Tent size

What’s the largest tent you would consider reasonable for solo kayak camping?

I’ve always thought in backpacking terms (smaller is better) but am thinking of taking a 3-person, 7 lb tent for the ultimate luxury. I’ve always used a two-person tent in the past.

In terms of packed size, I guess a 3P takes up a couple more litres of space than a 2P. Set-up space in the back country might be more of a problem?

Instead of thinking about how nice
that luxury tent will be - think what you will have to give up so you can have it.

2 person
I once used a Walrus Terromotto 3 (later MSR Fusion 3) but it was the smallest tent I had and I was at a site with tent platforms.

You’re correct, I would be concerned about site size more than storage in the kayak.

I once camped with a guy (backpacking) who brought a Sierra Designs Stretch Prelude for himself. I think it’s a 4-5 person tent. We were giving him a hard time about it but his attitude was “if I carried it up here myself why should you care?”

What about a hammock instead? I’d consider that more luxurious than a tent, and lighter too! I use a Hennessey Hammock Explorer Deluxe.

I always go a size up…
A three person ten seems a little overkill, but if you have the space and enjoy the palatial size, go for it. I recently got this tent http://marmot.com/products/widi_2p and absolutely love it. Has the characteristics of a bomber much more expensive tent such as a Hillberg, but can be opened up in good weather to get lots of ventilation. Very easy to set up, only two same sized poles, then needs to be staked out well. Lots of space inside, and tons of vestibule space. A perfect sea kayak tent IMO, burly enough to wait out some nasty weather without having the wind rip through a mesh body, yet breathable enough for warmer weather as well. A little heavy and bulky packed up, but I can deal with that…

Tents come in 1/2 sizes now
For example, this 1.5 person tent: http://www.amazon.com/ALPS-Mountaineering-Mystique-Person-Backpacking/dp/B000FNGYB6. I am not necessarily recommending this tent (I know nothing about it) but it does have room for gear where a 1.0 person would not. They also have 2.5, etc.

I like bigger tents and prefer a 3 person tent to a 2 person when I am solo. I like to be able to move around, sit up without bumping my head, have gear spread around inside, be able to change without being a contortionist, and be able to sit out long rains without becoming claustrophobic.

Of course, I usually camp out of an open canoe so packing little bigger tent is no big deal. What may not be as important for kayak camping is portage weight. Hence, the only remaining consideration should be packed volume, which will depend on the model of 3 person tent you get and how much hatch space you have.

I wouldn’t worry about the size of campsites affecting the tent volume decision.

I love my Nemo Losi 3P tent I got last year. 50 sq. ft. of interior space, 24 more sq. ft. of double vestibule, vertical walls, about 6 lbs., and fairly compact.

Good points, thanks
Your point about getting stuck in a long rain is especially valid.

I have 2P’s and a 3P. The 2P’s are adequate, but the 3P is better. The first time I mentioned my idea of getting a 3P for solo I was laughed at, but I’m glad I got it. For car camping you can sometimes fit a cot in a 3P, which is another luxury.

Tent and a tarp…
I always bring a tarp in addition to the tent. Can set up a kitchen and have a place to hang out and change besides in the tent.

Whoa…there are a lot of other factors
to consider.

Someone did mention rain.

Other considerations are temperature. It is hard to heat up a three person tent in May when the temperature is just above freezing.

Hammock and tarp is a tempting idea but that requires trees. If you know you have suitable trees that is fine but I always seem to have one site that has none. In some places camping in the open is preferable to holing up in the woods in bug season. Hammocking in the Glades in April or Maine in June is suicide.

Some pole designs have longer sections than others. Make sure your pole sections and the whole tent fits well through the hatch. Our three person tents have a much longer tent bag than our two persons.

A two person tent will give you enough luxury space to avoid claustrophobia during rains. Also I take a ten by fourteen foot tarp for “house” on rainy days.

I don’t know where you are going to kayak camp. Some of the tent sites on the Maine Island Trail are kind of small…others are fine.

Not bigger than a 2-person tent
That’s enough room to stash all the dry bags and sleep unencumbered plus do stretching exercises.

Actually, the 1+ size works well, too, minus the stretching room.

Kayamedic makes an important point about larger spaces being harder to heat up with just one occupant. Then again, if you’re only going to camp in hot, humid places, might as well go bigger, especially since it’s going to be a mostly-mesh tent then anyway.

Also mesh
Ultralight tents are often almost all mesh, which might be a disadvantage in cold weather. In that case even a two-person would be cold. I count only on my sleeping bag for warmth and enjoy sleeping in temperatures down to about 25 degrees. I find that a 2P tent with 50% solid walls raises the inside temperature about 10 degrees.

about that mesh
if you do lots of beachcamping or even desert camping…mesh is a pain as it lets a lot of windblown sand in.

Yes I froze on a solo canoe trip in northern Quebec in May with Hubba Hubba which is a decent hot weather tent with its being almost all mesh.

Windblown snow also
I like at least 10" of solid fabric around the bottom, and something like 60% mesh overall. But it’s great to be able to see out the door and see the stars overhead.

Height matters
Especially if you get stuck spending time in it while it rains outside. We are too old to be in anything that we can’t fully sit up in and stretch out our legs from a decent camp chair. We found that it takes a 3 person tent, dome type, to assure that height.

It may be easier to get that height in two person tents that are not dome tents. We had to go for a freestanding tent because of using it on Maine islands.

There are some dome tents
that pull out the sides at the top to give a more vertical wall and hence better headroom width wise.

The Marmot Limelight 2P is such a tent.

another consideration re tent size is vestibule size. It is handy to have your gear dry but not in the tent with you especially stinky dirty clothing and shoes. We went with the Limelight again for generous vestibules so we could get gear out of the rain without sleeping with a frypan.

Definitely not for desert
Unless you know there will be no wind for the entire trip, haha.

Not only does it coat everything in the tent, it jams zippers.

The other thing is it makes sitting out crazy-wind days an ordeal, because you’re breathing dust and fine sand all day. You can actually see it thickly suspended in the air.

You didn’t want to roll over and have a chunk of cast iron land on your toe? :slight_smile:

not cast iron!
Aluminum albeit heavy duty.

We’re still portaging. What we won’t do for blueberry pancakes!

4 man on a solo is fine
I have a whole kayak so If I don’t need a big sleeping bag and I don’t have to bring a lot of other stuff a four man tent will work fine. And if it rains for days we can play cards in my tent in the afternoons.

At the house we have a hammock, a 1.5 man, solo, and a four man. Usually I take the hammock and the one man. But sometimes the hammock and the four man.

The four man is the only tent we take when there are two of us going.