Arctic tent
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Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/05/2010 18:30:52 MDT Print View

Tom,

Field reports seem to indicate it performs as well as Event, but that is anecdotal, subjective input.

That's good to hear. I had been wondering -- I understood they dropped both weight and condensation levels when they went to eVent. I was worried that without eVent they had gone back to their previous state. If the Tegraltex is as good as eVent, their marketing folks need to gather evidence and make that clear on their web site.

--MV

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/05/2010 20:35:17 MDT Print View

" If the Tegraltex is as good as eVent, their marketing folks need to gather evidence and make that clear on their web site."

Bob,

ID is a small Canadian company with a very loyal following. They know they make top notch gear, and my guess is they're not too concerned with that end of things. They do their homework and know that their customers know that. If complaints started to come in, I think they would be all over it; Their business depends on their hard earned reputation. Tegraltex has been around for at least 10 years now, probably more(but my memory is sketchy), and they're still using it, so I'm guessing it works as advertised. Actually from their description of it, it sounds an awful lot like Event.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/05/2010 20:48:01 MDT Print View

I'm the author of the Hilleberg Kaitum review on the site, and many other shelter reviews. I've had loads of different shelters and particularly love putting bomber tents in stupid places and staying a while, all in the name of adventure and proper field testing. Of all the tents that have come through my gear shelves, the Kaitum is one that has stayed. I've had it in really insane weather, winds that blew me over, and dumping snow. It is a FANTASTIC tent. It's one that I go to again and again when the conditions are nasty, and it's a pleasure to live inside it when the weather turns bad. Great choice, this one.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Arctic tent on 04/05/2010 21:04:39 MDT Print View

Doug,

I'm the author of the Hilleberg Kaitum review on the site ...It is a FANTASTIC tent. ...Great choice, this one.

Thanks for the comment. From what I can discover poking around on the Internet, lots of folks agree with you.

As noted above, unless someone explains my error, I am looking for a freestanding tent and the Kaitum is a tunnel tent. Do you have any experience relevant to models such as the Allak or Soulo that you want to contribute?

-- MV

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/05/2010 22:10:48 MDT Print View

Hi Bob

> I am looking for a freestanding tent and the Kaitum is a tunnel tent.
One of the biggest myths in this game is that of a reliable storm-proof 'free-standing' tent. Such a beast does not exist, and will not exists either. There are plenty of videos on YouTube showing tents rolling away in a storm, getting impaled on tress and shredded on barbed wire fences. The common feature of these is that they are all 'free-standing pop-ups'.

If you want your tent to stay exactly where you put it, then you must stake it down. Once you have made that step, drawing distinctions between tunnels and domes becomes rather pointless.

The next thing to consider in a storm is the length or radius of curvature of the poles. The poles in a dome are long and can buckle - I have had that happen to me many times in the past. The whole dome popped down in the middle - and popped back up when I shoved. But I have yet to see the much shorter pole in a tunnel buckle. It just doesn't happen. Sit on a tunnel tent and the poles may break, for sure - but that takes a lot of force.

But, what tent you need depends very much on what conditions you want to handle.

Cheers

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Freestanding Arctic tent on 04/05/2010 22:19:14 MDT Print View

Structurally, both freestanding dome and non-freestanding tunnel tents can work well in the Arctic.

If Bob states specifically his interest in a freestanding tent, that's his prerogative, no?

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/06/2010 00:22:09 MDT Print View

One of the biggest myths in this game is that of a reliable storm-proof 'free-standing' tent ... If you want your tent to stay exactly where you put it, then you must stake it down. Once you have made that step, drawing distinctions between tunnels and domes becomes rather pointless.

Roger,

I understand that. I am under no illusion that one can just plunk down a freestanding tent and all of wind problems are gone -- at least if it is (or will become) very windy. I do, however, disagree that the distinction is pointless.

If I expected to be able to drive tent pegs, I would not be seriously considering getting (for the first time in my life) a freestanding tent; I'd consider just counting on my Stephenson (which is, in fact, a tunnel tent). It's light and it does well in the wind.

Instead, what we are talking about is terrain such as Nicholas Sweeting described earlier in this thread: 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.

He is talking about camping on large gravel bars, or on river-swept bedrock, either of which can leave you with the inability to use tent pegs and a scarcity of useful-sized rocks anywhere close to your tent. Choosing a better campsite may not be one of the options.

I see the situation a bit less simplistically than some comments have made it out to be. Let's separate what it takes to just pitch the tent from what it takes to keep the pitched tent from blowing away.

* You always need to pitch the tent. For either kind of tent, you need to assemble a few poles and slide them through sleeves (or hooks, or whatever). However, to finish pitching a tunnel tent (but not a freestanding one) you also always need to scrounge up the necessary rocks. In nice weather, this may be the entire scenario.

* If it is (or is expected to become) quite windy, then both kinds of tents need to be secured so that they will not get blown away, and so that the sides will not get blown in. It seems to me that requires about the same resources regardless of the type of the tent, so I have tended to gloss over it (because it is not a distinguishing point between tents). The fact that the tunnel tent is already pitched would not reduce its need to be secured in a serious blow. The tunnel tent may even require more attention to ensuring its sides not get blown in.

It seems to me that, while the freestanding tent requires securing some of the time, the tunnel tent requires more securing all of the time. That is why the distinction is not pointless.

Ben said: Structurally, both freestanding dome and non-freestanding tunnel tents can work well in the Arctic. He is, of course correct – at least in general -- that a good one of either kind can resist wind when pitched correctly. I do believe there are terrains where either type works about equally well. There are other terrains where the tunnel type can be made to work, but it is significantly more work. That is what Nicholas Sweeting was describing up around Great Slave Lake.

-- MV

PS Roger, I take it that you see no harm in a freestanding tent -- you just do not see insisting on one as important. Is that right?

Edited by blean on 04/06/2010 00:32:16 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/06/2010 01:21:46 MDT Print View

Hi Bob

> I take it that you see no harm in a freestanding tent -- you just
> do not see insisting on one as important.
Yeah, I guess so.
But, and there are several buts here:

1: There is no such thing as a free-standing tent in bad weather, regardless of design. So if you are camping on sheet rock (and I have), you need to find some way of holding the tent down, whatever the tent design. Usually, that means rocks. If the rock is totally bare, then you are in serious trouble, regardless of what sort of tent you have. Gravel beds on the other hand are not a problem.

2: I have used domes, pop-ups, tarps and tunnels. In my experience, the first three are miles behind the tunnel when it comes to seriously bad weather, at least on a kg for kg basis. Yes, a heavy 'free-standing' geodesic dome can take a lot of bad weather - but what do you expect with 6 criss-crossing poles? But oh, the weight! It still has to be securely staked down of course - before it becomes a tumbleweed.

3: There seems to be some idea around that one can't use rocks to hold a tent down. All I can say to that is 'waffle'. I have done it many times with complete success, and so have many others. It's an art-form ...

> to finish pitching a tunnel tent (but not a freestanding one) you also always
> need to scrounge up the necessary rocks.
True that the tunnel will always needs rocks to hold out the two ends.
But are you suggesting that you would not go find the same number of rocks to guy out a 'free-standing' tent? Surely not? Tumbleweed!

On the other hand:
> There are other terrains where the tunnel type can be made to work, but
> it is significantly more work.
I am going to call you on this statement. I have pitched my tunnel tent in a 100 kph storm and I know it takes less time to do so than to put up a dome (which I have also done in a storm).
Step 1: stake leading end of tent down - 2 stakes, no hassles.
Step 2: insert poles into sleeves while tent is lying flat on the ground.
Step 3: pull tent out and stake downwind end in place.
Step 4: put out guys.

In particular, note step 2. Consider the real fight one normally has to get the poles into a dome in a storm - while making sure the tent doesn't get shredded. It's looking after the dome tent which is so difficult. Contrast this with the ease of inserting the poles into the sleeves while a tunnel tent is lying flat on the ground. There is just no comparison - I can do the latter even sitting down!

Maybe I am just old, biased and argumentative ... If so, my apologies to all. :-)

Cheers

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/06/2010 02:37:54 MDT Print View

nm -- looked as if BPL lost this, so I reposted (below)

Edited by blean on 04/06/2010 02:42:22 MDT.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/06/2010 02:37:54 MDT Print View

(take 2 -- bpl lost my first attempt)

Roger,

Maybe I am just old, biased and argumentative ... If so, my apologies to all. :-)

Tempting as that one is, I'll just say that I don't see it that way at all -- I'm glad to hear your comments and honest discussion. Makes me examine my thinking closely.

My overall reply is that we are making a different underlying assumption. As I read you, you are saying that basic pitching the tunnel is all the guying it needs to ride out a gale. That is not my understanding.

For example, considering the Hilleberg Kaitum 2 (tunnel tent) that triggered this interchange, here is what the Hilleberg web site has to say:

Pitching requires only four pegs, yet additional peg and guy line points – 14 on the Kaitum and 18 on the Kaitum GT – provide a myriad of options for increasing stability. Remarkably strong Spectra guy lines are attached at two points to all poles sleeves on both sides of the tent, and have two line runners each to ensure optimal tension. Each vent also has a guy line with a line runner.

Note the similarity to what they say about the Allak (freestanding tent):

Pitching requires no pegs, but 12 peg points provide options for increasing stability: six loops, one at each pole end and six double guy lines with double line runners, one along each pole line.

My earlier post assumed that the basic pitching of a tunnel tent (4 pegs/rocks for the Kaitum) is comparable to erecting a freestanding tent (no pegging), and is often enough. In bad weather, they each need similar added guying to ride out a gale (up to 12 for the Allak, up to 14 for the Kaitum).

Sounds as if you are saying that in a worst case they are pretty comparable, and I grant that but am questioning whether that is most of the time.

Aside from that:

Your point #1 -- I do not think there is any disagreement over that.

Your point #2 -- I, too, have always thought of freestanding as heavier, because of all the poles. One of the eye-opening things about looking closely at the Hilleberg information has been that similar capability freestanding and tunnels of theirs seem to be about the same weight. Surprised me. For example, the Kaitum and the Allak have exactly the same minimum weight. The Allak is 6 oz heavier on packed weight -- I am not sure why. By the way, as I read the Hilleberg site, it says that they are both plenty strong, but that the Allak is the stronger of the two.

Your point #3: I have not heard anyone say that, especially not me. Of course you can support a tent with a suitable size rock. All any guy line or peg loop needs is to be secured to an immovable object -- peg, deadman, rock, house, ...

-- Bob

Edited by blean on 04/06/2010 02:40:55 MDT.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : Arctic tent on 04/06/2010 04:04:21 MDT Print View

I prefer tunnel tents in a storm. Yes, they might move around a bit more, and are usually noisier, but i haven't had one fail on me. I've seen so called 'bombproof' dome tents collapse.
Here in the UK, the 2 dome CRUX tents are popular for severe weather use.
Also, check out some of the Terra Nova offerings. They don't only make UL tents.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Arctic tent on 04/06/2010 09:26:14 MDT Print View

Interesting discussion thus far.

FWIW, "It seems to me that, while the freestanding tent requires securing SOME of the time..." isn't really true. For any tent to work properly it always needs to be secured, bad weather or not. The point of a double-wall tent is better ventilation, less condensation, etc. If you don't stake a double wall tent, the fly will just hang against the inner tent; you lose all the advantages gained with a double-wall tent.

If you've had and used the 'mids, but want something smaller and lighter, I'd check out an MLD Duomid w/insert.

The biggest issues I've had w/staking have always been in winter. The toughest for me is when there's 6 inches of snow and frozen ground. Can still usually find rocks or trees to anchor, but if ever I were going to insist on a free-standing tent, that'd be the time. If I were looking at mass-market bomber-ish but light-ish free-standing tents, I'd consider the MSR Fury or perhaps the SD Omega, both ~6.5 pounds, or perhaps the ~4 pound MSR Hubba Hubba HP, in addition to the Hillebergs mentioned. (For the record, the Kaitum and Allak weigh about 6 pounds, the Soulo or Unna weigh about 4 pounds.)

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/06/2010 11:29:04 MDT Print View

If you don't stake a double wall tent, the fly will just hang against the inner tent;

I do not understand (for a freestanding tent). The freestanding tents that come to mind have the fly supported by the tent skeleton.

MSR Hubba Hubba HP -- MSR explicitly considers this a 3-season tent. Is it really as strong as the rest of the tents we have been talking about?

SD Omega -- does not look to me as if it is still being made.

MSR Fury: min weight 6#4oz max weight 7#5oz
Allak: min 5#7oz max 6#10oz
Soulo: min 3#12oz max 4#13oz
Is considering the Fury based on price, or does it have a compelling technical advantage?

--MV

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/06/2010 11:57:38 MDT Print View

Yes, the fly is somewhat supported by the frame. But it is not supported by the frame in considerable stretches. It is not supported by the frame on the sides or ends. This is true for most of the fs tents I've set up.

Yes, the HP is a 3-season tent... but it was designed "with increased foul weather performance" in mind and "holds its own in more extreme 3-season conditions." No, it's not as strong as a Fury. But I reckon it'd do fine if you're looking at lightweight options, aka 2-3 pounds lighter and not a mid.

I own a Fury; mine weighs about 6.5 pounds with stakes, and I just stuff it into my pack. The Fury is also ~$250 cheaper than the Hilleberg, and at least as strong if not stronger. I feel like I could just about lay down on top of it with no problems.

I spaced on the Omega, but it was still current as of fall, so if it appealed to you I'm sure you could easily find one at a dealer. Just trying to give you options that haven't been mentioned.

It's worth mentioning the Big Sky Convertible 2P; has a third crossing pole ala Allak/Soulo, and larger diameter poles than the stock tents. Also has snow/sod flaps on the fly. Weighs about 4 pounds.

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
... on 04/06/2010 12:01:48 MDT Print View

one quick bit of advice is to add some cord on all the lines for tying around rocks, I also like to use those snow parachute-type anchors. They work great in sand and you can always fill them with rocks to keep your tent in one place.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/06/2010 12:34:46 MDT Print View

I spaced on the Omega, but it was still current as of fall, so if it appealed to you I'm sure you could easily find one at a dealer.

I just looked, and Sierra Trading Post has it for $159.95

This customer review did not sound promising, though:

It performed well until a huge wind storm picked up. The door of the tent only has a screen and relies on the fly to keep out rain and/or sand. The description does not indicate this feature. By the end of the wind storm my tent was full of sand blowing up underneath the fly.

Edited by blean on 04/06/2010 12:37:39 MDT.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/06/2010 12:45:10 MDT Print View

FWIW, if anything, the reviewer's comment "The door of the tent only has a screen" is wrong. The door has a zip-out full nylon door. If you zip out the nylon door to leave it at home during the summer, then the screen door is left. The ceiling has an open-able nylon piece, too, which is not removable. Not saying this tent's your answer, but you should at least have the right info at hand...

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Scarp 1 on 04/07/2010 01:34:00 MDT Print View

Great discussion going on here!

Bob, to get back once more to the Scarp 1, which would be a lot cheaper and a tad lighter than the Soulo. I have used the Scarp 1 now for a few months on trips in different conditions, and would feel confident taking it to Lapland (what exactly is Northern Canada for you? Labrador? Nunavut?) into the Fjells. It sheds wind fine, has no problems with snow, is freestanding (though I always would peg out) and is very comfortable on the inside. It is easy to put up - not as easy and comfortable as a tunnel, though. If you will need such a tent just for this one trip, I believe Scarp 1 could be the better investment, as it is less costly and should get a good price if you decide to sell it again. Also, Chris Townsend has used it a lot in Scottish conditions, and recommends it in the "Tent for Iceland" thread.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/07/2010 01:51:36 MDT Print View

"But are you suggesting that you would not go find the same number of rocks to guy out a 'free-standing' tent? Surely not? Tumbleweed!"

There was a fatal accident in the UK a couple of years ago when a woman was rolled across a campsite and over a 20 foot drop into a stream bed. Such are the dangers of taking 'freestanding' too literally. And this was a freak gust on a relatively fine day, not a winter hoolie.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/07/2010 02:26:56 MDT Print View

Hi Bob

Good discussion. Thanks.

> You are saying that basic pitching the tunnel is all the guying it needs to ride
> out a gale.
Well, yes, although it helps if the wind is end on. This happened to me on Mt Anton in mid-winter, as described in When Things Go Wrong. By the time morning arrived (well, around 5 am?) the hammering of the wind and snow had put about 1" of ice around every guy rope, and the constant fretting against the hard sharp edges of the titanium snow pegs frayed 7 out of 8 of the 150 lb Spectra guy ropes to the point of failure. I had not anticipated that! We knew something was amiss when the tent started to shake more than it had done for most of the night, so I dressed and got out and crawled around (take that literally) and inspected what was left of the guys.

Anyhow, what all this means is that the tunnel tent was taking the storm with 100 kph wind and gusts above that, with only the two windward end stakes (and the two at the other end) holding it down. That's 'basic pitching'. Granted, the end stakes were decent deadman anchors!

OK, OK, I have to admit I was seriously impressed with my new MYOG tent! We now have very high confidence in it!

Errr... yes, I have altered the Ti snow stakes so the fretting never happens again - see my article on the mods done.

We lost those Ti snow stakes - they were buried too deep with no trace visible, and conditions were not suited to archaeology that morning. I have recently been back to the approximate site to search for the stakes (our Autumn), but to no avail. Mind you, I reckon we were within 50 - 100 m of them!

Sounds as though we are close enough in thinking. Here's to snow camping :-)

Cheers