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  1. #1
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    Default More Tent Advice

    Looks like everyone is looking for some tent advice right now... here's my situation:

    I've been using a Kelty Vortex 2 for about 15 years. I've loved the tent, but she's an old gal ready to be retired (and she weights in at 7lb 5oz with ground cloth).

    My Requirements:
    1. I hike primarily in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
    2. Must fit my sleeping pads (NeoAir Large for me, Prolite Regular for my son).
    3. Must keep the bugs out (no tarp tents).
    4. Less than $250 (including ground cloth)

    The obvious 1st consideration is the Kelty Gunnison 2.1. (it replaced the Vortex)
    I've also considered the Gunnison 2.1 - heavier (i.e. stronger) material to stand up to use with kids.

    I've recently discovered the Big Agnes Lynx Pass. 7c067813-5e76-4ea0-8a81-c16388cf126c.jpgIt looks like the vestibule can double as a tarp to cook under, allowing me to leave an extra piece of gear (cooking tarp) at home.

    Another interesting wrinkle is that I could get a Lynx 3 for less than the Lynx 2 with REI's current sale. If the 3 will fit a NeoAir Large and a pair of Prolite regulars, I've got another son I hope to have joining us soon. In the mean time, the Lynx could still be used as a 2 man tent (and still weight a little less than my current Vortex).

    I've all but ruled out the Mountain Hardware Drifter (2 or 3) because after adding a ground cloth, there isn't much of a weight savings yet it seems to be much smaller than the Gunnison or Lynx Pass.

    I've considered the Marmot Limelight because it appears that it is only 5lbs (with ground cloth?). Seems like its only negative is a single door (yet the Lynx is a single door too... but you at least get the tarp-like replacement).


    Other ideas out there?

  2. #2
    Registered User AjR's Avatar
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    How heavy is that thing? I personally am thinking of going with a sil-nylon tarp with a drop cloth. I'm thinking of sewing in loops of cord on the two far sides and possibly making doors that go on either end. That gives me options. I carry a eurka Apex tent that weighs 4lbs 4oz, and while that's not that heavy, I'm still looking to go lighter.

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  4. #4
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    TarpTent Double Rainbow? Not sure if you looked into these yet but don't be confused, they are not 'tarps'.

    I have the regular (1 person) Rainbow and could not be happier. Love this tent with a passion.

    http://tarptent.com/double-rainbow.html
    Smile, Smile, Smile.... Mile after Mile

  5. #5
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    A ground cloth can be a piece of Tyvek you can get from a garbage pit near housing construction. Cost - zero.







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    I never really seen the purpose of using a ground cloth besides protection of your tent. Than again, you can just check the ground for sharp objects, etc. before laying your tent down, no?
    Smile, Smile, Smile.... Mile after Mile

  7. #7
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    I don't care to lay my tent on a wet, muddy ground. I let the tyvek take the goop and it dries ultra quick and the dirt shakes off.







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  8. #8
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    The Big Agnes Lynx Pass 2 Pkg Weight WITH Ground cloth is 6lbs. 2oz. and is 90"x58". That puts it on par with what I'm used to with my large Vortex 2, and is basically the same size and weight at the Kelty Gunnison 2.

    SMD are single wall construction. Seems like some fellow Southern hikers don't like the single walls.

    I've said no to tarp style tents because I want to keep the bugs out. I've had and heard of bug problems in areas I've frequent. I can't tell for sure, but the Double Rainbow and other "tarp-tent" tents don't look like they totally enclose you in no-see-um mesh.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    I've said no to tarp style tents because I want to keep the bugs out. I've had and heard of bug problems in areas I've frequent. I can't tell for sure, but the Double Rainbow and other "tarp-tent" tents don't look like they totally enclose you in no-see-um mesh.
    The Double Rainbow is fully enclosed. There is no-see-um mesh on the interior that is sewn into the tent and can be partially unzipped if you choose to leave it open. Lightweight, durable, decently priced and they are very spacious with awesome vestibules and great design.
    Smile, Smile, Smile.... Mile after Mile

  10. #10
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    Quote Originally Posted by 88BlueGT View Post
    I never really seen the purpose of using a ground cloth besides protection of your tent. Than again, you can just check the ground for sharp objects, etc. before laying your tent down, no?
    It's not "just" that simple. I DO check and clear the ground of sharp objects. But at least in areas as heavily used as the Smokies, there are always some rock or root sticking up out of the ground that you just can't move that would put the bottom of your tent at risk.

    Plus a ground cloth can help keep things clean. Even a dry evening in the Smokies has left the bottom of my ground cloth wet/muddy. So the ground cloth keeps your tent clean AND provides a clean-dry spot to use to fold your tent in the morning (assuming it's not raining as you pack up). It's a lot easier to hang a ground-cloth to dry than a whole tent.

  11. #11
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    ^^ Valid point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 88BlueGT View Post
    The Double Rainbow is fully enclosed. There is no-see-um mesh on the interior that is sewn into the tent and can be partially unzipped if you choose to leave it open. Lightweight, durable, decently priced and they are very spacious with awesome vestibules and great design.
    ^^ This.

    Every TarpTent brand shelter comes with full netting/bug protection. Check them out, you might like what you see.

    http://www.tarptent.com/

  13. #13
    Registered User Free_bird's Avatar
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    Your all probally going to laugh at this one! What is the diference between my $40 walmart dome tent that weighs 3.1 lbs VS one of these tents that cost $200+? Im planing a thru and money is not too much of an issue but will be after leaving the job for 4 -7 monthes. Thanks in advance to your responces.

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    A ground cloth can also provide a clean and dry spot on the ground to lounge during the day and dry your sleeping gear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Free_bird View Post
    Your all probally going to laugh at this one! What is the diference between my $40 walmart dome tent that weighs 3.1 lbs VS one of these tents that cost $200+? Im planing a thru and money is not too much of an issue but will be after leaving the job for 4 -7 monthes. Thanks in advance to your responces.
    Durability, pack size, features, customer service, etc. Also, you will be surprised how much extra people will spend to save that one single pound.
    Smile, Smile, Smile.... Mile after Mile

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Free_bird View Post
    Your all probally going to laugh at this one! What is the diference between my $40 walmart dome tent that weighs 3.1 lbs VS one of these tents that cost $200+? Im planing a thru and money is not too much of an issue but will be after leaving the job for 4 -7 monthes. Thanks in advance to your responces.
    Poles are usually the biggest difference. Your Walmart dome tent almost certainly comes with fiberglass poles, where $200+ tents usually comes with aluminum poles.

    The other difference is often refinement in design and manufacturing. Some low budget tents are impossible to get fully taut. A tight tent is essential to it holding up well in a storm. More expensive tents should be able to be pitched as tight as a drum, and you shouldn't accept a tent that can't. Keep in mind that it's not automatic. You have to work to pitch it tautly, and sometimes that means using every single guyout point.

  17. #17
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    It's always important to have something between you and the ground. I wasn't a believer in even sleeping pads, but after a recent trip to the Lincoln National Forest, where it got down to 34 f, I learned the hard way that I should have a sleeping pad. Now, the tarp tent idea is as easy as getting your own no-seeum. My wife and I have priced making all our own gear, and not only do we get the option of full customization, we also get the satisfaction of knowing our equipment is 100% USA made, and the prices we came up with, everything came out cheaper, and much much lighter, hence the tarp tent (sorry for getting off subject a little there!)

  18. #18
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    Quote Originally Posted by AjR View Post
    I wasn't a believer in even sleeping pads...
    The loft of a sleeping bag is what keeps you warm. The part of the sleeping bag compressed between your body and the ground will have almost no insulation value. So you need the sleeping pad to keep yourself insulated from the cold ground.

    While one of the main differences between a 3 season tent and a 4 season tent is the ability to withstand a snow load, the main difference between a 3 season sleeping pad and a 4 season sleeping pad is the R value (insulation power) to better insulate you from the colder ground of the winter.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    While one of the main differences between a 3 season tent and a 4 season tent is the ability to withstand a snow load, the main difference between a 3 season sleeping pad and a 4 season sleeping pad is the R value (insulation power) to better insulate you from the colder ground of the winter.
    And also to breathe less. That's why 4 season tents can be sealed up tighter and often have solid fabric inner tents instead of netting, or at least has solid fabric that can be zipped over the netting.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Free_bird View Post
    Your all probally going to laugh at this one! What is the diference between my $40 walmart dome tent that weighs 3.1 lbs VS one of these tents that cost $200+? Im planing a thru and money is not too much of an issue but will be after leaving the job for 4 -7 monthes. Thanks in advance to your responces.
    Can you link to your Walmart dome tent?

    For many years I used a 5 lb 2 person $30 kmart dome tent. I did look at the expensive offerings but back then the substantial extra money was not worth the few ounces it saved - yes $200 could buy less then a pound savings.

    It worked fine for what I needed and that time. The dome design was hard to beat, simple, fast freestanding and simply bombproof.

    But for the thru I needed something lighter, so I went for the MSR Carbon Reflex 1p. I got to say a world of difference I never knew. First is that the kmart dome had a puny rain fly, the Carbon Reflex has a total rain fly. This meant a world of difference inside the tent, it was dryer and also felt a lot dryer and better. Having a vestibule is also a very nice plus, a place to store everything that you don't want to take into the tent nor store in the bear box, also a place to cook if needed.

    From someone coming from your position I just have to say you really need to try a better tent to see the difference.

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