2 or 3 man tent

Lots of tents for sale.

as with boats
I would rather buy a good, well made used one than a cheap, badly made new one…

A tent (shelter) is way too important to be a cheapskape. It is your last resort of comfort if you ever get miserable on a trip. A leaking tent that can’t stand a little wind or that is difficult to set up could become a real hazard to your health.

Thanks for all the great replies

We use a footprint under the tent AND
plastic inside the tent. It’s insurance and makes it easier to keep the tent clean. It also acts as a vapor barrier and keeps the tent warmer.

We have a Eureka Apex 3TA and it’s storm worthy, but the ventilation is poor. Especially bad in warm/hot weather.

I just recently bought a new 3-man Kelty and am very happy with it. It’s the first tent I’ve ever owned that has a “skylight.”

Anyway, my biggest shopping criteria were:

  1. Buy from reputable store. REI and Campmor have GREAT return policies. Make sure you can send it back if you get it and the front-door zipper doesn’t work.
  2. Bathtub style floor. It’s harder to sweep out, but I made the mistake of buying a tent without this design once and…WHEW!..that was a mistake.
  3. THICK floor material. Get the thickest you can (depending on your weight requirements). Adding a pad below it is great, but starting with a thick floor material helps more than a secondary pad.
  4. Some type of “porch.” There’s nothing like slogging your way through the rain and mud, only to get to your tent and try to pull your rain-jacket and boots off while still standing in the rain. I got the Kelty that has the rainfly that extends out over the entrance. It was priceless on it’s maiden voyage!! Some tents actually have an extended material “porch” so you’re not standing in mud. I couldn’t find one of those on sale when I was shopping, so I got an extra little (heavy) tarp to serve the same purpose.
  5. Dome tent that doesn’t require stakes to be set up. This may not be your priority, but it needs to be considered. Some dome tents still require stakes and I needed something that didn’t require that.

    Good luck with your search!!

Sierra Designs
I have a Night Watch, by Sierra Designs. (They don’t make that one anymore.) They are very well made tents. I also have an inexpensive Spalding 4 man dome. We bought the Sierra Designs for backpacking in the Whites. Reducing the packing size and weight cost you a lot more with good tents, and it really is not as much of an issue with kayaking. If I were buying a tent now, for kayaking, I wouldn’t worry nearly so much about weight, and I wouldn’t spend nearly so much, (the boat can carry a lot more than I can pack through the mountains.) They’re all a heck of a lot better than a canvas shelter half and poncho, (which is what I had gotten used to before I moved here and started hiking again in New England.) It is nice to have room to keep some gear dry, and since you’re not carrying it, why not go big?

LL Bean #2 Dome/ SD Sirus
The LL Bean #2 dome is around $120 and a good, all around tent. Its on the heavy side for backpacking (8lbs), so I usually split the load with my partner and he/she takes the poles.

Its sheds water well and is practically indestructable. The first one I owned I gave to a friend. Its almost 20 years old is still going strong. My current one is 8 years old and as good as new.

Its officially a roomy, 2 person tent, but can fit 3 people in a pinch (but you’d better be good friends). It comes with an optional vestibule that I have, but usually leave home.

For a lighter tent, you might want to consider the Sierra Designs Sirus. Both the 2 and 3 person Sirus can be found for under $150 and both check in around 5 lbs packed. It has a mesh roof so you can sleep under the stars and a fly that can quickly be pulled over the tent should a nightime shower pass through. It offers great ventilation even with the fly attached. The Sirus has doors on both sides so you don’t have to climb over your tentmate when entering and exitiing.

Unlike the LL Bean dome, room is very tight in the Sirus, so the 3 person is probably the the better choice even if you are only camping with 2 people.

Kelty Gunnison II
We used a Kelty Gunnison II on the Mississippi River for 73 days last summer. Just a simple 2 pole dome, but it held up fine. Runs about $150.


I agree with
Source2sea… the Kelty Gunnison II, albeita bit heavy (9lbs), is reasonable, well made, and I have used it for two years.

I picked up
a Wenger, 4 person dome for my daughter a few years back. The quality was good, but it was one of those 5 pole jobs that you need an engineers degree to assemble the first time. We ended up color coding the poles and the clips so it could be quickly set up. For what they try to charge for them (notice I said try, because I always see them on clearance sites or on Overstock or Amazon at bargain prices). You can do better.

Just to be fair, remember…

– Last Updated: Dec-08-06 1:14 PM EST –

... that Jacobson stores his food in air-tight containers and stresses they must be clean of all external food residue so the critters can't smell them. Also remember that he spends more time guiding large groups of people in the north woods in a single month than most of the rest of us spend up there in a lifetime, and if he's never seen food lost this way that's worth something. Finally, doesn't everybody know by now that many Boundary Waters bears have learned that when they chew on ropes that point up to a tree, tasty gifts drop from the sky? I've heard of dozens of accounts of people losing their food to bears this way, but haven't heard of anyone losing their food when it was packed in air-tight containers and kept away from camp (admittedly, not as many people store their food that way). Laugh all you want, but all those people who have lost food to bears even though it was properly hung up were not laughing at the time.

As far as the ground-cloth issue, there is *some* justification for putting a ground cloth inside (you are more likely to be dry with this method when there are pinhole leaks in the floor than with the ground cloth below), but when it comes to the issue of long-term wear and tear, I have to say that I've certainly gotten more holes in the tent floor from twigs and stuff poking up from below than the other way around.


– Last Updated: Dec-08-06 3:04 PM EST –

I drove trips for two differant wilderness camps BWCA, Porkies, Picture Rocks, Sylvania, Sawtooth Mountains, Namakagan, Brule, Apostle Islands, Isle Royal...etc

this was over a period of about 10 years

I've also lead many as a Scout Leader(Isle Royal, Porkies, Sawtooth Mts, BWCA, Apostles,North Country Trail Sys, Brule, Namakagon, St Croix,

(lead trips for over 20 years)

One camp Hung food ...the other didn't

I saw plenty of dammage using Cliffs method, (and probably newly trained critters)

None with proper hangs

guess your actual milage varried...or the hangs really were done in a poor manner (I've seen many poor hangs in the woods) and Cliffs method was done impeciably and at a time the critters were elsewhere...(things are differant when using Garcia Bear Canister's)

Best Wishes

My “mileage” didn’t "vary"
I honestly had a hard time making sense of all that you wrote (couldn’t figure out the relationship between all those years of camping and the “one camp hung food, the other didn’t” statement), but of course not that many bears have learned that trick about chewing ropes, and it works fine most of the time.

As for me, I didn’t say I’ve ever had a problem. I made no mention of my experience at all, but when I was up there, I hung my food and all was well. It’s just that I’ve been hearing so many stories recently about “educated” bears, bears which know what happens after chewing on a rope. When you say that “properly” hung food won’t be gotten by the bears, do you tie-off the rope way up a tree or something? That’s probably what I’d do next time- make the tie-off point very hard to get to. I imagine when a bear chews through a rope, it’s a rope which is easy to see and which can be reached from the ground. I also have read that some people have started hanging their food using dark-colored ropes, but with a white rope installed nearby as a “decoy”, because white ropes are what the educated bears have been chewing through.

Animal "reasoning, jackpots and food
I’ve spent a good part of my life training animals of different sorts, right now primarily dogs.

Maybe because of what most people been learned in intro biology classes they tend to think in terms of animals being capable of only simple stimulus/response types of learning.

If you work with them toward any sort of focused goal, you shortly begin to find that they are capable of learning many, many times more, in greater volume and to a higher degree of sublety than you ever initially imagined.

One of the most popular used to teach and reinforce a complex sequence of behaviors is a tool called a “jackpot”.

This is basically giving a huge, beyond-belief reward if the dog, for example, successfully executes the desired behavior.

Small rewards reinforce modest progress. However, if the animal (usually at first mostly by chance) hits the nail directly on the head, the trainer opens up a huge stash of highly desirable food supply (or makes available a highly desired but witheld toy) and lets the dog have at it.

For example, a jackpot means the trainer might take off the bait bag that holds bits of chopped up steak, and instead of doling it out piece by piece, opens the bag and gives the entire contents to the dog to wolf down.

You don’t do this every training sessions. Just at those times where the dog really gets it right in a spectacular way.

The result is that that incredible, unexpected reward will greatly increase the chance that the dog will try very hard to repeat that behavior…and so starts to imprint it HARD as a learned pattern.

Dogs and other animals will sometimes go to great extents to get jackpots. The effect is multiplied by a “gambling” effect created due to the fact that the payoff doesn’t come on a regular schedule.

Animals can become addicted to “gambling” for jackpots just as easy as those lost souls caught up in the thralls of the one armed bandit.

They can learn behaviors that require several stages to get to the payoff.

AND they can make very novel adaptations when situations change or when the puzzle becomes harder.

This to me demonstrates that it is a sort of basic reasoning that begins to take place, rather than just rote learning or response to instinct.

I’ve seen many instances where an animal will take something they’ve learned in one context and add it to something they’ve learned in a separate context to self-create a new behavior to address a novel challenge.

I have absolutely no experience with bears, per se, but because many wild animals tend to be more intelligent than their domestic counterparts (domestic animals tend to have had their wits dulled to make them easier to handle), I can only guess that an animal such as a bear could very well be capable of constructing some fairly innovative and effective solutions to a problem as appetizing a food treasure trove hung from a tree.

It’s actually, in fact, a relatively easy problem compared to other food finding challenges a bear might face on a daily basis. After all, food caches and garbage don’t fight, don’t hide themselves and don’t run away.

To a bear’s mind, it’s probably a very fat, sluggish and energy rich find that is well worth a little investment.


Double Sorry
I guess I am always sorry when I post something differant the Cliff…seems like he has a following that would die for his ideas

My hang method is very simple…

always have clean hands when you touch the ropes you use for a hang. some of the noted chewing is done by squrrils and mice…because people just finish eating and do a hang. Food smells we cant detect are on the ropes where you tie the rope off.

I hang very high and not where it looks like the normal place people use. Bears tend to find where most people just sling a rope over a branc and pull up the load. I like a hang where the bags are at least 20 feet off the ground and pulled away from the tree so it would hang closer to some other tree than it is tied from. Larger bears don’t really like to climb over 10 or 20 feet and usually dont go past the first 2 or 3 branches. I like my rope going over a branch 30 feet up or more if you have a nice hang area. Most people have traditionally hung from these lower branches anyway and it has gotten food in the past. by using the pully method I diagramed, hauling mega weight into a tree is easy and there is no cold pull drag.

I use long ropes and tie as high as I can. some bears are sight hunters and look for a suspended bag, then go to the nearest tree and climb. looking for a rope I also use the multi colored ACC cord in 4 or 5 mm depending on the food load I am carring on any given trip.

All this said…with cliffs method…most otf the problems that I’ve seen have been from racoons , squrrils and mice…not bears

Bears usually have a route they travel and might only come back thru an area every 3 or 5 days…some odd one will however hang arround at a particullarially good spot for non informed campers…every year there also are more bold bears that will come into camp while you are cooking or eatting and look for their next meal.

In bad areas , such as the Porkies, I usually take the food out for the meal at hand, then hang the rest before cooking…That way if they come for a visit…the trip doesn’t end…we only loose one meal at most.

Lesser used areas are definately easier to keep your food safe…the animals haven’t started to always go there looking for a meal…

I just look at Cliffs method as a old method used for years with mixed success in frequently camped in areas…way deep in the woods where there is not the concetration of people trained critters it will work…but in areas where the animal population has thrived and there are more animals per square mile than normal…His method fails enough times (in My experiance) I would not like to see people use it and train more annimals to come to camping areas always looking for food.

If you are in tundra …hanging is not possiable

but when you have trees, I believe it to be the best solution…It at least limits the critters to only a few that would even try…mice no longer matter that much and the same with skunks, weasel…etc

Hope this helps clarify

Best Wishes