New shelter
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Adam DuComb
(aducomb)
New shelter on 01/18/2010 18:26:21 MST Print View

Hi all,
I've recently started down the path to become a lighter backpacker and my old tent is on the chopping block. I had no idea there were so many other options out the for shelters so I am a little lost. Any help would be great!

For starters, almost all of my backpacking takes place on the east coast and most of that is in the Greens and Whites of New England. So rain, moisture, and bugs are certain. I've never been able to sleep well in hammocks and I'm not ready to do the tarp and bivy set-up yet, so those are out. I am average build at 5'10 and would prefer that my gear stay covered as well. Oh and one last thing, I don't use poles.

I have a few tents in mind that fit my requirements (moment, fly creek,..) but what else is out there that actually fits my requirements, and what do you think the best choice is?

Thanks,
Adam

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Shelter on 01/18/2010 19:23:12 MST Print View

You've listed two good shelters. Another neat option is the SMD Vamp. With the 'tarp' (16oz) and 'nettent' (11oz) you effectively have a double wall tent for 27oz. Add stakes (~2 oz) and trekking poles (GG LT3's @ 5oz for a set) and you've got a full fledged double wall spacious versatile setup for 34oz....less if you want to use sticks instead of poles :)

If you really don't want to use poles, buy can buy collapsible GG LT4 poles (7oz / set) and just toss them on your pack. They may come in handy some day when you sprain an ankle.

Edited by dandydan on 01/18/2010 19:26:13 MST.

Bill Poett
(wpoett@aol.com) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara
Re: New shelter on 01/18/2010 19:27:36 MST Print View

HI Adam

You sound like a perfect candidate for the Henry Shires Tarptent Moment.
At 28 ounces, no poles, two peg set up, great company and great reviews its about as close to a no brainer as I can come up with. Check out the reader reviews

Good luck and enjoy the journey... hope you have a big gear closet.

Yours

Bill

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Single or Double on 01/18/2010 19:52:20 MST Print View

Put some thought into whether you want a single wall (TT Moment etc) or double wall shelter (SMD Vamp, BA FC1 etc). Once you figure that out, you'll have narrowed it down to only a couple options.

Adam DuComb
(aducomb)
Double or single on 01/18/2010 20:51:14 MST Print View

I've only owned double walled tents, I'm not against trying something new though. My two main concerns about double vs single is protection and condensation/ventilation. Double and single doesn't matter as long as my gear and myself can stay dry when it rains and the inside of my tent is not covered in condensation when it's humid out.

If push came to shove I would pick double because it's what i know.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Double or single on 01/19/2010 10:33:26 MST Print View

Double walled tents offer some advantages, but overall, most ultralight folks prefer single walled. I recommend this article: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/single_wall_shelters_condensation_factors_tips.html
which will help reduce condensation and hopefully put your mind at ease. It is always a good idea to carry a light towel or bandana to wipe off the condensation (if you get any).

In general, a tarptent makes sense for the conditions you described. I haven't moved to a tarp design because of the bugs. Tarptents are very advanced right now. I think just about any choice from either tarptent or six moons will be a winner. The choice often comes down to personal preference. For example, I like a tent with lots of space above my head when I lie down, so I like the Contrail. Others like the side entry or lower profile of other tents. I also want to add that tents that use trekking poles don't require them. You can get regular poles for those tents from the tent maker or other sources. It's just that one of the big advantages of that design is reduced when you don't carry poles already.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
New Shelter on 01/19/2010 10:39:27 MST Print View

Managing the effects of condensation is easier in a double walled shelter. Given that the weight difference is getting closer and closer to that of single walled shelters, the newer double walls are worth a consideration. Having said that, you will always get more room per weight with a single wall.

JR Redding
(GrinchMT) - F
Re: New Shelter on 01/19/2010 12:03:53 MST Print View

Adam - Being originally from New Hampshire myself, you're trekking in the same areas I did for years. I have had mixed results with various types of shelters in that area, dependent upon conditions.

Overall though, if you choose a good campsite, a single wall tarptent works rather well. However if you do something like pitch on an exposed ridgeline in the whites, get a nice wind and rainstorm, you will probably have some moisture issues.

If you plan on packing in the snow season, you could get away with a tarptent, but would probably be better suited to a double wall tent like the Scarp.

What I have always paid attention to first and foremost with any tent is how the floor is laid out, and what the size of the floor is. If the floor area mights my own personal criteria then you look at the other features, weight, single wall, double wall, entry, exit etc. Some people like front entry, some people like side entry. Do you want room to sit up in?

Think about how you like to be comfortable and then apply those criteria to all the choices of tents out there to come up with what is suitable for you at a weight you want to carry.

One other noteworthy mention, Condensation: Always carry a Shamwow type shammy with you. Whether the condensation is on the inside or out, the shammy's allow you to quickly dry off the walls before tearing down in the mornings.

Edited by GrinchMT on 01/19/2010 12:05:17 MST.

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
living with condensation on 01/19/2010 12:39:14 MST Print View

Adam - I've lived with a single walled tent and condensation is completely manageable if you follow these words of advice:

"Don't touch the walls!"

That requires a combination of discipline and a more spacious tent than you might need if you camp in a double wall. Condensation will run harmlessly down the single wall and, if your tent is properly designed, onto the ground.

I say that because my first single wall allowed the water to run down into the bathtub floor. The GossamerGear ONE (16 oz. sans poles) manages this problem by insetting the bathtub floor so that the netting that connects the bathtub to the tent wall is nearly horizontal so the runoff drips through the net onto the ground.

I think I saw another design where the netting attached to the base of the bathtub rather than the rim. The water apparently piles up against the bathtub until hydrostatic pressure forces it through the netting and onto the ground.

Anyway, check out the One. It's designed for trekking poles (which saved me on a wet, icy trail this weekend)but GG sells poles for it too.

Adam DuComb
(aducomb)
Protection Fears on 01/20/2010 09:43:25 MST Print View

Thanks everyone! You all have valid points and options for me. At this point, after looking at some of them, I feel as if all are very lightweight but some of the tent don't look like they will keep the weather outside in a good storm. I am just starting to become a lighter backpacker so the lightest possible weight is not my first requirement, but more so protection (as almost anything will be lighter than what I currently own).

Anything under 4lbs will be better than what I use now, but I would prefer to be in the <3lbs range. However, the tent must have good 3 season weather protection for me and my gear even in heavy storms (so a double wall with a vestibule would be ideal), good ventilation (minimal condensation), and a little durability would be nice too. Maybe I require too much?

Also, could someone clarify this for me. On the TT website they say their material is "waterproof within normal operating conditions". So is it waterproof when it rains, but not when it pours?

The suggested list is currently:
Big Agnes Fly Creek (Copper Spur?)
TT Moment (Scarp?)
SMD Vamp
GG One

Thanks again,
Adam

Edited by aducomb on 01/20/2010 09:53:34 MST.

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Re: Protection Fears on 01/20/2010 09:58:46 MST Print View

"Also, could someone clarify this for me. On the TT website they say their material is "waterproof within normal operating conditions". So is it waterproof when it rains, but not when it pours?"

Adam, my Scarp 1 holds up just fine, in a downpour like under snow. Don't worry there.

I'd also suggest the TT Moment to you, I think especially the protection it gives you would be good. And heck, its fast to put up and looks real nice. Would be my choice if I'd be right now in your shoes =)

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Protection Fears: Silnylon limitations on 01/20/2010 10:21:25 MST Print View

Adam,

Here's a thread about the limitations of silnylon:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=14966

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
TT Moment on 01/20/2010 12:47:51 MST Print View

Adam,

I echo Bill Poett's recommendation of the TT Moment.
I had a TT Contrail for 3 summers and liked it, except when it flapped in high winds.

I sold the Contrail to a guy in Kentucky, a wooded state more suited to the Contrail's "forest tent" purpose. Then I bought the Moment and couldn't be happier.

You'll hear about single wall silnylon tents "misting" in a driving thunderstorm and it may be true but I've not yet experienced that problem.

To prevent that possibility in the Moment I not only seam sealed the tent but continued on to coat the top 1/2 of the canopy with the light seam sealer mixture. It may have added an ounce of weight but it also added a lot of security from the possibility of misting through in a monsoon-type rain we get here in the western mountains in late summer.

I can't recommend the TT Moment enough. With a vestibule large enough to contain your pack to the left of the inner door AND cook at the same time it outclasses the Contrail and similar vestibules by a mile.

Plus the Moment's ability to easily withstand high winds is something I can attest to personally.

This tent has many good details and it shows how much design effort Henry Shires put into it. Yeah, it weighs 2 oz. more than the Contrail but it's 2 oz. of more useable headroom, vestibule and great ventilation. A tiny weight price to pay for a great tent.

Edited by Danepacker on 01/20/2010 12:48:44 MST.

Fred Eoff
(fredeoff) - F - M

Locale: Northwest
Re: TT Moment on 01/20/2010 21:59:11 MST Print View

Eric:
Thanks, your comments are exactly what I have been looking for contrasting the Contrail and the Moment. I too have happily used the Contrail in the NW for 3 seasons but am pretty intrigued with the Moment. Your first hand observations are very useful.

Fred

Edited by fredeoff on 01/20/2010 21:59:59 MST.

Adam DuComb
(aducomb)
Tents on 01/21/2010 13:37:21 MST Print View

Coating the fly, thats interesting. So the Moment seems to be the popular suggestion. What about the Scarp? I like the layout more and the double wall is nice too.

In terms of fly/floor material, how do the TT and the Big Agnes compare and what about the usable space? Anyone out there have experience with both?

One last thing. Are there any other options out there that haven't been mentioned or over looked up to, or around, the 3 lb mark?

Gabe P
(Gabe) - MLife
Re: Protection Fears on 01/21/2010 14:08:42 MST Print View

If protection is your primary concern, you could look at the Hilleberg Akto. Or you could reduce your shelter weight and retain many of the protective features of the Akto by purchasing a Terra Nova Laser Competition or Photon. All three tents aren't what I would think of as typical shelters for "light" backpacking, but they're lighter than most double wall shelters -- 56 oz for the Akto down to 27 oz for the Photon. They may, however, be a bit warm for where you intend to use them.

Anything from Henry Shires (i.e. TT) is worth looking at.

Don Selesky
(backslacker) - M
Re: TT Moment on 01/21/2010 14:09:14 MST Print View

"You'll hear about single wall silnylon tents "misting" in a driving thunderstorm and it may be true but I've not yet experienced that problem."

I had that problem with a Cuben tarp two summers ago in a driving Vermont thunderstorm. And I can definitely confirm it was misting, big time.

Gabe P
(Gabe) - MLife
Re: Protection Fears on 01/21/2010 14:17:45 MST Print View

FYI

Review of the Laser Competition:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/terra_nova_laser_competition_review.html

Review of the Laser Photon:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/terra_nova_laser_photon_tent_review.html

Review of the Akto:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/hilleberg_akto_tent_review.html

Review of the Scarp 2:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/tarptent_scarp2_tent.html

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: TT Moment on 01/21/2010 14:34:51 MST Print View

"I had that problem with a Cuben tarp two summers ago in a driving Vermont thunderstorm. And I can definitely confirm it was misting, big time."

Hmmm, seems strange. Silnylon, maybe (though I haven't experienced it), cuben seems unlikely. Are you sure the rain wasn't just misting the condensation off the inside of the tent? I have experienced this with cuben (and silnyon).

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: TT Moment on 01/21/2010 15:12:08 MST Print View

"I had that problem with a Cuben tarp two summers ago in a driving Vermont thunderstorm. And I can definitely confirm it was misting, big time."

I don't doubt you had 'misting'. The question that arises is "What was the source of the mist?"

The films used in making Cuben fabric have zero porosity. A firehose won't drive water through.

That leaves condensation. Not an unlikely scenario in a humid environment that is getting chilled by the weather.