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Tent vs. Shelter
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Matt Holmes
(mholmes) - F

Locale: North Texas- Fort Worth
Tent vs. Shelter on 12/24/2009 08:53:06 MST Print View

Need help here.
My 10 year old and I have done some hiking in the past and we have done some car camping.
We are going to start moving into backpacking and I need to downsize the tent/shelter.
The issue- I have no issue with throwing up a poncho or sleeping with nothing over top of me. However, with a child, it is a little different, IMO.
Right now I have the Big Agnes Seedhouse 3 Tent in my cart at REI online, but at around 6lbs, it is a little on the heavy side.
Are there other lighter tents that would be better OR do I say heck with it, buy a tarp and show him the best way first.
Also- I live in Texas so outside of a couple months, it is pretty warm at night.

V k

Locale: New York
tarptents on 12/24/2009 09:11:50 MST Print View

Take a look at the rainbow or double rainbow form tarptent.

John Reichle
(mammoman) - M

Locale: NE AL
Tents on 12/24/2009 09:20:30 MST Print View

For traditional tents, I like the BA Emerald Mountain 3 or REI Quarterdome T3 better as both have dual doors and vestibules. Our family has both, and each comfortably holds an adult and two kids comfortably, and keeps gear organized...and late night potty runs don't disturb the others :)

I really like my TT Scarp 1, and I bet the Scarp 2 would be an even better choice for you and your son. Again, dual entry, dual vestibules, and very light.

j lan
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Tent vs. Shelter on 12/24/2009 09:28:55 MST Print View

For more space you could go for the Rainshadow 2:

Or the Hogback:

Mark Stalbird
(Off-road) - F
My favorite on 12/24/2009 09:50:34 MST Print View

You can save a considerable amount of weight by simply going with a 2-man tent.

My favorite is the Sierra Designs lightning 2 with two large doors and lots of mesh for star gazing.

I timed myself at 1.13 seconds set-up time with rainfly.
Yes...i hurried.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Tent vs. Shelter on 12/24/2009 10:51:20 MST Print View

> I have no issue with throwing up a poncho or sleeping with nothing over top of me.
> However, with a child, it is a little different, IMO.

What's your concern with children? I understand with the <3y that you would to contain them so they don't wander off while you are sleeping, but 10y old should do just fine. My daughter and her friends are even more likely than me to choice cowboy camping an any given site (I am more concerned about wind protection using a quilt).

I would vote for a tarptent, or some sort of bug bivy and separate tarp. My notes on recommended shelters.

Edited by verber on 12/24/2009 10:52:06 MST.

Matt Holmes
(mholmes) - F

Locale: North Texas- Fort Worth
Thanks on 12/24/2009 12:17:24 MST Print View

Thanks to all of you for your quick responses.
I am doing some serious research on the tarptent now and like what I see.

Mark- great insight, now you have me comparing my REI Flash 65 against the Granite Gear Vapor Trail............

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Thanks on 12/24/2009 13:09:37 MST Print View

Selling a Tarptent Cloudburst 2. If interested, see my post in Gear Swap.

kevin smith
tent on 12/24/2009 16:37:57 MST Print View

i was in your situation a few months back
my 5 yr old son is now hiking with dad soa lightweight tent was the best option after a lot of research i ended up buying the mont bell crescent 2 tent i must say i could not be happier with this tent its not ultralight
but at 3 lbs even it fits my needs for when i take my son backpacking he digs sleeping in the tent with dad lol

not the best ultralight choice but a well made option in my opinion


James Naphas
(naphas13) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Either way works on 12/24/2009 17:00:20 MST Print View

I slept under a tarp on a backpacking trip for the first time when I was around 11. I got a total kick out of it. OTOH, my son tends to come squarely down on the overly cautious side on most things in life; he doesn't even like sleeping in a tent that isn't almost totally battened down.

Unless your kid tends to be overly fearful I wouldn't hesitate to tarp with him.

FWIW, I really like my tarptent double rainbow for a two-person shelter.

G Foster McLachlan
(hunter13) - F

Locale: NYS
Re: Tent vs. Shelter on 01/02/2010 09:50:41 MST Print View

Check out MLD trailstar. Or the super mid with netting on the sides. That's the ticket.

Jonathon Rogers

Locale: East TN
Other options on 01/02/2010 13:35:27 MST Print View

I use the Big Agnees Seedhouse SL3 (the SL3 saves 2 pounds over the regular Seedhouse 3) for me along with my 2 and 4 year olds and use a MLD Duomid (with or without the net inner depending on season) for just me and my 4 year old.

The Duomid is great for one adult and one child, but I'd consider also buying a small tarp to use as an awning so that there's more stretching out room if there is rain...I use the MLD emergency tarp over the entrance to the Duomid so I can have both doors open, put gear out under the awning, and leave as much room as possible for hanging out. I find kids are just a bit less tolerant of cramped spaces.

Another good option is the Golite Shangri-La 3...lots of room and still preserves the basic idea of tarp-camping. The shelter plus its inner nest is a bit on the heavy side, though...but again I think with kids it's worth some sacrifices for more room.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Tent vs. Shelter on 01/02/2010 14:34:23 MST Print View

Another loyal TarpTent DoubleRainbow user here. It's my go-to shelter for two people when there is no snow on the ground.