Ultralight in Ultra-Foul Conditions?
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Aug 3, 2005 at 11:09 pm #1216521Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
Think: steady winds in excess of 30 mph, lots of snow or sideways blowing rain, above treeline or otherwise exposed. Do you reeeeeally need a Bomber Tent? Whether your answer is yes or no, what’s your response to proposing a camping kit – be it tent, tarp, or other – for ultra-foul conditions? Companion forum thread to the Bomber Tents Review.Nov 2, 2006 at 1:08 pm #1366066Nathan MoodyBPL Member
@atomickLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
A few years ago I camped in Koke’e State Park, above Waimea Canyon on Kauai, and on New Years Eve the rain ultimately angled at about 80° to the ground with sustained winds of 30+mph. The wind direction shifted a good 90° halfway through the night. We were on sloped ground well away from the lowest point, but when we awoke even the slopes retained 2″ of standing water.
In such conditions, a bathtub bottom tent made all the difference. With the wind shift, a freestander can just be unstaked, rotated, and re-staked. We were sleeping in a river – there was nowhere that wasn’t! Groundsheets would have been overrun by the runoff.
So, all told, for me there’s sometimes a benefit of even an UL tent in UF conditions, to speak nothing of the mental benefit/comfort, which is entirely more subjective. Now that rain’s returned to us here in Northern California, this sure is a timely topic…
Fun to see everyone’s varied opinions on this interesting topic!Nov 2, 2006 at 2:45 pm #1366074Sam HaraldsonBPL Member
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
Gorgeous pics, David.Nov 3, 2006 at 2:01 am #1366106
> In such conditions, a bathtub bottom tent made all the difference.
I remember once (VERY clearly) finally getting into the tent in a howling storm to find the bathtub floor floating about an inch off the ground. My wife was happily sitting on her Therm-a-Rest while the floor just sort of bounced.
The only problem was working out where to put the stove to cook dinner :-) I eventually put my (small scrap of 3-ply) stove base on our shoes all piled up – and cooked dinner. We stayed dry. The flood receded eventually.Nov 3, 2006 at 2:15 am #1366107
So, Roger, you call that roughing it? Using a waterbed while on a trek!!!Nov 10, 2006 at 10:20 pm #1366799
> Using a waterbed while on a trek!!!
Well, actually, in this case I can plead not guilty to this monstrous charge!
We had dinner in the storm, but by the time we had finished dinner the storm had ceased and there was only thick fog. BUT: we had reached a known 4WD track, and it was 1.5 hr back to the car (end of a 5-day trip). The fog plus a full moon meant the ground was quite visible without a headlight. So we thought phooey, packed up the gear and the wet tent, and walked back to the car in the glowing fog. Got there about 8 pm, and went home – feeling very pleased with ourselves.Nov 11, 2006 at 3:11 am #1366810
Roger, I admire the many treks you and your wife are able to take. I am genuinely looking forward to my own retirement when i can get out whenever the whim hits (and the wife permits! :)Nov 11, 2006 at 5:17 am #1366816nsandersenBPL Member
How about a separate bathtub floor for tarps – have anyone seen one around? (My sewing skills are limited to trouser rips and reattaching buttons, so not quite sure about the DIY instructions at GossamerGear.)Nov 24, 2006 at 3:40 pm #1368288John GloverMember
Stephenson Warmlite beats all the others-lighter, more floor space, less condensation, easy set up , and great visibilty with side windows (and don’t have to put on fly if it rains). Why is it so consistently ignored by BPL?Nov 24, 2006 at 4:51 pm #1368293Mike BarneyMember
@eaglembLocale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
There are 6 Stephenson Warmlites listed in the gear guide, and a couple of forum references. Why not write a reader review? I think most readers here are interested in any gear that has advantages.
Have a great holiday,
MikeBNov 27, 2006 at 1:13 am #1368457
> Roger, I admire the many treks you and your wife are able to take. I am genuinely looking forward to my own retirement when i can get out whenever the whim hits (and the wife permits! :)
BIG mistake – waiting until you retire! GO NOW! And take your wife with you.Nov 27, 2006 at 5:13 am #1368465Brett .Member
PJ, about your retirement statement; IMO Roger’s correct; if financially possible, get out there now for some day trips or an overnighter (forgive me if you regularly do so and I interpreted your posting wrongly).
I also spent years interpreting “critical flight data” (recalling your earlier post) for a company who shall remain nameless.. worked 4 years without one days vacation; only scheduled holidays. That time is just a vacuous hole in my memory banks.
Now I turn off the cellphone on the weekends and work a little harder M-F. Sorry to digress from the subject of this post.. but relating it back; some of my recent hiking memories worth repeating are when conditions were “ULTRA-FOUL” and I was testing new UL gear. You can’t plan for adventure; it is what happens when things don’t go according to plan. (paraphrasing someone else..)Nov 27, 2006 at 8:14 am #1368474
Roger & Brett,
Sound advice. Normally out often for short 1-3days and near daily fitness hikes with full UL pack – excepting this late spring through now (nada/nothing), with both a critical project at work coupled with some very unexpected recent personal developments and estate issues stemming from that which require a lot of my attention.Dec 29, 2006 at 6:51 pm #1372379peter vaccoMember
@fluffinreach-comLocale: no. california
i used an unna for half a summer. it's well developed, palatial. extremely homey and dry, all which it well ought to be at 68 ounces and 400 bucks. also a bear to set up in a gentle breeze. real wind requires extreme care and planning (pre-guy out before erection… etc) it's nearly too much tent for one guy to handle. the poles are approx the length of a car. you gotta guy the pole corners in any wind at all, but then, even if you don't do the 5th rear panel guy, it seems to be quite secure thru squalls and gusts. i sat, just sat there in one spot for 4 days in steady drizzle thinking things out, and my down bag stayed perfect. there is no mentionable condesation even at sea level and freezing. i sewed in a large closable window, and this worked great.
verdict: flawless performance, but too big and heavy. ie .. nordic.Dec 30, 2006 at 9:29 am #1372419Chris TownsendBPL Member
@christownsendLocale: Cairngorms National Park
During the 90s I led ski camping trips in Greenland, Spitsbergen, the Yukon and Lapland. We used Hilleberg Keron tunnel tents and they were superb, standing up to heavy snow and strong winds and being easy to pitch with mitts on in a blizzard. And back in 1992 I used a Nallo 2 for a walk the length of Norway and Sweden during a wet and windy summer. It performed excellently. Today I would take an Akto though – that tent didn't exist back then. Overall I've found Hilleberg tents superbly made, superbly designed and ideal for severe weather.Jun 15, 2007 at 9:38 pm #1392464Jon McConachieBPL Member
@c-137Locale: Sierra Nevada
One very nice aspect of the EV2 is the interior length. Very few tents have the length I need for my 6'5".Sep 15, 2007 at 10:25 am #1402292E CMember
@ofelasLocale: On the Edge
Yup; I can attest to the stormproofness & bunker qualities of tunnel tents; I have one of the few Bibler Satellite Tunnel tents made, a great blend of usable space & lightness. Here it is pitched next to another Bibler for size comparision (a brand spanking new out of the sack 2 door Eldorado that I setup to seamseal).Jan 29, 2009 at 1:59 pm #1473859James WaechterBPL Member
@weegie5Locale: Colorado Rockies
From the Mountain Hardwear EV2 Review (which directs to this thread):
"It may not be a coincidence that a new Mountain Hardwear tent, the 'EV3,' uses a four-pole design. This upcoming tent is featured at the end of this review; we can't wait to get our hands on one."
What is the status of a review of the MH EV 3? This review is over three years old. Despite the delay, I'd still love to see a review of the EV 3. Any timeline for it?
Was it at ORWM last week? MH still has it on their website.
Edit: corrected quoted textJan 29, 2009 at 2:57 pm #1473876Lynn TramperMember
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
>Stephenson Warmlite beats all the others-lighter, more floor space, less condensation, easy set up , and great visibilty with side windows (and don't have to put on fly if it rains). Why is it so consistently ignored by BPL?
I suspect the biggest reason is that Stephenson's are unwilling to provide demo tents for review.
The Warmlite is solid in the wind IF staked very tautly (and re-staked as it cools and sags), and IF the wind is coming from only one direction. But I did not find it was a nice place to hang out in a storm…too much condensation and the rain/snow pouring into the tent whenever you open the vestibule makes for a wet existence. The Nallo2 is the best lightweight tent I've used in these conditions (MacPac tunnels the best if I disregard weight). Although it also needs solid staking, at least with the Nallo2 there are also side guy-outs to cope with changing wind directions, a breathable inner to keep the condensation at bay, a covered vestibule entry to keep rain/snow out, a bathtub floor, and insect mesh on the inner door to help with venting (and insect control!).Jan 29, 2009 at 3:19 pm #1473882Chris TownsendBPL Member
@christownsendLocale: Cairngorms National Park
Stephenson's Warmlite did provide a 2X for review and this was included in the State of the Market Report: Single Wall Tents (2008), which was published last November. I agree with Alison's comments – the Warmlite is stable when staked correctly but the lack of a vestibule and the door opening over the groundsheet means it's not as easy to live in during a storm than a tent like the Nallo 2.Aug 18, 2009 at 11:49 am #1521627T. SedlakMember
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 serious 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. Some of the Hillebergs use pole clips (Jannu) and some pole sleeves (Unna). I found the clips much easier to deal with.
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 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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