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Cheap Tents: Philosophy, Review, and Raw Emotion
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Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Hi-Tec V-Lite on 03/15/2014 17:06:27 MDT Print View

My favorite "budget-lite" tent is the Hi-Tec V-Lite from Big 5. I got both the one person ($26) and two person ($36) versions on sale. If you toss aside the tent poles and use trekking poles the weight came in at 26 oz. for the one person, just over 2 1/2 pounds for the 2 person.

Fully enclosed
Very inexpensive
2 person is very roomy with easy entry.
Fairly sturdy, even in strong winds.

1 person is front entry, not the easiest
1 person not tall enough for most adults to sit up fully
2 person is difficult to get a taut pitch.
Both are prone to condensation.

The biggest negative is that I found them to be water resistant, not waterproof and they leaked through faster than they should have in a major thunderstorm. I dealt with this by using a cheap HVLP sprayer from Harbor Freight to spray a 4:1 mixture of mineral spirits/silicone caulking. Now its waterproof, but added about 1 oz weight.

I now use a Gatewood Cape, but its nice to have a reasonably light fully enclosed tent if I want to use it.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
RE: Hi-Tec V-Lite on 03/16/2014 12:28:43 MDT Print View

Wow, Tom -- that's amazing. This should be on the "recommended" list for all the "starving students" on BPL. Great idea to substitute trekking poles for the tent poles, too.

Very clever! :^)

zorobabel frankenstein
(zorobabel) - F

Locale: SoCal
Tioga 1P on 03/17/2014 16:33:42 MDT Print View

Tom, do you have any pics with that 1 person tent in action?
Did you end up using it on the JMT?

Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Hi-Tec V-Lite on 03/17/2014 17:18:28 MDT Print View

Yes, I used them on the JMT in 2012. As I mentioned, they did soak through in a sustained thunderstorm, but after spraying the one person tent as mentioned in my previous post, it has been waterproof through my tests in a recent storm system with a pretty strong, driving rain that passed through here. Now that I know it works, I'll spray the two person tent.

Here is the 1 person in the Yosemite backpackers campground. I'm 6' 3", 200 lbs and there's plenty of length, but I can't sit upright in it. BTW...People always say how heavy the pack looks in this pic (and rightly so...), but its my son's and its actually about 11 pounds total in this pic. Just thought I'd head that comment off

 photo Big5tentsmall.jpg

Both tents at Bear Creek. The 2 person actually has a nice vestibule on the front, but its not staked out in this picture. I used two trekking poles on the one person as an A-Frame in the front for easier entry, but you don't need to.

Bear Creek photo 163BearCreekCampsitesmall.jpg

Edited by DaFireMedic on 03/17/2014 17:22:09 MDT.

zorobabel frankenstein
(zorobabel) - F

Locale: SoCal
re: Tioga 1P on 03/17/2014 19:51:39 MDT Print View

Thanks for the photos and comments Tom!
Big5 has this in the description: "No-see-um mesh window and patented "pass-thru vent ports" for airflow". I don't see vents in your photos, are they really there? - Nevermind, I just saw an youtube video, it does have vents.

Edited by zorobabel on 03/17/2014 20:21:08 MDT.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Re: re: Tioga 1P on 03/17/2014 21:48:13 MDT Print View

$26 and $36? Very cool.

Edited by M.L on 03/17/2014 21:49:49 MDT.

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
happy on 03/18/2014 09:01:56 MDT Print View

Keep doing what makes your lady happy, and you'll be happy! I'd be fine sleeping under a tarp and bug net, but my fiance likes the privacy of our tent. She loves backpacking as much as me, which is great, so I have no problem carrying the tent (and it's the TT Double Rainbow, so it's still very light).

I've been tempted to pick up one of the Templums off of SAC to have as a backup/loaner... But I remember that I have one on permanent loan to my parents I can always get back.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Cheap Tents: Philosophy, Review, and Raw Emotion on 03/18/2014 10:13:31 MDT Print View

I had one of those Eureka Timberline tents for car camping when my kids were little. Great shelter at a reasonable price.

"But... I met a girl!"

LOL. That can change your life a lot. The good thing is they sometimes buy their own gear and take care of it.

Last year my wife bought us a new family "tent." It's all good. She wants to use it as often as possible and we have been camping in it over 100 days in the past 6 months. Not UL. But as they say, "If Momma ain't happy, no one is going to be happy."

Here is a picture of Joyce's new tent.

Milan 26RLS

Christopher Graf
(cgraf) - M

Locale: So Cal
new family "tent." on 03/18/2014 10:26:40 MDT Print View

@Nick......Nice Tent :-)

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: New Family Tent on 03/18/2014 13:00:37 MDT Print View

How long does that take to pitch, and how well does it do in the wind?

immediately thought of Star Wars.. "that's no [tent].... "

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Cheap Tents: Philosophy, Review, and Raw Emotion on 03/18/2014 15:56:07 MDT Print View


25 footer?

edit- Went to your site. 26". That 100gal fresh water tank is ridiculous!


Edited by ViolentGreen on 03/18/2014 16:10:02 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Cheap Tents: Philosophy, Review, and Raw Emotion on 03/18/2014 16:22:56 MDT Print View

"That 100gal fresh water tank is ridiculous!"

That was the biggest selling point for me. We can be self contained for 2 weeks.

rick .
(overheadview) - F

Locale: NYC
tags and pack covers on 03/20/2014 08:46:51 MDT Print View

You can probably save a few lbs if you cut the tags off the cushions, and take the spare tire cover off (wrap it in a garbage bag).

A true UL'er would ditch the spare tire completely along with the jack (do you ever really use it?). bring a strop of rubber to patch and take care not to pop it in the first place. Take care of your gear and it'll take care of you.

Eric Osburn
(osb40000) - MLife
Great review on 03/21/2014 23:43:06 MDT Print View

Thanks for the review of this Stoic tent, I'm going to have to pick one up as a loaner tent for friends.

Edited by osb40000 on 09/10/2014 20:03:36 MDT.