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Nikola Sijan
(sijannikola) - F
lightweight equipment on 04/01/2010 10:42:51 MDT Print View

Hello everyone!
I'm trying to switch from 'regular' to light backpacking. The total weight of my backpack is around 25 lbs, including food and water. I possess Eureka Mountain lite tent for 2 persons (3.2 kgs) but my wife is unable to accompany me for my next trip, so I'm considering to buy a lighter solo tent.

Having considered couple of options I came to conclusion that there is no tent which satisfies my requirement.
MY requirements are:
-double wall tent
-weighing less that 4 lbs
-under $300
-with fly reaching the ground in order to avoid wind blowing under it (I was surprised how many tents don't have fly reaching the ground-all tarpent products, hubba hubba and many more)
-with at least one large vestibule for 45 litres backpack and shoes)
-comfortable enough for my size 187cm (I believe that is 6'3)
-good headroom clearance (which excluded Akto)
Do you guys have any suggestions?

2. since I'll be hiking during the summer, I estimated that at least 3 liters of water per day will be required-before I reach a spring or village. Do you reckon it will be enough? (Surprisingly I've noticed that many hikers don't add weight of the water to their overall backpack weight.) do you deal with underwear on summer hikes? I've bought Icebreak Beast underwear and it looked pretty ok for the summer but of course after couple of days it became smelly. How do you wash it and get rid of 'yellow' and in some cases 'brown' stains? Do you think that Ex Officio synthetic underwear would be better option for long hike?

Nikola Sijan
(sijannikola) - F
sorry on 04/01/2010 11:21:53 MDT Print View

doubled post by mistake! thanks!

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
why not a tarp? on 04/01/2010 11:28:45 MDT Print View

You wrote:
MY requirements are:
-double wall tent
-weighing less that 4 lbs
-under $300
-with fly reaching the ground in order to avoid wind blowing under it (I was surprised how many tents don't have fly reaching the ground-all tarpent products, hubba hubba and many more)
-with at least one large vestibule for 45 litres backpack and shoes)
-comfortable enough for my size 187cm (I believe that is 6'3)
-good headroom clearance (which excluded Akto)

Do you guys have any suggestions?

Mike C replies:
Question - Why are you REQUIRED to have all those points?

My suggestion; Ignore that long list and get a TARP.

Questions for you:
1. Where are you camping?
2. Are there a lot of bugs?
3. Does it rain a lot?
4. Are you winter camping?

Even if you answer yes to all the above, tarp camping is STILL fine.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
It may not exist on 04/01/2010 16:40:55 MDT Print View

OK, the fanatics will ALWAYS say "buy a tarp!" *cough*

That said, yeah, your perfect tent may be hard to come by. My biggest question is: why does the fly have to reach the ground? SOME ventilation is a good thing. Lose that requirement and the TT Scarp 1 looks good, though I'm not sure of the headroom- height is listed as 42 inches, though. Is this for winter, and you're worried about spindrift? Well, spindrift happens. But Henry might be willing to bash a Scarp together for you with a higher bathtub or something. And floor length is listed as 7'2".

If you have money to burn I think Big Sky might have contenders, but they definitely break your $300 limit.

Other than stating a weight limit of 4 pounds, it really doesn't sound like you're looking for a UL tent...

Edited by acrosome on 04/01/2010 16:43:22 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: It may not exist on 04/01/2010 16:56:03 MDT Print View

+1 with Mike

I guess I am a member of the MC Fanatic's club. Sometimes we just overthink simple solutions. However... I am not giving up toilet paper.


Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
lightweight equipment on 04/01/2010 17:46:49 MDT Print View

+1 with Dean. Tarps don't work in all environments. Tents do. ;)

Brendan West

Locale: Northeast Pennsylvania
Rain protection for pack in camp on 04/01/2010 18:07:19 MDT Print View

If you use a pack liner, you can just leave your pack out at night, and not worry about it getting wet, instead of having a vestibule to put it under.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Maybe a used tent or skip the vestibule on 04/01/2010 18:11:35 MDT Print View

If you buy a used tent you should be able to get what you want for under $300. If you give up the vestibule a Eureka Spitfire 1 could work, or an LL Bean Microlite. You may be able to improvise a vestibule with thin plastic sheeting depending on fly construction. You may want to search old forum postings here -you'll find the tents. Watch out for narrow tent width and length . Good Luck.

Gabriel Pramuk
(gpramuk) - F

Locale: West
stuff on 04/01/2010 18:20:54 MDT Print View

25 pounds WITH food and water? That is not bad... though I didn't see how many days/liters that is.
I am guessing three liters and three days food, so that would be about 14-15 lbs base weight?

We usually talk in terms of "base weight" because that represents non consumable stuff. Gear, clothes... Food and water are variable. For an overnight it might be 1 liter of water and 1.5 lbs of food, 3.5 lbs total. for a week in the desert you could be talking 4 liters of water and 12 lbs of food, 20 lbs, ouch!

Tough to say how much water you need. Desert, or some sub alpine areas such as Northern CA you might need a lot. Washington, you only need a straw. Three one liter soda bottles is usually enough for me in the hotter and dryer of areas.


I use a tarp now too... And wouldn't go back to tents... But! There are some lighter solo tents out there. Big Agnes Fly Creek UL is about 2 lbs and at least $250, and Seedhouse is heavier and cheaper. I haven't been in one but I have seen people sitting up in them. They are great in wind. Sierra Designs Lightyears used to be cheap and pretty good in rough weather. Traditional four season tents have more bomb proof rain flies, but are more expensive and heavier. The Shires Tarptent Rainbow II with removable liner is sorta two wall, but the door, like the Hubba, doesn't go to the ground. I didn't have a problem in three inches or rain in three hours in Washington with the Rainbow I... The Golite Shagri-La series looks pretty weather proof.

Again +1 to tarps, but there are some tents that might work.

Ya might consider a little sacrifice somewhere in those specs.
double wall, fly all the way to the ground...

Underwear... I haven't had great luck in two consecutive thrus to be honest, anyone else? There are some good underpants threads.

Edited by gpramuk on 04/01/2010 18:42:46 MDT.

Nikola Sijan
(sijannikola) - F
hmh tarps.... on 04/01/2010 21:07:00 MDT Print View

hmmmh, tarp idea seems very attractive, although I never had one. Why I opposed tarps so far: I don't use trekking poles, don't like an idea of being surrounded by wet ground since there is no ground floor and of course mosquitoes.
I plan to hike in Serbia, country in Eastern Europe in Divcibare mountain range, so I expect fairly good weather with occasional rain.sunset over Divcibare range

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
TARP pestering on 04/02/2010 10:23:17 MDT Print View

Mika wrote:
I plan to hike in Serbia, country in Eastern Europe in Divcibare mountain range, so I expect fairly good weather with occasional rain.


What? That sounds WONDERFUL!

I'll say it again. Liberate yourself from the precieved "NEED" for a tent!

Get a tarp and eliminate 3 1/2 pounds off your back!

I use a tarp and I do NOT use trekking poles. I use a stick or a tree.

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
tent and picture on 04/02/2010 10:43:12 MDT Print View

First, that is an amazing picture! Is that in Serbia? I went to Slovenia over the holidays. That area of Europe is very beautiful country. I hope to get back and see more countries in that area soon.

With good weather and occasional rain, a tarp or mid with a bug netting sounds like it would be perfect and be a versatile shelter for you.

If you don't go that route, I think you are going to have a tough time meeting all of your criteria. You could number your criteria in order of importance for you and classify them based on "must haves" vs. "nice to haves." This might help you determine which of those criteria you should focus on in making a shelter decision.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Lightweight Equipment on 04/02/2010 11:01:28 MDT Print View

"I'll say it again. Liberate yourself from the percieved "NEED" for a tent!"


Back to topic...

Re. underwear... I prefer dedicated sleep wear to cut down on stink and to help keep my bag cleaner for longer. I use silk long underwear plus a pair of UL liner socks. They are light and they fight odor much better than synthetics.

Speaking of cutting down on stink -- actual bathing aside, the best way is to cut down on stink is to wipe down with a couple of anti-bacterial wipes nightly.

Edited by ben2world on 04/02/2010 11:10:46 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
lightweight equipment on 04/02/2010 12:30:19 MDT Print View

It has always been - bring the right equipment for the job. I find it amusing that tarp users (and yes, I have and do use a tarp periodically) claim that a tarp is always the right choice despite generally hiking in places with good coverage and temperate weather. Any of those recommending tarps hike in Siberia lately?

With the advent of 16oz fully enclosed shelters the question would be, why tarp? If one is having issues carrying an extra 4 oz over a 8x10 tarp then perhaps some physical fitness is in order....;)

Edited by FamilyGuy on 04/02/2010 12:31:57 MDT.

Michael Sagehorn
(msagehorn) - F
Tarps vs tents on 04/09/2010 22:37:59 MDT Print View

I have slept (or what passed for sleep) in buggy Camp Lejeune in North Carolinad a host other places on a USMC passport under poncho hooches and normally just where I could throw down.

As a civilian backpacker, I'll gladly carry my 10 year old Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight to have a comfortable bug-free sleep.

In the same vein, having endured C Ration and MRE instant coffee, I have also gladly toted a small stainless steel percolator with coarse ground coffee.

Sure I have the lightweight sneakers, the low socks, the plastic bag canteens, minimal extra clothing, lightweight raingear, and calories rich dense food, but to be bug bit and denied coffee is enough to make me take up golf.

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Tarps vs tents on 04/10/2010 00:09:09 MDT Print View

"Get a tarp and eliminate 3 1/2 pounds off your back!"

I am not stating an opinion on the matter, but find it interesting to note this case in point:

From this recent thread:

"On average, the weight of our tarps is in the 10-15 oz range, with fully 60% of the reported tarp weights being less than 15 oz. Roughly the same number (4%) of tarps were in each of the <5oz and >30oz categories."

Therefore, let's consider 12.5 oz as the average tarp (median between 10 and 15), plus 8.5 oz. for an average bivy (assumed), plus 4 oz. for the average ground cloth (assumed) = 1 lb. 9 oz. (not including stakes and guylines)

If we were to take tents of the lightest caliber, such as a Terra Nova Competition, or a Fly Creek UL @ 2 lbs 1 oz. and 1 lb. 14 respectively (sans stakes and guylines), as examples then the following conclusion is more accurate. The lightest weight tarps, groundsheet and bivy combinations = approx. 11-12 oz. and cost even more than these high end tents.

This leaves only a 5-7 oz. difference.

Edited by biointegra on 04/10/2010 00:11:00 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Tarps vs tents on 04/10/2010 00:24:48 MDT Print View

In your Fly Creek UL (1 or 2?) example, are you figuring with the "footprint" weight or without?

I own a Fly Creek UL1, and it does not pack nearly as compactly as any of my lighter shelters, which are more spacious inside. Fly Creek will probably stand a higher wind.


John Addleman
(Jaddleman) - F

Locale: Boulder
Re: Re: Tarps vs tents on 04/10/2010 01:24:30 MDT Print View


I do not understand why one would carry both a ground cloth and a bivy. I've never used a bivy, but having both seems superfluous. Also, I see lots of GG polycryo ground cloths on gear lists, those are ~1 oz and I'm sure Mika could find something similar to use. If he prefers a bivy, it seems to be quite easy to make a 6 oz one with silnylon, momentum and nanoseeum (SMD Metor style) for $30-40. Plus, Mika would be considering solo tarps which, using a silnylon MLD Grace as a reference, would weigh less than ten ounces (7.5 for the spinn one which, while pricier, is much less than the tents you mentioned).

So, taking into consideration a 10 oz tarp with either a 1 oz ground cloth or a 6 oz bivy, I'm looking at a 13-18 (10.5-15.5 for Spin, 8.5-13.5 for Cuben), oz shelter package with stakes and guys, doubling or more the weight difference that you come up with and coming in at $140 for MYOG bivy w/ siltarp or even 260 if you'd like to buy an MLD Superlight bivy for $155 which would be the same as the MYOG. If you go the MYOG route, even a Cuben Grace tarp will come in under $300 for the complete package and weigh 13.5 ounces with stakes.

I am sorry to be so critical of your post and I'm sure that you came from a place of wanting to help. I'm sure you come from a different place than I do on tarp camping and I respect your experience and viewpoint. I'm trying to make the point that there are ways to make tarp camping both lighter and cheaper. Personally, my setup weighs 6 ounces total with stakes and cost me $165. I use a Zpacks Hexamid Solo with a plastic groundsheet and a dual-use mosquito headnet that I suspend from my shelter to cover my face while sleeping. There are certainly many ways to camp and I hope Mika finds one suited to his hiking style.

Sorry to be so serious and long! :-)

Open Space
(OpenSpace) - F

Locale: Upstate New York
Re: Tarps vs tents on 04/10/2010 04:08:56 MDT Print View


Edited by OpenSpace on 03/24/2012 16:32:31 MDT.

Mike McHenry
(mtmche2) - F
Re: Re: Tarps vs tents on 04/10/2010 05:33:26 MDT Print View


First off, it is very unfortunate that something bit you in a shelter. I have never heard of this happening and is a strange story to say the least.

I's like to make a note about your comparison. You start off with a two person tarp and switch to a 3 person (and much heavier tarp in the Shangri-La 3 for the winter setup. I realize this might be to facilitate for winter gear and what not, but it is not really a fair comparison as the BA Fly Creek UL 2, what you are comparing it to, is still a two person shelter in both scenarios and a very tight one at that. Per BA, there is no stake weight included in the 34 oz for this tent.

I would challenge the selection of a nearly 5 oz tyvek ground cloth AND a bivy for a tarp setup (kindly of course). Your concerns for pad and bivy protection are reasonable, but you would save about 3.5 oz by switching out to a GG polycro for example and not lose much if anything. Also, would you be bringing your bug bivy in a winter setup or the original one stated at 4 oz less? This cuts 7.5 oz off of your winter setup and brings it down to 31 oz relative to tent setup at 40 oz. (if we throw stakes in there). Just being nitpicky... its what were all about here, right? : )

Taking all this into consideration it seems unreasonable to think, in general that there is no difference between a winter tarp setup and a winter tent setup. In a fair comparison, a tarp will always beat out a tent in the weight category. That's just one of their advantages.

Edited by mtmche2 on 04/10/2010 06:48:53 MDT.