Author Topic: free standing?  (Read 2895 times)

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Offline humunuku

free standing?
« on: June 10, 2012, 08:27:37 pm »
do y'all think a free standing tent  important to have, or one that you stake down is fine?

Offline DaveB

Re: free standing?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2012, 10:25:09 pm »
Free standing is convenient but stake it down anyway.  Free standing tents can still be blown away by wind. 

Offline John Nelson

Re: free standing?
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2012, 11:28:40 pm »
Depends on where you are touring and camping. If you do as I did and set it up frequently under park pavilions on a concrete surface, the freestanding feature is important. If you can't stake it, you can sometimes tie it to a picnic table.

Offline staehpj1

Re: free standing?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2012, 07:02:54 am »
Tough call, depending on where and how you tour.  Free standing is nice, but typically weighs more.  As John said on routes like the TA it is pretty common to camp under a picnic pavilion.  For that a free standing tent is very nice.  We typically left the fly off and just used the inner tent to keep the bugs away.

That said I really like my Eureka Spitfire 1 for it's low price and light weight.  It pitches nicely with 4 stakes and under a pavilion it can be pitched with just two end points tied to picnic tables or whatever.

In places with no biting insects and it doesn't rain too often I like a bivy best.  I sleep on top of it unless it is cold or rain starts.  I do carry a tiny tarp (5'x5') for rainy nights.  It is easy to climb in and zip up if conditions change.  This setup is no fun if it will be hot and buggy though.

BTW, it is easier to dry out a free standing tent's bottom since it can be laid on it's side or upside down.  Just be careful or it will blow away really easily when drying out.

Offline dkoloko

Re: free standing?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2012, 10:59:59 am »
You may be surprised at definition of a free standing tent.

http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-gear/gear-guy/What-s-a-freestanding-tent-.html

Whether to have a tent that is free standing as defined is of minor importance.

Offline staehpj1

Re: free standing?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2012, 11:31:11 am »
You may be surprised at definition of a free standing tent.

http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-gear/gear-guy/What-s-a-freestanding-tent-.html

Whether to have a tent that is free standing as defined is of minor importance.
Not sure I get why you think we might be surprised.  I am also not sure what you mean by the last sentence about it being of little consequence.  Can you elaborate a bit?

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: free standing?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2012, 12:30:36 pm »
You may be surprised at definition of a free standing tent.

http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-gear/gear-guy/What-s-a-freestanding-tent-.html

Whether to have a tent that is free standing as defined is of minor importance.

Interesting, isn't it, that the ability to set the tent up on a showroom floor is closely related to the ability to set up the same tent in a city park pavilion, a favorite location for touring cyclists.

Also, the need to stake the tent in wind depends on the severity of the wind.  In a 5-10 mph breeze, toss a couple of full panniers in the tent (or one or more touring cyclist(s) in sleeping bags), and no worries. 

It's also possible to dry a wet free-standing tent with some clever staking in a breeze.  For instance, set the tent up, stake the two down-wind corners, and then flip it onto its top.  Dries the bottom as well as the inside.  (Bonus points if you attach the fly to the top corners.)

Weight is the only factor I can see in favor of a non-freestanding tent.

Offline staehpj1

Re: free standing?
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2012, 01:21:30 pm »
Weight is the only factor I can see in favor of a non-freestanding tent.
Maybe, but given that the tent is pretty likely to be the heaviest item in the gear list that can still be a fairly significant factor.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: free standing?
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2012, 03:36:45 pm »
Another thing to consider is some campgrounds have "upgraded" to camping pads filled with sand. Depending on how loose the sand is, it can make it hard to stake something down. I've seen a few USFS campsites in the NW with sand camping pads.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: free standing?
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2012, 03:40:41 pm »
In places with no biting insects and it doesn't rain too often I like a bivy best.  I sleep on top of it unless it is cold or rain starts.  I do carry a tiny tarp (5'x5') for rainy nights.  It is easy to climb in and zip up if conditions change.  This setup is no fun if it will be hot and buggy though.

I like my bivy too, but only use it for short tours and for areas that I feel like there will be no/little bugs. Or if the forecast is dry. I wanted to use my bivy for my recent tour last week through Washington. But the forecast called for wet weather, and it pretty much rained every night that I camped. So I brought my small one-person tent. And while the NW isn't as buggy as say the Midwest or South, there were mosquitoes at a couple campgrounds. With the tent I had somewhere to hide from them.

The one plus about bivys that I really like is the ability to look up at the stars while in bed.

Offline dkoloko

Re: free standing?
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2012, 02:14:04 pm »
Not sure I get why you think we might be surprised.  I am also not sure what you mean by the last sentence about it being of little consequence.  Can you elaborate a bit?

I didn't say all of you might be surprised; I said the poster of the inquiry might be surprised, considering his inexperience. Did you read the reference? Don't you understand the industry definition of free-standing may not be what one thinks? I see a number of statements in this thread stating a free standing tent may need staking in strong wind. My free standing tent is useless without staking, wind or no wind, and it takes a lot of stakes. I suspect the inquirer thinks that he can just pick up a free standing tent and put it here or there without doing anything further. Maybe, but the industry definition for free standing says although tent may stand, may need staking to be useful. Free standing, as defined by the industry, is of minor importance in picking a tent.

Offline bogiesan

Re: free standing?
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2012, 08:51:08 am »
do y'all think a free standing tent  important to have, or one that you stake down is fine?

The opposite can be a problem. If you have a tent that MUST be staked out, like the sierra Designs Flashlight series, you may limit your camping site options inconveniently.

When I finally replaced my 20-year old FLashlight, I wanted a freestanding model. Touring in Idaho means mountain storms. My Mountain Harware tent shkes off 20-30 mph winds.

I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline bogiesan

Re: free standing?
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2012, 08:54:20 am »
Bivvies can be researched among ultralight backpacking entusiasts and the sites they frequent. I enjoyed the freedom of a silicon-impregnated tarp and a bivvy while backpacking. Camp went up in about 3 minutes and came down just as quickly. Highly recommended stealth and conventional camping system for a certain kind of individual who needs speed and agility or who just doesn't want a bunch of furniture on the trip.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent