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Some comments on tents for those buying/upgrading.

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    • Some comments on tents for those buying/upgrading.

      This isn't a review of a specific tent but rather some observations on the ones I have seen or own.
      The purpose is to provide helpful insight on a variety of tents for people considering purchase.
      Tents specifically commented on that I have good knowledge of include the BA Copper Spurs and Fly Creeks, TarpTents by Henry Shires (specifically Double Rainbow and RainShadow II), MSR Hubba Hubba.
      Feel free to message me with any specific info not covered. I have not included pics but they are all findable with the help of Dr Google.

      BA Copper Spur and MSR Hubba tents.
      I put these tents together in assessment as they are very similar in design and weight etc.
      The range for both includes 1, 2 and 3 person versions.
      All are excellent tents, well made and very light for their space. The brand new MSR Hubba Hubba shows at about 1.7kg packaged weight and I think the Copper Spur II is 1.6kg.
      The 2 person tents are able to fit 2 people comfortably in my view. The only thing I found when sharing my CS II with Annie was that I could not fit our packs in as well. I am about exactly 6 foot and Annie is only an inch shorter so we are not small people but we both fit well on 20inch wide pads. 25inch pads are not an option when sharing. For shorter people it would be practical to fit a pack in at one end. I believe the same restrictions would apply for the single person versions although a 25 inch pad might be an option. No comment on 3 person tents other than presumably ample room for 2 plus packs.
      The inner is fully freestanding while the fly needs the vestibules and ends pegged out.
      A freestanding inner is a godsend when pitching in a shelter or on a concrete floor and only needing bug protection. As this is a common scenario on my home trail the CS II was the best purchase I made while in the USA last year.
      While vestibules may seem big enough for packs, in practice packs will lean against the inner or the fly and in heavy conditions this is not desirable. I carry a tarp poncho and in very wet conditions wrap my packs in this to keep them dry.
      Small storage pockets on the inner make excellent places to stow headlamps, spectacles and the indispensible smartphone. :)
      Summary - excellent tents for the number of people quoted. Taj Mahal for 1 person if using a 2 person.

      BA Fly Creeks.
      Again 1, 2 and 3 person tents.
      Essentially all of the comments for Copper Spur apply to Fly Creek with some caveats.
      1. They are a bit smaller. The restrictions on room noted for CS apply more.
      2. The FC 2 has one entry at the head end and lacks the side entries and vestibules of the CS. This greatly reduces space outside the inner for gear stowage. (You have to get in and out over the top of anything in your vestibule.)
      3. Not truly freestanding inner. The foot end pole comes down in the middle and the sides need pegging out. Probably not an issue if just pitching inner as sleeping mat or pack at foot end will push it out enough.
      Summary - again excellent tents. For someone hiking the AT or similar I would thoroughly recommend the FC 2 as THE best ONE person tent to get. Never saw anyone unhappy with one. If you are going to have 2 people in it, you had better be smaller than Annie and me.

      Henry Shires TarpTents
      We found TarpTents in our search for llllooonnngggeerrrr lightweight tents. While the BA's are also good for taller people, nearly all supposed hiking tents available her in OZ are not suitable for people 6 foot and taller. IM is about 6'5" and touched both ends of most.
      TarpTents are the roomiest, lightweight options with loads of length.
      IM used the Double Rainbow for our entire AT hike and loved it. Roominess for weight is excellent. Not a truly freestanding tent (Tarptents are one piece - no seperate inner and fly although they are fully bug proof). It can be set up as freestanding tent using hiking poles but this is a bit finicky.
      RainShadow 2 - Enormous tent for the weight. This is a three person tent and truly has room for 3 (and packs if friendly).
      Drawback is I would describe it as 2 season tent. Insufficient side straps and it's enormous size made for ripped side in stormy weather in the Smokies and I got the BA CS as a replacement. I still have the Rainshadow and am getting it repaired and extra side straps sewn on. Absolutely not freestanding but in light weather has room for a party.

      Other tents - there are more tent options design wise than pack options and we know how many different packs are out there.
      The entire Litehart(?) range appear to be excellent tents and there are many others to choose from.
      I would recommend that anyone buying a tent look at listing the criteria that you NEED in a tent and that you then purchase the lightest tent that meets your criteria. Weight should be the last thing to consider - all hiking tents are light and the extra 200gms to get what you need will be worth it in the long run.
      Things to consider.
      Freestanding/non freestanding - When considering this seperate the decision on freestanding inner only or freestanding entire tent. Only dome style tents are fully freestanding generally and you should think more in terms of "minimum stakes required".
      Length - Someone 6'4" needs a longer tent than someone 5'8". You also need a longer bag, mat, clothes and probably more food. You should be used to adding 10-20% to your pack weight compared to someone like HB. :)
      Height - Can you put on your clothes, especially rain jacket, inside the tent. i.e. can you sit up and get an arm through a shirt etc.
      Storage spots - do you have spectacles, phone, radio, light etc at hand during night.
      Access - can you (and your partner) get in and out with minimum fuss? Consider your decision in light of next point.
      Gear storage - where do you expect to stow your pack and those incredibly smelly boots? Will this compromise your access?

      A couple of extra points - ALL tents have condensation issues. (Unless you stop breathing). 2 person tents with one person in them have less. Try to have a shelter in which you can fit without touching the sides. The wipedown is necessary in all tents at some time or another. If you think someone saying they have no problems with condensation is proof you won't - google words like humidity, water vapour, condensation and bullshit.
      Some will have LESS problems. IM wiped down the inside of his TT most of the hike. I would wrap the fly and put it on back of pack and dry out when sun came out. The advantage of a seperate fly/inner setup. Mind you the bottom of the inner (outside) usually needed drying too.

      For consideration - I have noted that BA have a lighter version of the CS II that only has one side with a vestibule and also a lighter weight (but expensive) version of the FC2 (the Platinum) since I was there. I am particularly taken with the lighter FC2 on specs, so watch this space... (I can't justify it unless I go for another long hike without Annie - unlikely).
      Resident Australian, proving being a grumpy old man is not just an American trait.
    • I have a BA Copper Spur 3 and love it because of the roominess and ease of use. I've squeezed in 4 adults when it was pouring rain and we were comfortable.

      I also love my Lightheart Duo but it took some practice to get it pitched right. I have two wedges which turn into awnings that I have never used. I would not get the wedges again. One of my hiking poles has been wonky so I bought the tent poles that Judy offers. It was a good decision as the hiking pole is now quite broken. I have only used this tent when hiking solo and there's tons of room for me and my gear.
      Lost in the right direction.
    • So far I have been happy with my BA Fly Creek UL1, but only short trips so far. I am only 5'8" so that probably helps.
      Hopefully I will still feel this way after over 3 straight weeks in it this summer. :)
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • My wife and I have 3 tents
      1. Tarptent Rainbow (single) for when either Kathy or I go out solo. It's roomy enough to house our 95 pound dog as well as 1 person and if you're careful, a bit of gear. Leave the dog at home and there's a ton of room.
      2. Tarptent Rainshadow II for when Kathy and me, or Kathy, me, and the dog go out together. Truly roomy. We've used it in all 4 seasons, including on a foot of snow. The area was compacted down to about a foot thick using snow shoes and then the tent set up normally. We haven't encountered any problems with it coming apart and we've been in some very windy situations.
      3. A Sierra Designs, 3 person tent, that I can't remember the name of and they don't make any more, for when we feel we need a true freestanding tent. It's kind of a hybrid construction with one end being single wall nylon and the other end mesh covered by a fly. It really is nice in the summer time when we might leave the fly off the mesh end to get extra ventilation and look at the stars.

      That's it for us
    • 1 person, Eureka! solo tent which gets more use than I'd expect though feels a bit like a coffin with the tarp in place. (I wish it rolled from the foot end instead of the head end)

      2 person, An older Eureka! that I bought in 1988 and have used an average of 15x a year ever since. It finally had the seam in the middle of the floor start flaking. A bit of duct tape and she's still good to go. I can't imagine anything made now lasting that long but it's an 8lb 2-person tent that WAS the super light option when I got it. lol (It has also withstood the kind of storms you just wonder why you are out there without ever having a drop inside).

      2-3 person, Mountain Hardware Optic 3.5. I got this one for more ventilation and the sky views. Fast to set up, plenty of interior space, multiple view/vestibule options depending on what you want or need, etc. Overall a very nice tent though I did get the floor for this one (which allows a fast-fly option) as setting it up for the first time in the back yard individual blades of grass could actually poke through. That makes me wonder about the longevity of the floor. For hot summer camping with minimal breeze or camping on the high mountain balds and star-gazing in buggy areas this is the ticket.

      2-3 person, Big Agnes Slater UL3+. Uhmm. Kaching... but you get what you pay for! Fast and easy set-up save for staking out the HUGE vestibule. I have read only a handful of reviews and one thing they had in common, they didn't stake the vestibule properly and developed heavy spots. Put a little tension on the lines and there is zero standing water and it held a drum-taught pitch through 4 days of heavy rain. Like the Optic it has a big floor space and a side and front entry. Even the side entry has a large vestibule that's big enough for packs. It isn't as much a mesh tent, doesn't really see stars that well (without fly of course), and it's breathability is a little down. For cold, wet, or windy situations this one is the bomb!

      That also explains why I have 2 different tents in the same size category as they compliment each other well)

      The last in the fleet is a 6+ person huge car-camping/kayak-camping monster tent that I got at Gander when the large hex-tent I bought in 1989 gave up the ghost on one trip. (okay, after working perfectly for over 2 decades it decided to have 2 zippers, rain fly and a pole fail in the same trip... I think it retired itself)

      In the pictures from right to left, they start with the 2 Eureka's, the Optic, then the Big Agnes. I don't have the big 6 person in the shot but it shows how much different the materials are.

      (this doesn't count the 3 different hammock camping rigs... uhmm.. I think I have a camping problem!)
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      _________________________________________________
      The trouble with reality stems from a lack of background music!
    • I think the biggest mistake tent manufacturers make is door placement. I've seen some high dollar tents that get soaked inside when trying to get in during a rainstorm. My old diamond brand tent was this way. When I unzipped the fly to enter the door in the front, it was totally exposed. If it was raining hard you better hope nothing is in the doorway or it's getting soaked.
    • Dmax, I know what you mean. The 2-man tent I got in '88 (and still use strangely enough) is somewhat like that. It has a small peak that comes out and tends to touch the back of your neck becoming a wick as you get in.

      If you want a big 'dry entry' vestibule the Big Agnes Slater 3 works wonders! Not only did it keep us and everything else dry but it had room for the 2 Little Joey chairs while still having plenty of room to get in and out. The ground under it even stayed completely dry though a torrent though part of that was the little kid in me laying in my pad building up little forts and 'rivers' and directing where I wanted the rain to go for fun. Yeah, I might be older but I won't ever grow up. :)
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      The trouble with reality stems from a lack of background music!
    • I like resurrecting old threads :)

      I need a tent!
      Last weekend when I went to pack for a car-camping trip with my wife..... my tent was gone.
      It was an REI model, about 10-years old, pristine condition because the only time I use a tent is when my wife comes. The REI tent served us well.
      I have vague memories of lending the tent to a niece, or maybe the kids have it, does not matter, time for a new one.

      I ended up taking a 30? year old Colemen Circus tent that had been packed in a corner of the basement. It was left over from the happy days when camping meant five of us sleeping together with a wet dog.
      That time has past :(
      The Coleman was a little musty, but it worked.


      So I'm looking for recommendations. This is what I need...

      Roomy, two-person.
      Free standing. Easy to assemble.
      Moderately priced (It will be little used, I hammock when alone).
      Light enough for a backpack, but does not have to be UL This tent will probably be mostly used for car-camping.
      This will probably be my last tent, so it should be durable.

      With the above criteria, I will probably just wait and see what REI has at their next 'basement sale', but I am open to other suggestions.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • I’ve been looking at tents for the past year and can’t seem to pull the trigger.

      Not needing to be UL and being moderately priced gives you a lot of options. I believe there are great tents in that category. I’ve read good reviews about a tent then look at the weight and it’s 5-6lbs which I can’t do.

      Anyway, I can’t name any off the top of my head but recently did a search for “sturdy/dependable fabric” or something like that and read good things about MSR and REI. Of course, a lower priced, heavier tent is going to last longer. The tent in your pic has tall doors which I now consider necessary for a campground tent.

      You’re probably aware but many gear businesses are sold out of tents.
      Lost in the right direction.
    • … one reason I’m considering another Copper Spur is because it appears that BA is now making the doors taller.

      And one reason I’m considering the Tiger Wall Bikepack is because I see more bike packing in my future, the poles are shorter and the tent is designed to attach more easily to a bike frame. When I bikepacked with the Copper Spur, the poles and tent stuck way out which was cumbersome.

      ETA…apparently there’s a Copper Spur bike packing tent. If you compare the pitch of the copper Spur vs the Tiger Wall, it appears there’s more usable room in the CS.
      Lost in the right direction.

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Traffic Jam ().

    • Not sure I can help you. For a while we toyed with the idea of selling our pop up camping trailer and replacing it with a large car camping tent. But now my wife wants to go the other direction and replace it with a small camping trailer (not pop up).

      Otherwise I might replace my TT Notch with one of the next batch of Durston XMid1P tents that are supposed to be available around the end of the year. They will probably sell out in about 30 seconds so one will have to be quick on the mouse button.
    • IMScotty wrote:

      I like resurrecting old threads :)

      I need a tent!
      Last weekend when I went to pack for a car-camping trip with my wife..... my tent was gone.
      It was an REI model, about 10-years old, pristine condition because the only time I use a tent is when my wife comes. The REI tent served us well.
      I have vague memories of lending the tent to a niece, or maybe the kids have it, does not matter, time for a new one.

      I ended up taking a 30? year old Colemen Circus tent that had been packed in a corner of the basement. It was left over from the happy days when camping meant five of us sleeping together with a wet dog.
      That time has past :(
      The Coleman was a little musty, but it worked.


      So I'm looking for recommendations. This is what I need...

      Roomy, two-person.
      Free standing. Easy to assemble.
      Moderately priced (It will be little used, I hammock when alone).
      Light enough for a backpack, but does not have to be UL This tent will probably be mostly used for car-camping.
      This will probably be my last tent, so it should be durable.

      With the above criteria, I will probably just wait and see what REI has at their next 'basement sale', but I am open to other suggestions.
      Take a look at the two person silnylon tents by TarpTent. They won't break the bank.
      "Dazed and Confused"
      Recycle, re-use, re-purpose
      Plant a tree
      Take a kid hiking
      Make a difference
    • max.patch wrote:

      Off topic, but Big Agnes is coming out with a line of day packs (20 and 32 liters) and backpacks (45 to 63 liters) spring of 2022. The backpacks will also come in womens specific fit models whatever that means.
      ULA has traditional J curve straps for men and S curve straps option for women .
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • I have a 10'x10' LL Bean tent that has stood the test of time. Bought it in 1999 and my son used it last year for a trip to the Adirondacks. Easy set-up, excellent airflow and a good protective fly. The only thing it lacks is a vestibule. It's been to Baxter State Park, Assateague Island MD, Watkins Glen, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and a number of other locations over the years. It's survived kids, drunken adults, half-starved chipmunks, sun and rain.

      I wouldn't hesitate to throw it into the trunk and go car camping this weekend. In fact, I was going to use it last weekend to camp with my neighbors but the campground was fully booked.

      LL Bean stuff is pricey, but they don't put their name on cheap stuff that won't stand up to their warranty.
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, and Max Patch NC to Carter Notch NH
    • New

      odd man out wrote:

      Not sure I can help you. For a while we toyed with the idea of selling our pop up camping trailer and replacing it with a large car camping tent. But now my wife wants to go the other direction and replace it with a small camping trailer (not pop up).

      Otherwise I might replace my TT Notch with one of the next batch of Durston XMid1P tents that are supposed to be available around the end of the year. They will probably sell out in about 30 seconds so one will have to be quick on the mouse button.
      Well this was the week. After much delay due to "disruptions in the supply chain", a limited number of XMidP1v2 tents went on sale. Half were released on Mon and half today. I joined the Dan Durston sage cult in order to get the inside scoop on how to get one. As predicted they sold out in seconds. On Monday I was shut out despite furious clicking. Today, after much practice and clicking exercises, I got through and expect delivery sometime in Feb. Once it arrives I'll have an old TT Notch to sell.

      kavisooutdoors.com/products/durston-gear-x-mid-1p-tent