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View Full Version : Best solo tent for rain,wind,and cold?



DapperD
04-01-2008, 12:51
I was wondering which solo tent everyone would consider to be best for really rainy, windy,cold weather on an AT thru-hike that would still be light and have a large vestibule for gear storage. I have researched the Hilleberg Akto and it seems like one of the best for the cold and wet months.

Dirtygaiters
04-01-2008, 16:12
I've looked at all the solo tents I could find over the years and I came to the conclusion that the MSR Hubba is the best solo tent for most conditions. It is freestanding, side entry with a generous vestibule, has very good headroom, and can be set up very quickly due to its single pole system that the inner tent clips to. It only weighs 2 lbs 12 ounces. However, the Hubba has two drawbacks: the first one is that it can be really drafty in cold weather if there's any wind and the second one is there's only room for one person plus a few clothes. Not a whole lot of gear will fit inside the tent with you (it's got lots of headroom but not a lot of floor space. The new MSR Hubba HP solves the first problem as its inner tent is mostly made of windproof breathable nylon instead of mesh. It's also something like 7 ounces lighter than the Hubba. So it would be warmer than the regular Hubba. It's about $100 more expensive than the Hubba, though.

The Hilleberg Akto seems like it would have less headroom, simply due to its shape. It would definitely be the warmest of the three, perhaps even too warm for summer use. The weight is right in the same range, but it's quite expensive. I dunno. I just don't have the experience with Hillebergs to say how well they really work.

Another lightweight solo tent I really liked was the Montbell monoframe diamond shelter (which may have been phased out for the summer in favor of the more meshy Crescent 1). Like the Akto it's, a tunnel tent that has one pole and stakes out at each end. Also like the Akto, the inner tent is windproof nylon. However, it's quite a bit lighter, at 2 lbs 8 ounces, and less expensive. The unfortunate drawback is that it does not have a large vestibule.

Tinker
04-01-2008, 19:09
Here's mine:
http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2891218410059664855VNwBoh
in use on the AT in Georgia in March of '06. The Akto has a decptive amount of room inside. Since the high point is in the middle of the tent, you don't have to worry so much about getting your head wet on condensation. There is plenty of shoulder room for a 5'10" 210 pounder, and the vestibule is huge (you could actually sleep another person in there). On the minus side, it does tend to get stuffy in warm, windless weather - but that's not what you want it for.
It does very well in wind with only four stakes, and is pretty much bombproof with all 12 supplied stakes as long as the ground is solid.
I suppose you could unclip the inner tent and use some bug netting over your bag in really warm weather, but that's what I have a hammock for.

Tinker
04-01-2008, 19:19
http://www.moontrail.com/tents/hilleberg_akto.php
This is the website which convinced me to buy the tent.

doodah man
04-01-2008, 22:22
I was wondering which solo tent everyone would consider to be best for really rainy, windy,cold weather on an AT thru-hike that would still be light and have a large vestibule for gear storage. I have researched the Hilleberg Akto and it seems like one of the best for the cold and wet months.

DapperD,
If I had unlimited funds and was shopping for a tent to fit your requirements, I would get the Stephenson 2C. It is a 2-man, 4-season tent with more headroom and floor space than the Akto. So, for solo use the 2C would have plenty of room for you and all your gear with space left over. The full complete rig would weigh at least 12 ounces less than the Akto. More tent for less weight, but, it will cost around $100 more than the Akto. You can visit warmlite.com for details. doodah-man

DapperD
04-01-2008, 23:57
Thanks to everyone for their info

take-a-knee
04-02-2008, 00:15
DapperD,
If I had unlimited funds and was shopping for a tent to fit your requirements, I would get the Stephenson 2C. It is a 2-man, 4-season tent with more headroom and floor space than the Akto. So, for solo use the 2C would have plenty of room for you and all your gear with space left over. The full complete rig would weigh at least 12 ounces less than the Akto. More tent for less weight, but, it will cost around $100 more than the Akto. You can visit warmlite.com for details. doodah-man

I had an Early Winters goretex tent designed just like the warmlite, it sucked. Look at the entrance and imagine what will happen as you enter and exit in a pouring rain a few times (hint, you'll be sleeping in a puddle). The Hilleberg was designed by someone who'd "been there".

That warmlite style tent is designed for high altitude alpine (read no rain) use, and for that it rocks, cause a spent a REALLY windy nite at Tuckerman's Ravine in mine one Oct. many years ago.

NICKTHEGREEK
04-02-2008, 05:52
http://www.moontrail.com/tents/hilleberg_akto.php
This is the website which convinced me to buy the tent.
These guys go the extra mile with the pictures. They aren't as good as they were a few years back though. I've bought several tents from them and have no complaints.

Lyle
04-02-2008, 07:15
One very compelling reason to not even consider a Stephenson product is the complete and absolute lack of customer service. Unless, of course, your idea of customer service is listening to a lecture about how incompetent you are. Just a heads up.

doodah man
04-02-2008, 23:07
I had an Early Winters goretex tent designed just like the warmlite, it sucked. Look at the entrance and imagine what will happen as you enter and exit in a pouring rain a few times (hint, you'll be sleeping in a puddle). The Hilleberg was designed by someone who'd "been there".

That warmlite style tent is designed for high altitude alpine (read no rain) use, and for that it rocks, cause a spent a REALLY windy nite at Tuckerman's Ravine in mine one Oct. many years ago.

take-a-knee,
I have been using my Stephenson 2R (longer version of the 2C) for 25 years without a problem. It did just fine in some real hellatious storms. A little sponge or micro fiber towel to soak up any water that gets in while entering/exiting the tent when raining, no big deal. The area on the entrance end of the tent is supposed to be the 'vestibule' area so a little dampness there has never been a problem for me. I hiked on the AT for a month last April/May with lots of wind and rain. Never saw any weather that was too much for either of those Stephenson model 2 tents. Anyone out there hiking a southern section on last April 15th knows it was pretty nasty. Like I mentioned, lots more floor space, more head room, and ĺ lb lighter is worth consideration. It may not be the best in every aspect, but that is what I would get. Additionally, Lyle is correct, the customer support has, at times, been trying (or worse), especially before John retired. It seems to be better now that his son is running the show. Most of the customer service issues I have heard about were with respect to their vapor barrier sleeping bags. I donít recall ever hearing of an issue with tent products customer service. doodah-man.

Dirtygaiters
04-02-2008, 23:11
One very compelling reason to not even consider a Stephenson product is the complete and absolute lack of customer service. Unless, of course, your idea of customer service is listening to a lecture about how incompetent you are. Just a heads up.

At least you know that the person on the other end of the phone is likely in the nude while he/she is talking to you. :p Seriously, take a look at that catalogue of theirs. Pretty weird stuff.

Lyle
04-02-2008, 23:31
Also, take a look at their warranty information on their website. You have 30 days to return an item, if you get their permission first, as long as you haven't used it at all. A 30 day return policy is required by federal law for mail order business, otherwise I'm sure they wouldn't even allow this. If you use the item and it falls apart, too bad, no warranty.Their position is that they simply do not make any defective equipment, a friend of mine was actually told this by them regarding a tent. Only recourse they offered was that they would repair the tent and charge him for it.

This is probably the worst warranty and return policy I have ever heard of. They seem to take pride in it.

Dirtygaiters
04-03-2008, 00:07
Western Mountaineering has no warranty that I'm aware of. They don't even have adequate contact information on their website, just a mailing address. Then again, that's a company that doesn't make any defective products as far as I'm aware.

Lyle
04-03-2008, 00:26
Try here, standard quality outdoor manufacturer warranty:

http://www.westernmountaineering.com/index.cfm?section=About&page=Product%20Details&viewpost=2&ContentId=3

Dirtygaiters
04-03-2008, 00:42
Oops I guess I missed that. Seems like Stephensons company really is an outlier in terms of customer service and guarantees.

doodah man
04-03-2008, 16:50
Also, take a look at their warranty information on their website. You have 30 days to return an item, if you get their permission first, as long as you haven't used it at all. A 30 day return policy is required by federal law for mail order business, otherwise I'm sure they wouldn't even allow this. If you use the item and it falls apart, too bad, no warranty.Their position is that they simply do not make any defective equipment, a friend of mine was actually told this by them regarding a tent. Only recourse they offered was that they would repair the tent and charge him for it.

This is probably the worst warranty and return policy I have ever heard of. They seem to take pride in it.

Lyle,
Warmlite, (the Stephenson family owned company) has been selling high-tech backpacking gear for over 50 years and has outlasted every single contemporary. They must be doing something right. Granted, they have, at times, been gruff on customer service issues, but they make very good tents. That was what DapperD asked at the start of this thread. I personally know two people who have been extensively using 2R tents purchased direct from the Stephenson garage well over 30 years ago when he was located in Woodland Hills CA. That really says something about a quality product. My opinion on their warranty is that nearly everything they sell is custom... you pick the colors and various options. A limited or even a no return policy on made-to-order items is not at all uncommon. All things measured, I think the 2C is worth including in the mix for consideration as a solo tent for the reasons I already stated. doodah-man

scope
04-03-2008, 17:19
At least you know that the person on the other end of the phone is likely in the nude while he/she is talking to you. :p Seriously, take a look at that catalogue of theirs. Pretty weird stuff.

Absolutely hysterical! How could any one reasonably be expected to order from that catalog? Looks like it hasn't been updated since 1968.

DapperD
04-03-2008, 19:55
Lyle,
Warmlite, (the Stephenson family owned company) has been selling high-tech backpacking gear for over 50 years and has outlasted every single contemporary. They must be doing something right. Granted, they have, at times, been gruff on customer service issues, but they make very good tents. That was what DapperD asked at the start of this thread. I personally know two people who have been extensively using 2R tents purchased direct from the Stephenson garage well over 30 years ago when he was located in Woodland Hills CA. That really says something about a quality product. My opinion on their warranty is that nearly everything they sell is custom... you pick the colors and various options. A limited or even a no return policy on made-to-order items is not at all uncommon. All things measured, I think the 2C is worth including in the mix for consideration as a solo tent for the reasons I already stated. doodah-man
After going to the Stephenson site, I believe they do make high quality products. Their tents appear to be specifically designed for the most adverse weather conditions one could expect in the field, be it high up in the mountains in howling cold wind, or in a valley in a wicked thunderstorm. Their online site was a little hard to navigate, and I think their warranty is spartan. However this does not mean that they don't deliver a high quality product, it may be these tents are, for one, special ordered with multiple colors, and two a lot of these tents probably are used in mountains where they receive batterings from high winds and rough use. I like the new 2C model, I just am not sure wether or not I would do better with the 2R which is longer as I would need sufficient storage for my pack and gear without being cramped.

doodah man
04-04-2008, 16:50
After going to the Stephenson site, I believe they do make high quality products. Their tents appear to be specifically designed for the most adverse weather conditions one could expect in the field, be it high up in the mountains in howling cold wind, or in a valley in a wicked thunderstorm. Their online site was a little hard to navigate, and I think their warranty is spartan. However this does not mean that they don't deliver a high quality product, it may be these tents are, for one, special ordered with multiple colors, and two a lot of these tents probably are used in mountains where they receive batterings from high winds and rough use. I like the new 2C model, I just am not sure wether or not I would do better with the 2R which is longer as I would need sufficient storage for my pack and gear without being cramped.

DrapperD,
I think the 2C would be extremely roomy for one person and gear. During the summer, when harsh weather is not expected, we only bring one 2R tent for every three people. It is tight for three and gear, but can be done. We set up the tents but typically sleep outside unless conditions (precipitation, wind, bugs) drive us inside. When sleeping three, the middle person has to have their head at the rear of the tent. With only two people, there is tons of room. I have not seen a 2C yet, but can visualize a two foot shorter version of my 2R and could not imagine that would be cramped for a single hiker and gear. It would be a palace. Those extra two feet on the 2R make it possible to sleep three, so I would suspect that the 2C would not be able to accommodate a third occupant with any level of comfort. The Stephenson family is a wacky group, and customer service a little surly, but a bonus is they are an American company and their stuff is made in the USA. That is a major consideration when making my gear purchases. Note: For specifically AT use, I would also consider saving weight buy getting it without the wind stablizers. My 2R does not have them and it survived a horrible storm that literally ripped two different (non-Stephenson) tents set up near us to shreds. (We inherited one of the displaced hikers and others were likewise doubled up in other tents during the night.) By morning, the only tents still standing were three Stephenson tents (two 2Rs and a 3R). None of the Stephenson tents that night had the wind stablizers. If the storm was any worse, I would probably die from fright anyhow, so it would not matter if the tent gave up! doodah-man

Sly
04-04-2008, 18:47
I was wondering which solo tent everyone would consider to be best for really rainy, windy,cold weather on an AT thru-hike that would still be light and have a large vestibule for gear storage. I have researched the Hilleberg Akto and it seems like one of the best for the cold and wet months.

IMO, any lightweight tarp or tent is adequate for an AT thru-hike. Check out Tarptent or Six Moon Designs

DapperD
04-04-2008, 19:51
DrapperD,
I think the 2C would be extremely roomy for one person and gear. During the summer, when harsh weather is not expected, we only bring one 2R tent for every three people. It is tight for three and gear, but can be done. We set up the tents but typically sleep outside unless conditions (precipitation, wind, bugs) drive us inside. When sleeping three, the middle person has to have their head at the rear of the tent. With only two people, there is tons of room. I have not seen a 2C yet, but can visualize a two foot shorter version of my 2R and could not imagine that would be cramped for a single hiker and gear. It would be a palace. Those extra two feet on the 2R make it possible to sleep three, so I would suspect that the 2C would not be able to accommodate a third occupant with any level of comfort. The Stephenson family is a wacky group, and customer service a little surly, but a bonus is they are an American company and their stuff is made in the USA. That is a major consideration when making my gear purchases. Note: For specifically AT use, I would also consider saving weight buy getting it without the wind stablizers. My 2R does not have them and it survived a horrible storm that literally ripped two different (non-Stephenson) tents set up near us to shreds. (We inherited one of the displaced hikers and others were likewise doubled up in other tents during the night.) By morning, the only tents still standing were three Stephenson tents (two 2Rs and a 3R). None of the Stephenson tents that night had the wind stablizers. If the storm was any worse, I would probably die from fright anyhow, so it would not matter if the tent gave up! doodah-man
Doodah man, I think you pretty much have me sold on the Stephenson's 2C tent! I had read one article where someone questioned wether the bottom airvent was succeptible to allowing water to gain access into the tent. I figured the bottom airvent would have to be at least a few inches up, otherwise disaster! One would have to assume that the quality of the 2C tent is as good as the 2R, especially since it is "pitched"(no pun intended!) as a climbers tent with available wind stabilizers. The Stephenson's say the 2C is available with the same options as the 2R. For myself I would order the available windows and large door options. Looking at pictures of the Stephenson's tents, one can see how they would be able to hold up in high winds so well. They almost look like a natural caccoon design! My only reservations in shelling out $650 for a 2C would be not having a warranty of more than a month that would include problems associated with "materials and workmanship". Many other companies offer a limited lifetime, but I guess maybe the Stephenson's products are just top notch, as I have read reviews of 5/5 stars for the 2R tents, and so maybe buying with the limited warranty isn't really as risky as one might otherwise be led to believe.

Ramble~On
04-05-2008, 03:52
I was wondering which solo tent everyone would consider to be best for really rainy, windy,cold weather on an AT thru-hike that would still be light and have a large vestibule for gear storage. I have researched the Hilleberg Akto and it seems like one of the best for the cold and wet months.

If you looked at and liked the Akto...check out their new baby

http://estore.websitepros.com/1764795/-strse-152/solo-tent%2C-expedition%2C-four-dsh-season%2C/Detail.bok

The Hilleberg "Soulo". Sounds like you're asking about 4 season tents.

http://www.moontrail.com/hilleberg/soulo/hilleberg-soulo-add-fullstup.html This link has pretty detailed photos

DapperD
04-05-2008, 19:09
If you looked at and liked the Akto...check out their new baby

http://estore.websitepros.com/1764795/-strse-152/solo-tent%2C-expedition%2C-four-dsh-season%2C/Detail.bok

The Hilleberg "Soulo". Sounds like you're asking about 4 season tents.

http://www.moontrail.com/hilleberg/soulo/hilleberg-soulo-add-fullstup.html This link has pretty detailed photos
Thanks for the information. I actually did go to the Hilleberg site and saw the new Soulo tent. I really like it but I don't think the vestibule is very big, I have a large external pack and I don't think it would fit well in the "triangular" vestibule, I think the akto fits the bill a little better.

DLANOIE
04-05-2008, 19:42
IMHO, a hammock tent or tarp/groungcloth combination would be sufficient for an AT thru hike. My experience was expecting to use my HH Asym/MacCat deluxe, and actually sleeping in the shelters more often than not
except on the buggy nights or if I could rig the hammock in a really cool spot!:D

Atreau
05-12-2008, 15:50
Went thru some pretty crazy wind yesterday in my montbell crescent 1. Would recommend the product to anyone.

peace

mash-tun
06-27-2008, 14:03
Atreau,
Would like to hear more about your experience with the Crescent 1. In particular, the size. I believe the tent is listed at 118 inches long. It appears to be pretty tight at both ends which may reduce useable space. Would you provide more info? I am considering this tent pretty seriously as a future purchase.
Thanks,
mash-tun

Incahiker
06-27-2008, 16:18
At least you know that the person on the other end of the phone is likely in the nude while he/she is talking to you. :p Seriously, take a look at that catalogue of theirs. Pretty weird stuff.

Wow, I just checked it out, thats great. I think I will purchase their sleeping bag as long as the fine nude girl in it comes with the purchase. :banana I will just tell my wife that the girl is part of the system of keeping me warm on a cold mountain night;), no harm done.

gravityman
06-27-2008, 16:38
Seriously? A 4 lb Hilleberg tent is being suggested for the AT?

And a 1.5 lb cramped 2C Stephenson? I can't believe it!

Try www.tarptent.com

The squall 2 for a HUGE tent for 1 person (and great sized for 2 people) at 2lbs, or the Contrail for a nice lightweight 1 person tent with a good amount of room.

Unless you need a 4 season tent above treeline in the whites, these are the way to go on the AT any time of year.

gravityman
06-27-2008, 16:39
Note: the tarptents are definately up to the task of keeping your warm and dry during the 'cold' months on the AT.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
06-27-2008, 16:45
Seriously? A 4 lb Hilleberg tent is being suggested for the AT?

And a 1.5 lb cramped 2C Stephenson? I can't believe it!

Try www.tarptent.com (http://www.tarptent.com)The Tarptents are OK for April to August NOBO thru, but not everybody does it that way. Some people need more protection than a tarptent can give - and it sounds like the OP is one of those.

For all-around versatility it is hard to beat MSR's Hubba for the price. The Hillberg tents are wonderful - albeit expensive and somewhat heavy. Not that familiar with Stephenson's tents so not going to comment.

double d
06-27-2008, 16:51
Spent this early Jan.,08 hiking the approach trail from A.S.P. to Springer Mt. to FS42, and we had all kinds of weather, rain, drizzle, wind, ect. (no snow). I brought my heavy tent and it coped well with the wintery weather. My tent is the TNF rock 22. Yea, I know, TNF isn't always thought highly by hikers, but it is a great winter tent and I hope to use it again this winter. Lots of room, set up quick, handed the weather very well, no "morning dew" on the inside walls either. I do think the rock 22 is too heavy for warm weather hiking though.

gravityman
06-27-2008, 17:23
The Tarptents are OK for April to August NOBO thru, but not everybody does it that way. Some people need more protection than a tarptent can give - and it sounds like the OP is one of those.

For all-around versatility it is hard to beat MSR's Hubba for the price. The Hillberg tents are wonderful - albeit expensive and somewhat heavy. Not that familiar with Stephenson's tents so not going to comment.

March 1 2005. Saw plenty of snow storms (the last one April 23rd so almost2 months winter!), cold rain, wind, etc. Tarptent did great!

OP didn't say when he was starting, but I wouldn't hesitate to take a tarptent at any time on the southern AT. Done plenty of winter camping with ours in Colorado, but wouldn't take it above treeline in winter...

Gravity

John Klein
06-27-2008, 18:56
Atreau,
Would like to hear more about your experience with the Crescent 1. In particular, the size. I believe the tent is listed at 118 inches long. It appears to be pretty tight at both ends which may reduce useable space. Would you provide more info? I am considering this tent pretty seriously as a future purchase.
Thanks,
mash-tun
Not enough headroom for a 6 footer, in my experience. Nice pricepoint, though.

Tinker
06-27-2008, 20:40
I was wondering which solo tent everyone would consider to be best for really rainy, windy,cold weather on an AT thru-hike that would still be light and have a large vestibule for gear storage. I have researched the Hilleberg Akto and it seems like one of the best for the cold and wet months.

You're on the right track. I own one, and, though a hammocker most of the year, this is the tent I take when the weather gets really hairy.

You will be quite hot in the summer, though. Try a hammock for the warmer months.

Tinker

Atreau
07-12-2008, 13:04
Update: Got rid of the montbell and went with a Zoid. The Crescent did not hold up well. Condensation issues (pool of water at the foot) just didn't make it feasible although I still think it's a great looking tent.

Del Q
07-12-2008, 18:26
I have been using the Big Agnes SL1, just purchased a Tarptent, lighter, faster to pitch, am in mode of shaving ounces. Will be under 33 pounds this fall with water and 4 days of food.