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  #1  
Old 11 Jun 2009
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Tent for 2 up RTW Trip

Hi all,

I'm sorry if I'm overpopulating this part of the forum a little but I'm getting a lot of the gear in place now so would like to know your thoughts on the subject

This time it's the tents we're looking into.

List of priorities for us:

1. Two entrances
2. Freestanding tent
3. 2 vestibules or one big one where all the gear can be stored overnight
4. Ventilation
5. Quick set up
6. Reliability
7. Strength and weather performance

After looking at Hilleberg Tents we found that they're verylight, high quality and one of the most rip resistant tent out there. The down side is obviously the price and unfortunatelly I don't think they fit our needs as much. They offer nice tunnel tents which are not freestanding and need pegs to stand up. This seems to us as a bit of a problem. The freestanding tents with hilleber have a very little or no vestibules and therefore with the price we kind of took them off the table.

We looked at The North Face tents and the minibus 23 looked nice but after speaking to the experts they are more built for US travelling rather than RTW experience therefore this one also ends up off the table.

There is one tent that I would like to show you and get your thoughts on, namely: Mountain Hardwear Trango 2.




It's freestanding, very high performance both the material and structure, it's got two entrances and two vestibules (one of them quite big with extandable pole that obviously need pinning down with pegs but not a very big issue I guess). It's got a lot of built in pockets inside and is quite big for a 2 people tent. It's got some vents on it but don't know about their performance. The biggest downside to it is the weight as it is 4.5kg, but with all the other boxes ticked I think we'll be able to live with the extra 2kg in comparison to the other lightweight tents (2.5-3kg). It might also take a couple more minutes to set it up when compared to the other tents but I think that once we got our heads round it it shouldn't be a significant deal.

All in all seems to be a pretty perfect tent but would like to know what you guys think first.

Is there anyone out there who used this tent or would recommend another one?

Thanks a lot in advance!

Stay safe!
Gosia and Andy
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  #2  
Old 11 Jun 2009
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Hey Andy,

That is one kick ass tent. In my opinion, it's probably a bit of overkill. The mountaineering tents, especially the four season ones, are built structurally very sound to withstanding wind and snow load. That tends to make them more robust with more and stronger materials and thus heavier.

Unless you are hard core and are also planning on doing some trekking/mountaineering along the way in places such as South America, then I would look more at the three season options. They are typically lighter and would likely serve your purposes better.

As a suggestion, try the products at MEC or REI. Lot's to choose from.

Depending on your route and plans, you may even find the summer or mesh tents intriguing. We tend to plan for the cold and wet conditions but usually due to organizational factors, bikers will lean towards indoor options at that point if they exist. You end up camping much more in warmer weather and hence a good tent is the starting point but weight saved here can be put towards the other little things that make camping more enjoyable and thus more likely to occur in marginal conditions.

But by all means, camp! You'll stay in those places that most people only dream of...
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  #3  
Old 11 Jun 2009
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First and foremost I love ya. Second I disagree with about everything you said. But, feel free to correct me.

Trango’s are a great tent, I actual own one but then again I own to many tents to say the least. It is a 4 season tent(.) This is the big one, do you really want a 4 season tent? I want to say hell no. 4 season tents, are going to be able to stand up to more wind, weight of snow, UV (only over cheap tents) etc, they are meant for the mountains. The negatives of a 4 season tents, less ventilation, more weight, more time to set up, less architecture options, normally higher in price. (Trango doesn’t meet your #1 and #3 really either)

I personally feel tents like the Minibus/Hubba Hubba/Emerald Mtn SL2/SkyLedge etc are a way better choice. The two door, two vestibule design is what you want to go after IMHO.

I recommend you call around and find a local shop that has some of these tents, like the Minibus (the most liveable space), Trango, and a few others. Set ‘em up, sit in ‘em, etc basically try some out.

FYI:
Quote:
…. price
Take that price and divide it by the number of nights you plan on staying in this tent. Spend the money, buying a quality tent from a quality manufacture is worth the extra bit. Also buy it from a reputable store so you can deal with them if you do have problems a few years down the road (Example is REI here in the US).


Quote:
They offer nice tunnel tents which are not freestanding and need pegs to stand up.
Tunnel tents equal some of the most vertical walls which equals more interior/liveable space. In the US tunnel tents never really caught on. Also all tents need pegs/stacks.

Wish you the best, will send ya a PM
EW
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  #4  
Old 11 Jun 2009
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I once climbed with a guy who found one of those freestanding mountaineering tents. He described traipsing along one day in the mountains, when what should he see but a brightly colored tent flying across the sky....so he chased it over hill and dale until it dropped to the ground, left it at the visitor center for a month (this was in Banff or Jasper, I forget which), and when no one claimed it he took possession.

Moral of the story: you always need stakes. The only thing freestanding tents are good for is moving them around campsites looking for the perfect spot after you've erected them. Aside from that, they're heavier and less functional. But of course there are many opposing points of view.

Mark
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  #5  
Old 12 Jun 2009
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Why ....

.. does everyone go for those big brand names where you have to pay lots of $$$ - when you can get the same or even better quality for less money?

So here again the link to the tent company where I got my tent 7 years ago (and it is still goign strong without any problems at all):

Rejka Outgear.

For those who don't understand German, just some specs: 3 person tent, 2 entrances, floor upto 10.000mm of rain, outer tent upto 4.000mm of rain, poles 7075 T6 ALU, 9,5 mm + 11 mm, 4 years warranty, color outside olive, inside yellow, the only problem I see is the 4 kilogram of weight. But you can get the smaller version, which would eliminate that problem.

And again - I DON'T get any paybacks from that company. If anyone is interested and worries about language barriers, get with me. More than gladly willing to help fellow bikers!!!

Oh, and here pics of my "old" tent: http://www.virtulanguage.com/images/DSCF1242.JPG or here http://www.virtulanguage.com/images/DSCF0013.JPG (mine is the one on the far left)
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  #6  
Old 12 Jun 2009
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Tents.

Have a look at Terra Nova for their range.
Dave.
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  #7  
Old 12 Jun 2009
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Hi all!

Thanks a lot for all the advice!

We've tried the Minibus in one of the shops here in Edinburgh. The problem was that the vestibules were quite small and the tent itself although very thought through seemed to eb a little unreliable - all these plastic fittings all over the tent are concerning. There's quite a lot of them and I think that after using the tent quite heavily and long I think they may go burst. Lovely tent with a lot of interior room and space overall but small vestibules, unreliable design and low waterproofing factors kinda took it off the table.

About pegging the tent I agree that all of the tents should be pinned down but there are cases when it realy isn't necessary and with a freestanding tent it's quite easy to move it around as well.

The Hubba Hubba tent is quite interesting. It's got two doors and 2 vestibules and when comparing it to Big Agnes Emerald Mountain SL 2 its waterproofing is better and it's got a stronger material. The only thing is that it has slightly smaller vestibules.

The Mountain Hardwear Skyledge 2.1 looks alright. It's big enough for the two of us, it's got 2 vestibule each 1 square m in area, it's very light - 2.13kg avg. The only thing bothering me realy is the size of it - after reading the reviews people cmoplained that there isn't enough space in it. I think we have to find a shop with some of these and get them set up and see. e could always go for the Skyledge 3 wich is bigger

This weekend off to the shops and try out as many as possible

Thanks for the comments!
Gosia and Andy

P.S. We'll check out the Terra Nova range too
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Old 12 Jun 2009
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Have a look at Vaude. I had a Mark 2 some time ago and was very impressed. Totally agree re price divided by number of nights spent in it. I use a £40 Vango for basic camping, have done 20 plus nights in it at bike shows and low level camping...less than £2 a night and with b and b now being £30 plus a night.......
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  #9  
Old 12 Jun 2009
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Andy;
IMHO
1) For the motorcyclist, add one person to the tent size. Even with vestibule(s) you will appreciate the extra room for all the other stuff you want in the tent, dry, with yourselves. (for 2 people, its a 3-person tent).

2) Weight isn't the best way to measure the choice of tents. Those doing shorter, more frequent trips can get by having a 'lighter' option, but longer-duration travelers should consider 'greater durability' over 'light-weight'. This may mean: choosing stronger, heavier zippers; heavier fabric for fly and/or tent, among other considerations.

3) If your tent comes with cheesy aluminum 'bent wire' tent pegs, then the manufacturer is saving $10 - 20 on being cheap and you need to spend more for decent pegs. (MtnHdw tents have decent ones - I like MSR better). But the manufacturer is likely taking other 'quality' shortcuts in other places (as in; cheaper fabrics/netting, zippers, production methods).

4) The majority of MC travel is done in fair seasons, in fair weather. No one tent is perfect for every type of camping. When given the option of beach over cold-ass mountain, my tent needs ventilation. "4-season" (sleeping bags too) is marketing jargon; they are also 3-season tents (and bags) - just the colder seasons. Like thinking in terms of packing long underwear vs. bathing suit, and making that choice work in 'all situations'.

hope that helps.

Oh, and one last thing.

I bought a Mtn Hdw tent in August, 2006. In Nairobi, 2 years later, I contacted MtnHdw customer service regarding the 'delamination' of the heat-welding process on their tent flies. They said it would likely be replaced under warranty, but in my present situation the only sensible solution was to have it repaired locally (sewing it up, using one of the many street tailoring/fabric-repair technicians).

When I got to Europe, I contacted them again, and since the tent was no longer in production, they would provide a refund at manufacturers suggested price ($320 USD) after I sent photo-proof of their tent in shreds. I did, and they did (the refund, mailed to my US post box in 24 hours).

Two days later, I was buying another MtnHdw tent from REI - with the $320 refund, my 2008 REI member dividend of $115, I had to put in another $45 for mostly sales tax and shipping to a friend in Seattle flying to where I was staying in Germany a few days later. Now, a week later, I can say, "it's a great tent in the rain"!

Doing business with quality manufacturers is truly worth the extra investment.
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  #10  
Old 12 Jun 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quastdog View Post
Andy;
IMHO
1) For the motorcyclist, add one person to the tent size. Even with vestibule(s) you will appreciate the extra room for all the other stuff you want in the tent, dry, with yourselves. (for 2 people, its a 3-person tent).

2) Weight isn't the best way to measure the choice of tents. Those doing shorter, more frequent trips can get by having a 'lighter' option, but longer-duration travelers should consider 'greater durability' over 'light-weight'. This may mean: choosing stronger, heavier zippers; heavier fabric for fly and/or tent, among other considerations.

3) If your tent comes with cheesy aluminum 'bent wire' tent pegs, then the manufacturer is saving $10 - 20 on being cheap and you need to spend more for decent pegs. (MtnHdw tents have decent ones - I like MSR better). But the manufacturer is likely taking other 'quality' shortcuts in other places (as in; cheaper fabrics/netting, zippers, production methods).

4) The majority of MC travel is done in fair seasons, in fair weather. No one tent is perfect for every type of camping. When given the option of beach over cold-ass mountain, my tent needs ventilation. "4-season" (sleeping bags too) is marketing jargon; they are also 3-season tents (and bags) - just the colder seasons. Like thinking in terms of packing long underwear vs. bathing suit, and making that choice work in 'all situations'.

...

Doing business with quality manufacturers is truly worth the extra investment.
I agree. I think that for the trip we're planning we would have to consider the 3 (warmer ) season tents. I also agree about the 3 person capacity and dong business with quality manufacturers.

What do you think about Mountain Hardwear Skyledge 3? It really looks alright and the more I read about it the more I like it. Maybe it's not the toughest tent but I think it should make it RTW with us.

As far as the price is concerned we're not really bothered as we also agree with you guys on the price per night deal We plan for the trip to take us a minimum of 500 days and at least half of it is going to be camping.

Let us know what you think about the Skyledge 3 please

Stay safe!
Gosia and Andy
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  #11  
Old 12 Jun 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyWx View Post
Hi all,
List of priorities for us:

1. Two entrances
2. Freestanding tent
3. 2 vestibules or one big one where all the gear can be stored overnight
4. Ventilation
5. Quick set up
6. Reliability
7. Strength and weather performance
Scoring more than 100% on all of these, faster to set up than you'd believe, extremely stable, very high quality and at quite a nice price compared to many alternatives too, you may want to look into Vaude Mark tents. They may be a little heavier (3.5 - 4.0 kg depending on the model), but are truly awesome. Basically you get to choose between the Mark II, which has 2 entrances + 2 vestibules on the short end of the tent, or the Mark III which has its 2 entrances + vestibules on the long edge of the tent. The upside of the III is that either person can get out at night easier without disturbing the other, and the vestibules and the tent are a little bigger, downside is it's a little heavier. If either of you are very tall, you'd pick the Mark II long, which as the name says is a little longer ;-) They also do 'lite' versions of these which have a weight advantage. I have owned the Mark III myself for over 5 years so far, and have been extremely happy with it. Regarding the setup, you should really watch someone do it live who knows their business - you can have a dry place for luggage + 1 person erected in less than 20 seconds, and have a pretty much orcane proof setup in under 2 minutes. It is really well thought through - I'd really recommend looking at it :-)

If you're considering dropping the 'freestanding' criterion from your list, then the Wechsel Outpost tents, and similar geometries, look like they make very nice use of space, but I've never tried on myself, and they seem to be more pricey than the Vaude Mark's anyways.
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Old 12 Jun 2009
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For my 2penneth! We were 2-up on an Africa Twin so space was an issue! It was a 6 month trip, mostly in super toasty places, but we were also in the snow line for a bit, plus bstorms/mountain fun, as well as desert and found the Vango Spirit 200+ to be tip-top.
(Vango Tent Information)
One entrance, but that actually didn't bother us and the vestibule was a nice size - you could fit 2 in plus gear on thermarest chairs if it was chucking down.
Easy to put up (only 3 poles) light but sturdy, with inner guy ropes for extra rigidity if needed.
Hope that helps (or hinders - sometimes too many options are even worse! we're looking at new stoves and are in a quandry now about which one to go for!)
ImiBee
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Old 12 Jun 2009
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Another vote for the Vango, I have an "Omega 250", very like the "Spirit" but with an entrance either side of the vestibule. Very spacious and comfortable for 2 with bike gear. Mine cost only £99 on eblag.
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Old 12 Jun 2009
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I have a freind who bought an REI tent I think is a half dome 2HC that has 2 doors, good rain capability, and is a good perfoming tent. I would get one, but my norht face is still dooing okay after 20 years, so I am not into buying one just to be modern. Jim and his other really like it and it was only about 180USD.
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Old 12 Jun 2009
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I liked my North Face Tadpole 23 but bit tight for two people. Also used an REI tent like that mentioned earlier. Whatever you get though, keep it small and light.

You don't say where you're headed but bear in mind the % of time you'll actually be using a tent.

For example, we didn't camp between Bolivia and Costa Rica as accommodation is so cheap and there's not really any camp grounds. We could have free camped, but for that kind of money, you may as well have a room. Argentina/Chile is a different story and you'll camp a lot there. Similarly in North America and Oz mainly because rooms are too expensive.

From Oz to UK, I didn't really camp until mountains in India (once), Islamabad (twice) and the KKH (once). Then nothing till Turkey/Greece etc towards the way home. Again, you won't want to camp in SE Asia given the heat/humidity and relative cheapness of rooms.

Also bear in mind your gear will get scratched, cut, punctured, melted, soaked etc and maybe even stolen along the way so I really wouldn't recommend spending a fortune on kitting yourself out for the trip, there's plenty of bargains on Ebay etc for 2nd hand kit.

Get a evening arranged in Edinburgh and we can all come along and overload you with information!!
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