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which tent to get
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Richard Nelridge
(naturephoto1) - M

Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
4 Season Tents on 06/21/2005 10:02:28 MDT Print View


Integral Designs ( makes some of the best 4 season single walled mountaineering tents available made of the breathable Tegraltex (and unfortunately no longer available in eVENT).

Additionally, Stephenson's Warmlite( makes fine light 4 season single and double walled tents made of silnylon.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Firstlight uber alles (possibly) on 06/21/2005 12:19:38 MDT Print View

The firstlight is actually a very wonderful 4 season tent for those under 6 '--although taller people can use as a solo tent if they sleep on the diagonal. In fact BD designed these tents to be fast and light tents for alpinists for all seasons. I have the larger Lighthouse,which due to it's door design (whole front wall unzips) is less suited for winter or alpine climbing uses. However, it performed fantastically on several ski-packing trips I took last winter in the Trinity Alps and Cascades. It took snow loads and high winds very well and had minimal condensation--no more than the double wall tents that were on the same trips. I've read the report of Epic winter condensation issues but have not experienced it.

Furthermore,because one sets up the tent from inside, it is easier to set up and get out of inclement weather and winds than exterior pole configured tents. The Firstlight needs far fewer stakes to stormproof than the Akto,this is the Akto's major weakness in my opinion--stakes,stakes,and more stakes (plus,some more). The Firstlight is also far roomier than the Akto--6'2" me can sit comfortably in the former but not at all in the Akto.

The Akto wins in the vestibule dept.--can't think of
a better one for a tent of it's size.I don't use the BD vestibule--which allows me to save weight -- but in the Lighthouse means that some precipitation can follow entry/exit (I have mastered the venerable art of the dive and zip).The Akto,because of the vestibule, would be an easier tent to do cooking inside . Although I have cooked inside the BD tents--If you can vent you're fine.The Firstlight is better designed than the LH for bad weather cooking but I suggest using one of the hanging stove set ups (bibler used to make one,MSR and I think Primus both offer models.

If ID were still producing eVent tents (sigh) they would be the only tents I think that would outperform the BD tents among the very lightest 4 season shelters.

Edited by kdesign on 06/21/2005 12:35:22 MDT.

stuart shahan
(phatmanforya) - F
just some thoughts on 06/22/2005 21:33:30 MDT Print View

knowing that a single wall made of waterproof fabric works almost as well if not as well at a double wall tent the Solomente look like a good choice, but I’ll wait a year for more reviews to come out about it. If you want to see more pics of it go here ( )

Integral Designs had some nice tents too I liked the mk1, 46” wide is a little tight but I could live with that. But then I saw the note
(Note: Due to a change in licensing agreement, MK tents are no longer available in eVENT fabric for consumer use. MK Tents in Tegraltex fabric are not available for retail sale in Canada or the following US States: CA, NY, NJ, MI, MN, LA, MA)
What’s that about? Anyway I can buy that unless I have it shipped to a out of state friend then shipped to me. I’m in CA.
I like Warmlight too. 1- 1.5 lbs per person light but how weather worthy are they? One thing I liked was how big they were on the inside.
Black Diamond Firstlight Tent big enough but I ? the epic.
And last the Akto, way too small for me I’m a wide guy.

Richard Nelridge
(naturephoto1) - M

Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
Integral Designs Single Wall Tents on 06/22/2005 22:37:11 MDT Print View

GE the new owner of BHA Technologies (the maker and inventor of eVENT) decided to take eVENT off the market after this year for the purposes of making tents due to the fact that the material is not flame retardant and they did not want any liability issues. I believe that the same reason holds true for the Tegraltex fabric in the states listed on the ID website; perhaps someone else can shed light on this.

I was fortunate to get one of the last available MK1 Lite eVENT tents right after the announcement was made in February. I have yet to put it in service. The MK eVENT tents were considered some of the best mountaineering tents ever offered. The Tegraltex version is not as breathable, but it is a tried design and very well respected. This version is also a little heavier than the version in eVENT.

You can read the review of the MK1 Lite eVENT here on BPL at:

Edited by naturephoto1 on 06/23/2005 02:42:16 MDT.

Jon Solomon
(areality) - F - MLife

Locale: Lyon/Taipei
Re: Integral Designs Single Wall Tents on 06/23/2005 00:00:50 MDT Print View

I just wanted to remind folks that Exped still offers the Polaris, not a one person tent as Stuart is looking for, but of interest in this thread becuase it is made from eVENT, with integral vestibule, and should be long enough for tall folk. If you are interested in this tent, I'd recommend outfitting it with the "optional" fourth pole for fourth season use. I have one myself. Alhtough the US website (via OR) says that it is just 3-layer PTFE, it is definitely made from eVENT, this is not just my "hunch." But, then again, I am not at liberty to say here why I know, so if this bugs you, don't take my word for it and accept my sincere apologies. Simple enough.

Edited by areality on 06/23/2005 00:05:08 MDT.

Donald Horst
(donhorst) - F

Locale: Sierra Nevada
Stephenson Warmlite 2RS on 06/23/2005 08:32:55 MDT Print View

Since you mentioned comfort and are willing to carry 3 lbs, I am surprised that only Dwayne Thompson mentioned the Stephenson Warmlite 2RS. He said he had limited experience with it, so I will add a couple of things. I have three Stephensons in the family, [two 2RS and one 3RS], and hike with a friend who has all three sizes. One of mine dates back to 1978, and I have used them in almost all kinds of weather.

Down sides:

1. Not free standing. [I don't consider this a negative, but you mentioned it.] This has never been a problem for me. On solid rock, hiking poles weighted down by rocks work great. And it is one of the easiest tents to set up.

2. Three pounds: not for the true ultalighter.

3. Expensive

Positives: Everything else.

Compared to the true ultralight tents I have considered, this is a palace. It is a large, two-person tent, so it is huge for one person. I don't really need all that space, but anything much lighter is so much less comfortable and versatile that I am happy to carry the extra pound.

It may be the best ventilated four-season tent you can get. Get the side windows. I tie up the side flaps for clear, buggy weather, or extend the flaps like awnings when it rains. I rarely button up the tent completely unless it is very cold or snowing.

Every company makes a two-hoop tent, but no one has copied the Stephenson design features, like the side windows, adjustable tension straps, lining, pre-curved poles, etc. Jack Stephenson claims to have invented the two-hoop tent back in the 1950's.

Unless you get the end cones lined [not recommended], you will get some condensation on them in certain types of rain storms, but minimal wiping takes care of it. Some people have complained about it, but it has never bothered me.

Of course, what works for you depends on what you are willing to put up with and where you hike. My interest is in the lightest I can go with complete comfort, not ultralight distance hiking. My base pack ranges from 11 lbs. for fair weather with nights above 50F [bivy sack instead of tent], to 20 lbs with tent, warm bag, warm cloths, and bear canister. I normally hike in the California Sierra, which can mean bugs, snow, and heavy rain/hail storms most of the year. The only conditions I have not used the tents in are prolonged, warm, wet weather.

So if you are not a hard core ultralighter and are willing to pay the price in dollars and weight, I don't see any competition. Others may differ. :-)

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Stephenson Warmlite 2RS on 06/23/2005 09:17:45 MDT Print View


What is your experience with Stephenson as a company?

Have read other posts that they are a good company ***IF*** you don't have any product related problems.

What has your experience been if any problems with their product were experienced?

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks,

Edited by pj on 06/23/2005 16:35:19 MDT.

Charles Maguire
(hikelite) - F

Locale: Virginia
Re: Stephenson Warmlite 2RS on 06/23/2005 20:35:12 MDT Print View

I am told two and gear can fit in 2X or R. How accurate is this? Are you crunched or is it roomy?

I researched light weight tents with an emphasis on weight and adding my 8 year old when hiking together.

Aside from cost, I think the Warmlite offer the most versatility with the lightest weight. Once ordered (soon) I will use it mostly in winter and 3 season trips with son.


John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Stephenson Warmlite 2RS on 06/24/2005 18:37:26 MDT Print View

In a snow storm, how do you cook inside a warmlite that has no unfloored area? How would you vent the cooking area when the ends slope downward?

Donald Horst
(donhorst) - F

Locale: Sierra Nevada
Stephenson 2RS replies on 06/25/2005 11:35:13 MDT Print View

Paul, I like Stephenson's as a company very much. A few years ago, when I was in New England, I made a pilgrimage to Stephenson's shop/home. But you have to understand that you are dealing with only two or three people, and Jack, the originator, is a crusty old guy. He is very opinionated, does not suffer fools gladly, and is not too concerned about maintaining good customer relations. :-)

The company is run by his son and his manager, Jane now, but you still might get Jack if you call on the phone. If you call to complain about something and he disagrees or thinks you misused his equipment, he will tell you so in no uncertain terms. Some people are put off by this. I have found Jane very helpful, and they are good about fixing things, but may charge you.

Chuck: re two in a 2RS [I think it is a big mistake to get one without the "S" side windows even though Jack himself plays them down], it is one of the largest two-person tents made, in floor space. It is about 12 feet long. I got my first one in 1978 so I could backpack on longer trips with my six-year-old son. With him, or my sister, in bad weather we put our boots in the small cone at our feet, and our packs between our heads and the door. There is plenty of room to do that, although you have to climb over/between your packs to get out, of course. The tent is only tall enough for me to sit upright under the big hoop. If you want LOTS of room, a 3RS weighs a pound more, but has room for four adults to sit comfortably. It also has doors at both ends. My son has one. It still is not much heavier than the worst of the one-person tents, and beats most two person models.

John: I am not a winter camper by choice. I have been in a number of late spring or early fall snow storms, but I always cooked outside. In fact, because of the bear problems in the Sierra, I try to keep all food out of the tent. I think one could cook inside with something to protect the floor. There is a vent at the top of the front hoop. But you would have to ask someone else for experience doing that.

Verndal Lee
(JAGC) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Stephenson Tent on 06/27/2005 09:49:44 MDT Print View

Paul -
I can't tell from looking at the site. Do the Stephenson tents come with mosquito netting? There was no mention of this in the description of the tent.


paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Stephenson Tent - bug netting on 06/27/2005 09:54:16 MDT Print View

Not sure. Don't own one. I think this question should be addressed to & ans. by Donald.

Dan Healy

Locale: Queensland
hex 3 with BMW bivy and Marmot Hydrogen on 06/29/2005 01:20:12 MDT Print View

gotta put my two bobs worth in here! ;) My self (6'1", 187lbs) and my lusty wench (6'2", 157lbs) are in the great position to walk in Europe (Swiss, France, Italy and soon Norway), New Zealand and Australia. After converting to lightweight ideas and trying a few tent/sleeping arrangements out, we have settled for a Hex 3 (w walking poles), a BMW bivy and I use a Marmot Hydrogen w down vest if needed. Bug proof, very rain and blown rain resistant, when pegged out it is amazingly quiet in a big blow but the best thing is versatility. We can have just the bivys in nice weather, the bivys as groundsheets for the bags in nice weather and no mossies, the Hex is very roomy for those rainy mornings where you are cooking inside and it is no bother to be there for awhile if the weather closes in while you are watching Ibex at play! what a winner!

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Re: which tent to get on 06/29/2005 12:40:56 MDT Print View

OK I m going to weigh in here, too, even though you have a lot of good advice coming your way.

I owned for about 2 hours the BD Firstlight tent. Got it because of the extensive review that This site gave to it. I am 6'3" so right away I had a problem. I am too tall for this tent, but if I were 5'8" as you are this would have been my dream tent. Very Light, easy to set up, easily 4 season but great for 3 season. Lots of head room and good ventilation flow through. THe problems with wet through that have been addressed here on this posting are interesting. But I would ask you: How many days are you going to be backpacking where you will encounter 9 hours of rain? Is this a "real" problem?

Look, read the extensive review on this site and I believe that you will find it an excellent tent with great capabilities for your intended uses. There is no perfect tent. But there are good compromises that meet most of your needs.

Good Luck and let us all know how you faired.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: which tent to get on 06/29/2005 13:42:33 MDT Print View

9hrs of rain? depends upon where you live. 9hrs is not exactly unusual where i live - Southern New England.

in fact right now as i write this (1538 EDT), the skies have let loose starting ~15min ago. T-storm ~1" to 2" per hour rate w/lots of air-to-gnd lightning - it's let up a little now - large drops closer to perhaps 1" per hour rate. obviously, it will lighten up a bit once the T-storm passes. T-storm will pass soon, unless another cell rolls in, but rain may continue until daybreak tomorrow according to the online weather forecast for my zip code. if so, it will be ~13.5 hrs of continuous rain.


...this just in...rainfall is no longer getting lighter, it's really started to come down now (1553 EDT) - even harder than shortly after it all started. glad my house isn't made of Epic (...look, i really like Epic fabric & use bivies, pants, & windshirts made of Epic. however, i'm just not sure how long i can trust it to not leak in mod-to-hvy rains.) maybe if i had more guts or less sense, i might take the time to personally conduct an experiment with me as the guinea pig.

final entry...'s getting interesting now (~1614 EDT) boys & girls. rain extremely heavy (a torrential downpour) - worse than my bathroom shower nozzle. looking south, the sky is gettin' that characteristic color i've only seen perhaps 10 or 12 times here in CT - greenish-gray. we don't get many tornados here - at least not big ones except for a couple of times. in one my sister's old house lost the entire unattached garage & an 80' tall oak tree right next to it, but the house, just 20' away was unscathed - EVERY tree along a "path" or swath in the neighborhood left only ~15' high - very funny looking driving through the neighborhood a few days afterwards once all of the downed power lines were cleared.

final edit of final entry...

i should clarify: it appeared that the funnel touched down at an intersection of two streets & proceeded down the street - trees lining on both sides of the street gone above ~15' AGL (above gnd level) & all leaves stripped off of remaining branches. appeared to make a hard 'louie' between two houses (one being my sister's) & straight on over the garage & the oak tree, leaving only the concrete slab behind - no debris whatsoever from the garage or oak tree. then, magically vanished as no damage beyond that point. oh...BTW...1st T-storm passed now (!1637 EDT, so only 70 or so minutes of activity for the first one), rain lighter (maybe half-inch per hour or a bit less), but another cell is now gettin' closer.

Don't think that Epic could survive this one by the time it's over - eVENT, now that's another story. However, there still is a place for Epic in my gear arsenal.

Edited by pj on 06/29/2005 14:51:00 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: which tent to get on 06/29/2005 14:08:53 MDT Print View

Second the above. Nine hours of rain isn't uncommon.

Say it's only 5pm, but it's pouring and your buddies have stopped to set up camp. Your EPIC predicament: Do you set up camp now -- and risk your tent wetting out (5pm to 6am is 13 long hours!) -- or do you delay and play it safe?

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Tents--dissing Epic is making me tense on 06/29/2005 16:07:30 MDT Print View

Sorry,I can't let this be the last word on some of the most impressive tents out there. The 9 hours of Benjamin's experience w/ an Epic tent is not necessarily what everyone will experience. For example, my BD tent has yet to wet out and has been subjected to considerably harsher real world conditions. I don't feel the need to strategically plan when I'll set up my shelter. In fact I've only gained ever increasing confidence in the use of these Epic canopied gems.

But this has all more or less been said before by me. Possibly on this very thread.

Personally, you'd have to pry the Lighthouse out of my dead,stiff, frostbitten hands before I'd give it up. You should be so lucky. (insert a big old smiley face with tongue sticking out,here)

Edited by kdesign on 06/29/2005 17:54:37 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Tents--dissing Epic is making me tense on 06/29/2005 20:34:07 MDT Print View

Hi Kevin:

No need to feel tense over it. The Firstlight is an absolutely fantastic tent -- light as heck and easy as heck to set up.

There are many places where rain is intermittent -- I am thinking of rapid-moving fronts in desert areas, for example. There, Epic will more than hold its own, and its lucky occupant will get to enjoy minimal (if any) condensation -- a problem that plagues all users of waterproof tents!

But my personal experience is a damp tent with small puddles of water after nine hours of rain. Indeed, I have read user reviews of wetting out after just five hours! This doesn't mean that the tent will always wet out within those time frames, of course, but it is at least a probability.

Given that, I believe it is important for prospective buyers (esp. those who use down bags) to know that when they use this tent under the rain, there is a clock ticking, even if the alarm is set many hours away.

Edited by ben2world on 06/29/2005 20:37:12 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
*BEEP* on 06/29/2005 22:57:48 MDT Print View

Ben--Intermittent rain ? Desert use? I find that somewhat risible. Especially given the workout my tent has had in the 2nd wettest Spring up here in the Northwest since the 19th century. Tempting fate,to an even greater extreme, I use a down bag.

But experiences will vary.

I often find myself in agreement with your equipment assessments in other posts and forums, but we do rather diverge on this.


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re on 06/29/2005 23:26:48 MDT Print View

Yup, like 'they' always say -- your experience may vary.

bene e pacem.