Author Topic: Tent recommendations please, two person, light and compact, sitting height.  (Read 4342 times)

This is not for me! My daughter is thinking of investing in a tent for cycling and walking, alone (cycling) or with her partner (walling). Requirement for it to be light enough to be easily carried by one (2kg?), compact for going on the bike (she has a big enough rucksack for walking to be less of a problem) and roomy enough to give space for sitting up, getting dressed etc when there are two of them. Obviously storage space for belongings is also a consideration. This is being considered as an investment, we typically make tents last 15+ years, and rather different in style to my last 1p buy.

 I have no current knowledge of this sort of level at all, what can people suggest? It will be bought in France but I am assuming that most of the major players in this field will be present on the continent.

Zed43

  • prefers UK hills over Dutch mountains
I'm a big fan of single-pole pyramid style tents. Have a look at the Tipik Aston which has a proper inner that is half-sized leaving a vestibule. I bought his 1-person Pioulou ST a while ago but haven't used it in anger yet; quality seems very good.

Bear Bones in the UK can make you a bespoke carbon pole if you want to save a few grams.

I think you need to narrow it down with some preferences.
I like -
To sleep across the door
Two doors
Solid inner with mesh options
Freestanding
Non flapping

My perfect tent (Terra Nova, Solar 2.2) has been discontinued, though there's several similar MSR models or this one discussed and reviewed here recently
https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=123067.0


Cudzoziemiec

  • Ride adventurously and stop for a brew.
How big is her rucksack? Or how small the however-she'll-be-carrying-it on the bike? Because IME there's a lot more space on a bike than in a rucksack. Wild Country Hoolie2 is far from the biggest of 2-person tents (though also definitely not the smallest*) but almost fills my 65-litre rucksack, whereas on the bike, it sits on the top of the rack, leaving panniers entirely free.

*Weighs about 2.4kg and I can measure its packed dimensions if you really want.
Riding a concrete path through the nebulous and chaotic future.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Ride adventurously and stop for a brew.
And further on that, some tents are available with poles that break down into shorter than normal sections, specially to fit in a handlebar pack. Big Agnes certainly do some like this. https://ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/2021-copper-spur-hv-ul2-bikepacking-tent/
There are a couple of Big Agnes owners otp (nikki and Matthew from memory) and I think they're pretty satisfied with theirs, though neither has the "bikepacking" version.
Riding a concrete path through the nebulous and chaotic future.

I've been happy with my 1 person MSR Hubba Hub, and I would expect the 2 person version to give equally satisfactory service. Just under 1.5 kg, 2 doors, 2 vestibules, semi-freestanding (the 2 vestibules need to be staked out, the inner tent is freestanding). Lots of built in pockets including overhead loft pockets. Not cheap, but good equipment rarely is. https://www.msrgear.com/tents/backpacking-tents/hubba-hubba-2-person-backpacking-tent/11506.html

Ive been on a similar search for a bike packing event where weight and size is a big driver and have honed in on the the (as recommended above) big Agnes too.
https://www.bigagnes.com/collections/bikepacking-tents/products/tiger-wall-ul3-bikepack

After a read around, Im likely going for the 3 person linked, as it basically sounds like a decent sized 2.
For a small weight penalty I can use it on my own bike packing events as well as it doing double duty as an occasional with my wife on our separate tours.

The shorter poles for loading on the bike were a deciding factor for me. I'll suck up the extra weight and get a footprint too as there is various advice about the vulnerability of these super light type tents.

As an aside I was shocked by how much you can shell out for a tent these days. I guess there may be a second hand market, but with the light weight zippers etc, that may be a bit of a sketchy option.

Ive got no real time feedback I'm afraid as I don't have the tent yet. My other prior experiences were occasional exhausted naps in a bivy bag which where a bit rough on the old body, hence the tent search.
Ive got a weeks event booked for Brittany in early May so can report back if you are still on the lookout then.
often lost.

Regulator

  • That's Councillor Regulator to you...
The concern I have about many of the American made tents is that they tend to have relatively low hydrostatic heads - particularly on the floors.  They're designed for use during the drier months in the US - not always overly practical for the UK / northern Europe... as I have found out to my cost when using lightweight, low HH tents in Yorkshire and the Netherlands.
Quote from: clarion
I completely agree with Reg.

Green Party Councillor

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
^^That.  The Big Agnes has an inner that looks to be made almost entirely of mesh, so it's probably a tent designed for hot dry American summers, not any-weather-in-the-next-ten-minutes European camping.

You haven't mentioned weather conditions.

There are some really decent light tents that have fully mesh inners. Lovely and light, but bloody freezing in a winter storm.

Also, the sort of tent that will stand up to storms will be heavy - and a summerweight tent will collapse under strong winds.

A friend of mine is currently walking the length of NZ - she has a pyramid tent and uses her walking poles as the tent poles. All kit, sans food and water, comes to 10kg.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

I was discussing this over the w-e with the young lady concerned. She considers that the 500€ for a Hubba Hubba or Big Agnes is more than the deals worth. She would rather carry a little bit of extra weight and pay a little less. We are both agreed that for various reasons space for two, particularly headroom, is a priority (she does after all have a partner with whom she would like to share life!). We have started getting a few on the shortlist. I am still looking for a single pole tent (tipi or other) that fits the conditions but so far Google is not my friend.
What we have so far   https://www.inuka.com/tentes-legeres/msr-elixir-2-3186.html
https://www.bike24.fr/produits/442963   
https://www.inuka.com/tentes-legeres/husky-sawaj-aventure-1191.html 

The Wechsel is by the same maker as this one https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=123067.0

re mesh inners. In France for at least most of three seasons I think mesh is ok. In a cold english autumn even a bit of mesh lets the heat out. This is my 2 man cheapy (50€ out of Go Sport IIRC). It weighs a bit over 3kg and is now over 15yrs old. I froze using it in an english autumn (on the south coast!). The inner roof has a huge panel of mesh!   My 1man bought last year has an entirely mesh inner; it was fine for camping in southern England in august but I wouldn't want to do as the makers suggest and camp without the fly - it would be a bit like being stuck in a hen coop!

ETA: one of the essential things is to try to see tents in the flesh I think. Miss is going to have a trip to Chartres to have a look at bikes and camping kit; getting to anywhere around the Paris perimetre is slow and tedious if you have to do it on a saturday! (She's in IdF.)

The concern I have about many of the American made tents is that they tend to have relatively low hydrostatic heads - particularly on the floors.  They're designed for use during the drier months in the US - not always overly practical for the UK / northern Europe... as I have found out to my cost when using lightweight, low HH tents in Yorkshire and the Netherlands.

Hmm thanks for the "heads" up.  What would be an acceptable #?
spec on the BA footprint is 1200 mil.
often lost.

The concern I have about many of the American made tents is that they tend to have relatively low hydrostatic heads - particularly on the floors.  They're designed for use during the drier months in the US - not always overly practical for the UK / northern Europe... as I have found out to my cost when using lightweight, low HH tents in Yorkshire and the Netherlands.

Hmm thanks for the "heads" up.  What would be an acceptable #?
spec on the BA footprint is 1200 mil.

Alpkit make for UK market

Bivvi bags
Outer: 10,000mm hydrostatic head
Groundsheet: 5,000mm hydrostatic head

Tents
Flysheet: 3,000mm hydrostatic head
Groundsheet: 5,000mm hydrostatic head
<i>Marmite slave</i>

If you want to save some money and weight on the footprint, a lot of long distance hikers use polycro, which is easily available as secondary double glazing film. E.g. https://www.wickes.co.uk/Wickes-Seasonal-Secondary-Glazing-Film---6m%EF%BF%BD/p/210014

I’ve also used Tyvek which is heavier and much tougher (and similarly cheap if you know a builder). Best of all IME is a very thin 3mm closed cell foam mat under the tent, to protect, waterproof, and take out minor bumps. Bit bulky for cycling.

I’ve used ultralight low-hydrostatic head silnylon tents (c. 3000mm) for years. The problem with HH is it tells you very little about how the fabric performs after days/weeks of usage, UV etc. The best quality fabrics will last years - I have an ultralight tent with well over 400nights usage including a lot of high altitude (high UV) and it’s still totally waterproof. Cheap 5k or 10k fabrics, despite the higher number, could be leaking within weeks.

Regulator

  • That's Councillor Regulator to you...
The concern I have about many of the American made tents is that they tend to have relatively low hydrostatic heads - particularly on the floors.  They're designed for use during the drier months in the US - not always overly practical for the UK / northern Europe... as I have found out to my cost when using lightweight, low HH tents in Yorkshire and the Netherlands.

Hmm thanks for the "heads" up.  What would be an acceptable #?
spec on the BA footprint is 1200 mil.

Mr Charley has referred to Alpkit.  They go for 3000 for the fly sheet and 5000 for the groundsheet.  I rate their stuff - I have the Polestar, which I use when walking.  I’d suggest those HHs as the minimum for UK/northern Europe use. 
Quote from: clarion
I completely agree with Reg.

Green Party Councillor

There are a couple of Big Agnes owners otp (nikki and Matthew from memory) and I think they're pretty satisfied with theirs, though neither has the "bikepacking" version.


Yeah, my Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 is still going strong. Initial and 5-year reviews here: https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=84480.0 JBB has/had a Big Agnes too.

With my awning and curtain mods I'm indeed pretty satisfied. I've occasionally flirted with the idea of buying another tent, of which the Hubba Hubba and the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 are on the shortlist, but I'm not entirely happy with the design of either and there's no pressing reason to change.

The Big Agnes has an inner that looks to be made almost entirely of mesh, so it's probably a tent designed for hot dry American summers, not any-weather-in-the-next-ten-minutes European camping.

My touring's been in the Wet Midlands, up to Lancashire and Yorkshire, and the Netherlands in October. Fly first (you can pitch outer first if you want to) has never really been an issue, neither have the gap around the bottom of the outer nor the low rim of the bathtub. I use a footprint and have had no issues with water coming in through the base of the tent.

The outer not reaching all the way to the ground and the meshy inner do mean it can get a bit breezy inside. Probably related: condensation's not really been an issue.

My bedding and clothing generally keeps me warm enough, but I did find I wasn't that comfortable with the breeze around my head, so hence the curtain mod. I haven't got any photos to hand, but it's just a strip of lightweight windproof fabric about 50cm high and long enough to go around the circumference of the inner, hemmed and with a few buttons sewn on the hem. On the seams of the mesh inner I've added small loops of nylon cord to act as button holes. It mimics the non-meshy section some tents have between the groundsheet and the mesh and just means that I'm lying below the zone where the air is moving around. The original idea was that I would use it for colder weather camping, but in practice it adds so little to the packing size/weight that I just leave it in all the time.

Probably more effort than most would go to, and almost certainly not a solution for the OP, but posting here mostly just to highlight that things can be tweaked if needed and compromises nudged in one direction or another.

FWIW I rate the Big Agnes build quality, although a friend with a 1-person bikepacking tent has struggled to get theirs pitched taught. I seem to remember this was a common complaint with that model.


Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
I'm likely to be buying a 2P tent in the near future, and my current favorite is the MSR Elixir 2.  They're a bit less meshy than the Hubba and a bit cheaper, but still with the excellent headspace and the MSR design and build quality.

I'm likely to be buying a 2P tent in the near future, and my current favorite is the MSR Elixir 2.  They're a bit less meshy than the Hubba and a bit cheaper, but still with the excellent headspace and the MSR design and build quality.

The MSR Elixir 2 was on my short list, except that when I went looking again (I'm co-funding the tent as a birthday present) it was no longer available (or sold out). I also liked the Ferrino Nemesis 2 (which has a lot of mesh!) because it seemed to combine the largest volume (1m10 headroom if the spec is to be believed, most of the competition has 95-100cm; I'm inclined to think that 15cm more might have quite an effect on user convenience). This is all by the by because miss has decided that the Wechsel Venture 2 is the one she wants.
I did go looking for the Wechsel Bella mentioned in the post upstream but I couldn't find it (not even on the Wechsel site!). Wechsel don't seem to be much distributed outside Germany so it looks like Louis Moto is the preferred seller (cheaper than Bike24 and they do have a reputation and a confirmed distribution system for France so not too bad an option!)
Incidentally she has chosen the heaviest option (2.6kg. For 200gm more Vaude do a 3person tent that is similar). The Ferrino is only 2.2kg! It seems that that is the threshold below which tents get a lot more expensive.

There are a couple of Big Agnes owners otp (nikki and Matthew from memory) and I think they're pretty satisfied with theirs, though neither has the "bikepacking" version.


Yeah, my Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 is still going strong. Initial and 5-year reviews here: https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=84480.0 JBB has/had a Big Agnes too.

With my awning and curtain mods I'm indeed pretty satisfied. I've occasionally flirted with the idea of buying another tent, of which the Hubba Hubba and the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 are on the shortlist, but I'm not entirely happy with the design of either and there's no pressing reason to change.

The Big Agnes has an inner that looks to be made almost entirely of mesh, so it's probably a tent designed for hot dry American summers, not any-weather-in-the-next-ten-minutes European camping.

My touring's been in the Wet Midlands, up to Lancashire and Yorkshire, and the Netherlands in October. Fly first (you can pitch outer first if you want to) has never really been an issue, neither have the gap around the bottom of the outer nor the low rim of the bathtub. I use a footprint and have had no issues with water coming in through the base of the tent.

The outer not reaching all the way to the ground and the meshy inner do mean it can get a bit breezy inside. Probably related: condensation's not really been an issue.

My bedding and clothing generally keeps me warm enough, but I did find I wasn't that comfortable with the breeze around my head, so hence the curtain mod. I haven't got any photos to hand, but it's just a strip of lightweight windproof fabric about 50cm high and long enough to go around the circumference of the inner, hemmed and with a few buttons sewn on the hem. On the seams of the mesh inner I've added small loops of nylon cord to act as button holes. It mimics the non-meshy section some tents have between the groundsheet and the mesh and just means that I'm lying below the zone where the air is moving around. The original idea was that I would use it for colder weather camping, but in practice it adds so little to the packing size/weight that I just leave it in all the time.

Probably more effort than most would go to, and almost certainly not a solution for the OP, but posting here mostly just to highlight that things can be tweaked if needed and compromises nudged in one direction or another.

FWIW I rate the Big Agnes build quality, although a friend with a 1-person bikepacking tent has struggled to get theirs pitched taught. I seem to remember this was a common complaint with that model.

Thanks,
(sorry to crash your thread here mzjo.)
 I'll take a punt on the 3 man tiger wall.Lots of decent reviews about this model and BA in general.
 I'll likely not be pitching for days in super wet weather.
I actually tried to order it for a good price from Bergefreunde.eu yesterday but the price evaporated as I was checking out. Must have been the last one.
I'll keep an eye out and hope the price comes down again before I need it in April.
often lost.