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Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Part 2: Details and Commercial Models
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Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
tunneling on 04/18/2012 21:48:59 MDT Print View

Great review - great fun! Maybe it will inspire more manufacturers to make light tunnel tents.

And on a serious note: So what's all the fuss about? Why not just get a 2 pound Bear Creek Solo on Ebay and lug along your super lightweight cot?

Bradley Danyluk
(dasbin) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Where from here? on 04/18/2012 21:58:41 MDT Print View

"> - Aluminized fabric
Only found on tourist tents."

Just to be clear (and maybe you got this), I'm interested in it for its ability to reduce IR losses on clear nights outside of tree cover. Apparently this can reduce temperature drop on the fabric significantly enough to make a big difference in condensation.
This was the article inspiring this thought (possibly obsession? been thinking of all kinds of uses for this):

"Commercial production: it's a goal. I am still working on it. "

Fantastic! :) :)

Edited by dasbin on 04/18/2012 22:05:12 MDT.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - F

Locale: Colorado
Thank you on 04/18/2012 22:02:31 MDT Print View

Roger - I want to show my appreciation for what you have done in writing these extraordinarily detailed articles for BPL. Certainly they are opinionated, and I think you deserve that based on your experience. That you have gone through multiple generations of summer and winter MYOG tents speaks volumes about your desire to tweak and improve. Personally, as an owner of both geodesic and tunnel tents, and finally a tarp, I have learned a lot from the first two articles in this series.

Edited by lotuseater on 04/18/2012 22:13:12 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Part 2: Details and Commercial Models on 04/18/2012 22:33:24 MDT Print View

from Samuel
'And on a serious note: So what's all the fuss about? Why not just get a 2 pound Bear Creek Solo on Ebay and lug along your super lightweight cot?'

Because it is 3.55 lbs trail weight (from their website...) and a flaming orange, otherwise I would buy 2.
Oh, and it has to be a tunnel tent.

Now for a different note :
another note


Kerri Larkin
(Bumper) - MLife

Locale: Coffs Harbour
Ti Wires? on 04/19/2012 00:56:04 MDT Print View

Roger, this is turning into a fantastic primer on tunnel tents for those of us who still fall in "the Great Unwashed" category. On that point, can you elaborate a little on what Ti wires are and what they do please?

Robin Evans
( - MLife
Tunnel tents series on 04/19/2012 01:57:14 MDT Print View

Thanks Roger

This is the best series of articles on BPL for a long time.

Some of the insights are fascinating, especially as you've made your own tents.

Superb. Up with your series on stoves, which is an all time classic.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Ti Wires? on 04/19/2012 04:10:47 MDT Print View

Hi Kerri

> what Ti wires are and what they do
See first pic under 'Pegs' at, stake D, an orange-painted titanium wire stake. (We call them pegs in Australia.)

I am quite sure that there are many pics and discussions about them here in the BPL Forums as well - I'm lazy and I use my FAQ as a reference because I know exactly where to go.

What do they do? Well, they hold my tent down (or up) of course. :-)
But why them and not other things? Two main reasons. They are very light and they hold quite well in most soils if fully sunk. And they can be hammered in with a rock if needs be: the Ti wire is extremely strong and stiff. Yes, I have hammered them in between rocks at times.

Any stake sunk only part-way (rocks underground for example) is unreliable. In such cases we normally pile a few rocks on top of the stake and the guy rope.

Where to buy? Search around: they come from various places. Maybe someone else can give a current vendor. One very strong recommendation: buy the orange ones, not the unpainted ones. The unpainted ones can get lost so fast when dropped on the ground it isn't funny!


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Where from here? on 04/19/2012 04:12:29 MDT Print View

Hi Bradley

> ability to reduce IR losses on clear nights
Hum ... OK, understood.
I am not sure how successful that is however. It needs testing.


Michael Cheifetz
(mike_hefetz) - MLife

Locale: Israel
RL doing the caffin brand... on 04/19/2012 06:17:17 MDT Print View

I read the back and forth on some other thread ...but i though Josh was teasing....

but if not - i want one

James McIntosh

Locale: Near Bass Strait
Internal guys on 04/19/2012 06:29:37 MDT Print View

Love my Macpac Minaret. Though I've always thought internal guys running from the bottom ofone side to high on the other side would improve it in cross wind.

Roger, what's the mechanics of the inner guys, given that the poles are in the fly?

Edited by JamesMc on 04/19/2012 06:32:15 MDT.

Derek Goffin

Locale: North of England
Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Part 2: Details and Commercial Models on 04/19/2012 08:52:37 MDT Print View

Hi James,
I have installed internal guys on a Nallo. The front one avoids the inner by going across the door but as Roger points out the inner guy must go from fly to fly so for the rear there is a removeable inner guy across the inner tent and permanent links from the anchor points of the inner guy to the fly by the outer guys to avoid the elastic supports provided by Hilleberg which are not rigid enough to do the job.
If you had a tunnel with no pole guys the best you could do internally would be an X of inner guys as you suggest. However better still would be to install external pole guys, then linking the external guys with the inner guy makes a solid structure better than X guys in my opinion

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Internal guys on 04/19/2012 17:41:52 MDT Print View

Hi James

There are two sorts of inner guys:
* Horizonally across from side to side
* Diagonal from ground to (near the) peak.
They are very different in function.

The horizontal ones are designed to handle vertical loading: downward wind gusts and snow loading. They are really only ever needed well above the tree line. External guy ropes cannot handle the downward-loading problem.

The diagonal ones increase the curvature in the poles, which effectively makes the poles stiffer. Good external guy lines can often replace these. They help the poles resist sideways movement from normal horizontal wind.

Yes, all internal guys need to connect to the poles or pole sleeves. In a single skin tent this is simple. In a double-skin tent you can only diectly connect the guys to the inner tent, so there needs to be a connection between the inner tent and the pole sleeve where the internal guy connects. This connection really should be non-elastic. I use hook&loop tape for this, and both lab testing and field testing shows it works fine. Elastic connections between inner and fly are fine except when you want to use internal guys, as noted by Derek.


Edited by rcaffin on 04/19/2012 17:44:12 MDT.

Kerri Larkin
(Bumper) - MLife

Locale: Coffs Harbour
Re Ti Wires on 04/19/2012 18:55:10 MDT Print View

Ah! Now it's all clea; they're tent pegs ;) I thought you were referring to something like the 'Dead Man' or snare type of hold down where the wire is buried under the ground.

Thanks Roger - love this review!

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
"Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Part 2: Details and Commercial Models " on 04/20/2012 05:10:10 MDT Print View

As I said in the past, a perfect ultra light solution never exists for all conditions. I agree totally with Roger. He has *two* tents that are most often used when he is with his partner. They appear to be similar, but the engineering and practical construction details behind using two different tents sort'a precludes using a single tent with a detachable inner liner. This can also be problem when presented to anyone in terms of comercialization. I am afraid that much of the basic design will be lost if it does go comercial. Production is not ammenable to a lot of the details that Roger presents. That said, I wish it were possible.

Typically, cottage gear is a very tiny market for those who simply want the best thay can get in some category. Example: In some cases weight is a super high criteria. You live, eat and breath weight. An 8oz pack is simply too heavy. In the cottage market, you can find a pack for 3oz, with accessories, 5oz. the 3oz weight savings is the driving factor.

In that same market, durability is important. There are a few people (like me) that continue to use the venerable and somewhat heavier SVEA 123. It works and has worked for the past 40 years or so. No maintenence and highly efficient. Others, like Roger, place a value on extreme conditions. High winds, heavy rains, etc. Warm and dry at night is about all you can ask for. It works. As said, I like my Exped Sirius for really tough going. But, it doesn't have a place in a 10lb pack at almost 6lbs. It is NOT for solo use. 2#8, I would consider, but even that's a heck of lot.

So, as much as we would like to have Rogers tents out there and available, I sort'a doubt there will be any takers from the big named companies. The niche market says it will never sell as well as other tents with bigger names. He will probably need to do it all himself for slave wages reinvested till he can make the large dollar volume purchases that drive costs down. He will be competing with old and well established firms, Hilleberg in particular, on weight, mostly. Roger needs a gimmick, that he can patent, to make it work. Better vents, better poles, etc...besides the higher quality of craftsman production. Like I say, a hard sell.

From engineering tubular designs (I build UL canoes,) I know how difficult it is to translate a seemingly perfect design into a practical expresion of your paper concept. As Roger points out, he has had many iterations on the same theme. As a MYOG project, these are great. Without the tooling to make the poles, without the correct size of tubing (a few thousands in an arrow shaft make little difference,)without the correct inner canopy materials sought out and purchased, without a ready supply of labour, this can be a problem for most of us.

Anyway, just some thoughts...

Stuart Murphy
(stu_m) - MLife
Versatile tent / community tent on 04/20/2012 05:49:54 MDT Print View

There are tents that do most things well. For example, if you aren't too preoccupied with weight (and say favour longevity) the Wilderness Equipment Arrow tents (second and First) work in all Australian seasons (including snow) with exemplary ventilation and ease of ingress/egress.

Re commercialisation of Roger's tent...

I wonder if the design may be gifted to the community if Roger decides it is not commercially viable (for the standard of workmanship, materials he is seeking), if there were enough interest maybe the community could produce the tents as a not for profit thing, kind of like an open source initiative. I have no idea how this might work in practice but it opens up the possiblity of people improving on the design and reinvesting that in the community (all things being equal more users = more testing = more experience = more improvements than one person can hope to accomplish).

Anyway, just a thought... at least people (like me) who don't MYOG and could then benefit from Roger's considerable investment in his design.

Of course if Roger can feasibly produce/sell the tent and he wants to then he should.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Pitching on 04/20/2012 08:53:06 MDT Print View

In my opinion, a tunnel is the choice of the solo hiker in very windy conditions.
Trying to pitch a 'pop up' or geo in high winds can be almost impossible if solo. The chance of pole breakage during pitching is high, and trying to peg a fly over an inner pitch tent is very difficult if you only have 2 arms.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Pitching on 04/20/2012 09:59:49 MDT Print View

Mike - you are correct, in my opinion.

Here are some Hilleberg videos on pitching a tunnel.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re Pitching on 04/20/2012 10:04:43 MDT Print View

@ Dave.
I might change my mind if someone makes a Wedge with pole sleeves on the outside, and a door that is more user friendly. :)

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re Pitching on 04/20/2012 11:20:26 MDT Print View

No - that would be too simple. I wonder if designers actually use their products sometimes....

Andrew Bishop
(copperhead) - MLife

Locale: Down Under
Hilleberg Akto in 80 mile winds on 04/20/2012 16:50:40 MDT Print View

Good (and relevant) video: