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Topic: new tent in the budget, looking for input Kelty or tarptent< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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booyah Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 23 2013, 1:29 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ok, so I just worked out to add to the budget funds for a new tent.  

I want a two person tent, that will save me a good amount of weight off what I am currently carrying for two people (REI Arete 2, 5.5lbs)

Ideally freestanding, light, wetherproof, and price does matter.

Intended uses is 3 season trips, with me and one of my various younger daughters.  Most likely the 9yo or the 5yo but eventually newbie as well.

My initial reaction was to eye the Kelty Grand Mesa 2, at 4-4.5 lbs it will save me a solid pound to pound and a half, be a similar setup, and a solid traditional tent to do what I want.

I'm also eying though the double rainbow, and as I run my pros/cons it seems to be coming down to what is an ounce worth to me?

Pros
lighter
comparable sq/ft
smaller pack size
way lighter
made in usa
two doors
did I mention lighter?  like by 1.5-2lbs

cons
single layer
more expensive
sil nylon can mist in heavy rains
maybe more delicate?
over $150 more
not really freestanding without trekking poles
max width is lower even though sq ft are about the same
over twice the price

any input you guys can give me?  big plus to me is weight, big minus is cost...

I keep coming back to those two points.  Any other options that would get me within that?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 23 2013, 3:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

After playing with a single wall silnylon shelter for a couple years in some brutal weather, I would encourage you to take the leap. I absolutely love my Golite Shangri-La 5 and wish I had taken the leap years ago. Be patient if you can and get one heavily discounted.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 23 2013, 3:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Cost is obviously a personal decision.
You will find that when exactly the same shelter is available in two fabric finish  some will pay almost twice as much to save 5-8oz.

A couple of points
sil nylon can mist in heavy rains
All types of fabric can mist from dislodgment, that is condensation on the inside being knocked off by heavy rain.
With  some fabric-inner/ double wall tents it will not be obvious, it is with a single wall.
Many with a single wall just wipe down once or twice a night (I  do) others (in the case of the DR) prefer to use the optional liner that effectively is the top part (roof) of a  fabric inner. It adds about 5 oz of weight and another $30. (I don't use that option...)
The other type of misting is from penetration. I have not seen that since 2011 when we changed the type of silnylon we use .*

maybe more delicate?
Silnylon has a higher tear strength than polyester. Note that exactly the same shelter as a $125 polyester shelter is sold for $225 in silnylon
(same brand)
The other bits we use are "Kelty Triptease " cordage, Easton poles and Delrin hooks,tensioners and rings, all high quality items.
Not sure about the mesh but it is stronger than the one in some of my other tents.
The only reason why TT shelters are relatively inexpensive is simply that there is no wholesale and retail mark up on them.

Oh, freestanding...
I tried that , with the Rainbow, but really I can do better without it
* Last week I was camping under the fronds of some small gum trees (we avoid the big ones because they shed branches for no good reason..)
I had a nice rainstorm one night with 3 distinct sounds made by the various types of rain drop, (it was like a concert)
One was the plop,plop of really large drops from those fronts. Those were the ones that very occasionally used to penetrate the older version of our silnylon.
It does not happen anymore.

franco@tarptent
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 23 2013, 7:14 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(booyah @ Nov. 23 2013, 1:29 am)
QUOTE
cons...?
single layer
maybe more delicate?
not really freestanding without trekking poles
any input you guys can give me?  big plus to me is weight, big minus is cost...

I keep coming back to those two points.  Any other options that would get me within that?

Just to address a few of your stated worries.
Try the Double Rainbow. Two doors and plenty of room for two.
Over 400 nights with my single Rainbow... Sierra, thus "delicate" not a real issue.
Misting not a problem.
I addition, you mention "not free-standing without trekking poles" -
Almost every tent made has to be guyed out anyway to stand...few/(none?) are actually free-standing.
Even though you can pitch the tent using trekking poles, actually faster and easier to pitch without.
At 2 1/2 pounds, a tremendous weight savings.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 23 2013, 7:43 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

IMO stretch your budget to get the TT or something that likewise saves that additional weight. In many respects this is one of the least expensive ways to cut weight, your dollars-per-gram-saved is much more favorable on a shelter, pack, or bag/quilt than it is on any other equipment. There are people who spend $60 to swap out an aluminum pot for Ti that saves a few grams, to me that's expensive. By contrast, the TT will save you nearly 3 pounds over your current shelter, if you use trekking poles you can look at other options that will save even more weight (and space). Treat it well and it will last for years and make every minute on the trail more enjoyable.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 23 2013, 9:27 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I had a Kelty. I have a Lightheart Gear Solo that weighs in less than two pounds, is better ventilated, and is weatherproof.

Seriously, you do yourself no favors by going with a Kelty, if you are figuring that weight is a factor you care about.

And they have two person Lightheart tents, too. I sold a Tarptent Sublite to get one. More spacious and it's double wall, and quite versatile. It almost makes me like tents.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 23 2013, 6:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

FWIW, I backpack with a big dog in silnylon tarptents and "delicateness" hasn't been an issue.  I also hike in places where I often can't drive stakes into the ground.  I've always been able to set up my tarp/tarptent.

I also question how often you would actually set up a "free-standing" tent without stakes, or otherwise secured to the ground.  No stakes would usually mean no vestibules and the tent being subject to flapping or even flying away.  So, what's the big disadvantage of putting in a few more stakes for a tent like the Rainbow that's poled?

You can buy optional tent poles for any tarp/tarptent that uses hiking poles for support.  The result is usually still significantly lighter than a conventional poled "free-standing" tent.

I have a Lightheart Solo, too, and it's essentially a double-wall tent even though it's integrated.  I think the Lightheart Duo is more a hybrid and does have panels that don't have any mesh underneath.  Similar to the Six Moon's Haven and the Tarptent Rainbow.  I haven't had the "misting" issues I keep hearing about in either my Lightheart or the Contrail.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 23 2013, 6:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You already have a 5.5 lb tent. If you are upgrading you might as well drop another 3.5 lbs. My tent weighs 4 lbs. I look forward to the day I drop 2 lbs off my back.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 23 2013, 7:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Six Moons Design Lunar Duo. Not free standing though. Lightweight and a very generous usage floor size.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 23 2013, 10:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(markskor @ Nov. 23 2013, 7:14 am)
QUOTE
I addition, you mention "not free-standing without trekking poles" -
Almost every tent made has to be guyed out anyway to stand...few/(none?) are actually free-standing.

Huh?  There's dozens of tents that are truly free standing.  Maybe 100's.  I mean, "without trekking poles".  Tons of them.  Not sure where you're coming from with a statement like that.  Many them can be guyed out, but do not require it in moderate conditions.  I could list some, but there's so many it's kind of pointless.

My go-to tent for years was a NF Slickrock (which is a two-pole "dome" style free-standing tent), solid as a rock, but 4 lbs.  Finally decided to go "lighter" and went for a TT Double Rainbow.  I like it.

Edit: Please note, the free-standing option for the DR, with trekking poles, requires long poles -- 145 cm.  When I got mine, the poles I had were 135's, and they really didn't work.  Had to buy new poles.  Just keep this in mind.  I don't think the regular Rainbow would have this problem, it's narrower.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 23 2013, 11:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(jmarklane @ Nov. 23 2013, 10:27 pm)
QUOTE

(markskor @ Nov. 23 2013, 7:14 am)
QUOTE
I addition, you mention "not free-standing without trekking poles" -
Almost every tent made has to be guyed out anyway to stand...few/(none?) are actually free-standing.

Huh?  There's dozens of tents that are truly free standing.  Maybe 100's.

If you don't stake down your tent you can find that "freestanding" means nothing - and it'll be "free flying" before you know it.

Having helped chase down "fully freestanding" tents a number of times while my not-freestanding tent stays right where I put it, I agree that all tents are not freestanding in the respect that they should be adequately anchored to avoid being kites. And just using stakes in some circumstances isn't enough... a pile of rocks on each stake can be needed in alpine windy areas.

I have a 18 pound car camping behemoth that in a gusty clear afternoon managed to roll away despite being full of 200 lbs of gear and staked down... you just do not trust freestanding anything, if you've done this a lot. If you want it to be there when you get back, anchor it.

Trekking pole tents can be left pitched and the poles be used for day hiking. Come back and put them back in place, no problem. That too is something that is a non-issue.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 23 2013, 11:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I would rather have the Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 2 (4 lbs 12 oz) than the Kelty Grand Mesa. The doors on the Zephyr are great---huge and very easy to enter. I had the Grand Mesa and much prefer the Zephyr. Better ventilation too.

I know you want to go lighter, but the Zephyr 3 is only 5 lbs 7 oz. With a 9-year-old I would rather be in a 3P.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 24 2013, 5:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(jmarklane @ Nov. 23 2013, 10:27 pm)
QUOTE
Edit: Please note, the free-standing option for the DR, with trekking poles, requires long poles -- 145 cm.  When I got mine, the poles I had were 135's, and they really didn't work.  Had to buy new poles.  Just keep this in mind.  I don't think the regular Rainbow would have this problem, it's narrower.

You can buy or make extensions.

From Tarptent:

QUOTE
No trekking poles are needed for either model. For free-standing setup, the Rainbow needs at least 51" (130 cm) poles and the Double Rainbow needs at least 55" (140cm) poles. An additional 5 cm helps a lot. Pole tip extenders can be made from PVC pipe or, alternately, aluminum trekking pole tip extenders are available in the webstore. A 6" PVC pipe extension adds 4" to the trekking pole length (since you you lose 2" in the overlap).


I ran across some extenders recently on a website, but can't find them now.

From MLD:

QUOTE
NOTE: CAUTION: Some of the lightest carbon fiber trek poles use the compact Leki style flex tips that are a smaller diameter than most trek pole standard tips. The small tips do not fit the pole extender tightly and can cause enough torque to break the pole tips. Using the 6" extenders with those poles vertically should be OK but angling them or using 12" extenders may break the pole tips.


ETA: found the extenders.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 24 2013, 11:13 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(AlmostThere @ Nov. 23 2013, 11:16 pm)
QUOTE

(jmarklane @ Nov. 23 2013, 10:27 pm)
QUOTE

(markskor @ Nov. 23 2013, 7:14 am)
QUOTE
I addition, you mention "not free-standing without trekking poles" -
Almost every tent made has to be guyed out anyway to stand...few/(none?) are actually free-standing.

Huh?  There's dozens of tents that are truly free standing.  Maybe 100's.

If you don't stake down your tent you can find that "freestanding" means nothing - and it'll be "free flying" before you know it.

Exactly my point...
Question: What do you call a free-standing tent - one not staked down?
Answer: a kite.

Atop Whitney a few years back, we saw a totally free-standing dome tent (obviously not staked down), maybe 500 feet above us, eventually sailing off somewhere into the Owens Valley.

While the TT Rainbow, (or DR) can be made totally free-standing, set-up with trekking poles and no stakes, (but alas, no stakes means no vestibule?), it is a royal pain to use it this way, takes a lot more time to erect properly, and so much easier not  to use this trekking pole option... just use the 6 Ti stakes to make it taut/secure and be sure it doesn't take off on its own.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 24 2013, 11:40 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"It's gone!"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ies9JFWiBA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Mp1HJLHAEA


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 24 2013, 12:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have personally had several instances of free standing tents (two REI halfdomes) blowing away. One, I had to chase down a snow field for a half mile. The other...was gone for good. I always stake out my tents, period and I don't care anymore if they are free standing or not.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 24 2013, 12:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tigger @ Nov. 24 2013, 12:11 pm)
QUOTE
I always stake out my tents, period and I don't care anymore if they are free standing or not.

A wise man, smart move!

And since you are already staking out the tent anyway...
One or two for the vestibule, (still essential to use stakes if you want a vestibule?) and the others, just because you don't want the tent blowing away -
Lose/ forget about the trekking pole option for the Rainbow (unless absolutely necessary...like indoors?).


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 24 2013, 3:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The advantage of a true freestanding tent (and by tent I mean the full unit, fly and inne,r not just the bug inner...) is when you set them up on very exposed areas where stakes may not be easy or possible to insert in a particular spot.
Those (dome /semi geodesic tents) are then guyed out having a lot of freedom of where exactly the guyline will go, both in distance and angle.
For the vast majority of tent users the above is only a theoretical need.
Mind you some can only set up well tents that don't require any tensioning so for them a freestanding tent can be an advantage.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 24 2013, 3:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I routinely set up tents using the stakes as deadman anchors under a pile of 20+ pound rocks.

And I don't use freestanding tents.

And yet, the only tents I have had to chase madly across the open treeless wastelands have been other people's REI Half Dome/Big Agnes/etc tents.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 25 2013, 8:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Grand Mesa is not a quality backpacking tent. I can't believe it was designed by a person who planned to use it backpacking. If you look closely, the Salida is a better design and will be more comfortable on the trail, if you have to have a Kelty.

The Double Rainbow is a quality backpacking tent designed and used by backpackers. Your list of cons is baloney. I have a friend who just used a Rainbow hiking the whole PCT and it's still in great shape. These two tents don't compare well in my mind.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 25 2013, 9:51 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

thanks to everyone for the constructive comments, other ones are ignored  :D

As far as freestanding, just a preference as I find it makes life easier.  I can setup the tent without staking it, verify if I like the exact location, and move it easier if I dont.

Also makes it much easier to clean the tent when leaving. Lift it up, shake it with the door open, set it back down and back it up.


Franco and TigerFan thanks for dispelling the concern about being more delicate, I've not had much first hand expierience with a sil-nylon tent just second/third from friends and the fabric always concerned me from handling it.  Also Franco, I never meant to imply the tents appeared excessively delicate, its been my experience that the higher end of the light weigh backpacking gear, some durability is traded for light weight.  Not a problem, just something to be aware of.  Thanks for confirming that its NOT the case here.  Part of my concern is this is likely to be used by Mom and daughters on girl scout trips in the future, and when its not me, I worry  :)

checked both the
Six Moons Design Lunar Duo and Lightheart Gear duo, but while they are nice, they both raise the price beyond the double rainbow.  thats pretty much the top end of the budget for this.

TrailTramper
thanks for the zephyr info, I've looked at those before, but its just more weight than I need, tents are for sleeping only, so for family, a two person tent means two people to me.

toejam
Not sure what you mean here, layout and setup is very simliar to my arete, which has worked great to date.  Outstanding backpacking tent
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 25 2013, 10:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This "freestanding" thing is, I think, partly just semantics (even those who say there is no such thing go on to use the term to describe certain tents).  Whatever.  It doesn't much matter.

I've set up my dome tents in places where the only option was a platform and wind wasn't much of an issue (Okefenokee Swamp comes to mind).  I like having the option of a true free standing tent.  I can evaluate whether it should be guyed out as a separate question.

Also, fwiw, I don't agree that setting up the DR with trekking poles is difficult.  It's incredibly easy, and with the right poles, works nicely.

To each his own.  Buy whatever tent(s) float your boat.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 25 2013, 11:14 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Booyah, based on what you wrote about why you want a free-standing tent, I'm inclined to say that I think what you want is a tent with some sort of dedicated pole system but it wouldn't have to be completely free-standing.  I hiked with someone who'd borrowed a Rainbow and helped her set it up, with and without hiking poles, and even without the hiking poles, I think you could move it, shake it out, etc.

That said, given your criteria, I'd consider the Marmot Pulsar 2P.  It basically has the same pole configuration as the Rainbow (single ridge plus cross spreader) but has the Y-shaped pole sections at the ends (which is what the hiking poles do for the Rainbow) to give you a free-standing tent.  It's a really cute tent, very reminiscent of the Hubba Hubba, and Marmot makes good quality tents.  Disadvantage is that it only has one door but you get a free-standing 2P for under 3.5 lb, which is quite good.  I've seen it on sale a LOT lately and you should be able to easily get one in the $200-250 range.

Also, FWIW, I've backpacked with my son with the Hubba Hubba, which is a 2-person tent and we were perfectly comfortable.  We loved that tent.  Assuming you're not overly tall or large, I don't think it's necessary to go to a 3P.  The pole designs with the spreader pole gives you a lot of headroom which, imo, matters just as much (if not more) than floor space.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 25 2013, 11:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If that Salida had two doors, it would be a hands down winner for a good affordable 2 person tent...not ultra light but still pretty darn light.

I know I sound like a broken record but I still chuckle when I read how far off the sharp end the Hubba Hubba has fallen


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 25 2013, 12:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks TigerFan I'll keep an eye out for that one.

Right now I'm thinking saving my pennies and going for the rainbow.  Hard part is I'm also trying to work in planning two new quilts for this spring  :D

TIME FOR NEW TOYS!

between getting away from the arete and new quilts, I should be dropping about 7-7.5lbs off my dad sherpa pack, which is cool by me.  If kids are ready to start carrying their own quilt, I can drop that even farther.
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(wcolucci @ Nov. 25 2013, 11:37 am)
QUOTE
If that Salida had two doors, it would be a hands down winner for a good affordable 2 person tent...not ultra light but still pretty darn light.

I agree with ya WC.  That said if I'm buying a two person tent with one door, I want it in the head end.  That way either person can go out, or come in without disturbing the other person.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 25 2013, 10:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(toejam @ Nov. 25 2013, 8:54 am)
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The Grand Mesa is not a quality backpacking tent. I can't believe it was designed by a person who planned to use it backpacking. If you look closely, the Salida is a better design and will be more comfortable on the trail, if you have to have a Kelty.

The Salida ain't all that hot either. They're both serviceable middle-class tents. I used the Grand Mesa for a couple of years and didn't have any problems with it. Today I wouldn't tolerate the single front door because there are better options out there. But it's not a "bad" tent.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 25 2013, 10:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(booyah @ Nov. 25 2013, 9:51 am)
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tents are for sleeping only, so for family, a two person tent means two people to me.

. . . until you have to spend a rainy day in camp. Very often a 3P is only a pound or so heavier than a 2P and well worth the extra weight for the added comfort.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 26 2013, 8:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTramper @ Nov. 25 2013, 10:08 pm)
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(booyah @ Nov. 25 2013, 9:51 am)
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tents are for sleeping only, so for family, a two person tent means two people to me.

. . . until you have to spend a rainy day in camp. Very often a 3P is only a pound or so heavier than a 2P and well worth the extra weight for the added comfort.

We usually carry a 8x10 tarp with us, its that extra pound with all the versatility we could ask for

use it for ground cover if needed, rain shelter, bigger, use it as a porch off the tent, etc
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 26 2013, 9:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

My Tarptent is pretty sweet and their silnylon hits that sweet-spot.  Got to love the grey aesthetic and get used to fiddling with the fly … but every shelter I've had requires that anyways (a winter-worthy eVent single walled tent I have required a candle when the inside got unexpectedly swampy).

Spring 2014 most major manufacturers are all coming out with lighter designs (slight to major redesigns) to solo/2 person, .. but I do not think they can compete with TT from what I have seen from Outdoor Gear show pics in the US and Europe.


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Usually Southwest and then some.

In wildness is the preservation of the world. - Henry Thoreau
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