US style hot weather tents

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willem jongman
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US style hot weather tents

Postby willem jongman » 11 Mar 2019, 11:41am

For the last twenty years or so we have been happy users of Hilleberg and Helsport tents. These sturdy outer tent first designs are great for bad weather such as you can have in north Western Europe. However, they are also pretty stuffy in warm weather, and the advantage of outer first is less obvious when it rains only rarely.
Since our Nammatj 3 GT has at most another two years of life left I was thinking of adding a special warm weather tent for our upcoming Tuscany tour, saving the Hilleberg for bad weather trips. US tents are mostly of a very different design, with inner first construction, and plenty of mesh on the inner tent. Having lived in the southern USA I can appreciate why this is the preferred design for such a climate. However, I also know that even the Mediterranean is not quite as hot and humid as parts of the USA in summer. So I was wondering if people have experience using such tents for trips in the south of France or in Italy. Here in Holland the range of such tents is far smaller than in the US, of course, so my current pick would be the MSR Zoic 2 (or perhaps the Zoic 3). It only costs about 350 euro (with footprint) so the financial cost of UV exposure is not nearly as much as that of exposing an expensive Hilleberg to the Mediteranean sun. It has an all mesh inner, so I wondered if that does not get too cold when there is any wind blowing. I also wondered if such tents are up to Mediternaean thunderstorms. On the Zoic, and the Zoic 3 in particular, I see quite large flat walls and I wondered how they would do in a storm. Similarly, only six pegs are not that many compared to the anchors of our Hilleberg. Does anyone have experience using such tents?

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andrew_s
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Re: US style hot weather tents

Postby andrew_s » 11 Mar 2019, 3:21pm

It's all fairly obvious.

a) If there's a noticeable breeze, there's enough air movement to keep the inside tent temperature much the same as the outside tent temperature. This will considerably reduce condensation.
b) If there's no breeze at all, the inside will warm up, much the same as a Euro-style tent
c) There's no real way of blocking the air movement for extra warmth.
d) Privacy issues aside, it's easy to sleep using the mesh inner only, which will add radiative cooling without letting mosquitos get you.
e) If there's dew on the grass, there will also be condensation on the outer. If someone kicks a guy, or you shake the tent getting out, the mesh won't reliably keep drips off your sleeping bag.
f) The large gap between outer and ground can let dust & fine sand blow into the inner through the mesh, should you be camped somewhere sandy.
g) The semi self-supported nature of inner-first tents can be handy when pegging ground isn't good.
h) Guys are often less effective, as they attach to the outer and not to the pole structure. There can sometimes be a velcro tie on the back of the outer guy attachment to wrap round the poles.

I'd agree that wind resistance won't be the same as a fully guyed out Nammatj, but it's fairly rare for the wind to be strong enough to be of much a concern.

I'd take the view that the benefits of the US tent style outweigh the drawbacks for a June to end September period in southern France or peninsular Italy. Earlier or later, it may be cold enough to warranty a solid inner and down-to-ground outer.

willem jongman
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Re: US style hot weather tents

Postby willem jongman » 11 Mar 2019, 3:47pm

Thanks Andrew. This is roughly what I thought, but it is good to hear confirmation. For us it would be a new venture without our trusted bombproof Hilleberg or Helsport shelters. Thus far we have used them even in the Mediterranean, but they were uncomfortably warm and perhaps unnecessarily heavy. They also rather suffered UV degradation. So I thought it is time to get different horses for the different courses - this year Tuscany and Umbria in June. Thanks. I wil report what we have bought and later also our experiences.

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Re: US style hot weather tents

Postby Vorpal » 11 Mar 2019, 3:59pm

I haven't ever used a hot weather tent. When I've camped in the US in places where it was too hot for a proper tent, I just slept out under the stars, with a mosquito net, if needed.

Condensation on a sleeping bag dries pretty quickly in morning sun in those circumstances. If you lay it out in the sun, it will be dry by the time you finish breakfast.

That said, my brother and I were wakened in the night a couple of times by a downpour :lol:
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PhilD28
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Re: US style hot weather tents

Postby PhilD28 » 12 Mar 2019, 8:43am

The last few years I’ve moved over to a Big Agnes Copper Hotel for southern european tours, as well as being lighter and cooler they are more spacious than my Hilleberg or Terra Nova tents at similar price points.
The inners have far more mesh which makes a huge difference on hot nights. When riding from home in the North of England down to Spain they don’t do as well in our Northern Uk climate and can be a bit cool during the night but nothing that can’t be solved with clothing.

I wouldn’t go back to my Hilleberg for hot climates if thats any help.

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Re: US style hot weather tents

Postby Bmblbzzz » 12 Mar 2019, 9:42am

Are all the Big Agnes tents of that style? A friend has used her Big Agnes (not sure which model, sorry) in UK and Northern Europe in summer, including inner only on at least one occasion, and is extremely pleased.

I did think this might be about the "black out" style tents, which I think are mostly a US thing but also available in Europe (I think Decathlon do one if you wanted to try it cheaply). These have an inner which is treated in some way to block out all light and infrared, so the inner stays cool but without the convective and radiative cooling of a mesh inner. They also mean when you wake up in the middle of the night, it's pitch black.

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Re: US style hot weather tents

Postby PhilD28 » 13 Mar 2019, 8:51am

I don't know about the full range of Big Agnes tents, only the warm/hot weather ones available in the UK. They are not blackout type tents.
They do have a wide range available including 4 season tents for Northern climates, but my only experience is their ultra lightweight 3 season Copper Spur range which are far superior in typical south of France weather than my Hilleberg and Terra Nova's.

Just recounting my personal experience. For many years I've spent my summers touring Europe including spending a lot of time in the South of France/Pyrenees/Spain, all pretty hot and sticky environments. The Hilleberg was always uncomfortable as were various Terra Nova's along my 1980's Wild Country voyager (all great tents further North) but getting the Copper Spur Hotel 3 person with the large vestibule was a revelation. The air flow is far superior and loads of space for two in a much lighter package. Just far more comfortable/cooler for the southern Europe in summer.

The materials are lighter weight so how they hold up only time will tell but I've had 2 x 3 month tours to date and everything is still perfect, fully waterproof, no tears or zip issues, no regrets.

I bought mine from here as its reasonably local and they were very helpful, https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk ... -agnes-m24

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pjclinch
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Re: US style hot weather tents

Postby pjclinch » 13 Mar 2019, 9:13am

If I could justify the cost I'd rather like a Hille Rogen as a summer tent...

Anyone here used any of their Yellow Label tents and have comments?

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horizon
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Re: US style hot weather tents

Postby horizon » 13 Mar 2019, 11:17am

My earlier recollection of warm climate camping is with a single skin cotton tent (as they all were pretty much). I'm just wondering (I know, heresy) whether a lightweight cotton single skin tent with mesh doors would be the most comfortable and pleasant way to camp as opposed to sleeping in what is effectively a large plastic bag. I accept that for cyclists and walkers a synthetic tent has huge weight advantages but here we are talking about getting rid of most of the tent to make it comfortable at night so it might meet weight-to-weight half way, as it were. Anyone like to hazard a guess at a weight comparison?

(On a different note, given the problems that campsites and councils are now facing in dealing with people disposing of tents at campsites, I'm waiting for the moment when cotton makes its comeback beyond just bell-tents, increasingly popular though they already are).
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mercalia
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Re: US style hot weather tents

Postby mercalia » 13 Mar 2019, 12:53pm

horizon wrote:My earlier recollection of warm climate camping is with a single skin cotton tent (as they all were pretty much). I'm just wondering (I know, heresy) whether a lightweight cotton single skin tent with mesh doors would be the most comfortable and pleasant way to camp as opposed to sleeping in what is effectively a large plastic bag. I accept that for cyclists and walkers a synthetic tent has huge weight advantages but here we are talking about getting rid of most of the tent to make it comfortable at night so it might meet weight-to-weight half way, as it were. Anyone like to hazard a guess at a weight comparison?

(On a different note, given the problems that campsites and councils are now facing in dealing with people disposing of tents at campsites, I'm waiting for the moment when cotton makes its comeback beyond just bell-tents, increasingly popular though they already are).


but where would you get cotton tent from these days?

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horizon
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Re: US style hot weather tents

Postby horizon » 13 Mar 2019, 12:57pm

AFAIK you cannot. There are a couple of cotton tents on the market (Dutch and heavy although could be cycled with...) but otherwise it would have to be an idea whose time has come.
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

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pjclinch
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Re: US style hot weather tents

Postby pjclinch » 13 Mar 2019, 1:26pm

horizon wrote:My earlier recollection of warm climate camping is with a single skin cotton tent (as they all were pretty much). I'm just wondering (I know, heresy) whether a lightweight cotton single skin tent with mesh doors would be the most comfortable and pleasant way to camp as opposed to sleeping in what is effectively a large plastic bag. I accept that for cyclists and walkers a synthetic tent has huge weight advantages but here we are talking about getting rid of most of the tent to make it comfortable at night so it might meet weight-to-weight half way, as it were. Anyone like to hazard a guess at a weight comparison?


My Dad's Spacepacker Plus has a light cotton inner, it weighs a little more than the synthetic standard inner but really not deal-breakingly. So the sort of cotton you might want exists, but a synthetic tent is only "effectively a large plastic bag" because of the fly coatings to make them waterproof. Leave off the impermeable coating and it's just another woven fabric with a measurable breathability that will largely be down to the closeness of the weave. Give that a light DWR to deal with dew etc. and you have something very much like a standard synthetic inner, which should do the job fine and if yopu do have a downpour it won't soak up nearly as much water. Robert Saunders used to do a wee booklet called "Every Pitch Tells a Story" where he related he'd made a tent out of fine Egyptian cotton which was all very well until there was a heavy dew, and then he had to wait half a day for it to dry out...

IIRC Black Diamond made a tent out of something with the "Epic" silicone encapsulation (a better class of DWR is what it boils down to) which would be waterproof enough to take the odd shower but would be much more breathable. Cotton isn't really inherently better when it's warm, though you can certainly find synthetics that are inherently worse!

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tatanab
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Re: US style hot weather tents

Postby tatanab » 13 Mar 2019, 1:46pm

pjclinch wrote:If I could justify the cost I'd rather like a Hille Rogen as a summer tent...

Anyone here used any of their Yellow Label tents and have comments?

Pete.

I have a Niak. For some years I used an Unna, and the Niak is a 3 season version of that even though it is sold as 2 person tent versus 1 for the Unna. Biggest differences are - Niak has a full mesh door with no solid inner. On a cold, wet and windy night I draped my cape over this to block some of the ventilation. The separation of inner to outer on the Niak is less than that on the Unna. With the scalloped bottoms of the sides the Niak has greatly more ventilation. In the last couple of years I have used the Niak in wet,cold, windy cinditions which was fine, I also used it in the hottest part of last year in France with high temperatures where it was also fine. Was it any better in the heat than my Unna? Yes because with the Unna I would leave the outer door open and with the zip only partly closed on the inner. I think the Niak suits my needs, I am not a winter camper, and I appreciate the slightly lighter weight and bulk. Of course, full mesh inners are available for many Hilleberg tents, along with adaptors to use the inner on its own. If you have one of these tents then there is probably no reason to buy another just for hot weather, buy the appropriate inner instead.

Ivor Tingting
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Re: US style hot weather tents

Postby Ivor Tingting » 13 Mar 2019, 1:52pm

willem jongman wrote:For the last twenty years or so we have been happy users of Hilleberg and Helsport tents. These sturdy outer tent first designs are great for bad weather such as you can have in north Western Europe. However, they are also pretty stuffy in warm weather, and the advantage of outer first is less obvious when it rains only rarely.
Since our Nammatj 3 GT has at most another two years of life left I was thinking of adding a special warm weather tent for our upcoming Tuscany tour, saving the Hilleberg for bad weather trips. US tents are mostly of a very different design, with inner first construction, and plenty of mesh on the inner tent. Having lived in the southern USA I can appreciate why this is the preferred design for such a climate. However, I also know that even the Mediterranean is not quite as hot and humid as parts of the USA in summer. So I was wondering if people have experience using such tents for trips in the south of France or in Italy. Here in Holland the range of such tents is far smaller than in the US, of course, so my current pick would be the MSR Zoic 2 (or perhaps the Zoic 3). It only costs about 350 euro (with footprint) so the financial cost of UV exposure is not nearly as much as that of exposing an expensive Hilleberg to the Mediteranean sun. It has an all mesh inner, so I wondered if that does not get too cold when there is any wind blowing. I also wondered if such tents are up to Mediternaean thunderstorms. On the Zoic, and the Zoic 3 in particular, I see quite large flat walls and I wondered how they would do in a storm. Similarly, only six pegs are not that many compared to the anchors of our Hilleberg. Does anyone have experience using such tents?


Here's a YT link to the Zoic tents as these must be new from MSR and have missed them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0Ggi_Z34DA

Personally I wouldn't want a Zoic as the inner is ALL mesh. Great if you are sleeping in temps above 30C. I much prefer some privacy so prefer the Elixir range (polyester fly) or MSR's more expensive Hubba range (Nylon fly) which have about 50/50 mesh to white opaque panels. Both are good, having good ventilation in summer but with some privacy when pitching inner only. They are not winter tents unless you want to freeze but who cycle tours in a full blown winter? Masochists? They are ok for summers in the mountains as well. I have both Elixir 2 and 3 and Hubba tents. Wouldn't get a Hilleberg as they are just too heavy have limited ventilation plus they don't last that long either. Over priced imho.
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andrew_s
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Re: US style hot weather tents

Postby andrew_s » 13 Mar 2019, 11:28pm

mercalia wrote:but where would you get cotton tent from these days?

The classic Vango Force 10 is still available
https://www.blacksofgreenock.co.uk/tent ... ImQQCKeS01