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Need some tent help, please
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Jason Teckam
(jasont) - F

Locale: Upper Midwest
Need some tent help, please on 12/09/2012 21:12:53 MST Print View

First off, thanks to all of you who post regularly. You all have been an awesome resource as I've lightened things up and changed my point of view on long walks!

My last piece of gear I really need to lighten up is the shelter. Below is my situation to aid in your suggestions. Thanks in advance.

For background, I have hammock camped and am comfortable with a tarp, however one thing I did note is that the wind can really rob heat when in those shoulder seasons while under a tarp.

I love to be out throughout the fall, temps in the range of 20-40 F.

I have two main companions (this is where it gets tricky): one is my 9 year old son or my 8 year old daughter (rarely both at the same time). My other companion is my 6'2 220 pound brother in law. On that note I'm 6'4" and go about 195 or so. Clearly I need something that's good for the bigger folk and big enough for two larger adults and their gear.

Bug protection is critical for those mid summer trips.

I have never tried a single wall, I'm not opposed but do have some concerns about condensation as it can get pretty darn humid in the summer.

I'm really intrigued by the pyramid style rigs, but have never even seen one live so I have no idea if that would be appropriate.

Obviously, any sort of tarp set up will need some sort of bug protection inner (unless I'm missing something).

Looking forward to what comes back from the community.

Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
I'll bite on 12/10/2012 09:15:30 MST Print View

It would help to know your price point and your expected region of use, and also clarify if this is for you, a child, and your BIL (three people?) or if you are looking for a two person shelter. Are your priorities space? Weight? Storm-worthiness? I'm assuming the use of trekking poles. Anyhow-

I'm 6'5", and find the sleeping length in the BD Megalight (Which is the on the large end of pyramid shelters) to be severely lacking. Others might disagree, but I would move away from pyramid shelters for use with two tall dudes, unless you plan on getting a circus tent.

I have a SMD Lunar Duo, which I am very pleased with. Cavernous interior, my friend (who is couple inches shorter than I am) and I can share it without getting too cozy, which is nice. Does three full seasons in the PNW very well. No need to carry an extra inner net or ground cloth, which simplifies things.

In the freestanding world, you could always get a BigAgnes Copper Spur UL3, have room to spare, an idiot proof setup, bombproof shelter, and a lighter wallet :)

Edited by PorcupinePhobia on 12/10/2012 09:17:50 MST.

Jason Teckam
(jasont) - F

Locale: Upper Midwest
Re: I'll bite on 12/10/2012 10:13:51 MST Print View

Damn, thought I had the specifics covered! Thanks for the additional questions for clarity.

Use will be primarily in the upper Midwest (Wisconsin, Minnesota, UP Michigan).

Two people only, but due to the size of the biggest two people at one time I am looking for something that won't cause us to become closer than we already are!

Priority is a compromise between weight and storm worthiness and bug protection. I've been through some pretty wicked storms up this way and they can really roll in unexpectedly. As for bugs, I do believe the mosquito is the region's state bird.

Thanks for the response!

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Need some tent help, please on 12/10/2012 10:41:01 MST Print View


Take a look at the Lightheart Gear Duo. Hybrid style, bathtub style floor and full protection from your "state bird". ;-)


Sale Price $245.00. Regular price $295.00

Weighs only 2 lbs. including ridge pole, stuff sack and reflective tie-out cord.

I use the Solo and I am quite pleased with it.

Party On,


Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Need some tent help, please on 12/10/2012 11:01:51 MST Print View

I sure hate putting poles inside my living area. Mine always seem to be caked with mud, dirt, sweat, water, etc. Not sure why it couldn't be designed with the poles on the outside.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Re: Need some tent help, please on 12/10/2012 11:51:47 MST Print View


So far it's only been a minor inconvenience. It does allow the user to adjust the tightness of the pitch from inside the tent which helps if the nylon has gone "slack" due to rain and / or temperature.

trekking pole ridge line connector

As for why, ask Judy Gross or Ron Moak. Ron's "Trekker" uses a similar system.

Party On,


Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: Re: Need some tent help, please on 12/10/2012 11:54:09 MST Print View

An external set up with an external cross pole would be ideal. Might add weight, however.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Need some tent help, please on 12/10/2012 12:06:09 MST Print View

I can see one value to having the crossing pole inside: the stress is distributed across the entire top with only two sew points (the internal loops). To have similar distribution externally, you'd have to have a sleeve, which creates more sew points, like my Stephenson's.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Need some tent help, please on 12/10/2012 12:17:42 MST Print View

But shouldn't the stress taken by any shelter be predicated on the ability of the guylines to hold? If one is wanting silnylon with relatively low tear strength to take the brunt of wind stress they may be disappointed in the end. Or are we talking two different things. Cold here. Brain freeze.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Need some tent help, please on 12/10/2012 12:27:30 MST Print View

No, what you say makes sense. I'd think the other issue with the design of this particular shelter, though, is that the canopy doesn't go straight down, but angles out away from the main body of the shelter a bit. And in its hybrid design, the top of the shelter is the top of the rain fly - there is no 'space' between shelter and rain fly at the very top. You'd have to have a single, long pole in an external sleeve like the Moment uses to make it work, I'd think.

Chris Lacey
tent suggestion on 12/10/2012 15:28:30 MST Print View

I've had good luck with a Golite Shangri-La 5. Plenty of room for myself and my two boys (7&8 & skinny) with the floor/bug net inner. And could likely squeeze in my wife and third kid when/if they ever come out.

I don't have a 2 person tent so I just used the SL5 (the fly only) for my brother and I a couple weekends ago. Lots of room for two adults and our gear inside. The fly weight by itself is ~31oz if I recall correctly. Plus the pole it comes with (~13oz) or two trekking poles lashed together.

The SL3 would be a bit smaller and maybe better for your needs. I've not been in one though.

Edited by Staplebox on 12/10/2012 15:29:20 MST.

Ben Sarb
(chesterrc) - F
I'm in a similar spot on 12/13/2012 01:01:49 MST Print View

I'm also 6'4 and have spent the past couple months looking for a solid two person tent that I could share with one other person. I use trekking poles, so I've been looking at some of the boutique tent makers that are very popular on these (and other) forums. I still haven't made my purchase yet, but here are some observations I've made in my search.

The LightHeart Solo looked really cool to me. The floors are long, but it doesn't look like there would be enough interior space for me to be comfortable. The walls are pretty steep and slope medially, I doubt that I could lay on by back without my head or my giant feet hitting the walls. And it looks like sitting up would be impossible with two people in the tent, considering that I have a relatively tall sleeping pad (Exped). The LightHeart SoLong looks like it could address some of these issues, but the medial slope to the walls doesn't really appeal to me.

ZPacks tents are awesome looking, but the cost alone is enough to turn me away... perhaps when I get more serious about backpacking, but not now. I also don't like the entry/exit situation for their tents.

GoLite tents seem decent, but the placement of the trekking poles is a dealbreaker for me. Also, they only have one door, which I don't like.

TarpTent makes some tents that I've heard other tall folks praise, and TarpTent has a great reputation. Specifically, the StratoSpire 2 may be worth checking out for you. It has a lot of space and has more vertical walls than the LightHeart tents, allowing for a good amount of interior space. It's also a doublewall tent, which is nice to have. The Double Rainbow is also very popular, and has some solid design features. The shape is pretty neat, too.

The Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo is also very popular, and could be a solid choice for you. It's a little longer and wider than the two TarpTent options I mentioned, and thanks to the ceiling design/shape it's supposedly incredibly spacious. I've heard many great things about this tent.

For my purposes, I think that I will end up getting the Lunar Duo as opposed to one of the TarpTent options. The Lunar Duo is a little longer and wider, which is really appealing to me. I also like that it's design maximizes the usable interior space, and I won't have to worry about my feet or head brushing against the walls. I could probably go with either of the TarpTent options and be just as happy, but the extra width/length of the Lunar Duo provides me a little more piece of mind.

Let me know what you end up getting, it could help me make my own decision!

Jason Teckam
(jasont) - F

Locale: Upper Midwest
Re: I'm in a similar spot on 12/13/2012 06:48:35 MST Print View

Thanks for the thoughts. I've looked at those tents you've mentioned too and I tend to lean towards the lunar duo like you've described. It's tough being 6'4" with big ol' size 14's. Add on a hiking partner who is close to the same size things get tight. This is especially true when you live in mosquito infested areas and are weight conscious.

Mike Oxford
(moxford) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley, CA
Refocus... on 12/14/2012 12:16:59 MST Print View


"Weight conscious?"

You just need to come to terms with your size and not focus 110% on the weight ... accept that you're a bigger guy and everything you do will have to be a little bigger and heavier (clothes, shoes, shelters, pads, bags/quilts etc.)

Don't try to "compete" in an area you're not cut out to compete in ... don't sweat the total weight ... if anything use percentage-weights.

UL is about doing more and going further, lighter, so you don't fatigue as easily. While your size is a "detriment" to normal gear, recognize that you have a bigger frame and likely more muscle mass so carrying a little extra weight won't tire you more than a lighter person with a lighter packload. Embrace and accept your size, and don't sweat the small stuff.

I use a GoLite SL3. With the mesh inner I can fit two of me with a little room on the sides for gear, but my MontBell SS Long will just touch the netting (not pushing, and leaving about 2-3" until the fly.) The only downside is that the center pole is pretty annoying if you're with a gf/wife. If just with a friend it's not an issue at all. I like the pyramid style, though, because you can pitch it really high or right to the ground. Last trip I put myself+wife in one and my three daughters (7/8/9) in the other ... they loved it. My wife was annoyed because she's a comfort hound and likes the huge palatial cabin tents. :P

You might get all 4 of you in an SL5 ...

-mox (@ 6'6" 235)

Edited by moxford on 12/14/2012 12:18:11 MST.