Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Part 1: Definition and Pitching


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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Part 1: Definition and Pitching on 04/10/2012 14:49:26 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Part 1: Definition and Pitching

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: A very flat place (Grrrrrrrr)
Thanks Roger on 04/10/2012 15:49:38 MDT Print View

Hi Roger,

As always your articles are outstanding.

I look forward to the other parts :-)

Cheers,

Stephen

Barry Cuthbert
(nzbazza) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Macpac Olympus on 04/10/2012 16:01:59 MDT Print View

Good to see the workhouse of New Zealand tents getting a mention, mine has saved my butt more than than a few times on some dodgy exposed tentsite above the bushline.

John Whynot
(jdw01776)

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Part 1: Definition and Pitching on 04/10/2012 16:10:09 MDT Print View

Very timely -- I am looking for a tent to use in more serious conditions. I hope Part 2 will be available next week...

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Thanks Roger on 04/10/2012 16:16:18 MDT Print View

Great to finally read this. Very good explanations, charts, and photos as usual. It will be interesting to see if there is anything in the U.S. that can work as well at whatever price (and is not an antique).

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report on 04/10/2012 17:03:59 MDT Print View

Great article, especially the flying tents! Just a note, though, that cooking and eating in your tent in many parts of North America is an open invitation to the local bear population to come share it with you. Especially not a good idea in grizzly bear country! Not a problem in mid-winter, except that there are liable to be residual food smells on the tent when the bears emerge from hibernation in the spring.

I'm really interested in seeing the specific brands of tents--other than your own--in Part 2!

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/10/2012 17:04:32 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Thanks Roger on 04/10/2012 17:10:59 MDT Print View

Great article Roger, Thanks

A lot of gems here, like the pre bent angles that make the poles stronger than if you just bend a long pole into a curved shape.

Does anyone make a tent like yours that people can just buy?

I have to go back and re-read this a couple times...

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report on 04/10/2012 17:48:51 MDT Print View

"It's just that I do not have the luxury of guaranteed wind-free sunny weather where I walk."

Where is this hiking Utopia? Does it exist?

Bears +1

Free standing a scam? Well I have always looked at it this way. A freestanding tent allows you to erect it before staking to the ground. A non free standing tent needs stakes to be erected. Video evidence that campers at festivals and car campers are best suited for fair weather conditions is always entertaining if not necessarily a good comparison to skilled backcountry use.

Edited by kthompson on 04/10/2012 18:48:28 MDT.

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
Outside, clipped poles and wind on 04/10/2012 18:27:34 MDT Print View

> When the shape of the pole is constrained by the fabric around it, then the design is strong. Anything else is weak by comparison

in this regard, what would be the effect of having the poles outside the outer fly? Particularly those that are clipped like in the Tarptent Scarp or this tunnel. In these instances, I can imagine the strain on the poles being very different from a continuous sleeve integrated in the fly.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Outside, clipped poles and wind on 04/10/2012 19:58:53 MDT Print View

Hi Inaki

Yes, I looked at the Vaude Ferret, but Vaude did not want to play as they said (as far as I can remember) that they were not selling to the USA. A pity, as it is interesting.

The clips: NOT as good as a sleeve, but if there are enough of them along the length of the pole they might be functional enough. The load would be distributed, just not as well as with a sleeve. I would not want to trust them under extreme conditions without some serious testing. Safely pitching a tunnel with clips in a storm would be a little harder to do than with a sleeve imho, but I would suggest the same technique I outlined, rather than trying to put the poles over the tent and pull the clips up. The latter could easily result in grief.

Why would they use clips like this instead of a sleeve? It's easier (cheaper) to sew in a few tapes than a full sleeve. In my personal opinion they have sacrificed reliability (under extreme conditions) for price, but I am maybe biased? (Who, me???)

Perhaps I am being too harsh. Perhaps the tent is simply not intended to handle really extreme mountain conditions. Perhaps they are aiming more at a price point (about UKP400, about US$500) than at a rather small market segment. Well, fair enough, the company has to stay afloat. To be sure, it would handle milder conditions reasonably well, although I would want to check how well the seams are sealed around the tapes. Bit sad if every tape leaked through the fly! I do note they are using tape sealing, so it may be that they have looked after that problem properly. That would be nice.

How would this tent compare to the other tents at the bottom of that Vaude page? Well, again imho, it would beat all of them by a long mile. The Taurus tents would flatten in high wind. Be a bit scary. The other Power tents (Lizard and Tokee) do look like copies of some well-known American designs, don't they? OK in fine weather, but again not for high wind.

The tent does not have a lot of room inside or in the vestibule. On the other hand, it is very light, and it seems to have good ventilation. If you don't want to go any higher in price, it could be worth trying. I'd creep up on the extreme conditions carefully. In fact, I would love to test one myself.

Cheers
PS: hum - this seems to have turned into a micro-review of a tent I have not touched. Ah well. Treat with caution.

Edited by rcaffin on 04/10/2012 20:08:47 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report on 04/10/2012 20:00:26 MDT Print View

Hi Mary

Bears - yes, I know.
Maybe I should say 'I do not want to know' about bears? :-)

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Thanks Roger on 04/10/2012 20:06:32 MDT Print View

Hi Jerry

> Does anyone make a tent like yours that people can just buy?
Not exactly, but some of the tents in Part 2 would be worth considering.

Those of us who have used the Macpac Olympus tend to be biased about it. Owners of the Hilleberg Nallo 2 seem happy. The Vaude Ferret which we did not test looks interesting. Some of the other tents listed in Part 2 might be considered 'less attractive', if you know what I mean.

Part 2 has been completed and is in Addie's pipeline. Coming soon. My usual baised assessments of course.

Cheers

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
New Tunnel Tents on 04/10/2012 21:05:15 MDT Print View

Two new tunnel tents I've seen online recently are the Integral Designs Traverse series and the North Face Westwind series.

The NF are interesting: definitely heavy pitched with an inner body, but they can be set up as a floorless shelter, too. I'm guessing that would halve the weight (at least) but this fly-only pitch weight isn't listed.



http://www.integraldesigns.com/product_detail.cfm?id=898

http://www.thenorthface.com/catalog/sc-gear/equipment-tents/westwind-2.html

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
tunnel tents on 04/10/2012 21:12:57 MDT Print View

Inaki,
You lost me. The Scarp has a pole sleeve outside the fly, as do Roger's, judging from the photos. Could you clarify a bit?

Roger,
Thanks for your article. At last I know what you mean by 'pop-up' tent. Before, I thought you were referring to a perennial product called the 'pop tent,' with springy poles sewn into the canopy. You just uncoil it, throw it up into the air, and the tent pops up. Great for folk festivals.

You seem to be fundamentally right about setting up the tunnels in high wind. Nothing else I can think of will allow the poles to be fully installed while the tent is staked windward and completely flat on the ground, and then pop up (pardon the expression) in one quick operation. A Wanderlust-type design, with pole sleeves on the outside of the tent, might do this, however. And maybe Henry's Moment could be said to do so, also.

Note:
"... the Easton Tent Pole company is starting to make elbows available to go with their new Carbon FX poles." The ferrules on the 145 degree Easton elbows of .340" O.D. alloy, that Quest Outfitters has sold for quite a few years, fit nicely into the Carbon FX poles.

Edited by scfhome on 04/10/2012 21:15:37 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: New Tunnel Tents on 04/10/2012 22:05:39 MDT Print View

Hi Steven

> Integral Designs Traverse series
I have one of those here for review - and optional inclusion in the Tunnel Survey. I have emailed the PR person and the company twice each with questions about the design, but so far (several weeks) no replies. I am reluctant to say much more at this stage, before they reply, but let's just say I do have some serious concerns.

> North Face Westwind
They never replied to my enquiries.
The tent is not really light-weight, and the interior is VERY small for two. You have to sleep head-to-toe to get two inside it. (See floor layout on their web site.) I am not a fan of really cramped quarters. Otherwise the design looks OK, but without getting inside it I can't say much more.

Cheers

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
Re: Re: Outside, clipped poles and wind on 04/11/2012 01:51:12 MDT Print View

Roger, thanks for the prompt and informative answer (for the whole article too). I mentioned the Vaude Ferret more as an example than for an interest in that particular tent. If only slightly off-topic, being this about tunnel tents and wind, I took the chance to ask you (or anybody else in the know) about wind performance of exo-skeleton, clipped-up designs like that vs integrated sleeves. The latter would look like they distribute stress better along both the pole and the fabric while clips would seem to concentrate it on certain points/areas. How significant this is in real life is what I wonder. On a broader (more off the topic) sense, I wonder about the difference in mechanics between both approaches.

Samuel: when I mentioned the Scarp I meant the two additional, optional poles. They are meant for wind/snow and as far as I know (I don't own one) they're clipped. As with the Ferret, I just meant to set an example of what I was talking about.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Part 1: Definition and Pitching on 04/11/2012 03:31:05 MDT Print View

We come to the second real requirement for a genuine tunnel tent: the poles are threaded into sleeves in the fly. I know many manufacturers like to just hang the inner tent from the poles by little clips, and have the fly thrown loosely over the poles, as illustrated by this Mountain Hardwear Lightpath 2 tent. But that approach is simply not very stable in high wind: the fly can slide across the poles, allowing the poles to twist and buckle and collapse.

I have had this happen to me with a three pole geodesic design.

Roger what do you think of the look of the new Anjan offering from Hilleberg? I am considering the three person version for my partner and I to use with our youngest son (age 7).
http://hilleberg.se/product-family/anjan

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Outside, clipped poles and wind on 04/11/2012 04:07:33 MDT Print View

Hi Inaki

Yes, sorry, I missed that bit completely.

Given the stiffness of the poles, I suspect that having a reasonable number of clips (as on the Ferret) might distribute the forces on the pole adequately. The clips would not be as stable - they can slide, but the poles should be OK mostly.
BUT
The forces on the fabric would be very high at the connections. I would not like to subject that tent to hammering 100 kph winds. I am not saying the tapes and clips would rip out of the seams, but I would certainly worry about that happening. This is a major weakness in the clip approach.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Part 1: Definition and Pitching on 04/11/2012 04:23:09 MDT Print View

Hi Jason

Anjan 3
Hum. Light weight, adequate height/space inside. Not a huge vestibule, but adequate. I can't see the rear end to see how well it would block spindrift, but it does seem that the rear end goes right down. Not bad.

I will assume you don't want to camp on ridge tops in mid-winter in NZ ... :-) (Who does?) But given the usual quality of the Hilleberg tents and what I can see of this one, yeah, reckon it could be OK.

Cheers

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: Re: Re: Outside, clipped poles and wind on 04/11/2012 06:22:07 MDT Print View

I have the original version of the Vaude Ferret Ultralight. It does have sleeved poles on the outside of the fly, also both poles are the same length. It has withstood strong winds well, but the thing I like most is how quickly it can be put up - important when you are enveloped in a cloud of midgies. As the new version is 100g lighter it looks like they have used clips just to save weight. On the other hand the addition of a rear vent should improve ventilation.