Happy Feet 7 reviewer rep | 17 forum posts
6:48 p.m. on February 19, 2021 (EST)
Pro and Con Which to choose? I would appreciate input,
Pro and Con Which to choose? I would appreciate input,
I read your profile. Both tents you mention are for hard core trips, built to address bad snow storms, etc. They are more heavy and more expensive than what you need. Your bio story sounds like a newbie misadventure - you may want to get more experience under your belt before going into bad weather. In the meantime you'll wear out whatever tent you get for the time being.
I suggest you get a three season tent. Check out Sierra Designs tents, they are a good brand, and several models light enough to consider getting a 3 person tent for more space and headroom - something well worth the extra weight.
But if you insist on tents designed for hard core weather, and are willing to shell out the bucks, go with one of the dyneema fabric tents. Most have no floor but can be upgraded with netting/floor insert.
I have a dyneema fabric tent: the Hyperlite Ultramid -2. The design is bomber for bad weather, and it is large for two people, yet lighter than most solo tents. Instead of getting the netting/floor upgrade, I opted for using my own one man footprint, and a bug net that just covers my bag and head. This is a great UL solution, that can be also used to sleep under the stars without having to pitch the tent (which is what I do most of the time, anyway).
I have backpacked in some pretty bad weather with sleet, hail and snow. At times the temperature dropped to single digits. I do not think of myself as expert. I have had tent failures. I do not want another failure. This year I hope to spend about six months camping, hiking and backpacking. The best tent for harsh weather that I have owned was an REI Taj 3. I had originally thought Imwould use one tent in state parks and another to backpack. I am thinking I might just want one tent for both.
Ok, I guess your bio mislead me about your experience level? After we all eventually have a tale to tell, like the one you shared therein.
I'd go with the Ve-25. I've owned two VE-24 tents, the forerunner of the Ve-25. One got blown away in a blizzard on Lake Virginia (along the JMT) in the Sierra, while on loan to a friend. The occupants were still inside at the time of the incident. -The other VE-24 was abandoned, after we ran out of food, when a storm trapped us for ten days on a trip to Mt St. Elias.
Both of the tents you are considering are good tents; but I prefer the NF tent, because It has slightly more vestibule storage, a better coating compound on the rain fly, and comes with a footprint. Go to REI's web site and do a side by side comparison of these tents.
The reason I didn't get another one, was I was introduced to a pyramid tarp tent made by Chouinard Equipment Ltd (now known as Black Diamond Equipment). It was a much lighter tent than traditional mountaineering tents of the period (and still is), sheds wind better, and is more roomy and versatile. When you endure enough time tent bound in bad weather, you get to really appreciate the additional roominess of a pyramid tarp, compared to a dome tent. The weight factor is another reason many like tarps. My current tarp is around two pounds, including all the guy lines and tent stakes. The useable head room is around 5 feet.
The one piece of advice you should consider, regardless of your final choice, is buy your tent in person! You are trying to get a severe weather tent. Regardless the brand and model, each tent is individually hand made, and the craftsmanship varies from article to article. you will want to go over your prospective purchase with a fine tooth comb, and assure it doesn't have flaws that can later turn into a serious hassle at the least opportune time.
I appreciate your advice. I consider myself as a novice. I realize an “overkill“ tent in moderate conditions is maybe vain. I am not an expeditionary adventurist, but I am not a fair weather only type. If the North Face proves to be overkill it will not be disappointing.
Well if you need a tent that will get you through unexpected weather that has some level of intensity, there are quite a few good, three season tents out there are well suited. I mentioned Sierra Designs. Another brand worthy of consideration is MSR. I used to use a MSR Hubba (1 person) that was excellent for any three season storm I've been in. I suggest the MSR Hubba Hubba NX2 or Mutha Hubba NX3 tents for your intentions. Both the NX tents have double entry, and are dry entries at that - meaning you can open the rain fly and crawl into the tent without the rain getting the interior wet. The rain fly pitches snug to the ground, sheds wind real well, and is strong enough to deal with light snow accumulation. And the MSR tents weigh half what the tents you are considering weigh.
The Sierra Designs and MSR tents will get you through any weather the typical, active, recreational camper can anticipate. They will not fail under any three season conditions I've encountered in the lower 48, during my 55+ years of backpacking, mostly in the Sierra. The tents you initially suggested are intended for truly serious weather casual campers have no business venturing into. IMO the extra piece of mind an extreme weather tent affords is not worth the 10-15% additional gross pack weigh they impose on you back, on every trip you hike, especially for us older folks. Going with a Ve-25 tent for your purposes is overkill, kind of like owning a 4WD terrain crawler as your primary mode of transportation, just in case a once in a life time polar vortex storm system ices up the roads in Miami.