I want your opinion on this tent, please!

Posted by: ZachBilous

I want your opinion on this tent, please! - 02/28/14 12:32 AM

(To bypass my preface click the link below to see The North Face Flint 2 BX)

I initially started out on this site, last year, seeking information for bivy's and 1 person/ 2 person ultralight tents. My intention was to head out on solo journeys. Over the past year I met a special woman and now I am seeking a tent which can accommodate her, too. I want a tent that will, ideally, be comfortable as a 1 person tent (as I will still go on solo journeys), and somewhat livable in a "cramped-but-not-to-cramped" 2 person tent. We'll (I'll) be doing 3 season bicycle camping only.

I live in B.C. Canada, and to order tents from the U.S., with the Canadian dollar so low, is basically not in my budget. Canada only carries a fraction of the tents the U.S. carries, nonetheless, my selection is limited and obviously more expensive! My budget, including tax, is $200.

I was at a local camping store today and they have a 40% off sale on tents. Other than the tent I'm going to post below, the others are in the $300-$700 price range, and like I said, I can't afford that.

This tent was originally $200, but is on sale for $120.

Posted by: phat

Re: I want your opinion on this tent, please! - 02/28/14 08:15 AM

It's heavy - about twice the weight of an lightweight 2 person tent which you can usually get for just over 2 pounds for something like a tarptent, sierra designs fly creek, etc. etc. but those are going to run you at lease $250 or more.

fundamentally, there's nothing wrong with the design of that tent, it's a basic dome and should serve you well, it's just not what I would consider all that light. Decide if you want to blow about twice the money for something half the weight, if so look at some other options - if not, get out in the field and use it till you decide you want to afford something better smile
Posted by: ZachBilous

Re: I want your opinion on this tent, please! - 02/28/14 06:39 PM

Thanks for your opinion, Phat.
Posted by: aimless

Re: I want your opinion on this tent, please! - 02/28/14 07:51 PM

The North Face Flint 2 BX you linked to ought to work out OK. You will find that having a forward-facing entry will be a bit inconvenient and awkward for two people in that size of a tent, but that only applies during those moments you are getting in and out.
Posted by: ZachBilous

Re: I want your opinion on this tent, please! - 03/02/14 05:35 AM

Thanks for your opinion, Aimless.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: I want your opinion on this tent, please! - 03/02/14 07:32 AM

For many years, TNF was THE brand to own; top of the line stuff we all lusted for. Then they became a clothing company, primarily serving the "I'm in college and want the label so it looks like I go outside a lot" crowd - and no one wore it in the woods any more because the quality nosedived. They quit making gear entirely.

A few years ago, they got back into gear making; their original stuff was not well-designed at all. However, they are improving, and are now probably a good bet.

The tent you pointed out looks well designed: the fly is full coverage, the floor space is adequate (I looked at the MSR Hubba Hubba NX for comparison, and the TNF tent is a few inches longer.) I like the arrangement of the floor: trapezoidal rather than rectangular. This puts all the extra room at one end of the tent, maximizing storage. (Very similar to the design of the Big Agnes Fly Creek and Seedhouse series.)

Don't expect it to be roomy. If possible, you and your friend should set this tent up in the store and crawl inside before you buy. If it's too crowded, see if it comes in a 3-person version. However, this tent does have the same amount of floor space as similar, more expensive tents from Big Agnes and MSR. Tents made for the backcountry are made to be set up in small spaces, and aren't overly roomy.

The picture shows sleeping bags arranged head-to-to. I'm not sure that's how I'd use it. I might angle the sleeping bags to be parallel to the side walls, and put both heads up at the door end. (In the picture, they're trying to arrange the bags perpendicular to the door and parallel to each other. For the shape of the floor, I've found angling to work better.) That's something you and your companion can try out in the house, before the trip.

I like the apparent free-standing aspect of the tent. I can only recall a handful of times I needed that feature (twice on an open rock ledge, with a spectacular view, and once in a public campground with packed gravel tent pads.) But, when you need that feature, you need it badly. I've found the freestanding aspect most useful after the trip, when I can set up the tent in the basement, backyard, or garage for a few hours to dry out.

As far as the weight, yes, it's heavy. But that's not a deal breaker. For one thing, the weight will be split between the two of you - that's a little over two pounds apiece, which is in the range of what most of us carry as a solo tent. (You don't have to actually divide the tent wieight between you; you get to the same place if one of you carries the kitchen and water filter, and the other carries the tent.)

What the "extra" weight really means is that you'll need to be a bit more discriminating in the other stuff you take. If you want to minimize overall pack weight, you just can't bring as many luxuries, or be a bit more spartan with your kitchen equipment. (Instead of a set of pots, plus a bowl and plate, you may need to plan meals for a single pot, and eat from the pot or the freeze-dried bags.) You get the idea - with this tent, you just have to plan the rest of your load differently than you would with a 2.5 pound, $500 tent. It's doable.

And all this assumes that you're trying to minimize the weight of your pack, with a 20 or 25 pound goal in mind. I know lots of folks who happily carry 30 or 35 pounds - and they're most certainly NOT doing it wrong, nor are they suffering on the trail.

But I digress - by a whole bunch! The tent looks fine. If you like it , get it; it should work very well for you.
Posted by: ZachBilous

Re: I want your opinion on this tent, please! - 03/04/14 01:23 PM

Great and informative, enlightening reply, Glenn Roberts.
Thank you!
Posted by: OHBlaze

Re: I want your opinion on this tent, please! - 03/24/14 06:33 PM

Just as word of caution, or a heads up rather, but on those tents where the "tub" is that low to the ground if you pitch it where there is a lot of sand or loose powdery dirt and you get a decent wind it can blow the sand/dirt right into your tent through the mesh.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: I want your opinion on this tent, please! - 03/25/14 08:19 PM

Good point - I missed that (I rarely camp in those conditions; I'm usually in fairly thick woods.