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Bikepacking The Bikebacking forum is for discussion that relates directly to bikepacking (also known as bicycle camping). Subject matter should involve the backpacking/camping/bike gear and trip planning as it relates to mountain biking and bicycle touring.


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  #1  
Old 01-16-2009, 08:16 AM
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vjaForHim vjaForHim is offline
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Tents for Bikepacking

I need some help deciding which tent to get. I will be carrying everything on my Electra Townie, and mostly camping by myself. Although I'm hoping that one of my boys will come along sometime.

I'd like to find a lightweight, compact, and very sturdy tent that will be easy to carry on my Townie.

What would be some good choices for my needs?
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2009, 12:29 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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One of the main factors that plays in with regard to a tent that will be used specifically for bikepacking is that it is light and compact (i.e. fits in your carrier and is weight appropriate).

All other factors have to do with your personal needs/wants and how/where (e.g. climate...) you'll use it.

Since you've mentioned a tent and not a tarp, tarp tent (hybrid of sorts), or hammock. I'll focus here on tents.

Given your parameters, I'd look for a lightweight 2-person tent - one that provides enjoyable space for your solo trips and room to squeeze in one of your sons when necessary. [However, you could also go with a solo tent, and have your son bring along his own solo shelter too.]

There are several 2-person and solo shelters listed in the Shelters forum. That's a great resource to narrow your preferences down - by reading what others have to share on those tents and asking any related questions in those threads to help with your decision process. Oh, by the way, most of the 2-person and solo tents listed there will work fine for bikepacking. Many of them are lightweight options that will carry just as well on a bike (pannier) as on one's back (backpack).

You're likely to get a different answer from each person who reponds...since every individual has her/his own personal preferences and requirements. So, narrow it down to what grabs your attention and then focus specific questions (if any) on that (those) shelter(s).

Reality

Last edited by Reality : 01-16-2009 at 04:02 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  #3  
Old 01-16-2009, 03:47 PM
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vjaForHim vjaForHim is offline
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Tent or Tarp Tent ... ???

What is the difference between a tent or a tarp tent? I was looking at the Tarptent website today .... But I still don't know what the difference is.
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:02 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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There is more than one manufacturer/source of tarp tents. Basically, a tarp tent is tarp-like fly with netting/floor sewn to it.

One factor for their existence stems from the desire to use a tarp but have built-in bug/ground protection. There exists much overlap in this area (definitions thereof) today - since there are so many lightweight/ultralight shelters available.

A tent, for sake of comparison (in simple/general terms), is often a double-wall or single-wall with more extensive (not necessarily better) construction (e.g. tent poles...). In my eye, a tarp tent is somewhat of a hybrid -- between a tarp and a full-blown tent (this is growing more subjective each season).

You need to determine which type of shelter is going to best suit you for your bikepacking ventures -- appropriate to the locations/elements you'll use it in.

Reality
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  #5  
Old 01-16-2009, 04:58 PM
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vjaForHim vjaForHim is offline
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I need something that will keep me completely enclosed, dry, lightweight, compact, will withstand a fair amount of wind, with a durable floor that is waterproof, and with extended length, so I can sleep straight and comfortable.
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  #6  
Old 01-16-2009, 05:08 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vjaForHim
I need something that will keep me completely enclosed, dry, lightweight, compact, will withstand a fair amount of wind, with a durable floor that is waterproof, and with extended length, so I can sleep straight and comfortable.
Well, you've just about narrowed it down to most lightweight options - with the following exceptions:

Some are more __________ (fill in the attribute) than others.

Many are not "extended length." Some of the tarp-tent shelter brands (e.g. AGG, Gossamer Gear, MLD, SMD,...) tend to be a little better with length than some of the maintream tents. Though they're not always the best for challenging weather - which is self-disclosed by most tarp-tent makers.

Also, I'd recommend the use of a groundsheet with many lightweight shelter options...

Reality
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  #7  
Old 01-19-2009, 09:24 AM
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vjaForHim vjaForHim is offline
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Rainshadow 2 - REI Half Dome ... ???

I'm looking at two different tents:

1) REI Half Dome
2) Raindshadow 2

I will mostly be camping by myself, but hoping that one of my boys will tag along sometimes. I want a tent that is durable, will stay dry inside, lightweight and compact for carrying on my Electra Townie.

Does anyone have experience with either/both the REI Half Dome and Rainshadow 2 ... ???
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  #8  
Old 01-19-2009, 12:43 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vjaForHim
Does anyone have experience with either/both the REI Half Dome and Rainshadow 2 ... ???

There are many posts regarding the Rainshadow 2 in the Shelters forum. And there may be some mention of the Half Dome too.

These are two very different shelters.

Reality
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  #9  
Old 02-28-2009, 02:31 PM
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adventure_dog adventure_dog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vjaForHim
I'd like to find a lightweight, compact, and very sturdy tent that will be easy to carry on my Townie. What would be some good choices for my needs?
I think you've come to the right place for shelter advice. Unfortunately, I'm not much of a gear connoisseur but I have done a lot of long-distance bike touring and have some experience with the various tents I used.

My first tour was a 350-mile solo tour down the Oregon Coast. For that ride, I used a one-man tent from REI that was slightly bigger than a bivvy sack. It weighed about 2.5 pounds but the tent isn't made anymore. I returned it after the trip because it was too short (I'm 5'9") and my feet got wet every night from the transfer of condensation from my feet hitting the end of the tent. (The Oregon Coast - even in the summer - is moist.) I also couldn't sit up in it, which makes for it challenging for changing. It looks like most of the new solo tents have more elbow room, which is good.

When I rode from Portland (OR) to Glacier National Park, I used a two-person Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2. It was wonderfully spacious and comfortable for one person, and my husband and I managed to squeeze into it for two weeks without any major bickering. You do have to really like the person you're sharing the tent with, however. I really like this little tent and still use it on occasion. It weighs about 3 and a half pounds. It also has a good-sized vestible to keep shoes and panniers dry, and you can sit up in it.

The drawback is that it isn't free-standing, which isn't a problem 90% of the time when you're on the road. Most camping areas have grass or dirt areas to stake out on.

One thing to note about Sierra Designs tents in general: I've had trouble with the poles, where the alumninum sleeve that keeps each pole section snapped together has loosened and fallen down the tube and required me to use needle nose pliers to get it out or, in one instance, tape the pole together with a stick as a splint. Sierra Designs has fixed it - no charge - but I've had it happen on all three SD tents I've owned. Just a head's up.

I've used other tents on the road as well, but I think they'd be considered too heavy for you as a soloist. I was touring with friends or my husband and could split the weight so that we only carried about 2 pounds each. I would encourage you to look online and go to your local outdoor store for some show and tell. Good luck!
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  #10  
Old 04-28-2009, 12:06 AM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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it doesn't sound like you're on a tight budget, but if you happen to be, the wenzel starlite is actually an alright tent for the price. it could use improvements over what you get in the box, more guy-line points on the sides, swap the framing out for some aluminum, use better stakes(i use groundhogs, myself).

the real selling point of the wenzel is that it's only about three pounds and a little, pack-weight, and it's fairly small when it's stuffed down. it's billed as a two person, but i find it's a one-person+gear.

now, i might have gotten lucky with the starlite, as i've heard less than stellar reviews as well. the main complaint seems to be a lack of ability to shed water, i use thompson's water seal(i'm a cheapskate, what can i say) about once every two years, depending on how often i go out.

north face also makes some very nice small and light tents, i used to have one(cannot recall the name of the model) that cost me a pretty penny, until it got righteously trashed on a very bad day.
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