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light tent for 63 year old female backpacker
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Polly Strahan
(pollystrahan) - M

Locale: mostly Cal & Oregon
light tent for 63 year old female backpacker on 09/17/2013 10:16:03 MDT Print View

After having knee arthritis and then a knee replacement as well as weight gain I thought I would never backpack again. Then I heard about ultralight and have found that yes, I can return to backpacking. I'd like some tent recommendations. I bought a Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1, and it is not a comfortable tent for me. Sometimes, frankly, when I need to urinate, I can't crawl out of it fast enough, and end up peeing my pants. I also would like a tent I could sit up in. I have found that I am usually just putting out the ground cloth and sleeping without the tent. This doesn't work so well when there are a lot of bugs out, and obviously when it rains. Any suggestions for another tent? I need to keep it fairly light, due to the knee replacement.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


Locale: Outdoors -MN
Easy access/egress on 09/17/2013 10:29:54 MDT Print View


I own a Tarptent Stratospire 2 two-person tent. It is very spacious w/ large vestibule protected doors on each side and easy to pack, easy to carry.

Tarptent offers a variety of 1 person tents w/similar entry options: Stratospire 1, Notch and Moment DW; any would be a good choice.

Good Luck

Edited by OCDave on 09/17/2013 10:34:49 MDT.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"light tent for 63 year old female backpacker" on 09/17/2013 10:40:16 MDT Print View

I would seek out a side entry over a front entry because the egress is much easier. But the problem is that most side entry tents are heavier than the equivalent front entry. For example, comparing a Big Agnes Copper Spur to a Big Agnes Fly Creek. But some of the cottage manufacturers have turned out side entry tents that are quite light.

Stephen Murphy
(sjtm) - F
BA Copper Spur UL1 on 09/17/2013 10:43:05 MDT Print View

If you like a traditional free standing, double wall tent, try the Copper Spur UL1. It is a similar footprint to the Fly Creek, but is a side entry design, which makes getting in and out much easier, and the high point is better located for sitting up. I replaced the stakes with Ti hooks and my packed weight, including fly, is just 2 lbs, 8 oz. I use a polycro groundcloth when I have a need for one that adds another ounce, but most times I go without as the tent floor has been durable enough. I also have a TT Rainbow which is a similar design and weighs 2.2 lbs, but I am on the east coast ( more relative humidity) and prefer the CS UL1 as it gets less condensation. But both are great options for you.

Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
Mid on 09/17/2013 11:06:24 MDT Print View

I would suggest a mid such as the Golite Shangri La 5 or 3. One benefit of a floorless design is that if you are using it alone, it is possible to just pee over in the corner if you can't make it out of the tent fast enough or it is too cold to make the effort to get out of the tent.

You could just get a 1/2 sized bug net to sleep in if bugs are an issue.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: "light tent for 63 year old female backpacker" on 09/17/2013 11:09:42 MDT Print View

I'd recommend two different routes, whichever you and your pocketbook prefer.

If you hike with poles (and you should, especially with the knee issue), then look at the pyramids. I have type of arthritis that severely limits all of my flexibility and the MLD duomid is an absolute dream come true. Soooo easy to set up, the entryway is huge, and I can get in and out of the solo inner net without any troubles at all. The entryway is something like 4.5' tall. Awesome.

If a pyramid is not your style, then do look at tarptent. Dena is very correct about the side entry...don't even bother with a front loader. I have the stratospire 1 as well and it, too is an amazing tent. It's heavier, though... You could go lighter with the notch, but it's smaller; it just depends on how much space you want.

My cuben fiber duomid and inner net weighs all of 22 oz, including all the guy lines and whatnot. So super light, sets up easy, packs small...I just can't say enough good things about it.Duimid

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Question re Duomid..."light tent for 63 year old female backpacker" on 09/17/2013 11:28:44 MDT Print View

Jennifer, I know you often hike with your dog. I've hesitated on going with a trekking pole design because I've been worried my dog would knock my tent down by bumping the pole- has that ever been a problem for you? Other than that, I would love to get a Duomid or something similar.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Question re Duomid..."light tent for 63 year old female backpacker" on 09/17/2013 12:41:39 MDT Print View

My 80# CharlieDog is a very, very athletic sleeper. And I can't go with a fully single wall because in the morning he likes to walk around in circles, rubbing against the walls...then shaking. Not fun (that's why I reluctantly had to sell my hexamid...)

But with the duomid, and the SS1, he's fine. He even likes to lean against the pole before he falls down (more of a slide against the wall kind of action) and I've never even had a hint of a problem. For the two of us I like it better than the fly creek I used to have.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: light tent for 63 year old female backpacker on 09/17/2013 12:46:09 MDT Print View

The MSR Missing Link and updated version Fast Stash are 3-pound single wall floored tents with large arch doors. They have lots of ventilation and are 2-person tents, so they are palatial for solo use. We used a Missing Link for our last trip and my wife loved the big door and easy access. It is a pound heavier than your Fly Creek 1, but very easy to pitch and uses your trekking poles rather than the thin, complex poles in dome designs like the Fly Creek.

Caveats on this design are condensation and high wind performance. We did not experience any condensation issues with this trip with two of us in the tent along with our dog, but the weather was quite warm and no rain. I would want the sloped back side pointed into the wind. The awning over the door can be tucked down a bit and there are extra guy points that can be used in heavy weather.

Note that the door has a large screen vent/window with an inner panel and the door unzips all the way to the floor. It is a great setup for cooking under that awning.

MSR Missing Link

MSR Missing Link

My guess is that many single-wall floored/vented tents will give easier access as you don't need to manage two layers of doors.

Edited by dwambaugh on 09/17/2013 12:56:11 MDT.

John Rowan
(jrowan) - M
Trekking Pole Support on 09/17/2013 12:56:07 MDT Print View

I don't have experience with the Duomid, so I'll leave discussion on the to the many people on here who do, but as far as your question about stability and whether or not a dog would knock out the pole, I would say that you should be fine. I've been using trekking pole shelters for a while now(mostly the Tarptent Contrail and the Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape, neither of which would be particularly good fits based on what you've described), and once everything is set up, the pole is held in place quite well by the tension in the rest of the shelter.

I've actually played around a bit with trying to knock out the pole while the shelter is set up (just to give an idea of what it will take- I am a pretty active sleeper and don't want to wake up wearing my shelter as a blanket), and while it's certainly possible for a human or a dog to do so, it requires a decent amount of force and is unlikely to happen by accident.

Obviously, YMMV depending on your circumstances, and I'm sure that there are shelters out there where this could be an issue, but by and large, you should be fine on this front.

Sunny Waller
(dancer) - M

Locale: Southeast USA
Light Tent on 09/17/2013 13:00:10 MDT Print View

I was injured in a car wreck.. I have a bad back and other assorted achy breaky parts and find it very annoying to crawl out of a small tent door. I have tried many shelters...Lunar Solo, Hexamid, Duomid, SuperMid, Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 and Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Platinum. I just purchased a UltraMid because it is taller but have not field tested it yet. I previously have not liked the treking pole in the middle of the floor space but will see if the taller entry compensates for that. If I don't like the UltraMid I am considering a Tarptent Contrail using both treking poles in the inverted V formation. The peak height on that is 45" and that is right at the door...The Contrail was my first cottage gear tent and I sold it because I did not like the pole in the doorway (pre Franco days)

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
hammock on 09/17/2013 13:12:12 MDT Print View

If you backpack in wooded areas a side zip hammock may very well be the way to go for you.

Since entry into a hammock depends on the height you hang the hammock, you can hang the hammock such that you can sit down directly into it, then swivel your body into position. For an ULer with a quilt the hammock is not a huge change but you will want to get an underquilt to replace your sleeping pad for ease of entry and comfort.

As a huge bonus, if you get a large enough tarp you can use your hiking poles with it to give yourself a little porch of dry area, again as high as you like, to change and such.

I take off and put on my shoes while sitting in my hammock and tuck them into the pocket underneath my hammock (Clark Jungle Hammock), and if you please you could do the same with a gear hammock below you or perhaps even tucked into your underquilt. The hammock is a very convenient system and great for those who want to add a little comfort and convenience into their backpacking trips.

Something like the Warbonnet Blackbird or Hennessey Zip would work perfectly for this!

Thomas Rayl
(trayl) - MLife

Locale: SE Tx
Alternate solution on 09/17/2013 14:49:17 MDT Print View

Polly, I also hate those "midnight meanders". I found a *WONDERFUL* solution at my local drug store. I bought a cheap (<$10) urinal bottle. They come in both male and female versions, for obvious reasons. They are light plastic bottles shaped to fit their purpose for patients confined to a bed. Now, instead of the "midnight meander", I can just relieve myself (cautiously, of course) while still under the covers, cap the "product", and empty it the next morning. Absolutely heavenly! HINT: You may want to practice before using it "in the field in the dark".

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
light tent for 63 year old female backpacker on 09/17/2013 15:37:06 MDT Print View

Take a look at the Tarptent Moment.
Fast and easy to set up, takes less stakes than many freestanding shelters to work correctly, two entry/exit points.
here is me setting it up in 49 sec.
Just a Moment
Most can do it in less than two minutes and you get inside a dry tent even in the rain.


just Justin Whitson
Re: light tent for 63 year old female backpacker on 09/17/2013 18:52:48 MDT Print View

No advice Polly since i'm pretty ignorant on tents overall (especially compared to a lot of people here), but just wanted to say best of luck and hope you find something that works really well for you and allows you to enjoy nature and hiking again.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: light tent for 63 year old female backpacker on 09/17/2013 19:24:17 MDT Print View


Tent considerations aside, you might consider taking a 'chamber pot'.

Bill D.

James Couch

Locale: Cascade Mountains
Re: Alternate solution on 09/17/2013 21:44:21 MDT Print View

+1 for the alternate solution. This is a trick most climbers know all to well. Takes a little practice (for guys) and a bit more for gals, but it works!

Steve S
(idahosteve) - F

Locale: Idaho
Look into the SMD Lunar Duo on 09/17/2013 21:47:33 MDT Print View

you should check out Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo. Its a very spacious tent, and you can exit/enter from either side! here is a picture of mine


you can see my son entering it. it weighs in at 2 1/2 lbs, and uses trekking poles along with two small shaping poles to form the tops. I am 6' tall and I can sit up easily inside, and there is enough room inside for two and all your gear easily. There are also two vestibules as well.

Edited by idahosteve on 09/17/2013 21:48:34 MDT.

Jeff Sims
(jeffreytsims) - MLife

Locale: So. Cal
moment on 09/17/2013 22:23:22 MDT Print View

My initial thought was actually the Lightheart mentioned above. I believe that someone is actually selling on in Gear Swap

The whole concept of a floorless mid makes a lot of sense as well. I am heading out to test my new Ultamid this weekend and very excited.

I also saw that someone suggested a Tarptent Moment If the Moment is something that you think would work for you, I have a version 1 (I keep as a loaner) and if you would like to try it out, shoot me a PM and I am happy to ship it to you for trial. It is a really nice shelter, and I used it a ton before moving to a tarp and bivy set up



Derek M.
(dmusashe) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Tarptent Rainbow tent suggestion... and the peeing at night dilemma... on 09/17/2013 22:42:38 MDT Print View

I would highly recommend the Tarptent Rainbow (or Double Rainbow, if you'd like even more room and the option of sheltering another person).

My wife and I use a Tarptent Double Rainbow and we've been very satisfied it. It's super easy to get in and out of with the double-door side entries, and it's also fairly light at 41 ounces (2lbs. 9 oz.).

I think you can't really go wrong with either a tent from Tarptent or, if you use trekking poles, one from Six Moon Designs. With that said, there are a lot of great cottage tent makers these days, so there has never been a better time to buy a tent than now!

Good luck in your quest!

By the way, and hopefully without getting too personal, I have a suggestion I'd like to throw out there as far as the peeing at night thing goes...

My wife has been using a product called the "Go-Girl," which is basically just a small, light, inexpensive, collapsible, ergonomically-shaped silicone funnel that allows a woman to pee standing up. You can clean it with water afterwards to keep everything hygienic (although healthy urine is very nearly sterile anyway). It's very durable and should last for years and years (just like a silicone spatula!).

Anyway, my wife swears by this thing, and has repeatedly told me that it makes her backpacking experience infinitely more enjoyable. It's her self-professed favorite item in her pack, if that tells you anything.

I was thinking that you might want to give this a try if you think it might make things easier for you.

Also, I'd suggest that you consider bringing a dedicated "pee bottle" with you that you can pee into at night without ever leaving your tent. My wife can do this with ease when aided by her Go-Girl funnel. It's no problem at all, and you just dump the pee bottle out in the bushes the next morning.

As for the pee bottle itself, my wife just uses the lightest plastic water bottle she can find, just make sure it has a capacity of at least 20 ounces and that you CLEARLY LABEL it! :)

Hope that helps!