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Tent trade-offs and considerations
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Phillip Tatti

Locale: Adirondacks
Tent trade-offs and considerations on 08/26/2013 01:03:09 MDT Print View

In the search for a solo tent I have read a ton of awesome info on this site. In general,it seems like you cant go wrong with any tent from the usual suspects.

I live in New York so I hike in the Adirondacks 90% of the time. I will go out rain or shine. Condensation and bugs are definitely a concern. Freestanding isn't terribly important as treeline and soft ground is never too far away. I also only use 1 hiking pole. Cuben is out because of cost. I also like to go out in the winter so a tent that is still light but will withstand the winter is a bonus but not a dealbreaker. Here are my thoughts on some of the various offerings.

MLD or other mid+bug bivy - seems like a really good option. Almost universally liked. Roomy. Versatile. Tent exterior is exposed when opened though. Not sure how much of an issue this can be. Very long lead time (this seems to go for most mid manufacturers)

SMD Wild Oasis - another pretty good option. Again, it seems like the interior is pretty exposed when the flap is open. Also looks like the pole can get in the way when entering/leaving. Very light but smaller. Maybe a little too small.

TT Contrail - Another almost universally liked tent. Headroom isn't much of a concern (Im 5'7" on a good day). Pitch seems a little fiddly although still not bad. Vestibule overhangs the inner so it can be opened in overhead rain. Not sure how it does in winter. (Yama mountain gear cirriform is a similar design so I would group it with the contrail)

TT Moment - Easy pitch. Roomy with large, protected vestibules. Seems like it would be suitable for winter if need be (maybe not storm conditions). Heavy compared to others although outer can be pitched separately. Maybe some weight savings can be realized with a bug bivy instead.

I might be missing a few others...

I am also curious how much of a weight penalty people are usually willing to put up with for some luxuries ie the protected vestibules and ease of entry.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Tent trade-offs and considerations on 08/26/2013 01:46:28 MDT Print View

Fiddly Contrail...
I have seen comments from folk that just can't get it to work after many attempts and from others that find it rather easy to do.
If you have a bit of a feel about setting up tents and some practice you too will be able to do it like this :
Contrail set up
The Moment is easier but it still takes me 50 sec to set up.

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
What's your weight limit? on 08/26/2013 02:56:07 MDT Print View

If you're considering the TT Moment then you might as well consider the TT Rainbow as well (it's got very nice interior space!)... Or even the TT Double Rainbow if you'd like to live like a king when going solo, but might also need to house another person from time to time. Just a thought.

Sorry if I'm not exactly helping you narrow down your options ;)

Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Re: Tent trade-offs and considerations on 08/26/2013 10:18:59 MDT Print View

Dang Nabit, TT's Franco beat me to the sale pitch again ;-) haha Mids are about 4 weeks out right now-

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Tent trade-offs and considerations on 08/26/2013 11:24:41 MDT Print View

"MLD or other mid+bug bivy - seems like a really good option. Almost universally liked. Roomy. Versatile. Tent exterior is exposed when opened though. Not sure how much of an issue this can be."

If you're in a Duomid as a solo hiker, then not really much of an issue at all unless it's a driving, sideways rain, as you'll set up your sleeping bag behind the center pole to the back. One of the reasons I've always opted for the Duo instead of the solo mids.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Tent trade-offs and considerations on 08/26/2013 13:25:34 MDT Print View

I think you've mentioned some of the trade-offs inherent in a tent. I'll mention some other ones, as well as other factors to consider:

A lot of non-free standing tents are best oriented to the wind in one or two directions. This limits your tent location. Likewise, if you make a mistake in tent location (e. g. not realize a root is in the way until you've set it up) then it is easy to fix with a free standing tent (undo the stakes and rotate or move). With a non-free standing tent, you pretty much have to start over.

Tents that allow for the use of trekking poles don't require the use of trekking poles. If you buy poles for these tents (because you don't use a trekking pole) then the pole(s) tend to be very light for their strength. This is because the forces are applied from tip to tip, as opposed to along the whole pole (as it is with a curved pole). This is especially nice because carbon fiber can handle that type of stress really well, and does poorly with the other type of stress (which is why aluminum poles are more common on dome tents). If you do use a trekking pole, than the pole itself is very strong. This is why a Mid (or tipi) style tent is very storm worthy. It sheds wind fairly well and the single pole is very strong (if it does fail, it is likely to occur with your stakes/pegs -- which is basically user failure).

Consider your own preference for internal design. Personally, I spend a lot of time in my tent just lying there. This happens a lot in buggy areas. So, I prefer a lot of space above my head. That is why I like a Contrail type tent over a Mid. The Skyscape Tents (by Six Moons) are a bit of a compromise, but has plenty of room above the head.

Some tents have the pole(s) inside, while others are outside. I prefer outside, especially for non-free standing tents (which often require a bit of fiddling with the guy lines to get just right).

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Tent trade-offs and considerations on 08/26/2013 15:57:37 MDT Print View

TT's Franco beat me to the sale pitch again ;-)

You shouldn't have gone to bed early.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Contrail v.s Moment DW on 08/26/2013 17:14:08 MDT Print View

I had a Contrail for 3 years and sold it for a SW Moment. Great decision B/c the Moment has so many good features and options absent in the Contrail. Also the Moment's shape is very aerodynamic, unlike the Contrail.

I'd get the new Moment DW with both inner tents if you do any winter camping.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Staked foot print on 08/26/2013 18:18:56 MDT Print View

I have a very light cuben/netting tent. The down side is it requires a large area to be staked out. I may sell it and look for something a little heavier, up to a pound I guess. :(

Phillip Tatti

Locale: Adirondacks
Tent trade-offs and considerations on 08/26/2013 21:36:25 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the input guys. Unfortunately when I told my friend that I was thinking of getting a solo tent and he seemed offended that I didnt want to get a 2 person tent. My girlfriend might also start coming on trips but never expressed the desire till I mentioned a solo tent. :X May have to reconsider.

SMD Haven+Net - Tons of positive feedback. Very light for a two man tent. Can be split easily. Available now. On the expensive side. Poles look like they might get in the way.

Lightheart Duo - Weight seems about right. Very roomy. I like the integrated design. Can also add a wedge which seems very useful. Good headroom.

TT Stratospire 1/2 - I like the offset poles by the doors so they are out of the way. Protected vestibules are nice. Fly only option is nice. Very large footprint.

TT Double Rainbow - Smaller footprint than the SS2. Free standing option. Maybe some splashback issues?

No floorless tents according to the people I hike with :(

Any others I am missing?

*Also my friend is skeptical of using mids and other trekking pole supported tents, especially in the winter. Anyone have some good videos to prove him wrong? I found a couple on youtube but nothing extreme or for winter use.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Tent trade-offs and considerations on 08/26/2013 22:50:57 MDT Print View

On Andrew Skurka's Alaska-Yukon Expedition he used a MLD solomid you can see in the national Geographic film of the expedition I linked,this is an Explanation of Gear Selections ,and here is his Route Description .You will see the kind of weather Andrew experienced and him in his solomid in the National Geographic film,your friend might also enjoy this talk he gave Ultimate Hiking Gear & Skills Clinic .

Phillip Tatti

Locale: Adirondacks
Skurka on 08/26/2013 23:11:05 MDT Print View

I knew of Andrew Skurka's trek but totally forgot to mention it to my friend. Ill have to forward this along. Thanks for reminding me!

Phillip Tatti

Locale: Adirondacks
Lunar Duo on 08/27/2013 00:09:08 MDT Print View

Also forgot about this tent. Seems like a palace for two people. Requires a really large site though it seems.

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
h3 Smells on 08/27/2013 08:55:36 MDT Print View

Read Skurka's gear commentary and wonder what are h3 smells? Googling didn't help.



Jacob Hammond

Locale: Central New York
Yama cirriform combo on 08/27/2013 09:47:01 MDT Print View

I used a new sil cirriform and 1.25 combination last week on the NPT from Benson to Blue Mountain. I thought it was perfect. It did well in wet conditions - this last Thursday was a good test (I was near Stephens Pond). You can sit up in it with the bug tent, but your head is touching the netting. When the bugs go away, it would be easy to pitch the cirriform up higher. I also hike with one pole and carry a fixed length nanolite easton pole for the rear of the tarp.

A 1/4 inch foam pad like the ones that Lawson sells completely eliminates any sliding on the silnylon floor.

I also took an MLD Exodus out for the first time. What a beautiful pack.

The NPT was wonderful too!

Edited by woodpewee on 08/27/2013 09:48:31 MDT.

Jacob Hammond

Locale: Central New York
more on 08/27/2013 09:54:12 MDT Print View

I wanted to add the sagging was very minimal. When I purchased the tarp I was concerned about this, but the cat cut and design of the cirriform makes for a very tight, stable pitch. You also get about 6 inches of view on both sides, between the bug tent and tarp to enjoy the late night and early morning views :)

I guess that's enough, I am similarly intrigued by the other options you mentioned, especially the mids, and am sure they would have done well for me last week too.

In particular, I had a hard time deciding between the sil cirriform and the patrol shelter. Patrol shelter w/ bug net seems like a great combination. The lack of a zipper makes the patrol shelter nicely simple and perhaps more durable.

Edited by woodpewee on 08/27/2013 11:14:45 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
TT Scarp 2 on 08/27/2013 14:31:33 MDT Print View

My Scarp 2 is roomy for two and will fit "3 consenting adults" head-to-toe.

But you still "need" a solo tent and don't let anybody pressure you out of getting it.
Solo backpacking is one of life's true joys.

Edited by Danepacker on 08/31/2013 19:40:27 MDT.

Phillip Tatti

Locale: Adirondacks
Insert album name here on 08/27/2013 18:36:52 MDT Print View

Currently leaning toward the Stratospire. I like the ability to completely roll up the doors in an overhead rain and the dual vestibules. Shedding the liner for the winter is also very attractive. Its a big tent but seems to hold up well in the wind from what I've watched/read.

I'm also thinking I might be able to get away with the SS1. Since the poles are offset you can fit two pads in it with the heads on opposite ends. I could also pare it down to just the outer if I ever go solo. ~23 ounces according to Henry Shires.

Everyone says the SS2 is huge as well, but comparing to the LH Duo and the TT DR its the same length and ~20 inches wider due to the vestibules.

I guess I'm playing the "one tent for every situation game". Sorry guys

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Insert album name here on 08/27/2013 18:49:29 MDT Print View

Hi Philip,

I have used my Ss1 on about 8 trips if not more and I definitely would not want to use for two.



Phillip Tatti

Locale: Adirondacks
SS1 for 2 on 08/27/2013 19:03:50 MDT Print View

Stephen thanks for the quick reply! Guess the SS1 is out.