Apr 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm #1288547
Companion forum thread to:Apr 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm #1865833
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
As always your articles are outstanding.
I look forward to the other parts :-)
StephenApr 10, 2012 at 3:01 pm #1865836
@nzbazzaLocale: New Zealand
Good to see the workhouse of New Zealand tents getting a mention, mine has saved my butt more than than a few times on some dodgy exposed tentsite above the bushline.Apr 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm #1865842
@jdw01776Locale: Southeast Texas
Very timely — I am looking for a tent to use in more serious conditions. I hope Part 2 will be available next week…Apr 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm #1865847
Great to finally read this. Very good explanations, charts, and photos as usual. It will be interesting to see if there is anything in the U.S. that can work as well at whatever price (and is not an antique).Apr 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm #1865871
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Great article, especially the flying tents! Just a note, though, that cooking and eating in your tent in many parts of North America is an open invitation to the local bear population to come share it with you. Especially not a good idea in grizzly bear country! Not a problem in mid-winter, except that there are liable to be residual food smells on the tent when the bears emerge from hibernation in the spring.
I'm really interested in seeing the specific brands of tents–other than your own–in Part 2!Apr 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm #1865876
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Great article Roger, Thanks
A lot of gems here, like the pre bent angles that make the poles stronger than if you just bend a long pole into a curved shape.
Does anyone make a tent like yours that people can just buy?
I have to go back and re-read this a couple times…Apr 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm #1865896
– -K.T.- –Participant
"It's just that I do not have the luxury of guaranteed wind-free sunny weather where I walk."
Where is this hiking Utopia? Does it exist?
Free standing a scam? Well I have always looked at it this way. A freestanding tent allows you to erect it before staking to the ground. A non free standing tent needs stakes to be erected. Video evidence that campers at festivals and car campers are best suited for fair weather conditions is always entertaining if not necessarily a good comparison to skilled backcountry use.Apr 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm #1865918
Inaki Diaz de EturaParticipant
@inaki-1Locale: Iberia highlands
> When the shape of the pole is constrained by the fabric around it, then the design is strong. Anything else is weak by comparison
in this regard, what would be the effect of having the poles outside the outer fly? Particularly those that are clipped like in the Tarptent Scarp or this tunnel. In these instances, I can imagine the strain on the poles being very different from a continuous sleeve integrated in the fly.Apr 10, 2012 at 6:58 pm #1865949
Yes, I looked at the Vaude Ferret, but Vaude did not want to play as they said (as far as I can remember) that they were not selling to the USA. A pity, as it is interesting.
The clips: NOT as good as a sleeve, but if there are enough of them along the length of the pole they might be functional enough. The load would be distributed, just not as well as with a sleeve. I would not want to trust them under extreme conditions without some serious testing. Safely pitching a tunnel with clips in a storm would be a little harder to do than with a sleeve imho, but I would suggest the same technique I outlined, rather than trying to put the poles over the tent and pull the clips up. The latter could easily result in grief.
Why would they use clips like this instead of a sleeve? It's easier (cheaper) to sew in a few tapes than a full sleeve. In my personal opinion they have sacrificed reliability (under extreme conditions) for price, but I am maybe biased? (Who, me???)
Perhaps I am being too harsh. Perhaps the tent is simply not intended to handle really extreme mountain conditions. Perhaps they are aiming more at a price point (about UKP400, about US$500) than at a rather small market segment. Well, fair enough, the company has to stay afloat. To be sure, it would handle milder conditions reasonably well, although I would want to check how well the seams are sealed around the tapes. Bit sad if every tape leaked through the fly! I do note they are using tape sealing, so it may be that they have looked after that problem properly. That would be nice.
How would this tent compare to the other tents at the bottom of that Vaude page? Well, again imho, it would beat all of them by a long mile. The Taurus tents would flatten in high wind. Be a bit scary. The other Power tents (Lizard and Tokee) do look like copies of some well-known American designs, don't they? OK in fine weather, but again not for high wind.
The tent does not have a lot of room inside or in the vestibule. On the other hand, it is very light, and it seems to have good ventilation. If you don't want to go any higher in price, it could be worth trying. I'd creep up on the extreme conditions carefully. In fact, I would love to test one myself.
PS: hum – this seems to have turned into a micro-review of a tent I have not touched. Ah well. Treat with caution.Apr 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm #1865951
Bears – yes, I know.
Maybe I should say 'I do not want to know' about bears? :-)
CheersApr 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm #1865953
> Does anyone make a tent like yours that people can just buy?
Not exactly, but some of the tents in Part 2 would be worth considering.
Those of us who have used the Macpac Olympus tend to be biased about it. Owners of the Hilleberg Nallo 2 seem happy. The Vaude Ferret which we did not test looks interesting. Some of the other tents listed in Part 2 might be considered 'less attractive', if you know what I mean.
Part 2 has been completed and is in Addie's pipeline. Coming soon. My usual baised assessments of course.
CheersApr 10, 2012 at 8:05 pm #1865967
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
Two new tunnel tents I've seen online recently are the Integral Designs Traverse series and the North Face Westwind series.
The NF are interesting: definitely heavy pitched with an inner body, but they can be set up as a floorless shelter, too. I'm guessing that would halve the weight (at least) but this fly-only pitch weight isn't listed.Apr 10, 2012 at 8:12 pm #1865971
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
You lost me. The Scarp has a pole sleeve outside the fly, as do Roger's, judging from the photos. Could you clarify a bit?
Thanks for your article. At last I know what you mean by 'pop-up' tent. Before, I thought you were referring to a perennial product called the 'pop tent,' with springy poles sewn into the canopy. You just uncoil it, throw it up into the air, and the tent pops up. Great for folk festivals.
You seem to be fundamentally right about setting up the tunnels in high wind. Nothing else I can think of will allow the poles to be fully installed while the tent is staked windward and completely flat on the ground, and then pop up (pardon the expression) in one quick operation. A Wanderlust-type design, with pole sleeves on the outside of the tent, might do this, however. And maybe Henry's Moment could be said to do so, also.
"… the Easton Tent Pole company is starting to make elbows available to go with their new Carbon FX poles." The ferrules on the 145 degree Easton elbows of .340" O.D. alloy, that Quest Outfitters has sold for quite a few years, fit nicely into the Carbon FX poles.Apr 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm #1865986
> Integral Designs Traverse series
I have one of those here for review – and optional inclusion in the Tunnel Survey. I have emailed the PR person and the company twice each with questions about the design, but so far (several weeks) no replies. I am reluctant to say much more at this stage, before they reply, but let's just say I do have some serious concerns.
> North Face Westwind
They never replied to my enquiries.
The tent is not really light-weight, and the interior is VERY small for two. You have to sleep head-to-toe to get two inside it. (See floor layout on their web site.) I am not a fan of really cramped quarters. Otherwise the design looks OK, but without getting inside it I can't say much more.
CheersApr 11, 2012 at 12:51 am #1866024
Inaki Diaz de EturaParticipant
@inaki-1Locale: Iberia highlands
Roger, thanks for the prompt and informative answer (for the whole article too). I mentioned the Vaude Ferret more as an example than for an interest in that particular tent. If only slightly off-topic, being this about tunnel tents and wind, I took the chance to ask you (or anybody else in the know) about wind performance of exo-skeleton, clipped-up designs like that vs integrated sleeves. The latter would look like they distribute stress better along both the pole and the fabric while clips would seem to concentrate it on certain points/areas. How significant this is in real life is what I wonder. On a broader (more off the topic) sense, I wonder about the difference in mechanics between both approaches.
Samuel: when I mentioned the Scarp I meant the two additional, optional poles. They are meant for wind/snow and as far as I know (I don't own one) they're clipped. As with the Ferret, I just meant to set an example of what I was talking about.Apr 11, 2012 at 2:31 am #1866027
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
We come to the second real requirement for a genuine tunnel tent: the poles are threaded into sleeves in the fly. I know many manufacturers like to just hang the inner tent from the poles by little clips, and have the fly thrown loosely over the poles, as illustrated by this Mountain Hardwear Lightpath 2 tent. But that approach is simply not very stable in high wind: the fly can slide across the poles, allowing the poles to twist and buckle and collapse.
I have had this happen to me with a three pole geodesic design.
Roger what do you think of the look of the new Anjan offering from Hilleberg? I am considering the three person version for my partner and I to use with our youngest son (age 7).
http://hilleberg.se/product-family/anjanApr 11, 2012 at 3:07 am #1866031
Yes, sorry, I missed that bit completely.
Given the stiffness of the poles, I suspect that having a reasonable number of clips (as on the Ferret) might distribute the forces on the pole adequately. The clips would not be as stable – they can slide, but the poles should be OK mostly.
The forces on the fabric would be very high at the connections. I would not like to subject that tent to hammering 100 kph winds. I am not saying the tapes and clips would rip out of the seams, but I would certainly worry about that happening. This is a major weakness in the clip approach.
CheersApr 11, 2012 at 3:23 am #1866032
Hum. Light weight, adequate height/space inside. Not a huge vestibule, but adequate. I can't see the rear end to see how well it would block spindrift, but it does seem that the rear end goes right down. Not bad.
I will assume you don't want to camp on ridge tops in mid-winter in NZ … :-) (Who does?) But given the usual quality of the Hilleberg tents and what I can see of this one, yeah, reckon it could be OK.
CheersApr 11, 2012 at 5:22 am #1866046
I have the original version of the Vaude Ferret Ultralight. It does have sleeved poles on the outside of the fly, also both poles are the same length. It has withstood strong winds well, but the thing I like most is how quickly it can be put up – important when you are enveloped in a cloud of midgies. As the new version is 100g lighter it looks like they have used clips just to save weight. On the other hand the addition of a rear vent should improve ventilation.Apr 11, 2012 at 5:26 am #1866047
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Roger, A very good article.
You mentioned the enclosed tent with the doorway opening into the vestibule. This is one of our (the wife's and mine) big concerns. Rain and snow are a problem. The wind driven rains we get in the NE corner of the US often swamp the entranceway in our Stephensons forcing us to keep a bandana handy for wiping up. This is a real concern, because it also adds to internal moisture, hence condensation, to the inside. I would confirm that an enclosed entranceway is important, especially in bad weather. We discussed an option for putting two doors in the sides (where we now have large vent "windows") to be protected by the roof awning, but have not gotten to it, yet. In the Sirius, we get in and take off our shoes, before getting into the tent body keeping things cleaner and dryer.
One large advantage to using tunnel tents (we have three – Exped Sirius, Stephensons 2rw and The North Face Dyad 12-sort of) is the mode of sleeping, we have found. With the 2rw we crawl in, then turn around. With the Sirius, we simply crawl straight in. Two years ago, while camping in the 2rw, I happened to "knee" the wife in the chest while spinning around. This has become one of the things we look at. Besides being easier, it is much safer…at least from the wife's viewpoint. Headroom for sleeping as well as sitting are important, with a large preference on straight-in sleeping modes. It looks like your tents do about the same as this, much lighter, though. The Dyad is a real snuggle encouragement, not really large enough for two.
There are a LOT of advantages to a tunnel tent. The ventilation is good, generally. This is usually offset by the fact that manufacturors often put smaller vents in them. For two walled shelters, this matters little. But for single walled tents, it can make a difference.
In fall and spring mode, the Sirius, allows us to pack the fly and poles, only. My wife cares not for seeing 'coons or 'porkypines eyes staring at her from atop her sleeping bag, soo a tarp is out. The weight is a bit, but not like winter.Apr 11, 2012 at 6:46 am #1866060
@vdealLocale: West Virginia
"But try to find tunnel tents in America and you will be surprised at the almost complete dearth of serious models."
While it's true that there aren't many there are tunnel tents available in the US. Of course Hilleberg is readily available with their full line of tunnel tents. Another option is the long-running line of tunnel tents from Stephenson's Warmlite. I'm also old enough to remember the Windfoil line of tunnel tents from Kelty, unfortunately discontinued.
There is also the MSR Dragontail which is a tunnel but doesn't have sleeves. However, all clip-style tents that I have used have the ability to lock the fly to the poles via Velcro tabs at multiple positions along the fly eliminating the the movement of the pole vis-a-vis the fly.
There are the Nemo Morpho tents which use air beams – don't know much about these.
I'm sure there are more but that's a sample.Apr 11, 2012 at 8:29 am #1866105
Excellent article Rodger.
I wish American cottage tent makers Henry Shires of Tarptent or Ron Moak of Six Moon Designs offered a tent similar to your single skin blue model.
I have bought tents from both of them and know they are capable of producing great tents.
If either of them made such a tent at a reasonable price, I would seriously consider purchasing it.Apr 11, 2012 at 9:48 am #1866136
@glettsLocale: Northern California
Interesting to see the Westwind back. The one I had in the late 80's was one of my favorite tents ever. I recall it being closer to 5 1/2 lbs, rather than the current 6 1/2 lbs – and just bomber for all Sierra winter conditions.Apr 11, 2012 at 11:15 am #1866155
Roger as always, Good job on the Article.
I must say though, this topic going to get heated especially since its written with a bias against other styles of tents..
Writing stuff like "In Europe and other countries around the world where bad weather can be relied upon" and "It's just that I do not have the luxury of guaranteed wind-free sunny weather where I walk." Or "We cannot afford to take the risk of a fragile shelter."
You talk like Australia and Europe is the land of the worlds harshest weather, best equipment, and the worlds smartest people. The last two points could be debated but the USA has the highest Wind Speed Records, Low Temp Records, High Temp Records, Most Snow Fall Records, Most Rain Fall Records, Temp Drop Records, Etc..
The second point I want to make is the Youtube video of the tents flying was the Bonoroo music festival in Manchester, Tn about 6 years back and I was there about 50 feet away from the action when this all happened.. While a tunnel tent might not of inflated, there was still an up draft that caused these tents to fly and I saw several tunnel tents in the air over the course of the 5+ minutes this lasted.. It was almost a mini tornado that came through and I would guess the winds hit close to 75mph right in the center.. All sorts of heavy items were tossed around including several tunnel tents.. I actually saw a Hilleberg Nallo 2 get blown over and break a pole. There was a Bibler I tent sitting a few tents away that also took the full brunt of the wind and didn't hardly move. So this throws the Tunnel Tent is always better then the Popup Dome tent right out the window : ) Especially when there were tons of dome style tents that were anchored properly and didn't get destroyed, blown over or blown away..
With that said, I like tunnel tents, but I think their main advantage is their steep walls which gives the interior more living space.. When it comes to wind resistance and setup ease, nothing beats a properly built dome/popup tent.. Haha, as you can I also have a bias : )
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