Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Best lightweight all use tent ?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Max R
(Mantra) - F

Locale: Québec, Canada
Best lightweight all use tent ? on 01/28/2009 01:37:12 MST Print View

I need a bit of help here.

Im looking for a tent with the following characteristics :

- 1 or 2 person
- Perform very well in alpine condition, but can do the job in warm temperature.
- As light as possible

Its for a trip in China and Tibet; I will be using the tent in very warm (sometimes stormy) temperature in most of China, and will also use it in alpine condition in the Tibetan world.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Best lightweight all use tent ? on 01/28/2009 01:58:29 MST Print View

When you say "1 or 2 person" do you mean that it needs to be suitable for 2 people, or that either a 1-person or 2-person tent would be ok?

Also, how severe are the weather conditions you are expecting in alpine regions in Tibet? Possibility of lots of snow and wind?

Edited by ashleyb on 01/28/2009 02:00:05 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Best lightweight all use tent ? on 01/28/2009 09:59:59 MST Print View

I don't know of any single tent that is strong enough for the Himalayas yet good and airy for steamy lowland conditions as well -- and all the while being totally light weight.

One good compromise would be one of the Hilleberg tents -- such as the Nallo or Allak (for two people) -- or the Hilleberg Soulo (for solo use).

Having said that, will you really be doing a Himalaya hike all by yourself? Most people sign up with an outfitter -- which will provide appropriate mountaineering gear. In that case, all you need is a 3-season tent for the rest of China. I highly recommend the Big Agnes Seedhouse 2 SL. This pretty darn light tent can fit two but is light enough for one. Its double wall design provides you great flexibility to pitch according to weather conditions.

Edited by ben2world on 01/28/2009 13:07:37 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Best lightweight all use tent ? on 01/28/2009 10:07:31 MST Print View

Another possibility is to shop for your tent when you arrive in China. Most tents are made there this day and age, so you'll probably get much more bang for your dollar (or yuan).

Jon Rhoderick
(hotrhoddudeguy) - F - M

Locale: New England
Re: Best lightweight all use tent ? on 01/28/2009 10:40:29 MST Print View

Black diamond makes a bunch of epic tents (will soak through in a deluge), that are highly effective mountain tents. The Black Diamond Firstlight weighs under 3 lbs, and is often used on climbs of 8000 meter peaks. They also have wide doors for venting with mesh for insect protection.

Also NEMO tents could be applicable, some of their air beam tents are very light, and you don't risk as much damage from wind and snow because they bounce right back.

Edited by hotrhoddudeguy on 01/28/2009 10:41:07 MST.

Max R
(Mantra) - F

Locale: Québec, Canada
Re on 01/28/2009 12:33:00 MST Print View

@ Ashley : When I say 1 or 2 person, I mean either a 1 person tent or a 2 person tent. In alpine condition in Tibet, im expecting high winds and possibly 'summer snow storm' that can bring 2 feet of snow.

@ Benjamin : The Hilleberg tents seems very nice, specially the Saulo (1 person/3 lbs 11 oz) and the Jannu (2 person/5 lbs 8oz). I'll look them up in more details, thank you very much !

And yes maybe I will be Trekking or actually Cycling in the Tibetan plateau by myself, it depends whether I find someone or not to do it with me. But you need to know that I will be spending weeks examining in details maps of the Tibetan plateau and blogs of people who alredy done it. I will prepare myself as much as I can before going there; i'll even learn the basics of the Tibetan language, as for Chinese, im not so far from being fluent, so it might help if I run into Chinese police in off-limit tourist Tibet!

@ Jon : The Black Diamond one not being waterproof i'll pass, but the Nemo Tenshi (2 person/4 lbs 2 oz) deserve a more in dept research in the future ! Thanks alot for the info.

Brian Barnes
(brianjbarnes) - M

Locale: Midwest
RE: "Best lightweight all use tent ?" on 01/28/2009 13:02:10 MST Print View

While limited reviews are yet available, Henry Shires' TarpTent Scarp seems pretty versatile to me...

capable of handling snow loads, lightweight, removable inner fabric, double entry door for good ventilation while in warmer climates, could be used as tarp only, wind stable design... etc...

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
All-around tent on 01/28/2009 15:07:27 MST Print View

Max, Three suggestions:
1. Hilleberg, as recommended above. I love my Unna for winter camping, but no vestibule. The new Soulo has one though.
2. Bibler, available through Black Diamond. The Eldorado is a bit small, the Ahwahnee a bit heavy (but no worse than the Hilleberg Jannu), and the best mountaineering tents ever made.
3. Stephenson's Warmlite 2R (or a 2C, which is shorter). Takes some practice pitching in snow. Be sure and get the windows as in warm, wet weather you'll be sleeping in a sauna otherwise.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Stephenson Warmlite 2R with windows on 01/28/2009 15:24:41 MST Print View

Maybe the 2C.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Pyramid? on 01/28/2009 18:01:12 MST Print View

Many of the pyramids do well in alpine conditions. Single wall and no floor. They will collect condensation and in cold conditions, will actually form a sheet of ice on the walls. But they work, and it is easy to knock off the ice when you break camp.

In warm weather, the pramids with netting at the bottom can be set up higher off the ground to improve ventilation.

Many years ago I used a Chouinard pryamid (no longer available) for winter in the mountains. It always did me well, but the other draw back is a pole in the center of the tent, unless you can tie the top to a tree... which you often cannot find at high altitiudes.

Just a thought.

Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Best lightweight all use tent ? on 03/06/2009 15:04:15 MST Print View

Under no circumstances would I buy any backpacking gear during your trip, as one poster suggested. It will all be a knock-off. You will see great prices on lots of North Face (or as one tent we saw said--North Fage), etc, items during your trip and while it is very non-expensive, if you buy any of it you'll soon know why.

That said, while I didn't do any camping in China, My girlfriend and I used our Bibler Eldorado in Tibet to great effect. Depending on the season of your trip (I went in October) you can easily get by with a three season tent--and this would be much better for you in China. We aren't climbers, just long distance backpackers, so the highest we camped was 16,000' and we only had a dusting of snow a few nights, but it was QUITE cold. I would recommend a tent that can be closed up to offer some privacy from the locals, especially kids who are bored and will literally hang out at your tent for HOURS. And get a tent that can hold all of your gear inside (not including the vestibule) as anything outside is fair game to get stolen--especially shoes. Even though you are cycling, you still may find some useful information from our trailjournals report:

If you really really need help on your planning, we met two fantastic guys from Canada who rode from Lhasa to Kathmandu and had a fantastic time (although one came down with hape after our flight from Chengdu, an 11,000ft elevation gain in 2 hours) and I could try to track down their contact information if you like.

Good luck on your trip and better luck on getting into and around Tibet. I don't know how politically minded you consider yourself, but we would recommend patronizing only Tibetan businesses (as opposed to Chinese businesses). We used the tourist services at the Banak Shol hotel (which was super nice and all Tibetan run--as of 10/06) and stayed at the Yak Hotel (also Tibetan run). The old quarters of Lhasa are a great place to meet fellow travelers and compare travel plans (almost everyone we met had no idea what we were doing as none of us were using guide companies and we all used a week in Lhasa to acclimatize and see the Lhasa sights while finding out what the current permit situation and tourist restrictions were (they can literally change daily). A word of advice--due to the internet police there and no access to any website with the words "freedom, dalai lama, etc", we had to have a lot of our friends in the states do last minute research for us while we were in Lhasa and they then emailed it to us. It is technically illegal to go outside of Lhasa without an approved guide, so you may have to sneak past some guard checkpoints at nightfall or bribe your way past them. Again, I'm sure restrictions are much stricter now due to the recent turmoil there, but our thought was that paying tons of bribes was still cheaper than buying the actual required permits (no permit $ goes to Tibetans) and risk getting those requests turned down.

One last thing--I'm sure you already know this--do not mention Tibet when applying for your Chinese visa.

Sorry to go off topic a bit, but all these memories are coming flooding back. It was literally the most beautiful and the most logistically challenging place to visit. Can I ramble or what?