View Full Version : tent purchase--HELP

12-10-2002, 17:33
ok-my girlfriend and i are planning a thru hike in the spring of 2004 and we are starting to accumulate our gear and get into shape. right now we are stuck on what tent to buy. after agonizing over tents and pouring over specs for endless hours i have finally narrowed the field to 3:

dana design arja-2 vestibules(one 13sq ft the other 4sq ft), 35sq ft, 6lbs 10 oz
mountain hardwear muir trail -28 sq ft, 10 sq ft vestibule, and only 5lbs 10 oz
sierra designs meteor light cd-6lbs 10 oz, 40 sq ft , and a 14 sq ft vestibule

since i am kinda clueless about tents i was wondering if the board might be able to help me make a final decision. im kinda leaning towards the dana design due to the vestibules and the size but i dont really like tents with pole sleeves. in that respect i like the mountain hardwear muir trail due to the pole clips and the rear zipper so you can adjust the fly without leaving the tent but im not digging the less square footage and the smaller vestibule--where do you cook and store youre gear in crappy weather? finally the only reason im considering the meteor light is the large size of both the tent and the vestibule but i dont like the fact that it has only a mesh door and not one that is ripstop. i know i may come off as a gearhead but i dont really think i am i just want the best tent for the trip. i know all of the tents are a little on the heavy side but we are going to split it up and each carry some to offset the weight. i know this is a long thread but any help wold be greatly appreciated.


12-10-2002, 18:01
I also hiked with my girlfriend (now my wife) and found that we really wanted a tent that was a lot lighter. We started with the SD Clip Flashlite. It had enough space for the both of us. They we realized that even that was too heavy, so we got rid of the tent body and just used the fly with the poles. Worked GREAT! We got a piece of tyvek via trail magic at Fontana Dam and we would just stick the poles right in the ground. At some point we bought a mosquitto netting from Campmor when the bugs got bad and just hung it over the poles. It was the cheap fix of not getting a tarp (even though we really wanted a silnylon one). We never found a place we couldn't set it up. We used it from Erwin to Front Royal were we left the trail, and we've used it for about 130 miles on the CT.
We have finally upgraded though. We JUST got our 2-4-2 tent from Kurt at Wanderlust Gear this saturday. We are VERY excited to give that a try this winter (three seasons means nothing to us! :) At 2 lbs for everything you can't beat it. I'll guess our rain fly was about 3 lbs with poles and ground sheet.

Good luck finding a tent, but realize you want to go as light as possible. Even with two people, I bet you will want to switch to a lighter tent...

Gravity Man

12-10-2002, 23:09
Definately check out wanderlustgear.com and tarptent.com

12-11-2002, 03:14
Would definately second Wanderlust. The 2-4-2 is a two person tent that weight 2 lbs 2 ozs. With stakes and ground cloth adding a little more weight. Uses hiking poles for set up. Single wall, but the only time I had problems with condesation was when I woke up to a very foggy morning and the moisture in the fog clung to my tent. This tent is big enough for two people over six feet tall and gear to fit comfortably inside. Only thing I don't like is that one of the hiking poles is right in the center of the tent.

Kurt, who makes the tents can be a little swamped at times so order your tent well ahead of your hike.

Another tent maker that you might want to check out is Dancing Light Gear. Brawny, who thru hiked this year, makes the tents. They tend to be a bit smaller than Wanderlust, and therefore a little lighter. I'm sure you could get it customized to your needs. Brawny is very helpful. I tested a tent for her this year on my hike.

Another gear company you might want to check out is Moonbow Gear. They have all sorts of light weight gear, including tents. I don't have any personal experince dealilng with them, but others on this board do.

All these gear companies are run by long distance hikers, so they know what hikers want. Just ask, and they will be able to help you.

12-11-2002, 11:39
It took us 6 months to get our tent from wanderlust. Just a warning - you won't get it in time to start your thru hike, but if you really one, order it and get it shipped to you on trail.

Gravity Man

Team GAK
12-12-2002, 08:28
We didn't stay in many shelters becuase we wanted privacy and quite at night. A good rest is very important. We used the sierra designs meteor light on all our hikes. Sure - it's a bit heavy, but it provides good shelter for us and all our gear. Our packs were about 45-50 and 40-45 and we were both in our 50's. Make sure you seal the seams and don't close the awning down so the tent can breathe. We didn't carry the stakes, just the tent, fly, ploes and ground cloth. There's pleanty of sticks to use to steak out the tent. You will learn as you go. Mistakes are part of the adventure.

12-14-2002, 06:11
the two man eureka apex which weighs about 4 lbs I think is a decent tent as well. The two doors/ vestabules are excellant for reducing wear and tear on the relationship. :D

12-16-2002, 22:24
I have never been a fan of vestibules for a trail like the AT, it's too humid and if you have a rainfly that goes to the ground you will get a good amount of condensation...especially with two people. You simply don't need a vestibule and a tent with awnings will give you great cross ventilation even when raining. Most tent companies (Dana Design, Marmot, Sierra Designs, North Face etc) are west coast manufacturers and don't deal with much humidity. Check out some designs like the Backcountry from Eureka, it's a more practical design for east coast use.

12-17-2002, 01:31
Originally posted by stranger
Most tent companies (Dana Design, Marmot, Sierra Designs, North Face etc) are west coast manufacturers and don't deal with much humidity. [/B]

I'm not sure this is totally correct. Half of the west coast, from northern ca on up, is almost sub tropical in rainfall totals. Especially along the coast.

12-17-2002, 06:36
Knock out a PCT hike then comment. Thanx.

12-17-2002, 09:54
If you change the phrase Northern CA to
Northern WA. and restrict it to a 20-100 mile
strip from the coast inland, the assertion would be correct. In fact, the coastal range of British Columbia (Vancouver to, roughly, the Yukon) has the highest bio-mass of any region in the world. That means that there is more stuff alive there than anywhere else. More than the tropics, more than the rainforests. It is a temperate rainforest, in fact. The coast range may be the most wild mountain range left in the world (with the possible exception of parts of russia) and one of the most beautiful. There are scads and scads of unclimbed mountains and places were it is doubtful that anyone (whitey or native) has ever gone. It is thick, hard hiking and there are almost no trails.

However, most of northern CA is very dry, as is most of Oregon (with some exceptions in both cases).

12-17-2002, 21:32
Check out tarptent.com Henry Shires makes two lightweight tents of silnylon. The two person model weighs less than 1 1/2 lbs. Workmanship is first rate. Henry developed this tent while hiking the PCT I think.

12-17-2002, 22:59
I just realized that my last comment sounds pretty arrogant...sorry for that. I have never done a PCT hike, but have friends that have done all 3 trails. So my information comes from them and their experiences. Adios!