Feb 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm #1285445
I'm about to purchase a tent to hopefully lighten up my load a bit. However, I'm having a conundrum of sorts and can't seem to make up my mind.
There are times that I take my kids (13 and 6) on backpacking trips and I am trying to figure out what would be the best choice as far as a tent that would accommodate the three of us but yet still be ok to use on my solo trips.
Here are my options:
1. Tarptent Double Rainbow – now, I know this is a tent meant for 2 persons but from what I've seen, it looks like I can fit my 6 year old daughter between myself and my son. A tight fit but I think it can be done? Additionally, the weight on this tent is minimal enough and can be used as my solo tent as well.
2. Tarptent Rainbow – I saw a photo online where they were able to fit 2 pads indicating that the size of this tent would be close to a 2 person (1+ maybe)
3. Lunar Skyscape Scout (Solo) – now if I get the TT Rainbow, I was thinking of getting this for my son, he can pack this and use it so he has his own shelter and my daughter and I can potentially have the TT Rainbow to ourselves.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to your thoughts and opinions.
AngusFeb 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm #1836983
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
Just because you can fit extra people into a tarptent – or any other shelter – in an emergency does not mean they'll be comfortable, or even close to it.
We've had the DR since it first appeared and two is what it carries comfortably.
The Rainbow is a single, unless #2 is very small.
You're better off getting the solo tent that YOU want for yourself and a second 2-person tent for the kids. If the little one is more comfortable with Dad than with a sibling, you get the 2-person with little one. If you want the 3 of you together, look at the TT Stratospire 2 – it can take 4 pads.
Bottom line – you are the primary user; get what you want…..like the SMD Skyscape X and go uberlight.Feb 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm #1836989
If it were me, I'd go with option 3, but maybe with the Double Rainbow instead of the rainbow…..although I've never seen the Rainbow, so for all I know you and your daughter would fit, just not sure how comfortable it would be.
Or if you want a tent that will comfortably fit all 3, look at the Rainshadow2 (I think the "2" is the version number or something, not the amount of people it fits). It's roughly the same weight as the Double Rainbow, but the biggest downside is it just has the one front entry door instead of the 2 side entry doors on the Double Rainbow.Feb 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm #1836993
Thanks for the feedback…really appreciate it.
I was looking at 3p tent options but I was concerned not just with the weight but ultimately the space it could potentially take up when you set it up.
I may just go with a TT Double Rainbow and buy the SMD Lunar Solo. My little girl is 6 and would prefer to stay with me, but I do want her to me comfy as opposed to cramped.
If budget wasn't an issue, I would probably go with a TT Contrail and a TT Double Rainbow :)Feb 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm #1837007
The stratospire 2 is something to look into. I have it myself and its a very roomy two person tent. I think you could comfortably squeeze in your two children. It packs down fairly small. I put it in my outside side pocket in my ULA packFeb 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm #1837011
@creachenLocale: East Bay
How about a Rainshadow 2? Plenty of room and under 45oz. Two adults with one kid plus gear.Feb 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm #1837024
wait a few weeks (months?) and the cuben haven + net tent will be a true double wall 2 person shelter at 24 oz.
The problem with solo shelters is that you always see it as a way to lighten your load. So you are always left wanting a lighter one.Feb 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm #1837031
The StratoSpire 2 is a wee bit out of my budget but that Rainshadow 2 looks pretty sweet, thanks for including the pic – it's a good reference.
Cuben is out of the question right now due to cost. I have a very strict budget allocated towards my tent purchase at this time since there are other pieces of gear I still need to get.Feb 9, 2012 at 8:05 pm #1837153
@kieranLocale: Seattle, WA
+1 for Rainshadow 2. Palatial and comfy fit for 3. Guilty pleasure when there's not as many people.Feb 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm #1837212
@kjkerstensLocale: BC Canada
I have used a Rainshadow 2 for several years and it works great with 3 people. Another option if you are ever considering adding a fourth person are the pyramids. An Oware (http://www.owareusa.com) 9X9 pyramid has lots of room for 3 or 4 people and only weights 24.5 oz. The floor-less feature is great for kids & dogs and perimeter netting will help keep out the bugs.
After making the switch to pyramids I have never looked back, they are storm worthy and easy to setup. The dont necessarily require a pole, I usually use my hiking poles but sometimes tie the top to a tree branch. Although not recommended I feel safe using my Caldera Cone (alcohol mode) in the floor-less shelter and have never had problems with insects or mice with the perimeter netting.
There are lots of options out there, good luck with your quest.
KevinFeb 9, 2012 at 11:35 pm #1837236
Go with a lunar duo. I think they have 3 varieties at the moment and can get a great tent for a good price.Feb 10, 2012 at 7:29 am #1837299
@sckuhnLocale: Mountainous Ohio
For a solo tent I have a TT Rainbow, I purchased a TT Double Rainbow for my 13yo daughter and I to use, then purchased a SMD Lunar Duo.
The TT Rainbow could hold 2 people IN A PINCH, but I wouldn't want to PLAN to do 2 people in it on a regular basis. I love it as my solo shelter.
The TT Double Rainbow is great our only complaint was the narrow head room. You could put 3 people in it in an emergency, but it wouldn't be comfortable. (It may be on gear swap soon…. not sure.)
Love our SMD Lunar Duo for 2 people – you could do 3 much more comfortably than in the Double Rainbow, but I wouldn't want to do it for too long.
The other factor to consider it that these are growing kids!! What works now for a 6 and 13yo won't work in a year or so for a 8 & 15yo….. My son went from about 5'5" to 5'11" and didn't gain much weight in the time frame I just listed!!! What you purchase now you should be able to use with 1-3 adult size persons…. too bad they grow up so fast!
I would suggest 2 tents, not 1 to over all the scenarios – a solo shelter and a 2 person (or 2+).Feb 10, 2012 at 12:32 pm #1837499
Larry De La BriandaisParticipant
@hitechLocale: SF Bay Area
If you are using the tent in my conditions (California in the Sierras in the summer) a regular rainbow will fit two adults. I use a tent with no more floor space (and less overall space) with my wife all the time. No problem. However, it doesn't rain while we are out. The tent is only intended to handle the occasional rain storm. We use a ray way syn quilt, so a little condensation wouldn't hurt.
However, the poster who pointed out that the kids will grow, and soon, it absolutely correct. Keep that in mind as you decide what to get.Feb 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm #1837573
Consider the SMD Lunar Duo. It has much better head room than the TT Double Rainbow due to the vertical side walls. I had the Double Rainbow and the only way two people could both sit up at the same time was to sit in the middle of the tent facing one another. The Lunar Duo feels much more roomy even though the floor space is likely similar to the DR.Feb 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm #1837591
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
I understand why you would want to only have to make one tent purchase but to have the flexibility to take two kids and also have a lightweight solo setup, I think you really want one solo shelter and one 2-person shelter.
I think this will give you comfortable and efficient solutions for any combination of you and the kids; you won't have to try to fit three of you in a 2-person tent, or two of you in a solo tent, nor will you have to carry a 2-person tent when you're solo.
Get as lightweight a solo tent as possible (how about a Contrail?) and your 13 yo will be able to carry it when you're all hiking together, while you carry the 2-person tent.
If you can't afford to buy two tents at once (which was the case for me), I'd buy the 2-person tent plus a cheap tarp. I made my tarp and ended up loving it and still use it. It took me 4 years before I finally decided to buy that solo tent. I bought a Contrail.Feb 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm #1837634
@brooklynkayakLocale: Atlantic North East
I agree, the Rainshadow 2 seems about perfect and weighs less than most solo tents.Feb 11, 2012 at 9:18 am #1837935
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
I have the Rainshadow 2. It’s a great tent for me because I am a flopper and it is huge. It does require a large space to pitch it correctly. You need to a good 2 feet in the back of the tent and 3-4 feet to the front to get a good angle on the setup. Exiting the front of the tent can be challenging with the 2 pole setup in the front (a single pole setup is a little flimsy). Using a trekking pole for the single pole setup is much better (except, I don’t usually use trekking poles). Setting up the Rainshadow 2 in windy conditions can be a bit tricky as there is a lot of surface area to the tent. You will need to tweak the guy lines and this might require you to re-stake the lines. The line to hold form the bathtub is the same that tension and angles the tent. There are also loops halfway down the bottom edge of the tent that can be staked down as well. The space is luxurious and the total pack weight is about 3 pounds with the two additional front tent poles. It is a true three person tent. Best regards – JonFeb 11, 2012 at 10:05 am #1837955
Six Moon Designs just introduced a new model of the Lunar Duo; the older model is now on sale for $50 off in the Bargain Bin. Why not pick up a Lunar Duo at a good price, then put the $50 saved toward a single-person model tarptent of your choice (maybe the TarpTent Rainbow)? That would give you a good, roomy two-person tent, plus a good, roomy one-person tent which could also sleep two in a real pinch – and the combination woudln't completely bust your budget.Feb 11, 2012 at 10:23 am #1837964
I really appreciate everyone's feedback…it helps greatly.
I actually decided that I will be purchasing both the SMD Lunar Duo and the SMD Lunar Skyscape. They're a great value and buying both will only set me back around $300, this leaves me enough in my budget to get the other gear I need to lighten my base weight even more.
@Diana – do you have a link to that sale? I just went to the SMD site and only saw the Lunar Duo for $260. If I can get that for $50 that would definitely allow me to get at least a TT solo.Feb 11, 2012 at 10:44 am #1837975
Heres the link your looking for but its not what you think. SMD had 1 Lunar Duo, it was usually around $300. This year they made a couple of little improvements I believe, and are selling the "old" LD for $260 which weighs 39oz. They now have the 2 "newer" models and they are LD Explorer which is 41 oz at $310 and the LD Outfitter which is 57 oz and $160. Hope this clears it up a bit for you.
was looking into a 2 person tent myself and was looking into LD myself. I do have a TT Rainbow for a single person tent. I think your idea is pretty good but I would probably go with the TT DR and the LD.Feb 11, 2012 at 11:55 am #1838021
Greg's got it right; I didn't mean to imply that the old model Lunar Duo costs only $50, but rather that Roan Moak has lowered its price by $50.
How much weight are you willing to carry? The newly released SMD Lunar Duo Outfitter model and the new SMD SkyScape Scout solo tent are made out of polyester instead of silnylon. They're appreciably heavier than the corresponding silnylon versions (although they still qualify as lightweight tents), but are also significantly cheaper. Buying those models will add a little over 2 1/2 pounds to your packs, but your total price for both tents would be less than $300. Maybe in this case a heavy wallet trumps a light pack?Feb 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm #1838027
I'm actually getting the polyester version of both tents (Skyscape and Outfiiter). I know I can save quite a few ounces if I get the silnylon versions of both tents, but you're right, a heavier wallet trumps a lighter pack in this case. My kids have their own packs and carry their own sleeping bags so that saves me on weight. At this point, depending on which tent I carry, my base weight will be as follows:
Solo approx. base weight: 11lbs to 13lbs.
Non Solo approx. base weight: 12lbs to 15lbs.
Counting food and water and depending on how many days I spend on the trail, I should be around 20lbs to 25lbs or so. Not ultralight but a lot better than carrying 40lbs with my current tents.Feb 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm #1838031
I think you've picked out a nice pair of tents, Angus. Super light weight is nice, but (heresy on BPL, I know) it doesn't always trump other concerns. Stretching your budget to the breaking point is never fun, and isn't fun ultimately the entire point of backpacking?
Have fun with your kids on all those upcoming trips your new, light tents will facilitate! A big wallet may buy you cuben fiber, but it can't buy those sorts of priceless family memories. :DFeb 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm #1838075
I appreciate the comments.
I definitely can go lighter if I go cuben, silnylon, or just a tarp setup. But I haven't graduated to that level just yet. Another person had asked where I was located and where I typically backpack. I'm from So Cal and typically roam around the San Gabriel's. I do plan on doing more trips up north towards Yosemite and SEKI areas this year.
I actually took my kids on their first backpacking trip a couple of weekends ago. If interested, you can read more on my blog.
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