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Trying to decide on a tent


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That's the first good review of the Tensegrity I've read, and the only review of the Tensegrity 1. Good to hear it's roomy. Such an innovative design.

I don't understand why so many people think they should carry more tent than they need - most of the people on the John Muir Trail Facebook group seem to have $400 2-person free-standing tents they sleep in by themselves. Your girlfriend probably doesn't really like backpacking, and how much time do you want to be in there with your golden retriever?

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  • Reflex


  • rwehrman


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I have no knowledge of the 6 Moons tent but between the Big Agnes Fly Creek Platinum and the Copper Spur UL2 I would recommend the Copper Spur.  With the Fly Creek tent, you have to crawl in and

My wife and I bought a Copper Spur UL3 a year ago and used it until the end of August.  Opinion?  Hated it in more ways than I can describe but the Zippers were the worst.  Nothing like trying to get

Reflex, guessing you're still planning to purchase a separate tent for car camping...if so any chance your kid would ever join for any short backpacking trips along the way?  Not sure how tall

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It's a matter of balancing weight, space, needs, ease of erection in fair or foul weather, and budget. These are the five pillars of tent selection. All are nearly equal factors.  I suppose for most people the price tag is, in the end, a determining factor. However the conditions of any given journey will handicap the values of each pillar one way or the other. 

The gospel of tent wisdom suggests there is no one perfect tent because there is no one set of conditions Mother Nature will throw at you. So unless you have a self-refilling bank get the best tent you can afford that will work for the places us usually camp. I do a lot of desert walking but I also have been seen in the forests and tundra of Alaska, in the Sierra, along the beaches of Pacific Ocean volcanic islands, and once, attempting to walk across the farmlands of Wisconsin along the Ice Age Trail. 

In selecting the Tensegrity, I 'sinned'. For I selected it primarily for the Mojave crossing and didn't really consider other trips looming in the foggy void of my future journeys. But I was pretty certain it would serve me in other conditions and it has indeed done so. I am planning to walk the High Pyrenees Trail. It's 700 miles of varied conditions and I think this tent will work well. I hope so. Otherwise those huts along the trail will have one more guest.

In the back of my mind, and hopefully yours, is the idea that the tent will primarily serve as a place for holing up in bad weather, give you a false sense of privacy on overpopulated trails—for true privacy, avoid these hoarded-up locales—and, I suppose, as a sanctuary where you can hide from crawling things that trouble your sleep. If you don't need that, then you probably don't need a tent. 

It won't protect you from large four-legged animals, is particularly useless in defense against Homo Insapiens Nimrod Americanus, and will not prevent you from waking up at 2AM to worry about whatever it is that wakes you in the middle of the night to worry over. 

I knew it wasn't likely to rain during the Mojave traverse (actually, it did, a little, but I would have been fine with a tarp of some sort for that). Wind was much more important issue. nonstop wind will zap your energy and dry you out fast. Weight and reliability were the determiners for me. Sometimes I had to carry 3 gallons of water! This weighed more than all the other gear combined including my boots. Note that I said 'gear', the weight of my food was another issue altogether.

I must confess that I had some sponsors for this trek but a tent manufacturer wasn't among them. I came around to the Tensegrity without thinking much about it's spaciousness. If I were taller, this factor might have climbed a notch or two higher. All in all, the roominess was a bonus I hadn't planned for. 

As well, I have been using a walking-staff for a long time and naturally graduated to trekking poles a few years ago, so the fact that this tent uses them instead of tent poles was a bonus.

Hope this helps!

Walking Man

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welp, looking at these 3 tents. what do you all think in the weight difference? Will I notice the dif between the Spur 2 and either Spur 1 or Flycreek 2? Keep in mind, Im new at real backpacking, so I have to limit a little how hardcore ultra light I wanna be at this point. see attached image :)  Im not ready for tarps or the Lunar tents.

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 4.25.08 PM.png

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Let me think about these tent comparisons.

Other advice is this: There was once a fellow who was considered the world's most famous long distance hiker. He is considered the father of modern backpacking. He has been gone for a while, now, and his books, while old, and while the gear is way out of date, his advice is still completely on the mark.

So, read for content, not for gear recommendations. It's like teaching you to fish instead of giving you some food. You'll know a lot more about backpacking by reading his books. He has almost been completely forgotten. I've yet to meet a younger person who knows his work. 

This, in part, is why Toejam, above, said folks on the JM Trail were carrying unneeded weight, tents to large, etc. It's clear that the star of Wild never read this man. Mostly, folks just don't remember him anymore. But they should.

If you read him, I'll guarantee you will laugh your head off because he was a very funny writer, and you will be a much better backpacker sooner, and will not be taking stuff you don't need. Really, I promise.

His first backpacking trip, (yes his very first one!) was the length of the Pacific Crest, starting at Mexico, long, long before there was a PCT (which is why I wrote Pacific Crest instead of PC Trail). He was also the first person to walk solo, in one long, amazing trek, the length of Grand Canyon National Park. He did this back in 1963. This was a long time ago but lots of hikers use his methods whether they realize it or not.

So, here are the disclaimers: the gear info is way out of date; there is nothing about GPS or cellular navigation or solar devices; he will not reveal where to hike. Hardly anyone remembers him except for older backpackers.

BUT his advice is still the best available. He is still considered the best writer on the subject. I promise you will not be wasting your time reading his books and what you learn will save you gallons of sweat, keep the blisters off your feet, help you carry less weight, help you learn to see and connect with the green world around you, and save you MONEY. Did I mention you will LOL?

OK: His name is Colin Fletcher. The books to check out are The Complete Walker III and/or IV. Four is newer but three is probably a better read and useful for you. Also read The Man Who Walked Through Time. It's the chronicle of his solo trek through Grand Canyon National Park.

Yes, I know, it's stuff from 20- 40 years ago or more, but I KNOW you will learn a great deal. And he will inspire you as he has millions of other hikers. The gear may be out of date, but the principles are still right on the mark!

Thus endedth the sermon!

Walking Man

ps I'll get back to you with my thoughts on the tents on your list.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Reflex, guessing you're still planning to purchase a separate tent for car camping...if so any chance your kid would ever join for any short backpacking trips along the way?  Not sure how tall you are, but I like a little more headroom and especially across the width of the tent if I can get it - all my shelters have 45"+ peak heights, but it may not be an issue in your case. 

Sounds like you've ruled out single wall, but if it were me and I was looking in this price / weight range for a double walled, solo tent I'd consider the TarpTent StratoSpire 1. Don't let the tarp part of the TarpTent name fool you. :) (This does use trekking poles...not sure if you'll have those but if not there are optional poles, +8 ounces) Great size for 1, and can fit two standard pads if needed (might be convenient as a just in case in your situation?) or there's the larger StratoSpire 2. Not sure if the freestanding / partially freestanding aspects of the Big Agnes tents is something you're looking for however.

Hard to say if you'll notice the weight difference in question, probably not on its own, but if you save half a pound here or more, then combine that with other weight savings in other departments and add that all up you will, so this choice could be one part of that equation. 

All that said if limited to these 3 choices in what I'm imagining as your shoes, the Fly Creek looks good if you want something that would work if your kid ever joins up for a short trip, and my eye usually leans towards the lighter option that will do the job. But that aside as a solo only tent headroom would be the deciding factor for me, might have to check them out in person as there are some offsetting factors at play in comparison. If this will be the do it all option for your situation backpacking solo and car camping with your 6 year old then I'd go with the Copper Spur 2. 

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Thank you rwherman and Aaron!

Im gonna do Copper 2 for car camping and backpacking short trips with kid and then at some point get something else for solo backpacking, could be any of the REI, BAgnes or 6 Moons.

Went to REI this week, they had a Fly Creek 2 on display, I got inside it.  It wont do for car camping, not even sure i would want it for backpacking. Its too coffin like, inside height not enough, you can only face one side sitting wihtout the tent in your face, and 1 door front. Of course I understand its designed that way to cut weight.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Glad to hear you got it figured out for the time being Reflex, let us know how it works out and enjoy the time out there!

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