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#107395 - 12/04/08 10:19 PM mild winter tents
rikster66 Offline


Registered: 12/04/08
Posts: 3
Loc: central westen NJ
I'm looking to go backpacking over the winter with my son (14) and am unsure of a tent. I've looked at a few 4 season tents that seem great except for the price. They seem a little over kill here in NJ. The worst I'm looking at is 20 degrees give or take, 4 to 6 inches of snow in a surprise, and probably won't be more than 4 miles from the nearest house or road if need be. An alpine tent seems a little over kill for my situation, would a good three season tent be adequate under such circumstances? Any caveats about moisture or warmth in a three season that I should be mind of ? Weight is a minor issue at this point as our forays will be minimal, a day or two and sometimes a float trip on the river during warmer weather.

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#107396 - 12/04/08 10:52 PM Re: mild winter tents [Re: rikster66]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Quote:
I'm looking to go backpacking over the winter with my son (14) and am unsure of a tent. I've looked at a few 4 season tents that seem great except for the price. They seem a little over kill here in NJ. The worst I'm looking at is 20 degrees give or take, 4 to 6 inches of snow in a surprise, and probably won't be more than 4 miles from the nearest house or road if need be. An alpine tent seems a little over kill for my situation, would a good three season tent be adequate under such circumstances? Any caveats about moisture or warmth in a three season that I should be mind of ? Weight is a minor issue at this point as our forays will be minimal, a day or two and sometimes a float trip on the river during warmer weather.
I would agree that alpine tents are overkill. The fundamental thing for 20F and maybe 6" of snow if you get lucky would be proper clothing #1, not too far from home #2, and blue foam pads and decent sleeping bags #3. The only thing really wrong with the wrong sort of dome tent, even a good one for non-winter, is the sides might get pushed in a bit in heavy wet snow and you might even break a pole. That happened to me when I left my dome tent up in the backyard a few days. It was survivable though. As far as moisture and warmth, 20F can be warm but wet if you keep things closed up, and dry but chilly if you open things up and its windy, but if you are prepared for both clothing and sleeping gear wise its a fun experience either extreme, or whatever you find in between. If you already have a 3 season I would just go with it. If ita real heavy haul a tobbogan maybe as your not going far. If you are looking to purchase something I would get something that's fun to put up and versatile enough for all year round and not too heavy in case you do decide to venture a little farther. 3 man domes are really nice and roomy for 2, as you can have 2 large blue foam pads for that rectangle down the middle and each have that little triangle on the side. I wouldn't go bigger than 8 pounds, but I wouldn't balk at 8 pounds if that's what you want. You might find something roomy enough 4-6 pounds though.

It might take a bit of a beating in 6" of wet snow, but you can get up and clear the snow, and if you have a couple of the big blue foam pads 72"x28"x3/8" 10oz you will have a nice area for sleeping. Something with straight sides is generally better for snow, but you don't neccessarily have to go that route. Sleeping bags might be another tough choice, as your son is still growing, but he should be able to keep a full sized 20F rated bag warm enough for 20F. A 20F rated bag is very practical because they aren't so expensive and overly conservatively rated like the bags for colder temperatures, and they have enough extra ummff like you might need for the wet conditions you can get from 20F to 35F. In dry conditions I can go to 0F in a 20F bag. Your son might need to grow into an adult sized bag to crank out a little more heat, but you might get a better bag for your buck in an adult size. Now do you think he is going to break 6' tall, that's a good question. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#107397 - 12/04/08 11:47 PM Re: mild winter tents [Re: rikster66]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
If what you mean by an "alpine tent" is a single wall mountaineering tent, then yes, overkill for mild winter conditions. Can you use a 3 season tent in mild winter conditions? Sure, done it myself and some people use a tarp or one of Henry Shires' Tarptents and are quite happy. See our sponsor links for Henry's tents, as well as many others.

However, in general, consider the following:
No fiberglass poles-prone to breakage, almost impossible for repair. Aluminum poles are stronger, lighter, less prone to break and easy to field repair with a sleeve and duct tape.

Vestibule-most summer tents don't have one. For winter-either snow or cold rain, I would want one. Almost essential to keep the interior dry while getting in and out. Rain is actually worse than snow-snow is easier to scoop up and toss outside.

Choices-free standing or tunnel/A-frame design. A free-standing design is usually heavier, but easy to put up and move if necessary. I've had both. My tent is a five pole free standing winter tent with a big vestibule. I got it on eBay. Heavy but pretty bomb-proof for winter. Way overkill for summer.

Look at the Campmor website. www.campmor.com
They are in NJ and would be worth a trip. They have a lot of tents on sale now. I would stay away from anything sold at a big box store (Wal-Mart, etc.) Cheap big box store tents are cheap for a reason.


Edited by TomD (12/04/08 11:51 PM)
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#107398 - 12/05/08 05:21 AM Re: mild winter tents [Re: JAK]
Fiddleback Offline
member

Registered: 06/22/04
Posts: 478
Loc: Northern Rockies
When it comes to gear, I think we all really get into specs and updates and the 'cool' thing once in a while. But in the end, low-tech, 'basic' gear works for 90% of North America, 90% of the time (those percentages subject to tweaking by another gear head <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />). For the situations you describe, a three-season tent certainly wil do the job.

With that in mind, I share the uncool tent I used extensively in the MD/VA/WV/PA area and in the Kenai Penisula: the Eureka 4-man Timberline ( http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___40328 ). Weight is a minor point? Good...'cause this sucker comes in at about 8 lbs. But it has room...lots of room. My Lady and I shared it, along with most or our gear and our over-sized Samoyed who joyously carried the tent for us (see, weight is a minor point). It's also bomb proof. It went through huge wind storms and huge rainfalls although I don't recall any more than 3 - 4" of new snow during any night. We slept in it, comfortably, at -24 and in the warm humid nights of our then Mid-Atlantic home range. It has outstanding ventilation, a must when we lived in MD and a Godsend when we hit those -20s in AK. It never leaked...we never got wet...including the trip we spent one day and two nights virtually never leaving the tent because of a long, heavy rainstorm. Quick set up. Currently $160 at Campmor, a NJ company. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> The smaller, two-man Timberline is $110 and a pound and a half lighter but I think the extra room of the 4-man is well worth the extra cost.

FB

edit P.S. And of course, this was supposed to be a reply to rikster66...my morning coffee hasn't kicked in yet.


Edited by Fiddleback (12/05/08 05:24 AM)
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#107399 - 12/05/08 07:46 AM Re: mild winter tents [Re: rikster66]
gmagnes Offline
Moderator

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 562
Loc: Upstate New York
I'd agree with the other responders that a decent 3 season tent should work fine in those conditions--you don't really need a full bore, winter tent built to withstand gail force winds and heavy snow conditions for what you described. I'd also agree with Tom's suggestions about a vestibule and aluminum poles, which (aluminum poles) are pretty much standard on any decent (ie, non box store type tent, such as what you'd be likely to find at Campmor). I'd also agree that a single wall, lightweight tarp tent style tent, such as those sold by tarptent.com and sixmoondesigns would work and save you weight. However, the trade off there is both increased need to deal with condensation inside and also the fact that their increased ventilation needs will make them hold heat less and be much closer to the outside temperature inside the tent. A decent double wall tent all closed up will store some heat and make the inside a bit warmer than outside, which helps in below freezing temp's. You just need to decide what's more important to you, based on your likely uses, etc.

Another consideration for winter is the much shorter daylight/longer darkness and therefore likelihood of being inside the tent for longer periods and probably awake. That argues for a bit bigger space than you might need in warmer times, when you're more likely to be using the tent primarily just to sleep. So the suggestion of 3 person tent or generously laid out 2 person tent is a good one as well. That being said, I wouldn't necessarily ignore weight totally--there can be a wide variation in weight for similar sized tents because of the material used in the tent and number of poles, among other things. For what you described, I'd look for either a two or three person tent roughly in the 5-7.5 pound range with approx. 37-45 sq. ft. of interior floor space. A half dome design offers more useable interior space than an A frame style because the walls are more vertical. Eureka, which was mentioned by another poster, is not top of the line, but very decent brand at reasonable prices--Mountain Hardware and Sierra Designs, which Campmor also carries, are a step up.

I'd also second others' suggestions of checking out Campmor (in Paramus) if you're within range of their store. They've got a great range of choices, most of them actually set up so you can climb inside and get the feel of the interior space, and their sales people are generally knowledgeable and would be familiar with what can work in Jersey winter conditions. There's also an EMS next door and Ramsey Outdoor just up the road (Rte. 17), and you can check out their online deals before you go. If yiou do decide to check Campmor out in person, then just leave yourself a lot of time--there's lots and lots of good stuff to check out there.

Good Luck,

Gerry Magnes
Schenectady, NY

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#107400 - 12/05/08 06:08 PM Re: mild winter tents [Re: rikster66]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
If you're looking for specific make and model recommendations, I'd suggest you look at the Big Agnes Seedhouse 2 or Seedhouse SL2 (the difference is materials, weight, and cost; the design is identical) or the MSR Hubba Hubba or Hubba Hubba HP (there is a design difference here: one is full mesh, the other is partial mesh.)

I've used both the Seedhouse SL1 and Hubba, which are the single person versions of these tents, all year round without any problems. My wife and I have also used the Hubba Hubba in cool (not cold) weather quite successfully. I've not had them in any heavy snow, but they did fine in about an inch of wet snow.

I like these two tents because of their versatility. I hike in Ohio and Kentucky, where the seasons are hot, humid, cold, dry, snowy, and wet - sometimes in the same day. The all-mesh inners are great in the summer - leave the fly off, and you've got a screen shelter that maximizes ventilation. In cold weather, put the fly on, and you've got a snug shelter that adds some warmth (though not as much as the Timberline I used way back when.) They're also roomy and comfortable to live in.

If they fit your budget, you might find one of these tents to be just the ticket for one tent to work all year round.

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#107401 - 12/05/08 07:15 PM Re: mild winter tents [Re: JAK]
Pugslie Offline


Registered: 11/22/08
Posts: 7
For wet camping I would suggest tents that fly and tent body are pitched together...Sierra Designs Tengu, Exped Venus & Auriga series and Hilleberg Allak & Staika (expensive) to name a few...these are freestanding dome styles...they also offer tunnel styles. I like them because the tent body wont get as wet, if even, as in the more common tent body and then fly over pitching.

b.gin

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#107402 - 12/05/08 07:37 PM Re: mild winter tents [Re: Glenn]
Cesar Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/07
Posts: 217
Loc: El Paso, TX
If you live by an rei you might want to check out their Cirque ASL 3 . Its listed as a 4 season tent but in the video they its mentioned as a light duty 4 season tent i believe. You can also find a sierra designs Alpha for around 250$ online. The cirque might be a better option if your going to use it in summer since it looks like it has more ventilation and two vestibules.
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#107403 - 12/05/08 10:21 PM Re: mild winter tents [Re: JAK]
rikster66 Offline


Registered: 12/04/08
Posts: 3
Loc: central westen NJ
First I want to thank everyone for their reply's and information, it was all very helpful and informative. I'm debating between the big Agnes seedhouse or the MRS hubba hubba or HP, the later being out of my price range but I found a new one on eBay running around half off MSRP. I prefer the hubba hubba HP but they don't say what their poles are made of, anyone know? They looked like fiberglass and Tom D seemed to strongly recommended against fiberglass poles although I have used them many times with no problems under summer conditions. A broken pole might ruin my trip but it is hard to get remote enough in NJ to make it life threatening. Anyone had any problems with fiberglass poles to cause concern under such circumstances?

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#107404 - 12/06/08 06:28 AM Re: mild winter tents [Re: rikster66]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
The Hubba, Hubba Hubba and (dare I admit I own one?) Mutha Hubba all have Easton aluminum poles; I can't imagine that the HP series would be any different. By the way, the Mutha Hubba is definitely a car-camping tent.

The Seedhouse SL2 is about a half pound lighter than the Hubba Hubba, but it only has one door. The HH has 2 doors and 2 vestibules. I guess it depends on the features that make it livable for you; neither tent is overly heavy.

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#107405 - 12/06/08 06:53 AM Re: mild winter tents [Re: rikster66]
Cesar Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/07
Posts: 217
Loc: El Paso, TX
If you already made up your mind on those three tents you might want to get the hubba hubba HP since it is not all mesh. If its windy you can get blowing snow to gather in your tent and wet you gear. Thats why most winter tents have less exposed mesh.
Another option you might want to look into is the Alps Mountaineering Extreme. Its a 3 pole design, has less exposed mesh but from the picture it looks like it also has mesh backed doors for better ventilation for summer use. Another plus is it is less expensive then the others you mentioned.
Alps Mountaineering Extreme
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#107406 - 12/06/08 09:28 AM Re: mild winter tents [Re: rikster66]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2861
Loc: Portland, OR
Beyond air temperature or snowfall, you need to factor in wind. In light breeze or still air a three season tent would be perfectly fine. The more the wind blows, the stronger your tent needs to be.

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#107407 - 12/06/08 09:43 AM Re: mild winter tents [Re: aimless]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Does it need to be that much stronger for wind in winter than in summer? Worst case might be heavy snow followed by freezing rain, but in the situation described a with a good waterproof 3 season tent you should be able to go outside now and then and clear the snow and ice. Good clothing is most important. Mind you, some of the better 3 season rainproof tents might be very wet in cold wet winter conditions, and some of those 3.5 and 4 season tents might be pretty good all year round maybe, and not that expensive. I think for 4 season you have to seperate between deep woods vs arctic/alpine. Of course there are always ice-storms and such where you might want to get into the open away from trees and such. I'm more of a clothing and bivy and tarp guy myself. I will use a tent but not depend too much on it.

p.s. sorry I keep editing


Edited by JAK (12/06/08 09:54 AM)

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#107408 - 12/06/08 09:48 AM Re: mild winter tents [Re: JAK]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2861
Loc: Portland, OR
Good clothing is most important.

I agree. I agree. I agree. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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#107409 - 12/06/08 09:55 AM Re: mild winter tents [Re: aimless]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Are aluminum poles absolutely essential in winter? Doesn't it depend on the design?
What if the fibreglass poles are made stronger? Wouldn't they be stronger for the same weight?

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#107410 - 12/06/08 10:02 AM Re: mild winter tents [Re: aimless]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Quote:
Good clothing is most important.

I agree. I agree. I agree. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
lol

I guess I'm saying if you save 2 pounds on the tent and put that into clothing you might be better off. I think heavy tents make the most sense once you've already maxed out on clothing. It doesn't take much to max out on clothing. In alot of winter hiking and camping you don't really need to max out on clothing, but I would go overboard on clothing before I got into a heavy tent. There are alot of good winter tents though that aren't all that heavy or expensive. I would still have more faith in clothing though. I suppose its because I have more experience with winter clothing than I do winter tents. On my one long winter trudge where I went the wrong way and spent am extra couple of days I regretted the weight of my 8 pound tent and heavier than needed nylon rain gear, but I didn't regret the weight of my fleece and wool, or food. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

I've switched to lighter rain gear, and bivy/tarp. I should probably try a light winter tent someday.
When my daughter starts doing winter camping with me I'll see what she thinks of the bivy/tarp situation. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

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#107411 - 12/06/08 11:25 AM Re: mild winter tents [Re: JAK]
Cesar Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/07
Posts: 217
Loc: El Paso, TX
When you say tarp are you talking about a regular square or rectangle tarp or tarp tent like the MSR twin sisters, Golite Hex 3, or the Outdoor Research Nighthaven type tarp?
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#107412 - 12/06/08 11:59 AM Re: mild winter tents [Re: JAK]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Quote:
Are aluminum poles absolutely essential in winter? Doesn't it depend on the design?
What if the fibreglass poles are made stronger? Wouldn't they be stronger for the same weight?


JAK, Fiberglass poles are not stronger for the same weight and are not repairable in the field as far as I know. There are probably some stats on the web somewhere about material strength. But, if fiberglass was stronger, you would see it being used for masts, booms, etc. on sailboats and you never do.

Once fiberglass poles reach their max load, the glass fractures and the ends look like shredded celery. Aluminum will bend and break but the metal doesn't shred. tt can be bent and twisted back into some sort of shape or if you have a spare piece, just replace it. Most tents come with a repair sleeve that slips over a damaged piece. Carbon fiber is a whole other material. However, when carbon fiber breaks, I am pretty sure it shreds like fiberglass.

I've never seen an aluminum piece break, but I know it can happen. I have seen broken fiberglass poles.

Absolutely essential? If not, you'd see something else being used on high end tents and you never do. I'm not talking about the big "hot tents" that are used up your way or those designed for Antarctica like a Scott tent. I'm talking about mountaineering tents or winter tents like ID, Bibler, BD, Hilleberg, and others make.
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#107413 - 12/06/08 12:43 PM Re: mild winter tents [Re: TomD]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Quote:
Quote:
Are aluminum poles absolutely essential in winter? Doesn't it depend on the design?
What if the fibreglass poles are made stronger? Wouldn't they be stronger for the same weight?


JAK, Fiberglass poles are not stronger for the same weight and are not repairable in the field as far as I know. There are probably some stats on the web somewhere about material strength. But, if fiberglass was stronger, you would see it being used for masts, booms, etc. on sailboats and you never do.

Once fiberglass poles reach their max load, the glass fractures and the ends look like shredded celery. Aluminum will bend and break but the metal doesn't shred. tt can be bent and twisted back into some sort of shape or if you have a spare piece, just replace it. Most tents come with a repair sleeve that slips over a damaged piece. Carbon fiber is a whole other material. However, when carbon fiber breaks, I am pretty sure it shreds like fiberglass.

I've never seen an aluminum piece break, but I know it can happen. I have seen broken fiberglass poles.

Absolutely essential? If not, you'd see something else being used on high end tents and you never do. I'm not talking about the big "hot tents" that are used up your way or those designed for Antarctica like a Scott tent. I'm talking about mountaineering tents or winter tents like ID, Bibler, BD, Hilleberg, and others make.
Thanks for that Tom. I was mostly curious.

I was curious because I sail and I know fibreglass is better for some things and aluminum is better for others. Fibreglass is generally more durable, because it can bend further without breaking. I think the problem with tent poles is the way they need to be joined together. I think it you could make full length bend poles, which is impractical, them fibreglass might outperform aluminum. I was mostly curious because of this, and because it might also be desirable to avoid aluminum at low temperatures. That might be another thing about fibreglass. The fibreglass, or the resin that binds it, is probably more brittle at low temperatures. That could be it also.

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#107414 - 12/06/08 12:48 PM Re: mild winter tents [Re: JAK]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Tom,
those mountaineering tents you describe, like ID, Bibler, BD, Hilleberg, and others, are they also ok in summer? I'm curious because I want to get my daughter into winter camping, and if I can't talk my wife into letting her bivy and tarp it like I do, maybe a tent we can both use year round. Are they too heavy or expensive to justify using them in summer?

So is a 4 season tent really for four seasons, or just for one?

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#107415 - 12/06/08 02:08 PM Re: mild winter tents [Re: JAK]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
JAK

those mountaineering tents you describe, like ID, Bibler, BD, Hilleberg, and others, are they also ok in summer? I'm curious because I want to get my daughter into winter camping, and if I can't talk my wife into letting her bivy and tarp it like I do, maybe a tent we can both use year round. Are they too heavy or expensive to justify using them in summer?

So is a 4 season tent really for four seasons, or just for one?
________________________________________

Oh - lets just say that they are snow tents. You're not gonna destroy the floor on snow, but using a fine snow tent on rock of pine needles makes no sense, besides they do not vent enough for warm weather. You need 2 distinct tents at a minimum <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
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These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#107416 - 12/06/08 03:48 PM Re: mild winter tents [Re: Jimshaw]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
That's kinda what I figured, and now have a better idea why.
Thanks Jim.

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#107417 - 12/06/08 05:12 PM Re: mild winter tents [Re: JAK]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
JAK, I am not an expert on these tents, but from everything I have read about them, I would not recommend a single wall mountaineering tent for anything but mountaineering in cold weather.

One reason is the price. You could buy two pretty nice 3 season tents for the price of some of the mountaineering tents.

But let's divide them up into two categories-single wall high altitude tents, like the Bibler and ID, which actually are pretty light, but fairly small, and general winter tents, which are usually double wall, multi-pole tents with a big vestibule, like the TNF Mountain 25 or the Hillebergs. The latter category are the heavy ones.

Winter tents tend to be something you can really seal yourself up in. Mine is like that- double wall, five poles, self supporting, two doors and two vestibules-a big one and a little one. My tent is a two person tent and weighs about 8 lbs. or so. Mine does have mesh panels on the interior, but also has solid panels that zip over those. Jim Shaw has a TNF Mtn 25 (I think that't the model) and once it is set up, it is pretty stormproof under almost any conditions. But it should be given the weight and number of poles.

For three season, what about a Henry Shires tarptent? A compromise between a tarp and a tent and they don't weigh much. I had one of Henry's tents, but sold it before I could use it. It seemed pretty well made. They are single wall, but are well ventilated because they are essentially open at both ends.

For a fairly lightweight double wall tent, I'd look at something like the MSR Hubba Hubba, Big Agnes tents or something similar. Once you make that choice, there are a whole bunch of different designs at different prices. Check out REI, Campmor or go through the Portal and look at the online sponsors' lists of tents.

There are a lot of threads here on tents. Hopefully someone who has one of these tents will post here or do a search under the specific name. The Hubba Hubba and Big Agnes are popular, so there must something good about them. Same for Henry's tents.
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#107418 - 12/09/08 05:54 AM Re: 4-season tents [Re: JAK]
Arizona Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 122
Loc: The Southwestern Deserts
Quote:
Tom,
those mountaineering tents you describe, like ID, Bibler, BD, Hilleberg, and others, are they also ok in summer? I'm curious because I want to get my daughter into winter camping, and if I can't talk my wife into letting her bivy and tarp it like I do, maybe a tent we can both use year round. Are they too heavy or expensive to justify using them in summer?

So is a 4 season tent really for four seasons, or just for one?


I'm not Tom but I did research and pick a 4-season tent, more for the ferocious winds of the Colorado Plateau than for snow conditions. We have had 3- season tents pretzel in those winds that seem to always be present in spring and fall as well as winter.

I settled on a Hilleberg Kaitum 3, relatively light for a 4-season tent but not so when I compare it to my Tarptent Squall II. The Kaitum 3 is not only a roomy fortress that we can sit up in anywhere in the tent but it can be ventilated so well that it can be used in warm weather too. It has two doors which can be fully opened but closed to flying insects with the screen panels. Both vestibules can be opened up. It is quite versatile.

We are being hit with 70 mph wind in this image but you really can't tell it from the picture. The tent was not noisy like I thought it would be in those kinds of wind as you can tighten it up at each stake with adjusters.



Here is a picture of the flow through ventilation doors that are open but screened off, the vestibule partially open. The inner tent toggles to the canopy as does the footprint so you set the entire thing up all at once, keeping everything below the main canopy dry in rain.



The tent has already paid for itself by letting us go into places and conditions that we might not have been able to do as well without it. I have a lot of confidence in this shelter. It has earned the name the Hilleberg Hilton, backcountry resort.

You just have to decide for yourself if something like this will meet your needs.

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#107419 - 12/09/08 02:13 PM Re: 4-season tents [Re: Arizona]
jamieS Offline
member

Registered: 09/29/04
Posts: 271
I have a question related to wet weather camping in tents like these (two layer, inside attached to outside). How does the tent fair in multi-day rains? Is there any secret to packing them so that the inside stays dry -- can the fly be detached from the inner tent for storage during the days hike?

Thanks!

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#107420 - 12/09/08 04:02 PM Re: 4-season tents [Re: Arizona]
azcanyon Offline
member

Registered: 07/12/04
Posts: 264
Nice pics, BoyN.

In the discussion above, I think the Hillebergs got lumped in with more "traditional" (i.e., freestanding, heavier) four-season tents. I guess Hilleberg makes some of those too, but the (to me) really interesting ones are the tunnel tents, which are really lightweight for what they can do.

I don't have any firsthand experience to report yet, but one of our kind readers can quickly remedy this problem by sending me a Nallo 3 GT at your earliest convenience. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> (Just PM me for the correct delivery address, kind reader.)

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#107421 - 12/09/08 05:26 PM Re: 4-season tents [Re: jamieS]
Arizona Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 122
Loc: The Southwestern Deserts
Quote:
I have a question related to wet weather camping in tents like these (two layer, inside attached to outside). How does the tent fair in multi-day rains? Is there any secret to packing them so that the inside stays dry -- can the fly be detached from the inner tent for storage during the days hike?

Thanks!


Though I have been rained on plenty of times, we just don't get that multi-day kind of rain that other locations do. Most of the time it rains and then clears off. I got rained and hailed on Thanksgiving down on the border but it quickly passed like all the other times I have been out. I just shook off what water I could before packing. Other wet weather packing folks might know more about how to do this best.

As far as taking the canopy off the inner tent, it is fast and easy. They are held together by toggles that are no problem to part or connect. Normally I just leave it all together so the tent goes up real fast.

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#107422 - 12/10/08 01:43 PM Re: 4-season tents [Re: Arizona]
Pugslie Offline


Registered: 11/22/08
Posts: 7
Quote:
Quote:
Tom,
those mountaineering tents you describe, like ID, Bibler, BD, Hilleberg, and others, are they also ok in summer? I'm curious because I want to get my daughter into winter camping, and if I can't talk my wife into letting her bivy and tarp it like I do, maybe a tent we can both use year round. Are they too heavy or expensive to justify using them in summer?

So is a 4 season tent really for four seasons, or just for one?


I'm not Tom but I did research and pick a 4-season tent, more for the ferocious winds of the Colorado Plateau than for snow conditions. We have had 3- season tents pretzel in those winds that seem to always be present in spring and fall as well as winter.

I settled on a Hilleberg Kaitum 3, relatively light for a 4-season tent but not so when I compare it to my Tarptent Squall II. The Kaitum 3 is not only a roomy fortress that we can sit up in anywhere in the tent but it can be ventilated so well that it can be used in warm weather too. It has two doors which can be fully opened but closed to flying insects with the screen panels. Both vestibules can be opened up. It is quite versatile.

We are being hit with 70 mph wind in this image but you really can't tell it from the picture. The tent was not noisy like I thought it would be in those kinds of wind as you can tighten it up at each stake with adjusters.



Here is a picture of the flow through ventilation doors that are open but screened off, the vestibule partially open. The inner tent toggles to the canopy as does the footprint so you set the entire thing up all at once, keeping everything below the main canopy dry in rain.



The tent has already paid for itself by letting us go into places and conditions that we might not have been able to do as well without it. I have a lot of confidence in this shelter. It has earned the name the Hilleberg Hilton, backcountry resort.

You just have to decide for yourself if something like this will meet your needs.


At Moontrail, they furnish different angle pics how all the Hilleberg tents look like.

b.gin

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#107423 - 12/13/08 05:59 PM Re: mild winter tents [Re: rikster66]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
Rikster,

Ya know what? The North Face Tadpole is a decent "mild winter" tent. It has a very good sind shedding, stable shape and a small vestibule. It's tight fer 2 people but great for one with bulky winter gear.

Want more warmth? Make pieces of light ripstop the shape of yer tent body netting panels,put Velcro on their hems and the netting edges and Velcro them to the netting in winter. You can open them partly for more venting and remove 'em entirely for 3 season camping. There ya are a cheap, lightweight solution to moding a 3 season tent..

Eric
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#107424 - 12/14/08 01:58 PM Re: mild winter tents [Re: rikster66]
CJennings Offline
member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 150
Loc: Utah
My favorite is a Nallo 2. Lightweight but very storm worthy.

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#108481 - 12/30/08 12:23 AM Re: mild winter tents [Re: rikster66]
rikster66 Offline


Registered: 12/04/08
Posts: 3
Loc: central westen NJ
Hey all
just wanted to give an update post trip. I ended up buying Big Agnes's Elkhorn 2 tent on clearance for 95 bucks, just couldn't see swinging for the high priced models right near Christmas and all. No rain so I can't comment on that but it kept us warm and snug even if it was a little heavy at 5 lbs.
Hiked in 7.5 miles did an overnight and hiked out the next day. dropped down to the low 30s with a hard wind all night but the days were pleasant if not to warm.
Got a few blisters for my troubles and I'm shocked at no real muscle aches but I sure am pack sore from the rubbing on my hips and shoulders. Is that normal part of backpacking that one gets used to over time?
Thanks again for all your input
Rick
\

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#108486 - 12/30/08 07:35 AM Re: mild winter tents [Re: rikster66]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
No, being sore from the pack rubbing your hips and shoulders is not normal. (You'll sometimes get a little soreness if you haven't been out in a while, as your muscles reacquaint themselves with carrying a pack, but this usually disappears - at least for me - by the second or third morning, and it's more of an annoyance than a noticeable discomfort.)

If you're having issues with a pack making your shoulders and hips sore, it can be a couple of things. First, and most obvious, is that the pack doesn't fit right. As a result, to keep it from slipping, you have to cinch it really tightly around your hips (too tightly) and the shoulder straps get snugged down tightly to keep it from flopping around. Check your suspension; if it's adjustable, get someone to help make sure you've got it adjusted properly. If it's not adjustable, the only solution may be a different pack.

The other possibility is that the pack fits correctly, but you overloaded it. For example, my Vapor Trail is "comfort" rated for a 30-pound load; around 28 pounds, and definitely over 30, the weight overwhelms the suspension. The pack tries to slide down around my knees, I can't get it to ride comfortably on my shoulders, and the hipbelt actually starts to double over on itself. (I found this out the first time I took a weeklong trip with it, carrying 4 quarts of water the first afternoon for a while. By midday the next day, I was down to a quart of water, and the overload issue was gone.) You might want to check the rating for your pack, too. If you find this is the issue, get the rest of your gear to where you want it, then buy an appropriate pack and get it fitted to you.

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