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Putting together a new kit

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Putting together a new kit

Postby sparky » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:47 pm

I would like some advice from the experts on your tents. What do you use? I like to be light enought for class 3 terrain if the situation arises. But I also want something sturdy. My tarptent squall 2 holds up most of the time....would love something freestanding, but not required.

I think my kit will be light enough to justify a 5 lb tent. Any suggestions? Looking at pyrimid type shelters, will consider them if they can hold up well against a typical sierra summer thunderstorm.
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Re: Putting together a new kit

Postby oldranger » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:34 pm

I'm no expert, just an old fart. But I tried a Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1 instead of my Contrail on my last trip of the year. It is a bit faster to pitch and about 1/2 lb heavier. But the big benefit is that you can hide from the skeeters on a hot day above treeline early in the season if you leave the fly off. Had 4 days in a row with from 3 to 10 hours straight rain and not a drop entered. I did seam seal the outside of the fly in addition to the factory applied seam tape on the underside of the fly. Both tents provide slightly more room than a coffin but for around 2 lbs. they are more comfortable than a bivy.

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Re: Putting together a new kit

Postby TRAUMAhead » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:20 am

Budget? Single wall? Double wall? Tarp? Bug net needed? Silnylon? Cuben Fiber? Don't mind wait times?

Here's a few:
Popular pyramid: http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/sh ... cts_id=105. Just add their inner net for double wall. Also available in CF.

New Tarptent double walls: http://www.tarptent.com/notch.html & http://www.tarptent.com/stratospire1.html. Sets up fly first with integrated inner.

New old tent design: http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/tents/SkyscapeScout.html & http://www.lightheartgear.com/index.php ... 9b2ad5dec2

As light as you're going to get for a full enclosed shelter: http://www.zpacks.com/shelter/hexamid.shtml. Available in 1, 1+, or 2 person.

I'm using a Tarptent Moment (33.5oz) right now. Picked up an HMG Echo I tarp recently, Cuben Fiber, weighs 7.7 oz. I still need to pick up a bivy, most likely going to go with a Katabatic Gear Bristlecone putting my shelter setup at about 1lb. Going to try tarping this season to see what it's all about.
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Re: Putting together a new kit

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:40 am

I have never found one tent that serves all purposes. Design that one and you will get rich! I have several shelters. I really like a bivy sack, but NOT during mosquito season. I have had a Tarptent Moment for two years and used it extensively. It is OK for Sierra but am reluctant to take it anywhere I expect sevaral days of unending foul weather. Condensation has been a big issue with me and the floor seeps through. We all say we will set up our tent perfectly, but there are times I have had to set up in a hurry and my site location was less than ideal, and I got flooded. I had a little MSR MicroZoid that really had a "bathtub" floor- NEVER leaked no matter what (but it had other problems), even though I was literally floating in water. I have used tarps in the past, and they are fine for below timber, but a real pain above timber. Also, if it is just an overnight trip with a solid good weather report, and easy bail out why not just "cowboy camp"? Even though the tent weighs 5 pounds it is pure luxury to go with my mountaineering double wall tent (MtnHardware Approach). And when I go with my husband we use a 4-season Mtn Hardware tent that weighs 6 pounds. It is really sturdy because my lovely spouse, gentle in all other aspect of his live, is a terror on tents!

NOLS uses the Black Diamond Mega-Mid tee-pee tents and just add the inner bug net when needed. Unfortunately, the teepee design seems to work better for 3-4 persons than solo. You just have to have a certain size in order to get enough headroom and avoid the pole and that usually is overkill for a solo hiker.

My solution to 3rd class climbing with a pack is to bring a 50-foot haul line and I just lower my pack when needed, or climb up first and then haul my pack up behind me. I do not weigh much so it takes little to throw me off balance.
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Re: Putting together a new kit

Postby sparky » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:55 pm

Im fairly certain on what i want now. Freestanding, livable, storm worthy, not overpriced....I have discovered pack weight is relative to pack support. A spreadsheet only tells half the story. The leverage created by dense odjects like food in a bear can, is much greater in a frameless pack. So its not about numbers anymore, and dammit i like comfort!

I digress....But continue discussing the tents you use, pros and cons, opinions all that if you feel inspired to. I will read and digest what you have to say.

I really like the nunatek back country blanket. Talk about expensive....any one have one or have used one?
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Re: Putting together a new kit

Postby Flux » Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:33 pm

I use an older (Yellow) BD Lighthouse tent. It's rated at 2P, but that would be way cozy for me. It's freestanding with internal poles. packs up dang small, and comes in around 3.7 lbs. One whole wall can zip down to netting and I could fit me and all my gear in there no problem. It's a single wall, and supposedly does fine in storms although I have not tested this yet. It is taught and did great in high constant wind.

Pros:
Freestanding (But you should stake it and guy it out in the wind)
Easy to ventilate.
Can zip it tight in a storm and get some warmth too and no drafts!!
Big for one person and all your gear, small for two but would work
Packs down small.
Light
Strong in the wind.
Can be set up quick from the inside if it hits the fan quickly
Truly is a 3+ season tent. I would use it in the snow.

Cons:
Single wall so there will be some condensation.
Not superlight by today's standards
Said that it will mist in high humidity prolonged storms (condensation getting knocked off the roof)
Discontinued, only make Hilight model which has a smaller length, I am 6'2"


here's their current offering on the hilight:

http://www.backpacker.com/january-2011- ... gear/15118

I have thought long and hard about other types of tents but I agree that there is probably no ultimate setup. In warm, dryish conditions I would love to have a 2 lb tent, but then maybe I could just get a bug bivy and a tarp for a pound or so. I have looked at the MSR Carbon Reflex and some of the Big agnes offerings and they look terrific and I would love to pick one of those up, but I think I could kick a pound out of my pack in other ways for a lot less money, like a lighter pack and one of the newer air mattresses. Or just stop bringing a 6 pack of pounders on weekend trips.......
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Re: Putting together a new kit

Postby Ikan Mas » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:15 am

I purchased a Big Agnes Seedhouse 1 for $115 last spring to replace my REI Roadster which was showing some wear and was a bit too much like a coffin. Here are a couple photos of it. It is the Khaki tent of the two. I kind of took a chance buying it without seeing it up close and personal, but it has worked out well for my 3 season trips.
Image
Image
Seems to handle well in the wind and rain. No condensate problems and very light. It has a three point frame, but you still need to stake down the fly. I'm always tying my tents off to whatever rocks are around, and this one has lots of different eyes to do that with. When laid out, it has a small foot print, but the inside is much more spacious than the old roadster. Good bathtub floor and I can get my gear inside with me or in the alcove.
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Re: Putting together a new kit

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:06 pm

I've got 5 shelters and counting. You will not get a single shelter to meet every need.

I love my hammock and will take it and a tarp in subalpine, or on mixed sub- and high alpine trips if there is a chance of more nights hanging than grounding - I will cowboy camp or pitch the tarp on a trekking pole in a flying diamond if forced to the ground. This has gotten me through some windy nights when able to find a spot sheltered by some boulders. The NeoAir works in the hammock with some clothing or the sit pad alongside in the hammock to keep the breeze from coming through the nylon sides.

For alpine I am more and more taking the Tarptent Sublite in silnylon... it sets up pretty well with fifty pounds of rocks on each of the four tie outs. I take tyvek to protect the floor from granite slab.

I have a solo double wall - it weighs three pounds. I take it to the coast and will probably take it on the Lost Coast, which I plan to eventually do. It's the only close-to-freestanding shelter I have, and frankly, freestanding is overrated. I would never set up a shelter without staking it out, no way jose. Tents make great kites. My tent, the Sierra Designs Lightning XT, has a side entry, a nice spacious vestibule, enough room inside for gear, sleeping pad and a little besides, room for me to sit up (barely - I'm 5'6") and when staked out properly the rain just runs right off it and the ventilation is good. I call it close to freestanding because it really does the job best when there is adequate tension on the fly to keep some air flow going.

I have a GoLite Shangri La 3 - two and a half pounds plus the pole. This is my Search and Rescue shelter, along with a torso bugnet that I can suspend from one of the inner loops on the wall of the tent. It's four season, and I've been road testing it in what little snow we've had. I may get more noseeum netting and make a skirt for it.It packs to nothing - the tent fits under the lid of my pack, the pole folds in quarters and will slide into the front pocket of my pack. It would take a little ingenuity to set it up in high alpine but it could be done. I can fit three people in it, or two plus a bunch of gear. I could cook inside it if I wanted.

And every so often I just toss a tarp in and go, using a trash bag for groundsheet and trekking pole or trees to set up. Not a Big Deal. The torso bugnet packs tiny and keeps them off when I'm sleeping. If neither tarp nor bugnet is needed, cowboy camping works great. I get a lot of flack from those who worry about bugs and critters - that's their problem, not mine. The Sierra isn't so lousy with either that you can't get away with doing this once the mosquitos are over.
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Re: Putting together a new kit

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:55 pm

There are lots of ticks on the Lost Coast and other beach bugs that bite. Good to have an enclosed shelter. I took a pretty cheap tent when I did the Lost Coast. Day after day of salt spray and sand is hard on a tent. I would hate to ruin an expensive tent. Be sure to wash it well when you get home. Are you also doing the south half (Shelter Cove to Usal)? That part has trees and you could use your hammock. Trees are scarce on the north 25 miles.
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Re: Putting together a new kit

Postby Ikan Mas » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:19 am

Ditto on the Lost Coast ticks and lack of trees above Shelter Cove. I had to pull a tick out of the hand (odd place for a tick if you think about it) of one of our Boy Scouts. He had left his hand out of his sleeping bag and tent at night.

Although there are lots of tempting driftwood shelters on the northern 25 miles, a local ranger told us that due to people eating there, the shelters attracted mice, which in turn attracted rattlesnakes. Perhaps another good reason to take a tent. Although we did not see any rattlesnakes on the trip, I have little reason to doubt the ranger.
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Re: Putting together a new kit

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:47 pm

Thanks for the tips on the Lost Coast - additional support for my decision. When I go I will probably do the whole way, the King Range and Sinkyone - it's going to be a rare thing to get that far north, for me.

I didn't mention the other shelter I have, one of the original tyvek Sublites - I used to take that to the coast because the tyvek was so wonderful about handling condensation, which is horrible in redwoods in traditional tents, but I never got a drop in the Sublite. And then one campout a Pacific rainstorm blew in, dumped several inches of rain within four hours, and drowned my little Sublite completely - before I left it, drips were coming in the top seam. When I got out to take it down the following morning it was absolutely full of water, the bathtub floor was at least an inch deep and the tyvek soaked through and heavier than heck. I bailed out to the car after the first drop hit my forehead and spent the night with my down quilt wrapped around me, watching the rain stream down my windshield and the lights going on in the tents of the other campers who were having leaks right and left in their tents. A texsport tent also bit the mud, drowned the occupant's sleeping bag and clothing, and she ended up in my car too. The last tents standing as "dawn" broke and the rain continued were an REI Half Dome and a Black Diamond - everyone else was varying degrees of wet.

So I have a Sierra Designs tent with a PU coated fly now, for those crazy coastal rainy trips. The silnylon version of the Sublite came later when a friend sold his to me used - they haven't had the sil version in stock much over the last few years. And now there is the Notch which looks like a nice tent as well. Ah, well.
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Re: Putting together a new kit

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:20 pm

My conclusion after doing the Lost Coast was that staying dry was a lost cause. Just keep one set of clothing dry for sleeping. I ended up simply hiking in my rainclothes, au-natural underneath! I doubt the temperature changed more than 5-degrees between day and night. I had a mid-weight wool sweater and wool long johns that were perfect inside my sleeping bag. One night I got 4 inches of rain! I was expecting slower travel on the beach, but surprised myself by making up to 15 miles one day walking on the wet sand at low tide. The entire key in this is to walk at low tide. On the other hand, I was totally surprised at how slow the trail section was. The trail was in really poor shape when I did it and I had lots of rain. I also failed to hitch a ride up the road so had to walk all of it (probably because it a weekday and pouring rain and nobody was out driving about). I stashed food at the grocery store before the trip and picked it up. The owners were really nice about doing that for me. You cannot mail to the PO because it is nowhere near Shelter Cove. I had to get my permit anyway at the BLM office, which means driving nearly to Shelter Cove. The ranger at the Needle Rock visitor center was really nice- it was pouring down rain and she let me bring my sleeping bag inside her cabin and dry it by her fire. Be aware that the trail is not always located where it is marked on the map. It is pretty easy to follow, though. There is one area near private property with a VERY nasty dog. Thankfully the dog was tied. I ran into several huge elk and two bears and tons of banana slugs on the trail. There is a reason for the bear cannister rule! If you want to see some real local characters, stop at Honeydew on your way in! On the first day on the route, I was offered a smoke by marajuana growers! Everyone was really laid back. This are is like SantaCruz x 10! The campground at Shelter Cove is very pricey, but they have good showers.
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