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Best UL 2 person Shelter
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Michael S
(CascadeBackpacker) - MLife

Locale: Pacific NW
Best UL 2 person Shelter on 12/08/2012 09:00:08 MST Print View

I'm looking at purchasing a new 2 person shelter. My requirements and preferences are as follows:

1. Shelter shall hold 2 people (max person is 6' tall w/ medium build)

2. Shelter shall be capable of 3-season use (won't be used for winter camping)

3. Prefer a double-wall shelter for flexibility of pitching just inner or just outer fly as environmental conditions allow

4. Shelter shall have 2 doors for entry/exit

5. Shelter shall have at least one vestibule that can hold 2 50L backpacks and 2 pair of trail shoes

6. Shelter shall allow max person (6' tall adult) to be able to sit up without their head touching roof

7. Shelter total weight w/ all needed components shall be under 3lb

8. Prefer product that is made in USA

9. Shelter price shall be <$400

I very much appreciate you sharing your knowledge/feedback/advice.

Note: My use of "shall" indicates a requirement that must be met while my use of "prefer" is not necessarily a requirement.

Charles P
(mediauras) - F

Locale: Terra
Find a pot of gold at the end of a on 12/08/2012 09:18:23 MST Print View

Double Rainbow. Single wall, but meets all the other criteria. A very good shelter and Made in the USA!

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Best UL 2 person Shelter on 12/08/2012 10:13:58 MST Print View

The Tarptent Stratospire 2 meets all your requirements.

So does the combination of the Six Moon Designs Haven tarp and Haven net tent, which results in a double-wall tent with net inner.

For other ideas, check out this comparison sheet of lightweight 2 person tents from John Abela.

Michael S
(CascadeBackpacker) - MLife

Locale: Pacific NW
Shelter options on 12/08/2012 10:56:32 MST Print View

Thanks, the Tarptent Stratospire 2 and Six Moon Haven definitely meet my requirements. I'm wondering if any owners or users of these two shelters can provide any feedback on any weaknesses of these shelters?

For example, any durability type issues or concerns. Thanks in advance.

Also, anybody have any other shelter candidates besides the 3 that have been mentioned?

robert v
(mtnbob123) - F

Locale: Upstate South Carolina
Lightheart Gear SoLong6 Tent on 12/08/2012 11:43:07 MST Print View

Not listed as a two person tent but more than enough room for two average sized people or two friendly bigger people and plenty of headroom. It also has tons of length for stretching out or for putting your backpacks inside. It is a hybrid double wall shelter with some singlewall, but the ventilation is great with all the screen. The sil version is under $300 and less than 2 pounds, with two vestibules and two doors. Check it out!! I have loved using mine!!!

Edited by mtnbob123 on 12/08/2012 11:45:59 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Find a pot of gold at the end of a on 12/08/2012 16:42:18 MST Print View

"Double Rainbow. Single wall, but meets all the other criteria. A very good shelter and Made in the USA!"

+1 A very easy to set up, stable tent with ample head room. It is also quite storm worthy for a 3 season tent.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Best UL 2 person Shelter on 12/08/2012 17:50:59 MST Print View

Big Sky Evolution 2P (website below) appears to meet your specs --

1. holds 2 people up to 6' 6" (see diagram linked at website below)

2. 3-season use

3. double-wall shelter

4. 2 doors for entry/exit

5. 2 vestibules that can each hold a 50L backpack and pair of trail shoes

6. 6' adult able to sit up without head touching roof

7. per description at the website linked below, total weight w/all needed components less than 3 lbs (not counting a footprint -- but is that a "needed" item?)

8. probably not made in USA, but don't know for sure

9. price <$400

The other suggestions made above sound very good, too; however, we haven't used any of those tents but have used the Evolution 2P for the past three years.

Our Evolution weighs 3 lbs 8 oz, a half pound more than your 3 lb spec, but that includes a footprint (6.75 oz) along with 4 extra stakes (1.44 oz) for guying the fly more securely if needed. Plus we have the pole sleeve option (weightier?) rather than clips.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - F

Locale: Colorado
"Best UL 2 person Shelter" on 12/08/2012 21:45:59 MST Print View

I own the StratoSpire 2, and just recently picked up the StratoSpire 1 in addition because I've been so impressed with the design. It takes some practice to pitch the SS2, given the atypical geometry. If you buy one make sure you figure out how to pitch it before you take it into the backcountry. Site selection is important, as the generous interior plus two large vestibules make for a significant footprint. It pitches well on level ground, but can be a bit of a head-scratcher to get right on uneven surfaces. Wind-shedding is this tent's strength, in spite of the headroom afforded by the two trekking poles. The StratoSpire was designed first and foremost as a 2P shelter, with the SS1 derived from the SS2's design. To me that's a real positive; so many 2P tents are merely upsized versions of a solo, or attempts to downsize a 3P - and they can be horribly compromised. Perhaps it's my familiarity with the SS2, but I find it easier to pitch well than the SS1.

Ben Wiles
(benjita) - MLife

Locale: Annandale, VA
Copper Spur UL2 on 12/08/2012 22:33:10 MST Print View

I was able to pick one up at an REI garage sale for $150. It's been a joy to use. The tent is narrow but has plenty of space at the foot/head.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Best UL 2 person Shelter on 12/08/2012 22:33:57 MST Print View

how to pitch the SS2 :
Unedited version of my second attempt...

Michael S
(CascadeBackpacker) - MLife

Locale: Pacific NW
Best UL 2 person Shelter on 12/09/2012 12:07:00 MST Print View

Thanks again for all the feedback. This of course is my quest to find the "Best UL 2 person Shelter, for me based on my requirements.

With your help, I've now narrowed it down to 2 shelters, the Tarptent Stratospire 2 and the Six Moon Designs Haven.

Both of these are double wall shelters and allow the use of trekking poles. Both keep the trekking poles outside of the interior netting. Since I always use trekking poles, I like the idea of not carrying an extra set of poles that have only a single use.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Best 2 Person tent or Most Versatile? on 12/09/2012 16:00:31 MST Print View

I just ordered a TT Scarp 2 mainly for winter use W/ the optional crossing poles.

But it can be used 3 season W/O the weight of the crossing poles AND with an optional full mesh interior, making it a bit lighter.

So for 2 person, double wall tent versatility the Scarp 2 seems to be one of the very best out there.

Edited by Danepacker on 12/10/2012 16:34:57 MST.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - F

Locale: Colorado
Scarp vs Stratospire on 12/09/2012 19:59:31 MST Print View

Agreed the Scarp is designed for greater snow load tolerance than the Stratospire, with the optional crossing poles. However, it's significantly heavier and has much less liveable interior space. The OP asked about 3 season 2P shelters, which is why I steered him toward the Stratospire. That's not to denigrate your recommendation or the Scarp itself; however that seems overkill for his desired use.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
YEP! on 12/10/2012 16:41:24 MST Print View

I agree, for THREE season use Henry's Stratospire, using 2 walking sticks, is about the lightest 2 person, double wall tent for the volume.

I was just making the versatility point for 4 season use, if the OP had any inclination for that use. The Stratospire could never work with any real snow load.

(Just got the word that my Scarp 2 will be shipped today or tomorrow. "New Item Worship" will soon ensue.)

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Best UL 2 person Shelter on 12/10/2012 16:50:24 MST Print View

As I recall, Franco had some pics of the Stratospire holding up in a fair amount of snow, looking like about 6 inches. It evidently will resist some snow (such as in spring and fall mountain storms), just not the big stuff.

I was amazed when I looked them up that both the Stratospire 2 and the Haven exactly met the OP's specs! I knew they were close, but not that close!

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Stratophire on 12/10/2012 16:51:14 MST Print View

The Ss1 is a fine 3 season shelter, I noticed a massive difference in Wind restaunce using Black Diamond Flik look expedition poles compared to cheapo Walmart poles.

I was on a 3 nighter in Canada the Canadian Shield last weekend and it was a complete PITA to pitch on frozen uneven ground, my own fault as I should of brought my Soulo with me.

The Scarp is fine tent also but it not a 4 season tent.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

SS2 on 12/10/2012 19:57:54 MST Print View

I like your method Franco. I've always been meaning to try it, but I forgot about it in recent months. The idea makes a lot of sense.

I vote for the SS2 as well. I do find the setup a bit tricky if it's on undulating ground, but other than that it is outstanding. Quite spacious, 2 doors, big tall vestibules, double wall, 2.5 lbs etc.

Karen Kennedy
(karenk) - MLife

Locale: NE NSW - Australian subtropics
SS2 on 12/10/2012 21:24:04 MST Print View

We have just completed a 10 week paddle down the Murray River in SE Australia (2200 km), and the SS2 was our shelter for 90% of the time (a few nights in cabins, one in hammocks, and a few in bivy bags).

This tent is awesome! It's spacious (much more so than my DR, which I have now sold), pitches well and quickly, and should be extremely stormworthy - we didn't have extreme weather to test this aspect out. Entry and exit is easy with double vestibules, ventilation is excellent - basically the design is superb.

The only problems we've had are due to user error - we poked a hole in fly with one of the spikes on the aftermarket carbon fibre poles we were using - easily fixed with SilNet. I've noticed a couple of tiny holes in the mesh which I'll sew up when we get home - could be from the mozzies chewing through eh Franco?

The only issue we had with the tent which I haven't sought advice about from Henry or Franco because it didn't end up being too difficult to live with, was that the zips on the net tent would stick when being opened from the inside. We got around that by reaching out and opening the zip using the external zip pull. This was only a minor PITA. Anyone else have this problem Franco or Henry?

But I can only endorse this tent wholeheartedly - it's excellent innovative design resulting in a tent that's a joy to use - and light to carry!

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: SS2 on 12/11/2012 04:33:21 MST Print View

Hi Karen,

Sounds like you had an amazing trip.

One things that annoyed me a bit is that the outer zip Is one way only so could not get enough ventilation in as the vents are very small.

Karen Kennedy
(karenk) - MLife

Locale: NE NSW - Australian subtropics
SS2 on 12/11/2012 04:53:37 MST Print View

I can see what you mean Stephen, but this part of the country has very low humidity so we only experienced significant condensation on one night that I can remember.

And the last half of the trip was approaching summer, so we were able to sleep with the outer doors open a lot of the time.

Awesome tent - I love it!