Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
I have been using a tarp as my shelter lately and enjoying it (1.5 lbs.). However in some situations (above the tree line or in a buggy area for example) a solo tent might be worth carrying. Are there any lightweight tents that I might experiment with that don't cost an arm and a leg? As usual I suspect the truly lightweight tents are very expensive.
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
thanks for your links. I love projects, but a DIY tent sounds like a lot of measuring cutting and sewing. It is funny you mentioned the TarpTent. I did use a 2 person with another several times and it worked very well. However I also used it solo one time and when the wind came up it filled like a balloon and then pulled out the main front guy line stake and collapsed. My bad because I should have lowered the tent down to the ground when the wind came up and put a very heavy rock over the tent stake that failed. So for weight it is a great tent, but I'm a little inclined to say it isn't storm proof.
Loc: Torrance, CA
I would disagree that Tarptent's in general are not very storm worthy. I had my Hogback in howling winds and down pours and it did much better than other tents in the same conditions. The protrail would be a luxurious upgrade from a tarp, but perhaps not their most storm worthy tent. If you are concerned about storm worthiness, I think the Moment is much better, particularly if you get the optional cross pole.
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
thanks BGH for your comments. the Hogback is different than the TarpTent I had used. And like I may have said, it was my bad because I believe the tent is designed to be lowered down to the ground (not mosquito mesh exposed and the peak down low) in stormy conditions. So it becomes just a matter of making sure the guys are strong and the pegs are reinforced or tied to a tree or boulder.
If you're looking at "lightweight" as being under 2 pounds and "affordable" as less than $250, your quest is probably going to be long, difficult, and frustrating. If you define "lightweight" as being under 3 pounds, and "affordable" as being less than $350, there are several worth looking at.
In that second category, I'll describe the three solo tents that I have personal experience with - just remember that they aren't the only ones out there.
For years, I used the MSR Hubba, in it's various models (currently the "NX"), and loved it. (It costs $375, but you can usually find it on sale for under $350.) It was bombproof (and I have several nights spent on open hilltops with 20-mph sustained winds), weathertight, and very comfortable (side-opening, excellent ventilation, generous vestibule, wider and longer than my full-length sleeping pad, with more-than-adequate head room.) However, it currently weighs right at 3 pounds. So, when I decided that (for reasons of age) I needed to get serious about ultralight gear, I went looking for something lighter but just as good. (The Carbon Reflex 1 is a Hubba clone using carbon-fiber clones; it's lighter but costs $450, and I've heard stories about the poles breaking in high wind.)
Last spring, I bought a Nemo Hornet 1 for $325. So far, with about a dozen nights' use (none in high wind or bad weather), I've really gotten to like it. It has nearly all of the features of the Hubba (except that the headroom isn't as good) but weighs just under 2 pounds. I actually like the side entry a bit better than the Hubba: with the Hubba, you exit into the middle of the vestibule, which makes gear storage a little problematic. On the Hornet, the side entry is offset to the head end of the tent, which means you have some generous storage toward the middle and foot end. (Remember that "generous" is a relative term when describing sole tent vestibules.) (Again, there's an "elite" version of the tent which saves some weight but drives the cost to $450.)
I also have some limited experience with the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL tent (I haven't used the current "HV" version, which runs $330 and about 2 pounds.) For me, the end-entry was a deal-breaker; I had to climb over everything to get in or out, and the vestibule was unusable for storage because, to enter or exit the tent, I had to remove anything I had stored there. Otherwise, the tent's features were fine: decent floor space and headroom, good ventilation, etc. (Again, there's a "Platinum" version for $500.)
Like I said, this isn't an exhaustive list; it's just three tents I have personal experience with. They may or may not fit your parameters to replace your tarp.
I have a Eureka Spitfire 1-person tent, which I see is now discontinued, but here's some info anyway in case you find one somewhere.
Inexpensive - I paid $135 locally.
Reasonably light, though not UL by today's standards. Mine weighs 3.5 lbs., including 2 groundhog stakes and enough titanium stakes and lines to guy out every guy point, and a 2-mil plastic groundsheet.
Pretty small. I saw reviews that suggested "roomy for a big guy," but it certainly isn't. I'm a little guy, and it's barely big enough.
It seems fairly weather-worthy, but I've never had it in a real storm. Under the right (or wrong?) conditions, dirt or sand can blow in under the fly and through the mesh. This is likely true of most tents that don't allow the fly to be pitched clear to the ground.
I'd like to find something lighter myself...maybe one of the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo or similar. I see there's a very similar Chinese-made tent called the 3FUL Lanshan that gets good reviews and is sometimes available under $100. They make a "pro" version of 30d silnylon which looks better, costs slightly more, and which you have to seam-seal yourself, since the fabric is silicone on both sides. Also called "Flames Creed," which I suppose is a translation of something Chinese. Lots of YouTube videos about them.
Also, though it's a DIY project, the Ray-Way tarp and net tent work well, and pretty storm-worthy when pitched low. I made a 2-person version (from his book - I didn't buy the kit) and am toying with the idea of making a 1-person.
Edited by Bill Kennedy (02/08/2003:12 AM)
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead
I haven't had mine long but I do like my Six Moon Designs "Lunar Solo". There's even enough room in it for both me and my dog. She is a border collie mix and runs about 50 pounds. I'm a tad larger and come in at 5' 8" and about 210. Nonetheless, we fit comfortably enough and the overall packing ability is great. I use my own trekking poles so that helps a bit as well.
That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.