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Help me get over fear of trekking pole tents
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Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Help me get over fear of trekking pole tents on 09/13/2013 09:03:49 MDT Print View

To me, the biggest advantage of free standing tents over trekking pole tents is convenience. Once you assemble a trekking pole tent, it is a pain to move it. You can do it, but it is just a lot harder. I still prefer using trekking pole tents (because they tend to be lighter and stronger) but I miss the convenience of the free standing tents. Basically, I spend a lot more time scoping out my spot, to make sure it makes sense. I now use a clear plastic tent footprint for that purpose. With a free standing tent, I can just pick the whole thing up and move it a bit if I discover something about the original location I don't like.

To add to the inconvenience, a lot of trekking pole tents work best in one direction (relative to the wind) while many free standing tents do not. This means that if you have a bit of a slope, you may be forced to sleep at an awkward angle (e. g. a slope from left to right) to avoid the wind hitting you from the wrong side.

One last advantage to free standing tents is that they tend to be tolerant of stake (AKA peg) failures. You can have a dome tent supported by one stake. If you are in the tent, you can usually get by with all of the stakes being out. With a free standing tent, generally speaking, you are in trouble if one stake comes loose. Of course, if it is really windy, then you will want to use guy lines on a dome tent, in which case you are in pretty much the same boat as the pole tent person.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: stakes and "free standing" tents on 09/13/2013 09:45:31 MDT Print View

Many free standing tents will stay up with a stake failure, but the flys rely on quite a few for good tension. The Flycreek has what, like 11 stakes? I got rid of a Seedhouse because it used 12. The old 2-pole dome designs could get by with just enough stakes to keep them from blowing away and were truly free standing. If the fly ties into the ends of the poles, you have it made.

I've spent the last week in an MSR Missing Link and the basic pitch is 6 stakes and can add 5 more fore extreme conditions. It would need short loops on the corners and rocks to pitch on granite. I'm in the trees 99.99% of the time.

My Gatewood Cape uses 6 stakes and one pole. With either tent, it would be easy to improvise with a tree branch.

I agree that non-free standing tents are weak on stake failure, but you pretty much know when you sink the stake. A stake plus a rock on the main guy lines is pretty stout.