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Lightweight tent for Scottish Highlands?
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marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
e: Lightweight tent for Scottish Highlands on 06/17/2013 05:20:24 MDT Print View

Thanks to everyone for the advice.

I think I will try the Tarptent Moment, with the modifications Eric suggested, that should be ok for most situations.

I might also try modifying one of the tents I already have. I started using hiking poles recently and am thinking there might be some way to use them for beefing up/bracing a tent, either internally or externally. Not quite sure how to do it yet, but it may be worth some experimentation.

Ross L
(Ross) - MLife

Locale: Beautiful BC
Re: e: Lightweight tent for Scottish Highlands on 06/17/2013 09:53:06 MDT Print View


Another option for a solo lightweight tent is the 2 3/4 lb (ncluding stakes) Stephensons Warmlite 2C. Roomy for one and bomber in the wind. Only a couple of concerns really in that you have to exercise caution when assembling the pole set and some people complain about getting snow or rain in the vestibule when the door is left open. (doesn't bother me though). Check out the video in the attached review for an idea of real world wind performance.

marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
Lightweight tent for Scottish Highlands on 06/17/2013 11:33:37 MDT Print View


Thanks, those Stephenson's are weird looking, very different, but seem to be effective. There was very little movement of the fabric between the 2 poles in the strong winds. Impressive.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Lightweight tent for Scottish Highlands on 06/17/2013 11:53:15 MDT Print View

The rogue, and BPL member, "Diplomatic Mike" ( was selling a Stephenson's Warmlite a bit ago for a great price, don't know if he sold it or not. If you're interested you might want to send him a PM. And he's over your way.

For sale thread is here:

Ross L
(Ross) - MLife

Locale: Beautiful BC
Re: Lightweight tent for Scottish Highlands on 06/17/2013 11:59:20 MDT Print View


The key to proper set up of a Warmlite is to use strong holding stakes like MSR Groundhogs and applying lots of fabric tension between the front and rear of the tent. (and of course topping off the stakes with good sized boulders for insurance). This tent is not for everyone, but it does work and probably has forty years of proven history. I use my 2C predominately above treeline in exposed terrain.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
TT Moment and wind on 06/17/2013 16:12:19 MDT Print View

TT Moment single wall W/ crossing pole running insideinternal crossing pole exiting original SW Moment thru end netting & VelcroMarc,

I got my original single wall Moment in 2010 and tested it in October in Colorado's Indian Peaks region on Arapaho Pass at over 11,000 ft. My camp was at treeline (scrub fir trees 7 ft. tall). The constant winds were 35 - 45 mph. with 60 mph. gusts from Weather Service data. At that time I only guyed out the Moment's main hoop pole with just one line on the windward side and used only 2 MSR Groundhog stakes, one at each end. The wind shifted 180 degrees overnight!

No flapping (!) and no deformation of the main pole. That experience confirmed my belief in the Moment's aerodynamics and in the MSR Groundhog stakes' holding ability.

Yes, some spindrift snow did get inside through the floor level mesh vents, proving it was meant for 3 season use.

When I get my new Moment DW I'll do the same as I did for my Scarp 2 and get a heavier duty main pole from "Tentpole Technologies". This will be for alpine winter use. We have mountains just outside of Las Vegas at well over 11,000 ft. (2,000 meters +) and lots of snow at those altitudes.

BTW, I just looked at a Vango Helium 100 solo tent FOR 220 BRITISH POUNDS! And it STILL does not have the many options and features of a Moment DW. Hmmmm... "Caveat emptor"

P.S. Moment DW "storm stability" options:
1. pre-made guylines for main hoop
2. four added fly hem stake loops (small extra cost option or DIY)
3. heavier duty main pole
4. hiking/ski pole end stakeout (as illustrated in Tarptent's product photos)
5. crossing pole (original exterior placement or easily modded to inside the fly)

With ALL of these I'd feel secure in up to 70 mph. winds.
Also note that Tarptent now uses a more impermeable silnylon fly material so there will be no possibility of "mist-thru" in gale driven rains.

Edited by Danepacker on 06/19/2013 23:47:18 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Lightweight tent for Scottish Highlands? on 06/17/2013 16:51:40 MDT Print View

As posted earlier from someone who knows Scotland:

"Mld Trailstars and Duominds are very popular as are tarptent Scarps and Hillie Unna/Soulos in Scotland."

Probably best to check the blogs of Chris Townsend, Terry Brandt, David Lintern, Martin Rye and others who hike the Highlands a lot. They backpack year round and usually up high where there are no trees.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Re: Lightweight tent for Scottish Highlands? on 06/17/2013 18:48:41 MDT Print View

That's a good list of blogs Nick.


If you look at Vango tents make sure its the Force Ten models.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
advisors on 06/17/2013 19:54:24 MDT Print View


Have you looked at Tracksterman's blog? He appears to live year around in the highlands in a tent when not in a bothy. From what I have viewed of his blog he has been through several tents and seems to be going to progressively heavier shelters as gets blown away in the lighter ones.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
high wind tent on 06/17/2013 21:51:13 MDT Print View

You might also want to look at the new Snow Peak Lagos. The solo weighs 2.75 lbs, not counting the pegs and corner guylines needed for high winds. The width is spec'd at 36", but is closer to 34" in practice, and the length is around 89", so good floor area (21.6 sf). Like the Warmlites, the door end will allow rain etc to enter when open. The floor can be unattached and pulled back about a foot at the door, but that's small comfort when it's really nasty out. But the outer is low denier polyester, and should sag much less than nylon. The frame is the conventional two-pole crossing dome arrangement (I think Eric has called this a "failed design"). There was talk in Japan of a solid inner, but the inner on the US model is a tight knit mesh that will allow rain to enter during the pitch. In fairness, the tent is intended for winter weather.

For comfort, a covered vestibule is good in the rain, but for high winds, the Lagos with the 4 corner guys might be worth a look.

The Goondies mentioned earlier also come with the 4 corner guylines for stability in high winds, and have the vestibules; but the low denier flies are nylon, and will sag more than polyester, so the design puts a lot of space between fly and inner. The reviewer states that the solid inner model could be pitched without flooding the floor.

Looked at the Tracksterman blog. Thanks for the reference. Interesting that he has gone to the double-cross pole dome with the Luxe Tiger Moth. The Luxes also use polyester flies, but a heavier denier that brings the weight up beyond the UL range.
(Luxe has a solo in this design, the Firefly, but not much space) With lighter denier polyester like that used on the Lagos, these designs might get down into the UL range. The better fabric would bring the price up, though.

Edited by scfhome on 06/17/2013 22:07:57 MDT.

marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
Lightweight tent for Scottish Highlands? on 06/18/2013 05:32:23 MDT Print View

Thanks for the blog references Nick. I never come across anyone camping out high in the winter, but there seems to be a small community of them. Plenty of reading material to go through. Tracksterman's blog is excellent too, I thought I was daft being out in those conditions but this guy is in a different league altogether.

Interesting tents Samuel. It looks like the 2 poles on the Luxe Tiger Moth cross twice, I assume this will make it a more stable design than a simple 'X' frame where they only cross once?

I also read a bit about mountaineer/photographer Colin Prior. He camps out on the summits in winter in order to get the sunrise/sunset. Pretty much what I do sometimes, the difference being his photography is a lot better than mine. Latest tent seems to be a Terra Nova Voyager, which at over 4 lbs, together with all the photography gear, makes me think his knee joints might be in better shape than mine.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
windworthy tents on 06/18/2013 15:52:14 MDT Print View

"...It looks like the 2 poles on the Luxe Tiger Moth cross twice, I assume this will make it a more stable design than a simple 'X' frame where they only cross once?"

It depends on the quality of the design and materials. A lot of cheap tents, from Sportsmans Guide for example, have had the doublecross design, and several companies have used the design for bug domes. On the other hand, the Solar 2 from Terra Nova is said to be both wind and snow worthy, but is up over 2 kg. A number of higher quality tentmakers have used this design for heavier models, but few if any seem to have done so for an UL all season tent. The industry seems to feel that for UL domes, hubbed variations on the Hubba are the way to go. EMS, which produces some half decent tents, had an elbowed doublecross dome on the heavy side that had very little inherent stability. The ones that do will resist movement if you grab ahold of one of the two apexes and try to wiggle it around.

I'm not sure what makes some of the doublecross tents so much more stable than others, but do know that the ones with smaller radius pole arcs and close to vertical sidewalls at the head and foot are much less stable, and require guy lines for even moderate winds. I've also experimented with designs using either Easton tube or 3/16" Ti rod elbows at the two apexes. Still, wind pushing very hard against one side of the tent puts a lot of pressure at the point where the poles connect to the elbows. So I've thought about ways to add reinforcement at these connections.

The Tiger Moth is not UL either, but the Tracksterman blog should be worth an occasional look to see how the design is handling extreme weather.

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Re: TT Moment and wind on 06/18/2013 16:02:55 MDT Print View


Thanks for the great detail on your experience with the Moment. What are your thoughts on the Notch? Tarptent rates it for "3-4 seasons" vs. "3+" for the Moment DW.

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
Tracksterman and TT Moment on 06/18/2013 16:18:57 MDT Print View

Tracksterman seems to quite like his Moment:

His main complaints seem to be that it's breezy and can be cold b/c fly edges can't be pitched close enough to ground (with the problem exacerbated by his under-powered sleeping bag) and that single-wall design can have condensation issues. Both of these would be improved helped with a Moment DW and the soon-to-come partial-solid inner, in addition to gaining dual-side entry/exit.

marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
windworthy tents on 06/18/2013 18:09:00 MDT Print View

I will keep an eye on Tracksterman's progress, he's certainly speaks his mind if he is not happy with any equipment.

Thanks for the explanation on the doublecross designs Samuel, its a bit more complex than I thought.

The pole failures I have had seem to have been on the sheltered or leeward side if I remember correctly. Probably from this side of the pole arc being compressed to a point where the radius tightens up too much, eventually causing it to bend or split at the joints, while the part of the pole the other side of the apex is straightening out.

Coming from a building engineering background, this has got me thinking about the structural aspects of tent design. You mentioned experimenting with reinforcing the joints at the apex. Would that prevent the poles behaving like this? Another thought I had was if the joint at the apex was flexible, this may allow one side to striaghten out without compressing the other side. I dont know how practical this would be to implement in a tent though.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Trailstar? on 06/18/2013 23:03:42 MDT Print View

I thought that all of the ULers in Scotland were atwitter over the MLD Trailstar? I remember reading an article about some cross-Scotland TGO race where half the field was using them. At 18oz or so they're supposed to be outstanding in wind. No floor, so not much help with the midges, though...

My personal preference is not to use inner-tents or floors with floorless tents. I just use a lightweight bivy. The MLD SuperLight is 5.5oz. (I swear I'm not pimping for MLD.)

Edited by acrosome on 06/18/2013 23:06:13 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Trailstar? on 06/18/2013 23:10:58 MDT Print View

Not sure if this has been posted or not, but Colin's review of the Trailstar is excellent.

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Trailstar? on 06/19/2013 01:48:13 MDT Print View

The TGO Challenge is held in May, before the midges hatch out. I have never seen a Trailstar on the LAMM which is held in June (but I think the the rules may require a tent with a floor, as I recall). A windless evening in the North West in July/August would be unbearable in a not-fully enclosed shelter.

marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
Trailstar on 06/19/2013 02:47:58 MDT Print View

Yes, it seems to be all positive reviews from the guys in Scotland using the Trailstar.

My concern with this shelter though is the size of its footprint, about 3 metres across I think. The TGO crosses large open expanses where this would not be an issue, but it would be for me for some of the locations I go. Also, it looks like for optimum pitch it needs 10 stakes in the ground. I am often struggling to get a couple of stakes in the ground, and end up lashing guyropes to rocks or whatever else is available.

As Stuart said, without a breeze the midges will eat you alive. I see some people are having custom inner tents made for these, but that, together with the weight of all the stakes, must be taking the weight up to or over the Tarptent Moment.

Having said that, the fact that it is rock solid in high winds is certainly tempting.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: windworthy tents on 06/19/2013 05:29:46 MDT Print View

I've been using an old (US made) Moss Starlet (one of the first tents with the double intersecting pole design) for about 20 years now. In my opinion, what makes this beautiful tent a "bomber" three season tent is not just the stability of the pole arrangement, but the continuous distribution of force, due to the pole sleeves (and very precise cut of the catenary curves.) The rainfly is indented to shed rain, and contributes very little to the overall strength of the design, because it doesnt have to.

Most newer tent designs rely heavily on tie outs, and don't properly transfer force to the poles effectively, in my opinion, so look out for the weak spots. In some ways, they are "supposed" to flatten, then pop back up. This is very indicative in clip style tents (where clips are allowed to slide along the poles.)
Personally, this is not how I'd choose to reside in a tent.

I agree that "internalizing" that pole on the TT moment will make a big difference on its stability. I would also be concerned about the lower third of the tent body (between the perpendicular pole and the end of the tent.) Given all you have spoken of, the Moment might offer the most adaptability. My only concern would be making sure the lightness doesn't compromise your safety, and that you consider design workarounds in areas that might fail on your tent.

If they weren't so heavy, I'd also reccommend Integral Designs or BD single walled tents. They are very simple, the Toddtex handles moisture very well, and are a proven design for many years now. Given all you've described, I'd probably be tossing my 2-door Eldorado in the back of the car right about now if I were on that trip.