Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » sub-4.0lb 3-season tents


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Jason Filcman
(BlarneyStoner) - F
sub-4.0lb 3-season tents on 07/01/2009 12:29:20 MDT Print View

I am a fairly novice backpacker. I’ve been on a five or six 3-5 day trips, mostly in the Pacific Northwest. I have quickly realized that lightweight is the way to go… and while you couldn’t call my current setup ultralight by any stretch of the imagination, I am slowly moving in that direction. My pack for a 3-5 day trip weighs in at about 28 pounds without water. My tent is a Mountain Hardwear Light Wedge 2… at about 6lbs, it was one of the lighter 2-person 3-season tents around when I bought it five years ago. It is starting to show its age. I split it between my girlfriend and I, but it seems that with the new crop of sil-nylon ultralight tents out there, I might shave another few pounds from our packs. I’ve been looking at Shires’ tarp tents (Rainbow 2 & Scarp 2), and Big Sky’s Evolution 2P, as well as the slightly heavier MSR Hubba Hubba. I also backpack with my dog, and I’m concerned about how well the lightweight fabrics of these tents will hold up to his occasional pawing at the tent wall in the morning (and the durability of these tents in general). I have heard mixed reports about the waterproofness of sil-nylon as well, and living in Oregon the waterproofing of both the fly and the floor are of paramount importance. I have always loved my Light Wedge… just big enough for me, the gf, and the dog, with some critical gear inside, and the awning plenty big for everything else. It has always seemed exceptionally sturdy and bombproof, and while I realize I’ll have to make some compromises to get my pack any lighter than it is now, I’m wondering, with the dog, if this is the area in which to do so. Any advice would be appreciated.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: sub-4.0lb 3-season tents on 07/01/2009 13:31:23 MDT Print View

I have a TT Rainbow, and I wouldn't worry about your dog doing damage to the fabric, unless he spends a lot of time filing his nails into razor sharp claws.

I've read plenty of reviews on Tarptent and can't recall anyone complaining about silnylon leaking anywhere but the seams, which should be sealed.

One big difference between the Rainbow 2 and the other tents you mentioned is that the Rainbow is single wall. with 2 people + dog condensation might be an issue. Also, the beak(awning) cannot be pitched all the way to the ground for full protection from blowing rain. This is also a potential issue with the netting along the sides. If I was expecting rain, I'd bring along my bivy sack at 7.5oz. That eliminates some of the weight savings over the Scarp 2.

Either the MSR Hubba Hubba, REI Quarter Dome T2, Big Agnes Seedhouse or Copper Spur SL2 would save you a couple pounds over your current set-up and not be too big a leap from what you're currently used to.

I'd recommend doing some searches on the forums for info about the UL tents you mentioned. There's pretty good info out there on each, especially the Tarptent. There's plenty to recommend them, but they're definitely a different breed from the above tents. Just make sure you know the limitations along with the benefits so you don't end up disappointed.

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
re: Silnylon Floors on 07/01/2009 14:05:00 MDT Print View

Silnylon tent floors will leak fairly easily if pitched on saturated or boggy ground. It has only about 15% the hydrostatic head of a traditional tent floor material from the information I've read.

My friend has a Contrail and has experienced leaks several times this year. (We are having an incredibly wet spring/early summer in New England.) Last weekend he had to bail for a shelter in the middle of the night.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : sil-nylon floors on 07/01/2009 14:54:56 MDT Print View

I don't agree about sil-nylon floors leaking very easily.
I too have a Contrail, and also a Stephensons 2R. Also use a TiGoat bivvy bag and MLD Bug Bivvy. They all have sil-nylon floors and i haven't had water coming through the groundsheet, and they have been used in very wet conditions. I always try to spread the load by only sitting or kneeling on a sleeping mat or similar.
You could use a sheet of polycro if you're worried about it.

I often use polycro to help avoid condensation from the cold ground. Maybe your friend thought condensation was a leak? I've had condensation form on thick groundsheets as well as sil-nylon.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
sub-4.0lb 3-season tents on 07/01/2009 14:57:11 MDT Print View

A couple of easy fixes, if required.
With the thinner silnylon floors you can coat all of the floor with a 5:1 mix of mineral spirits and silicone, that will add about 2 oz .
You could of course also use a groundsheet under the floor.

With the Rainbow is easy enough to reduce the gaps all around by digging an inch or two under each pole end, that will drop the tent down (but of course reduce air flow)
Franco

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: sub-4.0lb 3-season tents on 07/01/2009 15:14:46 MDT Print View

Unlike the others, I think that silnylon leaks a lot!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re : sil-nylon floors on 07/01/2009 15:50:34 MDT Print View

If you pitch a silnylon floor in a bog or stream and then sit in it, it will leak. It handles most other conditions just fine. I always carry a bivy bag with a silnylon bottom, so effectively can have two layers of silnylon if things get wet enough, but this is rare in my expereince.

The age and initial quality of the silnylon will also have an effect. Coating an older silnylon floor as Franco suggests can increase it's life span. Then there is 'good' silnylon and 'less good' silnylon...

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: sub-4.0lb 3-season tents on 07/02/2009 08:58:35 MDT Print View

Jason, I think the trick in your situation is going to be getting enough space for the three of you... Guess it depends how big your dog is. I do like the Evo 2P. The Copper Spur is great, but I think the 2-P would be too small to share with a dog. The Copper Spur 3 would be great, but you're talking about 4.25 pounds. The GoLite Shangri-La 2 is overlooked a lot, but has 43 square feet for 4 pounds (with insert, shell and inner tent come separately), just need to use your trekking poles for setup. Anyway, a couple of extra thoughts.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
MSR CR2 on 07/02/2009 14:22:01 MDT Print View

If you can find a good deal on one (like I did) I think the MSR Carbon Reflex 2 is a good choice. It's got great waterproofing (10,000mm floor) which is way better than most UL tents and it's sub 3lbs trail weight. It's also very well built and it's a double wall so you don't get condensation inside, you can use it a just a bug tent and you can set it up with just the fly, poles and footprint if you want to go lighter and still need rain protection.

Edited by dandydan on 07/02/2009 14:22:41 MDT.

Paul Vertrees
(Sawtooth) - M

Locale: Southern Colorado Rockies
RE: sub-4.0lb 3-season tents on 07/06/2009 23:11:34 MDT Print View

Why not use a floorless shelter? I have both a Kifaru Para Tarp/Annex (1 lb) and a Para Tipi (3.5 lb) . A dog sure can't hurt the floor if you don't have one!

Jason Filcman
(BlarneyStoner) - F
sub-4.0lb tent on 07/07/2009 14:38:50 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the responses... it is appreciated.

I've been going back and forth, but after more research, I feel I have a worse grasp of what the difference between single and double wall is... for instance, is a BSI Revolution 2P a single or double wall. Sure it has a mesh inner, but is that enough to constitute a second wall? After all, will that stop any of the condensation forming on the fly from dripping down on you? Some people I've talked to have called the Double Rainbow a double-wall, some a single. Those (Evolution/Revolution) tents are pricey, and I'm wondering if I'm better of dealing with the condensation issues something like the SMD Lunar Duo would have... I think that the Seedhouse would be too small for the three of us. I hate shopping for gear... I'm more confused now than I was.

Jason Filcman
(BlarneyStoner) - F
floorless shelter on 07/07/2009 14:40:09 MDT Print View

As far as tarp setups go... I am insect averse... at least while I'm sleeping.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: sub-4.0lb tent on 07/07/2009 17:03:05 MDT Print View

A mesh inner wall is considered a double wall.

The only time I've had water dripping on me from the tent body was in winter camping conditions, in a single wall pyramid shelter. That's why true winter tents have solid inner walls, I believe. It was in the teens and snowing, and it was just a few drips. In that case, they served the purpose of waking us up to knock the snow off the walls.

I had my BA Seedhouse SL2 in the rain in Yosemite for 2 consecutive nights last year, temps in the low 50s, and while I got condensation on the inside of the rain fly, it never started dripping on me.

The advantage of having even a mesh inner wall in that situation is that when I moved about in the tent and brushed against the walls, I was only touching the mesh, and the the condensation covered rain fly.

A mesh inner wall will be lighter than a solid inner, and more versatile, as in fair weather you can often pitch just the mesh inner and sleep bug protected yet under the stars.

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
floorless on 07/08/2009 05:48:26 MDT Print View

As sawtooth said did you thought about floorless ?

I went from the usual heavy 2 skin tent to first a double rainbow.
Its a neat hybrid, and i am still using it once in a while.
But after testing floorless shelters ( MSR twin sisters, kifaru para tipi, kifaru para tarp and a spinntwinn )
i really appreciate the no floor aspect.
you set it up and you can go inside with your shoes
if needed you can add a bug bivy

MLD just added some neat inside for his mids, get it + the mid of your choice and you get a great low weight set up.

edit : as for silnylon floors they can be ok, my myog bug bivy for my kifaru para tipi didnt leak yet and he has seen some awful conditions in Scotland.

Edited by Fre49 on 07/08/2009 05:50:06 MDT.

Jason Filcman
(BlarneyStoner) - F
thanks for the advice on 07/09/2009 11:35:29 MDT Print View

What do you guys think of the Lunar Duo. I know this has been covered before, but just curious if any of those who responded to my question have direct experience with that shelter. Seems that the livable space I get, for the weight, is hard to beat. I use trekking poles, so that is not an issue..

As far as floorless goes... baby steps... remember I'm coming from a pretty traditional double wall tent, and I'm a little nervous about something like the Lunar Duo... and we haven't even mentioned how my girlfriend is going to take the change... shhhhh... she doesn't know about it yet.