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Warmlite tent liveability?


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Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)
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  • #3811214
    David N
    BPL Member

    @deejayen

    I’m thinking about buying a new tent, and wondered if anyone had experience of using a Stephenson’s Warmlite in different conditions.  I’ve never seen one, and I’m in the UK, so it would end up being quite expensive due to shipping, exchange rate, duties and VAT.

     

    I’m trying to imagine what it would be like to use it in different weather conditions.  One concern is the lack of a midgie net on the inner door.  Another is the entrance going straight into the tent – I’m not sure if this would be fine, or if things could get messy in wet weather.  If you’ve used one, did you find either of these aspects to be an issue, depending on conditions?

     

    I’d probably go for the shorter 2-person climber’s version with basic features (ie no large front door or side windows).

     

    I’d use the tent for a mix of different trips, but current requirements are for cycle touring.  I’ve been planning on using a hammock setup, but am finding it difficult to sleep comfortably in a hammock.

     

    I already have a couple of tents, but just fancy something new\different.  In addition to the Warmlite I’ve also been thinking about a Solomid XL or a new Macpac Microlight.  There’s obviously no such thing as the perfect tent, but I’m finding it difficult to decide as some tents have downsides which can be hard to overlook.

    #3811215
    Mark Ferwerda
    BPL Member

    @mnferwerda

    Locale: Maryland

    are you planning traditional rack and panniers setup or bikepacking setup? With a bikepacking setup, the length of the tent poles becomes a factor as to where you can carry them. With the traditional setup, it is a bit easier to carry a bulky tent. I use a bike packing setup and I carry my tent on the left front fork (1p Xmid), but as some have pointed out, that can be a risk if I take a nasty fall on that side…

     

    #3811216
    Mark Ferwerda
    BPL Member

    @mnferwerda

    Locale: Maryland

    But to answer your question directly, I don’t have experience with any of the tents you mentioned. Sorry about that.

    #3811233
    David N
    BPL Member

    @deejayen

    Thanks very much.  Yes, that’s one thing I’ve been considering, and one reason why the hammock appealed.  In the past I’ve used a saddlebag, but kept the camping side of things light, with a bivvy bag.

     

    I know some tents are available with short pole sections, or for a walking pole tent you buy multi-segment carbon poles.

     

    For immediate trips I’ll be using a wee Moulton bike (20″ wheels), which has a front pannier rack for two small panniers (tents with long poles wouldn’t fit).  I also have the rear touring rack and bag, so in theory a longer tent could be strapped to the top of that, but then it would stick out beyond the rear of the bike, and might partially obscure rear lights from some angles.  The Warmlite tent does pack up quite long compared to many other tents, but I have been thinking it’s a compromise I could probably live with.  However, that opinion might change if\when I actually saw the packed tent in the flesh.  I’ve seen some larger packed tents, including some Hillebergs, and they make my legs feel weak at thought of carrying them around.  My Moulton is a fixie, so I’d prefer to also keep carried weight as low as possible.

    #3811242
    baja bob
    BPL Member

    @bajabob

    Locale: West

    I have a 3R Warmlite tent. I think you would find the tent poles problematic to pack. The main pole for the 2 person when broken down is long and bulky. The pole will not fit horizontal in even  a 70L pack.

    #3811243
    David N
    BPL Member

    @deejayen

    Thanks!

     

    I’ve just checked the specs again, and it says the regular 2-person tent packs down to 17″ x 5″.  Perhaps the climber’s version will pack down to a slightly smaller diameter, but the length will be the same.  I’ve seen other tents in the shops which pack to that length, but you’re right; it’s not ideal for cycle touring when you’re using smaller bags.

     

    Other than that, how do you like the 3R?  Do you use it for a certain type of camping, or is it an all-rounder?

    #3811255
    Mark Verber
    BPL Member

    @verber

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    Years ago I used Warmlite tents: 2R and 3R.  Around 2000 there was no competition from in terms of weather protection / weight and they were wait ahead of others in adopting innovative materials techniques. These days most companies have advanced passed them and are cheaper.

    Having the door entering into a floored vestibule was easily manageable when dealing with snow… more of a pain when raining. I mostly used one when there wasn’t insect pressure. Having to keep the door shut in bug season limits ventilation (not idea).

    Personally I would go for other shelter. Which would depend on all sorts of factors.  https://verber.com/shelters/

    #3811258
    Mark Verber
    BPL Member

    @verber

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    Read through my old notes.  2R roof was a tad low for my taste. If you do an 3R get the center pole if you expect to face real weather. As other have noted, poles will be unwieldy for cycle touring.

    #3811261
    David N
    BPL Member

    @deejayen

    Thanks, Mark.   That’s all really helpful.

     

    I think I’ll give it a bit more thought – decide how I’m most likely to be using a new tent, and have a look around to see what other options there are.

    #3811275
    baja bob
    BPL Member

    @bajabob

    Locale: West

    I think the 3R is a great tent.  Given its design, there are some drawbacks like no real vestibule.  I’ve used it in the Grand Canyon in Summer when it was sweltering hot man many years ago. I agree with everything Mark said. I’ve used the tent in about every possible condition over the last 20 odd years.

    Given the cost and other alternatives available, I’d say it would need to be a tent that you really want.  You could get a much lighter DCF tent and save some money.  You could get 2 or 3 tents for the same price to cover many different conditions.

     

    #3811317
    David N
    BPL Member

    @deejayen

    Thanks, Bob.  Yes, I’ll give it some extra thought.  I like some of its features, but it might be better suited to different conditions.

    #3811469
    Paul S
    BPL Member

    @pula58

    The lack of a vestibule was a show stopper for my friend and I during a very rainy Ptarmigan Traverse trip. No way to safely cook out of the weather. The guys in the tent next to us were merrily cooking away (in their vestibule), having hot food while we were stuck inside our tent (it was literally pouring down rain so cooking outside was not possible) and ate our trail food for dinner(s), and ran out of trail food, as a consequence, the last day of the trip!

    I vowed to never again use a tent without a sizeable vestibule!

    #3811510
    David N
    BPL Member

    @deejayen

    Thanks, Paul.  It doesn’t sound ideal for those conditions!

     

    I’m in Scotland, where there’s often heavy rain, plus midges in summer, so the lack of a vestibule and a mozzie net could make camp life unpleasant.

    #3811639
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Yeah, we were camped in the Cairngorms once, by a lake, and the midges were terrifying.
    Cheers

    #3811708
    Steve S
    BPL Member

    @steve_s-2

    Many, many nights in a 2x, starting in 1975 or so. I didn’t want the weight of a liner.

    From the first nights in my tent, I found could hear other tents making noise in moderate winds while my tent was silent and not getting smaller. As I was to learn later, high winds could offer a challenge. The internal guys would work in high winds, but would reduce useful space, and would not save the day during pitching or packing.

    The volume in the 2 reduces quickly away from the high end. The climber’s version is worth skipping for 2 users because sleeping bags would touch the wall in the rear.

    However, apart from condensation being sprayed off the single layer of fabric from high speed raindrops in thunderstorm dumps, I’ve usually been dryer than nearby tents.  And because the tent body is so aerodynamic and still under almost all conditions, my tent has rarely  moved the sidewalls enough to be uncomfortable.

    I use other tents in winter.

    In the Arctic in summer the mosquitos would flood in — and then go to the top of my yellow tent with few threatening to bit either myself or my companion. We would kill the one or two, and in the morning shake out the others when packing up.

    Stephenson argued that with his high-low ventilation and a sloping roof body heat would set up a continuous airflow. So I always kept the door closed. In the absence of a careful experiment I can only say his argument seemed to be valid, also keeping humidity under control.

    The design was changed modestly in the late 1990s (date uncertain) by increasing the height in the front modestly to take advantage of a lighter fabric. I preferred the old design as it seemed more wind friendly, but by then my old tent was showing its age and needed replacement. I bought a new 2x. Now there are good and lighter alternatives.

    #3811716
    Moab Randy
    BPL Member

    @moab-randy

    I have two Warmlite 2Rs, from 1980 and 2005. Certainly more of a tent than you need for bikepacking, but still a great all-round tent. With the double wall (both are waterproof) it’s very warm, as Ryan has attested. Easy 3-stake setup, all-up-at-once is so great. As it uses 30d fabric, it’s not the lightest by modern standards.

    The folded poles occupy a space 18-1/2″ x 3″ x 3″ (the front pole is very large diameter). With poles in it, the tent rolls up to about 18-1/2″ x 7″

    If you do get one you must get the side windows, with their mosquito netting (unless you only want it for winter). This allows massive flow-through ventilation, or adjustable partial ventilation by just opening part or all of only the inner wall, as I frequently do. (I had zippers added so I can open the netting as well, for complete flow-through when no bugs are about.) Without the side windows, there is definitely inadequate ventilation for warm weather, in particular because the rear vent is way way too small.

    I also recommend you get the internal wind stabilizers, and ask to have guyout points put outside the poles. If you expect winter use or heavy weather, also go with the third pole.

    The standard complaints are the lack of a vestibule and the angled door. The latter hasn’t been a problem for me–one quick straight pull up then down on the zipper gets you in. I don’t cook, and I’d much rather have the extra floored space than a vestibule. As I’ve suggested before, if you liked the tent otherwise you could cut out the floor in front, sew in a bathtub and net door, and still have about as much floored space as most 2-man tents.

    My impression is that compared to other “two-person” tents, it’s massive. In fact, that’s the #2 reason I don’t use mine much; I usually go alone, and so very very often can’t find a pad large enough to put it up in. I’m building my own 1-person version, with only two stakes; will report on it when done.

     

     

     

    #3811783
    Sam Farrington
    BPL Member

    @scfhome

    Locale: Chocorua NH, USA

    Would not buy a Warmlite unless and until they do something about the quality of construction that Roger addressed in his BPL article about tunnel tents.  Suggest you check that out first.

    Because a bike can take a lot of weight off the back, that would open up a lot of choices.  But if you also need a tent for backpacking, then a light tent is a must.  And as was pointed out, a tent spacious enough for meals is also a must if you’re going to get caught in even just one real storm.  And for that, the tent must also not only be large enough inside; but also sturdy enough to withstand the storm.  Look at what a storm did to DCF tents in the posts on BPL about the Skurka trip. Tore those DCF tents to bits.

    That rules out A-frames, with just 1 or 2 vertical poles, leaving a dome, or a hybrid design like the TarpTent dipole; so be sure to check the article on BPL.   And stick to a better quality elastic silpoly that can remain taut in real blows, yet resume its shape afterward.   Otherwise, when the canopy starts to shake like crazy, getting wet is likely.

    Good luck with finding an all purpose perfect tent.

    #3811785
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    And as was pointed out, a tent spacious enough for meals is also a must if you’re going to get caught in even just one real storm.

    Vestibules:

    Living room:

    OK, I am biased.

    Cheers

     

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