Tents

12:58 a.m. on September 22, 2007 (EDT)
Spion
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I made another post on this, and thought I was set to go, but after talking to various people, almost all of them said to have a free standing tent, which rules out all of the ones I was looking at... Basically, all i want for the tent is it to be lighweight, durable/strong, free-standing, and weatherproof (wind and rain mainly). The companies that I would like to stick to would be MEC and MSR mainly, and mabye outdoor research. I will also look at tents from other companies if they are very good.

Also, I do NOT want a tarp tent.

7:49 a.m. on September 22, 2007 (EDT)
jeffrey
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I thought the hubbas are frestanding????

http://www.msrcorp.com/tents/hubbahubba.asp

I've also heard good things about this one but have never used either

http://www.bigagnes.com/str_tents.php?id=sh2

good luck!

9:50 a.m. on September 22, 2007 (EDT)
speacock
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You didn't mention cost... so here is another.

http://www.warmlite.com/start.htm

I'm guessing the suggestion for freestanding is easy set up. But then there are always compromises.

I've a two person Stephensons and set up time is quick even in wind and especially in rain (you get lots of help). Takes two stakes in front and one in back after threading collapsible poles through tunnels. If a big blow add pegs at 4 corners. I would guess, that in a hurry, under 3 mins is not a very rushed time.

11:21 a.m. on September 22, 2007 (EDT)
Bill S
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The free-standing vs non-free-standing debate is yet another of those raging debates in the outdoor world, though it does not get as fanatical as the boot and pack debates. And of course, the tarp folks get in there as well.

You had "weight" near the top of your original list. In terms of weight for space, free-standing tents are the heaviest, with non-free-standing next, and tarps the lightest. The difference can be great, although there are tents in each category that overlap the next category.

Ease of setup was on your list. Generally free-standing take longer, though some non-free-standing take a very long time (notably the Kelty Windfoil 3 which we were given for the 40th Anniversary Mt Vinson climb), and even tarps when the nearby trees aren't placed just right. More important, though is that sleeves for the poles take longer than the clip type, but a lot of people hate the rattling that clips make in windy conditions. From time to time, I take part in tent set-up contests. Often the winning times for 2-person tents are in the 30-40 second range, with little difference between sleeve and clip free-standing, and non-free-standing, and under 2 minutes for the very complex geodesic dome 4 and 8 person tents that TNF, MH, and SD put out (OTOH, I have seen people take a half hour to an hour to set up a simple 2-person tent). Ease of setting up is mostly being familiar with the particular tent and knowing which poles go where (if there are different lengths of poles. Setting up my Bibler Eldorado in storm takes under a minute pack to everything inside, and that's a 2-person expedition tent.

12:15 p.m. on September 22, 2007 (EDT)
jeffrey
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I fully agree with Bill, ease of set up comes with familiarity of the tent. Do it a few times in the back yard, and you will be able to set up quickly in the field during a storm.

1:54 p.m. on September 22, 2007 (EDT)
Spion
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I don't really care how longit takes to set-up, if it is in the 10 minute range thats fine. And I talked to a friend that knows alot about the outdoors, he owns the tarn 2, and said that freestanding is the best because you can just pick it up and move it, not that I would be doing that.

10:45 p.m. on September 22, 2007 (EDT)
Jeffrey Chandler

a.k.a. Jeff Chandler, Jeffrey C.

If you use hiking poles then I would suggest the tarptent rainbow or rainbow 2.

They are extremely lightweight.
Set-up with any new tent that you are experienced with should take 5 minutes top. Shoot I usually take longer finding a spot and clearing rocks and sticks than I ever have taken setting up my tent.

Price is competitive as well.

12:11 a.m. on September 23, 2007 (EDT)
jeffrey
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The henry shires rainbows are Sweeeet!

7:17 p.m. on September 23, 2007 (EDT)
Bill S
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Eric said that

Quote:

a friend ...said that freestanding is the best because you can just pick it up and move it,

Only reason I can think of that you would ever want to do that is if you used poor judgment in picking the tentsite in the first place (like setting up in a dry wash and had a flash flood approaching, or the middle of the local bears' favorite berry bushes, or perhaps next to the stream as it rose due to rain or a increasing snowmelt or more likely because the ranger came by and noted you were within the mandated 100 foot separation from the stream or a lake, thus issuing a citation that carries a $250 fine - in this area, the fine can be even higher). Yes, I know, lots of people, perhaps the majority, do not have the good judgment to pick a reasonable, comfortable, low impact campsite. But moving the tent is a poor substitute for even poorer judgment in picking the campsite.

Speaking of rocks and stick clearing, if you are following LNT principles, you will be judicious in picking your campsite and never have to violate LNT guidelines by clearing rocks and sticks. And why are you doing this, since you carried that 1.5-2 pound inflatable pad that provides full cushioning? Or do like Ed - use your hammock - no problems ever with stick and rocks.

9:04 p.m. on September 23, 2007 (EDT)
Spion
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Alrihgt, I checked my local outdoor store, and the tents they have in stock are these:

North Face Vector 22-$210

Seirra Designs Electron w/ footprint I belive-$250

Seirra Designs Gamma-$180

Which one would you guys recommend? I personally like the Electron because of the double doors.

1:27 a.m. on September 24, 2007 (EDT)
Jeffrey Chandler

a.k.a. Jeff Chandler, Jeffrey C.

I do follow the LNT guidelines. The problem lies in the places I hike around here tend to be rocky. I almost always use a pre-existing campsite. The rocks and sticks I speak of are the ones under my floor and more specifically the ones I can feel through the pad. Both of these I think are pretty normal occurrences.

P.S. Thermarest ProLite 3 is only 1 inch thick and is only 20.5 ounces

10:02 a.m. on September 24, 2007 (EDT)
rexim
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One more reason to choose a freestanding tent: you can sometimes just pick it up and shake out the sand or pine needles or leaves whatever followed you in.

10:54 a.m. on September 24, 2007 (EDT)
Bill S
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rexim claims -

Quote:

One more reason to choose a freestanding tent: you can sometimes just pick it up and shake out the sand or pine needles or leaves whatever followed you in.

Well, rexie, there is a better way to clear the tent that is much easier on the tent itself and the poles. Plus it's a lot faster and you don't have to fight the wind. Namely, remove the poles as you generally do when breaking camp (exception - there are some tents that keep the poles attached when packed). Then turn the tent inside out - sand, pine needles, leaves, and the lost change come right out. It also gets the snow and most of the water out as well when winter camping. Turn it rightside out and stuff it in the stuff bag (that's recommended by the tent manufacturers for all backpacking and expedition tents over folding or rolling - says so right on the little "owners manual" that comes with quality tents. But who reads the manual?). Stuffing is faster and more compact, as well.

This works for any size tent, though it's a bit awkward for the giant big box store "canvas houses" that some people use for car "camping". Hmmm, somehow the vision of holding one of those 3-room tents up and shaking out the dirt and leaves is, well, .....

12:03 p.m. on September 24, 2007 (EDT)
rexim
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Yes, it is. But it might make a humorous photo.

12:25 a.m. on September 25, 2007 (EDT)
Spion
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Still need an aswer for which one you guys would reccommend.

Vector 22
Electron
Gamma

And with all fo this freestanding, non-freestanding chatter, it's just confusing me more, so I'll just assume that either is fine.

11:42 a.m. on September 25, 2007 (EDT)
Bill S
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The choice between free-standing vs non-freestanding is to a large extent a matter of personal preference. As I noted before, non-freestanding tents of a given size tend to be lighter than freestanding. Both must be staked down to keep them from blowing away if you have a stiff wind, but once picked up by the wind (and a non-staked "freestanding" will be picked up at anything over 25 knots, even with a fair amount of gear in it), the free-standing tent will sail quite easily. If you only camp in very sheltered places (like thick forests), freestanding tents are thought to be easier to set up (note I said "thought to be" - I have had both over the years and the only time I ever had more work setting up a non-freestanding tent was when camped on hard rock outcroppings).

Anyway, that comment is moot, since all 3 of the tents you mention are "freestanding". They all have a lot of mesh, which limits you to late spring through early fall (they are not truly 3-season), and you better not get blowing rain (it will blow under the fly and right through the huge amount of mesh, though less so with the Gamma, which is a discontinued model). If you are really hard-set on those 3, I would choose the Electron. But in fact, there are much better choices in the Sierra Designs line.

But again, it is all a matter of personal preference, as with just about everything else in camping and backpacking gear. After a dozen or so nights out, you will find things you like very much about whatever tent you choose, and things you just can't stand. So flip a coin (3-sided, since you have 3 choices listed). Or choose the one you can get cheaper. - Oh, forget about the footprint. It is much cheaper ($1 to $2 total cost) and just as effective to go to your neighborhood hardware store, buy a 9x12 3-mil plastic "dropcloth", cut it into 2 6x9 pieces, put one under the tent, draw the outline of the tent on it, and cut to shape. It will last as long as the official footprint and be just as effective. That way, you get 2 for $2, instead of one for $20 to $50.

Doesn't matter which anyone here recommends - it will be your choice and what in practice you decide you love and what you hate about whichever one you get in practice.

3:16 p.m. on September 25, 2007 (EDT)
lightweightpack
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The hubba is your best choice.

It weighs in at 3 lb 12.5 oz (tent, fly, footprint, stakes, poles, and stuff sacks). You can save another 6 oz by purchasing carbon fiber poles from Fibraplex on eBay.

-Eric

12:16 p.m. on September 26, 2007 (EDT)
rambler
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You sound like a good candidate for Eureka tents. The freestanding Timberline models have been around for many years. Good prices, too.

11:57 p.m. on September 26, 2007 (EDT)
Spion
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I just set up an older north face model, dont know which one. But it was freestanding, and I LOVED that, tok literally 5 minutes to set-up.

1:51 p.m. on September 27, 2007 (EDT)
FG

Freestanding tents are inherently more stable. No non-free standing tent is going to be as stable in the wind and rain. Oh sure, you can pitch it tight and ground the pegs....until the ground softens up and the tent collapses.

1:53 p.m. on September 27, 2007 (EDT)
FG

Should also make mention that the Hubba HP available in January will undercut the original by over 10 ounces and may be worth waiting for.

The tarptents are great, except that they WILL 'mist' in high pressure rain - just a fact with silnylon.

9:52 p.m. on September 27, 2007 (EDT)
Bill S
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FG claims

Quote:

Freestanding tents are inherently more stable. No non-free standing tent is going to be as stable in the wind and rain. Oh sure, you can pitch it tight and ground the pegs....until the ground softens up and the tent collapses.

Baloney! I have used a number of quality non-freestanding tents in severe storm conditions (mostly winter and high-altitude mountaineering, but in all seasons. If you know how to pitch a well-designed tent from the proven manufacturers properly, non-freestanding and "freestanding" are very close to equal, with some in each camp outperforming some in the other camp. The Kelty Windfoils we used in Antarctica may be hard to pitch, but once pitched, they were as quiet or quieter in measured 50-70 knot winds as any of the North Face, Mountain Hardwear, etc "freestanding" tents, and in fact quieter. One of the few tents I ever had collapse (and it was only a partial collapse at that) was a full-on geodesic expedition tent after several days of drifting heavy wet snow (we hadn't gotten out often enough to clear the snow buildup).

I have seen a number of "freestanding" tents turn into "free flyers" when inadequately staked (yes, so-called "free-standing" tents must be staked down if there is anything more than a slight breeze). And in a couple cases, the tent was lifted out from inside windwalls with a couple people and their gear in it (the winds were measured by the nearby rangers' weather station as exceeding 75 knots).

If you know the techniques (which admittedly the vast majority of backpackers do not), any good tent can be made stable in quite severe conditions. But if you don't know the proper methods, even the best of tents will collapse or be blown away.

It's the operator, not the gear, that makes the difference.

10:35 a.m. on September 28, 2007 (EDT)
FG

For the vast majority of backpackers out there, your advice borders on ludicracy. For exposed ridges, extreme wind, horizontal rain, etc, you are actually going to tell me that a non-freestanding tent is superior to a freestanding tent? Obviously evidenced by a huge number of non-freestanding 4 season tents available...right. Or the fact that my very experienced buddy using a six moon designs wild oasis had his structure completely collapse last weekend in the Rockies with a skiff of snow. You talk about experience this, experience that. How have you ranked the original posters experience Bill? Bring your shelter out to the rockies in September and lets dance. I only have a solo tent so you are on your own if you have some issues (I also own a TT Contrail, Siltarp, bivy, etc - so I would wager my overall experience is better than yours - ever camp above treeline?).

11:43 a.m. on September 28, 2007 (EDT)
Bill S
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FG,

Sigh... If you had read my post, you would know that I mentioned my experiences in Antarctica (no trees, so "above treeline") and the Alaska Range (most of the Alaska Range is above treeline, and my time there was almost entirely above 14,000 ft, much above 17,000 ft). Yes, I have spent a lot of time in the Rockies above treeline, as well as the Cascades, Sierra, Presidentials, and on other continents as well.

I agree that most backpackers have no idea how to properly set up a tent. If you had read, you would have seen that I said

Quote:

If you know the techniques (which admittedly the vast majority of backpackers do not), any good tent can be made stable in quite severe conditions. But if you don't know the proper methods, even the best of tents will collapse or be blown away.

I did not say that a non-freestanding tent is "superior". I said that both types, pitched properly, will stand up to winds above 70 or 80 knots. And I said that both types, not properly pitched will blow down and/or blow away. Again, I would emphasize - proper technique makes all the difference. It's the operator, not the gear, that makes the difference.

And yes, I have used both free-standing and non-freestanding tents on "exposed ridges, extreme wind, horizontal rain" ... ummm, not too often "horizontal rain", more usually "horizontal snow". Although, I have experienced rain at 11,000 ft on Denali.

The OP said he is not experienced, and thus reliant on advice from others. My point to him was to consider the alternatives and mostly learn to properly use the gear. He put lightweight as one of his most important criteria, which is one of the advantages of a non-freestanding tent.

Sorry, but I don't play "I'm better than you" games. I will only say that my 6+ decades in conditions from desert to Arctic and Antarctic to jungle, from sub sealevel to over 20,000 ft, average of 50+ nights a year camped out, does give me a bit of experience to draw on. Hmmm, speaking of "desert", I guess I have camped "below treeline", too - sometimes winds across a treeless desert below sea level can get a bit on the brisk side, as well.

Well, post your brag. I won't see it for a few weeks. See, I'm off to some little hills on another continent that has a lot of land above treeline, and some goodly winds as well.

1:12 p.m. on September 28, 2007 (EDT)
rexim
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FG,

Quick question: Is your solo tent big enough for both your body and your ego?

One corollary of your post is that all freestanding tents are superior to all non-freestanding tents, an obvious fallacy.

Perhaps you should define what you mean by "freestanding" and "four-season tent" before you make such a broad generalization.

On second thought, never mind. It's not worth the argument that would likely follow.

By the way, the "vast majority of backpackers out there" have no need for a "four-season tent."

I'm not sure what a "skiff" of snow is (the only "skiff" I know is a small boat), but if the Wild Oasis "completely" collapsed, I would wager the tent was not properly pitched for the conditions.

1:13 p.m. on September 28, 2007 (EDT)
rambler
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"A man should never be ashamed to say he has been wrong, which is but saying in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday." Alexander Pope

2:02 p.m. on September 28, 2007 (EDT)
FG

Rexum, (come to the Rockies - I will show you what a skiff is)....please post something constructive instead of the personal attacks. For your information, I own:

-Hilleberg Akto
-ID Unishelter (eVent)
-TT Contrail

Wow. I don't even currently own a free standing tent! I don't have an ego and I take great offence to your post. Freestanding is just that - the structure can stand without any additional pegging. Four season generally have less ventilation and the ability to snow load better, but of course you already new that. I can tell you this - the Hillberg Akto can withstand great wind and rain but is one of the poorest tents to handle a snow load which can affect its structure. Hence why I mention structure in my posts.

...and yes Bill, I realize that in heavy winds even a freestanding tent should be staked down, but a cross poled freestanding tent is going to stand up better in those conditions - it has too - otherwise it wouldn't stand up by itself. I have a picture of a TT Rainbow pegged and completely flattened by wind...will post shortly.

2:57 p.m. on September 28, 2007 (EDT)
rexim
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Yes, you do have an ego. We all have egos. Yours is quite evident in your challenges to Bill: "Come to the Rockies and let's dance" and "I would wager my overall experience is better than yours."

I don't believe "ludicracy" is a word, but I get the feeling it was probably meant as a personal attack against Bill S, so please spare me the protest against my "personal attack."

I don't care what tents you own and I am not impressed by your Hilleberg Akto, ID Unishelter, or TT Contrail. I simply disagree with your overly broad generalization that a freestanding tent is inherently superior to one that is not freestanding. There are simply too many variables involved: the fabrics used, the type and quality of the seams and thread, the types of poles used, and the manner in which the tents are pitched, and on and on.

Why don't you just tell me what a "skiff" of snow is; that way I don't have to travel to the Rockies and can save the fuel and money, yet still learn something. We'll both be better off.

3:23 p.m. on September 28, 2007 (EDT)
FG

Nah, you win (never said that freestanding tents were superior - only inherently more stable - reread the posts). I will refrain from posting here again.

Because you do not know what a skiff of snow is, I would wager that you have never actually backpacked in inclement weather....and the benefit to a freestanding tent is not that you can shake out dirt and shows that you are a newbie to backpacking. Good luck in yout ventures (watch out for the dirt).

3:41 p.m. on September 28, 2007 (EDT)
rexim
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Thanks for the good wishes.

10:00 p.m. on December 5, 2007 (EST)
andrewsacht
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www.nemoequipment.com
nemo is a great tent company

10:09 a.m. on December 6, 2007 (EST)
kutenay
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Anybody posting here who thinks that Bill does not know whereof he speaks simply demonstrates his own ignorance. I also have over a half century of wilderness experience and have lived alone above timberline in the Canadian Rockies for months at a time, in pre-fabbed cabins flown in by helo and in tents of both types.

I much PREFER free-standing tents, but, own and use both types.I am a hardcore Integral Designs and Hilleberg fan, won't buy anything else now although Nemo intrigues me and I have spoken with them.

BTW, for anyone interested, the term "a skiff of snow" is quite commonly used here in Canada to describe a slight, usuallu windborne trace of snow, just enough to take readings on your snowboard at your alpine station. This is more prevalent in the Rockies than in the Selkirks or Coast Range due to climatic factors. No tent worthy of consideration will be compromised by this type of weather.

12:38 p.m. on December 6, 2007 (EST)
calamity
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I like all the brands mentioned here, (though inflatable frames are a stretch for my mind.)

On average, I think Sierra Designs tents have tended to be lighter, and slightly cheaper, than NF, while NF have tended to slightly better in construction quality. MSR might be considered in the middle. Eureka, in price if nothing else, is low end.

Assuming you've got a design appropriate for conditions and are willing to carry it and set the darned thing up, the question of free-standing vs non free-standing or tarps doesn't matter.

It's possible for one's preferred techniques to drift laterally over time, for no apparent reasons other than curiosity, random chance and boredom.

My three, highest guiding principles in all questions of camping and life are personal laziness, cheapness, and contrariness.

10:31 p.m. on December 6, 2007 (EST)
Tipi Walter
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I have a short question for kutenay: I own a couple of Hillebergs and have noticed in a strong wind that they allow big breezes to pass right thru the tent canopy. Have you noticed? In my other tents(Mt Mardwear Muir Trail/North Face Westwind), I could light a candle in the worst squalls and it stayed lit, but in the Hillebergs the wind just blows it out.

This might be due to the elastic attachment points, allowing the inner tent to move and slap excessively. I guess all Hillebergs are loud tents in a blow, just can't figure why they're so windy inside.

10:39 a.m. on December 7, 2007 (EST)
kutenay
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I had a NF Westwind for many years, gave it to my nephew as it was such a "wet"tent and not that stable in a hard blow. My Hilleberg Saivo is FAR superior, but, I have only had it a short while and have not experienced problems such as those you mention.

I am GUESSING that your vents might be more open than necessary, you may not have tied out all your guy points tightly and yours may be the less stable tunnel type, I prefer the Saivo, Tarra and Jannu styles plus the new Soulos, from what I have seen, so far.

You MUST guy out this style of tent rigidly or the design will not function as it is capable of, nothing is REALLY "free-standing", eh?

1:27 p.m. on December 7, 2007 (EST)
Tipi Walter
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Kutenay: The Saivo looks to be a nice one, I have the Nammatj 3 and the Staika. I really like the Staika dome, of course. Who wouldn't? I emailed Hilleberg about the umbrella fly attachment points on the Staika(they freeze up--hard to remove), but after 10 days there's been no reply.

I've heard the Hillebergs are "loud" tents, they move more in the wind than the usual tents, so interior gusts might be a byproduct of the flapping, etc. Also, the canopy they use(that wonderful yellow)might allow for far better ventilation than most tents, contributing to a breezy inner sanctum.

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