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USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
tent company suggestions on 10/07/2011 22:01:40 MDT Print View

I'm looking to replace my BD Hilight, not sure which small companies or big ones have a light, winter tent, 3.5 season would do as I have gotten by with my 12+ year old SD Halfmoon in two feet of fresh snow and high winds with some pole damage. I'm thinking of returning my Hilight due to some sprizting coming thru in the rain. I bought this at REI three years ago, so I am contemplating returning it to them for a credit card credit or exchange for one of the tents they offer if I find something I like. Looking for something under 3.5 lbs. as that is what the Hilight weighs. I should get a $270-$280 credit on the Hilight if I return it and REI has the sale going on now for 10 days. TarpTent? I would like Henry's Rainbow, but that will have to wait until I replace the Squall. I quickly looked at a few of the offerings REI has and nothing too appealing for winter use. I'll have to do a little more research, just wondering which small companies have a good tent.
Duane (hikerduane)

Ceph Lotus
(Cephalotus) - MLife

Locale: California
Tent Companies on 10/07/2011 22:40:23 MDT Print View

Companies I'd recommend would include Six Moon Designs, Tarptent, Zpacks, Mountain Laurel Designs and Light Heart Gear.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Trekking poles not used on 10/07/2011 23:44:57 MDT Print View

I should add, I do not use poles, so I would need something with poles included or optional at least. I checked the Scarp out. I would need to know how much weight poles for it weigh, maybe what the front pole on my floorless Squall weighs? I saw Lightheart mentioned here a few times, a new company to me. I was reading over a year ago, Henry's Sublite or One silnylon I believe, poor memory, beat out SMD and the Zpack shelters in a high wind, the cuben material ripped. Anyone recall that report?
Duane

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: tent company suggestions on 10/08/2011 15:02:23 MDT Print View

Duane - Winter where? And are you thinking dead of winter with big snowfall or more spring snow camping conditions? Also - in the woods or above treeline?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: tent company suggestions on 10/08/2011 16:59:29 MDT Print View

Owareusa.com has some nice tents

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
3.5 seasons? on 10/08/2011 17:09:18 MDT Print View

I have to wonder what 3.5 seasons means.

I would not classify any tent from Tarptent, SMD, Zpacks, or Gossamer Gear as a 3.5 season tent.

3.5 seasons implies cold temperatures and snow and thus, something that can:

(a) give you full perimeter protection; and
(b) give you some blizzard loading resistance

MLD's full perimeter pyramids are a good bet, anything else will be a serious compromise. The disadvantage to a pyramid is that the sides will collapse in heavy snows, so size up, or select something with steeper sidewalls.

But these aren't tents, they are floorless shelters.

If you want a true tent from one of these companies, you might have to revise your expectations by subtracting 1.5 seasons from your specification.

The exception would be the Scarp with the crossing poles (TarpTent), but its ventilation/condensation resistance in cold, snowy weather will be problematic.

Edited by ryan on 10/08/2011 17:09:36 MDT.

James Landro
(justaddfuel) - F - M

Locale: MN
Re: 3.5 seasons? on 10/08/2011 17:16:31 MDT Print View

I have the MSR hubba hubba hp which i think would fit you requirements, but I do not have any experience with heavy snow loading to speak on that. I do appreciate the full fabric sides for colder weather and to stop spindrift.

kevin timm
(ktimm) - M

Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
You might check out a tipi on 10/08/2011 17:45:47 MDT Print View

I apologize for the commercial post but it's relevant.
We have stove compatible tipi's that have a sod skirt you can use to seal the edges tight. They are floorless, which is a benefit in the snow. The poles are strong, we test in pretty high snow loads. The three and four persons has both been tested with 14" of snow (fluffy) unmaintained. We also have a new shelter called the "backcountry shelter" , that is super flexible, and should perform very well in the snow. Weights vary from 2.5 lbs to 4 lbs on the above shelters. You can see them at Seekoutside.com

Kevin

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Tent for the Sierra Nevada/Cascades on 10/08/2011 20:35:39 MDT Print View

Sorry for lack of pertinent info. I live in the extreme northern Sierra Nevada, an hour south of Lassen VNP and a couple hours north of Lake Tahoe. I go bping any month of the year in the Sierra Nevada mostly, temps do not matter, although I like it warmer. I have been to the coast a few times bping. Looking for something to handle some high wind if it should come up and heavy snow if that chance of snow showers changes to snow likely.:) I don't want a full on 4 season tent as I won't be in those conditions if I can help it and they are too heavy and pricey. Always another time to go out. I've been out with our North CA group many times, most are seasoned bpers, and by myself mostly.
1. Good wind resistance
2. Moderate snow loading ability
3. Storm worthy, need to keep spin drift out
4. Under 3.5 to 4 lbs.
I like the weight of the Hilight and its free standing ability plus it has survived in conditions already that I would expect a new tent to perform in. It did great at Sky Blue Lake down by Mt. Whitney a couple years ago in high winds and last New Year's Eve with 7" to 8" of snow overnight.

Like Ryan had mentioned, some of the small companies do not have what I need and I agree. Floorless tarps won't cut it, not putting my life on the line for too light of a shelter. I've seen hammocks abandoned for the night as well as smaller tepees. I'll check suggestions out, maybe I just need to keep what I have, its paid for.

Ryan, I know a gent who ran across you on one of his bp trips, he collects stoves like I do and I met him for the first time Labor Day weekend at Diamond Lake, OR. I believe he was doing the PCT at the time, could have been in CO also.
Duane

Andy F
(AndyF) - M
Re: Tent for the Sierra Nevada/Cascades on 10/08/2011 21:30:03 MDT Print View

You might *carefully* consider using a TT Moment, but only if you took extra steps to keep out spindrift. I plan to give it a try this winter (using the liner), but in locations in the eastern US which are forested or have small spruce clusters in open areas.

Otherwise, I think a Scarp with extra poles would work well. I have a Scarp 2 with both netting and solid inners, but I haven't used either in winter yet. I think it would do just as well as any other double wall tent for the condensation/ventilation issue, but I admit to not understanding Ryan's comment/rationale about that.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Tent for the Sierra Nevada/Cascades on 10/08/2011 21:48:19 MDT Print View

The vents are too tiny on the Scarp. Too tiny on the Moment as well.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Face mask?:) on 10/09/2011 09:58:56 MDT Print View

You almost need a gas mask/dryer type setup to vent your breath outside to avoid condensation.:) If things are bad, you need to batten down the hatches and if not, you need to open up your shelter to vent good. I still get some frost inside, almost need the entire door opened all the way. My old SD Halfmoon had few issues, but then it is double walled and comes in at 4.75 lbs. relegated to car camping or some weekend use now. Good to know about the Scarp. I've heard the Moment had issues too from a lady on Thelightweightbackpacker. Thanks all for your suggestions and comments.
Duane (hikerduane)

Richard Fischel
(RICKO) - F
hilight spritzing? on 10/09/2011 13:20:10 MDT Print View

was rain coming in thru the rear vent or door, seam or the fabric?

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: hilight spritzing? on 10/09/2011 13:24:50 MDT Print View

His version would have been the previous Epic version. Epic is known to only be water resistent with a hydrostatic head of 800mm. The fabric will eventually wet through.

Richard Fischel
(RICKO) - F
Re: Re: hilight spritzing? on 10/09/2011 14:03:38 MDT Print View

i have an epic bd lighthouse that hasn't had a problem in the rain except when i failed to reapply seam seal. i haven't had it out in a prolonged multi-day consistent rain shower, but i've had it out in some heavy rain. it sounds like the hilight has many if not all the qualities the op was looking for in a tent except for the spritzing. maybe a little seam seal would address the problem.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M
Re: Scarp vents on 10/09/2011 18:51:30 MDT Print View

David, thanks for the clarification on the Scarp vent size/condensation issues.

What is an example of a tent with adequate venting then?

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: tent company suggestions on 10/09/2011 20:58:22 MDT Print View

Duane, I am convinced you have to adjust your expectations on the storm-worthiness aspect or on the weight. I've wrestled with this same question for a long time and have come to the conclusion that to have really good performance - read storm-worthy but without massive condensation issues - in real winter conditions, you need either a real double-walled tent (fabric walls, not mesh) or a Bibler/ID singlewall. I'm a big fan of single-wall floorless shelters for spring snowcamping (April and May), but when it's really storming, not so much. Double walls really help with the condensation issues by changing where the dewpoint is in relation to your insulation and to the wall you may come in contact with. Biblers and Id's seem to have an advantage over other single-wall shelters due to the fuzzy interior layer on their fabric. What the physics or thermodymanics of that are, I don't know, but I've heard an awful of of good reports.
Personaly I think a real winter tent needs a vestibule big enough to function as an "airlock entry" - meaning I can get into the vestibule, zip it closed,brush the snow off myself, and then open the tent door. That's really livin'.
My experience is that I've never been sorry I had too much tent in a snowstorm, but I have been sorry I had too little.
Big Sky has some tents that really interest me, but their reputation for delivery times is so bad I'd be pretty reluctant to actually order one.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Seams are not the issue on 10/10/2011 06:52:09 MDT Print View

Spritzing occurred a short time after the rain started. Too, maybe I'm wanting too much for one bad experience. The seams are not the issue, they are great.

I would get a Hilleberg or other nice tent but the price is a little much even for me. The Hilight was strecthing it for me when I bought it, but REI had the 20% off at the time. The bunch I bp with, a couple have the nicer tents, I was hoping to get by as I always do clothing wise and gear wise.

Computer issues last night, so my longer reply was lost.

Thanks all for your time,
Duane

Carter Young
(kidcobalt) - M

Locale: Western Montana
Some thoughts on winter tents on 10/10/2011 17:31:51 MDT Print View

I would think that the HiLight would be a very suitable lightweight tent for the winter. I have two of the BD Epic tents, and although I've never used them in the snow, I find that they are perfectly suited for when you need a light and strong shelter that offers excellent weather protection in all but a drenching downpour. There is some condensation issues with them when the humidity is over 90 percent and the temps are around the freezing mark, but I've had condensation problems with all sorts of shelters except for a few.

Two things I've learned from 40 plus years of snow camping are: vestibules (preferably poled) are essential if you don't want to spend time digging out buried boots, packs, and cooking equipment; and you need a solid wall all the way.

I have a lot of experience with two staples of Everest tenting: the Mountain Hardwear Trango and the TNF summit series (neither line is anywhere near the weight limits for UL backpacking). Of the two I prefer the TNF tents: condensation can be a problem with Trangos because their nylon fly stretches and gets floppy when went, resulting in the fly sagging against the inner tent. The TNF tents have polyester flies, and those goofy-looking foam blocks really do work at keeping a heavily-loaded fly off the inner tent.

I also like and use WP/B single-walled tents from Bibler, Nemo, and Integral Designs. And as someone else has said, the fuzzy lining of Bibler and ID tents really do work to keep things dry to the touch. In contrast, Nemo tents have a slick white inner surface that resembles the inside of a Marmot Precip jacket. Now the Nemo tents may be just as breathable as their competitors, but that slick lining is always damp to wet if there is any sort of humidity present. I did spend one rainy weekend in an early Nemo Tenshi made of eVent that was remarkably dry inside, but the seam tape separated from the eVent within two days.

Edited by kidcobalt on 10/10/2011 17:50:13 MDT.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
It does a good job on 10/10/2011 18:10:34 MDT Print View

For the weight, I would have to agree Carter. Orginally looking for other options in manufacturers. I have used my Hilight in winter conditions, but when it rains in the Fall and you are prepared of sorts for cold or snow, the rain throws you a curve. May have to be happy with it and use the trash compactor bag I bring for clothes in my pack to stuff them in at night also. I have not been snow camping as long as you and certainly not in any mountaineering situations. I've started out slow years ago, not sure how many years ago, just using whatever I had and "getting by" with what I had. I was looking at the Bibler before I got my Hilight but it was a tad short and the next size up was just too much. I've emailed BD to see what their take is on my tent. I have a lightweight setup gear wise for summer, just not anxious to do the same for winter out west here.
Duane