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Old 25 Jan 2009
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Question What's the score with "A" frames?? Antique or venerable old-timer...

Whilst doing a much needed clear out as a direct challenge to my nature to horde, I found yet another tent!!

We bought a compact-ish 2 man dome for our trip to S America, we were then treated to a nice mid range tunnel tent now that travel involves a dog (those things are huge!! the tents I mean, not the dogs).

Then I found my old A-frame from when I was a kid!!! This things must be about 30 years old, but it has a nice tough plastic ground sheet, as opposed to the gossamer groundsheets the other two have, a cotton inner: very breathable, and a nice tough flysheet.
Packs down as small and imilar in weight to the other two and as spacious as the dome.

I once read that A-frames were very stable, so why are domes now the norm, and A frames seldom seen.

Is it really old hat technology or does my faithful old A-frame still have a niche to cater for??

If so, what is it??

In other words. is it worth keeping for certain things?
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Last edited by Warthog; 25 Jan 2009 at 19:26.
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Old 25 Jan 2009
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One of the advantages of a dome is that you get more volume in the tent for the same footprint and height.
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Old 25 Jan 2009
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But do A-frames have any particular strengths, in relation to other designs?
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Old 30 Jan 2009
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Originally Posted by Warthog View Post
But do A-frames have any particular strengths, in relation to other designs?
On the basis of a quick rummage in our gear loft revealing three dome tents, two A frame tents, one tunnel tent (and a large family size tent for when we all go) this is my take on it.
The A frame tents are pretty bulletproof once put up but they do have less internal room as the sides slope and I use them one size smaller than their capacity, ie 2 people in a 3 man etc.
The sides are vulnerable to wind blowing the flysheet against the inner as they're unsupported, so you need to be careful in deciding pitch alignment in windy, wet weather.
The biggest drawback though is that they depend on strongly pegged end guys to support the A frame (so does the tunnel tent). If you can't get the end guys to take this is what you end up with:





In the second one the guyline is tied to the bike at one end and to a tyre lever used as a long peg at the other. It looks kind of solid but heavy breathing would have knocked it over.

Domes, being self supporting, are much better in these sorts of conditions but two of my (mid range) domes have broken poles in cold conditions, something the A framers have never done.
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Old 30 Jan 2009
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Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
On the basis of a quick rummage in our gear loft revealing three dome tents, two A frame tents, one tunnel tent (and a large family size tent for when we all go) this is my take on it.....

Thanks for the info. That puts it all nicely in perspective. Now to decide if I have the heart to get rid, or must I hold on to it!!
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Old 30 Jan 2009
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you can still get A frame tents, and they can be just as modern and hi-tech as others.
a lot of hikers use them because they can use their walking sticks as poles and just carry around a small, light tent rolled up in their packs. they are usually very small tents, 1 man or 2 very good 'friends' but if its going to keep you warm and dry anything will do, and the smaller the better if youre going to carry it around yourself.
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Old 30 Jan 2009
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Originally Posted by Big Yellow Tractor View Post
One of the advantages of a dome is that you get more volume in the tent for the same footprint and height.
Yes but you do have to eat an awful lot of burgers to fit exactly in a dome tent
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