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2-person tent recommendations
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David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
2-person tent recommendations on 04/22/2009 11:44:55 MDT Print View

Hello guys. Every spring I come back on this forum to gear up for my next summer trip (probably CT this time) and try to shed a few more ounces.

I am thinking of selling our beloved Hubba Hubba and going with a lighter 2-person tent. I guess I'm just tired of carrying around these heavy aluminum poles for nothing. I'm used to double wall, but maybe single wall? I'm just curious how the market has changed in the last 6 months or so. Is the MSR Reflex worth considering? I think my wife would prefer a free-standing tent. Our style is more lightweight (base weight around 12 lbs for her and 16 lbs for me) than UL, although I'm trying to move towards UL.

So...bottom line--what are my options?

Edited by dgposton on 04/22/2009 11:45:34 MDT.

William Puckett
(Beep) - F

Locale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
2-person tent recommendations on 04/22/2009 11:46:39 MDT Print View

I'm a big fan of the SMD Lunar Duo.

Dan Cunningham
(mn-backpacker)

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Re: 2-person tent recommendations on 04/22/2009 12:03:43 MDT Print View

Ditto on the SMD LD.

Huge on space - lots of usable room for two.

Bill Reynolds
(billreyn1) - M

Locale: North East Georgia Mountains
Backpacking dog on 04/22/2009 12:48:10 MDT Print View

Triple the SMD Duo. Great 2 person tent.

David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
MSR Reflex actual weight on 04/22/2009 13:01:27 MDT Print View

I'll have to look into that tent. Does any know the actual weight on the MSR Reflex? I saw 2 lb, 13 oz posted somewhere. Is that optimistic?

I know the tent is pricey, but it is backed by REI's lifetime return policy...um, I mean guarantee.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
2-person tent recommendations on 04/22/2009 13:37:22 MDT Print View

For single wall, there are a lot of great options. Most of these breathe really well and perform almost as well as a double walled tent. I would look at the tents made by TarpTent and Six Moons, especially. Most of these have the option of using trekking poles for support. This isn't a requirement, but if you do so, you can save a lot of weight. These tents are fairly roomy (compared to a typical tent) so pay attention to the dimensions when comparing it to other tents. A couple of the TarpTent tents are free standing with trekking poles. One of them is a double walled.

The MSR carbon reflex looks like a pretty good tent. I took a look at it when REI had their Tent-a-Palooza a couple of weeks ago (I just happened to be there). The mainstream tent makers are getting very creative with their pole configurations. That being said, I think the small outfits (TarpTent, Six Moons, etc.) are more creative in their overall design and simply use better materials. My wife and I switched to a tarp tent years ago and have been very happy. We wouldn't go back.

John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
2 man tents on 04/22/2009 14:02:03 MDT Print View

David,
My recommendations will be based on who the 2 people are in the tent and what, if any, gear is in there with you.

I really like my GG Squall Classic single wall at 22 oz, but it is pretty 'cozy', not much extra room.
More roomy but heavier is Tarptent Rainshadow 2 at 40 oz. Heavier but it's huge for two.

I think either would be good for the CT. I hope to be on that trail starting June 30th.

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
"2-person tent recommendations" on 04/22/2009 14:28:45 MDT Print View

I've been using a BD Lighthouse with aftermarket carbon fiber poles alot lately. It's about 2 pds 11oz. Good idea but alot of poorly excuted components. In case you are considering it I can't really recommend it.


I did get mine from REI with my rebate so in theory is was "free"( gear head math speaking only). My GF carries the poles and me the tent body so between the two of us the weight is quite manageable.

I'm considering getting us a Lunar Duo.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: 2-person tent recommendations on 04/22/2009 14:30:23 MDT Print View

I'm a big fan of the TarpTent DoubleRainbow. I've put it through some tough storms and weathered them well.

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Re: 2-person tent recommendations on 04/22/2009 14:37:40 MDT Print View

I have a friend who just bought an MSR Carbon Reflex. For me the downside is obvious- the price tag. That's a lot of money. Also, the single door seems to be a limiting factor for a side entry dome tent used by two.

I'll cast my vote for my current 2P- the Tarptent Cloudburst. My wife was a little unsure of a single wall tent, but she never mentioned it once we used it. The upside of this tent for us was the great elbow room. We can both get dressed at the same time with minimal fuss. The door is huge with no pole obstruction. We've had condensation here and there but nothing major and the tent has so much space that touching the walls is minimal.

We've used the tent in heavy weather, lots of rain, and high winds. Pitched properly, the tent has been bomber for keeping us protected. At 39 ounces (40 with guys/stakes for a pair of side tie-outs) the weight is great. It's a simple tent and simple design that only require 3 stakes and pitches very easily with no fuss.

When I researched two person tents and factored weight, living space, convenience, weather protection, and price, I found no better option.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: 2-person tent recommendations on 04/22/2009 14:41:23 MDT Print View

I'm waiting for the Carbon Reflex to flop because of pure cost. There are much cheaper alternatives, even from mainstream manufacturers.

. .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: "2-person tent recommendations" - BD Hilight on 04/22/2009 15:05:18 MDT Print View

Since you're talking REI, I'd consider giving the BD Hilight a try. It seems to be a love or hate tent, but there are some raving reviews on the backpackgeartest site.

Also, what about the BA Seedhouse SL2 or Copper Spur? The seedhouse, when set up properly is amazingly stable.

Dan Cunningham
(mn-backpacker)

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Resale vs. Return on 04/22/2009 15:22:32 MDT Print View

If you are looking at the REI golden parachute return policy, consider that ANY SMD or TarpTent shelter sells like hot cakes here, so it's not like you are stuck with no way to unload it if you change your mind down the road.

Both manufacturers also have fantastic service if you ever have problems with it.

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: 2-person tent recommendations on 04/22/2009 16:01:27 MDT Print View

I love my Tarptent Double Rainbow, dual entry, easy setup, light enough to use solo and can be made to be freestanding with hiking poles. Alternatively, if you don't walk with poles (like me), and you're staking the tent out, you don't need to carry extra poles just for the tent. So the Tarptent weights are totally inclusive (poles, pegs, lines).

I wouldn't say it's a palace for two though.

. .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Resale vs. Return on 04/22/2009 16:44:21 MDT Print View

Good Point Dan. Not to mention you can be supporting fellow BPL members, cottage industry and excellent products hand-made in the USA. Then you can tell your grandchildren how you helped to save the economy in 2009 by supporting honest local(on a global scale) business.

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Re: Resale vs. Return on 04/22/2009 16:52:35 MDT Print View

I've sure been doing my bit to save the economy this year... Still, it's already April, and I haven't yet bought a tent or tarp in 09. But unless I block the MLD site, it can't last.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: 2-person tent recommendations on 04/23/2009 00:31:25 MDT Print View

Great reviews of many of the tents listed on this site. My personal favs are the Six Moon Designs Refuge (or Refuge X), the Tarptent Squall 2, and the Gossamer Gear/Tarptent Squall Classic.

The Tarptent Double Rainbow is a really cool tent. I bet the SMD Lunar Duo is too. Again, reviews of all of these on the site for you to enjoy.

I agree with you- I loved the MSR Hubba Hubba but the weight was too high for my tastes.

Best of luck! Doug

David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
Single wall vs. double wall breathability, other considerations on 04/23/2009 08:59:16 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the replies.

A couple of issues:

1) You are all recommending single-wall tents, and no doubt that is the only way I can shave off another 1.5 pounds from my current tent, except if I went with a mainstream manufactured tent such as the new MSR Reflex. However, how will breathability compare to my Hubba Hubba? I do live in hot and humid Houston, and while I do most of my backpacking in Colorado, there is the occasional trip in humid Texas. I am worried that I won't be able to remove the fly and feel the breeze like I can with my Hubba Hubba.

2) How does the ROOM and STABILITY of the tents you are recommending compare to my Hubba Hubba? I have used this tent in 60+ mph winds and am confident with it. Also, the room is just about perfect for my wife and I. Any less room, and I feel we would be rather cramped.

The following tents are on the top of my list so far:

Tarptent Double Rainbow
Tarptent Squall 2
Cloudburst 2
GG Squall Classic
SMD Lunar Duo

I'm still considering the MSR Carbon Reflex despite its high cost. If anyone has this tent and can give me some actual weights that would be nice.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Single wall vs. double wall breathability, other considerations on 04/23/2009 09:17:10 MDT Print View

Here's a great BPL article on condensation re: tents and other shelters:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/single_wall_shelters_condensation_factors_tips.html

Sharon Bingham
(cowboisgirl) - F - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Hubba-Hubba space vs the TT Cloudburst and Rainshadow 2 on 04/23/2009 10:05:52 MDT Print View

I'm only weighing in on this discussion because I used to own the Hubba-Hubba, and have since owned both the TT Cloudburst and the Rainshadow 2, and I can address your size question.

I actually found the Hubba Hubba to be quite small. Two 26"-wide ground mats laid side-by-side in it was pushing out on the tent walls, and interfering with zipper operation. Additionally, there was no room inside for gear, and so gear had to be left out in the vestibules of the fly. And in heavy summer rain on a mountain in Maine, I had condensation problems (with condensation forming on the fly and dripping into the tent through the mesh), because ventilation in the Hubba-Hubba is pretty much non-existent with that fly on and closed down enough to keep rain out.

In contrast, both the TT Cloudburst 2 and the Rainshadow 2 are quite roomy. In floor-area alone, the difference between the Hubba-Hubba and the Cloudburst 2 is substantial (4200" sq., vs 5687" sq.). The Rainshadow 2 is even larger, and for only about a 1 oz. penalty in weight over the Cloudburst.

The Rainshadow ended up being my tent of choice because of all the extra room it afforded two people. If you think the Hubba-Hubba is sufficient, the Rainshadow will feel absolutely palatial. Two people PLUS gear all fit quite comfortably inside that tent with room to spare. Recently I pitched it in the backyard for extra sleeping area when family was in town, and it ended up being a place to "hang out" in the evening - with 4 adults and a small child all comfortably in that space lounging and talking.

As for condensation, I cannot speak for the other single-wall tents you are interested in (I think the article that was linked to does a really good job of addressing the issue tho). But I CAN tell you that condensation has been almost NO issue with the Rainshadow. You DO have to pay attention to wind direction to make sure you are pitching the foot of the tent INTO to the wind, so that you get a good through-breeze, but that is not hard to do and the breeze keeps the air in the tent fresh - I REALLY like it.

Even in rain, with the tent "closed down" (i.e. the front beak closed), the tent feels airy if there is a breeze. You get SO much circulation with the tent walls not meeting the ground on the sides, and the front and back ends still quite open.

I wrote more about various conditions I've had the Rainshadow in here:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=19509&skip_to_post=153012#153012

I've had more experience with the Rainshadow than I have had with the Cloudburst, but the tents are quite similar, and I'd imagine they perform quite similarly.