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Nicholas Sweeting
(nsweeting) - F
Avoid tunnel. on 04/04/2010 09:37:48 MDT Print View

I would recommend a hilleberg as well, but avoid the tunnel tents. They are great for winter around the arctic, but are simply a pain in the a** for any other time. Freestanding is the way to go. I live in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and all we got is rock around here - soil is very hard to come by. If you are anywhere in this area, or further north, you will for the most part be camping on rock. Having to find heavy loose rocks, or other suitable items to hold up a tunnel tent is both time consuming and frustrating. I made that mistake once for a multi-week canoe trip around Great Slave lake, and lesson learned.

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
high winds = need strength; canoeing = weight matters less. on 04/04/2010 11:36:24 MDT Print View

+1 Nicholas on a Hilleberg dome tent.

If you are canoeing and not doing a lot of portaging, weight isn't going to matter as much - so don't try cutting lots of weight at the expense of safety, sturdiness, comfort and ease of use.

On the lighter end for 2 you could go with a Hilleberg Allak. Very popular design with 2 doors, 6 lbs 6 oz. My wife and I chose it as our winter tent over tunnel designs - one very gusty winter night we were the only ones in our group who had any peace and sleep - no noisy wind flap or deflection. Easier to keep warmer inside temp as well. For an even lower wind profile than the Allak, the Hilleberg Jannu, which has one door but similar square footage. Some people even use these as single shelters in winter or on expeditions when the weight doesn't matter as much (towing a pulk, kayaking, canoeing).

You can double up the poles or use heavier poles for extra strength, or, for even stronger tent fabric, you could go with the heavier Hilleberg dome tents with their heavier poles - just check out the Hilleberg website for the strongest winter domes.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Avoid tunnel. on 04/04/2010 18:47:54 MDT Print View

> but avoid the tunnel tents. They are great for winter around the arctic, but
> are simply a pain in the a** for any other time.
Why do you say this? We love our tunnel tents - winter and summer.
Camp at Jagungal Saddle 0301

Edited by rcaffin on 04/04/2010 18:51:53 MDT.

Charles Jennings
(vigilguy) - F - M

Locale: Northern Utah
+1 for tunnel tents on 04/05/2010 09:05:20 MDT Print View

I also personally use a Hilleberg Kaitum 3 and an Akto, and actually prefer tunnel tents where we go, in the Wind River Range of Wyoming.

They set up fast and have an excellent space to weight ratio.

Whether it is a tunnel or a dome, they still have to be staked out/guyed out so they do not become airborne in a wind storm, don't they?

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Avoid tunnel. on 04/05/2010 09:10:45 MDT Print View

@Roger and Nicholas: I think the comment was related to the ground Nicholas is experiencing. If I couldn't stake something, I'd want a dome-type tent. The Saivo I referenced above easily supports itself when the only thing on the guy lines is rocks.

Also, I'm a big fan of Hilleberg dividing their tents into free-standing and self-supporting categories. Freestanding tents are those than the entire tent, including the vestibule, do not require staking. Self-supporting tents require staking of the vestibules.

Finally, I have no experience with Hilleberg tunnel tents.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Avoid tunnel. on 04/05/2010 09:16:37 MDT Print View

Agree with Roger. I have a Kaitum 2 GT. You can open up both vestibules very easily. Keep the inside doors open with just the mesh keeping out bugs. She's a 7 pounder (+3 kg), but reasonable for two people. You can even remove the inner tent (must get additional pole holders) though I have not tried this.

Probably don't want to use it if high daily walking mileage is your priority. IMO, Hilleberg is the way to go unless you can build your own like Roger and the other fabric foundling maestros. : )

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Tarptent and Hilleberg on 04/05/2010 09:22:53 MDT Print View

I do think the Tarptent Scarp 1 will be up to the task, but if you want to be 100% sure, go for the Hilleberg Soulo. Both are free standing and can take some abuse and wind, but the Soulo will be the beefier - and heavier - one.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Arctic tent on 04/05/2010 12:54:02 MDT Print View

Seeing all of the comments in this thread has been interesting. I thought I'd summarize some thoughts, if only to clarify in my own mind. Here are my current thoughts (comments welcome):

* Reliable protection from bugs and weather comes first. I am looking for the lightest tent that can provide that.

* Freestanding -- Nicholas Sweeting's comment is consistent with other information I have seen. I recognize Matt Lutz' experience, and can only assume they were on different terrain. My plans are to be more in Nick's neighborhood.

(FWIW: note that I have always thought of freestanding as excess weight -- I still do not own a freestanding tent -- this one would be my first. It took a bit of thought to convince myself that one is required for this use. My other tents are a Gatewood Cape, an old NOLS fly, and a Stephenson)

* Staking out -- all tents, freestanding or not, will need additional guying for a serious storm. That seems like a wash -- pretty much the same, regardless of what kind of tent you have. The only differences are the actual needs of specific models.

* Strength -- Hilleberg uses two fabric weights -- after looking around a lot, reading this thread, and reading a lot of Hilleberg tent user reviews on trailspace.com, I believe that the lighter tents (Kerlon 1200) are adequate for this use and save a meaningful amount of weight.

* Vestibule -- after some thought, I want one. It is important for keeping bad weather out of the tent, and to cook in during high winds. I could live without one, but would much prefer one -- seems worth the weight.

* Hilleberg -- I have not thought much about them before, so I was surprised by how popular they are with people in this thread. That was confirmed by how glowing most reports on Hilleberg tents are on trailspace.com. I am becoming convinced. At first I thought they were heavy and expensive. Now I have taken a good look at the competition, they are not heavy, and their cost is in the (top end of) the ballpark. Still the most expensive, but not by as much as I thought.

* Models -- solo vs dual is not settled, so choose one of each for now. Based on all the above, the tents to beat look like the Hilleberg Allak (dual) and the Hilleberg Soulo (solo).

Rightly or wrongly, I did not really consider the cottage industry -- my concern is (lack of) a track record of proven strength in major storms. One of my considerations is that I may not be able to control where I pitch the tent, such as in very exposed places (because of group).

I looked at a lot of major manufacturers, including Big Agnes, Black Diamond, Eureka, Integral Designs, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, MSR, North Face, and Sierra Designs. None of them have a truly freestanding tent -- in all cases I found the vestibule needs to be pegged out. In some cases that is needed to support the tent; in other cases it is not.

All of the tents I found that were lighter than Allak were single-wall, except one -- Mountain Hardwear EV2. Unfortunately, that tent has some other problems, such as no way to open its door in nasty weather without getting wet inside.

Most of the choices were from Black Diamond and Integral Designs. Those were mostly variations on a 2-pole wedge tent, which seems sub-optimal for this use.

Comments on some suggestions earlier in this thread:

Kaitum -- very nice, but not freestanding. Weight about same as Allak.

Saivo -- self-supporting, not freestanding. Kerlon 1800 -- strong, but heavier. I think Kerlon 1200 is enough for my use.

Unna -- not as strong as Soulo, and I like Soulo's vestibule more than Unna's "virtual vestibule" (vestibule comment could be just ignorant, though).

Integral Designs Mk 1 or Mk 1 XL -- I am not convinced of the single-wall wedge shape for this use. As Tom notes, no vestibule, and I want one. (Actually, several of their models have an optional vestibule. Adding the vestibule makes them weigh more than Allak, though.)

Jannu -- made the short list. About same weight as Allak, and need to peg out the vestibule.

Akto -- nice tent, but not freestanding.

Hilleberg separating freestanding vs self-supporting -- yes that is good. I decided I prefer freestanding (for this use). All non-Hilleberg tents I looked at were at best self-supporting.

Scarp 1 -- in freestanding mode is 3# 8oz. That is only 4 oz less than the Soulo (and a lot cheaper), but I would need to be convinced it is as strong as the Soulo.

-----

So there you have it -- the Hilleberg Allak (dual) and Soulo (solo) tents are looking pretty good to me. All comments are welcome.

-- MV

martin cooperman
(martyc) - M

Locale: Industrial Midwest
Advice from Cliff Jacobsen on 04/05/2010 13:22:30 MDT Print View

I attended several talks by Cliff Jacobsen, a well-known canoeist, author and guide who travels in northern waters frequently above the tree line.

He was instrumental in getting Eureka to manufacture a tent to his specifications that would withstand the conditions he's faced.

This is what he recommends:
http://www.boundarywaterscatalog.com/browse.cfm/4,6753.html

It is not lightweight nor cheap, but it does the job for canoeing and camping in the north.

Also recommended would be a bug tarp. Highly recommended.
See Cooke Custom Sewing for this. The insects are many times worse than anything in the lower 48. A friend of mine who made a trip on the Kazan last year had photos of the bugs. He used a bug tarp to cook and lunch in.

Marty Cooperman

Henri Guiden
(Kanjon-Guiden) - F

Locale: Colorado Plateau
Hilleberg on 04/05/2010 13:53:04 MDT Print View

Since the 90’s, I’ve used five different models of Hilleberg tents on expeditions, guiding, and personal use. After 2-3 months of Himalayan or Artic style expeditions, the Hilleberg tents have continued to have many years of use afterwards. Typically, the other brands were pretty hammered after these types of expeditions; and Bibler tents always fared the worst.

To be honest, I’ve not really taken a serious look at what else the market is offering for many years. My casual few looks, I’ve seen some other nice offerings, but nothing has tempted me to rethink switching from my time-tested and proven confidence in Hilleberg, for another brand that might shave some small grams at best-case scenario! Simply, the Hilleberg family has always had exactly what I needed in tents.

For the last couple decades, I’ve also used the Chouinard/BD Pyramid/Megamid shelters for basecamp/kitchen/group activities. I’ve seen that it now comes with an inner mesh tent, but haven’t used it as of yet.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Advice from Cliff Jacobsen on 04/05/2010 14:07:50 MDT Print View

Cliff Jacobson is certainly experienced and widely respected. He has been pretty public for a long time about his sadness over the demise of the Cannondale Aroostook tent. The tent you gave the URL to certainly continues that heritage. It is also heavy-duty, and I expect durable (e.g. a 5000mm rated floor).

My concerns about it are that its minimum weight is 12 lbs, and that its modified A-frame design does not have a lot of headroom (although that is somewhat ameliorated by its 48" height).

I would like to think that we could find a tent that would also be suitable, and would weigh a lot less than 12 lbs.

-- MV

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Hilleberg on 04/05/2010 14:16:10 MDT Print View

Henri,

Thanks for your comments. As you can see from my long-ish comments, now that the matter has come up I am becoming convinced about Hilleberg as well for those scenarios where cottage industry UL is not adequate.

BD Megamid -- I overlooked mentioning that I have one of those, too. Great tent. Talk about palatial room for 1 or 2! I can see why you use it for a group gathering place -- I'll have to look into the bug liner you mention.

--MV

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/05/2010 15:04:36 MDT Print View

Hi Bob

I am going to be a bit controversial here, and speak out.

> I looked at a lot of major manufacturers, including Big Agnes, Black Diamond,
> Eureka, Integral Designs, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, MSR, North Face, and Sierra Designs.
None of the brands make a decent lightweight storm-proof tent. Most of their models are aimed at the summer traditional consumer mass-market.

Now, prove me wrong?

Cheers

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/05/2010 15:09:36 MDT Print View

Roger,

None of the brands make a decent lightweight storm-proof tent. Most of their models are aimed at the summer traditional consumer mass-market.

I think that is what my posting said -- I looked at all of them, and was unable to find anything lighter than the Hilleberg tents that also seemed like a suitable tent for this use.

I did find a very few well respected tents if you are willing to go heavier -- e.g. North Face Mountain 25 and VE-25. But those are *not* light weight.

-- Bob

Edited by blean on 04/05/2010 15:10:17 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/05/2010 15:10:36 MDT Print View

Roger, before you guys debate the topic, you ought to define "lightweight" in grams or ounces. Then "decent" does not have a good definition. "Storm-proof" is kind of difficult, also.

--B.G.--

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Arctic tent on 04/05/2010 15:37:02 MDT Print View

"None of the brands make a decent lightweight storm-proof tent. Most of their models are aimed at the summer traditional consumer mass-market.

Now, prove me wrong?"

Actually, the onus is on you to prove that they don't. I am surprised you put Integral Designs and Black Diamond into that group.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Avoid tunnel. on 04/05/2010 16:09:27 MDT Print View

"I would recommend a hilleberg as well, but avoid the tunnel tents. They are great for winter around the arctic, but are simply a pain in the a** for any other time. Freestanding is the way to go. I live in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and all we got is rock around here - soil is very hard to come by. If you are anywhere in this area, or further north, you will for the most part be camping on rock. Having to find heavy loose rocks, or other suitable items to hold up a tunnel tent is both time consuming and frustrating. I made that mistake once for a multi-week canoe trip around Great Slave lake, and lesson learned."

I find pegs do not hold well in high winds and you end
up hauling big rocks around anyway, whether you are using
a VE24, a tunnel or a tarp.

Here is my favorite tunnel tent, REI brand of Goretex !
(now discontinued.)REI tunnel tent

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/05/2010 16:43:23 MDT Print View

"None of the brands make a decent lightweight storm-proof tent. Most of their models are aimed at the summer traditional consumer mass-market."

Hi Roger,

I'm not sure what you are basing your opinion of the ID MK 1 on. It is definitely not in the same category with Big Agnes, et al, and has never been a "mass market" tent. Below is a link to 3 reviews by folks who have used it in fairly extreme conditions. You might want to have a look.

http://www.spgear.org/gear/1240/event-mk1lite.html

Cheers,

Tom

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/05/2010 17:22:55 MDT Print View

Tom,

As I understand it, the ID tents are no longer available in eVent, even as an option. Is that correct?

Interesting thought exercise -- compare the ID Mk 1 Lite to the Hilleberg Soulo.

Minimum weight and price for each is in the same ballpark.
Soulo 3#12oz $550
Mk 1 Lite 3#9oz $500

Features are a bit different though ... matter of which appeals to whom.

-- MV

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/05/2010 18:00:47 MDT Print View

"As I understand it, the ID tents are no longer available in eVent, even as an option. Is that correct?"

Bob,

That is correct. They've replaced Event with their own proprietary PTFE laminate called Tegraltex to get around US Flammability regulations; Event didn't make the cut apparently. Field reports seem to indicate it performs as well as Event, but that is anecdotal, subjective input. I don't know if they have been compared in a controlled environment. I can add my experience with the MK1 up here in the Cascades. Never had any trouble with condensation, and mine was the Tegraltex version.

Again, for your situation, the lack of an integrated vestibule is the major drawback. The optional vestibule is a clunky affair. A friend once gave me one he had found somewhere and a cursory backyard fitting told me it wasn't ever going on a trip with me. A secondary concern is that the MK1 is not a spacious tent; it was originally designed for use as an alpine style climbing tent able to fit on small ledges or other cramped platforms. At 26 sq. ft. I don't know if you'd want to spent a week holed up in one in inclement weather. Roger to the contrary, though, you wouldn't have any problems with the ID MK1 in a storm.