Jan 14, 2012 at 6:38 am #1284127
I'm looking for an upgrade to a Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 and the choices are a bit bewildering. Requirements are:
> Actual weight in pack no heavier and preferably lighter than the UL2 at 45 oz with the factory footprint (see next point).
> Can set up and take down in the rain without the inside getting wet. This is difficult but possible with the UL2 if you use the factory footprint.
> Full mosquito protection with excellent ventilation (at the same time). We live and thus do most of our backpacking in the Mid-Atlantic, where summer nights can be sultry and bug-filled. The UL2 is bugproof but doesn't vent well enough, even with the fly off.
> Roomier than the UL2. I'm 5'-10", my wife is an inch or two shorter, and we're both medium build. It's possible for one of us to sit up in the UL2 if the other one scrunches way over to the side, or if the one sitting twists and leans uncomfortably. We want to both sit up comfortably.
> Can open doors without rain getting in. A definite weak point of the UL2.
> No poles inside living space.
My wife and I carry three adjustable trekking poles between the two of us. Looking at mostly AT-style conditions – night temperatures between the 80s and teens, plenty of mosquitoes (etc) in warm weather, blizzards and hurricanes unlikely. We go out for 2 – 4 nights at a time (so we usually have a good idea what weather to expect) although we're talking about extending that.
Right now I'm looking at two Tarptents; the Double Rainbow and the Stratospire 2. Plusses and minuses I see are:
+ Can set up semi-freestanding if staking is a problem. Would still need to stake or tie off for the vestibules but those wouldn't require that much tension; could use rocks or small deadmen in snow (we've done this with the UL2).
– Single wall on top can mean condensation issues; reports that the 4 oz optional liner can drip on bags (and how much headroom does it lose?).
– Mesh and floor sewed to fly mean you can't remove and hang or shake condensation off the fly in the morning (or am I missing something?).
+ Porch for cooking or sitting in rain.
+ Pockets. I like 'em.
+ Cheaper than the SS2.
– Relies on ridgeline tension to stay up; looks to me like you need very sturdy stakout or other sturdy tieout points for the main guys or the whole thing's going to sag and/or collapse; I don't think rocks would do it.
+ Full independent mesh inner means separation from roof condensation; can pitch fly or inner independently if conditions warrant; can divide load between two packs.
+ Possibility of a future fabric inner for a true double wall shelter would make winters much more comfortable.
Those are the relevant points that I can see; anything I'm missing/misunderstanding, or other options I should be considering?Jan 14, 2012 at 9:39 am #1824648
>- Mesh and floor sewed to fly mean you can't remove and hang or shake condensation off the fly in the morning (or am I missing something?).
You can remove it with a piece of cloth, like a handkerchief.Jan 14, 2012 at 10:09 am #1824664
True; it isn't a deal killer but I still see it as a minus.
I guess the choice between the two – for my needs – boils down to modularity vs. ability to freestand. I get the impression that the majority of posters on these forums are using non-freestanding shelters so maybe it isn't really that big a deal. It's just a step I haven't gotten to yet.Jan 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm #1824747
A quick analysis from the TT specs: The DR would be better for tall people with its longer floor (102" vs. 90"). It's also better if you need a freestanding shelter, since you can do so with trekking poles.
Otherwise though, the SS2 seems like the way to go. It's the same weight, the tent remains wide right up to the roof, unlike the DR which tapers narrower, the SS2 has taller vestibules and of course it's a double wall so you're totally protected from condensation. If you add the liner to the DR then you're heavier.Jan 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm #1824771
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
'A quick analysis from the TT specs: The DR would be better for tall people with its longer floor (102" vs. 90").'
Not sure I'm following that. The DR has an 88" floor, the SS2 86". But the SS2 is a double-wall, so the the 2" difference probably doesn't matter.
I have the Rainbow (not Double), which also has an 88" floor, and it works fine for me at 6'5". I'd expect the SS1 or SS2 to work equally well.Jan 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm #1824790
I just grabbed those length specs from the TT comparison table. That table could be wrong though, it's got the floor width of the SS2 wrong:Jan 14, 2012 at 5:58 pm #1824804
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
That must be total length, not floor length.Jan 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm #1824820
Yes that chart is for the fly except for the floor area.(the weight is the total weight fly/inner/pegs)
The floor area is just that ,not the footprint of the fly.
You may get a better idea by going to the product page and clicking on "show dimensions" under specifications.
The mat is always the same size, 20"x72"
FrancoMar 7, 2012 at 6:53 am #1849969
I am in the similar situation. I have a MSR Hubba Hubba (4 lb 5 oz) and want to cut some weight. I am thinking to upgrade to Fly Creek UL2 or StratoSpire 2. Also the new Fly Creek UL2 Platinum is coming out soon, which even lighter. I probably go with Platinum if not StratoSpire 2.
My wife and I are 5'6" and 5'10". Sometimes, we put two backpacks inside tent at foot. Did you get your new tent? How does it compare to Fly Creek?
YangMar 7, 2012 at 7:32 am #1849985
@sckuhnLocale: Mountainous Ohio
My first TT purchase was a Rainbow – LOVE it! Assumed I would equally love the Double Rainbow as a 2 person shelter…. I don't. Double Rainbow narrows significantly at the top, to the point of barely allowing 2 people to sit up in it (this included myself 5'8" medium build and my 12yo daughter 5'5" small build).
Still have the Double Rainbow, but we use a SMD Lunar Duo now – near vertical walls and bigger vestibules. Can't comment on the Stratospire 2.Mar 7, 2012 at 7:46 am #1849991
Yang, not long after I posted this my wife and I decided to go on an 8-day Sierra Club outing which will require a lot of new gear (bigger packs, dry bags, waterproof camera…) so the new shelter has been deferred.
Sarah, thanks for that posting; it's that sort of hands-on experience I was hoping for.
WillMar 7, 2012 at 7:53 am #1849997
I think the decision is easy. If you use trekking poles, get the SS2. If you don't, get the DR2. You really can't go wrong with either.Mar 7, 2012 at 8:25 am #1850014
Thanks David. Both my wife and I use trekking poles. This is exact decision point I was thinking of before I learned the Fly Creek Platinum is lighter than SS2.
From the spec SS2 weights 40oz including 6 stakes. This should be compared to Fly Creek 2 Platinum packed weight, which is 2 lb 3 oz. So the latter is about 5 ounces lighter. Not sure if the 5 oz saving is worth pursuing for the smaller tent.Mar 7, 2012 at 8:36 am #1850019
Yang, I am not a fan of front entry A-frame tents for two people as:
a.) there is no headroom for two should both want to sit up at the same time because of the A-frame design and
b.) a single vestibule at a single entry means climbing over gear (packs, shoes) when trying to get in or out of the shelter.
I like side entry shelters for two and given the two vestibules and two doors of the SS2, I think the extra 5 ounces is warranted.
It is less expensive as well, if that is a consideration.Mar 7, 2012 at 8:45 am #1850026
" Not sure if the 5 oz saving is worth pursuing for the smaller tent."
Dramatically smaller, more expensive, and less liveable. It most certainly isn't "freestanding" as BA would have you believe.
-HMar 7, 2012 at 11:50 am #1850120
Thanks David and Henry.
Henry, good to know you are also hanging on this web site. I just sent you an email yesterday. :)Mar 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm #1850171
And I sent you one back yesterday. Let me know if you didn't receive it.
-HMar 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm #1850278
@karenkLocale: NE NSW - Australian subtropics
Having owned both, I loved the DR whilst I had it, it was certainly light and the double side-entry doors provide hassle free access for two people, but the tapering towards the top does limit the internal space.
The SS2 on the other hand, is a veritable palace! Its vestibules are huge, internal space is extremely generous, and access is outstanding. Staking to achieve ridgeline tension has not proved an issue – it would be no more than the tension needed to pitch a tarp, for example. There is also the flexibility to pitch the inner (net) tent only, important for us in the subtropics. I will be first to queue up for a solid inner too, for cold weather use. A solid inner as well as the net tent would make this a truly flexible shelter system.
SS2 gets my vote without question!
Thanks Henry for a sensational design. My GF quipped when she first saw it "How did they get this tent – stitch two halves together the wrong way??" Gear freaks will be amused by the next part of the quote "So this looks like a tent that KK doesn't have – she'll buy one! Let's put it on the market!!"
Seriously, it's a great tent.
KKSep 26, 2012 at 9:19 pm #1916010
Hi guys, I'm new to the forum and realise this thread is a few months old but hoping someone is still following.
My wife and I are looking for a new tent, to be used mostly in NSW, but initially for the Overland Track in Tassie this December. I'm torn between the DR and SS2 for these reasons:
+ More internal space and can keep our gear inside the tent
+ Double wall, and can be set up fly only or inner only
+ If the fly is wet I can strap it to my pack to dry while keeping the inner dry inside my pack
– The fly has a huge footprint (3m x 2.18m) so am worried about fitting onto small sites, especially on the Overland Track where I believe you need to pitch on the platforms.
+ More compact footprint so can fit just about anywhere
+ Can be free standing if necessary and don't need trekking poles or extra poles
– Single wall so am concerned about condensation getting on our down bags (I realise their is an inner attachment but not sure how much this reduces space inside)
-The floor/mesh is attached to the fly so if there is condensation/rain I can't pack the inner away separately to keep it dry
Any suggestion here would be great.
Thanks.Sep 26, 2012 at 10:21 pm #1916029
Can't find a single source to tell me the exact size of the OT platforms but they are a lot bigger than either tent.
Close to 4m on one side and over 3 on the other.
Here is one :
(the DR is 3 planks wider)
I had my Rainbow on the platform next to that one and it was exactly the same size.
Take some spare picture hooks and spare bits of guylines.Sep 27, 2012 at 2:14 am #1916042
Thanks Franco. I think that swings me slightly towards the SS2, I just need to decide if the extra floor space is overkill or not.
Do you have experience with the DR breathable inserts? i.e. Do they noticeably reduce the interior space, and are they effective at preventing you from brushing against any condensation on the outer wall?
Sorry, one last question, how does the DR go packing up in the wet, can you fold it in a way that prevents the inside floor/mesh getting wet? That shot on the OT looked like it was a pretty damp day.
Thanks again.Sep 27, 2012 at 6:02 am #1916053
Have been through several tarptents. I started with a Rainbow which I still have and plan on keeping for a long time. I'm quite tall 6'6" and found the Rainbow adequate. I got a double rainbow thinking it wasn't that much heavier, would give me more room solo, and allow us space for 2 if my wife came. Unfortunately I didn't think it was doubly good. With the way it narrows at the top it is just not great for 2. I also tried the insert and with my height the insert just didn't work. It was pretty much in my face although someone of normal height would not have this problem. Finally the freestanding feature works better on the Rainbow than on the DR. The DR is wide enough that you need some sort of trekking pole extender and even with that I found the way they attached to the treking poles didn't work well. The single rainbow's method of attaching the corners to the poles was much better and the freestanding works better since the floor is narrower. I ended up selling it since I didn't really like it especially for 2. I ended up getting a scarp 2 and that tent is so, so, so much better for 2 because it does not narrow at the top. It fits myself and my wife better than any other 2p tent I have used. Plus after using it on a trip myself it was so nice not to have to worry about condensation falling on me like in the Rainbow here in the humid east coast now I'm seriously considering getting a SS2 for myself (I think I'm too tall for the SS1).Sep 27, 2012 at 7:33 am #1916080
@sckuhnLocale: Mountainous Ohio
While on paper the numbers might seem overwhelming you are simply looking at a 20" wider footprint with the SS2 vs the DR – that's not that significant when looking for a tent sight.
Now forget about the footprint size and look at the headroom width!!! In the SS2 you get a full 52" while in the DR you get approximately 12"!!
So, imagine a rainy day when you are stuck in the tent…. or 2 people trying to move around in the tent at the same time…. To me the extra width in the headroom is the real selling point for the SS2 vs the DR (my SMD Lunar Duo maximize the headroom as well)
Love my Rainbow, just not the DR.
SarahSep 27, 2012 at 8:13 am #1916098
"Now forget about the footprint size and look at the headroom width!!! In the SS2 you get a full 52" while in the DR you get approximately 12"!!"
That assumes that you are 8 foot tall with a 50" upper torso length.Sep 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm #1916207
my Rainbow was pre-liner days (it is from a pre-production run so before all the mods…) but I have had a play with the liner inside both the Rainbow and the DR .
Works for me at 172cm but of course it is a different story at 198cm (6'6")..
The Rainbow is a large solo but the DR is proportionally not as large as a double, so again it depends a lot on your size .
I don't think that anyone has ever done the full OT without rain (we had sleet in mid February…) so I did pack up the Rainbow wet at least a couple of times then and many times since , not a problem for me because I have a Chux (Handy Wipes) at the ready , set up the shelter and give it a quick wipe down inside.
As for the freestanding set up, I had mine done that particular day but did not bother with that afterwards. The DR does need some extenders to be able to do it, I made a pair about 20cm long.
If you like to spend a bit of time in the tent , not just sleep inside it, I would suggest the SS2.
I have a few videos with both the DR and the SS2 in my YouTube channel (francodarioli)
On platforms I am pretty sure my way of setting the SS2 up would be easier.
So start with one end clipped on to the hooks screwed in the platform side, then do the other end (don't pull the fabric taut) then insert the poles.
Just have a careful look at how I do it .
BTW, I don't sell them but look after TT in Australia, for example I do seam sealing if needed ($25)
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