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Posted: 9/3/2010 9:02:54 PM EDT
I need a tent, I do most of my camping in Colorado in the late summer or early fall. I want a 1 to 4 person tent but prefer a 2 or 3 person tent. I really like the MSR Skinny Too, I have not been able to find many reviews on it though. What do you guys think, suggest?

I would also like a compression sack for my north face aleutian (its a 20 degree synthetic bag), right now I am using a girdle that goes over a stuff sack and it sucks, is there anything I should know about compression sacks?

Lastly I am considering buying a sleeping pad. Right now I just have a blue foam mat, it doesn't bother me to sleep on it, but it takes up so much room, plus all the cool kids use thermarest. It would be cool if I could get something that works as a camp chair.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 9:23:36 PM EDT
Look at Big Agnes for your tent and sleeping pad. HQ'd right there in Steamboat Springs, CO, I have the Emerald Mountain SL3 that sleeps 3. Very roomy, and light - 5 1/2 lbs or so. Also, their inflatable pads are a good value.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 9:29:04 PM EDT
I looked at the Big Agnes today at REI. I'm seriously considering getting that bag, but I think you need to buy their pad because it is the bottom side insulation for the bag. I could stuff my 1" pad in there, but it was designed for 2.5" BA inflatable and if you don't fill up that space I don't think the warmth rating will hold up.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 7:17:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2010 7:21:09 AM EDT by Combat_Diver]
x-red-x,

What type of camping are you doing? Backbacking or car/base camp?

My last tent I ordered from Bass Pro (Christmas gift from mom for family) was a two room cabin tent. Don't remember the model. For backpacking I've got a old Eurka Timberline 2 man mountain tent that has served me well over the last 20 years in Ky, Tn, NC and Germany. Always try and go one man larger on the tent to give you more room inside. ie. where are you planning on storing your ruck?

As for as a compression sack for you bag, look for one that has 2-3 straps running long ways and sinches down at the ends. That seems to compress best in my opion (30 yrs of sleeping out of fart sacks around the world). You could just use your existing compression bag and add a few extra straps of 1" nylon and buckles.

Get a thermarest then. I do believe that I remember seeing a kit that allows the thremarest to be folded and has straps on the bottom of the folds "__A". I used to just prop the thermarest up against my ruck for a backrest.

CD
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 3:42:23 PM EDT
This gear is for backpacking.

Thanks for the suggestion I'll check out the timberline. The tent I mentioned has a vestibule for gear storage.

I could just add buckles to what I have, but its just awkward to use, I would like a quality compression sack.

Thanks for the advice!
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 8:01:55 PM EDT
sea to summit and granite gear make good compression sacks
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 8:34:26 PM EDT
Originally Posted By inop:
sea to summit and granite gear make good compression sacks


The Eureka Timberline is by far the best tent I ahve ever had, I bought a second. I have a timberline 2 that I roll solo, and a timberline 4 that I use when I have a friend with me. If I had it to do over I would have bought the outfitter version of the timberline 4 [2 doors, sturdier stitching].

Link Posted: 9/7/2010 3:30:12 PM EDT
do you want a 1 person, 2 person, 3 person or 4 person tent? i don't know of any 1-4 person tents.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 1:41:30 PM EDT
Just adding a +1 for Big Agnes. I have a tent and a couple bag/pad combos that are great!
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 11:25:39 AM EDT
Eureka Timberline Outfitter tents are very sturdy, but a bit heavy for backpacking, IMO. The "4" works well for 2-3 people. It can fit 4, but they had better not be tall or fat!
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 12:11:39 PM EDT
Have not tried Big Agnes bags or tents, but have have 2 of their inflatable sleeping pads and they are the best I've found for the combination of low weight, good softness and great warmth. Highly recommended.
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 5:37:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/15/2010 5:41:14 AM EDT by TxRabbitBane]
Originally Posted By MissouriBob:
I looked at the Big Agnes today at REI. I'm seriously considering getting that bag, but I think you need to buy their pad because it is the bottom side insulation for the bag. I could stuff my 1" pad in there, but it was designed for 2.5" BA inflatable and if you don't fill up that space I don't think the warmth rating will hold up.


I've used my Big Agnes bag with a thermarest (1") pad below freezing (and as low as the teens) without being cold at all. Although the BA pad has a lot of fans, you'll do just fine with a thermarest as well. I think the key is that the pad is as wide as the pocket (20" I think) so that there is no uninsulated gap between your backside and the cold cold ground. The thermarest is a snug fit so as far as I can tell there's no problem there. The hood and draft collar on my bag (lost ranger) work exceptionally well also. I'm a big fan of my sleeping bag.

I have a sierra designs 3-season backpacking tent that is a little chilly when the weather gets below freezing, but stands up to wind and rain quite well and is luxuriously large for 1-2 people. If I think the weather has a great chance of being fair I'd prefer to ditch the 5 lbs in favor of a tarp, but when the weather looks shitty that 5 lbs doesn't seem too heavy at all.
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 6:30:42 AM EDT
There's a lot to cover there. Many here have had good advice already.
I've only had the opportunity to test drive a Big Agnes once - and it was a fine experience. With the Thermarests there are a few different models and they aren't all the same. $100 is a lot on a pad - so be honest with yourself about what your needs/wants are. Their "Trail-Light" is a good compromise at 2lbs, 3.8R rating and $60. For anything worth it price goes up and weight goes down from there. Get a patch kit and carry it - trust me.
A backpacking tent in a 3 person configuration will be pricey. With many backpacking tents a two person works well for one, a three for two, and so on. That being said, two doors are a great convenience when camping with others. One of my Sierra tents has an odd footprint and it's tough with two people. So get a symmetrical floor plan if able. Hubbed pole systems offer some ease of setup and strength, but two/multiple pole systems offer easier repairs and the possibility to fabricate a shelter if one pole fails. I wouldn't let hubbed or not be a big factor. A free-standing tent is the only way to go. Weight can be saved on others, but convenience and versatility of a free-standing tent prioritize over the weight savings to me. The only exception is snow camping tents.
The sleeping bag is the heart and soul of any camping system. OR makes plenty of compressions that can reduce that bag some. But you're in CO - get a good down bag. After years of using synthetic bags I finally got a really good down bag. It's well, well worth it. Anyone that claims that their $200 synthetic bag works as well just doesn't know. A +20 bag is getting borderline around here now - you will feel it some nights for certain. It's worth it IMO to save $$ on other parts of the kit to save for a really good sleeping bag. I'd want a warmer bag here in Sept. (10k+ elevation)- as it's getting wintery now.
I've added a heavy duty "space blanket" to my kit and it's been a huge improvement. It's a thicker heavy duty one that I use as a ground cloth under the tent / bivy. It's 14oz and is a huge insulation improvement.
I sell this stuff for a living around here; feel free to contact me. Happy trails.

-JC
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 7:18:25 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/15/2010 7:20:00 AM EDT by Combat_Diver]
One thing to do during cold weather to make it more bearable is to throw a hot water bottle in the bottom of your bag. This does several things.
1) preheats the bag before you get in.
2) keeps your feet warm all night (first thing to get cold)
3) you have unfrozen water to start breakfeast in the morning after your other canteens outside have frozen. Also turn your canteens upside down so the water freezes at the high point and not at the mouth so you can open in the morning.

Don't use boiling water however as you'll cook inside your bag. Just hot around 120-130 degrees, place in wool sock/watch/pile cap in bottom of bag.

CD
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