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tents..designed for? warmth and/or weather


DeWitteWolf
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DeWitteWolf

are 3 season tents(Maramount Limelight3 for instance) designed to help keep you warm..or just to keep you dry?..4 season to handle harsher cold weather like heavy snow/rainfall or for added warmth?..I just got back from Los Padres NF and my friends Tarptent, (which got such great reviews, and he was boosting about on the hike as I struggled with a bulky, heavy tent) was freezing cold inside, and had very heavy condensation(we had to cut the adventure short by a day he was so miserable), but was very light, and easy to pack(so thats something)..My Maramount Limelight 3 is very heavy, and bulky, difficult to carry in the back country, but stayed dry, and seemed warmer..I was think of getting Maramount's Force2P(I'm 6'4 210, with a 105lb German Shepherd, and prefer my backpack/gear inside..so maybe the Force 3p) to save on weight, and carry size, but not if it ends up being freezing cold, and a mini-internal-rain forest..Thanks...signed a noobie

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Interesting question.  I certainly understand this scenario I'm about to mention is not the same, but it is a good example.

A tarp tent or tarp pitched in any arrangement, requires some experience.  I've been using a tarp setup for several years now, sometimes with and sometimes without a hammock.  This past weekend I used only a tarp.  The temperatures dropped to 31F overnight.  I slept cozy warm with no condensation.  The key is airflow.  You have to pitch the tarp to allow enough air flow that condensation does not occur.  Unless you are sleeping in very extreme conditions your sleep pad & sleep bag should be sufficient for warmth.  I like the tarp because I also get radiant heat from the camp fire, by building a long fire prior to turning in for the night.

As for tents, generally speaking a 4-season tent is made to withstand the extreme winds and snow accumulation of true winter camping.   But even a 4-season tent will need good ventilation to avoid condensation.  

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DeWitteWolf

ok thanks..I appreciate the reply, and the information..BTW are Tarptents(brand name) the same as what you are talking about?..it would make since with what you are saying, but I thought a tarp used as a shelter was different..

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Tarptent makes tents; they don't make a tarp. But some of them, like Cloudburst, should be oriented considering air flow. The choice of camping spots makes a big difference. If you are camping in a creek bottom with no breeze, everything will get soaked. That will affect your comfort in a minimalist single-wall tent where your sleeping bag & gear are likely to touch the sides, but not so much in a cabin-like double-wall dome pushing 7 pounds. I don't recall rain in the Los Padres last weekend, so I'm guessing you camped in a soggy spot like Big Sur River.

I agree with KYhiker that it's your sleeping bag & pad that are supposed to keep you warm. The tent only keeps the weather off. I don't plan to spend much time in my tent so I carry a small, light one. Other people are willing to carry something more substantail to have a little dry cabin they can sit up in without touching the walls.

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Sorry for the confusion.  If I'm not correct please speak up, but I am under the impression that Tarptent makes single wall tents, some of which include bug nets and bathtub floors.  My reference to tarps is that the only real difference in a properly set up tarp and a Tarptent is the ease in setup.  The end result is very similar. 

Many of my tarp configurations look extremely similar to the Tarptent offerings I've seen.  How you pitch the sides and amount of air flow make a huge difference, as does camp location, as toejam pointed out.  I've definitely made the location of choosing a creek bottom location!!!  Nice example.

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Tents are definitely warmer than sleeping outside, especially when there is no forest canopy as thermal cover.

Single wall tents and shaped tarps all have coated materials that do not breathe.  It is essential to have air flow to remove condensation even in drier country like the Sierras. With open flat tarps there is usually plenty of air circulation and little condensation, but wind driven rain can be a problem. Some people use a bivvy with a tarp. To me they are too clammy and I have never owned one.

I have made the transition to tarps from tents for most trips. For wet country I would still bring a tent. I have now a Mountainsmith shaped tarp an LT model.  It opens in the front for ventilation. The back part is too closed up. I am going to split the seam to allow better air flow. Shaped tarps and single wall tents should only be closed up for serious rain storms.  

It is just like the issue with rain gear.  You can get wet from the outside and wet from the inside. It takes some management and trade offs to make the systems work.

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K. Urs Grutter

If you are serious about the tarp / tent question, read Ray Jardines Tarp Book. Lots of very valuable information! And you can always make an inner tent to clip in under a tarp for extending shoulder season use. Specialists even use tarps in winter. You will have to adapt your clothing, build half an igloo and use the tarp only as a roof if you expect spindrift...

Ray-Way Tarp in windy conditions

Happy nights out!

Urs

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Thanks but there is nothing new in Ray's video.  A tarp or a lean-to are a poor choice for sites above tree line exposed to the wind.  Sometimes there is some relief in the lee side of the topo but often there is none.

I have used a Whelen lean-to with a fire in front of it for x-c skiing trips. It works well in a forest out of the wind.

Tarps require some finesse, but the best way to learn about them is to use them a lot.

Edited by ppine
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