Review of 3 person

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oldranger
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Review of 3 person

Post by oldranger » Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:12 am

Purchased a 3 person Big Agnes Tiger Wall tent just before a 10 day trip in the Sawtooths with my son. Since he would be carrying almost all the food for the both of us plus the tent I felt that the 1 1/2 lb reduction compared to my current Big Agnes's 3 person Copper Spur would help him out a bit. The weight reduction was beneficial. The tent volume was significantly less than the Copper Spur because the sidewalks are not as vertical and the top slopes lower at the feet. But it remained a servicible option for two people not desiring an intimate connection. For most of the trip it was really dry so there was no condensation issues and even the evening after a substantial rain there was no condensation. The big negative aspect of the tent was the zippers. Too cheap! Zipper on one side of the fly separated and was not field repairable. Luckily there was a loop on both tails of the vestibule doors so they both could be extended to a stake, keeping the fly over the vestibule effective at repelling the rain. No way I could share the tent with 2 other persons. Bottom line is that because of the zipper issue I returned the tent to REI.


Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!






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John Harper
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by John Harper » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:34 am

I have no idea how people sleep in a small tent together. Just looks like a big PITA if you have to get up, get out, get in, etc. I can't believe you save that much weight to put up with the hassle. A more accepting soul than me, OR. I think I'd rather play Twister!

John

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bobby49
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by bobby49 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:12 pm

If you get into high altitude mountaineering, it is often better to overpack the tent with sleeping bags. First, that allows better sharing of body warmth. Also, by putting everybody into one tent, it simplifies stove usage.

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oldranger
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by oldranger » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:45 am

John, this tent is larger than any 2 person tent. both of us had 25" wide pads and, since most of the tent is 60" wide neither touched the sidewalls. Also the tent is side entry with 2 doors. From my perspective the weight saving over the 3 person Copper Spur was worth the decreased volume. The cheap zippers were the deal breaker.
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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longri
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by longri » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:21 am

oldranger wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:12 am
The big negative aspect of the tent was the zippers. Too cheap! Zipper on one side of the fly separated and was not field repairable.
What was "cheap" about the zippers? Were they some weird off-brand zipper? Or did they simply use too small a size zipper?

I've been eyeing the BA tents for a while now as I've heard good reports and some of them seem amazingly light. I've wondered what the trade-off is, aside from cost, for the weight. Stormworthiness? Durability? Sizing down the zippers does save some grams but also reduces the lifespan.

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oldranger
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by oldranger » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:08 pm

Longri. The zipper was small and pulled apart when stressed a bit. It should be designed like a jacket zipper so if it separates you can just pull the zipper pull down and start over but you can't.
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by astrogerly » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:58 pm

We have a similar problem with our Copper Spur - which is why we only use it car camping now it seems. It's survived golf ball size hail at Pear Lake a few years ago (only two minor holes in the fly), but the zipper on one side is on its second failure. Sent it back for repair the first time, not sure it's worth sending back again - still debating that. Other than the zipper, it's been an great tent and is great for backpacking/car camping. We use the Zpacks Duplex now.

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longri
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by longri » Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:18 am

That's an interesting notion, using a bottom separating zipper like on a jacket. I've never seen a tent with a zipper like that. You really shouldn't have to deal with a zipper pulling apart "when stressed a bit" on a tent (or a jacket). Jackets have separating zippers because, well, because you want to be able to separate it. It's not so that you can fix the zipper when it fails.

The usual approach is to use a zipper strong enough for the task. And also to design the tent so that the stresses are minimized or at least ameliorated when one is zipping the zipper.

I looked at a review of the Tiger Wall and it seems they went with #3 zippers. While those zippers work just fine when used with care (my homemade tent has a #3 zipper on the fly) they are far less durable. For a tent fly, where a zipper failure can be a kind of catastrophe, sizing up to #5 is arguably worth the weight. The penalty is pretty minor at about 9g per meter of zipper, plus an extra 5g for the slider. Going with #5 might have added 0.8oz to the weight of the tent.

It says something about the design strategy at BA, something I suspected while perusing the specifications of their tents. Tantalizingly lightweight but relatively flimsy fabric and zippers. Pushing the envelope comes with some risk. Their tents probably work for most people in most situations most of the time. I've heard plenty of positive reports. I'm not sure I'd buy one though.

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mrphil
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by mrphil » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:36 am

I stopped buying BA tents specifically because of the zipper issues. Multiple tents, multiple failures on multiple trips, seldom repairable in the field if the split in the chain is more than an inch or two or luck is involved, then it's a factory repair job. It doesn't take much, and trying to repair it only seems to make it worse. The teeth and slider are just too small and fragile, and the tape isn't stiff enough to adequately prevent snags and kinks. Throw in a little dirt or an errant bit of crud, forget it.

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longri
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by longri » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:55 am

Unless the design of the tent puts a lot of stress directly on the zipper one solution is simply to size up. Replacing a zipper is tedious but not really that difficult. You could pay somebody to do it for $100 or so. But I sure wouldn't buy a tent with a plan to immediately replace the main zipper!

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