- Apr 16, 2018 at 6:28 pm #3530740
Kimberlee EBPL Member
Looking for a 3P for my two small teens and myself. Rain and wind are concerns. We dont mind squishing but want it light. Working up to 50-200 mile thru hikes. Looking at tarptent and big agnes options. Advice?Apr 16, 2018 at 6:58 pm #3530747
Small teens get to be big teens fast.
So I think you want a large 3 person tent.
Check the specifications very carefully of any Big Agnes tent. Sometimes the usable space inside is less than you would think. I am 6 2 and my teenage son got so tall so fast we got to the point where could not share a Big Agnes 2P tent since it was not long or wide enough.
I have found the Henry Shires TTs to be true to stated dimensions and very long.
You might consider a tarp or pyramid and just have every person use their own bivy sack when you need bug protection. If no rain is expected, you can just sleep in the bivies under the stars.
Check out Mountain Laurel Designs Supermid.Apr 16, 2018 at 7:09 pm #3530748
My teens are now 14 and 17 so I’ll echo what Bruce said.
I’ve found that I prefer a tent that’s rated one person larger than its required to house. This is really handy when riding out a rainstorm.
But, I’ve had some difficulty finding a footprint large enough to accommodate even my 9’ x 9’ mid. I’ve found in some cases that it’s easier to have a couple/few smaller shelters than it is to have one massive shelter and pitch the openings close enough together where we can have a conversation.
For one large shelter that can accommodate us all, I have the BD Megalight and a couple S2S bug nets. For when I want multiple smaller shelters, I have a older Zpacks Twin, Grace Solo, and a couple other smaller shelter options.
I’ve no personal experience with it but the Tarptent Statospire May be worth a look.Apr 16, 2018 at 10:28 pm #3530780
I definitely agree — wholeheartedly — with Bruce’s assessment of Big Agnes tents, only I wouldn’t be so polite!
I disagree, however, about checking the specifications to evaluate BA tents. BA consciously *plays* the specifications to make their tents appear to be the best choice, i.e., maximum room for minimum weight. The reality, which you’ll quickly discover if you buy one, is much different. The ACTUAL usable space in BA tents is hugely, significantly less than you think from the specs! Their tents are shaped with steeply angled sides like an equilateral triangle (esp. along the bottom outside edges – hey, it’s the floor size that’s used to calculate the square footage!). Those sides can’t fit a human (or anything larger than your phone/eyeglasses), but they add MANY square feet to the stats. The sloped sides also make it really difficult to sit upright inside the tent. It’s pretty well known that a BA 2P is a solo tent, and a BA 3P is a TIGHT 2P tent, etc.
We couldn’t *wait* to get rid of our BA Fly Creek 3P — so cramped — and we were only two in there!
Tarptent, OTOH, sounds like a great option for you…maybe a Cloudburst 3, or splurge on a Hogback(4p). Another great choice would be the Sierra Designs Flash 3 FL — especially if you can find one of the 2016/17 yellow FL ones, which were a tad lighter than the current model. Although the stats won’t bowl you over, the real-life experience will — those things are HUGE inside. A mansion on the trail. It’s the only officially “2-person” tent I’ve ever owned that doesn’t feel claustrophobic with two of us actually in there.
Apr 16, 2018 at 10:37 pm #3530785
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by Valerie E.
Hogback , from our Gallery :
franco@tarptentApr 16, 2018 at 11:15 pm #3530799
Ryan TuckerBPL Member
Been searching for a great 3P LW tent for years. A MLD supermid with an inner is the best bet. The old Golite Shangri LA 3 was nice.Apr 17, 2018 at 12:51 am #3530820
Rachel PBPL Member
I have a Tarptent Rainshadow 2 and have used it with two adults (both women under 5’6″) and one child. Three 20″ pads fit well. However it is a very well ventilated tent and can be cold on a windy spring night. Also I’d be a bit worried about condensation on those not so windy drizzly nights with three people in there. The bags would touch the sides most likely. That said it’s still a great tent but I added a double-walled tent to my collection for those higher humidity trips.
About the Stratospire 2 — I bought one hoping to use that for my family but I have trouble pitching it to get three pads to fit. But it can be done.Apr 17, 2018 at 12:57 am #3530821
Rachel PBPL Member
Forgot to mention that I’m eyeing the Hogback as my next family backpacking tent. Enough room for 3 plus the dog, two doors, double walled, seems like perfection!Apr 17, 2018 at 3:52 am #3530839
@valerie. I think we are agreeing. The BA specs for their lightweight tents are often are misleading as a reference about usable interior space. My son now uses the 2P Seedhouse as his one person tent.
bruce.Apr 17, 2018 at 2:48 pm #3530890
Jeff McWilliamsBPL Member
Valirie – I agree that the Fly Creek tents are cramped. Any of those single door designs are optimistic about usable space at best. That includes the MyTrailCo “Tent UL2”, aka the GoLite Imogene UL2, and the Mountain Hardwear Ghost.
The Copper Spur on the other hand, with 2 doors and 2 vestibules, works a lot better. I know several people who are happy Copper Spur owners, and I just purchased a Copper Spur HV UL3 so that my daughter can use it with her husband and her 6-year old son. I’ve already set it up to check it out. The crossing pole pulls out the sidewalls so that they are almost completely vertical, providing a lot of space at shoulder level when sitting upright.
I would say that rather than generalizing about all Big Agnes tents, your experience can largely be attributed to the particularly awful tent design you chose.
A friend of mine owns or has owned a Fly Creek UL2. We shared it as backpacking instructors back in 2010. Luckily, she is a petite female, but it was still a pretty miserable experience.Apr 17, 2018 at 3:46 pm #3530897
@jjmcwill — Thanks for your input. FYI, the Copper Spur did not exist back when I had my Fly Creek, so I could not have “chosen” it. At that time, the FC was the major-manufacturer tent that was getting *raves* from the UL community. A couple of years later, BA created the CS (no doubt in response to the complaints about the FC); I’m well aware of its design.
I’ve seen the CS, and, while it’s better than the FC, it’s definitely not for me, and IMHO even the CS 2 is not truly comfortable for 2 actual full-sized people – you’d need to size up to the CS 3…Finally, not “all” single door tents are cramped. For example, Tarptent’s Cloudburst and Rainshadow are single door designs with a large, roomy feel — but then, Tarptent tends to design a lot more “out of the box” than BA.Apr 17, 2018 at 4:55 pm #3530907
Jeff McWilliamsBPL Member
@valerie – thanks for clarifying what options were available when you got the Fly Creek.
I own a Stratospire 2, and it’s what I carried for 93 miles of the JMT last year, sharing it with my climbing buddy. We’re both big guys, and we really appreciated the room. I think it would be a really cramped tent for 3.
Cloudburst 3: I’d want to see it with the condensation liner installed and see whether there was still concern about sleeping bags getting wet from touching the sides.
I think the Rainshadow 2 would still have too steeply angled walls for two of the three occupants to be happy.
It’s the same problem I have with pyramid design tents. Square footage looks good on paper, but steeply angled sidewalls would be annoying, even if it does provide more wind stability.Apr 17, 2018 at 10:28 pm #3531001
This is the CB3 without and with the liner
so the liner starts where the mesh sides finish.
That mesh barrier is about 10″ high so it will prevent most sleeping bags from touching the wall.
(without having to use the liner)Apr 18, 2018 at 1:15 am #3531055
I bought a TT Double Rainbow with the liner. In the Sierra Nevada the DR was so well ventilated that I found my wife and I really did not need it and it lived at home in the box.
The consideration or feature that has not been mentioned is who sleeps in the middle? Doors on the side might not be ideal for the middle person. One big door on the end might be ideal. But maybe the middle person sleeps solid for 8 hours and has no need to get up at 200am??Apr 18, 2018 at 1:29 am #3531059
“The consideration or feature that has not been mentioned is who sleeps in the middle?”
Good point. Less critical with two kids but still you want to avoid crawling one over the other.
With the TT options , the CB 3 has two large offset doors and you could move the mats towards the door you want to use ( the 84″ floor is all usable)
With the Hogback because the floor is a square , you can turn the mats perpendicular to the door , with the gap left where the 4th mat would be and using shorter mats you should have room around not to have to walk on top of the others :Apr 18, 2018 at 8:39 pm #3531223
Ben H.BPL Member
@bzhayesLocale: So. California
…With the Hogback because the floor is a square , you can turn the mats perpendicular to the door , with the gap left where the 4th mat would be and using shorter mats you should have room around not to have to walk on top of the others…
That is how I use my Hogback, so that we don’t have to climb over each other to get out. However, I should mention it does not leave very much vertical space for the people on the outside. My wife always puts the kids on the inside so we can keep tabs on there body temperatures. When I lay down on the outside, the mesh is squished down on top of my nose.Apr 18, 2018 at 8:49 pm #3531228
Katherine .BPL Member
I have a SS2 and love it, but I wouldn’t want to use it for three. I want an excuse to buy a Cloudburst 3 (but my kids don’t get along well enough to take both at the same time!).
Finding a a spot to pitch larger tents can be an issue.
Another consideration is gender: I might go SS2 + mid (or hammock) if one or both of those teens are male. He might want his own space or you might want your own space!Apr 19, 2018 at 1:46 am #3531281
@franco — that Cloudburst 3 interior looks pretty yummy, I must say! I imagine it would be a mega-mansion for a couple. I love the mesh around the edges — that’s the *only* problem I experience with our current “couple” tent…Hmmm, if I decide I don’t like our new Triplex, I’ll look at the CB3.Apr 19, 2018 at 2:25 am #3531294
I like the liner for the CB3.
Fits really well, takes me about a minute to take it off.
But I am young and fit and know how to use those mitten hooks. ( I saw a video clip on how to do it)
Could be nice in high humidity areas where you could be inside , take the liner off, wipe the walls and then pack up.
Works for some sun protection too if you like to take an afternoon nap.
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