind and weather; sleeping bags and clothes play a very significant role in regulating your temperature when you're sitting or sleeping in a tent. if you sleep out in the winter, below freezing, and especially as it gets toward 0 fahrenheit and below, you're still going to need appropriate sleeping bags and clothes, no matter what tent you use.  

if you don't plan to hike in the winter, the only reason to look at a 4 season tent would be if you expect severely windy conditions.  otherwise, most 4 season tents are more focused on surviving snow and wind, and less well-designed to ventilate in warmer weather.  

Many tents can work for very occasional, fair-weather use.  if you're looking for an inexpensive way to sleep out once or twice spring/summer/fall, you could find options at Walmart, Target, or similar places from from Sierra Designs and Coleman (brands that have been around for decades) that could work for you - at a much lower price than these.  if you plan to use it more often and keep it for a number of years, then spending a little more for higher quality, lower weight, reliable build quality and warranty coverage, features, and a history of solid reviews might be a good idea.  

David N Harrison said:

leadbelly2550 said:

i have never heard of the brands. generally, a four season tent that's actually going to protect you from heavy snow and high wind costs $400-500 minimum. you're paying for heavier fabrics and poles. the tents you suggested both sell for $150 or less.  that's a pretty big red flag. the last thing you want is to pitch your tent somewhere in the winter & have it collapse under snowfall or get shredded by high wind.  

the online reviews sound suspiciously similar to each other, and they are uniformly on sites that (a) i have never heard of and (b) compare the tent to brands like Alps Mountaineering that I know are low-cost, budget tents I would never choose for winter hiking.  

i recommend against buying these and opting for tents with a proven history and a track record of reliable reviews, particularly for winter hiking.  

 I haven't done winter camping and probably won't, but would like a fly that goes all the way to the ground if I do any camping in the fall as I did one time but made my own fly because the one that came with the tent didn't go all the way to the ground. It seems to me a fly that doesn't go all the way to the ground would be inviting cold air to come into the tent, but maybe that's entirely incorrect and I just don't understand why it's better for the fly not to go all the way to the ground. If it's ever better that it would it seems you would want one that could even if in many/most situations you would want an air gap for ventilation or something in which case it would be easy enough to make the gap when you want it.

most two-layer tents (inner tent plus fly), the bottom and lower sides of the inner tent are waterproof nylon, and the fly extends below where the waterproof sides end, down to within a couple of inches of the ground.  the waterproof side and the waterproof fly overlap so rain doesn't get in, but the design does allow some air to circulate. 

sleeping in a tent is a balancing act - on one hand, you want to keep high wind and rain out; on the other, you want enough air circulation that you don't feel like you're sleeping in a jungle. a fly that pitches low (but not all the way down to) the ground helps with air circulation. many tents will have a vent in the top of the fly to help achieve the balance between protection and ventilation.  (in the winter, lots of condensation means frost on the inside of the tent fly, maybe the inner tent if it's not easy to vent it appropriately). 

the tent's primary role in keeping you warm is stopping the wind and weather; sleeping bags and clothes play a very significant role in regulating your temperature when you're sitting or sleeping in a tent. if you sleep out in the winter, below freezing, and especially as it gets toward 0 fahrenheit and below, you're still going to need appropriate sleeping bags and clothes, no matter what tent you use.  

if you don't plan to hike in the winter, the only reason to look at a 4 season tent would be if you expect severely windy conditions.  otherwise, most 4 season tents are more focused on surviving snow and wind, and less well-designed to ventilate in warmer weather.  

Many tents can work for very occasional, fair-weather use.  if you're looking for an inexpensive way to sleep out once or twice spring/summer/fall, you could find options at Walmart, Target, or similar places from from Sierra Designs and Coleman (brands that have been around for decades) that could work for you - at a much lower price than these.  if you plan to use it more often and keep it for a number of years, then spending a little more for higher quality, lower weight, reliable build quality and warranty coverage, features, and a history of solid reviews might be a good idea.  

WalMart now sells 2 and 4 person "backpacking" tents that are 2X the weight of most 2 & 4 person backpacking tents but likely serviceable and durable.

Also look at Sierra Trading Post, Campsaver, MooseJaw and "For Sale" forums on various backpacking sites.

Eric B.

October 27, 2021
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