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input on 2-person shelter choices
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K Magz
(lapedestrienne) - F

Locale: somewhere without screens
input on 2-person shelter choices on 04/19/2013 13:26:34 MDT Print View

My partner and I are in the market for a good two-person shelter, ideally something not too much over the 2-pound mark.

Background: I have a Lunar Solo and he has a Lightheart Solo (which we have used as a two-person tent, but it's not ideal--especially on longer trips or if it precipitates heavily). When we hike together, our current set-up is an MSR Hubba Hubba. It's a great tent, especially once we hit shoulder season/winter conditions. However, it does weigh a little over 4 lbs. We've considered going with a Lunar Duo or a 2-person Lightheart, but we are not so in love with our one-person tents that we want to stick with the same basic designs (although I realize sometimes the two-person version has a completely different set of pros and cons); in any case, it's time to try something new!

We both like tarps in theory, but we hike mostly in Atlantic Canada/Northern New England, which means buggy and wet. We're considering some combination of net tent and tarp; Bear Paw's Canopy Tent and the SMD Haven are at the top of the list right now. Pitching with trekking poles is great, but we're not interested in mid designs that use a pole in the center of the shelter.

I do also like the TT Double Rainbow a lot as it seems like it should hold up solidly in light winter conditions. It would be a little heavier than the other two set-ups, but might be worth it when the weather gets yucky. We have some long hikes (800+ miles) planned over the next couple of years, so durability will be a factor as well!

Can anyone comment on Bear Paw's shelters? Construction quality, customer service, design and ease-of-use, etc? Since I've been using a Six Moon tent for several years, I'm confident in their quality. I also trust Tarptent's reputation for quality, and have been looking at their one and two person shelters for years.

Edited by lapedestrienne on 04/19/2013 13:27:26 MDT.

Nate Boyer
(NateB123) - MLife
tent on 04/19/2013 13:33:54 MDT Print View

Am I the only one who is not a fan of tarp tents?

How about a hexamid twin?
-More space than say....a squall 2
-much lighter
-won't stretch in the rain

wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Budget? on 04/19/2013 13:40:58 MDT Print View

I don't know what your budget is but you can do a two-person mid in cuben if you use an inverted-V pole design. BearPaw makes a Luna 2 in cuben which you can pair with a net tent inside. You could also go without an inner when the bugs aren't around in early Spring and late Fall.

How about TT's Stratospire 2? It would also allow the same options for a much smaller price and no center pole or inverted V to deal with.

Finally, what about TT's Rainshadow 2. You'd have extra room which is never a bad thing.

Edited by wiiawiwb on 04/19/2013 13:44:52 MDT.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: input on 2-person shelter choices on 04/20/2013 06:41:04 MDT Print View

We have and love a Lunar Duo. The Double Rainbow does hold up well to wind, rain, and light winter, but we found it too cramped for the two of us. (Long walls slope inward.) If I were looking right now, I would have a hard time choosing between the LD and the Stratospire 2.

K Magz
(lapedestrienne) - F

Locale: somewhere without screens
flexibility on 04/20/2013 12:51:17 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the suggestions!

We are definitely leaning towards a more modular setup where we could leave the bug netting at home as the seasons change. the TT Stratospire is a very attractive option with a huge amount of usable space. My only concern with it is the ridgeline design--looks like it might sag under heavy rain (always a problem with sil tents it seems); anyone have any experience with it?

My partner definitely likes the look of the Hexamid; it's a little pricy from my perspective, and I'm not sold on the functionality of the netting floor. His Lightheart Solo is the cuben version, and it definitely hasn't proven as durable as I'd like. During ~3 months of continuous use last year it developed a lot of small tears and had to be taped numerous times.

I'm keeping the Double Rainbow on the list because it offers double doors and a pretty much free-standing option, two things we'll miss about the Hubba Hubba. And honestly, I find the smaller footprint somewhat appealing. The larger the footprint, the harder it is to find places to pitch! Hopefully we'll be able to look at one in person to see whether the angle of the sidewalls bothers us or not. I'd considered the Rainshadow as well, but again, it's a pretty large footprint that seems like perhaps overkill for us. Certainly the Hubba Hubba feels palatial (29 sq ft interior).

I'm wondering what the Lunar Duo has to recommend it over the Haven combo? I'd really like to have a removable inner mesh, something I've learned after carrying the Lunar Solo for several years. I also like the slightly smaller smaller footprint of the Haven. Even the Solo seems annoying-big to me sometimes!

Also, I didn't realize the 'mids from BearPaw could be pitched using an inverted V; do they need to be modified/customized to make it work? Can't find any pics/vids that explain that setup.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
input on 2-person shelter choices on 04/20/2013 15:48:04 MDT Print View

My only concern with it is the ridgeline design--looks like it might sag under heavy rain (always a problem with sil tents it seems); anyone have any experience with it?

I do, in the bush and in my backyard.
I seam seal them for TT Australia so I have had several up on my lawn overnight , sometimes it rains on them.
IF the shelter is set up taut in the first place , it sags very little. Easy to fix from the inside by increasing the pole height or just shove a shoe under it if you have fixed poles.
Best of course is to tighten the guyline but you have to go outside to do that.
(it can be done from the inside too via the top vent...)
There are gyylines at the end of the the ridgeline so it is easy enough to keep that taut.
The SS1/2 are the shelters I would suggest for areas where you get a lot of rain because of the large vestibules and the rain protected floor(with the doors open...).
SS2 4 mats

Taut from inside (almost)
SS2 taut from inside
I am holding the llineLock with one hand and pulling the line with the other from the vent.
Not that I would bother doing that because there is plenty of room inside to put a rain jacket on...

Edited by Franco on 04/20/2013 16:15:45 MDT.

K Magz
(lapedestrienne) - F

Locale: somewhere without screens
awesome photos, Franco on 04/23/2013 10:18:57 MDT Print View

The more I look at the Stratospire the more I like it. More than big enough for two, flexible configurations, nice big doors and vestibules... If it came in cuben fiber, I could maybe convince my boyfriend that it's a worthy upgrade :-)

Sean Smith
TT on 04/23/2013 11:24:52 MDT Print View

I recently bought a TT double rainbow and am less than impressed with the quality. Everywhere I look I see poor stitching, thread hanging loose, and numerous stiches that are very loose. My wife's opinion is that the thread is not appropriate for a tent. She was the first person that started critiquing it while I was still ogling the weight and screwing with the freestanding setup. Also, the zippers seem cheap.

it's lightweight, but overall it looks like something made by an amateur. It's not much larger than the seedhouse SL2 I replaced it with and not much different in weight, but it does pack longer due to the single pole folding length.

The freestanding setup did not work with any of my poles (various black diamond models that maxed out at 145cm) unless an extender was used and I feel the design of the material that attaches to the pole's grip side needs to be changed. It didn't fit very well on any of my poles.

We are going with a Flycreek UL3 which is huge in comparison and not much heavier. It also is far better constructed.

K Magz
(lapedestrienne) - F

Locale: somewhere without screens
Re: TT - good to know! on 04/23/2013 13:03:52 MDT Print View

I use BD poles too and was just looking at them today thinking, "Are those really long enough to do that freestanding thingie with the DR?" Thanks for the firsthand experience!

I have some experience with the BA Seedhouse and Fly Creek tents (1P and 2P) and I am not in love with them, but they seem to work for a lot of people. I find the single vestibule too small for two people; I'm totally willing to pay a weight penalty to have twice the vestibule space when packing up in the wind/rain! Their two-person models are more like one-plus...and sizing up to a three-person would not be much of a weight savings for us over our current MSR tent, not to mention a hefty price tag that's getting into zpacks hex twin territory.

We may even end up keeping our wallets shut and lugging the Hubba Hubba around for another year; we end up carrying ~34 oz each for shelter, but it's a great living space, not fiddly, and pretty bombproof.

Joel Benford
(Morte66) - M

Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
Re: input on 2-person shelter choices on 04/23/2013 14:17:52 MDT Print View

If the two of you carry four trekking poles between you, you could also look at the MLD Duomid with it's inverted V pole confiuration.

K Magz
(lapedestrienne) - F

Locale: somewhere without screens
Duomid with inverted V on 04/24/2013 11:15:04 MDT Print View

The Duomid is very tempting (also the Bearpaw Luna 2), but my experience with inverted V set-ups is pretty limited. Is a 'mid as stable in wind and bad weather when set up with the V as it is with a single center pole?

Jeffrey McConnell
Re: Duomid with inverted V on 04/24/2013 12:26:29 MDT Print View

No personal experience but I've read from a couple people on here that they thought the inverted "V" setup with two poles made the shelter more stable.

Edited by Catalyst on 04/24/2013 12:27:04 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Other Tarptent options on 04/25/2013 00:55:39 MDT Print View

I have a TT Scarp 2 for 4 season use. A bit heavier than you may like.

The TT Double Rainbow is a good choice but get a liner for it.

Both tents have great vestibules with the Double Rainbow having the largest vestibules.

Seems like you do need a liner or double wall tent for your north Atlantic climate.

K Magz
(lapedestrienne) - F

Locale: somewhere without screens
Vestibules? on 04/25/2013 11:34:08 MDT Print View

My main hesitation with 'mid set-ups, I've come to realize, is the lack of vestibules. It seems the advantages of the 'mid are somewhat lost once you put a net tent inside--you reduce the usable space and basically double the weight--especially noticeable, I'd imagine, on foul-weather days. With a two person net tent inside a two-person duomid you end up with, what? A few inches of space between body and fly? After hearing some people say the Solomid can be small for one person, I wonder how well a Duomid really serves two people.

One of the great appeals of the Double Rainbow, Stratospire 2, Lunar Duo/Haven, etc. is having two separate exterior spaces--one for each person to pack up, tie shoes, etc. If it's raining (or even if it's not) trying to do all that with one entry and limited vestibule space can take twice as long and can be frustrating. I know those details may seem nitpicky, but shopping for a tent is a little like house-hunting; before I make the investment I want to be sure it's something that's going to really work and make me happy in the long run. Luckily, tents are at least returnable.