tent question

-- Last Updated: Feb-12-13 10:53 AM EST --

I am in the market for a new lightweight tent to kayak camp with. I want a solo tent. I currently have an Alps and it has been awesome, bone dry (it has poured every time i have camped on the coast of Maine) my only issue is it's not free standing, so i am in the market for a free standing solo light weight around $300. A local shop is pushing Big Agnes. Anybody want to share tent stories or info. that would be helpful? I like to buy from my local people, but have not much experience in the different types of tents out there.

You probably know this
but a solo tent is a two person tent if you want any room at all inside. My wife and I use a three person tent.

Big Agnes

– Last Updated: Feb-12-13 12:05 PM EST –

makes good tents and is touting a greener manufacturing process. Not sure how for realz it is, but it gave me warm fuzzies when I bought mine. Should be able to come into what you want for considerably less than $300, and I'll make another suggestion. I recently had a dilemma in that I wanted an UL shelter for canoe camping. What I didn't want was to spend $300 for a silnylon tarp as that just didn't make sense for me. What I ended up doing was buying a Big Agnes Lynx Pass 3 and having this gentleman http://shumateshelters.com/ make me an anklet for it. He's a super nice guy and did a good and prompt job for me. Now I can set up the whole tent or just use the fly, poles and anklet without needing the footprint. My main motivation was to save the tent floor from the ravages of Roll-A-Cot vs gravel bar, but this arrangement also saves weight and space, and now I have a tent and an UL shelter for $200. I'm very happy with how it turned out and I think this might be a good option for you. Happy hunting.

being very short and having a bivy style
tent, anything else feels roomy. I do well with little, and can keep extra stuff in the kayak if needed. Not sure about the anklet thing…what about rain and bugs? it seems nice for a group shelter, but don’t think i would need that. Cool idea though.

Am currently
Doing my own tent research and Big Agnes was well regarded. Have decided against 4 season and am now looking at MSR Mutha Hubba as a good option based on price, size, well regarded manufacturer and water proofness. The Mutha Hubba got a lot of positive reviews. It was recommended to wash out the tent poles if am doing any kayakinging as they would never separate otherwise. Have decided on a 3 person tent for 2 people for that extra room.

MRS Hubba 1
is looking good. Again…i don’t hardly any room, plus this tent would save me over $100.

if you are looking for a tent to use for beach camping, forget about Big Agnes - I don’t know all thier models, but from what I’ve seen,they are not what I would call a true free standing tent - though they are sorta free standing, but you need to use a lot of stakes to pull out the sides and corners to make them livable and that’s not going to work well in sand or rock

I Have a Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 (two person tent) that I use as my solo backpacking tent, because of the light weight; great for backpacking - I would never consider taking it canoe camping unless it was the only tent I have (and I hava a dozen or more tents). Of the tents I have, that would fit your requirements, I’d recommend the REI Quarter Dome T-2. signigicanlty more room than the BA tent, and free standing - you could set it up and not use any stakes for the vestibules if you wanted to, though its obviously better if you at least stake out the vestibules. It is the tent I take to Quetico on my solo trips there, for various reasons - quick to set up, lots of room inside for gear, and roomy to sit up comfortably, relatively small footprint, and two doors, so if a door zipper were to blow out, I have door #2 to use after duct taping the broken zipper. Weight and size are more than the BA tent, but still reasonable enough for kayak camping. cpmpared to my Fly Creek tent, it feels like it has half again as much room inside, and I have used it reasonably comfortably for two people from time to time.

REI Half dome 2 person
I’ve got this one and really like it. Very quick to set up and light weight. 2 person tent that’s great for one.

For real comfort though, I take my Hennessey hammock!

Big Agnes, never again
I bought a Big Agnes Parkview 3 tent and used it about a half dozen times. The tape used to heat seal the seams on the rain fly just simply peeled off–every inch of it–rendering the tent completely useless. So, I purchased an REI tent to replace the Big Agnes. I should have gone with REI to begin with, because you can always count on REI to stand behind their products.

I have the BA Copper Spur…
UL tents in the 1, 2 and 3 person sizes. I’ve been using them for a few years now.

The Copper Spur UL-1 is a good fit for me as its long, has a nice ceiling height and the steep walls give a goodly amount of usable interior room in which to move about.

I’ve been in some pretty nasty weather in the backcountry of the Tetons and Yellowstone during early and late season trips. No troubles, the tents performed nicely.

Highly recommend them.

How do they work?
Is the anklet a webbing outline of the tent floor with loops/grommets for the fly’s poles? Hard to tell from the pictures…


– Last Updated: Feb-12-13 1:24 PM EST –

Pretty simple concept really, but I couldn't buy the tools and materials to make one for what he charged me. He can make it to fit any tent. He just needs measurements between poles if it's for a tent he's never made one for.

LLBean Microlight FS
FS=freestanding. Saw one in their outlet store for $139. I think EMS may also be making a knock-off of the MSR Hubba family.

I use the Marmot Limelight 3
for two of us camping and they make a two man version. The vestibules are not freestanding but you will have no trouble finding rocks to use as a deadman.

Freestanding is not what you want necessarily on the Maine Islands. (none of which have sand camping btw except if the tide is out and you sleep fast) A good set of many exterior tie outs can be helpful in sour weather. Tie one end of a line to the tieout and the other to a set of rocks…

I also have a North Face Tadpole 23 that is a more freestanding version of the veritable Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight. All is freestanding except the long entry vestibule. Again deadman the tie out points.

The Hubba Series of all mesh tents (I have an older Hubba Hubba) is too sloppy inside. I nixed Hubba just for that reason…its a true one man tent with no room for splash errors.

You might visit a North Face Outlet (Freeport) and also Ragged Mt (Intervale) or IME(North Conway). The latter two have high quality consignment tents from time to time.

great ideas Kayamedic

– Last Updated: Feb-12-13 4:38 PM EST –

i would like free standing for a couple of reasons though...one of them being you can easily move to find even ground, hate that when you are all set up and then you realize that you are on a slope. not easy to move the type tent i have, it's actually not even worth it. But free standing would be so much nicer for such a thing. also would be much easier for camping on platforms. The one i have is destined to my neice so while i am in the market, i want one that should cover all my needs. I do plan on anchoring, but would like options.

We (not an I) used the Limelight
on chickees on our just concluded Everglades trip. The ease of setup was a great asset, plus the tieoffs were sometimes necessary…

Chasing a tent into the water after its left a chickee is not a fun sport in my book. While a freestanding tent is said to be essential for them, it IS possible to tie to the floor board ends.

Do you have a preference for end entry or two side entries?

Mountain Hardware Trango
is the tent that I have use for about 10 years now. There is a 2man, 3man and 4man. They are not for summer camping. But for fall, winter and spring, they are great tents. I have used my 3 man for many years and it has held up well. It is a 5 pole tent and very stable when all staked out in extreme weather. Not light. Not compact in the sack. But rugged and durable. It is a free standing tent except you have to stake out the vestibules. This is s tent that can bring you through the worst weather you can imagine.

My tent wardrobe
is the Limelight 3 for summer duet use, the Trango 3.1 for spring fall duet use and the 2 man North Face for solo spring fall use . The Hubba Hubba is reserved for true summer where no sand is anticipated. Before I got wiser I camped in Quebec with it in May and nearly froze…to its credit it did not cave in with the snow.

The Trangos are the beefiest. They are true mountaineering tents. But on a chickee you might cook.

I am not sure if the OP wants to chickee camp in Florida or GA but you do need a fly there…otherwise the dampness will soak your sleeping bag. (I tried going flyless). Some mesh is a plus in this situation. The Trangos have none and the fly comes down to the ground…a real asset in lousy cold weather.

Quarter Dome UL
They advertise it as a two-man tent. More like one-and-a-half.


I spent 3 weeks on the ground…
Due to a brand new Big Agnes sleeping pad. It failed on day 4 of a 26 day trip, delaminated and couldn’t be field repaired. I wouldn’t buy anything Big Agnes ever again, but that’s just me. It was also the third pad I had from them that failed, I should have learned the first time, but they were so compact and comfortable for the time. I’ve since switched over to a exped.

I spent three months in a MSR Hubba Hubba tent in Chile, and it performed perfectly despite not being the best tent for the wet\windy conditions down there. If camping on a sandy beach, I’d wake up to a tent that was more sandbox with all the sand blowing through. It did blow flat during a few gusty nights, but always sprang back up.

For nasty weather nothing beats a full on 4 season tent, no breeze cranking through the tent all night, no endless flapping all night. I’ve spent a lot of time in the MH Trango tents, pretty awesome. As are the Hillbergs, but so expensive. I cheaped out and found a Marmot Widi 2 that seems pretty good, kind of a tube tent 4 season tent, but can open up a big side panel to get lots of ventilation and access for nicer weather.

NEMO designs out of NH seems to making some pretty burly little tents that would stand up to a bit of weather, and have more panels in addition to the mesh that’s typical of other manufacturers.


For kayak camping I usually add 3 or 4 feet of p-cord to tie down points to stack rocks, and lots of p-cord on the guy out points to tie to either a rock pile or whatever anchor is available. A well set up tent doesn’t make as much noise or flap around in the wind all night. I carry extra cord to make sure I get a good set up. I’ve seen people who carry small eye-screws with them to tie into logs or wood platforms to get a good anchor point.

For hiking I’m looking into a UL tarp setup, and a lot of manufacturers are making mesh inserts for the more popular tarps to keep the creepy crawlies out. I’m thinking if I can find something that will handle a bit of wind, I’ll use this as my nice season kayak and hiking setup, and keep the four season tent for the kayak trips to places with a little more weather.