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Shelter Help - death of an old companion
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Jason Teckam
(jasont) - F

Locale: Upper Midwest
Shelter Help - death of an old companion on 07/03/2013 06:52:05 MDT Print View

Hello Everyone,

I'm in need of some recommendations. During the family outing this past week our trusty Kelty Vortex 3 (yep, Kelty, heavy old and reliable) bit the dust. This has been a worthy shelter for the past 13 or so years. So now the fun begins...

Here are my needs and what I'm considering:
Need: a shelter that can accept 3 people (one adult two kids, getting close to middle school age), OR two adults and one 30 pound dog. One of said adults (me) is 6'4" so the shelter has to have some length to it. I'm not a fan of having a wet head or foot. The shelter has to be bug proof due to most of the use being in the upper midwest.

one of the "mids", although ventilation is a concern consdering the summer upper midwest camping and the potential for condensation. I'm assuming this could be solved by going with an inner net w/ bathtub floor so you could pitch higher and get more airflow even in rainy weather. I'm also toying with just the sewn in bug netting at the bottom, but I don't know if that will really protect the gang from the bird sized mosquitos we get.

More of a standard 3 person shelter (long version, if I can find them). My fear with any of these are really the weight of them all. My kids are starting to get to the point where they want to do longer trips and I'm not a fan of playing sherpa with a 7 pound tent (which is what the beloved Kelty weighed). Considering some of the Big Agnes tents, Nemo, other?

Finally, I'm considering one of the tarp tent models (either the rainshadow 2 or the hogs back). Both look like they would work, but I do have some concerns about the length. A little bit of a slide and one could end up with wet down (of which I'm not a fan).

Thanks for your help. Looking forward to the collective wisdom!


Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
TT on 07/03/2013 15:45:23 MDT Print View

If you get the Hogback you could all sleep diagonally and have lots of length. I had an RS2 and loved it but I'm not tall. And with the reasonably dry weather in Colorado and the excellent ventilation, condensation really wasn't an issue. But it's mostly net at the foot anyway. It will probably be OK. Contact Henry at Tarptent and see what he has to say.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Shelter Help - death of an old companion on 07/03/2013 16:51:28 MDT Print View

"If you get the Hogback you could all sleep diagonally and have lots of length"

no need to do that unless one is 7' tall.
The floor is 86" long with at least 15" at each end if you sleep parallel to the door panels and more if sleeping the other way.
HB dimensions
hogback floor plan

My video clip on the Hogback :
real time set up and a good view of the inside space.

Edited by Franco on 07/03/2013 16:52:43 MDT.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Shelter Help - death of an old companion on 07/04/2013 15:09:09 MDT Print View

Hi Jason,

I just used the Rainshadow 2 for the first time the other evening with two of my kids. I'm 6'2" and have more than enough length inside it.

It can comfortably fit three pads next to eachother with some room to spare.

It's currently set up outside, just so I can see how it handles an ungodly amount of rain at my parents lakehouse in central KY.

I'm still "tweaking" it, but its growing on me day by day. Initially, it thought the headroom was a little low, but I think I had the poles set up at too much of an angle. Right now, I have one pole in the middle, and it feels better this way. I wish there were a 2nd zipper at the bottom of the door (watching the girls go in and out) but obviously there's a weight penalty.

It's amazing what can be created at 42oz these days!


Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Shelter Help - death of an old companion on 07/04/2013 16:34:27 MDT Print View

I also have a set up video on the RS II :
After setting it up I show some minor but typical adjustments for this shelter.
My usual tip : if your shelter does not look exactly as it does on the official web site, it will not work correctly.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Scarp 2 on 07/05/2013 21:31:53 MDT Print View

Check the photos on Tarptent showing 3 sleeping pads in a Scarp 2.

I have a Scarp 2 and, sleeping head-to-toe, 3 will fit, esp. if one is a child.

The Scarp 2 is essentially a 2(&1/2) person Hogback. Basic design is the same.

Edited by Danepacker on 07/09/2013 19:40:49 MDT.

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
RE: family/backpacking tent on 07/06/2013 00:37:35 MDT Print View

I would consider a Golite shangria-la 5. I'm not a fan of tarptent, I like a modular system for more versatility and views with less condensation.

Edited by KalebC on 07/06/2013 00:38:52 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Shelter Help - death of an old companion on 07/06/2013 03:04:04 MDT Print View

"I like a modular system "
and what exactly is a modular system ?

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Shelter Help - death of an old companion on 07/06/2013 04:19:55 MDT Print View

Another Tarptent option

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
RE: Module on 07/06/2013 09:03:19 MDT Print View

"Each of a set of standardized parts or independent units that can be used to construct a more complex structure, such as an item of..."

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Shelter Help - death of an old companion on 07/06/2013 17:26:12 MDT Print View

I see ...
Just like the Hogback then.
Yes you can set up the inner or the fly separately but since you are not familiar with the shelter let me tell you why I think the TT way is better...
For a start the Hogback footprint is almost half that of the Shangri La.
The problem with pyramid type shelters is that over a foot around the edges is unusable, The other problem is that having a pole in the middle it means that you cannot easily do an integral pitch as you can with the Hogback (fly and inner up together) therefore keeping the inner dry if it is raining during set up nor just unclip the inner and pack that up separately in the morning when you have a wet fly and no time to wait around for it to dry.
Contrary to what you imply , pyramid shelters also get condensation , just like every other shelter, so separating the inner when the shelter is still up can be an advantage.
Tt Hogback

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
RE: suggestions on 07/06/2013 19:30:33 MDT Print View

RE: Franco, I'm not talking about -just- the hogback, nor did I say the hogback was not modular. I don't like tarptent, I don't like seam sealing with silnet, I don't like paying over $400 for a family tent. I'm entitled to my opinion and should be able to make experienced suggestions to the OP, that are non-biased. I don't work for Golite.

Another suggestion would be a MLD supermid with inner, there is one on gear swap right now.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Shelter Help - death of an old companion on 07/06/2013 20:57:33 MDT Print View

Fair enough.
That SH Supermid (Gear Swap) is $420 and not $400 but maybe if you ask nicely Henry will accept $420 for the Hogback.
Still, according to the seller it needs to be seam sealed again so that would not do for you anyway...

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
HUH? on 07/07/2013 21:16:11 MDT Print View


Having used one once, I've never been able to understand why some folks love pyramid tents. A pole in the center? No floor? Unusable (for sleeping at least) inner 1 ft. perimeter, an entrance that lets in rain or snow when opened?

No thanks.

Paul Ashton
(PDA123) - F

Locale: Eastern Mass
Quarterdome on 07/08/2013 17:11:09 MDT Print View

Not the lightest, but the REI Quarterdome 3+ would be a fit for you. I have used a T3 and while plenty long enough for me, it would not be suitable for a 6'+ who does not approve of soggy down. 5 1/2 lbs, but can be had now for $300, which, IMMO is a bargain. Vents well too and has nearly vertical side walls.
A hogback is one at which I stare enviously, bigger, 1 1/2 lbs lighter @ $400 not at all bad.

Jason Mahler
(jrmahler) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Quarterdome on 07/08/2013 17:26:42 MDT Print View

I agree that the T3 is pretty awesome, but definitely not light. If you go this route, watch for sales because I got mine for $175. Of course it is now relegated to car camping and trips where two people split the load and need the roominess (lots of rain, etc)

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
Rainshadow 2 on 07/08/2013 17:48:35 MDT Print View

I'm also new to the TT Rainshadow 2, with three nights in it so far. It is quite large for just my wife and I but what the heck, it's only 2-1/2 pounds! Plenty of room for all our gear and to move around when stuck inside on a rainy evening.

Like Matt I'm still tweaking my setup routine and getting to know it well, but I think it will do nicely as a summer tent, if nothing else. I haven't had it out in a real blow yet so I am still a little hesitant in wholeheartedly recommending one as an all purpose three season shelter.

It certainly would be a big change from the old kelty. The Rainshadow is non-freestanding, and if the front or back peg comes out down goes the tent. We carry an 8" aluminum snow stake for use as a potty trowel and on one trip used it to anchor the front guy in really sandy soil, then used two of the normal stakes for the rear line. This worked out well and I think having that "Magnum" snow stake handy is a good idea with a tent like this.

Once I had to pitch the Rainshadow with it's back right on a fallen log and simply tied off the rear guy to the base of a bush on the other side of the log. Worked fine and didn't seem to hurt the way the tent hung.

I guess my only real reservation is in a true lashing rain I'd expect to ship some water onto the ground cloth, and it certainly is more breezy than a traditional double wall tent, but so far I think I really like this thing. Allot.
$ 279 isn't cheap, but I feel this shelter is well worth the cost and I don't mind seam sealing it myself a bit.

All I need to do now is figure out how to run a clothesline inside the thing! Nothing to hang a flashlight or wet socks from inside :)

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Shelter Help - death of an old companion on 07/08/2013 19:05:29 MDT Print View

Robert ,
take a look at the RS II thread.
I don't do smileys so add the one you like.

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
RE: Eric on 07/09/2013 00:27:57 MDT Print View

I'm guessing you have never used an SL5, it does have a floor/mesh inner, you can make a floor or order a custom one, the inner does not get exposed to rain/snowfall when opened. Mids do well in REAL weather and can take high winds. I think the hogback would have major sagging in a real snowstorm. Mids can be pitched with two poles so there would not be one in the middle.


Edited by KalebC on 07/09/2013 00:30:58 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: RE: Eric on 07/09/2013 07:55:41 MDT Print View

Mids are cool. So simple. But when you add in a tall peak only in the centre and a wide base, you lose a tremendous amount of usable space with nothing gained. I am a fan of Mids but this is a downside.