If you're trying to stretch a 3-season tent to cover winter in the Midwest (I'm from Ohio, so I do that, too), you might consider the MSR Hubba Hubba instead of the Carbon Reflex (aka Hubbless) tent.
The CR2 is MSR's first outing with carbon fiber poles; if I were expecting a significant snow load (and your snow is significantly more than Ohio's, I think), I'm not sure I'd be ready to trust carbon fiber. The HH poles are aluminum (and the tent is a little heavier - and sturdier? - as a result.) I'm not knocking the CR2 - I've used the CR1 in 3-season conditions, and really like it. Also, I don't do much snow camping anymore and have no experience with carbon fiber in cold, snowy weather (maybe some of you Tarptent users, or mountain wanderers, might chime in here?) But I think it's something you want to check out before you finalize a 4-season decision in favor of the CR2.
Look at the Henry Shires Scarp 2. 3 1/4 lbs $325.00. I have had his Tarptents and loved them, I have no experience with this tent but am recommending it because of my experience with his company. http://www.tarptent.com/productsheets/SCARP2.pdf Good luck
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Helen Keller
Mike Take a look at the Tarptent Scarp 2. 54 oz in three season mode , add another 17 oz for the extra poles for 4 season mode. Hit the Tarptent link at the top left of this page for details. There is a nice little video clip of the Scarp 1 here : http://hikinginfinland.blogspot.com/2009/12/video-tarptent-scarp-1-in-snow.html 9note the pics of the Scarp under the snow) The 2 is exactly the same but wider...(32" wide for the 1, 52" for the 2) Install the 2 main pole guylines, and you are ready to go. Franco
Tango posted his comment as I was typing mine... I have the Scarp 1 , have not used it in the snow as yet but all reports on that are pretty good.
I tried a Rainbow, and just never got the warm fuzzies from it. It was well-designed, roomy, and well-built, but it just didn't trip my trigger for no particular reason I could put my finger on. However, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone considering a lightweight tent.
Also, if Franco's saying the Scarp is a 4-season tent, trust him - he's got pretty good judgment.
"Thanks for the info on the scarp 2, but it seems as if snow would blow up through the fly since it is not attached at the bottom"
Due to popular demand, Henry has already fixed that on the Scarp 1 and I think that it will be done on the next batch of the Scarp 2 as well. Having the fly down to the ground increases condensation, so Henry has designed the new version with vents at each end as well as an easy to slide up the main pole fly , so that you can choose how much ventilation you get. Keep in mind that below about 40f , humidity makes us feel colder , so often is better to have some air movement inside the tent. Franco This is the new fly
You could also go with two tents. For three season go with a tarptent, Lunar Duo, or other lightweight shelter. Then watch, REI Outlet, Sierra Trading Post, Campmor and other outlets for a 4 season (non mountaineering) tent for winter. For around your $500 budget, you'll get a very light tent with good ventilation for 3 season and a very sturdy, heavier tent you can close up tight for winter.
If I wouldn't eat it at home, why would I want to eat it on the trail?
i have the arete. absolutely great tent for mountains great tent for moderate snow loads sub 5lbs makes it lightweight and when its pitched its like it was made of stone its so sturdy. doesnt accumulate alot of moisture if you know how to deal with it properly, by this im saying that at the top there is two interior vents you can open and close. AWSOME tent i for it 2 years ago and never looked back. little heavy though for a summer/fall tent though!
Modern civilized man, sated with artificialities and luxury, were wont, when he returns to the primeval mountains, to find among their caves his prehistoric brother, alive and unchanged. -Guido Rey
Mountaineering tents are heavy, strong tents built for high winds above tree line and unnecessary for regular backpacking. 4 season tents tend to be hot and humid in Spring through Fall because they are made to be closed up with full inner doors, flys that come down to the ground, and netting instead of mesh inner bodies to seal out the wind and wind blown snow. You can certainly get by with a 4 season or a 3+ season tent in the summer. I did for many years. However, buying two tents, which your budget allows as long as you stay away from Hilleberg and other very expensive tents, lets you get a very light 3 season tent with ventalation to help you stay comfortable on hot, humid nights and a heavier and tighter sealed tent for cold winter winds.
If I wouldn't eat it at home, why would I want to eat it on the trail?
Thanks for all of your suggestions. I have decided to buy the MSR Carbon Reflex 2. I will worry about a four season tent later on since most of my backpacking will be in the spring through the fall. I will let you know how it works out.
What tent can stand snow load.I would never leave any tent pitched in a snow storm if I was not there to shake off the snow as it came. The fourth season is a real problem for me in any shelter without a chimney and heat inside .I camp where the trees grow. A tarp does the roof over my head, keeps the wind out and I sit by a wood fire inside (weight near 5 lbs). Why spend a pile of money on a tent if you have to live in your sleeping bag and shiver to keep warm. The tarp chimney/stove is truly a four season outfit.
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Camping in Canada is much different than camping in many parts of the US. We do not have the Crown Lands boreal forests like you do where firewood is readily available. In most US parks, you cannot cut down trees or gather downed trees for firewood and in many parks, open fires of any kind are not allowed, only fueled stoves. This is true in the high Sierra in Yosemite, for example.
Don't get me started, you know how I get.
My wife worked for almost a year with an Australian Aboriginal community about 300 miles from the cost. (she was the only white person there) At one point she tried to explain what the sea is like to the kids there. The only water they have seen is from seasonal rivers and the various wells. The kids could not really understand the idea of "sea". A small group from a nearby community came over to Melbourne recently for a visit. You should have seen their faces when taken down to the beach.
Franco And ,BTW , as pointed out in previous threads, for backpackers (not hunters...) an extra pound of down works a lot better than a 3 pound stove that needs to be fed at all times.
I'm a firm believer that it's very hard to get one piece of gear in a category that "does it all". For example, a very lightweight summer sleeping bag saves weight and bulk, but then a shoulder season bag (early spring and late fall) is needed for some trips, and an even heavier bag for all out winter. So rather than getting 3 bags, many buy a bag that can handle down to 20 or 30 degrees F, and get a winter bag if needed.
Of course, the other side of the coin is watching the budget—which most of us have to do. Most people can't afford the best piece of gear for every possible trip scenerio. Buying used can always assist acquiring more options.
Then there's also the educational aspect of all of this. As we get and use new gear, we learn over time what we like and don't like, and thus how we want to adjust our gear closets.
I think you've made the right decision for now to get a three season tent that will also usually "make do" for the occasional winter outing. That also saves some weight for your most common three season usage.
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