View Full Version : Major tent dilemma - help me please!

03-27-2011, 16:34

I'm after some advice on lightweight tents.
I currently own both a Tarptent Rainbow (older version pre 2010 improvements!) and a Lightheart Solo (before the porch!).

Both tents I have bought, tried and tested and while I like certain features on both, neither have grabbed me as THE tent, one I want to spend 6 months sleeping in. And now I'm a bit downhearted. :(

So I was hoping that if I outlined what I was looking for, perhaps someone could point out something tent wise I haven't looked at or considered yet? :confused:

I love the weight of both of these tents and the simple quick set up.
I like the inner mesh on the Solo and it seemed to make condensation less of an issue, which I know is unavoidable in the tarptents but does drive me nuts.
I very much prefer the overall headheight and usable room in the Rainbow, I find the Solo a little restricting in the 'peaked' areas.
Having said that I still would like a little more room to spread out, if only there was a 1.5 person tent?!
I like the fact that these don't require an inner/outer system, no faffing about, but if I had to have this, I'd like one that goes outer up first.
The tiny zips on the rainbow drive me a bit crazy, and I catch them easily on the fabric.
I prefer that the solo packs smaller as the rainbow pole makes for a longer stuff sack.

Now that I've sounded like the pickiest person in the world, can anyone suggest anything?
I think I've looked at most of the main brands - and have recently looked at the Lunar Duo for room and height, weight doesn't seem too bad either? (Not overly crazy about the pole struts in the middle of the doorway, I'm thinking I'd be a klutz with them)

I checked out the Hubba as well, but that seemed a bit small?

One of my biggest problems is that I seem to have to buy these tents before trying them out and then seem to have wasted (metaphorically, as I said both tents I own are fine in their own ways) my money.

Any help to be had?:o

03-27-2011, 16:44
As far as the Lunar Duo, the poles are not in front of the door. The edge of the door is in the center of the tent which is where the poles are. I have not experienced any problems with the pole being anywhere in the way with my Lunar Duo. But the LD is single wall, so you won't have the mesh to keep the condensation at bay.

You could try looking at the MLD Cricket. But not many reviews of that yet since it is still pretty new.

03-27-2011, 17:01
I'm wondering if the Tarptent Contrail might be roomy enough for you.

Papa D
03-27-2011, 17:07
The Hubba (1-person) or its cousin the Carbon Reflex are both great tents - I have both - the Carbon Reflex is really nice but not free standing - you can sort of rig it to be free standing with a little cordage though - I wish they made the regular Hubba Poles out of the carbon fiber - anyway, I find that (for a solo hiker) this is a wonderful shelter - your pack can stay nice and dry in the vestibule with your shoes and all else goes inside - it sets up really quickly too - the rainfly clips right on in about 30 seconds with a little practice. I hiked the Long Trail last year and spent 15 nights or so in the Hubba (the other 5 or so in shelters) - would be totally comfortable doing a thru hike with it.

Papa D
03-27-2011, 17:09
The other niceness about the Hubba is that before and after bug seasons, you can pitch the rain-fly only over a ground cloth and make a really light and roomy tarp set-up - then, you can add the bug-fly / floor when the critters are out

03-27-2011, 17:12
Tarptent Moment...

03-27-2011, 18:01
papa d. hubba. researched 3 months. most satisfied customers. getting me one.

03-27-2011, 18:12
Tarptent Moment...
If I liked sleeping on the ground I'd own one. My hiking buddy, Chatter, owns one. I haven't slept in it, but it might be worth trying it so I can have a more informed opinion. It is single walled, but the arch keeps the walls (and ceiling) away from anyone under 6'6" very well.

03-27-2011, 18:47
Maybe you should consider 'fixing" the bits you don't like in the Rainbow.
Zips : install zip pulls and use your fingers around the zip when you pull to prevent the fabric catching
Poles ; you can remove the cross strut very easily and put that and the pole vertically inside at the back of your pack, next to the stays.
Condensation : mostly the difference between having a mesh inner and not is that the mesh helps in not coming to contact with the fly. I just wipe the fabric down when needed but you can get the liner for the Rainbow .
From memory it can be attached to the 2008 and newer models.
The liner will eat up 3-4 cm at the top but it will still leave you with more headroom than most.
franco@tarptent.com (franco@tarptent.com)

03-30-2011, 20:36
I used a TT Contrail- 2lbs total with ground sheet and stuff sack---best tent for me-was able to get al my gear in it and me.

Jim Adams
03-30-2011, 20:50
Buy a Hubba, be happy, end the problem.

04-01-2011, 20:09
I have the hubba hubba hp...amazing tent (2p tent - and they dont make it anymore). I am condisering the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 though....its a semi free standing tent for 2 ppl and sub 3lbs!

Kia Kaha
04-01-2011, 21:15
You can't get much more room for the weight than the Lunar Duo, condensation has not been bad for me, plenty of ventilation if you play with the pitch a little. Like Stick said, poles are not in the way of entry/exit whatsoever, I love side entry. I have the Lunar Solo as well, lots of room for a solo, fits my XL pads with room for gear outside and inside.

map man
04-01-2011, 21:27
A lesson I just relearned when doing some car shopping: there is no one perfect car.

There is no one perfect tent. They all involve compromises. If you make up your mind that you are going to make it work, either the Rainbow or the Solo would make a very good shelter for a thru-hike.

04-01-2011, 22:34
A lesson I just relearned when doing some car shopping: there is no one perfect car.

There is no one perfect tent. They all involve compromises.

And that applies to every other piece of backpacking gear as well...

04-01-2011, 23:49
Six Moon Designs just came out with the new Haven, 2lbs for a modular tarp/tent system, looks very solid.

I really like the Mountain Laurel Designs Cricket Tent, has large awning for good ventilation, can use the net tent in shelters, side opening so you don't have a f'ing pole in the middle of your entrance, etc...

I've had Tarptents and no longer do, they don't impress me much, but many people like them, the Contrail is very popular.

Also something like the Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis with a MLD Superlight Bivy makes so much sense to me in terms of flexibility.

Lightheart tent looks good but any floorplan that comes to a point is going to be very inefficient in terms of space, you lose so much space in those corners

No tent will be the one, all tents and shelters have drawbacks...