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Looking for another 'freestanding' option
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Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
Looking for another 'freestanding' option on 02/27/2009 08:43:43 MST Print View

I have a Tarptent Contrail and I do like it but it is not the shelter for me in all situations. My tarping skills are very poor it seems as I do what MLD describes as a monk tarp and it will fall down on me. What I am looking for is another shelter system that will protect me from rain and wind and that I could use just about anywhere. The shelter system has to be effective without the use of trekking poles or branches and without stakes. Let me put it this way, if I was to sleep in the middle of a large concrete parking lot, it would keep me dry and shear off the wind. I already have a 9' section of Noseeum that will keep the bugs off of me. I can use a garbage bag to keep the lower half of me dry or to be used as a ground cloth. I also have a garbage bag rain skirt that can be used as a ground cloth for the top half. I really do not want to spend $250 on a eVent bivy nor take a free standing tent and was wondering what other options are out there for me. Thanks

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Looking for another 'freestanding' option on 02/27/2009 08:53:21 MST Print View

It has to be effective without stakes? Meaning that it has to have a floor so that your body weight can keep it down in wind?

hmmm, a freestanding tarp maybe? like the Go-lite ones may meet your needs, but it doesn't have a floor. It is fully freestanding, but it would blow away without being staked down. I had the Utopia 2+ and loved it. It is pretty bomber. I think it weighed 44oz and was absolutely huge could sleep 3 (regular size, not Brett size ;))without gear. Oh, and it is definitely big enough for you.

There are some other freestanding tarps out there. I think MSR has one but I can't recall the name.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Freestanding option on 02/27/2009 09:42:52 MST Print View

Sounds like Almost any double walled tent made would fit the bill.

ben wood

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: Looking for another 'freestanding' option on 02/27/2009 09:52:29 MST Print View

maybe a traptent scarp. you can setup it up fly only. and if want you can add the extra poles to make it free standing.

although it may be more expensive than you want. just an idea though. if i had the extra cash i would buy one.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Looking for another 'freestanding' option on 02/27/2009 10:06:11 MST Print View


Your post is confusing to me. I have never used a Contrail, but it appears to be an excellent piece of engineering. What situations is this not the shelter for you?

Tarps are versatile. But they take a little bit of practice to get them tight. For me they are the perfect shelter in most situations. Most of the UL equipment makers sell lighweight poles for their tarps. There are several resources on how to use tarps. Ray Jardine and Ryan Jordan have published guides, but I have not read either.

The Wild Oasis by Six Moons is easy to pitch and can be purchased with a lightweight pole. The same is true for the GoLite pryamids. Good pryamids can handle fairly extreme conditions.

Free standing tents are heavy and act like sails in the wind. Good free standing tents that can withstand winds are super heavy and super expensive.

Edited by ngatel on 02/27/2009 10:09:26 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Looking for another 'freestanding' option on 02/27/2009 11:44:28 MST Print View

Tarptent HogScat

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Looking for another 'freestanding' option" on 02/27/2009 14:35:35 MST Print View


Brett Peugh
(brettpeugh) - F

Locale: Midwest
a little more info. on 02/27/2009 14:56:09 MST Print View

Well, I would need some more info about the Tarptents and Henry is only giving so much out. But to reinterate I really can't use tarps because they will use stakes and I am not bringing trekking poles. What would you use other than a bivy if you slept on rock in windy and rainy conditions? The Utiopia and other freestanding tents look good but not in the summer when it might hit 95F

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Looking for another 'freestanding' option on 02/27/2009 15:25:00 MST Print View

There is no perfect tent for any and every combination of weather condition, ground condition and temperature.

Edited by skinewmexico on 02/27/2009 15:25:38 MST.

Joshua Gilbert
(joshcgil2) - F

Locale: Seattle
Re: Looking for another 'freestanding' option on 02/27/2009 15:26:43 MST Print View

I have to ask at this point, what are you doing and where are you planning to go? after each round of suggestions there seems to be a new caveat added, so maybe if we knew exactly what you were trying to accomplish, we coud give you better info.

Right now I am imagining you sleeping in some kind of floorless(yet freestanding) shelter on top of a trash bag in the middle of a windy concrete parking lot in 95 degree heat, not spending too much money.

Are you following Phish on their Magreb reunion tour or something?

Edited by joshcgil2 on 02/27/2009 15:27:27 MST.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Looking for another 'freestanding' option on 02/27/2009 15:46:28 MST Print View

Just some thoughts...
If you want to get a freestanding Tarptent you need a Scarp with the optional cross poles...
That is obviously not the lightest option...
The lightest way to have a freestanding design,( if you do not use trekking poles) , is the two cross pole version as in the Bibler I tent and the other 327 clones.
This is not about to change, the only way to make a lighter version is to use lighter materials and or a smaller tent.
There are some double wall versions of this design that allow fly only pitch via a purpose made ground floor but of course they don't keep the bugs out , if that is a requirement.
The lightest freestanding but not bug protected tent I can think of at the moment is the Golite Utopia 1 at just over 2 lbs. ($124 at Spadout)

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Looking for another 'freestanding' option on 02/27/2009 16:03:48 MST Print View

If you are camping on rocks... you can't use a tent. A tent requires stakes and stakes need to be placed in specific areas based on the shape of the tent. A free standing tent needs stakes to remain on terra firma.

With a tarp you can buy carbon fiber poles which weigh around a ounce. If you can't carry stakes, then use all the rocks you are sleeping around. You can also run a ridge line over the top of a boulder if you have a problem with poles.

A tarp allows you to adapt to any condition you encounter, unlike a tent that must find a location that is compatible with the deminsions of the tent.

I don't know what a Monk tarp is, but the easiest method is an A frame or variant. The trick is to get a tight ridge line. Once you learn how to do that, then you can experiment with other methods.

Brett Peugh
(brettpeugh) - F

Locale: Midwest
trying again on 02/27/2009 16:11:38 MST Print View

Okay, let me take this another way and hopefully the dyslexia doesn't get too much in the way. I need some kind of shelter system that allows me to go from about 95F to about 40F or 20F in a pinch. Enough to keep the water and wind off of me. I really don't want a freestanding tent. I don't have a huge amount of money to spend. I don't need to cook, read or do anything else in it but sleep. The terrain might be from very wet mud to concrete.

I travel around a bit and sometimes sleep in the parks or other places of cities I come across because it takes too long to get out. Call it hobo-ing if you will. I can't set up a tent in a park because it gives huge flag to cops and other undesirables and sometimes you have to sleep on concrete because that is the only thing around in an area where you would feel safe. Does that help at all? Most of camping is outdoors, well below 10,000ft but sometimes I go into towns and stay a bit too late getting supplies or a few beers.

By the same token if you said that the trash bag to cover my lower half, along with a rain jacket, plastic bags for my hands would work fine to keep off the rain and wind then I would just have to worry about my face and how to protect that and work out a solution for that.

I was trying to use 'freestanding' as something that would not be tarps or require stakes as sometimes I can't use these.

Edited by brettpeugh on 02/27/2009 16:14:06 MST.

Brett Peugh
(brettpeugh) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Looking for another 'freestanding' option on 02/27/2009 16:15:30 MST Print View

Tarptent Hogscat

I think this is supposed to mean 'pigsh!t' or 'bullsh!t'

Edited by brettpeugh on 02/27/2009 16:16:07 MST.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Looking for another 'freestanding' option on 02/27/2009 16:18:14 MST Print View

Can you sleep in a tuck or squat position as opposed to lying down ?

If you can, then what you described with the bags and jacket will work fine. Don't need to cover your face, because it will naturally be face down in the tucked position.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Flexible anchor placement is my goal on 02/27/2009 16:23:09 MST Print View

Freestanding tents need to be anchored or they'll blow away. The advantage is you don't have to put a stake exactly in the corner. You can tie off to a rock, or wedge a stake or deadman in a rock crevice, etc.

My least favorite tent for tricky-site setup is a tunnel model that requires that the corners be staked DOWN. It's always easier to find a guy anchor to resist lateral loads than to peg the tent corner to resist vertical loads.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Um... on 02/27/2009 16:25:33 MST Print View

So you want a freestanding shelter that isn't a tent... Pretty much, if it's freestanding it will use poles, and if it uses poles it'll go up and look pretty much like a tent. I realize this doesn't help you choose such a shelter, but I'm not aware of anything existing that fits your bill. Closest option would be a hooped bivy sack, maybe a Bibler tripod bivy. Pretty hot in summer, but you could just sleep on top of/without bag, maybe. Cheers-

Edit: Integral Designs makes several nice bivies, too. In eVent, even.

Edited by 4quietwoods on 02/27/2009 16:31:12 MST.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Bivy on 02/27/2009 16:32:48 MST Print View

Campmor has cheap (30-60 dollar) Bivy's. If you're not going to use a tarp, get the waterproof one, but realize that garbage bags will give you lots of condensation which will dampen your sleeping bag over time.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Looking for another 'freestanding' option on 02/27/2009 16:36:10 MST Print View

OK, maybe a light largish hooped bivvy is the way to go. I now remember your circumstances, sorry I had forgotten.
I see if I can find something for you.

Yes I am very well aware of what scat means, I just cannot see how this has anything to do with the thread...
a) it's a 4 person tent
b) if I were in the market for a family sized 3 season tent I would have put in my order by now

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Looking for another 'freestanding' option on 02/27/2009 16:57:11 MST Print View

Outdoor Research Alpine Bivvy (Gore-Tex) , 2lbs $160 at Moosejaw

BlackDiamond LighSabre (Epic)$160 (1.6lbs) Outdoor Store (no idea who they are)
(Note that Epic is much more water repellent when clean.)

The OR bivvy comes in what it looks to me a rather "stealth" (for urban environment) Mojo Blue.
You need to purchase via Spadout to get those prices.