Tent advice

PGS

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I have been hunting for a new 4 season tent and have narrowed it down to 3 possible options that Im keen to get some feed back on, especially teh Moutain design tent as there is very little mention of them around, but they look OK in the shop.

1. Salewa Sierra Leone (lots of good stuff on this from another Forum thread, and it looks to be a front runner, but feel free). 3.6kg. approx $500.

2. Moutain Design Ridge.
Very similar (read exact) shape and design as the SL, 2 crossed poles with a small ridge poll, 2 vestibules, 2 doors. 3.5 kg. Great price at the moment reg $$550, special maybe $350.

3. Kathmandu Mountain plus - only just saw this one today and its attractive cos they have a big sale on. Specs look OK for the Kthdu tent, but I dont have much experience with them re quality etc. Bit heavier, at 4 kg, 4 pole, 2 door, 2 vestibule, pockets??? reg price $800, but on special at half that. Is this liek the Fairydown Plateau?

Current tents include WE First arrow (not a snow tent at all), Macpac Minaret and Eclipse.

Any comments ?? Help!

Paul
 

Bogong

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DESIGNS
The 3 pole Sierra Leone design (and similar clones) is a comfortable tent that is lighter than others and has the bonus of a side entry door. However I've seen tents of this design suffer in really ratty conditions: heavy snow and really strong winds. But in Australia you don't have to camp in super exposed places unless you want a view. I'd rate them 3¾ season and suitable for any sensible Australian campsite.

The 4 pole 'Kathmandu mountain' design has been around for 20 years since it was introduced by the Welsh company 'Wild Country'. The design has been widely copied because it is probably the most bomb proof of the standard designs. But it is a bit heavier (around 4kg, depending on the manufacturer) and doors at the ends mean you have to slide in.

MANUFACTURER
If you've worked out which design you want, work out if you want a mid range or top notch brand. Mid range brands like Kathmandu and Salewa use good materials and have good quality control. Top brands, (MacPac, W.E., One Planet, Mont, MSR, Fairydown, etc.) use the best quality materials, have superb quality control and are sometimes a little lighter. But you pay a premium for this.

Kathmandu tents are reduced 3 times every year, so you don't have to buy now. At full price they cost the same as top brands. Because they're not in this category, you should never pay more than $500 for a Kathmandu. If you are prepared to pay $700+ for a snow tent, get a Fairydown or other premium brand.
 

telemark fred

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Whats wrong with your Minaret for 4 season use?

I had a Minaret and have used it in all sorts of shite weather in Oz and overseas. If you can get a good purchase with the pegs and orient it the right way it seems good for any weather. Its only about 2.6kg as well. It is small though.
 

snowgum

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Tunnels can be pretty cramped in bad-weather - even the Olympus. The narrowing at the foot and head ends is disconcerting when one is used to the 'full width' of a dome.

That said I agree with Bogong that our Salewa SL would have some limitations in a real hurricane-strength + heavy snow scenario, however so far (over 15 years)our tent has held up well in the alps (above treeline) with no breakages.

On a VFM rating with Macpac - there's really no comparison unless you plan to head to NZ etc. or snow-camp for a weeks each winter.
 

Majikthise

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interested as to why you don't rate the WE as a snow tent? Much along the lines of TF's experiences with the minaret... mines survived some very rough stuff fairly admirably and better than others.
 

legend

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Have a look at the ski.com marketplace (accessories). There's a near new North Face Mountain 25 and a WE 2nd arrow tent for sale.
 

Shrek

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Ive spent some time in a minaret and although a bit tight it did the job.

Fairydown make a nice tent, but I love my mountain hardware trango 2. Almost 4 kg but very solid.
 

imj

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Recently sold a Mountain Plus on e-bay and purchased an Olympus instead. Much happier with the macpac, but double the price.
 
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JAM

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PGS,
I have a Kathmandu Mountain and, unless they have changed the material since I bought it 5 years ago, I'd recommend anything but!

The problem is that the fly is 'brittle' polyester, and tears too easily. I have had two tears over half a metre in length due to slightly rough handling. If they had occured in windy weather, the fly would have split in half. I have never had nylon tents tear like this, in spite of sometimes piling rocks on the corners to hold them down in Tasmanian storms.

I have since bought a Minaret and love it, in spite of it being very small for two people.

JAM
 

svenlobster

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I would take a look at Fairydown they have some good 4 season tents, but if weight is an issue, look at the Altimate, 3.0kg at around 650.00 or the Escape at 2.5kg at 399.00

If cost is also an issue, you may want to think about joining YHA as members get 10% off the normal retail price at most outdoor retailers.

Also don't be afraid of asking for a better price, say if you went out to a shop like Anaconda and you can proove that the same tent is cheaper elsewhere, they are happy to price match and then beat it by 10%
 

Unknown

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hehe, thats not even subtle advertising.

Don't worry Svenlobster, I am not having a go at you, I am sure I have written very similar things before.

I personally do like Anaconda, although, I must admit, the policy which I wasnt aware of until just then of beating prices by is not uncommon. I would say just about every outdoors store would do a similar thing, it just inst so clearly advertised.

As for Fairydown Escapes. They are fantastic in all respects except pitching them. Great construction, fabrics, stability and weight for size (although it is v. cozy, maybe not so useful in snow, it depends).

Their pitch does require a minimum of 7 pegs. I imagine that if the inner and fly were attached at the top then it would picth well with 3 pegs just like other quality tents that are very similar from W.E. and Macpac.
 

AlanD

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svenlobster said:
If cost is also an issue, you may want to think about joining YHA as members get 10% off the normal retail price at most outdoor retailers.

Also don't be afraid of asking for a better price, say if you went out to a shop like Anaconda and you can proove that the same tent is cheaper elsewhere, they are happy to price match and then beat it by 10%
All the major chain stores give 10% through either their loyality program (usually free) or simply because you asked.
 
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svenlobster

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Ok Ok! I am new at this!

I am just trying to get accross to the original message, that they needed help & would like to save some money!

Yes I am aware that other stores offer discounts, through free or not so free membership, but everybody does not ask for a better price and big bloody deal to 10% off anyway, you can do better than that, if you try!
 

Unknown

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If anyone is interested, new 2006 models of W.E. tents come with a seam sealed Siliconised Polyester fly rated to 4000mm, instead of an un sealed silnylon fly rated to 2000mm.

Improvements all round. I personally havent seen the new range and the website doesn't have any info about them yet.

Has anyone seen one? have they done anything new/differnt to them? their 2004 revamp of their packs was big, I wonder what the 2005 of their tents will be.
 

TeleTangler

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Hey PGS,
I currently own a Sierra Leone and there aint no way I would use it in the snow. I bought it when Eastwood Camping was closing down for a stupid price and use it for light 3 season hiking. I have had it in some blowy conditions (nothing serious)and it did ok but I would not want to be anywhere near it in a blizzard. It's just not built for it.

My advice would be to save your pennys and buy the best you can get i.e
- WE First Arrow (despite the looks its a bloody strong tent)
- Macpac Olympus (mine performed well in all sorts of weather for 15 years)
- Fairydown Plateau (never slept in one but constantly gets good reports here)
- Mt Hardware Trango II (what I bailed into when my Olympus finally gave out in the worst conditions I have ever seen - I kept on waiting for the bloody thing to take off the wind was that strong)
- or a Bibler (if you just happen to be in Kerry Packers will).

Getting something good quality that is strong and durable means your less likely to have it fail on you when you really, really don't want it to. Take it from me when a tent goes down in the middle of the night in bad weather it's not only dangerous it really bloody sux. You only have to be there once to know the value of the extra $200 - $300 for a good tent.

Craig
 

Graeme

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something I don't understand here. I can understand that a tent with lots of poles and crossover points is bombproof compared with others, given same materials, workmanship and fittings. I don't understand why a tunnel tent such as Macpac Olympus has it all over the Sierra Leone. It seems totally dependent on how good your end anchor points are, however well the tent is made. Also, I have spent a night on the Main Range in a fairly exposed site in Climberman's Sierra Leone, when some bad weather blew up overnight (not the worst the Main Range can dish out though). The tent stood up fine.
 

Romfrantic

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A great Macpac dome with cross-over poles (4 season), is the 2-person "Hemisphere"...heaps of room, and so sturdy - and reasonable at 3.5kg ...served us well on many winter snow camps on the Main Range. Not cheap, but the quality is well worth it.
 

otw

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Romfrantic said:
A great Macpac dome with cross-over poles (4 season), is the 2-person "Hemisphere"...heaps of room, and so sturdy - and reasonable at 3.5kg ...served us well on many winter snow camps on the Main Range. Not cheap, but the quality is well worth it.
Unfortunately they don't make them anymore. The new Hemisphere is a 4 person, 4 season tent. 6.3Kg
 
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Romfrantic

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otw said:
Unfortunately they don't make them anymore. The new Hemisphere is a 4 person, 4 season tent. 6.3Kg
serious
eek.gif
...what a shame, awesome tent. Must've scored one of the last 2-person ones then! have had it for 1.5 years...might be old stock in some places still though.
 
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otw

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Romfrantic said:
otw said:
Unfortunately they don't make them anymore. The new Hemisphere is a 4 person, 4 season tent. 6.3Kg
serious
eek.gif
...what a shame, awesome tent. Must've scored one of the last 2-person ones then! have had it for 1.5 years...might be old stock in some places still though.
I have one too, and it isn't bad at all. Do you have the polyester fly or the Silinylon?
 
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SWANK-E

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a lot has to be said about how and where you pitch the tent as much as how 'good' the tent is. if you can't get the first two items right, any tent no matter how 'good' can be screwed up in bad conditions.

for the record, i have a sierra leone and works in the snow fine
 

Graeme

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Another factor is where is the tent expected to be used? Most places in Vic there is reasonable shelter somewhere nearby, unless you are on Bogong summit maybe. The Main Range in NSW tends to be more exposed, and no tree shelter. Then there is the big wide world OS. It would be great to have a tent to cover all possibilities, but there is always a cost in dollars and/or weight. As Swank says, how you pitch it also matters - tight setup, good pegging and maybe a deadman or two, extra guys or a snow wall all make a difference.
 

Romfrantic

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otw said:
I have one too, and it isn't bad at all. Do you have the polyester fly or the Silinylon?
The silicon one - so super light!

SWANK-E said:
yes, invest in a snow shovel if you don't have one already.... a snow wall makes a huge difference!
Yes, if indeed camping in winter - adverse alpine weather in summer can also test your tent and pitching it right makes a huge diff. too, as Graeme also mentioned.
 
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Bogong

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Just got back from walking the Eastern Arthur Range and Federation Peak in Tassie. Tent report after 9 days rain, 2 half days sun and all days very windy.
10 year old Salewa Sierra Leone - Dry
5 year old Kathmandu Mountain - A bit soggy
1 y.o. single skin Bibbler clone - Very wet!
1 week old $85 tent from Annaconda - Dry
 

Bogong

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otw - I'm not sure what brand, the owner got it off the internet where he was assured that it was even better than Bibler. The tent had that slightly fuzzy feel on the inside, like Bibler. It leaked like a seive, eventually one of the residents moved into the spacious cheap and dry no-name Annaconda tent.

My Kathmandu 'mountain' failed due to poor manufacturing, leaky seams in extreme conditions, etc. I still think the design is terrific, just get the same design from a better quality manufacturer!

By the way, the water-resistant TSL brand torch I bought at teckel's shop was the only bit of electrical gear (torches, satelite phone, GPS, radio) that didn't fail once due to being soaked for a week and a half. Thanks teckel!
 

T7

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Bogong said:
otw said:
Bibler clone? What brand is it?
Updated information: It is an Integral Designs MKIII in eVENT (like Bibler). The owner is so disgusted with it's performance he's already put it up on ebay!
Bibler tent's are not made from eVENT. Event is a toray fabric, Todd-Tex is basically an old Gore-Tex that failed californian tent fire retardancy tests. Bibler have since figured out a way to meet those tests with thier own alterations to that fabric.
 
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Roger Caffin

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Graeme said:
something I don't understand here. I can understand that a tent with lots of poles and crossover points is bombproof compared with others, given same materials, workmanship and fittings.
Nope. Doesn't work that way at all.
If the poles can move with respect to the FLY, then the tent is not reliable in a storm. All those domes with crossed poles attached to the inner tent are just fine weather things.

I don't understand why a tunnel tent such as Macpac Olympus has it all over the Sierra Leone..
Two reasons:
The poles in the Olympus are threaded tightly into the fly, so they can't move.
The poles in any tunnel tent are much shorter than in a dome, so they are stiffer.
The Olympus has been tested at over 100 kph.
That said, I personally think the current design of the Olympus has been degraded from the older design. It no longer has a rear vestibule for your packs.

It seems totally dependent on how good your end anchor points are, however well the tent is made...
Well, I have to agree with you here that the anchors are crucial in bad weather.

By the way, don't confuse 'pop-ups' with good domes. And don't confuse TWO-pole 'tunnels' with THREE-pole tunnels. There is a slight difference in bad weather ....
 
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The Bush Patrol

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Any comments on the mac-pac hemisphere 4 person apart from the price @ $1499 or any other 3/4 person tents as we are doing away with our 2 tent option & looking for 1?
 

climberman

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You non-Leone-snow users are a bunch of lilly-livered hawaiian shirt-wearing losers. Big soft ones.

I've had huge dumps of heavy, filth conditions in my SL. Handled it a breeze. Had it buried 3/4 to top of dome in wet sludge in spring, only problem was a shovel through the fly when horsing around breaking camp. (lost a plate that trip as well).

FFS, Tenzing and Hillary climbed Everest in less.

SWANK-E - despite sounding vaguely like a hollywood actress on drugs (note - in my world this is a compliment) you have risen inexorably in my esteem.
 

SWANK-E

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why thank you.

for the record, i actually have the new 3+ season version of the Sierra Leone, called the Sierra Leone Ultra.

a lot lighter as it doesn't have that extra flap with the clear window on the fly, plus the top half is mesh, makes less condensation problems for australian snow use (we don't get THAT cold).

here a shot of a sunny morning on bogong
Bogong_SL.jpg
 
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tantangara

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MAcpac Hemispheres 2 person being cleared out. Mate and I bought 1 each in Hobart at New Year $400 off. So check around if you are looking for a solid tent at 3.5kg as some retailers may have some clearance stock.
 

Bogong

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I've narrowed down the replacement for my leaky Kathmandu 'Mountain' to:
- MSR 'Furry'
- Fairydown 'Plateau' (but it's a bit narrow)
- What is the design of the highly praised two person MacPac 'Hemisphere'? Is it 2,3 or 4 pole?
- I'm also interested in the Mntn Hardware 'Trango II', but it looks like Snowgum don't sell them anymore. Does anyone know who does or at least the Austrralian distributor?

I suspect that what all of us really want is a 2 person tent, under 4 kg, not too narrow (135+ cm wide), fairly bombproof. Does anybody have anything to say about the relative merrits of these?
 

Snow Blowey

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Bogong said:
I've narrowed down the replacement for my leaky Kathmandu 'Mountain' to:
- MSR 'Furry'
- Fairydown 'Plateau' (but it's a bit narrow)
- What is the design of the highly praised two person MacPac 'Hemisphere'? Is it 2,3 or 4 pole?
- I'm also interested in the Mntn Hardware 'Trango II', but it looks like Snowgum don't sell them anymore. Does anyone know who does or at least the Austrralian distributor?

I suspect that what all of us really want is a 2 person tent, under 4 kg, not too narrow (135+ cm wide), fairly bombproof. Does anybody have anything to say about the relative merrits of these?
Try Here:

http://www.mgear.com/pages/product/produ...el2_id/0/N/1008

The threshold is up to $1000AUS now so you shouldn't have to pay any extra taxs etc...
 
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Bogong

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Thanks I was happy to buy the 'Trango II' then and there, but US$425.00 for the tent PLUS a whopping US$73.00 for postage PLUS >2% surcharge on credit card for foreign currencies = almost A$700.00 for a tent that I can't inspect.

I think I'll keep looking for a tent locally, I'm not paying A$100 for a parcel!
 

frank leo

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i work for a camping organisation and i have some comments on snow tents.

MHW Trango - great tent, bombproof but a pain to put up in a storm, it takes at least 10 mins.

Macpac Olympus - ANother snow tent with a good name, however it is a stupid tent design. i own one of these and i think that the design puts too much pressure on the tent and as a reult they rip along the seam lines.

Fairydown in general - Good workmanship, but poor design

These are just some comments but u don't want to cheap out, go snow camping, have your tent fail and then risk dying because you didn't want to fork out for a good tent. At work we use cheap tents and the cheaper they are, the more time i spend repairing them.
 

1984

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a few questions and comments:

the eVent fabric mentioned: tell me about it. im looking at buying a bivvy bag made of eVent. does the fabric actually leak or was there condensation problems? would snow be a problem (as opposed to rain)? did it start leaking immediately or only after a few days of rain? did you guys move camps much with wet gear (ie pitching wet tents later)? my uses for it will basically be mountaineering but also lightweaight walking and mabybe skiing in Aus. thoughts?

re snow tents generally. olympuses have such a reputation. i think they are crap but figure that many people (who swear by them) cant be wrong. you can get a better 4 season tent (imho) for the 3 point something kilos an olympus weighs.

the sierra leone is OK but ditto olympus, you can do better for the weight. the ultra is a really good design. a 10 year old sierra leone is probably better than a 2 year old one due to salewa altering their quality.

for what its worth, i use a british brand (crux) tent. its is a really similar design to the fairydown plateau or kathmandu mountain but weighs around 2.8 kilos, i can get it to 2.5 if i leave all the stuff sacs behind (and i do; they dont have much use...). they have cut weigh everywhere: silinylon fly, the thinest inner fabric ive seen, light floor, basic zips and pole attachment points. i love it.

otherwise i rate mountain hardware, fairydown and marmot.
 

skifree

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I'm on my second Oly. On the 1st the fabric wore thin evenly all over so that it leaked all over in rain. About 10 years of hard snow/Tassie and littel desert use. Absolutely no evidence of any failure of any seam or any other part of the tent for that matter.
 
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