2 Person Ultralight Tent
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Jan 26, 2005 at 9:48 am #1215777
Ok, I’m currently in the market for a new 2 person ultralight tent and I thought I would see what the forum has to say.
My background: I am 25. I live and do most of my hiking in the northeast. My trips range from weekend jaunts to multi week long trips. I went from a 45-60lb total pack weight to 20-30 depending on the circumstances. I can easily get my summer base pack weight under 8lbs. I almost always hike with my girl friend who has similar hiking habits.
We have gone through several ultralight tents in our process of going lighter.
We started with a single wall Marmot Area 51. My experience with the performance of the Area 51 has been nothing but positive, however I feel it is more tent than we need in terms of size and weight and can cause difficulties when trying to pitch in small areas, sharing tent platforms, etc.
Our next tent purchase was the Golite Trig 2. I generally like single wall tents. I consider myself familiar with condensation reducing techniques, but no matter how we set up the trig 2 condensaion was too much of a problem. I felt the low internal volume vs minimal air flow (especially with the vents down in inclement weather)just made the tent too susceptible to condensation in the environment we used it in. Not too mention its tricky set up.
We then purchased a Big Agnes Seedhouse 2 UL. I felt that this tent was very close to working for us. It had lots of bells and whistles for an ultralight tent: waterproof zippers, free standing, etc. It was also a double wall tent so there goes the condensation problem right? Our problem was the design of the vestibule. When its raining you can’t enter and exit without allowing the rain to come into the tent and when condensation gets on the vistibule and then you unzip water gets into the tent and gets on you. It was also a little bit too narrow for us to sleep in comfort.
I would like a tent that has decent condensation management, allows you to get in and out without allowing rain into the tent, and weights somewhere in the 3lb range.
I have been considering the MSR Missing Link, but would appreciate any and all sugestions. Price isn’t a very big concern. If you have any thoughts in general I would like to hear them.
And yes….I might be considered a gear head…..:)
PS. Does it seem to anybody else that the majority of reviews for UL 2 person tents still tend to be done by single people? This wouldn’t be a problem except that condensation issues would seem to be proportional to the number of people you have exhaling……
TravisJan 26, 2005 at 10:33 am #1335283
I have been on a similar quest and decided on the Golite Hex 3. Here’s what appealed to me:
1. 4 season – I enjoy the outdoors in all seasons including backcountry skiing in the Alberta Rockies. The Hex is one of the few ulralight options for 4 seasons.
2. Pitching ease – simplicity and fast set up times mean I can spend more time on the move and less time fiddling trying to get a taunt pitch ( I currently have a Silshelter which takes a little time to set up right).
3. Stability – from all reports this shelter can handle some serious weather. I freqently find myself in exposed sites above treeline.
4. Flexibilty – bring the included pole or use linked trekking poles or hang it from a tree; use a nest or use a bivy sack or ground cloth; this flexibility was important for me. When I’m making and breaking camp each day I’ll just use the trekking poles but if a set up a base camp for a few days of scrambling or skiing (where I’ll need my poles) I’ll use the included poles. In winter I can use it with my eVENT bivy sack for a pretty weatherproof set up. In summer below treeline, I’ll just use a lightweight groundcloth.
5. Space – I like the idea of being able to pack up in the morning under the shelter of the Hex when its raining. Also, although I often travel alone, I sometimes climb with buddies or hike with my wife.
6. Shape – it seems to my the teepee shape (a natural chimney) and the large interior volume should help to control condensation. Any that develops should just run harmlessly to the ground because of the steep walls. And a teepee just seems to “fit” in Albarta.
The Hex 3 seems to cover all the bases well. Although you can get some lighter shelters, I think the Hex 3 gives you the most bang for the buck (and the ounce). Any shelter is a compromise but this one seems to strike the best balance on the criteria that are important to me.
All this being said, I haven’t yet used my Hex 3 (in fact, I don’t even have it in my little hands yet). It should arrive sometime this week and if it does I plan on a two day showshoe jaunt with my nephew. I’ll let you know how it goes.Jan 26, 2005 at 10:43 am #1335284
I like the Hex 3, but worry that like the area 51 it will just be too large.
In the summer time do you see using the hex three with the optional screen insert, or with a groundcloth, or some other combo?
Whoops I see you mentioned your summer plans, sorry for not reading more carefully.Jan 26, 2005 at 1:28 pm #1335287Dane BurkeMember
@daneLocale: Western Washington
The Hex 3 rocks, you should definitely consider it. Considering what you get (a large, sturdy, 4 season shelter), the weight is about as low as you will find. You mentioned concern over it’s size…one advantage of it’s floorless design is that you don’t need a flat, preened, 7′ by 7′ area to pitch it. If there is a large rock, a log, a bush….just pitch over it, and there will still be enough room for two plus gear. I actually look forward to finding a spot with a rock or log in it, so I have something to sit on under my shelter. Cooking in it, while not recommended by the manufacturer, is certainly much safer than cooking in a tent or a small, low tarp. If you bring trekking poles already you can skip the center pole and rig it with those, saving even more weight. From what I hear this sacrifices little of the shelter’s integrity, if it all.
This will be my shelter whenever I expect conditions too harsh for my level of skill with a poncho-tarp, or when I need to share a shelter.
If I am worried about bugs I will use a BMW Vapr Bivy, which will also provide me with a floor, add to the warmth of my sleep system, and keep my sleeping quilt and other gear clean. A head net and wind shells could be used with a ground sheet as well, although probably not as comfortably.
I plan on using the Hex 3 as my shelter on my cycling tour this summer, from Seattle to San Francisco, because it is large enough to fit my bike inside, either standing up or laying on it’s side.
I really feel that the Hex 3 is an ideal shelter if you need more room, stability, and weather proofness than a flat tarp will give you. I can’t think of any situation I expect to face in my future of cycling, backpacking and mountaineering that the Hex 3 wouldn’t perform beautifully with. (Except for windy sand camping, the only situation I can think of where GoLite’s optional bath-tub floor would be advantageous)Jan 27, 2005 at 7:11 am #1335295
What about black diamond’s mega light? How does it compare to the hex 3?Jan 27, 2005 at 8:49 am #1335297
I thought about the Mega Light too but decided against it because:
1. its square – the hexagonal design of the golite shelter should more effective at spilling wind. Also, because the Hex’s 6 panels have less area than the Mega Light’s 4 panels, it should be easier to achieve a tight pitch.
2. its larger – the total coverage area of the Mega Light is 81 square feet.
3. ventilation – the Hex has 2 vents the Mega Light has 1.
4. flexibility – although I don’t plan to use it, the Hex has the nest option.Jan 27, 2005 at 9:31 am #1335298Colin ThomasMember
What about the Alphamid from Oware. It is lighter (18-19oz) than both and would take up less floor space. Not as good in the wind as the other 2 because one side is completely vertical but if you select a camp with a wind break you should be fine. Ryan seems to like using it in the winter over the Hex and megalite.
Look at these trip photos and comments
http://ftp.backpackinglight.com/galleries/Beartooths04/index3.htmlJan 27, 2005 at 10:06 am #1335299
The Alphamid is a possible alternative but I really think it is a solo shelter. The Oware site describes it as “very roomy for one and usable for two”.Jan 27, 2005 at 10:37 am #1335300
It looks to me like the Alphamid would be too small for two people. Does anyone have any experience with using the Oware Alphamid primarily for a two person shelter?Jan 27, 2005 at 1:27 pm #1335302Jim ColtenBPL Member
disclaimer: Most of my single wall tenting is in MN, Apr thru Oct
I’d go with a TarpTent Cloudburst, or perhaps the new Squall 2. The original Squall is lighter but vertical clearance on the edges is marginal when used for 2.
I have only found one way to eliminate most condensation …. camp in a dry climate. But that is not an option in the USA outside of the west. So I’ve decided to just deal with it.Feb 3, 2005 at 4:32 am #1335532James GodseyMember
This may be what you need, 2 person, 1 pound 15 ounces.
http://www.wanderlustgear.com/tents_nomad242.htmFeb 3, 2005 at 8:00 am #1335537Colin ThomasMember
I do not want to come out negative here or put down Kurt’s company but if you do your research you will find many unsatisfied customers. Some people paid for their tents but never got them and some finally got them well over a year later. When they did arrive people were happy with the product though. Perhaps things are running smother over there, who knows.
Search on these sites for info on Wanderlust.
http://www.backpacking.net/bbs.htmlFeb 3, 2005 at 2:48 pm #1335543James GodseyMember
My suggestion was not meant as an eandorsement. Like you I hit alot of trail forums etc. and have read good and bad. The bad is almost always wait times. I am sure there are folks who were not 100% satisfied but I think they are the exception and not the rule. Many times when purchasing custom gear whether it be a tent or a custom leather holster from a 1 man operation the wait list can be long. I have waited as long as 9 mos. for custom items.Feb 8, 2005 at 7:06 pm #1335601Ross BleakneyBPL Member
It looks like the Wanderlust has an internal pole in the sleeping area. This could be a problem if you decide to zip your sleeping bag into your partner’s. I would suggest a six moons’ tent (http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/) or a Shires’ tarptent (http://www.tarptent.com/). Personally, I am leaning towards the six moons only because it looks like they have a better ventilation system. Other than that, the tents are very similar, although tarptent seems to have a more pointed design (greater difference between head and foot).
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