Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
tbessie
Posts: 186
Joined: 10 May 2014, 3:27am

Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Postby tbessie » 2 May 2016, 8:53am

On my last tour I brought a small one-person Marmot tent. It worked ok, but was so narrow I couldn't move around much in it. I had gotten it since it packed up really small, but regretted it a bit.

This was on the Oregon and California coast, so, though it only rained on me once, there was heavy fog/mist every night and morning, so I found I always had to put the fly up.

I did a bunch of research for "the best tent you can buy", and it seemed the general consensus were tents made by Hilleberg (Swedish company - http://us.hilleberg.com/EN/ ). If you're not familiar with them, they have a different philosophy for tents; they are put up with the fly always attached; in fact, the fly is the part of the tent the poles go through, in general, and the inner tent hangs from the fly. This is, I suppose, due to the fact that these tents are made for the cold rainy and snowy northern European climate, especially fall and winter.

I met a guy from the UK who was cycling 'round the world, and he had come to the same conclusion, and bought one of those tents. He said it was great.

Eventually I bought one... this one:

http://us.hilleberg.com/EN/tents/red-label-tents/unna/

I'm trying to decide if I should use that, or bring something more like this:

http://www.cascadedesigns.com/msr/tents ... nx/product

... which is less beefy and lighter/smaller packing.

Does anybody have an opinion about the above? When you've taken a tent, what kind have you taken? I'm a little concerned that the Hilleberg will be a bit "too much tent", since it's a tent that could be at home in a howling blizzard on the side of a mountain; taking it on a LEJOG might be a bit silly.

- Tim

PH
Posts: 7695
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby
Contact:

Re: Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Postby PH » 2 May 2016, 9:11am

I think you're over thinking it. The Hilleberg looks a fantastic tent, hopefully the weather will be great and you won't need anything that good, but Scotland can throw up pretty much anything at any time, you might be grateful for it at some time. What's the downside? The extra kg and a little more pack size? No one can decide for you how important that is, it would mean absolutely nothing to me and I pack lighter than many.

LollyKat
Posts: 2891
Joined: 28 May 2011, 11:25pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Postby LollyKat » 2 May 2016, 11:52am

It depends a bit on how much you intend to camp, and how 'tough' you are. UK weather is very unpredictable and the further north you go the wilder it can get. If you don't mind using B&Bs if/when it is wet,cold and windy you might get away with the lighter one. You're unlikely to get a blizzard but a howling gale with horizontal rain is very possible. Personally I would take the small extra weight every time.

User avatar
DaveP
Posts: 3227
Joined: 9 Mar 2007, 4:20pm
Location: W Mids

Re: Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Postby DaveP » 2 May 2016, 2:55pm

And its not just the north...
I have vivid memories of sitting in a tent in Cornwall eating breakfast and admiring the little puffs of spray coming through fly and inner tent. It wasn't even windy.
After breakfast we went home.
Our climate is much more variable than you might expect. About the only two things you can count on are that you won't get either snow or sunburn on Christmas day :D
If you're going to camp, take a good tent. And a waterproof jacket and rainlegs, just in case.
Then you know the sun will shine...
Trying to retain enough fitness to grow old disgracefully...

phil parker
Posts: 1005
Joined: 31 Dec 2009, 5:09pm
Location: Hants/Wilts

Re: Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Postby phil parker » 2 May 2016, 6:50pm

That's probably the perfect tent to go for - I've just completed a tour in Scotland and opted to take my heavier Hilleberg Soulo, which turned out to be the right decision!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1gVx0JUPvM

tbessie
Posts: 186
Joined: 10 May 2014, 3:27am

Re: Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Postby tbessie » 2 May 2016, 7:59pm

DaveP wrote:If you're going to camp, take a good tent. And a waterproof jacket and rainlegs, just in case.
Then you know the sun will shine...


That's usually the case, unfortunately. ;-)

- Tim

tbessie
Posts: 186
Joined: 10 May 2014, 3:27am

Re: Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Postby tbessie » 2 May 2016, 8:04pm

phil parker wrote:That's probably the perfect tent to go for - I've just completed a tour in Scotland and opted to take my heavier Hilleberg Soulo, which turned out to be the right decision!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1gVx0JUPvM


Thanks! It was a toss-up between the Soulo and the Unna; I think in the end I chose the Unna because I prefer a simple two-pole design like that.

The fellow I met doing the world tour was using a Rogen (a 2-person tent) and seemed to be quite happy as well.

- Tim

gobybike
Posts: 31
Joined: 2 Aug 2015, 10:46am

Re: Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Postby gobybike » 11 May 2016, 9:06pm

Definitely best to go for an as one design, as at some point you WILL be putting it up in the rain. Hillebergs look great, but at a premium.
I once toured Ireland with a North American tent which pitched inner first so gout soaked inside, but the biggest issue was the mesh interior and massive gap under the flysheet - it was like a wind tunnel at night. For what it's worth, my tiny Wild Country Zephyros (UK) and Vaude Taurus Ultralite (German) are all as one (I think most European tents are) and peg down snugly.

User avatar
meic
Posts: 19355
Joined: 1 Feb 2007, 9:37pm
Location: Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)

Re: Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Postby meic » 11 May 2016, 9:19pm

Many expedition tents are capable of withstanding a gale on an exposed mountain top.
However as a cyclist in the UK you just dont have to be there in the first place, we can easily cover distances that walkers can not and find nice sheltered sites for pitching our tents.
I did once stick my tent up in such conditions (but close enough to buildings that I could have sought refuge if things went wrong). The tent stood up to it fine but I didnt get much sleep with the fabric flapping and tent bending all night.
Yma o Hyd

tbessie
Posts: 186
Joined: 10 May 2014, 3:27am

Re: Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Postby tbessie » 11 May 2016, 9:52pm

I took all my gear on a camping trip this past weekend, and it rained part of the day and all night before clearing up in the morning; this was a good test of the gear I had.

Though the tent I have (the Unna) is big and cozy, I did find that:

1) Rain got under the fly and onto the inner tent, which meant there was some water inside the tent, though minor. It may have been due to condensation, though I'm not sure. I was a little concerned that the fly was not as waterproof as it should have been, perhaps; either that, or I hadn't set up the top vent properly.

2) The fly goes right down to the ground if you don't guy it out (I didn't), so mug got all over the bottom part of one side of the fly.

3) Pitching the tent as a single unit like that meant that event if I was dry enough during the rain, when it came time to break camp, I had to roll up a big, floppy wet tent to pack it up. Water could easily get into the inner tent from the wet fly. With a tent that has separate tent and fly, I can at least roll up the fly separately before wrapping the inner tent around it (or wrapper the footprint around the fly to keep the wet off). I'm thinking of getting (yet another) tent for this trip, or using the one I got last year (which is quite small and I felt a little squished in it, but at least it was light and packed up tiny).

I don't like the trend in modern tent design to have all the poles attach to a star-like holder (or more than one), with lots of new types of attachments, etc. to make it all work. I prefer the old, 2-pole (or maybe 3-pole) simple style setup. The first tent I ever bought is still my favorite, but it's 30 years old now and doesn't keep the wet out well and is a bit heavy by modern standards:

For reference, here's that first tent I ever bought - a Moss Starlet:

http://www.wanderwheels.com/site_ww/wp- ... 20x410.jpg

Here's the Unna I used this past weekend:

http://us.hilleberg.com/EN/tents/red-label-tents/unna/

Here's the tent I used last year, a Marmot Tunsgsten 1P:

https://marmot.com/products/details/tungsten-1p

And here's the two tents I'm looking at now... the Big Agnes Copper Spur (a bit too complex for me, but I may use it):

https://www.bigagnes.com/Products/Detai ... perspurul2

... and the REI Arete ASL 2 (a bit beefy, it's a low-cost "expedition" tent, but it looks like classic tents of days past, which I like):

https://www.rei.com/product/794283/rei-arete-asl-2-tent

- Tim

PH
Posts: 7695
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby
Contact:

Re: Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Postby PH » 12 May 2016, 12:08am

tbessie wrote:3) Pitching the tent as a single unit like that meant that event if I was dry enough during the rain, when it came time to break camp, I had to roll up a big, floppy wet tent to pack it up. Water could easily get into the inner tent from the wet fly. With a tent that has separate tent and fly, I can at least roll up the fly separately before wrapping the inner tent around it

I think you're just having some teething problems with the hillie, I wouldn't give up on it, gets great reviews so maybe get some opinion on a camping forum.
But I have a preference for an inner first pitch, I saw it as a drawback when I bought the tent but it matched all my other criteria, now I see it as a feature, I wouldn't want an all in one or anything that didn't have crossed poles. Mine packs in two stuff sacks, no folding required, I've never timed it but the inner is only exposed for a very short time, never enough to be a problem.

tbessie
Posts: 186
Joined: 10 May 2014, 3:27am

Re: Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Postby tbessie » 12 May 2016, 6:39am

PH wrote:I think you're just having some teething problems with the hillie, I wouldn't give up on it, gets great reviews so maybe get some opinion on a camping forum.
But I have a preference for an inner first pitch, I saw it as a drawback when I bought the tent but it matched all my other criteria, now I see it as a feature, I wouldn't want an all in one or anything that didn't have crossed poles. Mine packs in two stuff sacks, no folding required, I've never timed it but the inner is only exposed for a very short time, never enough to be a problem.


Possibly - I usually find that my first instincts are correct, but I'll check on some forums that discuss this tent to see what folks have to say.

I *did* just go out to REI (national chain of outdoor retailers here in the US, which has a "return any item any time, even after you've used it" policy) and got the REI Arete tent. Since I can return it any time, I could return it before use (my preference, if I do, I hate returning things, feels unfair, even to a large national chain), or decide it's what I want to use.

I'm starting to think I should go to some kind of national Tent Designer Conference or something, so I can talk to tent designers about their reasoning, see if something like what I want exists, etc.

What kind of tent do YOU use?

- Tim

PH
Posts: 7695
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby
Contact:

Re: Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Postby PH » 12 May 2016, 7:34am

tbessie wrote:What kind of tent do YOU use?
- Tim


TN Solar 2.2, in need of replacement and no longer made and I can't find anything I like as much.

viewtopic.php?f=42&t=57568&p=583032&hilit=solar+2.2#p583039

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 17417
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Postby Vorpal » 12 May 2016, 8:47am

PH wrote:I think you're just having some teething problems with the hillie, I wouldn't give up on it, gets great reviews so maybe get some opinion on a camping forum.

+1 If I had that tent, I couldn't see buying anything else to take on a northern European tour I can't imagine a Hilleberg with either condensation, nor leaks. I would look to set-up.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

tbessie
Posts: 186
Joined: 10 May 2014, 3:27am

Re: Tent recommendations - is what I have overkill?

Postby tbessie » 12 May 2016, 10:51am

Vorpal wrote:+1 If I had that tent, I couldn't see buying anything else to take on a northern European tour I can't imagine a Hilleberg with either condensation, nor leaks. I would look to set-up.


We'll see... the semi-leakage is a worry, but yeah, probably water that came in under the top vent, I'm guessing.

I still may choose another tent with a more familiar "inner tent first" setup. Hopefully I won't have to set it up in the rain, whichever tent I use. :-)

I have a bunch of tents I've bought over time. Besides the ones I've mentioned, I also own a Marmot Monarch (or Den, can't remember which one) (reasonably large 3-4 person tent, good for car camping and events and such) and a Marmot Zoom (2-person tent). Both are from late 90s or early 2000s, I think; I'm going to get the Zoom out of storage and see what shape it's in, and if it's worth taking it instead of something else.

- Tim