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What type of tent do you use?


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I'm interested in what type of tent backpackers here use and the pros and cons they have found with their choice.

Being in my early 50's, I've gotten a late start to backpacking and bought my first tent ever last year. I wanted a one person tent and relatively light. I settled on the Eureka Spitfire 1 tent which I purchased for $85 from Sunny Sports. So far, using it in the Canadian Rockies last year, it has handled torrential-like rain, heavy hail and snow very well, keeping me dry in all situations.

I upgraded the tent a bit by adding reflective guy lines and replacing the mediocre stakes with MSR Mini Groundhog stake. Packed weight comes in at 3 lbs 4 ozs which I find to be very reasonable for such an inexpensive tent.

Having used the tent for one season, I found the following features that I like: easy side entry, great amount of mesh for star gazing, stability in strong winds and good ventilation. Its weakest point is its very small vestibule. No backpack under there! Even my hiking shoes found little space there. The other issue is that it is not truly freestanding, requiring two stakes minimum.

This year, I've decided to upgrade to a different tent as I'm regularly going out with a second hiker and the two man tent I borrowed is over 7 lbs. Heavy!

I've found an excellent deal on a Big Agnes Jack Rabbit SL2, which will add approx. 14 oz to my tent weight (4 lb 2 oz) compared to the Eureka, but will now give me two good sized vestibules and two entries.

So what works/doesn't work for you tent wise? Do you rely exclusively on one tent or do you have several, depending on the type of trip you are going on?


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I have 3 tents, each for it's own purpose. One is a coleman, I don't know the model since I traded for it. But it is similar to the one you pictured, and the largest one I have. I use it when I am on fire assignments, since there is room in it for me and my gear.

I also have a hiker/biker tent from walmart. It was $20 and weighs a couple pounds. It is just big enough for me to lay longways, and I used it when hiking or kayaking. It will become my spare for loaning out.

But I just bought a hammock tent, weighs 20 oz or so, and have been thrilled with it. I have a tarp that I cover it with, and had good luck stacking my gear under the hammock so everything was protected. But I have a poncho/tarp ordered since it is lighter than my big tarp, and will have to experiment with it.

There is so much out there now in the ultra light range. The only downside to the hammock tent is that you will need to protect your gear, and depending on how cold it gets, I could see the hammock not being as warm.

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I had been using BA SL2 (3lb 11oz with footprint, 3lb 8oz without), as I liked the extra space. I often used it with the rainfly only pitch (making it I believe about 2.5lbs, but not sure on this. I don't think I would ever go back to a tent that didn't have side entry. Have had this tent for 5 years and love it. It has 2 very large vestibules--if sharing a tent with someone, can split it and it's 2lbs each and separate entrances and vestibules.

Having said that, I just bought a BA SL1 (2lb 7oz, 2lb 11oz with footprint). Will be testing it for the first time over Memorial Day.

Own a 3rd tent--4 season Nemo Nano which I use for winter climbs--4lbs 8oz and rated as 2 man tent but I use it as a solo tent what with all the extra gear used in winter climbs.

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Wood Violet

I don't have a backpacking tent yet, since I do mainly day hikes. But have a cheap, but large family tent. Think it's a Coleman sunset dome. We've had it for years. I like the Trail series by Kelty, but might be heavier than I'd like. Looking into floorless tents, but worried about rain, mud, spiders, etc. There are so many choices!

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I have a Kelty Salida 2. 3 Season. 10 square feet of room and a vestibule. Even tho I don't share my tent, I like the extra room to put my pack and hang out before falling asleep. It's not too heavy, about 4 pounds and relatively inexpensive. Super easy to set up and because it's free standing, I have been known the pick it up by the top cross poles and carry it fully erected to a better spot in my camping area.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Currently, I have 3 different shelters that I choose from depending on how many people will be sharing the tent.

For solo trips I use the ZPacks Hexamid Twin (Just over a pound) that offers a generous amount of floorspace for me and my gear. It can fit two if needed, but isn't quite ideal in my experience. For two, the Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo (Under 3lbs) continues to work well and offers a sanity-saving amount of living space with nice headroom for both occupants, and dual side entries with separate vestibules for gear storage. On family trips, we use the Tarptent Hogback (4lbs) which is a very spacious and solid tent.

I do have my eye on the newer Duplex and Triplex tents from ZPacks, but they're quite pricey. None of my options are free standing though - TollerMom's point on the benefits of a free standing setup do have me recalling a few times where it would have definitely been a convenient feature. :D

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Solo w/ 95% chance of good weather - MLD superlight bivy - great bivy

Solo w/ questionable or bad weather - MLD superlight bivy w/ gatewood cape tarp - great combo

two person - Black Diamond Firstlight (older yellow epic fabric) - great for 4 seasons in environments where it doesn't rain hard. Free standing and quick to setup, although its not the roomiest

Solo for road trips - North Face Canyonlands - older tent thats nice for road trips

I use to have a TT Rainshadow 2 and a TT Cloudburst 2, however both were sold for there own reasons. not because of the design or craftmanship. I am strongly considering getting the newer cloudburst 3 for rainy season camping for 2-3 people.


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I started off with the same Eureka Spitfire tent you have. I liked it, but find one person tents are like sleeping in coffins. A year or two ago I upgraded to a Big Agnes 2 person Copper Spur tent, which is bigger and weighs less.

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I own 3 Hilleberg's. A Soulo, a Tarra, and a Saitaris.

The Saitaris may get sold due to the lack of use but then again I haven't decided for sure.

I may find a use for it in time.

The Soulo receives the most use.

These tents are pricey but meet my needs(especially for my winter solos.

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Looks like there are as many different types of tents as there are different types of backpackers! I'm enjoying looking at and considering all the different types of equipment for going out into the wild. Thanks for sharing what works for you.

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