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Arctic tent
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Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: yep, almost all dome tents with crossing poles on 04/07/2010 21:55:52 MDT Print View

I saw the report you refer to, or at least something very similar.

The problem is that the report did not give make/model that got destroyed. Without that, the info does not say a lot. I did not see the report as damning domes in general -- rather as saying to be careful of your choice -- not just any-old-dome will do.

-- MV

Edited by blean on 04/07/2010 21:59:17 MDT.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/07/2010 22:02:44 MDT Print View

Hi Brad,

A couple of comments:

The tunnel is MUCH easier to set up in high winds because you stake one side, insert poles when it is flat on the ground, pull out and stake the other side. Of course you also do the guylines, but those would be used on any tent. But in high winds, setting up a tunnel is far superior in my opinion.

In calm conditions, a freestanding is very nice- particularly on sand, rock, etc.

In response to your comparison of the Allak and the Kaitum:

Yes, the freestanding Allak has less vestibule (the Kaitum has two HUGE vestibules), and may have more "strength", which probably refers to snow loading (which you aren't likely to experience huge amounts of). But what the numbers do not show is the USABLE space. One of a tunnel's greatest strengths is the increased usable space due to the steeper sidewalls (and more usable vestibule space as well). Living in a tunnel is much more comfortable.

Still, going by the numbers, I think the Nallo 2 is a closer match to the Allak and it's over 1 pound lighter.

I'm biased I suppose, but I used to be the shelter editor for this site and either wrote or edited reviews for many, many shelters. I'd like to think it's educated bias. :-)

But freestanding tents are cool too- I bet that Allak would be great. You should get what you like. I've considered a Scarp 2 myself as well...

Fun shopping!

Doug

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/07/2010 22:13:23 MDT Print View

How much would the "easier to set up" discussion be affected by Allak using largely clips, not a full sleeve? You get the frame up before much of any tent, and then start clipping. At least that is what the picture on their site shows.

I would think that would make it a lot easier than a dome with full sleeves where, for sleeves beyond the first one, you are dealing with a fair amount of fabric exposed to the wind.

-- MV

Stephen Klassen
(SteveYK)
Exped Polaris on 04/08/2010 00:01:44 MDT Print View

Sorry, may have missed if this has already been discussed:

have you considered an Exped Polaris?

http://www.exped.com/exped/web/exped_homepage_na.nsf

http://www.moontrail.com/exped-polaris.php

It looks like you can also add a fourth pole, making it (in that configuration) a three pole tunnel tent with a lengthwise pole making it freestanding.

Edited by SteveYK on 04/08/2010 00:42:36 MDT.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/08/2010 00:17:25 MDT Print View

That's a good point Bob. Clips are definitely better in that you can stake the base out, add poles, and clip. That's not the impression I had by looking at the Allak but I might be missing something.

Single wall wedge tents with interior poles also set up pretty well in hight winds: stake the corners, extend poles and slide 1/2 way in, climb in and insert poles (preferably with pack inside), close door, attach velcro tabs.

The Exped Polaris is interesting. I've always been curious about that tent...

The Mountain Hardware EV2 might be a good choice as well. Included in my Bomber Tents Review Summary a couple of years back...

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Hope this helps on 04/08/2010 00:36:45 MDT Print View

Doug is far more experienced than I am and I've learned a ton from his reviews and articles and PMs (thanks Doug!). And he is absolutely 100% right about ease of tunnel setup in high wind and about the extra space afforded by vertical walls (which is why they are often used for expeditions, where people may spend a lot of time in their tents with their gear).

The Kaitum is a very roomy tent for the weight (and I know Doug loves his). I checked it out very closely when evaluating tents. It also requires more space to pitch.

And the Allak does have clips beyond the first sleeve section, and when you erect the shelter, you clip onto the poles moving in a circular pattern around the tent, so that one side doesn't come way up before the other and make things more difficult in wind.

That said, the same things I mentioned above apply - once set up, a tent like the Allak or Jannu is going to shed wind better, deflect less, handle snow better (so you don't have to worry about constantly shaking it off), make less noise, etc. These tents will also fit onto tighter spaces than long tunnel tents.

The double vestibule on the Allak is plenty space for 2 people to each store their gear and get in and out of the tent easily, including winter gear. It's a palace for 1 person.

What it comes down to is how you are going to use the tent and what you want out of it. 2 doors or 1? How much space? Do you plan to spend a lot of time in it? Do you plan to carry it a lot, or will it travel in your kayak or on your pulk?

The Nallo 2 is a little lighter - it's also shorter, has less space and has only one door and vestibule - a deal breaker for my wife and me. For others one door may be fine. Again 2 doors for 2 people = better sleep. Also the Nallo's less space may feel like more because of tunnel walls. I've never felt cramped in the Allak sitting up or lying down and I'm 6 ft tall and my wife is 5 ft 6.

Before I pulled the trigger on the Allak I spoke with local backpackers who winter backpack and do mountaineering and I posted a lot of questions to this site (you can look up the long thread). Many of the winter backpackers I spoke with, including another BPL staffer in my area, strongly advocated for 2 doors and a crossed-pole dome design. I also managed to get a great deal.

Note these 2 long very windy kayak trips the Allak was chosen for - you may want to write the kayakers and ask why they chose Allaks and how they performed:

“Circumnavigating Newfoundland" On the heels of his fast record-breaking circumnavigation of Iceland in 2007 by sea kayak, Greg Stamer will be embarking on a fast solo circumnavigation of Newfoundland, “the Rock”, Canada’s easternmost province in June, 2008. This adventure is more than 1,700 miles around one of the most windswept locations in North America. For pitching in exposed coastal areas on both sand and bare rock, Greg will trust a freestanding Allak to keep him comfortable and safe. Read more about Greg’s journey at www.gregstamer.com"

"Freya Hoffmeister". In 2007, German paddler Freya Hoffmeister kayaked around Iceland in a record 33 days. As a follow up, she set out to became the first woman to circumnavigate New Zealand’s South Island by sea kayak. 70 days later, she had succeeded, setting a new solo record in the process. Her latest successful adventure in 2009, The Race Around Australia Expedition, took her roughly a year to complete. The 9400 mile/15000 km circumnavigation of Australia has only been done once before in the last 30 years, and is considered one of, if not the, most challenging sea kayaking routes in the world. She got her well deserved rest each night in an Allak. Read more about it at www.qajaqunderground.com

As for the Scarp 2, Henry makes quality shelters and his customer service is great - just ask Scarp 2 users online and offline by PM how they find the shelter in strong wind. I'm sure there are plenty of users out there.

Best of luck. I'll be happy with whatever you buy. I put in the time to offer feedback because many kind people on this site helped me so much with my choice and so many other gear choices and techniques.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: yep, almost all dome tents with crossing poles on 04/08/2010 00:50:28 MDT Print View

The guy who shot this 48 second movie was in a Lightwave T1 Trek tunnel tent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4NN3cltuuY

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/08/2010 02:07:32 MDT Print View

Doug,

Take a look at the Allak pitching instructions and see what you think.

http://www.hilleberg.com/InstructionsAllak.pdf

Edited by blean on 04/08/2010 02:08:07 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Arctic tent: Franco's Everest tent picture on 04/08/2010 02:19:09 MDT Print View

> Did you notice Franco's picture of tents on Everest? It is interesting to see
> the number of tunnel tents, and the number of domes.
> Perhaps the climbers are a bunch of sheep? Perhaps their choices were because
> of camping on snow, not rock? Perhaps ...
Perhaps the domes are large 4 - 6 man jobs with 10 mm poles, carried up by a herd of porters? I know many expedition companies use large geodesic domes (with many crossing poles) because they are built like tanks and can house lots of customers. They don't care about the weight - the tents are lighter than the junk the customers bring anyhow.

On which score, please note that if you can use a square upright green beach tent as a loo, and a patrol tent as a bakery/kiosk, then you may not need a UL tunnel tent ...

Hot water in the amenities block at EBC ??? Blimey.

Cheers

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Hope this helps on 04/08/2010 03:51:33 MDT Print View

I put in the time to offer feedback because many kind people on this site helped me so much with my choice and so many other gear choices and techniques.

This has turned out to be a much longer and more informative thread than I expected. I, and I am sure others, are grateful to everyone who has contributed. It has been both interesting and informative.

-- MV

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Arctic tent on 04/08/2010 04:16:30 MDT Print View

"that picture"
High altitude is a different ball game.
Strong cross winds, limited space , the likelihood of snow/ice movement all combine to make a dome (freestanding) tent a safer choice for high altitude.
And you don't want to get up to kick snow down during your precious short sleeps.
Those tents are 5-6 pole semi geodesic 9-15 lbs shelters, ( Like the TNF VE25) so not the type discussed by the OP.
Long guy lines (typically used with tunnel shelters) are not what you want around where other claimers have to go past your door.
Note that there are several brands in that picture. Maybe if one brand was so much better everybody would use that one.
Franco

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
Stephensons 2C in the (Lapland) arctic on 04/08/2010 08:20:24 MDT Print View

> I know that a Stephenson 1 P tunnel has been used on a Nordkalotten (Scandinavian long distance trail) thru-hike with good performance

I used a 2C on such thru-hike. Even if it's the arctic, I don't think it resembles the canadian arctic. The terrain along the Nordkalottleden is more like the scottish highlands (but with no lowlands at hand) and pitching the tent was always easy, good supporting ground with easy staking. There are rocky areas, particularly higher up but it was never a problem to avoid them.
The 2C is shorter than all the other Stephenson tents so it's probably less vulnerable to wind. It's still key to give it good tension and orient properly. They depend a lot on that tension, don't know if more or less than other tunnels.
A strong side wind that developed during one night in a exposed location caused significant flex on the rear pole. Deflection on the fabric panel was not that important as the panel is not large. The tent survived fine but it felt intimidating.

> I know they are controversial -- some say way over-rated, while others think they are wonderful

I'd say probably both :) If you just read the website and expect all that, it's easy to conclude they're at least plain (if not "way") over rated but they're still wonderful or at least I think the one I have is. Incredibly light for what it delivers. I'm very happy with it, it's the only real (framed) tent I keep using and it's the one I take when I expect rough conditions in exposed locations. Mind you, it's the only real tent that I have that's lightweight.

At 5' 7" I have to sleep along the center to avoid touching walls, it'd be very cramped for two but it's very comfortable for one. Just 3 stakes necessary and it's indeed very manageable for pitching in bad weather.

My 2C was 2 lb 6 oz (plus stakes) with no wind stabilizers that were not included by mistake and I've later got added.

During the Nordkalottleden trip, I noticed most norwegian backpackers would use Helsport tunnel tents. I don't know them first hand but they look excellent on e-paper. To add to the confusion: Helsport
A report on my Nordkalottleden trip.

Edited by inaki on 04/08/2010 08:56:00 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arctic tent on 04/08/2010 17:53:42 MDT Print View

"Single wall wedge tents with interior poles also set up pretty well in hight winds: stake the corners, extend poles and slide 1/2 way in, climb in and insert poles (preferably with pack inside), close door, attach velcro tabs."

+1 That is one of the strong points of the ID Mark 1.

Henri Guiden
(Kanjon-Guiden) - F

Locale: Colorado Plateau
WATER on 04/08/2010 22:13:05 MDT Print View

Bob,

On some of my water-based-expeditions, I’ve overcome your concerns of too hard, too soft/sandy ground, or no natural anchors (rocks & etc). Use the water! I use large drybags and fill them full of water and attach them to the tent with the roll-snap. The bags need to be large enough to hold 3-4 gallons. I’ve also used a small shovel to feel the bags with sand, gravel, and pebbles.

The reason we use heavy free-standing tents high in the Himalayas at fixed camps is that they are likely to be left unattended for days and need to be able to hold heavy static loads of snow. These tents are setup once and taken down once during the expedition.

The reasons you would need a free-standing tent has nothing to do with your concerns of a lack of rocks or the inability to anchor your tent. You need to anchor your tent at all times in a remote expedition environment. Over the years, I’ve seen thousands of dollars of free-standing tents destroyed and lost, because the owners always assumed it wasn’t going to be…… and an unexpected microburst launches the tent off like a box kite. Almost always, they had they’re gear in the tent believing it would hold it down.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: WATER on 04/08/2010 22:27:02 MDT Print View

I use large drybags and fill them full of water and attach them to the tent with the roll-snap.
Now that's an interesting idea, and one I had not thought of!

The reasons you would need a free-standing tent has nothing to do with your concerns of a lack of rocks or the inability to anchor your tent.
Any comments on the tunnel vs. freestanding choice? Which do you prefer, and why?

-- MV

Edited by blean on 04/08/2010 22:27:40 MDT.

Henri Guiden
(Kanjon-Guiden) - F

Locale: Colorado Plateau
Scenarios on 04/09/2010 11:05:18 MDT Print View

“Any comments on the tunnel vs. freestanding choice? Which do you prefer, and why?”

I would only choose a freestanding tent in a few scenarios:

1. BASECAMPS
2. FIXED CAMPS where days or weeks are spent ferrying up and down between camps for supplies, acclimatization, and weather.
3. TECHNICAL ROUTES where a small camp space is limited to not much more than a bed of a truck and use a wedge type tent.

This only leaves CONTINOUS PUSH style of expeditions; where camp is typically setup and taken down daily. I would only consider a tunnel-tent (hoop). Hoop tents are drastically easier to setup up in strong winds, verses, a freestanding tent. I can setup up a hoop tent solo, in 75mph winds, but a typical freestanding is near epic solo.

If using a pulk (sled) or boat, I always use a sled pack (bag). The tent poles are left in the sleeves, folded in half or thirds, and the preferred downwind portion of the tent is rolled first, leaving the preferred upwind portion of the tent last to be rolled. The floor is completely stretched flat and not folded before being rolled. The tent then placed in the long and narrow sled pack. Hoop tents are perfect for this method, because all of the sleeves/poles are in alignment on the same axis when rolled in a bundle around the poles. Whereas, freestanding sleeves/poles don’t have any matching axis’s, by so, they don’t rollup with the poles in the sleeves well.

This is my method of setting up a hoop tent/sled pack combination:

1. I place the anchors before taking the tent out of the sled pack. After setting the tent up day in and day out, I can eyeball the anchor placements almost every time.
2. After the tent is taken out of the bag and still rolled, I attach the upwind portion of the tent to the anchors.
3. I then lengthen/erect all of the poles, while, the tent is still rolled in a round bundle.
4. I then roll the tent downwind, past one pole/sleeve at a time, bend the pole into place and lay it flat downwind. Reminder: the poles are already in the sleeves as its being unrolled.
5. Once all the poles are bent into place and laying downwind, I pull the furthest downwind portion of the tent’s loops/guylines to the anchors and the whole tent becomes erect at once.
6. I hurry up and attach the remaining loops/guylines to the anchors and other needed micro-adjustments.

If I’m not using the sled pack method, I’m obviously carrying the tent in a backpack and still prefer the hoop tent for any additional weight savings and is still easier to setup in rough conditions.

EDIT: The above is based on a Hilleberg hoop tent where the fly is already attached!

Edited by Kanjon-Guiden on 04/09/2010 11:09:32 MDT.

Nicholas Sweeting
(nsweeting) - F
freestanding on 04/09/2010 12:47:55 MDT Print View

I feel as though what you're describing above applies much more to mountaineering than boat travel on Arctic rivers/lake systems.

Once again, having experience in both guiding down arctic rivers, and living in the arctic, I would personally choose to camp with a freestanding when doing canoe travel in the NWT/Nunavut area.

Unless you're going out to break some kind of record - a freesatnding will make your Arctic paddling experience much more enjoyable.

I'll also note that with my time travelling in Arctic rivers and lake systems, 95% of the time, I'm not doing battle with some epic wind...

Edited by nsweeting on 04/09/2010 12:55:55 MDT.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
High winds and tent shape on 04/09/2010 12:49:37 MDT Print View

To get all mavericky on ya here.

One winter in Eastern Oregon
("wild as the wind in Or-e-gun, blowen up a can-yun")

As I have mentioned before-
I had a large North Face Expedition Dome flatten and break
poles while a BD pyramid survived just fine. I also
witnessed a Sierra Design dome tent take off through the sage
brush with a teenage girl inside. You really do need to
stake them down.

Freestanding tents are great for car camping.

You betcha.

http://www.fiftiesweb.com/tv/maverick.htm

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2008/10/tina_fey_as_sarah_palin_nails.html

Edited by oware on 04/09/2010 13:00:37 MDT.

Henri Guiden
(Kanjon-Guiden) - F

Locale: Colorado Plateau
Arctic flöden i mitt blod! on 04/10/2010 21:07:55 MDT Print View

Arctic flöden i mitt blod!

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Arctic tent on 04/12/2010 15:40:11 MDT Print View

FYI: a note on Hilleberg tents -- since they have been so favorably mentioned in this thread, I thought people might like to see this.

I have exchanged a couple of emails with Cliff Jacobson.
Since he mentioned the North Face VE25, but not Hilleberg, in his book "Expedition Canoeing" I asked what he thought of the Hilleberg tents. He could not have been more enthusiastic. He said:

"Hilleberg tents are spectacular. Those tents are possibly the best "serious" tents on the planet."

(Of course, his favorite tent is the Aroostook-like Eureka! Tundraline, acknowledged bulky and heavy (12 lbs in weight), decent price of $260)

-- MV

Edited by blean on 04/12/2010 17:24:09 MDT.