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#99807 - 07/16/08 08:23 PM 4 season tent??
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
I need a new winter tent and I'd (naturally) like the lightest I can find. The 3 man is the smallest I want in winter for two people and their bulky gear, both inside and in the vestibule.

The North Face Spectrum 3 man tent looks good. It is the same highly wind resistant design as the 1 and 2 man tents.Mountain Gear has it on sale for $219.98 Notta too bad, notta too bad.

Anybody out ther own any of these tents and have any comments on their suitability?

Eric


Edited by 300winmag (07/16/08 08:24 PM)
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#99808 - 07/16/08 08:27 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: 300winmag]
bigfoot2 Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Eugene , Oregon
How about a Golite Shangri-La (formerly know as the Hex?) ? I have used these with great success in winter :

http://www.backcountrygear.com/catalog/tentdetail.cfm/GO3078

Good luck in your search.

BF

<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Hammockers aren't stuck up, they're just above it all.

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#99809 - 07/16/08 09:27 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: bigfoot2]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
Thanks Bigfoot. A good choice for light weight & weather resistance but I'm "allergic" to center pole tents.

Whaddya think of the MSR Hubba Hubba HP?
(2 man, yes, but with 2 entrances/vestibules)

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

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#99810 - 07/16/08 10:41 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: 300winmag]
bigfoot2 Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Eugene , Oregon
Nice choice, but i like the MSR Dragontail, myself. I guess i'm just used to jumping through hoops <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

http://www.backcountrygear.com/catalog/tentdetail.cfm/MSR573

BF

<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Hammockers aren't stuck up, they're just above it all.

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#99811 - 07/17/08 11:50 AM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: bigfoot2]
300winmag Offline
member

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

Thanks for the Dragontail link. Very sturdy design.

After reading about TNF Spectrum condensation problems at BPL's "The G Spot" forum I'm veering away from single wall tents for winter.

When thinking about my double wall winter tenting experiences at single digit temps I realized that at least 1/2 of the frost condensation in the tents in the morning was on the underside of the fly, therefore not in the tent body, as it would be with a single wall tent. Plus I hsve the unscientific hunch that double wall tents would be a bit warmer as well.

If I DO get a nice double wall tent I'd likely put snaps at 6" intervals around the bottom inside edge of the fly to attatch homade silnylon snow flap extensions that I could bury to keep out spindrift and make the tent more stable in high winds. I'd use silnylon for the snow flaps on likelihood that silnylon material will shed frozen clumps of snow better when breaking camp. I may even use light Velcro between the snaps. It would all go together at home, before heading out to the Great White.

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

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#99812 - 07/17/08 12:34 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: 300winmag]
MistaBrown Offline
member

Registered: 11/16/07
Posts: 35
My 4 season is pretty rock solid, but it's not very light. It's made to stand up to more than I've done with it. It stacks up to 12 lbs with everything in the bag. I haven't bothered yet to go for lighter stakes yet. It's the Eureka K2XT. It's a spacious 2 man with 2 vestibules, the front being very big with a clear plastic window. It was around $400 when I bought it. The only time I saw condensation was when we had a night of rain at 35 degrees, and it was hardly noticeable. More than enough space for 2 people, carrying a total of 100 lbs of gear, and lots of places to store your items in the mesh cargo pockets!

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#99813 - 07/17/08 05:12 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: MistaBrown]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
Double-walled tents with full fly coverage and storm flaps are more than "a bit" warmer than alternatives.

That said, most four-season campers don't need a "4-season" tent. You may well be an exception, but must unfortunately therefore tolerate much higher weight and expense in order to own a specialized piece of gear.

I use the Hex 3, now Shangri La, and the MSR Twin Peaks. Banked with snow, either of these are nearly as storm-proof as any tent on the market and are twice the size of certain two-person tents. Obviously they are only a fraction of the weight of a four-season tent.

These are of course "single wall" tents. Not as warm, and yes, there will be frost but....yeah whatever.

I hear the Megamid is frequently used as cook tent high on McKinley, sometimes with a bad outcome, possibly because less care is used for cook tent than sleeping tent, in terms of building snow walls. I certainly don't know.

But very few backpackers need to camp for extended periods in that sort of potential wind and snow dump. Comparatively benign weather is the norm.

I strongly suspect both the Hex and Twin Peaks are marginally more storm stable than the Megamid.

I saw a documentary about a traditional Alaskan trapper using something like the Ti Goat tents, a larger version of Hex. She traveled with a snowmobile and carried a chainsaw to fuel the woodstove, however.

Scott used something similar on his 1911 South Pole expedition. Everyone died, but not due to inadequate tentage.

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#99814 - 07/17/08 06:27 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: 300winmag]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
The Spectrum weighs the same as my Bibler ElDorado. Have you ever set up a single wall internal pole tent in a storm? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> When you have, you will apreciate the difference between it and fighting what is essentially 2 tents that have to be set up, and one isn't water proof. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

The ice that you mentioned on the underside of the shell on a double walled tent, would simply evaporate off through my Toddtex tent. A roof vent makes a tremendous difference and is available on very few double walled tents. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />who plays kazoo too <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#99815 - 07/17/08 06:51 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: Jimshaw]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
"Have you ever set up a single wall internal pole tent in a storm? When you have, you will apreciate the difference between it and fighting what is essentially 2 tents that have to be set up, and one isn't water proof. "

Jim... do you mean a DOUBLE wall tent and make a mistake?

BTW, I think roof vents are now very common on double wall tents.

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#99816 - 07/17/08 09:10 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: Jimshaw]
bigfoot2 Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Eugene , Oregon
Jim,
Vents are as common on single AND double walled tents as trees in the forest these days!

BF <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Hammockers aren't stuck up, they're just above it all.

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#99817 - 07/18/08 01:04 AM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: 300winmag]
jasonlivy Offline
member

Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 654
Loc: Colorado
Quote:
Whaddya think of the MSR Hubba Hubba HP?
(2 man, yes, but with 2 entrances/vestibules)
I've used the Hubba Hubba HP both in the summer and winter several times and love it, but it does have it's limitations.

This tent was designed for light 4 season use, meaning that if your in an area that you don't suspect a large snowfall, then it is as good as any out there. The benefits (when compared to the original Hubba Hubba) it brings is far less mesh, more sturdy floor (10,000mm coating), reinforced guyout points, vents in the fly, etc. What it didn't improve on is the snowload capability. I've had it really staked down with the fly and I was surprised at how stable it was for a 4lb freestanding, doublewall tent, but it just isn't like a true 4 season tent.

I think one of the most stout yet packable 4 season two man tents is the MSR Fury. I would take it anywhere in the world at anytime. By using only 3 poles, the original Moss design is as capable as any tent on the market for withstanding heavy snowloads. If you already have a good 3 season tent, but want something that you just won't worry about in the winter whatever it brings, then this might be the tent for you. At only 6lb 4oz it isn't all that heavy when compared to similar tents in it's category. A couple of minor issues are that the doors are kind of small and the space is meant for two people only, no gear (the cealing sits rather high for easy changing and moving around). The hooped vestibule is nice and large enough to swallow all the extra winter gear. It has vents in the fly that can be buttoned down completely when there's a lot of wind and spindrift. The beauty of this tent is when it is set up, staked down, and, if necessary, guyed out, there won't be any movement at all, even in the most severe wind. You feel completely protected and sheltered inside which is always a good feeling. There is a certain amount of confidence in having a tent like this in that you know wherever you go and no matter how bad the weather gets, you'll be alright.

I guess you have to define what you need in a 4 season tent and where you'll probably end up going. Sometimes it's good to plan for the worst case scenerio, but if you know that you won't be in an area where you could encounter heavy snowfalls and super severe winds (60+mph) while winter camping, the Hubba Hubba HP is an excellent choice.
_________________________
Believe, then you will Understand...

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#99818 - 07/18/08 08:00 PM Re: 4 season tent??Wrong subject title [Re: johndavid]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
Guess I should've titled this thread "Winter Tent??" instead B/C, as you can see from my text, I really want a winter tent. Got lots of summer & 3 season tents alresdy.

The search continues, but has been narrowed to double walled tents with decent vestibules and maybe snow skirts on the flys - or not. I MAY cough up the $$ for the Hilleberg Jannu but I cringe at the expense even though a TRUE gearhead would not give it a second thought!

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

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#99819 - 07/18/08 10:12 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: johndavid]
Jimshaw Offline
member

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

quote"
*** You are ignoring this user ***"
_______________________________________

Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#99820 - 07/19/08 12:07 AM Re: 4 season tent??Wrong subject title [Re: 300winmag]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Hey Eric, what about the Hilleberg Nallo GT? They have a 3 person version. Not freestanding, but pretty light. Huge vestibule.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#99821 - 07/19/08 12:57 PM Re: 4 season tent??Wrong subject title [Re: TomD]
300winmag Offline
member

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

Good sugestion. I think the regular Nallo 3 is what I'd go for. I really like the GT's huge vestibule but don't want the extra weight.

I can see the Nallo's CONTINUOUS pole sleeves are far faster to thread than the Jannu's clips and both have removable flys. I DO like the Jannu's ceiling vent but not enough to give up the Nallo's continuous pole sleeves.

,,,and then there's the cost - sigh... I COULD sell one of my firearms but that's something I've always regretted afterwards. Anyone got $4,500. for a nice Steyr AUG assault rifle and eleven 30 round magazines?

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

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#99822 - 07/19/08 01:20 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: 300winmag]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2745
Loc: California
"Winter" is relative. I think there is a distinct difference with high altitude, windy and heavy snow -- mountaineering tent you would use on Denali or Everest, or low altitude, wet, heavy snow, such as Oregon or Washington, or mid-altitude, dry, light snow such as Colorado. Also consider the average night temps- around zero? -40F? Do you expect 20mph winds, 60 mph winds, 100 mph winds?

The mountaineering tents are often quite specifically designed for mountaineering applications. For example, if you have to stomp out a platform to set up the tent, or if you plan on setting up on a small ledge, you then do NOT want a tent with a large footprint.

When I did winter mountaineering in Wyoming (many years ago), features I found very useful were: 1) two entrances - a regular front entrance and a tunnel entrance in the back that allows you to shake off snow before entering the tent. 2) attachements to hang a frost liner. 3) bombproof guy-lines 4) zippers that work when frozen, 5) zip out half-moon on bottom of tent to use to set a stove or pee -- I do not think they make these anymore. 6) taught springy set-up so that the numerous times you beat the walls of the tent to sluff off snow the tent does not get saggy. 7) good wind profile so it does not flap noisily all night.

I have not had any experience with the tent you mentioned. Sorry - no help there.

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#99823 - 07/19/08 03:29 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: wandering_daisy]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
I wonder what the maximum wind speed a forest can experience without catastrophic damage.

Obviously, a tent in a dense forest needn't withstand particularly high winds, or if it does, it's likely to get flattened by a tree before it fails.

Perhaps a sustained 25 mph wind on forest floor would constitute a very unusual and somewhat dangerous situation that doesn't relate to tent selection, unless they're making steel tents these days.

The measured wind speed, as reported or forecast by National Weather Service, might be a higher value, given their siting requirements for anemometers.

This is a way of restating my thesis that most winter backpackers don't need a "winter" tent.

Those that maybe do, often chose to hike another mile to some miserabley windy place above treeline, when they can easily camp lower down for privilage of getting a peaceful night's sleep --- or perhaps getting nailed by a tree in their tarp or in their $800 12-pound (or whatever) expedition tent.

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#99824 - 07/20/08 12:52 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: johndavid]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2745
Loc: California
The breadth of your experience seems to be a little limited if you have done extensive winter trips and have always had the option of camping in a forest.

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#99825 - 07/20/08 01:29 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: wandering_daisy]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I don't know most winter campers so I have no idea what they need. My winter camping has been in Yosemiite in about the same place on several trips.

One trip it snowed pretty hard, one trip it snowed and rained and another trip, the sky was clear the whole time, day and night.

I suppose I could have gotten along under a tarp on all three trips, but on the rainy trip, I had a three season tent with no vestibule that that just wasn't a good experience. A tarp would probably have been even more miserable.

However, on the snowy trip, one of the people I was with had a tarp of some sort and he seemed to get along fine. On that trip, Jim Shaw and I were in his TNF Mountain tent and that worked for me because I was sick most of the time and in no mood to be out in the weather.

To me, shelter choices come down to comfort and safety. Everything else is a function of those two points. I drag (literally, on my sled) a big five pole, two vestibule double skin freestanding winter tent for just me because I like comfort and I like safety. Could I get along with less? Probably, but I don't have to and don't want to.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#99826 - 07/20/08 01:52 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: TomD]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
Tom: Try one of those larger pyramid tarps and you'll have the comfort of dumping a lot of weight. They are perfectly safe and quite spacious and weatherproof.

IMO they are at their functional best in snow, given ability to easily bank edges, lack of insect concerns, and the potential for digging out floor for more headroom (which I've never done). Nothing like a lack of floor on deep subfreezing snow, when it's time to empty the pee bottle.

Lots of winter outdoor recreation programs use them. Canadian Alpine Club comes to mind and there are others.

They definitely aren't as warm as a completely double-walled tent, but the difference isn't huge.

No I've never camped above treeline in the winter and am unlikely to have a winter objective that would make this desirable. I've camped around treeline in winter less than a dozen times, all in Cascades.

The majority of my winter camping has been in areas of New York and New England which don't support a treeline.

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#99827 - 07/20/08 04:18 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: johndavid]
FrolickingDino Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/30/08
Posts: 11
Loc: Southeastern USA
It has been decades since I did much winter camping. When I did, I used a small pup tent (nearly a bivy) made of a breathable, closely woven fabric (polyester I think) with a tarp rigged as a Trapazoid above the tent - warm, plenty of dry space for gear & cooking - and He-Dino could water the forest without getting out of the tarp (She-Dino cursed about this frequently <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> ). Never had any condensation issues.

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#99828 - 07/21/08 05:36 AM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: 300winmag]
altadude Offline
member

Registered: 11/16/03
Posts: 524
No one has mentioned Stephenson's Warmlite Tents.

I have no experience with them but people in various forums rave about their durability and being relatively lightweight.............

Just a FYI.........

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#99829 - 07/21/08 12:03 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: altadude]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
From comments I have read, people either love or hate Stephenson tents. I've never seen one either, but have seen their catalog for years.

Stephenson's (the dad) attitude that "if you don't love my tents, you're a moron" doesn't help change people's minds either. They also make a lot of VBL clothing.

As far as a pyramid goes, I know a lot of people love them and they are lighter than many winter tents. Just haven't tried one yet.
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#99830 - 07/21/08 10:34 PM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: TomD]
bmisf Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/03
Posts: 629
Hi Eric -

I have a Jannu and a Saivo and love them both (pics follow). The Saivo is rated for 3 but is a great 2-person winter tent with vestibules at each end large enough to hold a pulk or multiple packs. The Jannu is rated for 2 but is a tight squeeze with winter gear - but a great 1-person winter tent. First picture is the Jannu at Lone Star Geyser in Yellowstone, where we had temperatures far below zero, but no big storm:



And next is the Saivo at Lassen Volcanic National Park, after some snow and wind:



I also have a Bibler Tempest I picked up for super-cheap at an REI scratch and dent sale. I had an issue with poles bending in it in an extreme storm near Carson Pass (I believe they got bent while I was setting it up - when the tent is at its weakest - and it was at night with super-strong winds). Once it was fully staked out, it survived 80+ mph winds even with the bends. This picture is from the next day:



I'd recommend any of these, but give the edge to the Hillebergs. I find them much easier to set up in bad weather, more flexible for venting, they have more useful vestibules than the Tempest, and the Jannu is slightly lighter for comparable space. Downside is a bit more condensation when they're all sealed up.

Despite what Jim says about setting up his Bibler in a storm (his is smaller, and he's come up with a technique where he stands up and pulls it over his head like a bag to start putting the poles inside), I find the Hillebergs are dramatically easier in bad weather. Unlike most double-wall tents, both parts are connected and the poles go on the outside. It pitches all at once, which keeps the inside dry and clean (unlike the Biblers), and protects the inner tent.

Ping me if you want more detail on any of these.

- Steve

PS - I was the tarptent camper on the trip Tom mentioned - in those conditions of light snow and low winds it was fine, but I wouldn't want to be in a real winter storm in a tarptent, ever.

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#99831 - 07/23/08 12:27 AM Re: 4 season tent?? [Re: bmisf]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Steve, glad you chimed in here. You're the only person I know with a Hilleberg. I didn't realize you had gotten the Jannu too. Is the Saivo the one you had when you all got blasted in that big storm?

I mentioned this before, a while back but since you brought up tarps, thought I'd mention it again. I saw a tv show called Christmas in Yellowstone that featured a photographer ski camping and taking pictures. He was under a tarp in pretty heavy snow and wind one night. He obviously had a camera crew shooting him, but he was tarping it as if he was alone. He had a WM bag of some sort, I could see the label in the close up. Didn't look like fun.


Edited by TomD (07/23/08 12:37 AM)
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