May 9, 2010 at 1:40 am #1258717
So, which to go for? My shortlist is the following:
1. Terra Nova Quasar ETC
It is heavy, over 5kf, but the fabric seems very hard wearing. Disapointing ventilations options as all you can do is open the double doors for mesh. Not particularly roomy inside
Weight – 4.8KG
Cannot find data for square footage measurements. But vesitbule is 40cm longer than Trango 2 and rear vestibule of a similar size. As diagram shows it is narrowers than either of the below.
2. TNF Mountain 25
Bigger than the Quaser inside and light. When I was erecting it in the shop I thought it was very impressive the way it erects very tight with no adjusting (unlike the Marmot tents which as a result have not made it onto my shortlist. Lovely big vestibule as standard without weight penalty of Quasar and nice and light and in general felt more fun than the Quasar! Good ventilations options of double doors as well as 2 roof options.
Weight – 4.1KG
Floor Area – 3 sq m
Vestibule area – 0.7 sq m
2nd vestibule area -0.3 sq m
3. Mountain Hardware Trango 2
Massive! In terms of fabrics felt like a half way house between the above, seemed very hard wearing. Big window on front vestible and one in ceiling which I thought was quite fun. Unusual way of attaching to poles but sales assistant pointed out this was useful as in windy weather you can peg the inner to the floor and then start work on the poles without having to hold everything at once. This seemed like a decent point. THis is much bigger than the Quasar and still lighter and only a touch heavier than the TNF. A fairer assesment might be comparing this to the TNF 35, which weighs 4.54KG, has an internal area of 4.2 sq m and vestibules of 1.1 and and 0.3 respectively. The downside is that this option works out £100 more.
Weight – 4.44KG
Floor Area – 41.01 sq ft / 3.81 sq m
Vestibule area – 11.00 sq ft / 1.02 sq m
2nd vestibule area – 5.38 sq ft / 0.50 sq m
I hope you found this summary useful, its difficult to know how to play it. My heart liked the Trango and the TNF, they just seemed more feature laden and fun, which is really what is best for a base camp type tent, but the Quasar seemed utterely idiot proof and apparently has the best waterproofing. Can anyone give me any anedotal evidence on the waterproofing issue? I assume the others are absolutely fine, but the sales assistant said they would not be as good as Quasar. I never understand comments like that – either it is waterproof or it is not?
Finally is there anything else I should be giving some thought to?
ThanksMay 9, 2010 at 1:45 am #1607939
height="365">May 9, 2010 at 1:52 am #1607940
Robert BleanBPL Member
@bleanLocale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Have you considered the Hilleberg dome tents?May 9, 2010 at 2:25 am #1607943
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
Worth a look http://www.crux.uk.com/en/crux_tents.phpMay 9, 2010 at 4:23 am #1607945
Horribly heavy. Why not a tunnel tent such as the Macpac Olympus?
CheersMay 9, 2010 at 4:32 am #1607946
The Olympus is a tunnel, not a geodesic.
I heard bad things about the poles of the Crux…May 9, 2010 at 4:33 am #1607947
And Hillebergs in the UK are ludcriously expensive. Literally going to cost £200-300 more than these!May 9, 2010 at 5:36 am #1607950
Ron DBPL Member
I have one of the older Crux models and the poles were a issue, they upgraded them later. I replaced mine with eastons. The replacement poles were priced fairly reasonable. When I replaced mine the tent pole company felt that the lack of pre-bend was a major problem. The Crux gives you a gives you a bombproof tent for a little over 6 lbs. There was a review of it a few years back on this site.May 9, 2010 at 7:45 am #1607973
Ken T.BPL Member
Where do you plan on using it?May 9, 2010 at 10:40 am #1608021
big agnes has a new one. royal flush… wicked tent high price. vid on you tube
699.95 listMay 9, 2010 at 11:21 am #1608032
Mainly in Scottish Winter but in a year or two, the greater rangesMay 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm #1608050
Wayne BurkeBPL Member
Dont know if this helps but, there is a tnf mountain 25 on Geartrade for $313.20. says it has never been used.May 9, 2010 at 5:00 pm #1608125
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
On a high expedition, we had an assortment of tents, but the Mountain 25 and its brothers were well-represented. We had to have bombproof shelter, and the 2-man and 3-man versions did very well. Mine is the 3-man version, and we have squeezed four into it. For sure, it is my choice for high winds.
–B.G.–May 9, 2010 at 5:57 pm #1608146
> The Olympus is a tunnel, not a geodesic.
I can understand the desire for a bombproof tent of course.
What I don't understand is why it has to be a heavy geodesic when you can get the same stability from a lighter tunnel tent.
CheersMay 9, 2010 at 7:23 pm #1608171
@rcowmanLocale: Canadian Rockies
what about the Black diamond tents like the bombshelter, Stormtrack or tempest. Also Marmot Thor tents are basically the same as the mountain 25 and trango.May 9, 2010 at 8:14 pm #1608188
Considering your requirements, I can endorse the Mtn 25 based on personal experience and feedback from several friends and customers. I own one of these, and rely on it for winter use where I'm able to pull a sled, or on canoeing trips where weight is not a primary factor in gear selection and a little luxury improves the experience.
You will not likely find a stronger tent in its size and price range. Ordinarily I'd point out that the fly is traditional nylon and could be lighter if replaced with silnylon, but the abrasion resistance offered by the heavier fabric is essential for extended periods of high winds and blowing snow. Excellent space inside too, but that's also mandatory if you're stormbound and have lots of insulating gear and clothing.
Again, this is one HEAVY tent, but it will hold up very well both in extreme conditions and over its lifespan. In a past job I handled warranty processing for an independent outdoor retailer, and had a customer with a 15-20 year old version of the Mtn 25 which they had me send to TNF for a replacement zipper. It was a well-worn and tired looking piece of gear, but it was still storm worthy and their 'go-to' tent for camping on the BC coast (super wet).May 9, 2010 at 11:17 pm #1608230
Roger – how can I be sure of that? I don't see any tunnels on high mountain expeds? But I really respect you so would love to hear how.
PaulMay 9, 2010 at 11:26 pm #1608232
@rcowmanLocale: Canadian Rockies
you could probably find an exped Polaris tents in Europe for a good winter shelter.May 10, 2010 at 12:30 am #1608239
. .BPL Member
@biointegraLocale: Puget SoundMay 10, 2010 at 12:44 am #1608240
> I don't see any tunnels on high mountain expeds?
Oh yes, I know, so let's look at why and what this means for you.
Expeditions in the Himalayas etc usually have lots of people and lots of porters. You have only to look at a typical scene at Everest Base Camp. This has several consequences:
* Weight does not matter: porters are cheap
* Expeditioners like big tents so they can all sit together playing cards (or whatever)
* The expedition doesn't want to spend a fortune on expensive tents
Big heavy geodesics satisfy these criteria. But many of the tents you see on expeditions are 3 and 4 man geods. They don't have to be all that sleek: move up to 70+ d nylon and 10 mm poles and they will take an awful lot of abuse. Hey – there's even a bakery at EBC!
The TNF 2-man Mountain 25 is ~$500 but weighs nearly 4 kg
The 2-man Qasar is 450 UK pounds but weighs over 4.3 kg
The 2-man Trango 2 is ~US$525 but weighs over 4.1 kg
The 2-man Macpac Olympus is 3.1 kg but it's NZ$900 bought in New Zealand: a bit more when bought overseas. That's a lot more dollars.
The double-skin geods usually require you to pitch the inner tent first and then to throw the fly over it. That's OK in fine weather, and who cares at 7,000 m in a snow storm anyhow? But try pitching one in seriously wet weather: the inner tent will fill up with water while you are securing it. Pity about that! And since the guy ropes are attached to the fly while the rather long poles are attached to the inner, embarrassing things can (and do) happen in a gale.
The single skin geods pitch more easily, but very few have good ventilation so they do collect condensation. And rarely do they even have a vestibule. Hard to get in and out in the rain.
Have a wander around YouTube. There are quite a few amusing videos of people trying to pitch a geod in a strong wind. They have a lot of trouble trying to hold the inner tent up without snapping poles while someone else tries to secure the (wildly flapping) fly over the top.
A tunnel tent has short hoop poles, and shorter poles are stronger. A good tunnel tent is pitched fly-first; the better ones have 'integral pitching' – both inner and outer at once. Rain does not get in because the fly is always there. A good tunnel tent has the poles attached to the fly, which makes it significantly more storm-proof. It is quite easy for one man to pitch a tunnel in a howling storm without risk. (How do I know? … ) And they have good vestibules.
So why are there so many geods and domes on the market in America? Dunno – I suspect cheap free-standing pop-ups started the fashion and the geods were a natural progression. But go to somewhere like Northern Europe where they know about bad weather, and you find the Hillebergs and similar with their tunnels.
Of course, our neighbours the Kiwis (New Zealanders) will simply smile at all this, because they have their own little weather system down there. The Maori name for NZ is 'the land of the long white cloud'; visitors sometimes translate that as 'the land of the long black never-disappearing cloud'. Some places in Australia have similar weather: the Main Range during winter for instance. 100 kph winds (with white stuff) are quite common in both countries, but the weather can get worse…
A final thought. What happens to a geod when it loses all its guy ropes? Embarrassing – a lot of flex. What happens to a tunnel when it loses all its guy ropes? Not much if the wind is any where near end-on. Yes, field tested … :-)
Sooo… what an expedition buys for the porters to carry, and what an individual should buy to carry himself, can be a bit different. What should YOU buy? That's up to you of course (and your budget!).
I was just challenging the apparent assumption that only geods can be bomb-proof.
CheersMay 10, 2010 at 6:10 am #1608263
Thank you Roger. Very thought provoking. Some comments:
1. What are the excellent tunnel designs on the market besides Hilleberg? They are just so expensive here in the UK. Particularly interested in those that pitch together.
2. What weight do you think I should be aiming for, then?
3. I require a comfortably big vestibule. For example I will probably camp ay, say the base of a Scottish Mountain for a week for various mixed climbing escapades without moving my base. Can a big vesitbule really happen plausably in a tunnel with strong winds?May 10, 2010 at 6:26 am #1608268
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
I've been camping in the Scottish Highlands, summer and winter, for over 30 years, and have never bought a full geo tent. I've used everything from the old cotton outer Force 10 A pole, to my present Stephensons 2R in winter.
As Roger has said, trying to pitch a 'stand alone' tent can be almost impossible in very high winds. A tunnel tent is much easier to pitch, especially when solo. Ease of pitching in wind is much more important to me than a tents ability to handle a big snow load.
I wouldn't worry too much about snow losding in Scotland. The huge dumps that fall in a couple of hours elsewhere, are pretty unusual in Scotland. A quick shake of a tunnel tent will get rid of most snow.
Tunnel tents are noisier, and move about more in high winds. If you are of a nervous disposition, ear plugs and a nice single malt takes care of that. :)May 10, 2010 at 6:39 am #1608270
Chris TownsendBPL Member
@christownsendLocale: Cairngorms National Park
I'm going to disagree with Roger and Mike here. I've pitched geodesic domes in very high winds and pouring rain many times and never had a problem. Pegging down one end of the tent stops it blowing it away and with any decent design the inner isn't unprotected long enough for it to get very wet let alone fill with water.
That said, tunnels are lighter weight and can be as wind resistant if pitched end on to the wind. As Mike says they are noiser and do flap more. And if the wind changes direction and comes from the sides they can shake.
Geodesics aren't only used on expeditions because of the size. It's also because they can withstand heavy snowfall and are easier to pitch than tunnels on snow ledges and in rocky terrain. I remember a talk by Alan Hinkes in which he showed geodesics on a snow ledge high in the Himalayas that had been left for a few days while the climbers went higher during which they were buried under several feet of new snow. Once dug out the tents were still standing. Tunnels would have collapsed.
All that said I would only choose a geodesic for extreme conditions. Tunnels are lighter and will cope with almost everything. And I'd go for Hilleberg tunnels both for design and durability – I used them when I lead ski tours in places like Greenland and Spitsbergen and they withstood some horrendous weather.May 10, 2010 at 6:45 am #1608275
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
I was basing my opinion on watching others trying to pitch full geos in high winds, Chris. I wouldn't want to do it on my own. Like i said, i've never felt the need to own one myself. I had a semi-geo a few years ago, and found it much more difficult to pitch than a tunnel in high winds.May 10, 2010 at 7:17 am #1608282
@pugslieLocale: SLO County
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