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Solo tent/shelter for late September

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Solo tent/shelter for late September

Postby fishmonger » Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:21 pm

I'm pretty decided to head back out to the Sierra for a northbound late season solo JMT with some variants. A lot of higher elevation camping, because I will just go until I have to stop each day (headlight for an hour maybe).

I have a pretty decent REI Halo 25 bag (never zipped it up this July, even at 11k+ feet), but I assume the temps will be down a bit over July.

My lightest tent right now is a 3-person Big Agnes Copper Spur, at about 5 pounds, and I'd rather not carry that much. My two person Sierra Designs Meteor "Light" is actually even heavier and bulkier, but probably a little warmer (less mesh on the inside tent).

I've been looking at what's available out there and am wondering how well something like a Gossamer Gear TheOne would work compard to a Big Agnes Speedhouse SL1 or simlar tent. I have to pull the trigger real soon, because I may have to hit the road next week Saturday already so mail order has to be fast.

Any recommendations? Think 12,000 feet and a not-so-warm sleeping bag. Weight is a factor, but not paramount, since I am not sold on the untralight thing. Priorities for me in this order

- protection from rain/snow
- protection from cold
- weight
- durability
- price
- ease of setup



I have an REI here in town, but they probably don't stock most of their ultralight solo tents.



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Re: Solo tent/shelter for late September

Postby hikerduane » Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:01 pm

I have gotten by with a TarpTent Squall, with lots of condensation the third night out a few years ago when I had snow pellets mid afternoon, then again before sunrise which knocked all the condensation onto my spread out clothes. I have a Black Diamond Hilight which is a little better, single wall, weights 3.5 lbs. with stakes and all. Is prone to leakage with prolonged rain. However, in Alaska a couple weeks ago, I only had minor leakage with rain half the night. A couple guys had the MSR Hubba and Hubba Hubba,double wall tents, they didn't say they had any issues. Single walls are prone to condensation.

Temps, in early Oct. I have had temps range from just above freezing to 24 degrees, so you oughta be ok for a bit with your 25 degree bag.

Pull that trigger soon.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Solo tent/shelter for late September

Postby copeg » Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:53 pm

Never used any of the tents mentioned, so take this with a grain of salt. Between the Gossamer and Big Agnes, just by looking I'd guess the BA has a bit more wind protection, and less wind liable to sneak up through the bottom (eg warmer). The trade off might be condensation. The BA also seems to have a larger and more protected vestibule, easier set-up, and is freestanding if that's your thing. I always need to throw my pitch out there for the tent I use, hilleberg akto. Seems the price has gone up a large sum since I purchased mine.
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Re: Solo tent/shelter for late September

Postby fishmonger » Thu Sep 03, 2009 7:56 pm

the Gossamer can be set up in "storm mode" with the outer tent touching the ground, but you need to redo all the pegs and lower your poles if you don't start the night like that.

The weight is really the only thing it has going for itself, but in the big picture (10 days of food in my pack) that's not a big deal. I like free standing or at least partially free standing, so you can pitch it anywhere, in case you need some quick rain shelter right where you are. I really like my Big Agnes 3 person tent in terms of quality. It never had any condensation in it this summer with three sleepers and some nights down to the low thirties. Too bad the one-person version costs more than I paid for the 3 person tent, and with one week to go before I have to leave here I can't start shopping around for a good price.

The question really is - are 2 pounds less in a 40+ pound pack really worth the money?

I'll have to make up my mind tomorrow if I want to save the overnight shipping at least.

The Atko looks good, but the price is killer...
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Re: Solo tent/shelter for late September

Postby rlown » Thu Sep 03, 2009 8:06 pm

If you've a pound to drop somewhere else and go with a tent you know, then take what you have.
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Re: Solo tent/shelter for late September

Postby oldranger » Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:16 pm

fm,

Any solo trip in september, I would go with my Contrail Tarptent (1 1/2 lbs) and expect condensation some nights. That is the tent I have and it is light and durable. Last year at 11,200 temps only got down to high 20s, a few years ago it got into the teens at 8,600. Years ago I experienced 13 degrees at 11,000 in September. I've also experienced 10" of snow around Sept. 10 at 7,300 feet. So from my experience make sure your sleeping bag plus sleeping clothes (I add an extra pair of light long underwear and 100 weight fleece top instead of lightweight silk t-neck for sleeping, and heavy balaclava for headgear but use the same 20 degree western mountaineering bag) are adequate for much colder temps than you are hoping for. You might also appreciate a thicker pad or add 1/4 inch closed cell to your regular pad (I use an exped downmat 7 that is heavy but warm and comfortable). If you do get snow be prepared to stay put for a few days--any snow before oct. 15 always melts within a few days (unless something totally weird happens). A good long book might be a good idea for long nights.

My point is your tent is only one element you need to consider for September compared to a July trip.

have fun, you'll be surprised how many people are still on the pct.

Mike
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: Solo tent/shelter for late September

Postby fishmonger » Fri Sep 04, 2009 7:12 am

thanks for the info - I was about to head out to REI over lunch to grab some long termal underwear to boost the sleeping bag performance. I will also need some warmer gloves (my tipless wool gloves were barely enough for cold July mornings). Also considering to swap my Marmot Precip jacket for my trusty old Schoeffel multi-layer gore-tex jacket that's considerably warmer and not even a pound heavier.

Back to the tent - I saw the Contrail on ebay actually (too late to go for it with my departure date, I think). The low weight is tempting, but even a 46 oz MSR Hubba is still a lot lighter than what I have in the gear closet now (Copper Spur 3 person - 78 oz., Sierra Designs Meteor "Light" 2 person - about 90 oz.), and I can the Hubba for under $180 right now. May just go with that, as it gets very good reviews and fits tall guys like me.

I'd really like to get the Copper Spur UL1, since it is almost identical to my 3 person Copper Spur UL3 which I love, however, the best price I can find for the UL1 is $20 MORE than I paid for the 3 person version in spring. $340 for a 1 person tent goes well past my pain threshold as to how much I am willing to spend to save a few pounds. It's the weight difference of a full water bottle between the 1 and 3 person Copper Spur, and in the big picture (28 pound base weight pack plus 10 days worth of food), those two pounds are not that relevant. Heck, half the reason I am going there is to stay in shape :unibrow:
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Re: Solo tent/shelter for late September

Postby fishmonger » Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:20 am

I grabbed a Big Agnes Speedhouse SL1 on ebay. I'll let you know how it works out in fall weather once I get back.

I like the pole system in these tents and the space should be enough for even extended stays in bad weather. No sure if it will keep me warm, but I am bringing additonal clothing to boost my sleeping bag performance.
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