Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
My final frontier: Pack and Tent - suggestions?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Anthony Meaney
(ameaney) - MLife

Locale: Canada
My final frontier: Pack and Tent - suggestions? on 09/08/2013 18:40:16 MDT Print View


Looking to replace my 6lb 3 0z pack and 4lb 5 oz tent with something lighter – hopefully about ½ the weight of both.


Long detailed bit for those without AD/HD

After whittling down virtually everything in my pack I have come to the final frontier – the big three.

Well more like the big two –
This year I have swapped out my heavy (2lbs per boot) hiking boots for La Sportiva Wildcat trail runners – have to thank the evangelists on this group for convincing me that it wasn’t sheer madness to hike in low cut shoes – it’s been fantastic.

So I now come to the two remaining pieces of gear:

Tent and Pack

Current tent: Big Agnes Seedhouse Sl2 – at 4.5lbs this was considered a very light tent when I bought it 6 years ago. However I would love to get down to the 2lb range.
I am strongly considering the Fly Creek Platinum because I have had such good luck with the Seedhouse but am open to suggestions.

I tend to camp in buggy areas so I don’t want to go pure tarp and I usually have a dog with me so just a bivvy and a head net isn’t going to be enough so I would like to stay with an actual tent.

Oh and it has to be a 2 person even though neither I nor my dog are that big. But would consider a big one person (if they really exist)

My current pack is an Arc’teryx Bora 65. I love this pack, it fits me like a charm and has a nice sturdy hip belt and plush shoulder pads. Again I have had this pack for at least 6 years.

But it weighs 6lbs 3 oz So if I could get a similar pack in the 3lb range I would be ecstatic.

I am leery of some of the really light packs (1lb or less) because they look like they would just hang off your shoulders and bite into your collar bone all day.

Total gear + food weight excluding the pack and tent will be roughly 20-25lbs depending on the length of trip (I typically do 5-7 days overnighters)

I am considering the Osprey Exos 58 however haven’t found a store that carries it in Canada yet.

And I would prefer to get a pack locally as opposed to ordering one on-line so I can try it out with my gear in it and then return it if it doesn’t feel right .

Common names in most of the stores here are: osprey, Gregory, Deuter, Vaude, Black Diamond, Mountain Hardware, North 49 if that helps.

Welcome all suggestions and personal experiences.

Edited by ameaney on 09/08/2013 18:41:09 MDT.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"My final frontier: Pack and Tent - suggestions?" on 09/08/2013 19:28:36 MDT Print View

If you liked the Seedhouse, you'll probably like the FC Platinum. I have a standard Fly Creek UL2 and it's ok. I'm partial to a side entry over a front entry, but like the weight of the Fly Creek.

On the Exos, see if Amazon has it. The Amazon US site sells it. They've got a good return policy too, so if you can get it from them you could return it to them if you don't like it. Although you'd have to return it in new condition.

Anthony Meaney
(ameaney) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Exos on 09/08/2013 19:30:06 MDT Print View does have it ( doesn't) I would consider ordering through them as long as there aren't any foolish customs fees.

Eric McConnell
My big 3 on 09/08/2013 19:53:44 MDT Print View

It took me a lot of research to narrow down my big 3. I'm attempting for the Ultralight category for next summers PCT, but after months of research, ultralight is the way to go. (Base pack weight around 10 lbs with some stretches total weight reaching 30-35lbs. Here is a link to my blog where I detail my reason for choosing my big 3 I understand your weariness with going with an ultralight pack, but some are very well made. I'm particularly happy with both the Gossamer Gear Gorilla and The ULA Ohm. I own roughly 8 backpacks used for back country camping and skiing (80L and 38L) and so many more. I do extensive research before I purchase anything. I played around with Prolite's Jam 50 and found I really don't like frameless packs. I'm still deciding between the Gorilla and Ohm.. They are a little different and haven't quite decided which is best. It's too late for me to return, but many cottage companies (these included) have excellent return policies. Both companies also make bigger packs, so thats something to look into if you would like more space.

In terms of shelter. I'm now obsessed with my tarp and bug bivy set up. My tarp, bivy, stakes and guylines, stuff sacks (everything needed for setup) weighs 17 oz. Its amazing! In my blog I talk about the advantages of a tarp vs tent set up. I thought it would be a hard adjustment because I have been a tent man all my life, but just the opposite... I never want to use a tent again unless in extreme winter conditions. I have the Big Agnes UL3 Fly Creek... which is perfect for 2 people and a dog... Not everyone wants to sleep under a tarp :) It's light weight (compared to other tents) and strong. Before I made the move to ultralight, its the tent I used on all my adventures. I found it on sale, and would look for the same. Most of these UL tents are crammed for space. It would be tough to fit the allocated 3 in mine.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Anthony Meaney
(ameaney) - MLife

Locale: Canada
My big 3 on 09/08/2013 20:05:07 MDT Print View

Thanks Eric - will check out your blog.

I am somewhat intrigued by the cottage industry pack makers and would consider looking at some of them. My concern is that being in Canada I would have to pay customs duties on any order and if I have to return it that is money down the drain.

I am more likely to order a tent/shelter on-line than a pack but I have to admit some of them look pretty tempting.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
UL on 09/08/2013 20:38:26 MDT Print View

Once you feel how good it is to shed the extra weight, like most of us here, you'll probably wanna shed more. So, while there's nothing wrong with getting a nice 3lb backpack from say granite gear (recommended) definitely consider one of the lighter semi-framed packs like the hmg windrider or gossamer gear gorilla (both will carry a heavy or light load very comfortably.) Simarly, you get good coverage for you & your dog and bug protection from something like the zpacks hexamid twin tent, but it will save you a lot of weight. Thats the route I'd go anyway, since you're going to be investing a lot of $ either way, might as well get the best/lightest stuff you can afford, & then just stay off this forum & going backpacking all the time feeling light & liberated ;)

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
osprey on 09/08/2013 20:55:06 MDT Print View

atmosphere and pure valhalla carry the osprey packs .... ive seen the exos in the vancouver/squamish locations

as to duty, in theory it doesnt apply to US made packs, but not all "cottage" packs are made in the US ... youll still lose out on shipping regardless

a with all packs the only way to REALLY tell is to try em on for hours


Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
My final frontier: Pack and Tent - suggestions? on 09/08/2013 22:56:10 MDT Print View

If duty does not apply to US made goods, you could than look at the TT Rainbow.
It is a solo but was designed by Henry Shires to house himself (5'10" ) and his 50 lbs dog.
years ago folk had reservations about he 30D TT silnylon but I think it now compares very well with fabrics used by other manufacturers.

Edited by Franco on 09/08/2013 23:04:51 MDT.

alex hansen
similar to the fly creek, on 09/08/2013 23:49:55 MDT Print View

if you like the fly creek but prefer a side entry. nemos Obi 1 might be a good idea

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
GG Crown - 2 lbs on 09/09/2013 00:27:09 MDT Print View

After a lot of research and contemplation, I purchased a Granite Gear Crown pack, 60L, 2 lbs. It's got an internal framesheet. So far, it gets a big thumbs up.

Anthony Meaney
(ameaney) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: UL on 09/09/2013 05:23:06 MDT Print View


I really like the look of the Hexamid Twin, I think I will put it on my long list.

Funny I hadn't heard about the windrider's - yet another potential to add to the pack list :)

I still am a little leery of semi framed packs tho....

Anthony Meaney
(ameaney) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: osprey on 09/09/2013 05:26:24 MDT Print View

I forgot about Atmosphere - I think there is a store somewhere within driving radius of me. Pure Valhalla (cool name) we don't have in Ontario.

You are right about the duty on US made packs - as long as the mfg has a nafta certification it shouldn't be an issue.

A lot of the cottage industry companies ( I have found) don't bother to go through that process.

Anthony Meaney
(ameaney) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: My final frontier: Pack and Tent - suggestions? on 09/09/2013 05:28:41 MDT Print View

Franco - I like the side entry style on this tent - seems to be same weight as the Big Agnes I am looking at. Although 50% cheaper :)

Anthony Meaney
(ameaney) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: GG Crown - 2 lbs on 09/09/2013 05:43:40 MDT Print View

I actually found a dealer not too far from me that carries the GG Crown - they only seem to come in reg and long torso - I would be a short, would have to try the pack to see if it fits.

Can't beat the price tho -199.95!!


Locale: Outdoors -MN
Lighten-up on 09/09/2013 07:20:06 MDT Print View


Over the past year I have been on a similar quest to your own.

In the end- I now own a ULA Catalyst pack. After several trips, the longest through Glacier NP and Isle Royale NP, I am very happy I found this pack. I pack too heavy (working on that) but find the Catalyst comfortable up toward 45 lbs. Wt is ~ 48 oz.

For a tent I went with the Tarptent Statospire 2. This tent provides HUGE protected space, and huge vestibules on each side. My wife, 9 yo son and 50lb dog fit well w/ packs in 1 vestibule, boots entry/exit at the opposite vesitibule. Wt 40 oz if you carry Hiking poles. There is an option to add support poles if you do not use hiking poles but, I do not know the weight implications. The Stratospire 1 is likely big enough for just your dog and yourself. The wt savings would be approximately 7 oz for the smaller version.

I was lucky to find the Catalyst at a local retailer to try before purchasing. I think this is rare and most purchases are online. The Tarptent Stratospire 2, was a struggle. Only available online in my area. With no way to see the tents in person, I wavered between the Cloudburst, Double Rainbow and the Stratospire. I am extremely pleased with the Stratospire 2 but, I really don't know if it is a better fit that the other tents.

Good Luck

Edited by OCDave on 09/09/2013 07:27:02 MDT.

Anthony Meaney
(ameaney) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Lighten-up on 09/09/2013 11:05:49 MDT Print View

I really would like a ULA Catalyst.... I find myself wavering on my only local retailer stance :)

The issue with tarp tents is that my trekking poles are 110 cm and most of them call for trekking poles of 120 cm or more.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Tarptents and trekking poles on 09/09/2013 13:20:31 MDT Print View

There is a work-around for those with shorter trekking poles; Henry makes tip extenders, or you can easily make your own with a section of aluminum tubing and a pipe cutter or hacksaw. These combined with the grip adapters make it easily possible to use shorter poles. Tarptents are popular here for a reason: it's hard to beat the space/weight ratio of their tents, and their products are priced similarly to, or in many cases less than, their heavier mainstream competition. When combined with materials proven durable and reliable, and Henry's exceptional construction quality and customer service, it's a winning combination.

Anthony Meaney
(ameaney) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Tarptents and trekking poles on 09/09/2013 14:11:59 MDT Print View

That's a great suggestion. I really like the look of some of the tarptent products.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Tarptents and trekking poles on 09/10/2013 06:59:55 MDT Print View

I have the stratospire 1 and it works great for me and my 80# dog. I also had an issue with him darting out underneath tarps, so he usually needs to be in a pretty enclosed space. This is the tent I generally use when he and I hike together.

And don't worry about being nervous about these changes; just as you were uneasy about the transition to trail runners and found them to be just fine, so you will find the transition to the other big 3 to be ok as well. Of course, it does get expensive if you go about it gradually (like I did...started with an 8# Gregory pack...and now 5 packs and I-don't-want-to-know-how-much-money later I have a minimally framed and a fully framed pack). I don't want to talk about how many shelters I've been through over the past three years either...

You do need to find what works for you...and it might not be what works for others on this site. It's fun to experiment though...that's what gear swap is for!

Anthony Meaney
(ameaney) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Re: Re: Tarptents and trekking poles on 09/10/2013 07:04:03 MDT Print View

Jennifer: does your dog actually sleep inside or in the vestibule. Mine has to be inside with me (or at least I like it that way).

Also - very good point about the trail runner conversion. I was going to do the halfway step to low cut hikers first but was able to make the plunge because I did a lot of training hikes using my every day joggers.

I could see myself jumping right into a tarp tent - frameless backpack, not so sure.