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Tent Recommendations for Canadian High Alpine
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David Street
(squidz) - F
Tent Recommendations for Canadian High Alpine on 11/08/2011 12:41:39 MST Print View

I am currently using a monstrous Mountain Hardware Viperine 3 for all of my camping/backpacking needs as it is all I have. It is a very large tent and very heavy and I am looking to lighten up the load. I have read and re-read many forums and I am actually getting to the point were I am not sure if a tarptent of sorts is what I am looking for, so I look to you guys for some advice and direction.

I am 6'4", 240# and will be hiking with my wife who is a bit under 6'. We both use a Big Agnes AC Insulated pad at 20x72 and I use a 15° 850-fill 6'6" sleeping bag without any DWR treatments.

My last trip describes my hiking the best. From trailhead to campsite, we hiked 7mi up a creek bed with large boulders and lots of side hilling for a 3500' gain. Our campsite was totally exposed and we experienced a fall blizzard with snow and wind with sustained winds continuing for the night. Michele Lake

Needless to say an 8# tents is much more than I'm wanting to take to these spots and I have recently been looking into tarptents, as the wife is requesting bug protection. The tents I have been considering, in no order, are the SMD Lunar Duo, SMD Haven, TT DRainbow, TT Stratospire 2, and the Nemo Meta 2P. I am leaning to the SMD Duo for length but question it's ability to handle high alpine situations.

So I ask the broad user base of BPL for suggestions to tents. I am wanting to get a tent under 3lbs that will fit my frame with my wife with room to spare if we get shut in for a while, and that will handle the wind and condensation issues that come with the high alpine. Price isn't much of an issue but will be a factor in deciding a tent. I'm open to suggestions or user accounts that are similar to mine, I know there are a ton for thru-hikes but I've never been in that area and have no idea how it compares to where I am.

If you're still reading at this point, thanks for your time and I look forward to any dialogue here.


S Long

Locale: Wasatch
Re: Tent Recommendations for Canadian High Alpine on 11/08/2011 12:53:01 MST Print View

I think your requirements for a tent with good condensation resistance and the ability to handle the occasional blizzard and high winds rules out any sub three pound tents, unfortunately. Of all the ones you listed I think the Tarptent Double Rainbow would be the most up to the challenge option. That being said, I would consider a Tarptent Scarp 2 or, if money is not too big an object, a Hilleberg. I have the Kaitum 2 and love it. Good luck.

Edited by Izeloz on 11/08/2011 12:53:33 MST.

Gabe Joyes
(gabe_joyes) - F

Locale: Lander, WY
Golite SL2 on 11/08/2011 12:59:20 MST Print View

Golite Shangri-La 2 has worked wonders for me in the Wind River Range alpine.

Bradley Danyluk
(dasbin) - MLife
Look up on 11/08/2011 13:53:43 MST Print View

IMHO you are thinking too lightweight for the intended usage, unfortunately. In such conditions - heavy snow-loads and strong winds, far from civilization - I'd want something I could reasonably rely on to save my life if the conditions got even worse than expected.
I'd be looking at a Hilleberg Nallo 2, personally. Still fairly light.
'Mid tents can also be a good choice if you don't mind a centre pole.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Golite SL2 on 11/08/2011 13:53:49 MST Print View

+1 to S Long

THe LD is the side of a barn in the wind. High mtn winds at least.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
Golite SL2 or SL3 on 11/08/2011 13:59:32 MST Print View

+1 for the Golite shangri-la series. They've worked quite well for me here in Colorado above treeline. I also like the fact that they are modular so I can mix and match the pieces I bring depending on the conditions.

I had a Nallo 2 and absolutely loved it, so I can recommend it as well (getting the optional mesh inner is helpful for the summer months). It's quite a bit more pricey, though.

Edited by aaronufl on 11/08/2011 14:01:53 MST.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Tent Recommendations for Canadian High Alpine on 11/08/2011 13:59:51 MST Print View

I trek in the Canadian High Alpine and would suggest the lightweight shelters following:

-MLD Duomid, Golite SL2 or 3 (the 1 is not wind friendly), or similar mid type design.

-Tarptent Scarp 1 or 2.

-Hilleberg Akto.

All of these shelters permit pitching right to the ground which may be required. Unless you are planning on trekking in deep snow, these will all work in terms of shoulder season snow loading.

David Street
(squidz) - F
What I thought on 11/08/2011 14:29:46 MST Print View

Yeah, I was getting to suspect that my earlier list of tents were going to be too light. I really like the looks of the Nallo 2, but I'm a bit concerned with the sloping rear wall coming into contact with my feet. The Shangri-la 2 looks great, I think I would prefer it to the 3, but what kind of vestibule does the SL 2 have? From pictures it doesn't look like it has any. I also want to look into the Warmlite, but for some reason I can't get onto their site from work.

Thanks for the advise all!

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: What I thought on 11/08/2011 14:38:35 MST Print View

" I also want to look into the Warmlite, but for some reason I can't get onto their site from work."

It might have to do with the nudity on their site. Seriously.

How tall are you? If you use a regular bag, you will be fine in the Nallo. What about the Hilleberg Unna?

David Street
(squidz) - F
Height on 11/08/2011 15:05:50 MST Print View

I am 6'4" and use a long bag. I know it's not super tall, but tall enough that I take need to evaluate tents a bit closer.

Kyle Meyer

Locale: Portland, OR
Nemo Meta 2P on 11/08/2011 15:07:51 MST Print View

The Meta is terrible in wind—do not buy. I've had it collapse on me more than once in alpine conditions with huge rocks on the stakes.

Donald Browning
(docdb) - M

Locale: SE USA
Nallo length on 11/08/2011 20:25:40 MST Print View

You are right about the Nallo length. I'm 6' and sold mine over that issue. Check out the Jannu.

Edited by docdb on 11/08/2011 20:27:05 MST.

David Street
(squidz) - F
Updated Tent List on 11/09/2011 12:29:58 MST Print View

Thanks all for your insight.

I've looked at the Hillebergs and commenced to drooling! Amazing equipment. I was most interested in the Nallo 2, but due to size constraints, it's a no go. The others, I just don't see enough of a weight benefit for me to justify the tents, and I honestly don't think I would be able to get the most out of these tents. I do see that I need a beefier tent, but these seem over kill, and them far too much for lower elevations.

I've comfortable ruled out most of the sub 3lbs and I agree that they aren't quite enough. But what about the Scarp 2? When at lower or sheltered locations, just use the tent with the single ridge pole and when I plan on going to elevation, take with me the extra poles and guys for strength. The weight savings are good and the versatility is good along with plenty of room. The only other one, then, that I am watching is how the new Stratospire is going to handle winds.

Do you think the Scarp 2 would be a wise choice?


Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Updated Tent List on 11/09/2011 20:59:28 MST Print View

I have a Scarp 2, and your plan for it sounds reasonable to me.

On actual trips, mine has only been used in calm, nice weather in the forest so far. I had it set up in the exposed backyard with gusty winds (40 mph?) which blew a plastic lawn chair into it without damage. If the winds are over around 15-20 mph, you definitely want to use the two main pole guyouts. I nearly always use these if there's any chance of wind, as the main pole is vulnerable. You probably don't need the extra poles unless the winds are over 40-60 mph (large guess there) or more than a few inches of snow is possible.

I haven't used it without the inner yet, but a backyard pitch looks very promising and spacious. I plan to use it like this as my solo shelter this winter. With a few add-ons of my own, my Scarp 2 fly + pole is 2 lbs, 12 oz in the stuff sack (not counting stakes--I'll use sticks and anchors). That weight is just a little over my Moment's weight (with liner and stakes).

Edited by AndyF on 11/09/2011 21:07:53 MST.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Updated Tent List on 11/09/2011 21:24:10 MST Print View

Ok, I have a Scarp 2 and I would NOT recommend it for windy conditions or alpine environment outside of summer only conditions where you will be holed up for more than 1 and a half days. Yes, it weighs 2lbs or less if trecking poles are used, but has a severe drawback.

The side completely blows in and all said condensation will deposit itself on your Sleeping Bag. Likewise a rain with wind from the end will blow rain against the end mesh and if your sleeping bag touches it you WILL get your toes wet. That being said I still took it for 10 days in the Pickets here in N. Cascades and routinely take it with me for all short trips if I take anything at all.

I got wise though after being wet several times. Bought a TT Cloudburst 2. We then modified it for a stouter front hoop pole and added a middle hoop pole. Its bomber in wind/rain/snow. Its LONG. A major requirement for you. Have been holed up in it for a week straight in BC coastal mountains before without getting our sleeping bags wet. Yes, moisture management was necessary as it is single wall and non breathable sil-nylon. Used a wet sock...

Just Last week I was using the Scarp 2 and was noticing how SHORT it was in comparison to the Cloudburst 2 and how I could not get 2 people and our gear "inside" out of the dew, though did get nearly all. Thankfully it froze so all said dew turned to ice crystals and brushed off. You are tall and will definitely want MORE room than the SCARP 2 tent in extended bad weather. Is it doable? Yes. Comfortable, NO.

As far as I am concerned, lightest best tents are all tube tents. If you can afford it get a single wall breathable fabric tube tent. No, they aren't free standing, but then again no free standing tent that I know of that weighs little will accomodate your height.

Many would recommend a pyramid tent as you are probably carrying trecking poles anyways. Requires lots of stakes/rocks to keep rain or snow driven by wind out. They are lighter than any tube tent.

Wind Driven 33F degree rain is not to be sneazed at in the alpine environment.

EDIT: I would highly recommend Stephenson warmlite tenst.
They are in the same category as Hilldeburg. If you can afford them...
EDIT: Not sure about their length for you though. I am 5' 10" and my knowledge on them is miniscule. Slept in once in a Warmlite 2R as I recall.

Edited by footeab on 11/09/2011 21:32:26 MST.

Jesse Tinkess
Re Updated Tent List on 11/10/2011 02:57:58 MST Print View

Good luck Squidz on your hunt for a new tent. I agree with "The side completely blows in and all said condensation will deposit itself on your Sleeping Bag. Likewise a rain with wind from the end will blow rain against the end mesh and if your sleeping bag touches it you WILL get your toes wet." (Footeab), reguarding single wall tents, like the tarp tent. I would go so far to suggest that since your interested in alpine campcraft where temperatures will be lower, and the lapse rate will be more stringent it might be very important to take dryness, and warmth into consideration with a double walled tent.

Happy Hiking

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Updated Tent List on 11/10/2011 08:47:04 MST Print View


I am not sure which model you are referring to--maybe the Squall 2?--but are most certainly NOT describing the Scarp 2.


Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: Updated Tent List on 11/10/2011 09:43:07 MST Print View

Brian definitely has his tents mixed up.

For frame of reference, I have used the TT Rainbow in the Canadian Rockies high alpine without issue. I have also used the MLD Duomid in conditions with 100% moisture, temps a degree or two above freezing, and wind driven rain. I am here to write about the tale. All kidding aside, the Scarp 2 is a completely different animal and it is why I recommended it. Why reference the mesh allowing moisture to blow in when the fly can be pitched to the ground (not to mention that there is a fabric inner option). There is no mesh on the outer fly to let moisture in. There is no 'mesh' end.

Having used similar designs (i.e the Hilleberg Akto, etc), I can attest that the general shape is wonderful in the wind and rain and most robust. I am not even sure how the sides would blow in given there is a pole preventing that.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Updated Tent List on 11/10/2011 15:19:03 MST Print View

Yup. Sorry. Mixed Up. Guess I need to keep better abreast of TT lore. =(

I would not recommend the Squal 2. Have no experience with the Scarpa 2. It looks Bomber. After all Mr. Shires made it and when used for their intended purposes are perfect IMHO aside from making your own or cutting a little weight. Cloudburst 2 modified is wonderful nudging in at a tiny bit over 3lbs.

I would note the Scarpa 2 is a double wall tent. I will also be honest to say that I personally know of No One who carries a double wall tent into the alpine anymore. Especially when a bomber single wall tent like the Warmlite is under 3lbs. Likewise you can get free standing tents at the same weight, though not as wind resistant, from folks which are quite nice in alpine environment as you can set up on solid rock, an all too common occurance. I will note Scarpa 2 with an additional lb of poles can also be free standing making it a 5lb tent... True, this is a backpacking site, so most will be camping in the fringe alpine environment and not the true alpine environment, so 95% of the time plenty of opportunity for stakes. The other times, use rocks.

Cesar Garcia
(crgowo) - F

Locale: Desert SW
maybe on 11/10/2011 16:04:09 MST Print View

You might want to look into the Terra Nova Voyager 2.2. It seems like it should have plenty of room for you and your wife if shes shorter then you. I have no experience with it but I use long bags also so I always look at the lengths of tents and that one seemed like a nice option.

edit but most single wall tents that Ive seen are not made for tall folks.

Edited by crgowo on 11/10/2011 16:07:26 MST.