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Old 07-14-2013, 02:55 AM
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Hulk Hulk is offline
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Default Looking for tent recommendations

I'm in the process of looking for a new (or possibly gently used) tent. My favorite tent is a Sierra Designs model that was new in 1992 and still works great. It's a 3-person tent made to use in 4 seasons. While it has plenty of mesh windows, all of them can be zipped closed with a cover of nylon, keeping in the warmth generated by our bodies while we sleep and keeping the wind out.

It seems that Sierra Designs and North Face are no longer making 4 season tents unless they are expedition class tents -- which is overkill for my purposes.

What I'm looking for:
  • 3 person tent
  • reasonably lightweight materials (not ultra light, but light enough that I could carry it for a mile in my pack)
  • 4 season use -- not all mesh

What brands do you recommend looking at? What is your favorite tent and why?
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Old 07-14-2013, 05:56 AM
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Truck camping, backpacking, ultralight mountaineering? What ya using it for? When you say 3 people, are you expecting 3 burly mountain men with full packs in the vestibule or you and your kids with most of the stuff in the Cruiser?

From your description I don't think your current Sierra Designs is a 4 season tent. Maybe an extended 3 season, but you would not be complaining about heat retention in a 4 season tent, they are usually too hot around here in the summer even with the windows open.

Do you have a target budget? A true 4 season, 3 man tent is going to be heavy and expensive. They are made to take punishment of winds in the winter.

I've always like Hilleberg and Bibler/Black Diamond, but they ain't cheap. Big Agnes, Mountain Hardware, Marmot, Nemo, MSR, some of the North Face all make fine tents. Eureka and Sierra Designs still make tents, too. Sort of define your requirements, size, weight, price and shop around.

In general, the Mountain Hardware Trango (probably what I'd buy if paying full price) and EV2 are sort of go-to 4 season tents. Not necessarily the strongest, lightest, cheapest but a baseline anyway.

Anyway, saw this over at Sierra Trading Post the other day. Nemo Alti Storm, not a bad tent and really a good deal at that price:
http://www.sierratradingpost.com/nem...colorFamily=01

A Black Diamond Squall, no experience but the reviews aren't stellar:
http://www.backcountry.com/black-dia...erson-4-season

Also maybe check out http://www.moosejaw.com, http://www.mountaingear.com, REI, etc. to see what's available. If you find a brand & model that you want, don't forget to check Amazon, they'll probably be the best price.

If I was you I'd check Wilderness Exchange downtown or Boulder Seasoned Exchange & Boulder Sports Recycler to see what they have on consignment. If your time frame isn't immediate (and unless you're planning a climbing trip to the Andes or New Zealand I'm guessing it's not), their stock rotates and eventually they'll have something.
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Old 07-14-2013, 06:41 AM
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Matt, some of my favorite tents have been the type you describe with the zip shut windows. I still have several 1 and 2 person Moss tents that I hope last forever. I recently needed to find something that our 3 person + dog family can fit in and after much research I picked up a Marmot Limestone 4P. It doesn't have the zip shut windows, but it does have less mesh and with the fly on and vestibule closed, it's not very drafty. I realized that I wouldn't be camping in this thing in really cold temps with the family, so it was a good sized, inexpensive option. It's also light enough that I could carry it backpacking. Many of the 4 season 3-4 person tents get pretty heavy.
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Old 07-14-2013, 07:46 AM
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I'm with Dave on Bibler and Hilleberg but they cost lots.

We had a very similar criteria for a tent when we first got married and ended up with a Mountain Hardware Hammerhead 3. Its been a great tent. http://www.mountainhardwear.com/Hamm...efault,pd.html

It will sleep three fine and keeps some heat in. It will also fit a queen Coleman air bed plus a big dog.

Personally I don't think I'll ever buy another Sierra Designs product after my last tent experience. Definitely the worst outdoor product I've ever purchased.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:23 AM
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problem i have with true 4 season tents is they are hot as balls in the summer.
A good 4 season is not good in the summer. Ya need a summer tent and a winter tent.

my 3 season + is even too hot with the fly off.

Look on craigs. there is always some Boulderite selling off a good 4 season exp tent for used 1-3x when they realized they aren't climbing mckinely and are going back to illinois.
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Old 07-14-2013, 11:30 AM
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I think you guys are right -- I don't need a true 4-season tent. I just want a 3-season tent that will hold the heat in on a chilly Colorado night during the spring/summer/fall.
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Old 07-14-2013, 12:01 PM
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It might be worth it to look at some Cabelas tents. I've used a Trekker Dome for years and it's never failed me. You can sometimes get great deals by looking in the bargain cave at Cabelas stores. I bought the one I have in Hamburg, PA for like $45 brand new but opened. It's worth a shot to call the Sydney, NE store and see what they have for tents in the bargain cave. I've slept in it down to 33 degrees just this year. I did have my 20 degree bag, so that helped. When I opened the door in the morning, I felt the cold air rush in (or the heat rush out) so I know it holds heat with the rain fly on. And, it keeps the rain out.
$500-600 for a ground tent is too much to pay IMO. Although, I just camp with the kids or my dog, and if it's that cold, we'll sleep in the truck.
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Old 07-14-2013, 02:02 PM
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I always trust my Sierra Design - 3 person "Reserve Combi". Just go back from a quick over-nighter. Always holds up in a good rainstorm. Big Agnus is another reliable tent.
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Old 07-14-2013, 02:29 PM
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I bought the North Face VE25 and the fabric faded and became thin after one week in the Utah desert. Figured you should know that the 'good' tents lost the quality battle over corporate greed...

http://www.thenorthface.com/catalog/...ory-expedition
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Old 07-14-2013, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treerootCO View Post
I bought the North Face VE25 and the fabric faded and became thin after one week in the Utah desert. Figured you should know that the 'good' tents lost the quality battle over corporate greed...
I don't doubt that happens and TNF is probably one of the worst sell-out companies. They do still make decent gear sometimes and I bet if you go on the climbing forums people would be bagging on the VE25 for being too heavy or bulky, so these companies can't make everyone happy. There's only so many fabrics out there and my guess is most of these tents are sewn in the same factories in Vietnam and China with mostly the same stuff.
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