May 19, 2009 at 7:34 pm #1236428
Has anybody noticed how some of the latest new tents from the big boys seem to have aped elements of the small manufacturers who rule this forum? I have in at least one case. Check out the MSR Carbon Reflex 2 Tent, shown here: http://www.rei.com/product/781510
(wait moment for everyone to check link)
Boys and girls, it's a Rainbow. From the single arched structural pole to the triangular walls, this is a tribute (or ripoff?) of Shires' finest. For only twice the price, I must note– though they did keep the weight reasonably close at 3 lbs, 4 oz., packed. It does have a "separate fly," but inner tent wall beneath that seem to occupy the same space and serve the same function as the DR's frost curtain. Just one door, though– what do you expect for $500?
My REI catalog also pictured the Ace UL tent, which looked very Rainbow-like. It was similarly priced and pleasingly lightweight.
Makes you wonder how much copyright protection the small makers have, vs what they need.May 19, 2009 at 8:41 pm #1502328
Discussing similarities in tent design, Henry once mentioned 3 particular tents that inspired his Rainbow design. Several months later, possibly over a year later…, after the Rainbow came onto the market someone posted how it looked remarkably like a certain obscure (outside the UK) British design.Up to that point I am pretty sure that HS had never seen one of those.
Phoenix Phreeranger EB
May 19, 2009 at 9:07 pm #1502335
…except without those pesky peak vents. I want one!
I bet the MSR psuedo-Rainbow outsells the DR two-to-one, just as it outprices it, because of the increased market availability and publicity. And it has "safety" in the name, plus "research." That should be reassuring to folks who consider the Tarptents too radical.May 19, 2009 at 9:09 pm #1502336
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
There are only a finite number of ways to design a functional tent. Everything else is just variations on a theme.
Or as was once said, "imitation is the highest form of flattery".May 20, 2009 at 2:18 pm #1502509
That Phoenix tent was made between 1985 and 1995, I guess that after that folk started to realise that condensation can kill (…)
This is another of those "I wish they still made tents like that" type tents, except that people that have them generally use something else.
SUPALITE: used for the first time in '88 a new soft P.U. coating 1.5oz ripstop which is tapable – permits lightness with incredible strength. 80cm minimum hydrostatic head.
That is a tad heavier than the 1.1oz (before coating,,,) silnylon but has about the same waterhead as Epic, and 80cm is 800 mm , not 8000mm as commented on that blog.
Nostalgia is not what it used to be.
Here is another version of that ( note the guylines)
May 20, 2009 at 5:30 pm #1502560
Amazing, actually. Everything old is new, and improved, again.May 20, 2009 at 6:40 pm #1502590
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
The first dome tents were barely out before someone thought of putting a strut across the top to increase head room. For example, Sierra Designs came out with a Bikelight tent, with such a strut. There was a Pocket Camper tent with the strut running lengthwise and a door at a narrow end. The English tent popularized by Chris Townsend was original in that the strut was placed over a single arch rather than a two arch dome. The Rainbows use the same approach, but are single wall, and a lot lighter. I only wish the strut was longer, so the tent could be more readily entered and exited in the rain.
The MSR tent also uses a similar approach in double wall, but could have been arrived at by designing out the spreader end struts on the Hubba. In making some carbon tent pole replacements recently for a friend with a Hubba, I found that carbon was not suitable for the spreader struts, and after looking at the lightest weight alloy, settled on a carbon-alloy laminate, readily available from the archery industry. Not sure if this will work, so understand why MSR designed out the struts when going to carbon.
Some feel that 'the envelope has been pushed to the limit,' or that there are no new ideas, just a lot of revised old ones. But look at the TT and Mica tents from REI and Northface. These are some very original variations on the dome, but unfortunately, not light enough for BPL. Or start with a Mountain Hardware single wall Bunker tent, for example, and imagine using light fabric and enlarging it to a comfortable size, big enough to furnish a vestible under the shorter arch like the Scarp or Akto, and using the points at the ends and rear to provide covered vents to compensate for the single wall. (A roof vent is needed also.) You will find that less square feet of fabric will be needed to cover the same floor area than with the common dome. And also, that less pole footage is required for the same headroom compared to the common dome. And that you have a freestanding tent with more headroom than an Akto, or even a Scarp. Is anyone making a tent like this? No. So, while the new lighter weight fabrics have made BPL possible, the shelters can be lighter, more comfortable, and more serviceable. It just takes some imagination and work. I hope this post does not provoke Franco to stick a longitudinal pole on a Mont-Bell Crescent and post pix.
Sam Farrington, Chocorua NHMay 20, 2009 at 7:51 pm #1502606
Sadly we do not have Mont-Bell here , I would love to fondle some of their insulation clothing and that comfort pillow looks pretty good too.
I think that designing the Rainbow HS took into considerations some of the quirks of the Crescent like lack of air flow and totally exposed entry.
At least the newer Rainbows (not the one I bought…) have the rain curtain, that was a brilliant idea .
Fiddling with poles in my backyard I have been toying with using trekking poles and tent poles (not just as end support) for some time.
My aim was for a 2 person tent. Eventually I discovered a similar implementation by Bergans . If you scale it down and make the back symmetrical to the front (note the protected entry..) that is pretty much it.
FrancoMay 24, 2009 at 9:38 pm #1503317
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Thank you for the link. Unfortunately, did not see anything at Bergans much different from some designs used by Helsport and Hilleberg. But from some other posts from you and others, it appears clear that trekking poles, in conjunction with guy lines, can be used to reinforce the peaks on arches, greatly increasing their wind stability. Am working on a design now where the eave on the front of the tent is open and freestanding in normal weather (think of the old Eureka Crescent), but can be strengthened for high winds by using a trekking pole and guy at the front apex point of the eave. Of course, this cuts down on the ease of entry and exit, but any port in a storm, right?
I have fooled around with double crossing arches for years, and always found too many drawbacks. Only came up with one good design. It uses one arch, tilted back, and two poles coming up from the rear corners over the arch and to a point at the front, creating a vestibule like the Crescent's, and another arched ridge pole on the top running about three feet from the front point back to the arch to shed rain and snow. But the whole thing adds up to almost 29 feet of pole footage, which is too much for BPL. It is 2.5 pounds already in Epic, with a catenary sil nylon bathtub floor, and I still have not completed the sil nylon fly for the top, which adds about another square yard. Also, while there are some positive posts about Epic (the Black Diamond tents) on the web, the negative ones have led me to conclude with others that good quality sil nylon and good venting, especially at the head, foot and apex, are the answer for a single wall tent. So, I am focusing on two arc freestanding designs, like the one described in my earlier post, that do not require a strut to get headroom and to provide a vestibule over the entry, and with a maximum limit of 24 feet of pole footage. Hope to have some pix, of some of the tents or scale music wire models of their skeletons, posted at some point. A quick note that the long arch in the tent described in the earlier post is tilted back to about 11 o-clock (30 degrees) to creat more headroom inside and allow more space for the fabric to transition from the arch to the straight roofline at the front apex.
Sam Farrington, Chocorua NHMay 24, 2009 at 10:19 pm #1503320
OP: Do you realize than the MSR Carbon Reflex 2 is basically just a carbon fiber version of their Hubba Hubba tent which has been around for a long time? The CR2 uses a simpler top pole (doesn't 'Y' at the ends) but it's mostly the same.May 24, 2009 at 11:14 pm #1503322
The Bergans I was referring to is the Wiglo, under family tents.
The Phoenix tent pictured above is from 1985, I am pretty sure that it pre-dates the Hubba .
FrancoMay 25, 2009 at 4:26 am #1503333
Franco, your first picture is of the standard Phreeranger, the second of the Phreeranger EB. The EB stands for Extended Bell and has an extra panel in the door, creating a larger vestibule.
The Phreeranger was my favourite tent from the mid 80s to the early 90s. I used one on my through-walks of the Canadian Rockies and the Yukon Territory as well as on numerous walks in the Scottish Highlands. It was very stable and durable with ample room. The multiple guylines could get tangled though. Phoenix as a tent company disappeared in the early 90s (the name is still used for ski gloves) and soon afterwards the Hilleberg Akto came along and my affections changed ….May 25, 2009 at 8:55 am #1503359
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Henry's Rainbow is definitely not the first of that kind of tent. As was stated above both the Phreeranger and Hubba came out long before the Rainbow. Other very similar designs are the Macpac Microlight and Terra Nova Solar 1, bot of which came out long before the Rainbow. All of them tend to use the same design features because that is what the design calls for.
Macpac Microlight (from Live for the Outdoors)
Terra Nova Solar 1May 25, 2009 at 9:12 am #1503363
Whilst on the history of single hoop tents one of the first was the Robert Saunders Spacepacker. I don't have a picture of this but there's info here:
http://www.robertsaunders.co.uk/pages/frame.htmlMay 25, 2009 at 10:09 am #1503374
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Hi Chris, I was wracking my brain for more tents… had completely forgotten about that one.
There is also the Vango Micro 100, designed long ago by Aarn Tate, of Aarn packs fame. I'm sure you already know it… probably even used one! (another reason why Aarn's designs are not just recent things; he has a long history of innovative ideas.
Vango Micro 100.May 25, 2009 at 10:12 am #1503375
Hi Miguel, yes, I know the Micro 100. It came out in the 90s, many years after the Spacepacker and Phreeranger – also, before the Phreeranger the same design appeared as the single skin Gore-Tex Phreerunner, which I used in the 80s before the Phreeranger appeared.
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