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If you snowcamp, what tent do you use?

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If you snowcamp, what tent do you use?

Postby hikerduane » Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:54 pm

For years I have used my summer tent when going out in the winter. When I go by myself, I make sure the weather will be decent so I don't destroy my old Sierra Designs Halfmoon. All I really need is a dry place to place clothes at night when retiring. On the two trips I have been on alreay this winter, a 4 season tent would have been nice. Unfortunately the one last weekend was called due to expected heavy snow.

I have been looking at a Bibler I tent or Eldorado, Integral Designs MK1-Lite, Black Diamond Firstlight and a Hilleberg Akto. Some sound very good but have only minor issues and some can get wet inside even in sub-freezing temps. With the poles inside on some I realize that they will have condensatioin drip down the pole. I am not concerned about how they perform in warm temps because I only intend to use it during snowcamping trips that are colder and may be windy. What is surprising about all of these is they either are lighter than my summer tent or almost half the weight.

What do you use and what are the good points of it and the issues? Thank you.



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Re: If you snowcamp, what tent do you use?

Postby copeg » Sat Jan 07, 2006 8:43 pm

Let me first point out I only have experience with the akto - so I have no way to compare to the other tents you mention. I've looked at several of the tents you mention in the past. A few years ago, I finally decided on the Hilleberg akto. I love the tent. It has held up to some very strong winds and some minor (let me stress minor) snowfall. The vestibule is great and was the deciding factor for me between the I-tent, hilleberg, and stephenson tents. It is surprising how little condensation I find in this tent (as long as the two end vents and upper vent are left open - if not and it isn't windy, your asking for it).

A concern for me is how it holds up to heavy snowfall. I am sure it cannot withstand as much as the I-tent, but haven't been in a situation to test how well it holds up at all (I should say any tent should be frequently cleared of snow in heavy snowfall - a few years ago backpackinglight.com tested several tents in HEAVY showfall and the Hilleberg AKTO collapsed under the weight of something like 10-12 inches (due to a pole bending - which can be strengthened by adding a second pole in the sleeve) - probably a weight of snowfall that will only be reached if a tent is unmonitored for an extended period of time). Another concern is the setup time. But with practice, it can go up pretty darn quickly.
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Postby hikerduane » Sat Jan 07, 2006 9:56 pm

I just checked out the Hilleberg site and they have a bunch of new as well as redesigned tents. Thanks for the info on the Atko. How is the headroom? I hated my old Eureka for lack of sufficient headroom as well as how long it took to set up, saggged after a rain, heavy. It may pay to be patient to see what comes out for '06. I've gotten along this long without a 4 season tent, maybe I don't need one. Just some of the people I go with, seem to want to go regardless. The ID MK1-XL sounds better than the MK-1 Lite. I'll have to check for reviews on that now.
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Postby JM21760 » Sun Jan 08, 2006 3:17 pm

Man, I used to use a North Face VE-24, but I don't think they make those anymore. (This is 20 some odd years ago.) It was a great tent, solid, able to take a snow load. I see they have a VE-25 now. This might be worth a look. Only $500 too.
http://www.thenorthface.com/opencms/opencms/tnf/gear-shop-subcategory.jsp?category=61&site=NA

Check it out!
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Postby wingding » Sun Jan 08, 2006 5:47 pm

I have an Integral Designs MK1 Lite - very well made tent and condensation has never been a problem. I need to get out on a snow camping trip.
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Postby hikerduane » Sun Jan 08, 2006 7:37 pm

I've found many tents under 5 lbs., so I am setting that as the max weight. I look like I am packed for a month now, but my stuff is bulky. down this and that and nonultralight for winter.

Get out wingding, it will be in the 30's before you know it.
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Postby nazdarovye » Mon Jan 09, 2006 12:32 pm

Duane -

The ID MK1-XL is actually not as tall as the MK1, though it has more floor space. I wonder if anyone sells those around here - I've been thinking of the MK1 also, and it would be great to see one in person (even though it doesn't have a vestibule available, I figure I might be able to rig one with a spinnshelter or something like that.) I have some of their other products and like the quality.

Speaking of Hillebergs, I should be receiving my Saivo this week. After the big storm at Winnemucca, I decided it would be good to have a bombproof tent for two/three that I can haul in on a pulk and use as a base camp and canoeing tent all year round. I've got lots of light shelters, but this will fill a big void in my equipment list (and also help my girlfriend feel more comfortable about being out for snow camping). I'll post pics when I get it, and here's a couple of pages on it in the meantime:

http://hilleberg.se/saivo-e.pdf

BTW, I've heard mostly very positive stuff about the Akto. The center height is only 36", and it drops off fairly quickly, so it might not be the best fit for your needs. The MK1 is more like 42" at the peak, so even though it also drops off quickly, it has a bit more headroom. The MK1 XL is 39" at its inner peak...

- Steve
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Postby Snow Nymph » Mon Jan 09, 2006 2:15 pm

I have the Stephenson Warmlite 2R and I've been happy with it (2 lb 13 oz). I've had condensation, but everyone else in camp had condensation too. I think it depends on conditions and where you camp. On the JMT we had condensation in the tree area so we slept with the door open. We've been in snowstorms and it held up in high winds.

My poles broke in one storm, only because I was in the middle of setting it up and the wind picked up the tent with 40 lbs of gear in and whipped it around like a click-clack. Only one stake was in at the time (AZ sandy area).

The 2R is 41" but tapers to 24". Its 134" long, and about 5' wide (I'm 4'11" and can lay across pole-to-pole). Its 4 season, double walled on the sides, single on front/end
http://warmlite.com/tents.htm
http://warmlite.com/tentinfo.htm
Last edited by Snow Nymph on Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby SSSdave » Mon Jan 09, 2006 2:54 pm

For snow camping I have an old Moss Outland that weighs maybe 6 and one half pounds counting everything. Not made for years. Good tent for shedding snow off its sides. I like to be able to put my whole pack inside a winter tent in order to reduce any need to go outside especially during storms and also to help keep gear dry. Storm camping can be a considerable effort to deal with wetness. For fair weather winter camping I've just used my gortex bivy.

...David
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Postby hikerduane » Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:06 pm

I have looked at the Warmlite tents a couple times, I hadn't noticed any mention last look about them being 4 season though. I like their weight too. Steve, I like the prices on the Hilleberg line, the one review on the Atko though about not standing up to snow loading turned me off some. I guess if we were out in another storm, I would be checking it anyway, so that isn't a bad thing. The weight is nice, a few more inches of headroom is good, I'm trying to recall how high my old Eureka was, I didn't like the headroom in it, especially when wet.

Good to see you over here finally Steve.
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Postby hikerduane » Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:57 pm

SSSdave, do you still pack all of your photography gear in also with the tent? I guess if it gets too heavy, you can make camp and work out from there.
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Postby copeg » Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:24 pm

hikerduane

I forgot to mention...If your unfamiliar with http://www.backpacking.net, check out the forums. There is a wealth of information on that site regarding the tents your looking at and peoples opinions of them (for example, see this post http://www.backpacking.net/forums/showt ... mber=77214
) . If you search "+4 + season + tent" you will retrieve a lot of info. There are some posts which contain a lot of information that may help in your decision. All the tents you mention are great. I would bet whatever you get you'll be happy.

Another comment on the akto - I'm about 5'11", and my personal preference is that is about as tall as I would want to be in the akto to maneuver.
Last edited by copeg on Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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