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Tents for tent platform (N.E.) camping
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victor larivee
(vlarivee) - MLife

Locale: white mountains
Tents for tent platform (N.E.) camping on 02/23/2011 07:00:16 MST Print View

Living in the northeast most of the time I end up sleeping in a shelter (I’m going to use a MLD superlight bivy) or on tent platforms. Currently I only have one tent for all applications, MSR Hubba Hubba, I use this when solo camping and when I camp with a friend or my wife. I really like this tent but it is heavy (~5lb) and for solo camping it represents about 1/4 of my packed weight. So right now I am looking for a new light weight tent for solo camping.

Some of the features I would like are;
Free standing- It’s very difficult to stake out a non- free standing tent on a wooden tent platform.
Double wall- In the northeast conditions are always variable (when I say variable I mean all of the following can happen in 24hrs) hot, humid, cold, rainy and lots of mosquito’s/black fly’s. One of my main concerns is condensation getting my down bag soaked. I also like the ability to just set up the rain fly or bug net.
Floor space- Would like to be able to bring my pack in and change cloths.
Vestibule- Big enough to store my pack (golite Jam2) and boots when sleeping
Floor- Is optional (I have a quilt so I might be using my MLD superlight bivy in colder weather anyways)
Snow- Only needs to handle light snow. I will not be using this tent in the winter.

Alright which one of you gear heads has the answer to my dilemma?


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Big Agnes on 02/23/2011 11:54:29 MST Print View


I think the lightest Double wall, freestanding tent is the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 at 1 lb. 14 oz.

Another solo double wall tent is TarpTent's Scarp 1. It's freestanding only with the "crossing poles". It's also heavy when compared with the Fly Creek UL1.

BTW, there is another company, Big Sky, that sells very light double wall freestanding solo tents that I hesitate to mention due to its record of slow delivery. But their tents are well designed and fairly durable. They have been favorably reviewed here on BPL.

Edited by Danepacker on 02/23/2011 12:05:46 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Big Agnes on 02/23/2011 13:10:41 MST Print View

BA Fly Creek UL1 is indeed the lightest (even the UL2 -- a glorified 2-person tent that's more for 1.5 persons -- is also pretty darn light). However, know that you have to stretch and either stake or tie out the two foot corners in order to spread out the foot end!

For a more self-standing tent that both stands and stretches out the floor for your use without the need for stakes or tieouts -- there's the BA Seedhouse 1 or 2 SL. Choosing between the Fly Creek and the Seedhouse SL models is a choice between a bit less weight versus a bit more setup convenience.

I use to own a Seedhouse 2 SL. The one minor irritant is the need for 9 stakes (or tie outs in your case) to secure the four corners, to keep the fly away from the inner, and to make the vestibule usable. The Seedhouse 1 SL and both Fly Creek UL 1 and 2 models will require 11 stakes (or tie outs) by comparison.

In contrast, a simple dome tent like your Hubba Hubba requires just 5-6 stakes -- 4 for the corners and 1 or 2 for the vestibule(s). If you like simple, freestanding dome tents -- then the lightest double wall models are sold by the above-mentioned Big Sky International. I would ECHO the above -- if you decide to buy, make sure to contact the owner (Bob Molen) first by phone to verify whether he has one available for sale. If not, then order only if you are very, very flexible about actual delivery time -- ranging from a month to many months.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Big Sky on 02/23/2011 13:11:55 MST Print View

I just got a big sky tent that will be used in a similar way up in the Whites on tent platforms. Tent is very nice. Not cheap, and I would recommend finding out if your choice is in stock

Another option might be the Easton Kilo that just came out. Double wall, free standing 2P tent at just over 2lbs

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
tent platform on 02/23/2011 13:17:21 MST Print View

Also, for those not familiar with the platforms, usually there are eye bolts available around the perimeter of the platforms to tie off too. sometimes requires getting a little creative if more than one tent are sharing a platform

Karple T

Locale: Mid-Alantic
Tents on Platform on 02/23/2011 15:06:47 MST Print View

Just take some eye screws with you and you can set up any tent on wood platform : )

Get real small ones so they don't leave noticeable holes.


Edited by ctracyverizon on 02/23/2011 15:11:44 MST.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Another method to secure a shelter on 02/23/2011 15:18:58 MST Print View

I use this method on tent platforms, rock slabs and concrete platforms with my tarp:

Securing Option

victor larivee
(vlarivee) - MLife

Locale: white mountains
feed back on 02/23/2011 17:27:08 MST Print View

thanks for all the feed back. I have tryed the eye hook trick and it worked well. The easton Kilo looks very nice but the price tag is just to much for me at this time.

Matthew Marasco
(BabyMatty) - F

Locale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
re: on 02/23/2011 17:31:59 MST Print View

I am super satisfied with my BA Copper Spur 1. Weighs a bit over 3lbs with the inner, and right around 2 when pitched with only the fly. It's big for one person, and if you pitch only the fly, 2 people can fit underneath (as long as you're not built like Shaq). Very storm-worthy.

Will Webster
Re: Re: Big Agnes on 02/23/2011 17:37:16 MST Print View

"The Seedhouse 1 SL and both Fly Creek UL 1 and 2 models will require 11 stakes (or tie outs) by comparison."

The Fly Creek UL 2 (I can't speak to the others) takes 11 stakes, but 2 are only needed in high winds. My wife and share one; it's quite cozy (we have to take turns sitting up) but we're willing to accept that for the light weight.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Tent platforms on 02/23/2011 17:49:02 MST Print View

I've set up my Tartpent Squall on at least 10 tent platforms with no problems and no extra equipment of any kind. If you're a bit creative, you can always find something to tie to.

If you're really concerned about platforms, bring 10 or 20 extra feet of rope--that would guarantee that you'd be able to stake out your tent, and the weight and financial penalties would be vastly less than getting a free-standing tent.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
staking out on platforms on 02/23/2011 18:06:30 MST Print View

I once saw a caretaker carve out pegs using sticks, and wedging them in the space between the slats. He would then tie out to the pegs...Looked pretty solid to me, and big points on ingenuity

Victor, if you weren't dead set on a double wall shelter, I would have recommended the tarptent rainbow. It's freestanding capable with trekking poles, very light, and has faired well for me during 3-season use here in New England ( I own the double rainbow). Yes, I've def experienced condensation in it, but for the weight savings, it worth the hassle of having to occasionally wipe down the walls with a shamwow.

Edited by Konrad1013 on 02/23/2011 18:14:18 MST.

victor larivee
(vlarivee) - MLife

Locale: white mountains
confusion on 02/23/2011 18:47:21 MST Print View

Points taken. I guess free standing isn't a must have. So instead of narroing down my search it just got bigger. I have looked at the rainbow, DR and the lightheart solo they all look nice. Now instead of a search it is now a quest.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: confusion on 02/23/2011 21:24:45 MST Print View

I used to own a Rainbow and it is very well designed. It is also the most spacious solo tent I know. However, if you are looking for a singularly versatile tent to handle wide temp, wind, rain and humidity conditions (within the realm of 3 seasons) -- single wall shelters may not be the best answer -- as they can be more prone to condensation -- and you won't have a breathable inner tent to help keep your gear and yourself from coming into contact with the wet underside of the outer tent wall.

Condensation aside, the other factor is draft in cold nights (you mentioned light snow in your post up above). Single wall tarptents are made with non-breathable silnylon -- and most have 360 degree of open mesh above the floor perimeter and the entire door side for venting. While pleasant most nights, this can also mean a cold draft permeating all throughout the night when temps fall. And yet, if you try to block out the non-closable mesh vents with your extra clothing and gear, then you invite serious condensation build up.

The two factors above explain why many hikers own multiple tents -- even for just 3-season usage: an all-around double wall tent for most conditions plus a single wall tarptent to save weight when camping in temperate climes with low to moderate humidity. If you limit yourself to just one -- then a double wall tent is generally the more versatile option.

Edited by ben2world on 02/23/2011 21:35:34 MST.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Single Wall Shelter on 02/24/2011 05:18:59 MST Print View

There are a very high percentage of long distance backpackers that use single wall shelters year round. There are many journals of people who thru-hiked the AT, CDT, PCT,... with poncho tarps or other very light single wall shelters.
Many started with heavier double walled shelters and as their skills and confidence increased, their shelters and everything else became lighter.

Your opinion of what is necessary will change after you do many long days in a row of backpacking:-)

First off, condensation is only a problem if you let it bother you.

A well ventilated non-breathable single wall will have less of an issue with condensation than a less ventilated breathable.

If you are one of those people that bug out over condensation, you may be better with the double wall shelter. Double wall free standing are fine until you get the experience to see what you want and understand the advantages of different designs.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Single Wall Shelter on 02/24/2011 07:25:46 MST Print View


Seems like we've drifted a bit. The OP is looking for a shelter to be used in a specific manner. i.e. tent platforms in humid buggy areas. I think a double wall free standing lightweight tent might be hard to beat with a single wall shelter. Maybe you can elaborate on what you've learned though. My experiences have been primarily in double wall tents (and occasionally cowboy camping w/just a bivy) so admittedly, I don't really know a whole lot about single wall shelter options


Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Getting Off Subject on 02/24/2011 08:17:32 MST Print View

Yes, I'm drifting off subject.
There are many articles at BPL about this subject and too many forum discussions:-)

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
tent platforms on 02/24/2011 08:25:26 MST Print View

No question a non-freestanding tent is 'doable.' But a freestanding shelter is so much nicer to use in these conditions and you are guaranteed a tighter pitch.

(BTW - condensation sucks..... ; ) )

Diana Vann
(DianaV) - MLife

Locale: Wandering
Re: Another method to secure a shelter on 02/24/2011 08:33:37 MST Print View

This stick, stake, rock, trekking pole method illustrated by Steven can also be used for the BA Fly Creek UL 1. I have a Fly Creek UL 1, and I sometimes prefer it, especially when I'm going to be in super buggy areas. It's as light as most tarp/bivy combinations, and it's super quick and easy to put up. Every place I've packed (and kayaked) has had some kind of rocks, sticks, etc. If there are no sticks available, a long, narrow rock can be used as the object to be weighed down by two heavy rocks. Without carrying all of those stakes, it's very light (and compact). It can also be used as a tarp shelter only, which (if you don't carry all those stakes) makes it an incredibly light shelter.

Edited to add link

Fly Creek 1

Edited by DianaV on 02/25/2011 17:02:48 MST.

V k

Locale: New York
TT Rainbow on 02/24/2011 09:17:29 MST Print View

I use Tarptent Rainbow and while it can be setup in freestanding mode the tent it too long for many platforms in the White Mountains. I've managed to overcome that by pulling the ends of the pole closer together, but it does add to the setup time.