Apr 25, 2008 at 12:46 pm #1228594
I want to get my wife into tarp camping. I have done it solo but never with someone else. My gear at the moment is a solo tarp and bivy. I don't care what the weather is I never leave with one and not the other. I don't use ponchos and neither does she.
What is the best set up for bug-less tarp camping for two? Not considering winter camping, just three season.
Should I try for a tarp and two man bivy? Or is a floorless tarptent the best way? Have I just answered my own question? Any advice for how to make it easier on her?
-passionphishApr 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm #1430199
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
For bugless camping we always use a silnylon two-person tarp (Ray-Way design), large polycryo groundsheet, and a two-person quilt (Ray-Way design or similar). Never had a problem, although by luck we haven't had much rain.
It may not be the absolute lightest setup, but since I made the tarp and quilt it was affordable. And with two to share the load a few extra ounces makes no difference whatsoever.Apr 25, 2008 at 3:16 pm #1430207
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
The interesting question is whether tarps and goundsheets and bivy bags for two people weigh less than a decent two-man tent with insect netting. Think carefully about this, and focus on function (and your wife's comfort) rather than ideology.Apr 25, 2008 at 4:23 pm #1430212
The big advantage of a tarp tent is that it provides both insect and rain protection. If you are sure that you don't need bug protection, then in theory, a two person bivy along with a tarp would save you some weight. That being said, I don't think you can find a combination of tarp and bivy(s) that will beat the Refuge X (which weighs about 16 oz.). For example, the MLD Grace Duo Spectralite .60 weighs about 8 oz. That only leaves you another 8 oz. for the bivies. The BPL two person bivy weighs 10 oz. I don't think there is a huge difference though, so I things like comfort and cost may be a bigger issue than weight.Apr 25, 2008 at 4:49 pm #1430215
Roger, I get what your saying. Shortly after writing the original post I ran across the Montbell Cresent 2 weighing 2 lbs 9 oz. It is a tent! I might be better investing in that rather than trying to sell her on a whole new way of camping.
I looked at the refuge x. That is a crazy weight for two! Who has used that thing? Further more who has used the Cresent 2?
I will be using this gear in Colorado.
But I do so love to tarp camp…Apr 25, 2008 at 5:50 pm #1430219
I looked at the refuge x. That is a crazy weight for two! Who has used that thing?
Only Ron Moak at this point. I ordered one and it is supposed to ship in early May. I think the main concern is that is may be a bit cozy for two (I actually got it as a one-man tent). Of course, the Montbell tent has a pretty small floor area as well.
In general though, if you really like to use a tarp, then I would encourage you to do so. You can probably rent another bivy and maybe a bigger tarp as well (if your existing tarp isn't big enough). Who knows, she may really like that too.
If you go the tent route, then I definitely recommend a tarp tent. You have almost all the advantages of a regular tent, without nearly as much weight. You sometimes have to handle condensation or wind properly, but that is (in my opinion) a small price to pay. My wife came from a standard tent background and is not nearly the gram counter that I am, but would not want to go back to a double walled tent (that exists as of this writing).Apr 25, 2008 at 6:29 pm #1430223
@maynard76Locale: New England
I think that a tent/tarptent makes more sense for 2 people. The weight advantage is largly negated.
Plus the other advantages of a bivy/tarp like a small footprint are also negated.
But the feeling of openess you get under a tarp, like when you just have to open one eye and you can see the wilderness around you is hard to give up!Apr 25, 2008 at 6:32 pm #1430224
@thomdarrahLocale: Southern Oregon
One of I'm sure many alternatives in a two person tent is the BD Lighthouse. At just slightly over three pounds and costing under $400.00 this may be a good option to look into. The Lighthouse is free standing, offers good head room and floor size and the epic canopy fabric has a fairly good performance record. The vestibule is not included but is available as an option, but this adds to both the cost and the weight.
If your set on a tarp then either a gg spinntwin or MLD Grace Duo used with a double bivy would work very nice.Apr 25, 2008 at 7:58 pm #1430236
Several years of marriage tells me it doesn't matter what YOU want to get your wife into. What does SHE want?
If you go the tarp camping route I would be looking for something like this bug shelter in a two person model, with an 8'x10' or 10'x12' tarp for weather protection.
If you decide a tarp setup isn't the thing (my wife wants privacy, not a view) then you've got a lot of tent's and tarp tents to choose from. Go light for your sake, but not at the cost of too small for hers. A small tent may seem cozy at first, but when it's all stuffy or you are brushing against condensating walls, you might think different.Apr 25, 2008 at 8:02 pm #1430237
@marti124Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
If you two want ultralight and unbelievable luxury, try the Tarptent Rainshadow 2 — it is truly big enough for 3 people (I went on a 9 day hike with 2 other hikers and we slept in it for 9 days — my only beef was that one of the other two hikers snores like mad), so last year only two of used it and it was like living in a Taj Mahal — we kept our gear (minus smelly stuff which was in a bear cannister 150 feet away) inside the tent too, down the middle aisle. Only 2.5 pounds, but the roominess is so fantastic, so fantastic.Apr 25, 2008 at 9:55 pm #1430250
@eaglembLocale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Ditto on the Rainshadow II. We had 5 playing cards in it with room to spare during a rain shower. Mine weighs about 3 lbs. The other thing I like is it vents very well.Apr 26, 2008 at 12:43 am #1430262
@djohnsonLocale: Washington State
I've used the Refuge- the silnylon version. It is comfy for two. Not huge, definitely livable for 2 and more interior space to sit up than a Tarptent Squall 2. My wife and I love the Refuge. I'm really impressed with this tent. However, if you want a bigger tent, the Lunar Duo is an option too.
You should read our review of the Montbell Hex- it's the same as the Crescent 2 except it's a double wall (as far as I understand after studying the two of them). That tent was pretty small for two people.
I agree with everyone that a tarp tent is best. Check out Gossamer Gear, Tarptent, and Six Moon Designs for your best options. Mountain Laurel Designs has some interesting choices too….Apr 26, 2008 at 5:11 am #1430272
I realize that its what she needs and not what I like. I do. I am not trying to force her into anything.
It has a lot to do with our 5 lbs two man tent. Then theres the views I have enjoyed and the warmth and easily managed condensation of a tarp/bivy combo. I had a Squall 2 but camping with it on the east coast, I could never get it to stay dry, even a little! It was always soaked and had to be aired out by morning. Since I am moving to Colorado I would think condensation would be more of a problem. Am I wrong?Apr 26, 2008 at 6:37 am #1430276
@johng10Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
My wife also likes privacy more than veiws. Plus she was VERY intolerant of spider bites, and after we saw a few snakes during the day, she didn't want to sleep under a tarp at night any more. She finds bivy's too claustrophobic, and an 8×10 tarp + 2 bivies were heavier than tarp tents and some double wall tents.
Regarding condensation; we mostly camp in northern VA and I agree it's almost impossible to keep dry in a single wall tent in our 95% windless humidity unless it gives you room to move around without brushing the walls when sleeping, dressing, etc. I think the Rainshadow or Lunar Duo would probably be enough room – especially with a little gear between the sleeper and the wall.
ps: I've only been to Colorado a few times, but on those trips they didn't have the high humidity we have in VA – and they had more wind, so I'd guess that condensation would be much less of a problem even though the night time temperatures are lower.Apr 26, 2008 at 8:58 pm #1430345
Well, I may have to buy another tarptent then…
I'm sure my wife would say thank you too!!!
;)Apr 30, 2008 at 1:14 am #1430854
@terraLocale: Sydney, Australia.
My fiance and I use a SixMoon Europa05 for just about everything.
I highly recommend it for a light retail tent that will keep 'the other half' happy.
Save the tarp for solo adventures.
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