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#173999 - 01/17/13 07:51 PM You need a tent...
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1337
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Here's a little theoretical exercise for everyone. Hey, it's January, cold, dreary, we're all bored, and pretty soon we gotta file our tax returns! We need a little fun, and this was about as little as I could dream up. smile

On that pre-Christmas trip, your old tent finally gave up the ghost; the poles bent, the door zipper busted, and the coating peeled off the fly in one big chunk. Luckily, your family has given up trying to buy you gifts, so you've got a few gift certificates to spend. So, you're standing in your favorite outfitter's store, trying to figure out which Big Agnes tent to buy. (You'll be using it by yourself, not sharing it with a partner or dog, for general 3-season camping.) Your choices are:

Model Weight Floor Area Vestibule area Height Door location $
Fly Creek UL1: 1/14 22 sq ft 5.5 sq ft 38" End entry $320
Copper Spur UL1: 2/6 22 sq ft 10.0 sq ft 37" Side entry $350
Slater UL1+: 2/4 28 sq ft 6.0 sq ft 40" End entry $340
Scout UL2: 1/9 34 sq ft None 43" End entry $280
Fishhook UL1: 2/10 22 sq ft 10.0 sq ft 38" Side entry $350

Weights are pounds/ounces. All are one-person tents, except the Scout which is a two-person. All are double-wall tents, except the Scout, which is a single-wall tent that uses your trekking poles as tent poles. The Fishhook introduces new technology in the form of a "zipperless" door. (All of these tents are shown on Big Agnes' website, if you're interested.)

Which tent would you choose, and why?

I thought this little exercise might be useful to new backpackers, giving them a feel for the process that more seasoned folks go through to balance livability, weather resistance, cost, and weight to come to a decision. I didn't choose BA tents for any particular reason other than they have a neat little "Compare" tool on their website, which made it easier to put together a selection.

Have at it!

Added: I apologize for the data display - I tried to make a matrix using spaces, but the submission process evidently deletes extraneous spaces.


Edited by Glenn Roberts (01/17/13 07:55 PM)
Edit Reason: Apology

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#174003 - 01/17/13 08:43 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Pika Online   content
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Well, since I have been using a Fly Creek for the past three years with complete satisfaction, I will vote for the Fly Creek! I know that it has gotten some negative reviews because of the sloped end entrance and the potential for rain getting in when one leaves or enters the tent. But, in practice it is not much of a problem as long as there is a pee bottle handy. I have weathered several heroic rainstorms in mine and stayed dry. Also, it is light, double-walled and easy to set up. If I were over 6' tall, I might rethink my vote but at 5' 9" tall, it fits me well. I posted a review of the tent on the Trailspace Gear Review website if you are interested.
_________________________
May I walk in beauty.

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#174004 - 01/17/13 09:19 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: Glenn Roberts]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 931
Loc: Knoxville, TN
I've never seen the Scout tent, but I go with the Copper Spur. Why? Because of the side entry. In a rain storm it seems it be easier cook food in a side entry vestibule than a rear entry. I tumble over crap all time getting into my Seedhouse. Side entry just seems to be a better door choice.
_________________________
It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

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#174005 - 01/17/13 09:28 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: ETSU Pride]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1337
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Note: the Seedhouse is a heavier version of the Fly Creek.

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#174007 - 01/17/13 09:58 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: Glenn Roberts]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
It would have to be a Copper Spur. I don't touch end entry tents. Getting wet and falling down in the middle of the night trying to lever myself off the group while fitting through the little door, not fun.

A side entry with as vertical an inner wall/mesh as possible, with space in the vestibule for my shoes and kitchen stuff, is my necessity.

It should also be as light a tent as possible. If I have to carry a tent, it has to be lighter than my hammock setup.

All this because I hate tents, and very much prefer the roominess and comfort of a tarp with a hammock strung under it, for maximum livability in all but the worst weather.

I would truthfully answer, if this weren't an exercise, none of the above, because the LightHeart Solo meets my criteria, weighs less than all the tents listed, is weatherproof, and is cheaper.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#174009 - 01/17/13 09:59 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: Glenn Roberts]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 749
Loc: Eastern Sierras
I have the flycreek 2 and it is pretty darn nice, very lite, easy to set up, pretty bomber for the weight. I shed about 8 oz buy using cuben stuff sacks and ti tent stakes.

I'm interested in the scout but have concerns it's going to be a huge wind catch. Plus no vestibule. The local outfitter is suppose to call me when one comes in.
_________________________
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#174011 - 01/17/13 10:06 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: lori]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 749
Loc: Eastern Sierras
Lighteheart solo doesn't have near vertical walls! I can't find the weight of this tent on there website. That being said looks like a pretty cool tent.
_________________________
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#174014 - 01/17/13 11:35 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: lori]
llamero Offline
member

Registered: 10/29/12
Posts: 43
Loc: western Oregon
***Side door(s)
***Rectangular floor plan, symmetrical at least

I prefer two doors with two small vestibules, but if weight were an issue I would settle for one door. A rectangular floor pattern is a must. My Marmot Swallow is a comfortable 3-4 season tent, but the asymmetrical floor plan drives me nuts when I'm sorting out slightly different length poles and wrestling the rain fly, especially in bad weather and/or low light.
My Sierra Designs Electron may be my all time favorite tent. It weights almost 5.5 pounds, but I don't carry it.


Edited by llamero (01/17/13 11:50 PM)

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#174026 - 01/18/13 10:37 AM Re: You need a tent... [Re: llamero]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 931
Loc: Knoxville, TN
I went and look up that Scout tent. Man, that is one cool looking tent. It's like a miniature cabin! My hiking partner has two single wall tents and they both get condensation badly where my Seedhouse didn't have that problem in the same conditions. He since sold one of his single wall tent on eBay and have kept the other one until he gets a new tent. I'd love to test that Scout tent, although.

Edit: Forgot to mention: in one of the pictures on Big Agnes' website, the trek pole not standing on the outside could get knock down by accident. I'd still love to test it. grin


Edited by ETSU Pride (01/18/13 10:40 AM)
_________________________
It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

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#174027 - 01/18/13 10:43 AM Re: You need a tent... [Re: Glenn Roberts]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
My method of buying gear is a little more involved. First, I wouldn't buy one while at the store for the first time. I might look and take notes, but I wouldn't make a decision. I would then go home and do a lot of research. I would look at reviews online. I would look at other brands. I would look at other stores or online for better pricing. Only when I have it picked out, would I go to the store and buy. I hate it when I buy something on a whim and later discover that I could have had a better deal. And, spending $300+ on one piece of equipment is a lot and deserves a lot of research.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#174028 - 01/18/13 11:33 AM Re: You need a tent... [Re: finallyME]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1337
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I fully agree - you've got to do your homework. I should have addressed that in the conditions for the exercise: assume that you have done your homework, and have narrowed it down to these five - you're now in the store to see how the real thing compares to the claims made in the research.

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#174030 - 01/18/13 11:42 AM Re: You need a tent... [Re: Glenn Roberts]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 749
Loc: Eastern Sierras
The problem with that is two of the five are brand new tents, no one will have any experience with these two untill someone sacrifices and buys one and try it for a year or two.
_________________________
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#174035 - 01/18/13 12:04 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: rockchucker22]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
I liked the Scout UL2. I like that it uses trekking poles. I also like end entry, but with vertical sides.

2 pounds is a good deal, too.

REI will have it in about March. If I buy through them, there is no risk in buying a new product.

However, I found some more interesting ones from Six Moon Designs.
_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#174038 - 01/18/13 12:32 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: rockchucker22]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1337
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Aha! The consideration of "Do I want to be an early adopter?" No good answer to that one. On the one hand, you have the company's reputation to rely on ("They don't build junk, they have a proven track record of not marketing something until they have the bugs out, and they have a no-questions-asked return policy" - one reason MSR gear sells so well.) On the other hand, if it fails in a snowstorm in February, 2 days away from the trailhead, the reputation doesn't matter and the guarantee isn't any good until (if?) you get home.

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#174039 - 01/18/13 12:36 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: Gershon]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1337
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I have a buddy that has a SMD tent; he really likes it. Like I said, I didn't exclude any other brands from the problem for any reason other than I wanted to hold it to a manageable number, and illustrate the process of making a decision. The particular brand or model is irrelevant - it could just as easily have been 2-person MSR tents, or a mixture of Tarptent, SMD, and Gossamer Gear designs.

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#174043 - 01/18/13 01:12 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: Gershon]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
Wow, that Scout looks like something straight from the '70s. Attractive weight but I'll caution on the 12 stakes for anybody who heads into alpine country. I'm also skeptical of its ability to shed wind and snow.

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#174048 - 01/18/13 02:07 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: Rick_D]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1337
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Where and when - additional good considerations. It demonstrates that "general 3-season backpacking" isn't always enough information to make a decision. If you're only hiking in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, there's not enough variation from season to season and locale to locale to make any difference. Other places, specific locations and seasons can vary significantly.

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#174051 - 01/18/13 04:04 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: rockchucker22]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By rockchucker22
Lighteheart solo doesn't have near vertical walls! I can't find the weight of this tent on there website. That being said looks like a pretty cool tent.


What it has is enough vestibule space. And I can stand up in sock feet while still standing inside the tent, then put one foot in a shoe, then the other... I never have to take my shoes inside the tent to put them on, or get all the way out either. There is enough slope to make this possible but enough coverage to make entry somewhat less ridiculous a proposition in the rain. And the side entry makes it easier to get in and out of, as instead of crawling I can stand up while my feet are still inside.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#174064 - 01/18/13 05:49 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: lori]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 749
Loc: Eastern Sierras
Do you have the weight for the solo? Thanks!
_________________________
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#174066 - 01/18/13 06:37 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: rockchucker22]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Depends on the stakes you use and whether you need the optional poles. With four Y stakes and four titanium hooks, mine comes to 28 oz.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#174067 - 01/18/13 06:45 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: lori]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 749
Loc: Eastern Sierras
Thanks Lori!

Wilson's just called and said they just got two scouts in if I wanted to check them out. 5 mins later they called back and said both had sold!!
_________________________
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#174077 - 01/18/13 11:35 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: Glenn Roberts]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
Rarely is one going to be considering five tent models from the same brand/manufacturer. When I am looking for a new tent, I do research on all brands. Reputations and quality change over time so a brand thought of as poor 10 years ago may be better. More commonly I find that companies sometimes ride on their reputation without keeping up the quality or innovation. My "short list" is developed from eliminating tents based on 1) weight, 2) price, 3) weather-worthiness, 4) features. Reality is that price matters for me. There are some really good tents out there but I am not going to pay $500. And my upper weight limit for a 3-season solo tent is 3 pounds. Only weather -worthy tents get picked. Most features are optional. I prefer side door, but would get a front door if it was considerably lighter, cheaper and more weather worthy. PS weight HAS to include all set up gear - stakes, tent strings, etc. I tend to use my trekking poles when I have the tent set up, so am willing to carry weight of poles.

I would never buy a tent without setting it up, getting inside, taking it down. I am lucky in that it is an hour drive from my house to Henry Shires house so I could actually go up to his place and try out several of his models before buying.

Be wary of "reviews". I swear some bad reviews are put in there by competitors. No review is worth anything to me unless the person has really used the tent in all kinds of bad weather conditions. I really liked one review that stated his tent lasted through a hurricane!

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#174090 - 01/19/13 03:34 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: wandering_daisy]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
"be wary of "reviews"
All too often people think they are doing others a service by commenting on things they do not know nor understand.
With tents I have seen comments from folk that clearly had not even seen a picture of the item they felt compelled to comment about.
Just yesterday I was reading comments about a new "Kodak" camera .
All there was to go by was a single photo of this new camera, yet most decided that it was fair enough to rubbish it , all based on a single photo...
(the camera looks like many others of its ilk...)

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#174094 - 01/19/13 05:05 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: Franco]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 749
Loc: Eastern Sierras
I got a call that one of the scouts was purchased by an employee and if I want to check it out I could. So I called and went down and set it up. First it sets up easy. Second it has a ton of room, vertical walls with well thought out mesh pockets. You could have two spend a stormy day or two, play cards sitting upright and not be nose to nose. My big concerns still are wind resistance. If the wind would shift or come up on the flat side of the tent it could be a problem. Next is possibility of condensation, tough to determine until tested. Lastly no vestibul. You could rig you rain jacket on the non door side off the poll and cover any gear that's not in the tent.

Overall I came away impressed. I would consider it for sure.
_________________________
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#174095 - 01/19/13 08:02 PM Re: You need a tent... [Re: wandering_daisy]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1337
Loc: Southwest Ohio
As I said early on, I only chose 5 from the same manufacturer because it was the easy way out. However, I can think of one time you might actually do this: in the research stage, when you would go to the manufacturer's website (and the reviews at vendors and backpackgeartest) to see which, if any, of their tents you might want. You'd then end up with, say, one finalist from MSR, one from BA, one from Tarptent, etc.

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