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  #16  
Old 10 Apr 2012
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I tend to agree with Markharf re the colour of the tent. You will find no proof
that either is better than the other than "gut feelings" of the user unless you can survey the thief, aggressor,interloper etc etc as to why they targeted you.

Common sense says a bright coloured tent will be more visible from further away therefor making any visitor to your tent, welcome or unwelcome, more likely.

So once you have decided on the tent that will stand up to the conditions you will experience in the weight range you want, your decision is then based on heat retention vs conspicuousness. Do you want a nice sleep in without sweating or maintain a low profile in situations where that would be to your advantage.

+1 for the green tent
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  #17  
Old 10 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masukomi View Post
See, that's exactly the info I'm looking for. Do you think that a dark green tent would have any effect on preventing that "crowd of onlookers" ? Or do you think you'd have them regardless of what color tent you have? I agree about wanting to be as invisible as possible, what I'm wondering is if the battle for discreetness has been lost before we've even started. Should we just say "screw it, they're going to see us no matter what we do." ? Or do you think you actually have a chance of not being noticed with a discreet tent color?
In short I think that if all other factors were to remain constant ie how far off the road you're camped, how much noise you're making, whether you have a fire going etc etc, you will attract attention on fewer occasions with a green tent than you would with an orange tent. Just my personal opinion.

Sometimes you won't have a hope in hell of avoiding company, sometimes the chances of you being stumbled across are almost zero but for everything in between where you may be noticed or you may not then a green tent will work in your favour.
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  #18  
Old 10 Apr 2012
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My only experience of what you seem to be asking is 5 months in Morocco in a truck camper. That could have been covered in mirrors, painted pink with red spots or been camo, you're driving into someones back yard wherever you are. They and their neighbours know you're coming well before you get there. If you were on foot, and could walk up and away from the road to a remote corner then tent colour may be influential. But for us even 100 miles from tarmac (but on piste), with no-one in sight, people would still spring up just to watch us and say hi

I don't know how far you will be able to get from someones back yard though!?

I read something a while ago that suggested it entirely depended on rainfall. Over a certain figure (100mm a month???) the land was worth growing something on and so was "owned" by someone. Less than that and you are more likely on your own except for nomadic grazing, but the noise and smells you make may draw someone in anyway.

During those 5 months we travelled with a couple with an Alsation for a week or so. That brought a lot of attention, but also meant no-one would come close out of fear!

I used to have a Vango Odyssey 300 (I think) which was purple, big doors both sides that could be entirely opened to a mesh door instead of sealed up. It was fab when hot because of the breeze you could let through, or seal it up when chilly. Not cheap, not pricey, lasted 9 years of a month a years use.

I now have a Hilleberg Nallo 3GT. The front door is nice and big, but you can't open the back up enough to get a through draft so is too hot when its warm. So any quality becomes secondary to its lack of comfort when warm for me. And you need pegs at each end all the time to maintain its shape, not just if a gales coming.

I'd like a better look at one of these because of the variety of ways you can use it, but one central pole might be annoying-

Shelters 3+

But I most probably would like a Mutha Hubba with both the mesh inner and the HP inner depending on the time of year the trip was, if you can buy the inners seprately. It stands with no pegs if you want. You can get a porch to add on for more space too.


Do dog claws require a tougher inner than a "lightweight" tent usually comes with?
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  #19  
Old 11 Apr 2012
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Thanks a lot for the input itchyfeet38 and grizzly7. That's the type of feedback I was hoping for.

As for the Mutha Hubba, yeah it looks like a good choice, but we've already got a decent 3 person. Because of the dogs need the extra space or our soaked riding gear will be on top of us. If it were just us again we'd happily take our REI Quarter Dome T3. It's a good tent which I'd highly recommend to anyone who needs a 3 person 3 season tent.

As for dog claws, the general consensus is that yes they can damage a lightweight tent bottom. One reason we like the Marmot Limestone 4P is that it has a bottom that's about twice the denier of most lightweight tent bottoms.

As for the earlier assertion that the Marmot is a "car camping" tent. Yes. We can't deny that, but if you look around you'll see that with *very* few exceptions ALL 4 person tents are marketed as "car camping" or "family". 1-3 person come in various flavors of "backpacker" or "expedition". 4 persons tents are "car camping" and you have to go up to 6+ before you get back into "expedition" grade and then you're talking $2,000-$5,000 tents which are typically designed for deep cold, and very extreme conditions. I don't think there's any such thing as a 6+ person "backpacking" tent, and I wouldn't want to carry the weight if there was.

So, yes, we're looking at a "car camping" tent but only because no-one seems to make a 4p tent that *isn't* marketed as a car camping tent other that Hilleberg and we're not willing to go with those because they're not free-standing, and the lack of serious ventilation would be a nightmare in the summer with the dogs. I won't go with any tent that isn't free-standing because I've done that, and it sucks when you're on rocky or sandy ground, and you generally don't get a say in what surface mother-nature has chosen to make available at your current location.
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  #20  
Old 11 Apr 2012
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I'm surprised I keep at this, but here it is. Dachary and Kay, you've got specific desires in a tent. I don't have a problem with that. As I said, if you want freestanding, or net ceiling, or heavier or larger or two doors or whatever, by all means have at it. I don't care what color you buy either. Really.

The reason I keep coming back to this thread is that you keep saying things with total assurance about tents which have little relation to reality. That, too is your right....but I seem to have some difficulty letting them slip by. For example, "no-one seems to make a 4p tent that *isn't* marketed as a car camping tent other that Hilleberg..."

This is not true. A great many tent manufacturers make four person (or larger), four season tents designed for mountaineering or winter use which sell for reasonable amounts of money. Big Agnes makes a couple, including an eight (8) person model. Black Diamond, NorthFace, and Mountain Hardware make others. All are well under a thousand dollars in the States.

None of them will suit a person who values ventilation over weather-tightness. That's the nature of tent design. I'm not quibbling over your choice of tent--I'm just pointing out that your statement about what's available is incorrect.

I will try to stay out of it from here on. Hope you enjoy your prep and your trip.

Mark
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  #21  
Old 11 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
I'm surprised I keep at this, but here it is. Dachary and Kay, you've got specific desires in a tent. I don't have a problem with that. As I said, if you want freestanding, or net ceiling, or heavier or larger or two doors or whatever, by all means have at it. I don't care what color you buy either. Really.

The reason I keep coming back to this thread is that you keep saying things with total assurance about tents which have little relation to reality. That, too is your right....but I seem to have some difficulty letting them slip by. For example, "no-one seems to make a 4p tent that *isn't* marketed as a car camping tent other that Hilleberg..."

This is not true. A great many tent manufacturers make four person (or larger), four season tents designed for mountaineering or winter use which sell for reasonable amounts of money. Big Agnes makes a couple, including an eight (8) person model. Black Diamond, NorthFace, and Mountain Hardware make others. All are well under a thousand dollars in the States.
I did preface that by saying "with *very* few exceptions". I *also* stated that once you got ABOVE 4 people that they went back to having good expedition grade tends. And I noted that those were "typically designed for deep cold, and very extreme conditions".

The problem is specific to 4 person tents. I have found a grand total of one 4 person tent that is NOT a winter tent and that is not marketed as "car camping" or "family" tents.



Big Agnes promotes their 4 person tents as a "Base / Car Camping" tent with the exception of the "Soda Mountain SL 4". North Face has zero 4 person 3 season tents ("car camping" or otherwise). Black diamond makes zero. Mountain Hardware makes 1 for backpacking but it's a central pole design with no mesh, and one for "camp" ( i.e. "Base / Car Camping"). They also make the only "expedition" one I've even begun to consider, the Trango 4, but it is obviously designed with colder weather in mind as it only has mesh on the front door, and it's $800.

In short, I really have done my research. There really are almost no option for four person tents that are not designed for winter, and are not marketed as "car camping" (or equivalent). I would honestly *love* to be proven wrong on this. Admitedly I have limited myself to English language sites. I wouldn't be surprised if there's some european site in a language I don't speak offering exactly what we're hoping for.

Again, this problem is specific to 4 person tents. If we went bigger or smaller we wouldn't have it, although if we went bigger we'd have the problem of finding ones that weren't designed specifically with cold weather in mind.

I have tried to be very careful in what I've said, couching it with the appropriate qualifiers ("with *very* few exceptions"), even so, I am very confident in my statements, and it would be to the benefit of myself and others if someone can prove me wrong and provide real examples of 4 person tents that are not marketed as Base / Car Camping (or equivalent), have real quantities of mesh, and are not designed for cold weather. So far, the entire selection appears to consist of the "Soda Mountain SL 4" from Big Agnes.
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  #22  
Old 12 Apr 2012
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I would get the color you like and that makes you happy.

There is no perfect tent. You have very special needs that aren't served by the mass market. I will admit I'm not seeing the stealth part about pitching a huge orange tent next to a motorcycle, Ural sidecar with a couple dogs running around. But that's just me. When I want stealth I tie a black silnylon tarp over my bike and bivvy after the sun sets at the back of a cemetery and leave at daybreak. Now that's stealth. Cover a bike and small tent with a black shroud and you disappear into the night. And 8'x12' silnylon compresses into nothing when packing away. Haven't been bothered yet.

I do understand the need for ventilation if you are sleeping with wet dogs in a rainstorm. You sound like committed campers. I usually stay in a cheap guest house when the weather gets nasty and the wind starts howling. I admit I can't imagine spending all day in a tent though no matter the color. I certainly can't see that tent in Patagonia or even here in the Nebraska when the winds are howling without the sides blowing in.

Hilleberg is out of my price range but my friends swear by them. They are really well made and the tent I would buy if I were living in it for months. Your needs are different. If the first tent you buy gets thrashed then you can try something different. Look at it as research and development for the betterment of Horizons unlimited future big tent travelers.

Happy travels.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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  #23  
Old 12 Apr 2012
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4 person tent?

We have the green (my 2 cents) Exped Venus 3 deluxe. Huge vestibule. They also make a 4 person, but only comes in Terra Cotta.(of Course). Sara


http://www.exped.com/exped/web/exped_homepage_na.nsf
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  #24  
Old 12 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saralou View Post
We have the green (my 2 cents) Exped Venus 3 deluxe. Huge vestibule. They also make a 4 person, but only comes in Terra Cotta.(of Course). Sara
Their Pegasus (4 person) looks like a spectacularly well designed tent. Unfortunately it looks spectacularly well designed for cold weather. Without serious mesh venting I think the breathing of two mid-sized dogs would leave us in a very muggy climate even in the best of circumstances. But, I would buy it in a heartbeat if they had a 3 season variant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Downs View Post
I do understand the need for ventilation if you are sleeping with wet dogs in a rainstorm. You sound like committed campers. I usually stay in a cheap guest house when the weather gets nasty and the wind starts howling. I admit I can't imagine spending all day in a tent though no matter the color. I certainly can't see that tent in Patagonia or even here in the Nebraska when the winds are howling without the sides blowing in.
While we do love camping, I wouldn't call us "committed campers". On the last trip we spent most nights in hotels. We're just working under the belief that having two mid-sized dogs is going to make it notably harder to get hotel rooms. And even if we're wrong in that, there will be a number of nights when we'll have to camp anyway. Taking time out of the day to exercise the dogs will slow us down some, and after encountering so many places in Latin America where half of the road has been replaced with a gaping pit due to rains we will not ride at night unless we're stuck on a tiny road with no safe place to pull off (mountain on one side, cliff on the other, type places).
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  #25  
Old 12 Apr 2012
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The link i put above is light and 4 person, although central pole so requires pegging. Go-Lite Shangri-La 5. The inner is entirely mesh, but outer vents as per a tepee at the top might not be enough? A friend had the smaller version on his mountain leader course and said it was fab in bad weather.

Outer £239.99;
type: 5 person (?) More like 4!
height: 73 inches / 1.8m
area: 90 sq. ft / 8.4 sq. m
main body weight : 30 oz / 851 g
pole weight: 13oz / 368g
stake weight: 4oz / 113g

Inner £114.99
height: 74 inches / 1.8m
area: 71 sq. ft | 6.6 sq. m
main body weight : 40 oz | 1134 g


Shangri-La 5 - Shelter
Shangri-La 5 - Nest



Or, only one left and isn't very light but

Northern Tourer by Kiwi Camping

also available here Freedom Camping, The Tent and Camping Specialists
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  #26  
Old 14 Apr 2012
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mega vestibule venus 3

There is room a plenty in the " space sensation" for the dogs in the vestibule. We can sit in there on chairs.


A tour of the Exped Venus III DLX Plus - YouTube
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  #27  
Old 14 Apr 2012
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have you looked at Alpkit?
Tents and shelter - Alpkit
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  #28  
Old 15 Apr 2012
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Go for a nice bright tent.

I holed up down a track one day in my camo tent

ended up sleepwalking

never did find it !
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  #29  
Old 15 Apr 2012
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Apologies if this is slightly off topic ... but if you two are on bikes how do your dogs travel?
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  #30  
Old 17 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itchyfeet38 View Post
Apologies if this is slightly off topic ... but if you two are on bikes how do your dogs travel?
Through the magic of Russian Technology, otherwise known as a Ural.

Back to the topic of tents.

We decided to go with the Marmot Limestone 4P, and while we were planning on going with the green, we went home with the orange. Here's why we chose what we did (i'll cover color last):

Ventillation: It's got plenty of mesh, but the bottom edge of the entire thing has solid material, which means that on cold nights we won't have to worry about a breezing coming up under the tent fly nearly as much. Also, this particular tents tent-fly is supposed to be pretty flush with the ground. On the downside, the rain fly has poor ventilation, but for reasons we can't explain ALL the 3 season 4 person tents have crappy ventilation on their rain flys. We'll obviously let you guys know how it fares when we actually get out there in harsh conditions.

Construction: it's got a 150 denier floor which is atypically high for a tent floor. This shouldn't be much of a concern to most of you, but should definitely help it resist dog claws. The horizontal cross-beams should give it additional strength in higher winds. On the other hand, it's five feet tall at the peak, which means it'll catch more wind. The fact that it isn't entirely mesh should provide a little bit more resilience in the construction. Maybe that last bit is a pipe dream...

Interior space: The extra height is going to make it much more livable over the long-term, considering how many nights we plan on spending in the thing. You can stand up and pull on your pants (bent over yes, but still). Physical floor space is almost exactly 4 mats worth. We figure we take up 2 mats worth, the dogs take up one (when they spread out on warm nights) and wet gear will take up the other. (Instead of measuring floor space in Tatami mats like the Japanese, we measure it in exped mats). The Marmot Limestone 4P seems to be a good compromise when it comes to footprint vs height.

Real-life interaction: We were actually able to see this tent in person. This was a big deal for us. We find we have very little ability to judge the real size of a tent from the pictures and stats online. We pondered the Big Agnes, Big House until I saw a video of it wherein I discovered that the thing is [i]freaking enormous[i]. It gave us both peace of mind to have actually seen the thing set up in front of us before we purchased it. We're very thankful to REI for letting one of their guys clear a space in the back of the store to let us set it up before buying it.

Color: Logically you guys had us convinced to go with the green, but in the end we decided against it for a few reasons. The first being that when we saw it in person, we just liked it in orange. The orange makes us happier. And these adventures are all about being happy. The fact that they didn't have green in the store, and they had gone out of their way to let us set it up just made going with orange easier. But, as we were leaving Tobi's comment was echoing through our head and we came up with a real-world situation where we believe green would be a far worse choice.

Tobi said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ta-rider View Post
I wouldnt worry too much about the color. If you enjoy having a red tent bay it. The tent you have choosen is able to stand even without hugs and can be used as Moscquito protection without the raincover. Those two things matter everything else doesnt realy. As you said your bikes and tire marks will easily be spotted and if you would carry a carmoflage tent you might get trouble with the military...
We imagined ourselves riding through Colombia again, only this time hidey-camping. Now, we love Colombia, and can't recommend it enough, but there's no denying that the military has a problem with drug smugglers, and is everywhere as a result. We imagined what would happen if some military guys went driving by and caught a glimpse of an army-green tent nestled in some trees in the distance, especially if we'd managed to conceal the bikes behind it. Bad Things (TM) is what.

I think it is reasonable to believe that they would go on alert, and as they approached the tent their ever present machine guns would be aimed in our direction. Now, compare this to what would happen if they caught a glimpse of some bright-orange tent in the distance. They may still check it out, but we think it's far more likely that they would be approaching it with a "WTF?" mindset than an "Oh Crap! Drug smugglers!" mindset. And when they notice the bikes they'll know exactly what's going on "Touristas!" They may still wake us up, or call us out, but the encounter will be very different, and involve far less adrenaline.

So, thank you Tobi.

We believe that in *most* circumstances we're going to be noticed regardless of what tent we choose. We think that with a bright orange tent people are going to presume that we're harmless campers / tourists. We also believe that, in general, people are good wherever you go. There are, of course, exceptions, but there's not a lot you can do about them.


Now, would we recommend the Limestone 4P for you guys? Probably not. In fact, definitely not for most of you. The Limestone 4P does not pack small. It is almost twice the size of the REI Half Dome 4 when packet. If we weren't taking a Ural I think it would have taken a lot of convincing to get me to take something that does such a poor job of packing up small. As it is, I intend on adding some cinch straps to the bag to compress it. At 11 pounds, 12 ounces t's also not light. Going with the half-dome would have saved us nearly three pounds.

I also wouldn't suggest it because most of you aren't going to be living out of your tents as much as we think we will. Hotels are great things. Running water is a great thing, and in much of the world hotels are really quite affordable (if you're not picky). If you're not going to be living out of your tent almost every day then you honestly don't need the extra space. Our Quarter Dome T3 is a great tent for 2 people and their gear. The selection, and variety, amongst 2 and 3 person tents is an order of magnitude better than the selection for four person tents. You're also going to find ones that will hold up much better in severe conditions.

It seems that everything in motorcycle adventuring involves a certain amount of compromise. You get this, but you have to give up that. This tent choice has been no different.
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