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Lookin for a light tent, questions about single wall
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Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Lookin for a light tent, questions about single wall on 04/02/2010 01:13:09 MDT Print View

I hike with my wife and friends, we're mostly weekend warriors and (so far) keep to the coast and foothills of northern CA. I always carry our tent which is an older model Eureka 2-person which weighs in around (sit down for this) 6-7 lbs fully packed. My scale is junk so I don't bother trying to work in ounces. I wouldn't call us "UL" by a long shot, but definitely weight conscious - and I want to lighten my pack.

I'm interested in a single wall shelter, such as the Lunar Duo. The room sounds great (I'm 6-2), and compared to what I'm lugging around now, the weight would be awesome. I haven't convinced my wife yet, and maybe she's got some valid concerns. We just got back from a few days out at Coe State Park where we got a little rain unexpectedly and I was using the fly for a pillow... she got a little wet and woke up cold (we have down bags). The concerns are:

- Is it a bad idea to mix down bags and single wall shelters? Changing bags is not an option for us.

- If we have to carry bivy's just in case, should we just look at getting a lightweight double wall tent like the MH Skyledge or MSR Hubba Hubba instead?

Thanks for any advice!

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Lookin for a light tent, questions about single wall on 04/02/2010 01:22:21 MDT Print View

You could use the fly for its intended purpose. That would help if it rains. Stick some clothing into a bag to use for your pillow, because the clothing won't keep the rain off.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Lookin for a light tent, questions about single wall on 04/02/2010 04:23:12 MDT Print View

Hi Jacob,
The Lunar Duo is a great tent for solo use, or with a smallish partner. If your wife is bigger than 5'3" you might consider something with a little more headroom at the 'far side'. Have a look at the Gossamer Gear 'The One'. It has the same full bug protection and sewn in groundsheet. It is narrow though. Getting slightly heavier, Shire's tarptents are great and deal with condensation well through good ventilation options.

Down bags in single wall shelters are fine, just use a few precautions. I put my zipped up breathable jacket over the foot end because I'm tall, and tend to touch the condensation on the shelter with my feet. You can also use a piece of breathable water resistant fabric such as 'Epic' or 'Momentum' as a bedspread over both of you. This will add a couple of degrees of warmth too, will pack small, and won't be as heavy as two bivys. Carry a small microfibre towel to mop up condensation before you sit up on a morning.

jeffrey bennett

Locale: Near the bottom
Lunar dou and double rainbow on 04/02/2010 04:40:13 MDT Print View

Both the lunar dou or the double rainbow are perfect for 2. Two 6'2 guys could fit in either. The lunar dou has more head room but the doublerainbow is more storm worthy. I am 6'1 and just bought the double rainbow and I hike with my growing son who is 5'8. The doublerainbow has a few more features I thought were nice. Also you can get a breathable liner for the DR that turns it into a doubled wall tent. Our old tent was a kelty teton 2 man tent.
You should not need a bivy with either tent.
ps. I think the above poster was talking about the lunar solo.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Lunar dou and double rainbow on 04/02/2010 04:44:23 MDT Print View

Jeffrey, you're right. My mistake. With Kath being quite petite, I was thinking solo tents used for two, as we usually do.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Re: Lunar dou and double rainbow on 04/02/2010 06:28:58 MDT Print View

We use single wall shelters and down bags, and have not had any problems. Of course we occasionally wake up with condensation on the inside walls, and that sometimes brushes against our bags and the outside fabric gets damp. Never been a big deal. We carry a small pack towel and wipe down the inside before packing. (Note that we live in the humid Southeast, so we often have condensation all over the outside, too.)

The interior volume of the Lunar Duo is amazing. For two hikers plus all their gear, there is plenty of room for just about anything. I can stretch out full length in my long down bag and not come close to touching the ends. After using a Double Rainbow for more than a year, the improved volume and headroom of the Lunar Duo is great.

Jolly Green Giant
(regultr) - MLife

Re: Re: Re: Lunar dou and double rainbow on 04/02/2010 09:07:25 MDT Print View

Both are great tents and this topic has been discussed numerous times throughout these forums. You'll find no major flaws with either, so it comes down to personal preference. You'll likely find most taller folks prefer the Lunar Duo because it offers a little more room. I'm 6'6" and went through the same mental exercise you're doing and went with the Lunar Duo for the extra length. It was a great decision, but you really can't go wrong regardless of which you choose.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Lookin for a light tent, questions about single wall on 04/02/2010 09:14:38 MDT Print View

As long as you use any of the UL shelters discussed here as they were meant, you'll have no problems. (Meaning, don't take a tarptent above treeline in a howling snowstorm). Also, educate yourself on technique and philosophy with the UL conventions--this will help a lot with other aspects of camping/hiking also.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Shelters and another question on 04/02/2010 09:20:18 MDT Print View

@Rog, Jeffery, Ken
Thanks for the helpful replies. I had actually been looking at the Double Rainbow and Cloudburst2 before I came to the Lunar Duo. I also took a look at the Gossamer shelters. From the experiences of others that I've read I think I'd be pretty happy with the Lunar Duo. Does anyone happen to know if they offer something similar to the 90 day trial that Henry Shires offers?

I've also read a little about misting. If/when it happens can it bad enough to compromise the insulating ability of a down bag? Our bags are WM Alpinlite's by the way. The outer shell doesn't shed water as readily as the microfiber material, for example. I'll look into carry a small sheet of Epic... sounds like a good idea I just have no idea where to get it :)

This was my first post here, so I don't know you and you don't know me. Your response didn't address either of the issues I'm asking about and has no value other than an attempt to make me feel like a knucklehead, which it didn't. I apologize if you said it in a friendly and sarcastic voice, but it doesn't come across that way.

- Jacob.

Edited by JacobD on 04/02/2010 09:21:54 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Lookin for a light tent, questions about single wall on 04/02/2010 09:23:47 MDT Print View

"Meaning, don't take a tarptent above treeline in a howling snowstorm"

We got caught well above treeline and sat out a horizontal blizzard for 16 hours in a Lunar Duo. Other than stuffing the upper vents to keep the snow out, everything was fine.

Recommended? - No. Doable? - Yep.

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Greg how did the LD hold up in the wind? on 04/02/2010 10:10:18 MDT Print View

Greg, did you have to anchor with rocks and how did it perform in those strong winds?

I was always curious to hear about how the Double Rainbow and Lunar Duo perform in windy conditions from someone who has tried them both. The DR has the rounder shape but the LD is supported by trekking poles which are stronger than tent poles.

I haven't used either yet, but have read accounts of both and have seen the Lunar Solo and Double Rainbow set up. I think both are very good quality versatile shelters.

Keep in mind that with the Double Rainbow the breathable liner just runs under the ceiling of the fly, as the walls have mesh running down already - there's just a small gap in between.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Shelters and another question on 04/02/2010 10:25:34 MDT Print View


I too didn't get the part where it was raining, but you were using the fly as your pillow, and your wife got wet and woke up cold??

But back to topic... Very few double wall tents can match the weight to space ratio of single wall tarptents. But there are good reasons why people haven't given up on double walls: condensation and draft.

All tarptents have 360 mesh for ventilation. In temperate areas with low to moderate humidity, they are a joy to use. But condensation can easily form when there is little or no breeze... and the tarptent can get awfully drafty the whole night when there is too much breeze (esp. continuous cold winds blowing across your face). You can try blocking the vents, but that gets you back to condensation!

Don't be overly seduced by light weight alone -- but take care to match the proper tool with the task at hand.

Most of us own multiple tents. To me, a light weight double wall makes for the most versatile "all around" tent for 3 or 4 season use. And when camping in moderate climes, why not carry a tarptent and save a few pounds of weight -- without sacrificing living space?

And thus, I second the recommendations of either LD or DR. If you rarely camp in cold / high humidity areas, then your Eureka and serve as the "go to" tent on those few occasions. Otherwise, I would suggest getting yourself a lighter weight double wall also. One good one is the Big Agnes Copper Spur 2 UL. A bigger, slightly heavier but also cheaper option is the REI Half Dome 2.

Edited by ben2world on 04/02/2010 10:45:25 MDT.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Lookin for a light tent, questions about single wall on 04/02/2010 11:16:35 MDT Print View

@JGG, Travis, Greg
Thanks for the additional input. I hear you regarding keeping with the design limitations. That's why I mentioned we mostly stick to the coast and hills.

Re: the rain issue, it was unexpected. We had been out for a few nights and the weather was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky... same as that night. It wasn't enough to wake us (mainly her) up; in fact it was probably a localized drizzle since we were down in a valley with a creek and small runoff stream near by (the wetness wasn't from condensation, the stream was almost dry during the day and had water in it in the morning). Despite Bob's post, I do know what a rain fly is for and how to use it. That does not help me in choosing a lighter tent though. My point with mentioning the rain incident was that my wife is now very leery of the possibility of waking up wet for any reason. Anyway...

I'll probably hold onto the Eureka as you suggest. I recently seam sealed it again and put it to test under the spray nozzle and then overnight in a serious storm recently and it stays bone dry. It's a good tent (Apex XT) just packs heavy. It would be nice to replace it entirely at some point... or we may just do that now and hold off on the tarp tent. Still not sure.

Edited by JacobD on 04/02/2010 11:17:40 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Greg how did the LD hold up in the wind? on 04/02/2010 11:16:36 MDT Print View


"Greg, did you have to anchor with rocks and how did it perform in those strong winds?"

We were on "gravel paving". It took about 30 minutes of stumbling around in sideways snow to find a spot where we could set up up. Nothing But rocks. We use the gold Easton tubulars (8"?), and we just hammered until they worked their way in. (This is exactly why I carry the extra weight in stakes.)

The site was in a narrow valley, we knew the wind was blowing down-valley, there was nothing to hide behind, so there was no guessing on how to orient the tent.

We were indeed worried, but really had no choice. The end of the tent was bellied in, everything was shaking, but the tent did well. Five days latter when we got 4" of heavy wet snow throughout a night, we kept whomping the top to keep things sliding off. I inspected the tent when we got home, and could find no signs of stressed stitching or pulled seams. I was pleased.

Obviously this is not the tent for winter camping, but in a pinch it did just fine. (Getting caught by early storms was a theme that year.)

James Dubendorf

Locale: CO, UT, MA, ME, NH, VT
Re: Greg how did the LD hold up in the wind? on 04/02/2010 12:19:06 MDT Print View


I've experienced strong winds with the Lunar Duo in southern Utah, and agree that it has a bend but don't break style in those conditions (in a good way). One can get pretty creative with the various additional tie out options. I've had good luck running a line from the loop in the center of each side, up to a trekking pole or stick, and then down to the ground. You can even thread the adjustable guyline at each vestibule through the upper vent, allowing much greater range of variation in its angle, and even the ability to tie it directly to a tree, rock, etc. In those cases the bottom of the vestibule could either still be clipped as designed, or staked directly to the ground. A bit of extra line gives you many options.

As you said, not a four season tent and doesn't claim to be. Most of the time, you don't have to bother with any of these extras, but it is nice to have them when conditions warrant. Now if they could only invent a mesh that selectively blocked blowing sand...


Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Drafty on 04/03/2010 15:20:06 MDT Print View

Keeping the drafts (aka 'good ventilation) in mind is important. Especially when you are camping with someone who may have a lower discomfort tolerance than you and/or when you are camping in colder conditions. My wife wasn't too thrilled with the great ventilation we had two nights ago when it was also hovering around freezing outside.