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What's your favorite 3-season 1P tent?
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James Reilly
(zippymorocco) - M

Locale: Montana
Re: zpacks on 01/08/2013 17:31:12 MST Print View

+1 On the Hexamid. I use the twin version and have been very pleased.

John Reichle
(mammoman) - M

Locale: NE AL
Hexamid on 01/09/2013 19:23:09 MST Print View

Another +1 for the Hexamid Solo-Plus. Ridiculously light and easy to set up. Quite spacious.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Tarptent Contrail on 01/17/2013 17:07:12 MST Print View

After much deliberation and a lot of research, I think I like the Tarptent Contrail the most. Thanks for all the help!

Bill Law
(williamlaw) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Tarptent Contrail on 01/19/2013 11:04:36 MST Print View

Why the Contrail? There's only one (technically two, but they're in the same post) mention of it in this thread, and it wasn't complimentary.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Tarptent Contrail on 01/19/2013 11:17:36 MST Print View

May favorite is also the Contrail. Or the GoLite SL-1 (fly and tyvek ground cloth) if there are no bugs.

Edited by Zia-Grill-Guy on 01/19/2013 11:18:45 MST.

Kevin Haskins
(kevperro) - F

Locale: Washington State
Copper Spur Currently on 01/19/2013 11:21:40 MST Print View

I've tried a bunch but currently using the Copper Spur. They all have trade-offs so it is what you value.

Things I wish were different about the Copper Spur:

* Wish it were symmetrical so picking a site would be easier.

Otherwise I like virtually everything. There are lighter shelters and larger ones. I find for a single person shelter this one is very roomy. It is easy to stay dry and it is a comfortable spot to sit out bad weather and I'm willing to carry the weight to have something that doesn't require lots of thought or effort to plan a site at the end of the day.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Why the Tarptent Contrail? on 01/19/2013 12:29:14 MST Print View

I like the Tarptent Contrail for a few reasons:

- It looks very minimalist, nothing I don't need.
- It's raised on both ends so the walls don't lay on me.
- It uses a single trekking pole so I can use a trekking pole when I backpack, and a tripod when I bike tour. (although I'll often bring the poles)
- It costs 1/2 as much as the Copper Spur, and less than most other tents.
- It looks very sturdy, and also very easy to set up out of the wind, since it's long and narrow.
- It looks perfect combined with a Bivy Bag, if I ever decide to go that route.

I wish it came in another color besides Gray. But, perhaps by the time I order it there'll be a morale-increasing Yellow. I'm a few months off at least from needing a tent.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Why the Tarptent Contrail? on 01/19/2013 12:54:15 MST Print View

" It looks perfect combined with a Bivy Bag, if I ever decide to go that route."

why would you use a bivy inside a tent?

Chase Norton
(Micronorton) - F
Contrail is soso on 01/19/2013 13:29:49 MST Print View

I've own a Contrail and I must say that it is an ok shelter, but there are many features which annoyed me.

Primarily, Silnylon. I loathe this fabric for a shelter. Sags when wet, slippery as hell, and hard to repair in field. Sure it is cheap, sure it is kind of lightweight, but after enough time with the Contrail I had enough. Silnylon/The Contrail is ok if you are on a budget, but eventually, you will move to some cuben shelter. I suggest doing it sooner than later.

I do not know if Henry changed it but the velcro shut door was the bain of my existence and cause many horrible nights of sleep due to the fact when you pitch a Contrail for extreme storm conditions, everything is very taut/tight. If a strong gust of wind comes through or in the middle of the night nature calls, reconnecting the door when getting back in or after the gust becomes a battle of rain getting and not being able to velcro well enough. A lightweight zipper would add a little weight but go a long way to helping.

You need to do some after market mods to make it storm proof. Sure, we all do after market mods, but this has been known by the designers of the Contrail and yet never fully addressed. Instead of selling the Contrail with a foot storm rod and including it in the directions, we must figure it out on here or else where. Again, I would not complain about it except for the fact it is a well known issue.

Favorite 3-season:
Hexamid Solo Tarp (weight includes guy lines) 5.2oz
Hexanet inner - 6.6oz
8 linelocs - ~.5oz
8 MSR Groundhogs (my conditions and soil won't allow the shepherds or anything lighter): ~4.5oz

Total: 16.8oz (weight of trekking pole not included as it is used often during the trek)

Go without inner if I know the location, then it is replaced by a tyvek floor at 3.2oz


Edited by Micronorton on 01/19/2013 13:30:27 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Need help choosing tarp materials! on 01/19/2013 13:53:46 MST Print View

Hmm, didn't think much about Cuben, will look into that. Also, like I said in my OP, primary reason for getting a tent is for midwinter, and I'd use a bivy there to improve warmth. Also might be a situation where I have a real light (sub-10oz) bivy bag for shelters and a tent for everywhere else, though that seems unlikely/overkill.

My #2 was the cricket tent from Mountain Laurel Designs, which is a two-part tent, and it only has one more stake than the Contrail. Anyone know about the Cricket? (comes in a lovely yellow!)

I will go back to the drawing board. I thought I was on to something. Maybe there's no real "right" answer, instead just a bunch of good ones.

I would really like it if someone had a link or could articulate the pros/cons of a few common materials, just so I can get the general idea. I haven't owned anything but silnylon.


robert v
(mtnbob123) - F

Locale: Upstate South Carolina
+3 LightheartGear Cuben fiber Solo or SoLong6 on 01/19/2013 13:59:33 MST Print View

I have owned two tents from Judy at Lightheart Gear and the Cuben tents are amazing!!!. Simple, waterproof, stable, and very well made. You can literally set up the Solo with two stakes, but 4 are better!! Just my two cents :)

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Winter tent? on 01/19/2013 14:09:11 MST Print View

Max, you did mention in the OP that you wanted something for winter, but your thread title asked "What's your favorite 3-season 1P tent?" So which is it, actually?

The Contrail isn't a winter tent, by the way. A heavy snow load would kill it.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

3-Season Is Correct on 01/19/2013 14:34:47 MST Print View

I don't need more than a 3-season for winter. I am not someone who uses a tent actively for long periods of time in the winter; I can set up in such a way that I am out of direct snow if I expect a storm, or I'll simply plan trips around the weather. The only long-term travel I do where I rely on a tent is in the summer. Winter trips are all under 3 days.

I do not want to carry a yurt up any mountain, and I don't want to spend megabucks getting a summer tent AND a winter snow-proof tent.

I do hear you, though; some of these tarps are definitely not ready for winter snow. It'll be one more thing to keep in mind, if it comes down to two and one is structurally more sound even at the cost of weight, that'll be a factor.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Need help choosing tarp materials! on 01/19/2013 14:38:17 MST Print View

if you're going to use color as a criteria.. here ya go.


John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Why the Tarptent Contrail? on 01/19/2013 15:01:09 MST Print View


If it's a tarptent, it's gray silnylon or white Tyvek. Check out Henry's gallery.

You could email Henry at...

...and ask about a custom order if you really want yellow.

Party On,


Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Tent Color on 01/19/2013 15:24:00 MST Print View

I think the color of your tent does have a psychological impact, especially if you use it for weeks on end. When you're stuck in from a storm, a green, orange, or yellow is a helluva lot more uplifting than a grey.

I'm not just in it for the color, but it does matter to me. A tent is like a house. I have to live in it!

And yeah, if they're not already dyeing then they likely cannot do a custom color because they don't have the capability. That's my guess.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Tent Color on 01/19/2013 15:32:25 MST Print View

They would have to order a custom color from the fabric source. No one "dyes" the fabric.. it is that color from the nylon they use to weave the fabric.

you can get a LH solo or Solong in Yellow (or other colors) Their Cuben is green. as is their normal Silnylon versions now (mine is the older grey version)

to state a cycling term... it's a tool not a jewel.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Tool VS. Jewel on 01/19/2013 15:49:55 MST Print View

We're talking about a tangible asset, here. If a color has a psychological benefit, it directly correlates to your motivation, concentration, and ability to make rational decisions.

Here are a few examples you can pounce on and tear to shreds:

If you're stuck in a bad weather pattern during a thru-hike, you could spend a full day or more in a tent. If you're dying of boredom during the stay, and you can't keep your wits together, you might compromise yourself by pushing on before it's safe or efficient. If you've got blisters, sore calves, a headache, and you've been waking up to the same grey tent for 20 nights in a row, it's a lot easier to justify cutting a trip short than if you wake up every morning to a soft auburn glow coming through your tent walls. Taking a picture of beautiful scenery with a happy yellow tent in it is a lot easier to share with others than a grey triangle, and can really make a difference in feeling proud of your trip or convincing others to join you.

There's something about loving a tent that makes it a better shelter. Love your domicile, love the trip. I'm not backing off my point, even if some of you scoff at it and say that color choice is for children and high school girls.

I'm not wrong. It's basic psychology.

Edited by mdilthey on 01/19/2013 15:56:16 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Dyeing on 01/19/2013 15:51:56 MST Print View

Also, the original thread had to be dyed. It doesn't magically come in yellow sometimes and grey other times. Whether it's dyed at the manufacturer or distributor makes a difference.

Some manufacturers dye themselves, others order out. For instance, McHale does all their own dyeing for custom packs, to my knowledge.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Tool VS. Jewel on 01/19/2013 16:00:37 MST Print View

hmm... Normally I just sleep in my tents (when I use them).

My normal shelter is a tarp or similar.

However, I have spent extended time in all of these tents, (e.g., more than 24 straight hours). I once spent 3 days in the super flash during a snow storm. Never got bored in any of them, and don't think there was any psychological damage either :)