Just got back from 4 days, 3 nights of paddling/ camping. My REI 2 man Half Dome tent worked well, but we almost got seriously rained on. The tent is waterproof, but I’m not sure that I would enjoy spending a day in it. Debating getting a sil nylon tarp or an MSR Mutha Hubba 3 man lightweight tent. I really like the MSR, its gotten some really great reviews. But I wonder if combining the tarp with the tent that I already have might be a better choice.
I have an MSR Hubba Hubbu two man. It is extremely lightweight and sets up in under 1 minute. It has been through storms with 80 mph winds on three different occasions and even withstood a 17 inch weekend downpour of rain. It barely was damp on the inside. I would strongly recommend getting the footprint to add an extra moisture boundry to the floor. The only negative thing that I can think of is that is it so well sealed with the rain fly on, that the inside will get very hot.
Tarps work well
It’s hard to go wrong with a tarp, lightweight and cheap compared to a second tent. It’s fairly easy to rig up a tarp to cook under or just sit under cover during extended periods of wet weather. Being stuck in a tent usually ruins the camping trip for me. A good nylon tarp will last many years. The plastic ones don’t hold up and will rip at the seems after a few trips.
Kelty Noah’s Tarp
When we tent camp we use a 9 over our tent and a 12 over the cooking area. They weigh very little and give you a lot more room in the rain.
New tent vs First tarp
I got a Mutha Hubba in August and used it in Woodland Caribou Prov Park in Sept. I was very pleased with it - handled sustained 30mph wind and driving rain, size is OK for folks up to 6'2", light weight on portages, sil nylon wasn't as noisy as I thought it might be, high enough to sit up in without your head pushing on the ceiling. I recommend it, but not as the substitute for a decent tarp. My regular nylon 12'x12' tarp has served me well for close to 20 years. It's large enough for 6 to spend a rainy day under. You need both a good tarp and a good tent out in the boonies. So even if you got the Mutha Hubba, I would still strongly recommend you get a good tarp. Get the tarp first, and when funds are available or the old dome tent wears out, go for the Mutha Hubba then.
tent vs tarp
If you got a decent tent, get a tarp. Tarp gives you an area to cook under,sit around and eat. a roomier tent will be more livable in icky conditions but you still can’t cook in a nylon/polyester tent(or at least you really shouldn’t!) and by god i wouldn’t wanna spill soup all over the sleeping bag if i sneeze while holding it! for kayaking i wouldn’t bother with a silnylon tarp, get a generic (70D or so) nylon. cheaper and stronger