May 7, 2005 at 6:38 pm #1216131
REI Has a 20% off sale that runs from May 6-15, and I’ve been waiting for the right time to buy a tent (or similar shelter). This is it!! What’s the best tent out there?? Why??? I’m 6’2″ and usually travel solo, so space is somewhat of a consideration. BTW—I’ve started sewing a little, and I’ve decided that i am NOT going to make my own tent (not yet, anyways).May 7, 2005 at 7:06 pm #1337153AnonymousGuest
So–you’re asking for “the best tent that is available “from REI ? This narrows it down a bit.
Are you looking for a 3 season tent? 4 season?
You would be using it where? Do you prefer freestanding tents ? Are you looking for the lightest possible tent with possible sacrifices in the areas of durability and/or storm-worthiness?May 7, 2005 at 9:24 pm #1337154
All I need is a 3-season tent. I’ll be using it mostly in New England (NH, VT, ME, CT, and NY). Both freestanding and non-freestanding tents are fine. It must be durable, regardless of any increase in weight. Preferably under $250. I intend to have the tent for many years.May 7, 2005 at 9:28 pm #1337155Mike StoresundMember
If you are looking only at REI they have the North Face Tadpole 23, 3-Season, 2-person (One in reality) tent for $139 during this sale. With the footprint you can use just the rain-fly over it, supported by the poles. Almost 5 pounds for fly, tent and footprint.
They also have the “Gimme Shelter” for $10 less, but it is a floor and cover only. It does not have the tent with netting. You will need to use your treking poles as internal supports. Not including poles it’s about 3 pounds.
With your requirements, I would go with the Tadpole.May 7, 2005 at 11:14 pm #1337156
I have a Big Agnes Seedhouse2 SL, used only once, that I am willing to part with. This tent is not to be confused with the less expensive, slightly heavier, non-super light, standard Seedhouse 2 tent, also from Big Agnes.
Used only once, but you will never know it – looks brand spankin’ new, but honesty compells me to tell you that it was used once.
Generally a highly regarded tent. To the best of my knowledge, no 2-man, double-wall tent is lighter. The dbl-wall will be appreciated in the humid CT & NewEngland environment.
While by no means a large tent, I really wanted something smaller since my wife decided she’s not really “into” spending the night out in the forest.
org. price $300 (you pay what you want for it & think is fair – no reasonable offer refused – I live in CT, so it’s easy for you to obtain it). I bought it on sale, a bit over a year ago, from EMS, if I recall correctly.
I only paid $200 for it which was a very good price. So, you will pay less. Not much of a business man, am I?
max. wt.3lb 9oz (this is the SL -super light, not the standard, slightly heavier Seedhouse2)
min. wt (w/Ti stakes) 3lb 4oz
I have some spare Ti stakes that I can give you with the purchase. It’s nearly always a good idea to stake down a freestanding tent just in case the wind kicks up. You don’t want to become a piece of “tumbleweed”.
all mesh body w/rain fly
all no-see-um mesh = great for those hot summer nights in CT, or perhaps for the Grand Canyon or another hot, arid environment.
rainfly for the inevitable CT rain.
a small 2-man (really a 1-man plus gear, or a 1.5man tent as some would call a tent this size it) – 28sq ft.
84″ long; 52″ wide at head & 42″ wide at foot
38″ max height, so you should be able to sit up in it with no problem.
I forget the spec for min ht at the foot end, but I think it’s approx. 28″.
I think that I could locate the BigAgnes footprint for it, not sure. if i find it, no charge for it (I think I paid fullprice, $50, for it – never used).
you can also just use the footprint & fly for an even lighter “fast-fly” setup, but you sacrifice the “bugless” aspects & will need to bathe in “bug dope” or use a small head sized bugnet, or bivysack with bug net.
small 5.5 sq. ft. vestibule
good stealth color (the SL has a drab fly color – not the two-tone standard Seedhouse fly which has some red in it if I recall correctly).
I believe this to be a deal (steal???) for what is generally regarded as an excellent tent from a manufacturer with a well respected name.
Can anyone out there with more experience (or just opinions based upon what you’ve read elsewhere) steer Frank either towards or away from this tent? I want him to be satisfied if he decides to purchase it from me. So, let us both know what you think, please.
At the same time, I purchased another tent from EMS – also on sale. I thought that perhaps I would use it in the backyard with the grandkids, but my daughter is moving to CA.
I don’t recommend this tent to you, but I only paid $90 (on sale) for it & it’s yours for $50. Just in case you really want to go easier on your wallet, but harder on your back. It’s heavy at ~5lb 9oz.
It’s a freestanding, combo single-double wall EMS Eclispse two-man tent with integrated fly. Supposedly a very easy tent to set-up since it’s freestanding & no separate fly to deal with.
However, I find the long poles and slightly tight pole sleeves (not nearly as tight as some tents) a tad cumbersome.
It also has two doors & two mini-vestibules, some mesh in the dbl-wall portions & fairly good ventilation features.
It’s ~33.75 sq. ft. – very roomy for one. Good head height. I think the length was around 90″ or so, & the width was ~54″ – if I recall correctly. Head ht. is somewhere around 42″ or so. Sorry, my “old-timers” is actin’ up, but you can check the specs on the EMS website and see a pic of it. Just search it for Eclipse.
This tent should be quite durable based upon the weight of the fabric. However, this is an assumption on my part.
Mine is blue-gold combo.
Let me know.
pjMay 8, 2005 at 8:41 am #1337159Mike StoresundMember
You have me sold… If Frank doesn’t buy it (Big Agnes), I will be in CT the first week of June to drop off my son for the summer and I’ll buy it from you!May 8, 2005 at 8:56 am #1337160Wayne HeckmanMember
Answering your question strictly as asked,SD Clip Flash Lite would probably be the answer. It is still with us after I do not know how many years on the market and still seems to be competitive spec. wise.I have one of the older blue models that my daughter just returned to me after she upgraded to a REI quarterdome (same sale),very nice tent. But dads beat up old tent is still very useful.In todays market there seems to be many excellent choices. Given your size it might be wise to go to the store and do a lay down test to see what is most comfortable for you.May 8, 2005 at 9:52 am #1337164
Thanks for replying.
Let’s give Frank a little time to read & respond.
According to some of his posts, he has had computer problems a couple of times in the past few months.
So if He doesn’t post back or contact me at my below mentioned email address, within…let’s say… a week, or so, then it’s yours – same price, etc.
If you don’t mind me giving you a suggestion, just in case you’re not familiar with this tent, do a web search & find out everything you can about the tent.
Please let me know if you change your mind after doing some research.
You, and Frank if he’s interested, can reach me at
pajoh0 (that’s the numeral zero, not the letter ‘O’) at yahoo dot com, so…
pjMay 8, 2005 at 10:12 am #1337165
I’ve heard of the Sierra Designs ClipFlashlight. Is that the tent you’re referring to?
My boss & two co-workers all use the SD ClipFlashlight – they rave about them.
However, even given the size of the tent, two of them consider it to be a one-man tent – but then they don’t like to cozy up in a tent (i.e share a shelter) unless it’s with their wives. They consider the huge 6-man dome tent my boss also has to be only a 3-4 man tent.
My boss thought that my Seedhouse2 SL was too small for him. He has been spoiled by the size of his SD Clipflashlight. However, he loved the all no-see-um mesh body, the weight, & small packed size of the Seedhouse2 SL – considerably smaller & lighter than his SD ClipFlashlight.
The tent has been around for years. Lighter than most tents its size (~32 sq ft, or so – maybe a bit larger). Better head height than most (~42″ ???). They seem easy to set up.
It’s quite a bit larger than the Big Agnes Seedhouse2 SL & just about a pound heavier even though it is NOT freestanding.
If one is in the market for a tent of this size, I suppose that it would not be a bad choice.
Based upon my boss’s comments about the two tents, I’m guessing that one should pick it over the Seedhouse2 SL if they don’t primarily want a freestanding tent & they need more room than the 28sq ft. of the Seedhouse2 SL and don’t mind carrying the extra pound.
Hope this info helps.May 8, 2005 at 10:27 am #1337166
Hey pj – What you’re telling me about sounds like a steal! I’m also impressed with your honesty to say that you bought it for $200.00 How about $150.00 for it (*rabidly salivating over here)? I’m willing to compromise, of course…just that I’m not at all a wealthy man, and I’d certainly love to have a tent of such a high caliber. Drop me an e-mail at [email protected], and we can talk about it. Thanks!! – Frank.May 8, 2005 at 11:59 am #1337167
Consider yourself to be the proud owner of a used only 1x ’04 Model Big Agnes Seedhouse2 SL.
$150 was the exact number I had in mind as a fair price. You must be a mind reader. I’ll look for the footprint & the Ti stakes.
Please email me at [email protected] & we’ll set up the details of our transaction. BTW, that’s the numeral zero in my email address, not the letter ‘O’.
I’ll also send you an email.
Mike, please email me also. I have some other info, unrelated to this tent, that you might appreciate. Also, just in case Frank doesn’t want it after seeing it, I can reply to your email to let you know.
Many thanks all,
pjMay 8, 2005 at 3:19 pm #1337171Wayne HeckmanMember
Sorry my mistake, Sierra Designs, not North Face. Also not implying best current tent design just that it has stood the test of time and has never let me down under many conditions. Plus it is not very expensive.May 8, 2005 at 4:02 pm #1337172jacob thompsonSpectator
I had a clipflash light, i sold it a few months back. I actually bought the MSR zoid as well and found it to be superior for my tastes. the clip 2 i would say really is only a 1 man tent with gear. I has a height X breadth issue i think. the MSR frame is much wider at the top and has a better entrance system. the SD is really annoying to use the single entry and does prevent a lot of breeze. whereas the zoids use almost full mesh. the bathtub floor is also a much better feature. but you can get away for just over 2lbs by using just the floor and fly set up. ive also had less condensation issues with the zoid maybe because it has the vent at the top, but as we all know condensation is a finnicky thing.May 9, 2005 at 9:22 am #1337183
I sent email to the address in a prev. post of yours.
Let me know if you rcv’d it.
pjMay 11, 2005 at 5:35 am #1337218
Had owned (& since sold) the SD Clip Flashlight on sale – bought it b/c 3 co-workers owned & raved ’bout them (& b/c it was on sale). Sold it to another co-worker.
Not enought mesh. Too hot during long hot&humid summer nights. Way too big for one!!! Otherwise, it seemed like an excellent tent – lighter than most anything else in its class & easy to set up.
Bought the SD Ultra LightYear on sale (yeah…i’m a ‘sucker’ for a sale). Liked it better only b/c it was very light. Gettin’ in & out was not a problem – mainly b/c I’m, let’s just say dimunitive, or more P.C., vertically challenged. But still too hot inside, plus the fly didn’t come all the way to the ground & in heavy rains (like we often get in CT) impact splatters would enter the tent under the fly – not a lot, but still…
Sold it to one of my co-workers who loved his Clip, but wanted to lighten up. He loves it, but has recently had a custom made sil-bottom/Pertex-top bivy sack made to keep his bag dry due to condensation & impact splatters
Then bought a MSR Zoid1. Loved it. More mesh. Very Nice. Bit heavier than the UltraLtYr. However…
still a tad bigger & heavier than I was hopin’ for, so…bought a MicroZoid. Easier to get into/outof than the UltraLightyear due to the door config. & packs a little lighter than the UltraLtYr. Still love it, though it’s prob. a bit small for six-footers.
Have now moved onto bivies. I know…not for everyone. For me, maybe they’re sort of an instinctual “den” kind of thing (or is it “womb”???)!!! Don’t mind the fabric on my face when I sleep. They sure are quick & simple to “set-up” & “take-down”!!! Only thing lighter is a tarp (I have some very light bivy sacks suitable for use as a primary shelter).
Maybe one day, …when I grow up and am one of the big boys…, tarps will be my shelter of choice.May 11, 2005 at 4:38 pm #1337247Glenn RobertsMember
@garkjrLocale: Southwestern Ohio
Paul, I agree with you about the Zoids. Although the Microzoid was a bit too inconvenient to fold myself into (remember our running banter elsewhere about being twins except for height, weight, and build?), I have a Zoid 1 that I really like. (In all fairness, I’m about to reinforce/replace it with a Hubba – virtually same weight, a little more headroom, and freestanding, which is necessary since I sometimes camp on solid rock at Isle Royale and Kentucky’s Red River Gorge.
Anyhow, the Zoid series is well-thought-out with lots of mesh, easy entry and exit, and a decent vestibule. It’s also long enough to store my empty (or near-empty) Vapor Trail pack at the foot end without having it interfere with my sleeping pad. It pitches easily, tautly, and quickly. Definitely a tent I’d recommend. (If I can bring myself to part with it, mine may go to a Scout troop, so they won’t have to carry an extra two-man tent when they take an odd number of people out.)
I’ve also used bivy sacks successfully, and like you found that the fabric on my face didn’t bother me. I’ve pretty much given them up; the one I really like (Integral Designs Salathe) plus a small siltarp weigh as much as the Zoid 1, and have a lot more fiddle factor when setting up a stormworthy shelter (ie, one you can sit up, cook, and pack in.) Like someone else said in a post, fiddling is fine for a day or so, but after that simplicity is worth an extra few ounces.May 28, 2005 at 11:00 am #1337665cushing hamlenMember
This is a reply/question to Glenn Roberts re. the Zoid series. Glenn – I bought a micro zoid late last summer with intent of using in the BWCA in the Fall….but life got in the way, and so have not had it out yet. The tight space of a bivy does not bother me….but condensation using one in a non-alpine environment would kill down insulation. So the Zoid seems like a really good compromise between space, weight, and reasonable ventillation. My question is this: when test-setting up in my back yard, I note that the fly on the the non-vestibule side drapes against the inner mesh wall…and fear this would kill the air flow & increase condensation. Have you noticed this (either on the micro, or the zoid-1)? I am thinking of sewing on a small guy-out point in the middle of that side to separate it from the inner wall & increase ventilation. Any thoughts?May 28, 2005 at 3:01 pm #1337668Glenn RobertsMember
@garkjrLocale: Southwestern Ohio
I haven’t noticed that problem with the Zoid 1; I no longer have the Micro Zoid (it went to a co-worker’s daughter, who was trying to gather her own set of gear.) I’m not positive that it doesn’t occur; I’ve just not noticed it, which indicates that if it does touch, it hasn’t caused a problem. The extra guy-out sure couldn’t hurt, though.May 29, 2005 at 8:24 am #1337672cushing hamlenMember
Thank you for your comments Glenn. I always noticed on my old Timberline that if I did not guy our the sides sufficiently I would get condensation on the inside sheet…and the structure of that side of the microzoid is very similar. I’ll probably do it, as the weight penalty is meaured in fractions of an ounce.Jul 6, 2005 at 11:27 am #1338728Phil SimcichMember
Poncho hooch with a mosquito bar attatched, a crummier poncho as a groundcloth (heavy duty space blanket in winter).
Room for two, lots of breeze, multi-use, I stayed dry under one through the squalls before Hurricane Hugo, and with a good sleeping bag and ground pad, I’ve slept in one on a Korean mountaintop in winter.
PhilJul 7, 2005 at 9:42 am #1338754John DavisMember
@jndavisLocale: Isle of Man
I don’t know what the best tent is from REI at less than $250, and I guess we would all define best differently. All I can do is say that I was happy enough for eight years with a Tadpole, despite its inability to keep out horizontal rain. (The flysheet is too high.)
My current tent, used for a mere six years, is a Hilleberg Akto (original shape). The Hilleberg makes superb use of space and has a vertically sided inner so the door can be left open during rain – important in Britain.
Best??? The Akto is very good, without a doubt, but I wouldn’t use it high-level in winter. A 90mph Lakeland breeze was the final straw for the Tadpole.Jul 7, 2005 at 7:21 pm #1338769Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
This ain’t going to be an all time best tent, but, we do have a solo hooped tent that’s going to production soon. Hoop tent (2 hoops), single wall, silnylon floor, epic canopy, big side door for views, carbon fiber poles (an option), lots of interior pockets to stay organized. Bigger than a microzoid/zoid 1.
With CF poles + body weight is < 26 oz and requires 3 stakes, no guylines. More coming in August. Stay tuned. Prototypes in the field now.Jul 7, 2005 at 8:59 pm #1338770kevin davidsonMember
@kdesignLocale: Mythical State of Jefferson
absolutely cool news. hope the carbon poles are
up to mtneering standards (not fibraplex). I would love to hear your reasons for choosing Epic. Taller than a Zoid 1 would be nice.
between this and the packs,you are coming up with all kinds of ways to separate me from my sheckels.Jul 8, 2005 at 4:33 am #1338774carlos fernandez rivasBPL Member
@pitagorinLocale: Galicia -Spain
absolutely cool news………..yes ..but can we expect a reasonable price ??????Jul 17, 2005 at 10:30 am #1339155
Hey pj – Would you still be interested in selling me that BA Seedhouse 1SL that we talked about so long ago?? That was an above-excellent price that you offered to me, and the tent has been haunting my dreams (ok, maybe not at night, but daydreams nonetheless). I still need a new tent (my old one is way too heavy), and it seems to me that a BA Seedhouse 1SL would be perfect… Please e-mail me at [email protected] . Thanks – Frank.
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