Tents

11:48 a.m. on October 17, 2009 (EDT)
Spion
0 reviewer rep
55 forum posts

Hello everyone,

I'm in the market for a good tent. I will be using it on the west coast of Canada 90% of the time for kayaking, backpacking, canoeing, etc... I will also want to be using it a bit inland for some mountaineering, or heavier backpacking, so 4 season use is preferred. The tents that I have been looking at so far are the Black Diamond Oneshot, Firstlight, Highlight, and Lighthouse tents. They are all marketed to be 4-seasons, and are almost all under 3 pounds. The only thing I do not like about them is that I'm fairly concerned how the epic fabric will hold up against the humid climate of West Coast Canada. I've heard that it humid climates it saturates, and then is pretty much useless. I also do not like how there is no vestibule to cook in when the weather is poor, although im sure there is a way around this, I just haven't figured it out.

I have also been looking into the MSR Hubba series (haven't decided on hubba or hubba hubba). I like how they have vestibules, but they aren't completely suited for 4 season or mountaineering use.

 

I'm having a difficult time deciding on wether to buy a solo tent, or a 2 person tent. I like the fact that the black diamond tents still have enough room to squeeze a second person in there if you have to, and are still extremely lightweight, and can still be used solo.

 

Thoughts?

1:10 p.m. on October 17, 2009 (EDT)
Dewey
12 reviewer rep
613 forum posts

I also live here and now use nothing except Hilleberg and Integral Designs tents and I have used a whack of different ones. Look at the Hille. Soulo, Nallo2 and Allak and the I.D. MKI-XL, which is my favoured winter tent.

Costly, yeah, but, worth it, IME and O.

9:10 p.m. on October 18, 2009 (EDT)
Family Guy
1 reviewer rep
712 forum posts

Epic fabric is not functionally waterproof so I would cross the Black Diamond Superlights off your list, especially where you trek.

What Dewey said for 4 season. For 3 season, I would consider a double walled tent with a mesh inner to better manage the condensation that you will get in your area.

10:43 a.m. on October 21, 2009 (EDT)
Skimanjohn
92 reviewer rep
311 forum posts

I would not go with the mesh style inner tent for many reasons.These are designed for summer backpacking not mountaineering.Have used a few in the alpine zone and if there is a strong cold wind blowing this style does not work well if your tent site is expossed.The Hilleberg tents are great but out of my price range but there are many good double wall tents on the market for less money.There is much said about the lower quality of tents made in china and the like but as of yet i have not had any of these tents fail me and i do use them in sime very harsh conditions.Do your research and talk to those who have used the product you are looking at ,more than one or two trips.ymmv

4:10 p.m. on October 21, 2009 (EDT)
abman47
0 reviewer rep
224 forum posts

After researching and deciding on the tent you want, find it for less on Craigslist, or eBay, or even the Mec online gear swap. Let someone else pay the price for the tent new, then discover they don't like camping(sadly, I've seen that reason for sale given many times; it's sad but true). If the tent is local, you have no problem determining the condition of the components, if it's on eBay, ask questions. I've been lucky enough to find a Moss Arcadia on Craigslist for $25

4:31 p.m. on October 21, 2009 (EDT)
Spion
0 reviewer rep
55 forum posts

Thanks,


I recently had a good thought. I would buy a Black Diamond tent (Hilight or Lighthouse) to use as a solo tent or 2 person tent in a pinch if I decided to bring a friend along. To go along with it, I would buy a small tarp that could be used as a rain fly, awning/vestibule thing, and it would only weigh about half a pound or so. On nights where it won't rain, I won't need to use the tarp. If it does, then I can pull it out and set it up, and even cook under it. When I'm in the alpine, I could simply leave the tarp behind.


Thoughts? I'm sorry if I'm a bit unclear.

7:09 p.m. on October 21, 2009 (EDT)
mahoosucmayhem
63 reviewer rep
190 forum posts

Spion,

You may need more than one sleep shelter. I live in the Southeast US, and often visit Maine for get-aways and such. The weather can get anywhere from "you gotta be crazy to go out" hot/humid in SC to "you gotta be crazy to go out" cold in ME. That said, I have 4 sleep shelters I employ, listed here from lightest in weight to the heaviest;

A hammock and tarp, as a lightweight option. (bayer moskito traveler)

A solo backpacker tent that is not free-standing. (beans microlight I)

A 3 season/freestanding 2 person for car camping, canoeing, and crazy weather stuff. (Eureka! Autumn Wind 2XD)

A 2 person/4 season tent for when I loose my mind and go winter camping. (Old Beans 4 season that I have given to my brother and have to "repo" when I need it.)

I will say that none of these items are the most expensive in their class, and the performance they have given me is great. I was at one time looking for that "super tent" that does everything, but alas, I have yet to stumble across one.

7:26 p.m. on October 21, 2009 (EDT)
tommangan
FORMER STAFF
0 reviewer rep
415 forum posts

A grizzled backpacker once told me you always want the piece of gear that'll work in four or five different situations but you always end up getting a separate one for each of those situations.

A solo tent can hold two people if the only other choice is sitting out the blizzard outdoors.

9:16 p.m. on October 21, 2009 (EDT)
Robster
0 reviewer rep
8 forum posts

I love the hubba hubba and often use them for every season without problems. The space is also just right for me (I use it as a solo tent). I just wish that the vestibule was a little bit bigger (it's a bit small for a 2 person tent). But overall, great tent.


Plus 4 season tents are overated anyway I think.

10:06 p.m. on October 21, 2009 (EDT)
trouthunter
1,753 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

A grizzled backpacker once told me you always want the piece of gear that'll work in four or five different situations but you always end up getting a separate one for each of those situations.

A solo tent can hold two people if the only other choice is sitting out the blizzard outdoors.

Absolutely!

I used to share a tent with my dog, he was not wearing groomers cologne at that point. (yep, they do have an odor, even mine!)

But hey, it was cold, and he was warm. After a couple really cold nights you don't care about all that stuff you worried about at home I've found.

The ideal situation would be great, we try, but at some point, idealism gives way to survival. Not that we shouldn't plan properly, but sometimes you do have to make do with what you have.

10:22 p.m. on October 21, 2009 (EDT)
Skimanjohn
92 reviewer rep
311 forum posts

I love the hubba hubba and often use them for every season without problems. The space is also just right for me (I use it as a solo tent). I just wish that the vestibule was a little bit bigger (it's a bit small for a 2 person tent). But overall, great tent.

Plus 4 season tents are overated anyway I think.

Had a MSR Hubba,mesh body,high ,7000ft,in the goat rocks wilderness area of washington state.This area is made up of old volcanos so the soil and rock can get like dust and powder.During a strong wind all night the tent and all my gear filled up with this volcanic dust.Not very pleasent.The nw has a lot of areas like this so a true double wall or single solid tent is nice in these situations.ymmv

11:20 p.m. on October 21, 2009 (EDT)
tokyo bill
3 reviewer rep
98 forum posts

Anybody have a comment on the MSR Hubba Hubba HP (link: http://cascadedesigns.com/MSR/Tents/Fast-And-Light-Tents/Hubba-Hubba-HP/product)?

Reading suggests that this is a Hubba Hubba with solid lightweight fabric in lieu of the mesh, and it's even lighter than the standard Hubba Hubba. Still billed as a three-season, but it's been getting some consideration as my own quest for a new tent goes on.

11:59 p.m. on October 21, 2009 (EDT)
Spion
0 reviewer rep
55 forum posts

Sorry to be off-track, but what were peoples thoughts on my above post:

"I recently had a good thought. I would buy a Black Diamond tent (Hilight or Lighthouse) to use as a solo tent or 2 person tent in a pinch if I decided to bring a friend along. To go along with it, I would buy a small tarp that could be used as a rain fly, awning/vestibule thing, and it would only weigh about half a pound or so. On nights where it won't rain, I won't need to use the tarp. If it does, then I can pull it out and set it up, and even cook under it. When I'm in the alpine, I could simply leave the tarp behind."

12:31 a.m. on October 22, 2009 (EDT)
Family Guy
1 reviewer rep
712 forum posts

Well, a small solo tarp that weighs 1/2 a pound would be about 5x8 and would not sufficiently cover either of the two BD tents you mentioned if it rained. You would need something like 8x10 or maybe even 10x10, which would be too big to rig as a vestibule unless you have some trees around. You are also looking at a pound or more which negates the benefits of the light weight of these shelters. So....why not just buy a tent that is:

a.) Waterproof (Epic is not).

b.) Has a vestibule.

These tents work best in very cold conditions. In warmer conditions with rain, they will wet through about 9 hours (according to BD). Epic only has a hydrostatic head of 800 to 1000mm. At around freezing, the breathability of Epic is known to go into the toilet as the pores in the fabric fill with condensation and then freeze. Sub freezing, the breathability comes back as the differential between the temp inside and outside the tent increases sufficiently.

There had been some great suggestions here regarding all season shelters - Hilleberg, ID, Bibler. In addition, if you are looking at mostly 3 season, then the Hubba series is a great choice. I have used a single Hubba in the past on the West Coast Trail in 5 days of rain and not a drop inside. Quite light too.

For ultralight all season, consider some of the Mid products by Mountain Laurel Designs or Golite. They can be turned into double walled shelters with mesh inners and as well, can be buttoned to the ground.

2:08 p.m. on October 22, 2009 (EDT)
debmonster
5 reviewer rep
5 forum posts

It's going to be very tough to find a tent that can be comfortable in high humidity (highly breathable/ventilated material) yet provide sufficient protection in winter conditions (less breathable/ventilated material). My suggestion would be to get a lightweight 4-season tent and carry a 1/2 lb. bug bivy (such as Six Moon Designs Serenity Net or Epco Sleepscreen 1) to use with the tent's rain tarp and ground cloth in warm, humid conditions instead of the tent body if you really can only use one tent.

I would definitely take a serious look at Henry Shire's Tarptent Scarp 1. Has room for 2 in a pinch. http://www.tarptent.com/scarp1.html

I also agree with 2 previous posts and would suggest both the Hubba Hubba HP and Hilleberg Atko over the BD Epic tents. If you will really need a true mountaineering tent, you won't find a solo model, or one under 4 lbs.

Good luck and enjoy!

10:07 p.m. on October 22, 2009 (EDT)
Skimanjohn
92 reviewer rep
311 forum posts

Anybody have a comment on the MSR Hubba Hubba HP (link: http://cascadedesigns.com/MSR/Tents/Fast-And-Light-Tents/Hubba-Hubba-HP/product)?

Reading suggests that this is a Hubba Hubba with solid lightweight fabric in lieu of the mesh, and it's even lighter than the standard Hubba Hubba. Still billed as a three-season, but it's been getting some consideration as my own quest for a new tent goes on.

I sold my Hubba mesh body and got a HP style and love it!Much warmer in windy and chilly months and i dont get the dust and dirt blowing in.The only thing i miss is the star gazeing on a warm summer night with no bugs.

10:27 p.m. on October 22, 2009 (EDT)
Family Guy
1 reviewer rep
712 forum posts

Skimanjohn - is that the Hubba HP or the 2 person version that you have? Do you find any condensation issues inside the fabric inner v.s. the mesh inner? Thanks,

10:43 p.m. on October 22, 2009 (EDT)
tokyo bill
3 reviewer rep
98 forum posts

Skimanjohn - thanks for the feedback. The Hubba HP or Hubba Hubba HP are looking like geniune candidates.

As for the question of carrying an Epic tent plus a tarp - doesn't sound like the way I'd go personally. Based on my research, I'd say if you want something genuinely bombproof for winter weather, go with a non-Epic single wall from ID or Bibler, or a Hilleberg. (Hillebergs are insanely expensive here in Japan, otherwise, one of their freestanding models might be my top candidate right now - probably either the Allak or Unna. ID Mk 1 XL is probably still my top choice single wall, although the Bibler Eldo, Marmot Alpinist and Mountain Hardwear EV Direct 2 are also in the running.)

Then, if the weather's nice enough, set up the tent "just in case" and sleep outside. If the weather turns bad enough to want cover at all, you'll have a serious tent ready and waiting, and the small footprint and light weight of the Mk 1 XL, for example, make carrying and setting it up pretty manageable.

1:18 p.m. on October 28, 2009 (EDT)
BHL
0 reviewer rep
2 forum posts

I am looking for an original rain fly for my 1970s Sierra Designs three man tent (aka - tipi or tripod tent). Do you have a fly or an entire tent that you would be interested in selling?

Thanks in advance,


BHL

6:09 p.m. on October 28, 2009 (EDT)
Franc
58 reviewer rep
352 forum posts

I just bought a tent from my buddy for 125$. It's labled as a 3 season + tent, double wall, nice vestibule and looks strong enough for most non-extreme ventures. 5lbs and big enough for 2 in summer. It looks exactly like a hilleberg too!


Exped Aries mesh distributed by OR.

6:39 p.m. on October 28, 2009 (EDT)
Dewey
12 reviewer rep
613 forum posts

That is a HELL of a DEAL, they might not be Hilles., but, I agree, they are a fine rig and will do the job for 90% of what most of us need.

10:24 a.m. on October 29, 2009 (EDT)
Franc
58 reviewer rep
352 forum posts

I think the main difference with a Hilleberg is the fly. Just a standard PU treated, not triple coat silicon. The poles are 8.5 mm. There are a few features i really like, mostly the little guyline mesh bags (you can see them in yellow hanging from the lines). It makes storing the lines a snap when you don't need them, doubles as a flag if needed and weights nothing. I'm totally making a bunch of them for all my gear.

The tent also comes with a dozen good stakes, 6-7 extra lines, and a complete repair kit. A very nice piece of gear. Considering the Hilleberg are hard to get in Canada and once you factor in shipping and customs are murderously expensive, i think Exped is a good choice for an all-purpose light tent.

I wouldn't use it in extreme weather (10000' up a glacier for example) but for early spring/late fall or winter below tree line it could do the trick. I'll post a complete review next spring.

9:03 p.m. on October 29, 2009 (EDT)
kat
0 reviewer rep
1 forum posts

I have a question: I currently have a tent which gets really hot during the humid Summers in Miami...it's impossible to sleep in it without leaving the door open, which means you get eaten by mosquitoes, etc. I'm looking to buy a better tent (for 2) that stays cool during the Summers down here. I've been doing lots of reading and have found a couple of alternatives which have mostly mesh all around and a fly to protect it from rain. Now, here's my question, hopefully it's not totally ridiculous, but will a mostly-mesh tent stay cool even after I put the fly over it? I just don't like sleeping in an uncovered tent, but I wonder if putting the fly on it will totally defeat the purpose of getting a mesh tent.

Also, in case you're wondering, I'm considering the Jeep 7' x 7' Sport Dome Tent (http://www.amazon.com/Jeep-4-Person-Sport-Dome-Tent/dp/B001GAPMZ6/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top) or the Marmot Titan Backpacking Tent - 2-Person, 3-Season (http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/,88182_Marmot-Titan-Backpacking-Tent-2-Person-3-Season.html). Any helpful comments would be greatly appreciated!!

11:08 p.m. on October 29, 2009 (EDT)
Explorer Robby
141 reviewer rep
218 forum posts

Yes, putting the fly on will make the tent hotter. No tent is going to be cool in the summer in FL. I live in LA and backpack alot here and in MS and AL. I would not own a single wall tent because of the humidity, and I dont like to have one that is not mostly mesh inner body (although I do have a Kelty that is at least half nylon body and half mesh, but only use it in winter). It gets so hot here in July and August I usually take those months off from backpacking (unless I go North).

If you are having to leave your door open, you dont have enough mesh on the tent. A tent with a bathtub floor and the rest mesh is the most comfortable I have found for conditions in the deep South. The good thing is, we can backpack in the winter when the Yankees cant.

12:13 p.m. on October 30, 2009 (EDT)
Franc
58 reviewer rep
352 forum posts

If you get a tent with mostly mesh and a nicely covered vestibule you can leave the main door completely open and still be protected from mosquitoes and rain.

If you look at the exped above it would be easy to do this. Just a thought...

1:18 p.m. on October 30, 2009 (EDT)
Dewey
12 reviewer rep
613 forum posts

We backpack in the winter here in Canada and January through March is the best time for this, assuming you know what you are doing and have realistic gear for the conditions. I prefer winter as there are no bugs, no bears and few tourists and I hate hot weather.

June 5, 2020
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