Choosing a tent

I’m speaking from experince

– Last Updated: Apr-22-15 8:20 PM EST –

The mesh tent that I use has a fly that goes down to within a couple inches of the ground. Sure, when the wind blows, the breeze going through the tent is much slower than the wind outside, but the breeze is very apparent and the rate of air exchange is too fast for the air moving through the tent to gain heat before it's gone out the other side.

I'm not speaking in speculative context here, and it stands up to logic too. During a light breeze it may be possible to get slight heating inside, especially during a sunny day. But in my other post I was talking about during a brisk wind and assuming a night-time situation, and in that case, forget about it. There won't be enough heating to notice. But you'll sure notice the cold breeze.

Oh, and don't attempt to confuse the issue by introducing the effects of blocking most of the wind and reducing the rate of heat loss from your body. I didn't and wouldn't say that blocking the wind with the fly doesn't help your body stay warmer than it would if directly exposed to the wind. What I am saying is that the actual temperature of the air inside your tent won't be any warmer than that of the air outside if it's gone from your tent a couple of seconds after it enters.


– Last Updated: Apr-22-15 8:27 PM EST –

I camp in the Northeast from April through November, plus at least one night each winter just to say I did it. I camp many times each year in the 20s. I haven't owned a solid-wall tent since mesh tents were invented. Several inches of solid fabric around the bottom of the tent is a good idea for wind and to compensate for the space between the bottom of the fly and the ground. As Datakoll said, the fly is a solid wall.

In the end this is a personal question. Your choice will depend on what you can afford and how cold you sleep. If you've got the money and sleep cold, a winter tent might be what you need. If you can't afford a winter tent, don't sleep cold, or don't want to carry extra weight, a mesh or partly mesh tent will work for three-season camping.

Personal question, yes
I’m just shedding some perspective on the idea that you can count on such a temperature difference as provided in that article you cited. Constant air-exchange will nullify that, no matter what. When a mesh tent heats up in summer (and they can get quite hot), it’s because there’s not enough air exchange, but strong wind eliminates that problem, or even creates another. None of this has anything to do with what tent a person should choose, but everything to do with being careful about blanket statements.

Alrighty then
Your reasoning has overpowered my doubts. I’m going to buy this:

Adding a tarp is a really good way to provide extra shelter and living space. I use an MEC scout tarp, Lightweight, inexpensive and useful.

Trust me
A good no mesh four or five pole tent is worth every penny. Warmer, stronger and dryer than any mesh tent you might buy. If you take care of it it will last a long long time.

The right answer is
it depends on you and your other gear.

I am big on hammock camping and that is my go to trip sleep system because I sleep better and my back likes me more in the morning. I dont like them in a frog choker, but I can get by.

As to tents. I have a Eureka It does everything I want it to do and I have been in it from hot to where it looked like a frozen turtle shell when I broke my way out in the AM. I have a zero degree Cabelas fat tall guy bag, over a pad and wool blanket to keep the ground away. The coldest has been about 10f and windy.

I have never had to but the easiest way to make a 3 season tent into a 4 season tent is a cheap blue tarp. Toss it over the rainfly, stake it down, and you have a wall tent for a couple bucks the once a year that it might come in handy.

Big Agnes

– Last Updated: Apr-30-15 9:45 AM EST –

I like Big Agnes. I have a Copper Spur 2 and a Jack Rabbit 4. They are easy put up, work well in the winter, and don't weigh a ton. I was able to get both tents brand new under $300 each by watching for sales. Have you checked out

Field damage control for pole assembly
Take a good look at your tent and ask what you may need to improvise in the field if a key pole or connector is damaged or lost. Can you make a pole section from wood? Can you improvise a connector tube for a Eureka Timberline? What happens when one of the long tubes from a Kelty loses a section?

In the worst case, if the pole assembly becomes unworkable, some tents might be hung with lines from trees. I would think our old Timberline 4 could be so hung more easily than our newer Kelty Vortex 4, the latter being a dome shape with more support points.

Anyone have any field experience and improvisation tales to tell? We had a Timberline pole section bend in a windstorm, but Eureka’s mild aluminum temper allowed me to bend it nearly straight.

Rule #1
Aluminum poles. Repair sleeves work with those. Don’t worry about how warm your tent keeps you. Sleeping bags and laying take care of that. Think about staying cool at night. Not everywhere you might want to camp gets that cool at night. People who float the Colorado learn that the hard way sometimes.

Where I live wind is a big concern. I have chosen mesh because it stands up to wind and stays cool. But then I have 4 tents and two sunshades.

A couple months ago I backpacked down the Colorado along a trail I created. I brought my MSR mesh tent. The fog came in. Water puddled on the floor of my tent from condensation. I did get a nice photo of a spider web covered with dew though.

What I would suggest is to call REI or NRS and talk to a tech. They stay up on the improvements made to tents and stuff like that. I’ve camped in snow, above 8,000’, at well below 0 and the desert above 100. Still I call the people whose job it is to answer my questions.

I use a hammock system

Boat tent

– Last Updated: Jan-03-16 5:58 PM EST –

Weight is not that much of a factor for boat tents. I would buy a tent with a fly that has plenty of room. For two people a 3-4 man backpacking tent is spacious and very helpful for rainy days. For solo trips a 2 man tent is about right. Look for ventilation, good mosquito netting, good overhead, vestibule and lots of tie downs for big winds.

Go mesh
For all three season and winter if no snow is expected I go with the

Light Heart Gear Duo. Packs small, weoghs 2 pounds, tons of room for two people and gear. Sides can be rolled up in hot weather. Awning is a great feature, especially during rain. It will go into storm mode really fast. Also has vents on top for ventilation.

I also take a Borah Gear Borahgami tarp. I can sleep under it if the bugs aren’t bad, or I could pitch it in a tent fashion and have no bug problems. … Weighs under 1 pound

A good tent and a tarp makes a great base camp option.

I didn’t know…
you could spend $3400 on a tent. Still with no vestibules! Enjoy.