Looking for Tent advice.

Discussion in 'Backpack Hunting' started by MNhunter86, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. MNhunter86

    MNhunter86 Well-Known Member

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    So I've been hunting out of a tent for a couple of years now and my Kelty trail dome 2 has really seen better day...two broken fly poles and bent beyond use main poles do to mother nature. That tent was OK for the price but now I'm looking at getting a tent that is more packable, a little lighter, must have quite large vestibule, and be quite sturdy and preferably not bright yellow. So 1 of the tents I have been looking at is The north face big fat frog 24. I think its the one that fits my needs/wants the most accurately and it shouldn't break the bank completely. Anyone have or used one before? I'm kind of looking for input on it or input on any other tent recommendations. Let me know Thanks.
     
  2. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    2 person/1 person?, max. weight?, max cost?, 3 or 4 season design?
     

  3. MNhunter86

    MNhunter86 Well-Known Member

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    I would be leaning towards a two person tent. I'd say probably 6.5-7lbs would be the max. $350ish I figure with a good quality tent you get what you pay for and It should last a decent while. 3 season as I will be using it in the summer time as well for boundary waters trips and what not.
     
  4. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    There are many tents that would fit that category. I just bought 2 Marmot Earlylights for my family for backpacking/sea kayaking trips: Earlylight 2P | Marmot Clothing and Equipment With two large vestibules, a decent interior size and height and great ventilation (very key to staying comfortable in a tent when it's moist), 5lbs. 5oz. and still using fairly robust materials and quality construction, and it includes a foot print and gear loft which you would usually easily pay another $60-70 for. $229 and Marmot is one of the very best names out there. After looking at probably every tent out there with weight, a vestibule for each person and large side entrances as the basic tenets of the search, this is the tent I came up with. Are there lighter 2P tents? A few. But companies take more of your money for every ounce saved and you end up with a product that is often not as robust and won't last as long or take much abuse. This tent seemed the best balance of all aspects that I could find on the market.

    Get a tent from a well known mountaineering firm, such as Marmot, North Face, Mountain Hardware, etc., and shy away from the typical places hunters tent to go such as Cabela's--just not the depth of quality in materials and construction and knowledge as top mountaineering companies such as Marmot have. Folks that go from mountaineering to hunting (seen this mentioned here several times) are aghast at the common quality of hunting gear at the typical hunting outlets.
     
  5. bronco

    bronco Well-Known Member

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    I own a REI Quarter Dome T2 Plus. Actual weight packed with footprint is 5lbs 10oz. It's the best tent I have ever owned!

    This is a REAL three season, two man tent. I camp year round and have put it through it's paces hunting all over WA and WY. I brought it with me to Sweden and it has rained or snowed every time I have been out. I haven't got wet yet. It has very functional and well designed vents to adapt to the conditions. The Plus spec adds 10" length and 3" width over the standard size; this is really nice to have as I am 6'6". Even if I was shorter I would still get the plus. The weight difference is almost nothing and you have more room.

    It's very easy to set up; even in the wind and dark and being exhausted hunting/hiking all day. My wife and I can sleep comfortably and there is two vestibules that hold all our gear. It's a palace when going solo. I also like a subdued color, this tent is grey, tan and olive green. I bought it at REI for $320 plus $30 for the footprint. WELL WORTH THE MONEY FOR AN AWESOME TENT!
     
  6. midnightmalloy

    midnightmalloy Well-Known Member

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    Look into the sierra designs mojo 3. Its much lighter than the 5 lb 10 oz of the other tent mentioned and trail weight is 4 lbs even. I just spent the last 6 days in mine in the bighorn mts of wyoming at 8600' and couldnt be happier. They also make a mojo 2 thats even lighter but would be tight for two guys. Just google or youtube sierra designs mojo tent and a video will pop up. Pretty sweet design.paid $320 online for mine new.
     
  7. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    The way Sierra gets that weight on these tents is to use superlight (won't take much abuse) matierals--20 denier and 40 denier fabrics. Now, these light fabrics that are silicone coated are quite strong, but typically tent manufacturers use a polyurethane coating or silicone/poly mix and these can drastically reduce the strength of the fabric where the silicone (stretches with the fabric) ends up being much stronger in tests. Judging by the 3000mm watertight floor ratings, I'm guessing that Sierra is not using silicone. It's atypical to get that high of a rating if using silicone, but they don't specify. So, I'm always a bit leery to go to light on these materials. There are some new coatings, but I'm not sure what they are doing to fabric strength. The Mojo also uses a partial fly it appears--this is a long time Sierra tactic that does lighten the tent, but not without consequences. This means that part of the tent body itself will be made with a 'waterproof' material as it is directly exposed to the elements, which means that part of the tent wall will be more likely to develop condensation on the inside, in your living space, because if it's watertight material, watervapor cannot exit the tent wall there. The Mojo also has just one door, it appears, and an end door at that. Personally over the years, i've become a big fan of the large and easy entry and exit side doors and double vestibules so that each person had their own door and vestibule to store their gear. Just makes life in the tent more comfortable and enjoyable.

    The Marmot Earlylight (3p version as well) uses 68 and 70 denier materials that will be stronger and likely provide more years of service if taken care of, not that the Mojo wouldn't do the same if treated very well--it just has less of a chance to do so from the get go due to manufacturer fabric choices in an effort to show a reduced weight. There's nearly alwasy a trade off for this. I was looking at kids using the Earlylight and thought that it might be a good idea not to shave weight too much in the fabric department with kids that might not fully grasp the concept of being very careful with the tent.

    Also, take a good look at the Tarptent Double Rainbow: Tarptent Ultralight Shelters At 2lbs. 9 oz. it's hard to beat. The floor is not quite as durable and watertight as I'd like (get a floor saver), but many are very, very pleased with the design. I own the regular 'single' Rainbow and think that for a very comfortable, 3-season, 1 man tent at 2 lbs. 3 oz. it's very, very hard to beat for $245. Henry buys the same materials from the same supplier that I do and I know that the silicone coated fabrics he uses are very strong.
     
  8. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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  9. MNhunter86

    MNhunter86 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the great input on the different tents. I really like that you specified about the different types of fabric weight and fabric material. I will be going with a more robust fabric as I like to use my gear a lot. When I was at REI looking around a lot of there really light weight tents fabrics seemed super thin and well quite fragile. I also really like the visualization/rational of little kids not being quite as delicate with the tent. I can pretty much visualize my dog having the same theory, Although he usually sleeps out side of the tent some times he comes barging in to visit when I open the door.
     
  10. Andy Backus

    Andy Backus Field Editor

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    MNHUNTER86 -

    I've had the smaller version of the Big Fat Frog - the Tadpole -for quite a few years now and I've been really happy with it. It's been dragged all over the place including summer Boundary Waters trips as well as western hunting trips.

    It's held up very well and is very sturdy while being reasonably light (especially for the pricepoint). I use the Tadpole as an oversized one-man tent so I have room inside for gear as well as under the vestibule.

    It sets up very easily. I like that I can pick the whole thing up and shake out the dirt and grass before stowing it.

    Andy
     
  11. Strider

    Strider Active Member

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    I have the same tent and agree wholeheartedly. I find it a little heavy and bigger then I need or can use in real rough country so I don't always take it, but I can say it is an incredibly good tent having low weight for the footprint, high quality, and fantastic room.
     
  12. HellsCanyon

    HellsCanyon Well-Known Member

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    I have looked very hard at the Tarptents and the STratospire2 is on the short list for next year gear upgrades!

    To the OP, you may want to check out the GoLite tents and shelters. They have the option to go floorless if you ever want to, are very lightweight for the amount of space they provide plus they are very reasonable... There is a very well regarded couple on another website that spend 100+ nights a year in their GoLite tipi in Alaska and they love it. Other popular brands that guys I would consider 'hardcore backpack hunters' include Kifaru, TI Goat, and the Hilleberg Atko are all up there in quality, versatile systems! I know that I've never humped around a tent that weighed more than 3 lbs and I don't ever plan to.. 6-7 lbs for a 3 person shelter should get you something akin to a Holliday Inn in the back country! :)

    Best of luck with whatever you decide!

    Mike
     
  13. MNhunter86

    MNhunter86 Well-Known Member

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    Hellscanyonarmory,

    That stratospire 2 made by tarptent looks out standing! Looks plenty big for two people plus plenty of room for storage in the vestibules. Although I don't own any trekking poles but I'm sure I could come up with something that would work to erect the shelter.
     
  14. HellsCanyon

    HellsCanyon Well-Known Member

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    I am planning on picking one up next year to try out. Either that or the Megatarp from Kifaru...

    The more I use trekking poles the more I won't hunt without them. They are a MUST for myself on the hike in or trek out or with heavy loads... take a bit to get used to but every person that tries them, ultimately uses them.

    Mike