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State of the Market Report: Single Wall Tents (2008)
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Joe Westing
(pedro87) - F
Re: State of the Market Report: Single Wall Tents (2008) on 11/19/2008 18:40:10 MST Print View

Does anyone have any experience with the Sublite (I know its a new shelter)? It seems like it got hit pretty hard in the ratings mostly due to the categories of area/weight ratio and usable vestibule. I think the lack of a real vestibule brought those two categories way down. Still, it looks like a great shelter that possibly deserved a higher placement (i know, everybody's preferences are different).

Edited by pedro87 on 11/19/2008 18:43:12 MST.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: State of the Market Report: Single Wall Tents (2008) on 11/19/2008 23:50:10 MST Print View

Peter, I have a Tyvek version of the Sublite and I love it for its condensation resistance as much as I'd probably hate a silnylon version for its lack of condensation resistance in cold weather.

It's also very comfortable in hot weather. Tyvek reflects light and so the tent retains very little heat. You could never go inside your silnylon tent on a hot day and escape the bugs, or take a nap. You can do this in a Tyvek tent even when it's 80 degrees out. It's cooler in the tent - a glorious feature of the fabric.

My only gripe with the design is its lack of views. I would happily take the weight of a netting door in the tent with the ability to leave the solid fabric flap rolled up and out of the way - that little front window vent leaves a little to be desired when it comes to views!

In a real storm, the Tyvek Sublite is superb - very stable - and the Tyvek fabric does not shrink when wet or cold like silnylon, so it doesn't sag. I weathered a pretty harsh t-storm this summer with companions who had the Gossamer Gear The One, the SMD Lunar Solo, and a two man tarp. I had the Tyvek Sublite. The tarp and the Sublite remained standing -- the other two blew down in 40 mph (measured) gusts, and The One's spinnaker fabric suffered a rip, not unexpected with that fabric, certainly. (Disclaimer: all of these shelters were pitched very well - we knew the storm was coming). Now, keep in mind that Tyvek has a lower tear strength than The One's Spinnaker -- so it's a testament to the stable design of the Sublite.

Joe Westing
(pedro87) - F
Re: Re: State of the Market Report: Single Wall Tents (2008) on 11/20/2008 13:57:32 MST Print View

Thanks a lot for that answer - it was extremely helpful! Unfortunately, I don't think Tyvek would work for me as I hike in the often rainy (especially in the spring and fall) northeast. I could see Tyvek being perfect for the dryer rockies or sierra. Also, the one nicer thing about the sil version is that it does have a netting door so there at least limited views. Still, the views are nowhere near as good as a shelter like the SMD Lunar Solo.

As I have never owned anything other than a double-wall tent (REI 1/4 Dome), so my lack of experience with lightweight shelters is lacking. Combined with the fact that I have a very limited budget to spend on gear, I am having a hard time deciding on which shelter model to buy or even whether to a get a tarp, single-wall tent, etc. I guess I am just going to have to take the plunge.

Edited by pedro87 on 11/20/2008 15:22:24 MST.

Coin Page
(Page0018) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern USA
SMD Gatewood + Serenity ? on 11/20/2008 14:45:31 MST Print View

While technically double walled, the Gatewood Cape + Serenity NetTent is only 18 ounces. How do you think it compares to your top picks?

This combo has replaced the Lunar Solo for me. The NetTent helps avoid the condensation. The neck hole vents like a chimney in clear weather. And its a packcover and raincoat.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: SMD Gatewood + Serenity ? on 11/20/2008 17:24:57 MST Print View

The SMD and Gatewood would compare nicely, by the numbers. Since space protected by rain (but not necessarily by bugs) is measured, the tarp would have excellent numbers. Which actually brings up a really good point, in my opinion: how good is a particular tent if it is rainy and buggy all day. This ranks high on my list, but I'm afraid isn't captured by the numerical (or even subjective) summaries. Personally, I would much prefer to lay around in a tarp tent (like a Contrail) over the combination you described. The Cape/NetTent is an excellent way to save weight (and stay warm) but it would feel a bit claustrophobic to me. That is just a trade-off, though. As far as the article is concerned, I think it would be good to have more columns for the data (but I'll mention that in a different post).

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Customized Single Wall Tents Ratings Summary on 11/20/2008 17:53:27 MST Print View

This is a very nice report. One of the things that jumps out at me, is that there are more options available in the arena than ever. Because of this, it is hard to grasp the information easily.

I agree with the earlier ideas about having a spreadsheet available for download. Ideally (and I have no idea how easy it is to use the software) it would be nice to simply plug the numbers into a web application, so that it would function like a spreadsheet (sort by one value or another, hide columns, etc.). I have done this sort of work before, but it was custom (I would imagine there is web software out there that would make the job much easier). Again, I'm not sure how easy it is; but if your web folks did the work, it would probably pay off as more and more tables are created.

As it is, the tables are very nice and fairly concise. But if the tables can be made bigger, I would suggest the following additional columns:

1) Inside Space (while it nice to have a big vestibule, I don't think it is as important as having bug free space).
2) Inside Space/Weight ratio
3) Entry Method: (top or side)
4) Number of People: (I know this is a bit subjective, but it would still be helpful to have as a summary).
5) Height by the head of a 6' person
6) Height by the head of a 5' person

I'll admit that I am biased towards the last 2. To me, the value of a tent (over a bivy/tarp combination) is that you have a roomy shelter from the bugs. You can lie down and stare up at the ceiling (or sit up on your shoulders and look at your feet). You can also lie down (on your back) and stretch your arms out (upward) which is why the five foot measurement is important. The combination of these two measurements would give you a fairly good numerical comparison of styles. For example (all things being equal) a tent like the Contrail would score well in both numbers (since it is very tall on the end); a tent like "The One" would be better in the 5' test than the 6' test (since the peak of the tent is close to, but not at the end); a tent like the AntiGravityGear would not fair as well. Of course, a very roomy tent (or one that slopes steeply) would do well in all measurements, regardless of style. I'm also a bit claustrophobic, so the room available while lying down is especially important to me.

Thanks again for the report (I love this kind of stuff).

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: "State of the Market Report: Single Wall Tents (2008)" on 11/20/2008 19:50:31 MST Print View

Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is MY KIND of bedtime reading material!!

Jeff Cadorin
(JeffCadorin) - F

Locale: paper beats rock
Re: Re: State of the Market Report: Single Wall Tents (2008) on 11/20/2008 21:36:53 MST Print View

Curious question about the guyline thats attached from the trekking poles down to the front of the tent. Did you have it installed during your t-storm?

Henry(or others in the know),
I dont even know if this guyline is included with the tyvek sublite or is it an add on to help with the sag of sil?

I am close to pulling the trigger on the sil-sublite. Kind of glad there is no mesh or awning option on the tyvek version. Would make it even harder to decide.

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: State of the Market Report: Single Wall Tents (2008) on 11/21/2008 22:20:54 MST Print View

> Henry(or others in the know),
I dont even know if this guyline is included with the tyvek sublite or is it an add on to help with the sag of sil?

The Sublite Sil has a pullout sewn into the apex, the Sublite does not (but it's a no-brainer to tie cording onto the clip that's already there). We're shipping the Sublite Sil with the extra cording. Both models benefit from the extra cording for wind but, yes, the Sil model probably more so because of sil stretch not present with tyvek.

Jim Cowdery
(james.cowdery) - MLife

Locale: Central Florida
Side Entry on 11/24/2008 20:17:49 MST Print View

I have both a Squall and Lunar solo. I was very pleased with the squall and have used it in the southeast and on the AT in all four seasons. The biggest issue I have with the Squall is the front entry. I have to get up at night at least once to empty my bladder. As you can imagine every time I moved in the tent (except when the condensation was frozen) I got moisture on my down bag.

The Lunar Solo has helped and I have found that using the additional guy points helps raise the height of the tent reducing contact with the inside of the tent.

Henry, the Squall has found another use. I gave it to my daughter (Jukebox) who has, almost, completed a SOBO through-hike of the AT.

I have encountered some of the Florida rains, about 1" in 20 minutes and gale force winds, with both tents and they both fared well. In the high winds and heavy reains the Tarptent sagged more than the Six-moons design but that is probably because of the extra guy-points.

Thanks for updating the analysis and I do use an old double wall tent when I expect temperatures below 20 degrees F.

I'm looking forward to the next comparison of lightweight double wall tents.

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Responses to SW Shelters SOTMR on 11/27/2008 12:47:10 MST Print View

Hi all, thanks for all of your great comments. Ryan has already provides some responses, and I will add some too.

Miguel, you taut me an important spelling lesson; I won't do it again, I promise!

Roger T and Michael, I sure wish the manufacturers would listen to your pleas for a tent designed for tall hikers. As Ross suggests, we could improve our SOTM articles by adding specifications useful for tall hikers.

Several people commented on the Tarptent Sublite. Only the silnylon Sublite qualifies for this comparison article, and I agree that it didn't get the credit it deserves, largely because the prototype I tested did not have any vestibule or rain flap. The production Sublite-Syl does have a rain flap over the entrance to provide protection and has a mesh door and bigger vents at the front and rear for views and ventilation. Another nice feature of the Sublite is it has lots of headroom right were you need it. I'm finishing a review of the Sublite tents now, which will provide a lot more detail.

Tim, your idea of an interactive version of the spreadsheets sounds good. BPL should put that on their wish list. Perhaps we could add a link to a downloadable Excel spreadsheet.

Ross, good suggestions for additional specs to add. We will keep them in mind for the next SOTM review.

Thanks to all who commented.
Best, Will

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Responses to SW Shelters SOTMR on 11/29/2008 09:24:40 MST Print View

Miguel, you taut me an important spelling lesson; I won't do it again, I promise!

LOL, Will, that made me laugh. I really shouldn't be correcting people's spelling seeing as I always get "univeristy" and "silnylong" wrong!

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Responses to SW Shelters SOTMR on 11/29/2008 14:40:37 MST Print View

Hi Everyone,

I'd like to back up Will and say thanks for the comments. I'm very pleased our feature has sparked such a useful discussion.

I should have picked up taut/taught. Oops!

Tents for tall hikers is a problem. Hilleberg make some of the longest tents but of course they are double-wall. Reducing weight does seem to mean reducing length and height with some makers. I've just tested a double-wall tent that was barely long enough for me - at 5'8"! One end was so low and narrow that my mat overhung the groundsheet and the roof touched my sleeping bag.

An interactive spreadsheet would be excellent. I have no idea how easy it would be to do!

Thanks again everyone.


Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Responses to SW Shelters SOTMR on 11/29/2008 15:47:31 MST Print View

> Reducing weight does seem to mean reducing length and height with some makers.

Spot on Chris. And carrying a damp sleeping bag with 4oz of water in it is crazy when 4oz is 2 yards of tent material and a couple more pegs...

Joe Westing
(pedro87) - F
Re: Responses to SW Shelters SOTMR on 11/29/2008 19:02:35 MST Print View

Chris and Will -
Thanks a lot for replying. All in all, this was an excellent article that has been extremely helpful in narrowing down my new shelter decision. The SOTMRs are the best part of a BPL subscription.

Just one more question:
Do you know when the Sublite Sil review will be published here on BPL? It would be really nice if it was available in the next two weeks.

Shane Fleenor
(SFUVA21) - MLife

Locale: New York
Rainshadow 2? Lunar Duo? Wind? on 03/02/2009 22:54:22 MST Print View

Just ponied up for full membership. Great article. A little confused about something though. I'm looking for a very spacious 2 (or 3) person for trips with girlfriend; yet I'm also a gearhead and I want whatever I buy to be worthy of, say, a week in tetons with a buddy or a stint on the AT. Came to the site looking for info on the Rainshadow 2. After reading the article, looks like the Lunar Duo is more recommended. But if you look at the individual reviews on the site, its not quite consistent. Says the rainshadow is "nearly perfect" and "marvelous design" and while wind a problem with one pole, sounds pretty decent in wind with two. On the other hand, while the review of lunar duo is good (and its recommended, whereas the rainshadow isnt), it repeats a couple times that its not a good choice for wind. This sounds like wind is a bigger problem for the lunar duo than for the rainshadow...but that's not what the Report says?

Also why do I keep seeing so many discussions comparing Lunar duo to the rainbow 2? Lunar duo compared to rainshadow too seems more appropriate; after all their oversized floor area and weight are nearly the same. Can anybody help clarify? Thanks!

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Rainshadow 2? Lunar Duo? Wind? on 03/02/2009 23:02:44 MST Print View

Hi Shane,

The lunar duo is often compared to the double rainbow because they are the favourite tarptents for 2 people of people on this site. Not to say that no one uses the rainshadow, but I think there are probably a lot more double rainbow and lunar duo users.

Just to throw a spanner in the works, there should be a new 2 person tarptent appearing in the next week or so. It will be both roomy and wind-resistant... you should definitely check it out (hasn't been released yet, but stay tuned!).

Shane Fleenor
(SFUVA21) - MLife

Locale: New York
Re: Rainshadow 2? Lunar Duo? Wind? on 03/03/2009 08:17:45 MST Print View

Thanks Ashley! Is this thing being made by Henry Shires, or another company? How will I know when it comes out? Also, do you know if its as big as the Rainshadow and Lunar Duo? The appeal of these two shelters to me is how large they are; I was originally only looking at 3 man tents for present purposes (the old saying that you need one more 'man' than you have men), though Lunar Duo sounds big enough to fit the bill. Double rainbow sounds a little tighter; I'm sure its fine for a trek with a hard core buddy but not as comfy for an overnight with the girlfriend. Any clue where the new one falls on the spectrum?

Shane Fleenor
(SFUVA21) - MLife

Locale: New York
Re: Rainshadow 2? Lunar Duo? Wind? on 03/03/2009 09:38:41 MST Print View

Oops, just reread and saw that you said it will be "roomy". So, I will limit my question to the "who makes it and how will I know when it comes out"? Although if you have any insight as to WHY the rainshadow is so much less popular than these other two tents, that would be helpful as well. Thanks again!

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
State of the Market Report: Single Wall Tents (2008) on 03/03/2009 14:32:18 MST Print View

Ashley was talking about a Tarptent not just a tarp tent.
Rainshadow ? I would guess that most prefer a side entrance, in fact two , with a double tent. Nice also to have separate vestibules.
You will recognise the new model when several members will express comments like " this is the one I have been waiting for" or words to that effect.