View Full Version : Suggestions for 3 person tent

05-28-2006, 15:42
I'm getting married in about 3 weeks, and we plan to do a honeymoon section hike in about 6-7 weeks (VA or eastern NY). Ellen is a bicyclist, used to a sag wagon bringing along a huge dome tent that would hold a family of 10. I'm and lightweight ounce weenie, used to either my Nomad or a Speer Hammock.

So, I figure a larger 2 person/3 person tent would fit the bill. I've asked Ron Moak (6 Moons Designs) about his fare, but I'm asking the general community about what is good/bad/indifferent in the sort of tent that won't dissappoint us. I hope to spend much of the honeymoon slackpacking between B&B's or hostels, but at least one or two nights in the backcountry. (SW VA is my favorite, but suspect NOVA, MD will get the nod).

<if anyone has a Nomad 2+2 to sell, I'd be interested>

05-28-2006, 16:57
While I have no direct experience with this tent, check out the Fast & Light Mutha Hubba (http://www.msrcorp.com/tents/muthahubba.asp) from MSR. Looks like it's about 7 pounds, 40 sq. ft., $400. It earned a 2006 Editor's Pick from Backpacker.

05-28-2006, 18:57
Hi, OB,

Congratulations. We have a Henry Shires Tarptent Rainshadow. This tent easily holds three adults, and it's a palace for two with gear. Here's a photo:


My wife and I used it through the Shenandoahs last June, and it's just sinfully large for two people. Oh, and with a hiking stick for the front support, it weighs all of 38 ounces with everything.

BTW I highly recommend Shenandoah in June. It's thru-hiker season, and all the restaurants and lodges are open. The trail is great, and you have plenty of opportunity for food prepared by professionals. Mmmmm, blackberry milkshakes.

Have fun.

05-28-2006, 21:32
We have an REI Taj 3 and it would also be beautifully comfy and large for 2 people. It's really well-made, has two entrances and vestibules, a gear loft and all the goodies (for those who read my post on the "nature threat thread," this is what we invested in *immediately* upon returning from the Night of the Living Hellgrammites). However, the Taj it isn't the lightest tent out there.. between the footprint and the rainfly and the tent itself and the stakes, it's over 8 lbs. But it stands up to everything and could be a good choice for someone who isn't going ultra-light and likes comfort with all the trimmings.

Jane in CT

05-28-2006, 23:45
ya, i was gonna say a 3 person tent is never a 3 person tent, but if you check out the marmot aeolos its big for a 2 person tent plus see how it has the knees for extra room now if you are really animant on the rommy part you could get the 3 person, but any how check out this tent http://www.rei.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?storeId=8000&catalogId=40000008000&productId=47858116&parent_category_rn=4500457&vcat=REI_SSHP_CAMPING_TOC

Dances with Mice
05-28-2006, 23:48
Funny you should ask. I'm doing my initial packing for a trip this summer (http://www.ejc2006.net/tourism/index.php), part of which will be spent camping (http://www.ejc2006.net/thevenue/millstreet/target0.php). I've chosen my Black Diamond Mega Light. (http://www.bdel.com/gear/mega_light.php)It's been modified with shock cord tieouts & a wide stip of bug netting around the perimeter & I'm using rather large Wal-Mart aluminum tent stakes. The weight of all that in the stuff sack is 2# 3 oz according to my kitchen scale.

Still have to add a pole, but you can use 2 hiking poles and an adaptor that comes with the tent.

Also have to add a floor, I'm taking 2 Neat Sheets but in this instance I'm not carrying the rig every day and the Neats will have other uses during the trip. For backpacking I could find lots of things lighter - Tyvek or plastic. I'd also look for lighter tent stakes.

So in backpacking configuration, around 3 pounds would yield about 50 square feet useable floor space and enough headroom to walk into the tent rather than crawl. Compared to most other tents it's a mansion.

05-29-2006, 12:56
Great ideas, and thanks to all.

I know that marrying the right woman - a real hiker babe. I mentioned weights and sizes of tents, and she reminded me that the weight was the most important feature. I think we are going to a tarp tent of some sort!

Megamid and the Black Diamond Skylight are getting the nods right now.

Keep the suggestions going. I also like the idea of Skyland Drive/Shenandoah for our initial section hike. Anyone know of hostels in the area/B&B's to recommend?


05-29-2006, 17:14

My hiking partner has the Megalite, which is the sil-nylon (much lighter) version of the Megamid. For the weight, it has lots of room, and it's very tall in the center. I know that a lot of people like pyramid tarps. Note that you'll need the floor/netting insert if you want bug protection (or you'll need to do some sewing). Also, when you open the door, a large part of the inside is now open to the weather. Finally, the 9x9-foot area is a little optimistic, since the last couple of feet doesn't have much vertical clearance. I think BD claims a 7x7 foot area as usable space -- probably pretty accurate.

Having used them both, I would again choose the 3-person Henry Shires model, but I know a lot of it is personal preference.

Shenandoah has lodges at Big Meadows and Skyland, which are eight trail miles apart (hint hint), and a campground at Lewis Fork, which is about 10 miles south of Big Meadows. Makes for a nice 2 or 3 day stretch with real beds and food and all that.

Glad you found a "real hiker babe" -- I wouldn't trade mine for anything!!!


Uncle Silly
05-29-2006, 18:45
A little south of the Shennies is Montebello VA -- the folks at the Dutch Haus B&B (i think that's the name?) are terrific, very helpful and friendly. Not far from the trail either.

05-29-2006, 23:26

05-30-2006, 10:38
I use a sierra designs Sirius 3, weighs 5 lbs, 41sq feet. Enough room for 2 hikers 2 backpacks and a smelly dog you don't want sleeping on top of you.

05-30-2006, 11:20
Well, the Shire's Rainshadow 2 looks more and more like our first cloth home.

The comments about the shelters around Shenandoah echo some suggestions from the ATC. Dutch Haus and the Fox Hill Inn (Troutdale) were suggested, also. Apparently finding shuttles in Shenandoah may be a bit iffy, but...

Thanks for the suggestions, and keep them coming!


05-30-2006, 20:39
I have a Rainshadow 2 and have nothing but positive things to say about it. Plenty of room for me, my wife, all of our gear, and our dog. An added plus - it has lots of mesh for ventilation in the summer.

05-30-2006, 23:05
I will owe a gear report in a few weeks, also. I spoke with Henry Shires today and had a very good time learning about his tent, his work and his general good-guy-ness. I can easily see why he and Ron Moak (6 Moons Gear) recommend each other. Plus, the RainShadow2 is in stock, complete with floor. I will get to silicone seal the seams and make patterns to avoid a slippery floor.

For now, I am beginning to figure out shuttles and means of hiking SOBO thru Shenandoah/Skyland Drive areas to Rock Fish Gap, probably something like 50 miles over 5 days. This should be fun!

05-31-2006, 07:30
It seems you've made your choice on a tarptent.
For other's that are still looking for the room of a 3 person tent I'll be the second one to suggest the Sierra Designs Sirrius 3. My wife and I got one because we often hike with our 80 pound dog. Even with the 3 of us in it there's plenty of room and the way it's made gives plenty of options for ventilation.

05-31-2006, 11:08
I think that sierra Designs is a good choice, especially for the price. What looks good with the tarp tent is weght and size of packed material.

06-01-2006, 18:59
I agree with what you say about the tarp tent. If it weren't for the fact that my wife insists on a free standing tent I'd have a tarp tent too. The way I figure it, it's woth carrying the extra weight if that's what it takes to get my wife to come along. Actually, she enjoys backpacking just as much as I do.

07-06-2006, 11:25
This baby rocks. I was a bit skeptical when I saw the pole for the back bow, and wondered about the way the trekking poles are used to support the front. Specifically, I thought the back pole would be hard to thread (and would be with cold or mittened hands) but found it slides in quickly and very intuitively.

The front grommets are held up by the tips of your trekking poles. The grommets are thick enough, and there is enough padding to prevent any punctures by the tips. Essentially, fully extended poles make a very high tent, which you can lower in case of wind.

The interior is HUGE. I got the floor. No_see_um surrounds the interior. Zippers keep the doors closed. There is ample room to change and move around. It is more than adequate for a honeymoon suite in the woods. At 3 pounds, it beats most tents I've used for solo hiking. I'm gonna miss my hammock whenever I'm hiking with my honey.

The delivery was prompt and welcome. I did the seam sealing thing, although I had rain on it before I could get started. There were only two small leaks through roof seams.

Now, we get to plan the details of the honeymoon section hike.

07-06-2006, 17:15
I second the Henry Shires Rainshadow... its not too expensive, incredibly light and we fit two people, two dogs and all our gear in it comfrotably.... did i mention that it doesnt weigh much more than two pounds!