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First lightweight Tent, help!!
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Mr Hugo
(hselbie) - F
First lightweight Tent, help!! on 03/13/2012 16:59:47 MDT Print View

Hello All,

This is my first time posting, but basically I am in the market for a sub 3 lbs, double wall, 3 season tent. The occupants, would be me (6ft 180 lbs) and a girlfriend who is both smaller and lighter (wouldn't be so crass as to post her weight), so 2 or 3 person.

I've been recommended a double wall tent because of condensation issues with single walls. I'm not really interested in a tarp because of bug issues and me being a little bit simple when it comes to setting up camp.

The tent will be used mostly for 3 - 7 night trips in the sierras during the summer although might extend to some shoulder season or good weather winter camping (i.e. snow issues).

I've been looking online and found the Nemo Meta 2p (single walled) supposedly has condensation issues. Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3 (remarkably expensive,but supposed to be good) and the TarpTent Stratospire 2 (my current favorite).

Does anyone have any experience with these and if so were they good? bad?
Thoughts about trekking pole tents? e.g. if you set up a base camp and want the poles?
Condensation in any of them?

I don't know that much so any help is appreciated.

Diana Nevins
(artemis) - MLife

Locale: Great Plains
A few thoughts on 03/13/2012 18:34:46 MDT Print View

I can't say much about the Nemo tent, as I've never seen one, but both the Big Agnes Fly Creek and the TarpTent Stratospire 2 have good reputations. One obvious difference between the two is that the fly Creek is front entry, and the Stratospire is side entry. Do you have a preference?

What are your concerns regarding silnylon? Anything specific?

Trekking pole tents and base camps: you can get a set of shock-corded tent poles to use with a trekking pole tent. If you're going to set up a base camp and do day hikes where you'll need your trekking poles, take the tent poles along and use those to set up the tent. it will add a few ounces to your base weight, but it will leave your poles free for use during the day.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: A few thoughts on 03/13/2012 18:38:08 MDT Print View

Just to add with what Diana said - condensation affects double walled shelters as well. In fact, sometimes worse. The difference is that you can sometimes hide from it with a double walled tent by using the second wall as a means to prevent your sleeping bag (etc) touching the wet wall.

With respect to the Nemo Meta - it had a very good review on this site.

Edited for spelling.

Edited by FamilyGuy on 03/13/2012 19:53:34 MDT.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
First lightweight Tent, help on 03/13/2012 19:22:56 MDT Print View


Edited by book on 03/13/2012 19:25:30 MDT.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: A few thoughts, Meta 2p on 03/13/2012 20:11:22 MDT Print View

I would strongly encourage you to look only at dual side entry tents. There are plenty out there and for two people a dual entry, dual vestibule is an awesome feature. For that reason alone I would highly recommend the Meta 2p. I personally have the Meta 1p and really like it (though I use Tarps for Backpacking). In the Sierras I think your concerns with condensation would be lessened. More importantly the Meta 2p with it's enormous dual side entry's has a LOT of ventilation.

Rob E

Locale: Canada
Tarptent on 03/13/2012 20:55:06 MDT Print View

I'd recommend a tarptent: full bug protection, bathtub floor, very light weight, relatively inexpensive.

They are single wall, but the caternary cut of the walls means that they shed rain really well. Besides, they can be coupled with an inexpensive silnylon tarp if you expect very heavy rains, and you'd still be much cheaper and lighter than double wall shelters.

I have the Squal 2, but, if I could turn back the clock, I would have gotten the RainShadow 2. Why? Because for a very small increase in weight, you have an ultralight shelter that can fit 3 people, or is an absolute palace for 2 people. With the rainshadow 2, condensation on the walls is a non-issue: they are so far away you won't get wet touching them.

In terms of getting your feet wet with ultralight shelters, the tarptents are the way to go:!

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Tarptent on 03/13/2012 20:56:46 MDT Print View

>In terms of getting your feet wet with ultralight shelters, the tarptents are the way to go:!

+1 (or a similar offering from Six Moon Designs) There really isn't a bad shelter in the bunch.

Mr Hugo
(hselbie) - F
Thankyou for comments on 03/13/2012 20:57:03 MDT Print View

Thanks very much for all your great comments.

I've been looking more at the Stratospire 2 and really like it. It does have the dual entry and also seems to be really versatile, to be used as a tarp or a double wall shelter. Which the Meta 2p doesn't seem to be able to do. And it's quite large.

My concern with silnylon was, I read on a forum that silnylon relaxes when wet, if that's true then surely one would need to constantly retension the guy ropes to keep a fly tight, if this is the case for a prolonged pour, then it can become a pain.

Not really a major concern, just wondering what to expect as i've never used it before.

re: Condensation I've also read it's where you camp not your tent, is this true? e.g. beneath trees = better than in an open field etc.

The only time i've ever experienced it badly was while camping in a winter storm on shasta with 3 people and no ventilation.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Thankyou for comments on 03/13/2012 21:06:02 MDT Print View

>My concern with silnylon was, I read on a forum that silnylon relaxes when wet, if that's true then surely one would need to constantly retension the guy ropes to keep a fly tight, if this is the case for a prolonged pour, then it can become a pain.

Yes, silnylon does relax, but really only "once." What I mean by that is after setting your shelter up and the air begins to cool, the material relaxes, but to a point. So by the time you realize your shelter has relaxed and retension it, you most likely won't have to do it again, even if it rains. It will not sag indefinitely causing you to adjust several times a night.

>re: Condensation I've also read it's where you camp not your tent, is this true? e.g. beneath trees = better than in an open field etc.

There are many, many factors for how much condensation forms. I think the largest are relative humidity and ventilation, and site selection also plays an important role. EVERY shelter, regardless of shape, size, or double walled can get condensation, but some more than others due to design. The only real downfall with condensation in a single wall shelter is rubbing against a damp wall, which really isn't that big of a deal. It's not THAT much moisture.

Edited by T.L. on 03/13/2012 21:07:22 MDT.

Rob E

Locale: Canada
Re: silnylon relaxing on 03/13/2012 21:08:46 MDT Print View

The silnylon relaxing isn't that big of a deal. Setup your shelter and by the time you are done cooking dinner and heading to bed it will need to be "snugged" up a bit, and that is it.. The sliding locks on all the corners make that super easy, it is a 15-second job to snug everything taught again, and then you are good to go for the night.

In terms of condensation, location, relatively humidity, rain, how you set your pitch up relative to the wind, all change the conditions. I have had two seasons with the squal 2, yes, the insides of the tent do have condensation. Is it any worse than a double wall shelter? Not really. If it really bothers you I would take a little piece of "sham wow" in the tent with you and you could wipe down the walls, but really, I haven't found it necessary.

Edited by eatSleepFish on 03/13/2012 21:11:29 MDT.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
First lightweight Tent, help!! on 03/13/2012 21:39:48 MDT Print View

The main problem I have with silnylon is that it gets heavier when wet. The sagging as others have said isn't really an issue.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: First lightweight Tent, help!! on 03/13/2012 21:44:14 MDT Print View

Yeah, it does get heavier, but assuming its not raining as you are packing up, a sil tent will dry pretty quickly if you give it a good wipedown with a bandana or towel. Wipe it down when you wake up, and it very well could be dry by the time you pack it up.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: First lightweight Tent, help!! on 03/13/2012 21:46:12 MDT Print View

Water sticks / clings to silnylon. But it isn't absorbed by the fabric by any appreciable amount. Tough to shake out silnylon when it is pouring but I thought I would be clear on that. PU coated fabrics do absorb a lot of water, on the other hand.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: First lightweight Tent, help!! on 03/14/2012 07:43:51 MDT Print View

The Stratospire 2 looks nice. Also consider upsizing a pound to a Scarp 2 or a Copper Spur UL3 (because a UL3 is more comparable to the Scarp 2 space-wise). I've used a Scarp 2 and a Copper Spur UL1. I like the freestanding and pole support of the Copper Spur, but it will get wet inside if pitched in rain. The good news is that you can very carefully pick it up and gently shake it out to help it dry on the inside. (You'll need a small cloth too.)

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
First lightweight Tent, help!! on 03/14/2012 13:34:22 MDT Print View

I'm a single wall tent person--I'd rather have a more open and airy tent and avoid claustrophobia. Before I bought my first Tarptent, I had a Sierra Designs tent which dripped condensation-big puddles of it--from the inside of the fly into the inner tent--I had a lot more condensation issues with that tent than with any single wall tent since. At least on a single wall tent, I can reach the condensation and wipe it off! However, that's not what you're looking for.

If I were looking for a two person double-wall, I'd definitely get Tarptent's new Stratospire 2 or (if really stormy weather is an issue) their Scarp 2. With both tents, the fly sets up first with the inner tent clipped underneath, thus avoiding the problem with most American tents of trying to set up or take down the tent in the rain without getting the inner tent sopping wet. The Stratospire will let you set up the inner net tent alone for starry summer nights, too!

I have used tents with trekking poles since 2005. If you are going to base camp and dayhike, there are several options. You can find appropriate length stick/sticks to prop up the tent while you're day hiking with your trekking poles. This may take longer than you think! You can buy the extra poles sold for those who don't use trekking poles and ignore the few ounces extra weight. You can remove the trekking poles for your day hike, drape the tent over your gear so no water will leak inside and use rocks or smooth logs to hold it down. (Be sure all your food/smellables are hung or in your bear canister while you're gone!) I have used all three options, depending on circumstances, although I gave up the stick option after trying it once. It might work fine if you're not camped in a popular area where most down and dead wood has already been used up.

Silnylon, although it looks fragile, is actually stronger than a lot of polyurethane coated nylons. The main disadvantage of silnylon is the slippery floor. You'll have to paint silicone spots or stripes on the tent floor and stripes on the bottom of your sleeping pad if you don't want the pad going one direction and you another every time you turn over.

There are a number of options in which you can buy a tarp/fly and inner net tent separately, creating a double wall tent. Some of the vendors offering this option are Mountain Laurel Designs, Six Moon Designs and several others--since I'm away from home I don't have access to the list. Most of these options are a bit more expensive, though.

With Tarptent designs, you can very easily reach out and tighten the guylines from inside the tent. You usually need to do this when you go to bed --the tent will have loosened up due to the drop in temperature and the onset of dew. Normally there's very little more stretching of the fabric even if it pours during the night. For me, it's a non-issue. Some like to use elastic cord for part of the guylines to avoid any adjustment, but I haven't tried it so can't comment.

Edited by hikinggranny on 03/14/2012 13:45:01 MDT.