Oct 15, 2010 at 2:19 pm #1264437
I’ve been lurking on this site for a couple years now and finally decided to register. I’ve lurked and researched other light backpacking sites but always gravitate back to BPL. The members here strike me as the real deal BTDT types. There’s also that certain aspect of deep mutual understanding and respect that I don’t see on the other boards. BPL just feels like a tighter, more closer knit community than any of the other forums out there. So thanks for having me aboard.
Okay, so this is my 2nd thread. The first one I started was asking for guidance on the cheapest place to purchase 3 WM’ing Versalite bags. A fellow member pointing me in the right direction and saved me over $250.
So I got my sleeping bags out of the way.
I also got my pack out of the way too. While in my lurking phase I had come to find that a US company called ULA was held in high regard here. So I called, spoke to Chris, and wound up buying the Catalyst.
I got my pack, sleeping bag, and now I want to work on getting my tent. I want the highest quality, ultralight, 3 person tent that’s on the market right now. Once I got that out of the way I want to continue this thread, working through my gear list one item at a time.
So…what say you? The baddest, toughest, ultimate, rockin’, lightest, 3 person tent out there.
I’ve got to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter now so I’ll see you folks later tonight.Oct 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm #1654952
@funnymoLocale: Sunshine State
First off, Welcome! Nice purchase of the WM bags. I'm in FL, too.
To give you the right recommendation, where will you be hiking with this tent, and in what conditions (ie: precip) & temps? Differences in these can make "the best" tent seem like the worst, ya know?
Do you like tarp-tent style shelters, single wall, traditional double wall designs?
You'll get plenty of recommendations to choose from.
ToddOct 15, 2010 at 3:06 pm #1654962
Welcome! As mentioned, give us some more details of your intended trips, and the type of weather you'll be planning for.
Also, whats your level of comfort when it comes to discomfort? Do you mind having to deal with a bit of condensation (e.g. wipe down the walls in the morning, maybe even airing out your bag the next morning so that you can dry out the wet footbox) or do you want it to be absolutely carefree, condensation free (as much as possible), set it and forget it?
Are you comfy with sleeping under a tarp? floorless shelter but with bug netting on the sides?
Depending on your preferences, tents such as the Big Agnes Copper Spur 3, MLD trailstar, MLD supermid, or the Tarptent Hogback could all fit the bill, but we just need to know more before we can give you affirmative suggestions
edit* whoa I didnt know they came out with a fly creek 3…completely under my radar. neatOct 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm #1654964
Without knowing much else I went with a more traditional double wall tent.
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3
3lbs 3oz – $449.95
The price is scary indeed. Time to get an REI membership if you don't already have one to get it for $359.96+$20 (membership fee). That turns out to be about $120/person which doesn't look so bad after all.
EDIT: Found a few more. These are single wall shelters.
4 Person / 65oz (4lb 1oz)
Tarptent Rainshadow 2
3 Person / 42oz (2lb 10oz)
$265Oct 15, 2010 at 9:43 pm #1655049
i'm maybe take the time to contact this guyOct 17, 2010 at 4:13 am #1655278
@pittsburghLocale: Bay Area
Gen Shimizu at Alpinlite Gear makes some pretty awesome tarps, affordable, and very well made. Impregnated lightweight silnylon…very light.
If you want even lighter, another BPL member, Lawson Kline at Mountainfitter makes some pretty killer cuben fiber tarps & tents, and is also a Florida guy like yourself.
Cuben isn't known to be as tough as sil, but you can't beat the weight.Oct 17, 2010 at 11:07 am #1655338
Todd, thank you – I appreciate the questions. By asking them I know that you’re trying to steer me in the right direction.
Here’s the deal. This gear list will accommodate a family of three. One 50 year old female, one 50 year old male, and one 10 year old male. All in excellent physical condition. I’m the 50 year old male. We will be embarking on a extended camping expedition into the wild.
We will be hiking during all four seasons in different parts of the US where I expect weather conditions to vary anywhere from mild to moderate, i.e., rain, wind, etc. We won’t be doing any alpine mountaineering, or things of that sort, but I do want to be prepared for any unexpected heavy snowfall (although highly unlikely).
As to the type of shelter, I’m really not partial to any one design. Be it dome, hoop, free-standing, stake-out, etc. As to fabric design – single wall impermeable, double wall breathable, single wall mesh; vestibules; sky lights; and windows, etc., I don’t care.
As previously mentioned, I’m looking for the baddest, toughest, ultimate, lightest, 3 person tent out there. Here’s my thinking. I want the 3 person tent to house the one female and child and all their gear. I will have my own tent. The load will be split to where I’ll carry the 3 person tent (assuming it’s the heaviest) and the female will pack my tent.
I hope this makes sense.
Thanks for the response. I don't want to confuse comfort with inconvenience. Our level of comfort will be such that all we want is a good nights sleep so that we’re well rested for the next days trek. Wiping down walls, airing out the bags, etc., are inconveniences, and no…we don’t mind those mundane tasks. All we want is the lightest, toughest tent.
I’m not familiar with tarps or floorless shelters, but if they provide the necessary comfort for a good nights sleep then I have no qualms.
I’ll be taking a look at the Big Agnes Copper Spur 3, MLD trailstar, MLD supermid, and Tarptent Hogback latter on today. Thanks for the recommendations.
Thank you Eric. This is the second recommendation for Big Agnes and Tarptent so there must be something to these. I’ll check them out. I’m sure I’ll have some questions for you once I have a chance to do side-by-side comparisons to see what sets them apart. Thanks again for taking the time to post the different models, prices, and even links.
Never heard of these guys. Man, I do love those camo patterns. Do you have any real-world experience in this tent? I did a google search for reviews but had no luck. Do you know of any you can link me too. These look interesting, and the weight is certainly on par with the ultralight mindset. Do any members here have experience with, or opinions about this tent?Oct 17, 2010 at 11:34 am #1655345
Thank you. Just got back from looking at Alpinlite Gear. I was very impressed. Boy, are they light. I’ll be comparing all the tent recommendations I got on this thread. Again, the Alpinlite looks to be top notch, thanks.
As for Mountainfitter, I found it impossible to navigate their site. Don’t know if it’s me or they’re having problems with how the page is constructed, but I couldn’t find any shelters.Oct 17, 2010 at 2:32 pm #1655392
i've seen that guy post quite a bit on another hiking website. as far as i know he's on par with other cottage gear manufacturers. if you email them or call them, you'll likely be speaking with the person who makes your tent…
no real world experience for me though sorry. i hammock :DOct 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm #1655394
Okay, I’m not doing this anymore.
I lined up all the tent recommendations, stated reading through the specs, sorting through all the online reviews, getting side tracked by said reviews and jerked into other tent categories that spoke of carbon fiber, aluminum-alloy, fiberglass, single wall, double wall, single-needle stitching seams, double-needle stitching seam, sleeves vs clips, silnylon, ripstop, polyurethane coating, GoreTex, ToddText, Klimate, MemBrain, avian, pyramid, traditional A-frame, modified A-frame, hoop, wedge, dome, free standing, fixed, 2, 3, 4 season, yada yada yada…
I am now, literally, fighting off a migraine headache.
Is there anyway possible for you wonderful folks, with countless years, knowledge, and experience in ultralight backpacking, to reach a general consensus where the following could be said:
"Okay Lawrence, if you’re looking to pack an ultralight bombproof shelter that will fit one female one child and all their gear, that will take you throughout the country, short of the roughest rockiest terrain, and harshest coldest climates, then you cant go wrong with brands x, y, and z."
I'm to the point where all this researching and theorizing has led to hyper-analysis, causing my paralysis, and I'm just sitting here staring at the screen.
Come on, name the best of the best for what I'm looking for, I don't care what it cost.Oct 17, 2010 at 2:56 pm #1655397
@woodenwizardLocale: Greater Mt Tabor
I say hogsback and be done.
The confusion is coming from you say "ultralight and bombproof" Polar Opposites
Hogsback is big (4P), light (4.5lbs?) strong enough for some snow, made well, versatile (double wall, No bugs (50 year old woman will appreciate)
If you wanna be over-prepared- Hilleberg Nallo3 (and 3gt)Oct 17, 2010 at 4:09 pm #1655404
Cost aside, I think the MSR Carbon Reflex 3 would be a great tent for you. It's well made, light (4lbs 7oz claimed weight), yet durable and adequately spacious for two and gear. It's also a double wall design, so you don't need to worry about bumping into condensation covered walls in the night like you do with single walled tents like the Hogback.
The Hogback is cheaper and a little bigger, but I would be cautious about buying my wife and kid a single wall tent. The Carbon Reflex 3 will give them plenty of space at the same weight with no worries about condensation.
EDIT: My mistake, the Hogback is a double wall too.
If $600 is too much, consider other lightweight double wall three person tents like the Big Anges Fly Creek UL3 ($450) and the REI Quarterdome T3 ($299, 4lbs 11oz). Right now you can buy the Quarterdome T3 for 20% off ($240) with the REI members sale. A 4lbs 11oz, double wall, 3 person tent for $240 is pretty darn good. I doubt you'll find a better all around package than that.Oct 18, 2010 at 11:24 am #1655624
The hogback is double wallOct 18, 2010 at 2:31 pm #1655703
I am with Ryan Jordan on this one, if I could have only one tent it would be some form of a pyramid. Great in winter, can be used with or without a nest, and so easy to setup.
Good luck, Kevin.Oct 18, 2010 at 3:07 pm #1655714
First, let me express my sincerest gratitude to all who took the time, and helped guide me through this difficult decision. Thank you very much.
You were right. Yesterday I called wyominglostandfound.com and surprisingly I was able to speak to Brian the owner (on a Sunday!), who turned out to be a hell of a nice guy. Brian stayed on the phone for as long as I needed and answered all my questions. He spoke with a lot of confidence, and has no problem pitching his tipi tents (pun intended) alongside other well known high-end tent makers for a side-by-side comparison on craftsmanship and quality.
Brian says he has a very rare but limited supply of multi-cam 30 d silnylon (weighing about 1 oz. per yard) that’s one of the lightest and strongest fabrics on the market. One of the features I’m drawn to, if in fact he does make a superior grade tent, is his camouflage patterns. I could never figure why most companies only manufacture their ultra-lite tents in bold bright colors. I know quite a few backpackers who subscribe to the theory of blending in with the natural coloration of your environment – and I’m one of those stealth campers.
Another attractive design feature is the stove jack with rain flap option. I'm curious – why don't other tent makers offer this. What blew me away was the weight. Brian said the “Silnylon 5 Man Tipi” with everything included (stakes, center pole and stuff sack, stove jack collar) weighed in at 2-1/2 lbs. He said that would be perfect for one 50yo female (mother), one 10yo male (son), and all their gear. This is the tent that would be carried in my pack. The “3 Man Silnylon Tipi” weighs 1-1/2 lbs. and would be perfect for me and all my gear. That would be carried by the female. These weights are hard to believe.
The “Silnylon 5 Man Tipi” cost $750, and the “3 Man Silnylon Tipi” cost $550.
There’s one drawback… and it isn’t the $1300 for both tents. If everything is as Brian says, “an ultra-lite bombproof 4 season tent”, then I don't mind paying that kind of money for that kind of weight to strength ratio. The only drawback is…for that kind of money I’d like to see some positive customer feedback. Something – anything; forum reviews, YouTube video reviews, magazine articles, etc. It’s not that I doubt Brian's honesty, but buying a relatively expensive product sight unseen, or unheard of, is a little nerve-wracking. I don’t know, maybe I’m way off base…I really need to think hard about this one.
There’s no limit on my budget for the tent purchase, so the MSR Carbon Reflex 3 ($600)is not out of the question. Thanks for the recommendation – that is a helluva a tent.
I also took a look at the Big Anges Fly Creek UL3 ($380 w/discount) when Eric recommended it, and the REI Quarterdome T3 ($240 w/discount). Honestly, they are all very nice, but here’s my confusion – what makes one tent cost $220 more than another, e.g., MSR vs Big Agnes, or more than double over another, e.g., MSR vs REI?
At any rate the MSR is definitely a contender and again, thanks for finding me a great quality ultra-lite tent.
“The confusion is coming from you say "ultralight and bombproof"”
Thank you Jeff. I knew it was only time before someone pointed out the apparent contradiction.:)
You are the third (konrad-first, Eric-second) to recommend the Hogback, but the first to push my decision further in that direction. It was your definitive verdict, “I say hogsback and be done [with it]” that got me to go back to Tarptent’s website. From looking at the specs the quality is definitely there. Thanks again Jeff.
Okay Folks, I finally narrowed down my choices, and they are as follows:
MSR Carbon Reflex 3
Hilleberg Nallo 3 GT
Wyominglostandfound Silnylon TipisOct 18, 2010 at 3:20 pm #1655719
I think another question can help you cut down the choices a bit more. Are you and your family the type of camper who wakes up in the morning to find it raining and go back to bed hoping it'll clear up or start to break camp as usual? If you're the type to nest until the storms clear, I'd recommend a larger tent such as the hogback. I follow this practice while canoe camping in the BWCA. I use a four man tent for two people. Sometimes its nice to not have to shove elbows when your sleeping partner starts getting to close.
One fallback to consider though is that a larger tent footprint limits your campsite choices. In some regions this isn't such a big deal, but in high alpine rocky environments even a larger 2 man tent forces you to look elsewhere for a camp.Oct 18, 2010 at 3:25 pm #1655721
I’m in agreement, which is why I listed the tipi (wyominglostandfound.com) in my top 4 choices. BTW, what is a nest?Oct 18, 2010 at 3:30 pm #1655726
It's a mosquito netting 'inner-tent' which clips or hangs from the single wall 'outer-tent' to keep the flying and crawling bugs at bay.Oct 18, 2010 at 3:39 pm #1655732
The nest is an optional inner bug tent usually with a floor that you can use if you are worried about bugs. Personally I like not having a floor which means I can let the dog in the tent and am not worried about spilling dinner or a small alcohol stove over onto the floor.
Some of the pyramids come with an option mesh skirt that can do the same thing as the nest but without the floor.
I am currently using a Black Diamond Mega light with a Mount Laural Designs Duo Inner tent (nest) which gives me 1/2 the space with a floor and bug net and the other 1/2 that is floor less.Oct 18, 2010 at 4:26 pm #1655748
Lawrence, now that you are considering Pyramid style Tipis, have you thought about the MLD super mid?
Its got plenty of room for 2 and gear, made of silnylon that will be just as robust (if Andrew Skurka can pull off an Alaska Traverse in a solo version, it's good enough for me), has a peak vent to cut down on condensation, AND it will save you a good amount of weight over the multicam one you are eyeing. I know its not as stealthy as multicam, but MLD does offer some neutral colors. While a 5 man tipi is great, it just seems like a bit of overkill for 2 people. Also, unless you plan on actually using a wood stove (and carrying it (8.5lbs!)), then there is no real point to getting a tipi with a stove exit port. This kind of stuff is geared more towards hunters ( Kifaru Tipis were the first to do it if my memory serves me correctly) than it is for backpackers. Also, if you plan on using trekking poles, the MLD supermid allows you to use them in conjunction with a pole-jack for the main tipi support…which means you're saving weight from having to carry a separate pole just for your shelter.
IMO The tipi will be more windworthy and stormproof than the hogback. If you get it with an inner tent (aka nest) you will have a very lightweight double wall palace for 2 or 3. The hogback is heavier, but will be easier to pitch. However, if you practice with your pyramid in your backyard, you'll get the hang of it quickly to the point where its a non-issue.
While the carbon reflex is a great tent, keep in mind that they are getting such low weights by utilizing carbon poles. Carbon poles will always be more susceptible to fractures and breaks when compared to aluminum poles. I've read both sides of the story, with people experiencing hairline cracks (backpacker magazine), to not seeing any damage at all. YMMV, but worth noting.
Also, I can't speak for wyominglostandfound, but MLD is highly revered on these forums, with countless users that have nothing but high praise for their shelters (myself included)
So, in my opinion, get a pyramid, but look at different option than the 5-man that you are currently eyeing. Particularly, I think you can find a lighter pyramid, that has better venting, utilizes your current trekking poles for weight savings, and has compatible inner net options. Also, skip the stove exhaust port. Sorry if this adds to the confusion, but it sure beats buyers remorse.Oct 18, 2010 at 8:59 pm #1655814
If you are looking at Pyramids I know some people swear by the Oware products (http://www.owareusa.com). I have an Oware bivy and it is first rate.
If I were choosing again I would either go with the Supermid that Konrad recommends or one of of the Oware pyramids. If I had an unlimited budget I would probably throw in an Oware 3.5 Flat tarp just because they are so versatile and provide a huge awning outside your tent.
I basically use the same setup as Rod does, you can see a photo of his setup in this older post. I just use a small size #2 carabiner to clip the tarp to the pyramid and then stake the tarp down to the ground, it provides lots of great space (cooking/drying cloths) if you are in a group of 2 or more. For one or even 2 the pyramid is big enough you won't need a tarp but if your group is any larger the tarp is worth it's weight.Oct 18, 2010 at 10:00 pm #1655829
"here’s my confusion – what makes one tent cost $220 more than another, e.g., MSR vs Big Agnes, or more than double over another, e.g., MSR vs REI?"
The main reason the Carbon Reflex 3 costs $600 instead of $450 like the Big Agnes is because of the carbon fibre poles. The Big Anges saves weight via lighter materials and smaller dimensions, whereas the MSR uses more expensive carbon fibre poles so it's the same weight but a little bigger and more durable.
The main reasons the REI tent costs $300 retail is because it's priced aggressively as REI's house brand, they do high volumes of it so they can make it cheaper and they probably cut a few small corners to make it cheaper. For example, the MSR uses waterproof zippers in the fly, whereas the REI tent uses cheaper regular zips with flaps over them to keep the water out.
"Okay Folks, I finally narrowed down my choices, and they are as follows…"
Something to be aware of with the Hogback is that is has a silnylon (silicone coated nylon) floor. Lots of people use and love silnylon floors, but they are different from a traditional tent floor so it's good to understand what you're getting. The 30D silnylon floor of the Hogback uses thinner nylon than other tents (30D vs. 40-70D) so it's less durable. It's also less waterproof with a hydrostatic head rating of 1200mm vs. 5000-10,000mm for a normal tent floor (usually PU coated nylon) and thirdly, it's quite slippery which can be annoying if you are pitched on a slight slope and you keep sliding into the walls of the tent. I personally don't have a problem with the durability of a 30D floor, but I don't like the borderline waterproofness and slipperyness of silnylon. Others will disagree…Oct 20, 2010 at 1:05 pm #1656337
Gosh I’m exhausted. Two full days of intense research. But like Konrad wisely pointed out – I want no “buyers remorse” after making my final decision.
I want to ask you all one question. First let me give you the following setup:
1. Mountain Laurel Designs SUPERMID 2010 Wt. 1.8 lbs
SUPERMID InnerNet Wt. 1.8 lbs
2. Hilleberg > Any Model
Okay here’s the deal. You’ve won the door prize (no cost to you), which is the choice above. The parameters of this thread is still in tact; Looking for an ultra-lite bombproof (ignore the conflict) shelter that has true all season functionality that will accommodate 1 adult female, 1 child (10 year old), all their gear, and you’re the one packing it.
So what would be your choice?
So there’s no misunderstanding, your only choice is: 1. The Mountain Laurel Designs SUPERMID 2010 & SUPERMID InnerNet or, 2. Any Model Hilleberg Tent.
I know this may seem silly but it's really important to me. Thanks.Oct 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm #1656362
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
In my opinion, a large mid like the MLD SuperMid or an Oware 10×10 mid, Golite Shangri-La 3 etc. would be the better all around shelter. It might not be as bomb proof as the Hilleberg in major winter storms, but close, and I don't think most Hillebergs are designed for warm weather use (at least the ones I have seen).Oct 20, 2010 at 2:26 pm #1656370
I don't own a Hilleberg so I am not fully qualified to answer this question, but here is my 2 cents anyway.
If I were going to Everest and thought that my life might actually depend on the quality of my tent then I would probably go with the Hilleberg.
Since I am never in that actual situation, I would go with the Pyramid because it is a lot more fun. By fun I mean there are dozens of ways to use a pyramid. You can go with a center pole or use two walking poles or a paddle, or you can tie it to a tree and go with no pole. You can use the inner tent or go floor less, you can set it up over top of a snow hole that is dug down into the snow.
In the end it is these little variations that make me feel like I am camping, I also think this is a big part of the appeal that tarps bring to the wilds. This might just be my personality because I like to tinker.
If you are the type of person that doesn't want any surprises then the Hilleberg would be a better choice.
Good luck, it's a hard job picking one tent to master all situations.
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