- Jun 4, 2007 at 5:36 pm #1223522
After hearing that podcast on doing denali light, I've become quite interested in the Stephensen 2x warmlite tents for big mountains. Are they really that much more wind resistant/stable than my Big Anges Seedhouse SL tent which I'm quite happy with?Jun 4, 2007 at 5:40 pm #1391161
Also what's with their catalog? Anyone look at it? Has a bunch of nude girls in it. At least their attractive but still… very weird!Jun 4, 2007 at 6:45 pm #1391166
Yes, their tents are that much stronger and liveable in high mtn. conditions than your B.A.—-tried and tested in numerous mtneering expeditions.
As for their catalog—it's been a fixture in the outdoor community for decades—-enjoy (or not).Jun 4, 2007 at 7:15 pm #1391172
Ron DBPL Member
Has anyone tried out their down air mattress? I'm thinking about purchasing one and I've found only limited info on the internet, especially on their durability. I've been using CC foam and I'm looking for a more comfortable alternative. I've tried out a couple of the Thermorest pads and I didn't really like them, I prefer a wider pad.
Thanks…RonJun 4, 2007 at 8:31 pm #1391180
@mitchellkeilLocale: Deep in the OC
Check the review on the Exped Downmat in the reader reviews.Jun 5, 2007 at 12:01 pm #1391260
I've heard excellent things about the warmlite's wind resistance, but bad things about it's snow loading capacity.
In general, all gothic arch designs don't fare well under lots of snow.Jun 5, 2007 at 12:27 pm #1391263
The answer to snowloading is the 3rd pole option available on their tents. An option on 3R and larger tents and special request on the 2.
And as I'm mentioning options, the Side windows rock for unparalleled ventilation.
For the original poster, the R series tents are stronger and more versatile and not much heavier than the X series.Jun 5, 2007 at 12:43 pm #1391264
@bjamesdLocale: South Coast of BC
I've heard that the Stephenson's manual requires you to pitch the tent with something like 60lbs of tension. Most people either don't read the manual or don't know how to really tension a pitch, and then they have problems with snow loading.
I heard…Jun 5, 2007 at 7:04 pm #1391302
@trLocale: Southern California
I have a 2R with 2 side windows. Great in strong winds, but be sure it is set up correctly and you will have no problems. I do not know about the snow load. There is plenty of room.Jun 6, 2007 at 3:09 am #1391343
Adam KilpatrickBPL Member
@oystersLocale: South Australia
I am wondering about a couple of things with these warmlites.
1st, how well built are they, will they stand up to years of use?
Will sleeves fit more than one set of poles?
I am guessing from their website that the small inner is built in. Does this get soaked packed in your pack in wet conditions?
Is the R really that much stronger than an X, when the windstabilisers are added? Unless it is structurally integral to the tent I dont see how it would be, assuming all other parts of the tent are much the same.
How is insect proofing if you dont have an R and its inner? Are there mesh doors seperating the main tent and the vestibles? I would go the X as long as it will keep out mozzies and leeches.
AdamJun 6, 2007 at 6:30 pm #1391437
Adam, Stephenson tents used pre-curved hollow poles cut in precise sections that gain their strength when connected and tensioned. You can not nor do you need to put multiple sets of poles through the sleeves.
The tents are manufactured from parachute fabric, so how tough is that? The Stephenson’s have been perfecting there tents since the 1970’s.
Wind stabilizers are a separate issue for the tent regardless of the model and are for extreme wind conditions. I know of no strength difference between the X and R models other than weight and greater condensation on the X depending on conditions.
There is no separate insect screen on the front door on the 2R or doors of the 3R, there are double zippers however. Be that as it may your side windows are fully meshed if you order that option. There are no mesh separations in the tent.
Do a forum search under Stephenson 2R and you will see pictures of my 2R and 3R and my review of my 2R versus my Hilleberg Unna. You can tension up to 60 pounds on the stakes for the worst conditions to keep the tent as tight as a drum.
There have been negative posts about Stephenson tents from individuals who did not understand how to pitch them properly or never owned or used one, so I would take those with a grain of salt. There may be reasons not to own a Stephenson, but not because they flap in the wind or collapse inward during the night. Send for the video put out by the Stephenson’s’ on their tents. It was very helpful in my final decision.Jun 6, 2007 at 6:44 pm #1391438
Nary a negative word from me on the use of my 2X over the past 8 years. I've been in high winds and heavy rain and have never had a problem. I have not used the interios wind stabilizers. No experience with snow loads, but I cannot imagine it doing poorly if used correctly.
As Kevin mentioned…the windows are killer for ventilation control.
I've never had a problem pitching the tent. You can adjust the tension from the INTERIOR so as long as your stakes are bomber you should not have any issues with tensioning the canopy even through severe temperature/moisture changes.
Pre-curved poles are easy to pack, and are far superior in terms of strength and reduced weight.
Despite looking 'homemade' the tent is sewn fine. Never had a stitch pull, fray, or loosen.
Admittedly when I unpacked it (~8 yrs ago) I was a bit miffed at what I had just paid for, but…after 8 yrs of use I have nothing to complain about. Dive in and enjoy.Jun 6, 2007 at 6:51 pm #1391443
I said the R tents are stronger because as far as I know, the options that add quite a bit of strength such as the wind stabilizers and the mid pole are only available on the R's. More versatile in that they are more condensation free over a much wider range of conditions. I think the "weight penalty" is tiny over the X models to gain these advantages and features.
If I got a Stephenson Tent today, I would instead order from their new C model tents. They're a couple of feet shorter and this aids in pitching the tent in a smaller area. The regular length models sprawl over quite a bit of real estate.
The 3 series is always a big temptation because of all the room. Backcountry party, anyone?
Heh, guys—-Stephenson is currently having a 10% off sale on the tents.Jun 6, 2007 at 9:50 pm #1391460
Adam KilpatrickBPL Member
@oystersLocale: South Australia
I am wondering,
some very reputable expedition strength tent manufacturers, such as Macpac (New Zealand) use precurved tent poles of the highest calibre aswell, yet they still make their tents to accept a second set of poles for extreme conditions. The Macpac olympus, for example, has been around for about 25yrs I think, its a three hooped tunnel, and has this option. It is significantly heavier than and equivalent Stephenson though.
Despite the obvious strength of these Stephenson tents from your comments guys, I might have to skip them if they arent bug proof. I am thinking of getting one for Tasmania (Island state of Aus) but in some areas of Tas (usually slightly lower altitudes) leeches are a problem. And I cannot stand them. Without a leech/insect proof tent you would get dozens all over you at night.
I think I might just have to go for a pyramid for a lightweight bombproof tent. The main problem then is on tent platforms as they are not as free standing.
Thanks for comments guys-and that Catalogue sure is quirky!Jun 7, 2007 at 7:08 am #1391484
Are the Macpac Tent Poles a larger diameter tubing like the Stephensons? My 2X uses a large diameter, thin walled tube for the larger (front) hoop, and a regular diameter tubing for the rear.
As far as bug proof, I've not had any issues with insect entry, although admittedly I have not had to deal with leeches…
BrianJun 7, 2007 at 7:43 am #1391488
I've used the Stephenson tents in the BWCA and have not had any bug problems.Jun 7, 2007 at 9:34 am #1391503
Jim ColtenBPL Member
I've used the Stephenson tents in the BWCA and have not had any bug problems.
I gotta ask …. which months in the BWCAW?Jun 8, 2007 at 4:31 am #1391634
June, July and August. There were plenty of bugs but I never had a problem with them in the tent. My wife backpacks frequently on the Superior hiking trail and finds
the tent bugproof also.Jun 8, 2007 at 4:41 am #1391635
July and August in the BWCA. However my wife does the Superior hikng trail in May and July every year. There have
been plenty of bugs but not in the tent. We have the side vent panels so it helps for ventilation.Jun 8, 2007 at 7:56 am #1391648
Sam HaraldsonBPL Member
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
I thru-hiked the SHT in May 2005 with a tarp and bivy. No bugs then. (My apologies if this post is taking the thread off topic but I LOVE and am a HUGE proponent of anything and everything SHT).
I live in Duluth and I've just begun to start seeing any amount of bugs. I've been up the Shore on three weekends this Spring and I saw more rain and snow than I did heat or bugs.Jun 8, 2007 at 8:28 am #1391652
Jim ColtenBPL Member
David: June, July and August in the BWCAW is a good test of bug resistance.
Sam: Ditto for the SHT ….. right now I'm closing my eyes and dredging up memories of fall color viewed from the top of Section 13, long walks along the Gooseberry and Cross rivers and a calm clear October evening spent on Sugarloaf pond …. especially Sugarloaf pond …Aug 18, 2009 at 11:39 am #1521625
I have slept in a variety of tents including Stephenson’s (Warmlite 2R), Hilleberg (Jannu), Big Sky (Evolution), and Tarptent (Squall 2). Here are some thoughts for those interested.
The most bomber and well constructed is the Hilleberg. The weight on these tents is the higher end of the spectrum, but a Hilleberg is what I want for potentially bad weather. As the inner and outer tents are attached you can set up in a storm and still keep the inside dry. They are very warm and the ventilation is not the greatest. There is condensation but not extreme. The big bathtub floor is very waterproof. The vestibule is handy. You can fully open/close the vents from inside. Definitely not a warm weather tent (too warm), and I would not recommend Hilleberg if you camp in warm weather (65-70 degrees F or higher). I tried out an Unna, too; very spacious for one, but no formal vestibule (you can improvise one by detatching an inner tent corner). Unna ventilation is not great for warm weather and bugs.
Stephenson’s Warmlite 2RS. This is an ingenious design that has many clever aspects I haven’t seen elsewhere. For instance the inner and outer zippers are staggered such that the outer zipper serves as a rain flap for the inner. The poles are pre-bent so as to give better strength (so obvious, but so few tents do this). It is huge for the weight, fully bugproof. The optional windows give great ventilation and the tent is warm when all sealed up. It is not quite fully double walled. The front and back ends are single walled and prone to condensation. I weathered a severe 14 hour rainstorm in this and water did come through the silnylon floor through hydrostatic pressure, but this was an extreme circumstance (I wasn’t on a fully flat ground and pooling under the tent occurred). The vestibule is extremely small (boots only), but the inside is gigantic. The outer tent window has to be zipped closed from the outside, an inconvenience for unexpected rain. There is a photo gallery of a guy who solo climbed Denali using a Warmlite. Overall an extremely versatile tent. (http://www.terragalleria.com/mountain/info/ice/mk2.html). Also: http://www.terragalleria.com/mountain/mountain-area.mckinley.html
The tarptent is the lightest, but I would not use this if I were concerned about severe weather. I am not a big fan of all the tinkering needed to get this set up with an optimal pitch. Spindrift or rain with a bit of wind could be a problem as the mesh on the tent sides are a little exposed. For most circumstances this is a great choice (warm summer weather).
The Big Sky tents are great all around. I used mine for the entire John Muir Trail. The fly is not attached and set up in a storm would get the inner tent wet (the inner is basically all mesh on top). Easy and REPRODUCIBLE set up are strong pluses, as is the light weight. Severe rain or mountain weather might be a little dicey, but for general backpacking this is a great choice. The very small vestibules won’t keep much out of the rain except something the size of boots or a small pack.
Overall, there is no perfect tent for every circumstance. Everyone is different in where they draw their own personal line for tradeoffs, such as lighter weight at the expense of a miserable, wet night.
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