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Best Tent for someone not sure they like snowcamping yet
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Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Best Tent for someone not sure they like snowcamping yet on 10/01/2009 07:31:30 MDT Print View

I've read thru (mostly)the best lightweight tent thread, but they're youre talking about $500 tents.

I've gone snowcamping 3 times (I took the Bay Area Sierra Club snow camping course last winter). First time I used a loaned Megamid. It did okay in about 8-12" of snow, but we did have to get out and get snow off the lower part of the wall. We forgot to use the side tie-outs.

2nd time snow cave. Cool, but time consuming.

So I'm not sure I really enjoy snow camping yet. Something about being wet and cold, I think.

I'd like to keep trying though. But I don't want to(can't at the moment anyways) invest is a $500 tent.

I was leaning toward a Duomid, based on my Megamid experience. I live on the East coast for now, so I'd mainly be dealing with snow loading, and one night trips.

I have an pre-08 TT Rainbow, put an oware Cattarp2, but I'm not sure those are appropriate.

Anything else recommended?

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: Winter Shelter on 10/01/2009 09:34:44 MDT Print View

Hi Stacy. Where on the East Coast are we talking? Big difference if your heading into a place like the Whites in NH. For most places, I think your Rainbow would work fine for overnights if there is no snow. It works great in wind, especially if oriented correctly, and you can use trekking poles to support the arch under heavy windloading. It's going to be breezy though, and if there is snow you'll get alot of spindrift coming in.

I probably wouldn't choose a full-on winter tent if you're "testing the waters." Most of the full-on winter tents are going to sit in the closet during the rest of the year. I've used a Bibler I-tent in humid high 40*fs in the Smokies, and I'll never do that again! Winter tents are designed to be very warm; I find I need a winter tent about 3 months out of the year (mid Dec. thru mid-March) and then I'm back to a more open, ventable shelter.

I think the Duomid would be the best choice to start with. The Duomid would be useful in winter, especially with an inner tent, and handy many other times of year. I like shaped tarps in all seasons if I'm dealing with alot of wind and rain. It's also great in any wet weather to be under shelter with your shoes on! I find my gear gets less wet because I'm never in my sleeping area with wet clothes or shoes. There is far more space to cook in as well. In deeper snow, you can dig it in and really increase the space and headroom. I really think you would find a Duomid is you're preferred all-season shelter, rather than just a winter shelter.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Digging Out on 10/01/2009 09:39:27 MDT Print View

Almost forgot: Digging out is part of snow camping. Unless you're in a serious expedition tent, or the snowfall is very light, you'll have to get up to dig out and maybe re-tension your guylines. As Mike C! likes to say "Get up and DEAL!"

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Digging Out on 10/01/2009 10:04:25 MDT Print View


Thanks for the input. All-season usability is a big part of the reason I was leaning Duoumid. With a bug net, it could replace my Rainbow when I want an enclosed shelter, for 8 oz less weight.

(My Rainbow is an older model w/o the pole grommets to support the arch, so I'd have to MYOG my own.)

My experience in the Sierras last year with a BD Megamid tells me it should be doable. We slept 3 in it, and dug about a 4' deep hole to put it over, digging into the walls to make it more spacious.

I don't mind so much getting up to dig out. Had to do that in the snowcave as well as the door was getting blocked up with drifts. And I have to say, standing outside in a white-out at 3am, in the mountains, all alone, is one of my favorite experiences ever.

I just got concerned when I read in a G-Spot thread about Ryan Jordan having issues with Duomid snow-loading, since I assume he knows what he's doing.

I'm new to the East coast, having moved the NYC from San Francisco in August. We ditched the car, so I'm still figuring out where I can go car-less camping from the Manhattan. Any tips would be appreciated.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Best Tent for someone not sure they like snowcamping yet on 10/01/2009 10:46:57 MDT Print View

>>I'm still figuring out where I can go car-less camping from the Manhattan. Any tips would be appreciated.

Depends. Harriman State Park is easy to get to via Metro North. Your Rainbow will handle most anything you encounter there. If you take a bus to the Catskills, 'Dacks, or Whites, you'll want a tent that can handle snow loads I think.

Send me a PM if you have questions.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Best Tent for someone not sure they like snowcamping yet on 10/01/2009 12:54:07 MDT Print View

One vote against the Rainbow being a good winter camping tent.

If you're cost concerned, and renting or borrowing tents ain't your thing, the a Megamid or Megalight will be the cheapest route.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Best Tent for someone not sure they like snowcamping yet on 10/01/2009 23:49:40 MDT Print View

If you're still trying it out, there are some less expensive options:

MSR Twin Sisters $200
Golite Shangri La 2 $175

I have a Shangri La 3- great tent. I also had a MSR Twin Peaks (same as the new one except no skirt)- another great tent.

Can't beat MLD weights though- and their quality is impeccable.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Best Tent for someone not sure they like snowcamping yet on 10/02/2009 11:10:10 MDT Print View

I'm definitely leaning Duomid, in no small part because if I end up deciding it's not for me, it'll probably retain more of it's blue book value on BPL than the Golite and MSR.

Snow camping last year with the Sierra club pretty much everybody had a pretty marginal tents, and nobody had a collapse or died even when we got 3-4' feet of overnight snow at Ridge Lakes in Lassen NP. One guy was even using a Sierra Designs Lightyear and he insisted that at no point did he wake up with the tent top sitting on his face. The Megamids worked fine as long as you reached up with your trekking pole every so often and knocked the snow off the sides.

As everybody's pointed out, it's just a matter of proper set up and maintenance in all but extreme conditions.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
TarpTent Scarp 1 or 2 on 10/31/2009 21:53:22 MDT Print View

I'm waiting for the revised (longer fly) Scarp 2 W/ ripstop inner tent. I plan to make it my main winter tent but it can be a 3 season tent and with the optional net inner it can even be a tropical tent.


Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Best Tent for someone not sure they like snowcamping yet on 11/03/2009 00:13:47 MST Print View

+1 borrowing a shelter until you are sure you are into snow trips.

Kevin Lane
Winter Tent on 02/08/2010 15:07:07 MST Print View

Greetings. Us easterners have a different load than the west coast does. We do not get the snow that you would expect, so the use of snow to add insulation is not available. I still use my GoLite Hex pyramid, and carry the floor cause I am that way, on winter hikes at least

E mail me off list for trips if you like (