Author Topic: tent for transam  (Read 6615 times)

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Offline Rick.in.AZ

tent for transam
« on: September 29, 2012, 09:06:24 pm »
Planning for the transam next summer. I'd did the Pacific coast with a tarp tent, but given bugs I think I need a real tent for the transam. Plus, a cozy abode, while ok for 3 wks is a no for 3 months. I do have a 30+yr old janSport wedge (2/3 2 person dome) which was a nice tent in its day, but is worn and smelly and weighs 5 # total. So it seems time for a new tent. I see the spitfire noted as cheap and light, but what other choices are there?  I *think* I wan't a true free standing tent.  I know I want to be able to sit up (I'm 5' 10") can go to say $300 if I have to, but don't want to spend frivolous. And I prefer to stay light. So what do you all think?

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: tent for transam
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2012, 09:22:18 pm »
I usually figure a tent is comfortable for N-1 people, where N is the number of people the manufacturer thinks will fit in it.

Really light (under 4 pounds for a 2-person tent) seems to start around $300 and go up.  Look around this fall, and you may get lucky with a good sale.

Offline BikeFreak

Re: tent for transam
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2012, 03:49:21 am »
When doing the transam the most important thing is to have a free standing tent. You will have so many opportunities with covered shelters (city parks) where pitching obviously is not possible - but you will have no dew problems.

Lucas

Offline dkoloko

Re: tent for transam
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2012, 09:30:21 am »
As to free standing tent, "free standing" does not mean can stand and be usable without stakes. (My "free standing tent requires 12 stakes.)

As to using non-free standing tent under pavilion, I've managed to do that; not a problem high on my list of concerns.

As to sitting up in tent, Spitfire, with height of 40 in., may be a challenge for you, at 5 ft 10 in., to sit up in.

Online staehpj1

Re: tent for transam
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2012, 09:43:15 am »
When doing the transam the most important thing is to have a free standing tent. You will have so many opportunities with covered shelters (city parks) where pitching obviously is not possible - but you will have no dew problems.

At one time I would have said that too, but I have found that some non freestanding tents including the spitfire pitch fine in those situations.

I love my Spitfire 1 and find that it would be easy to pitch anywhere I camped on the TA.   It is a big plus on the TA to be able to pitch on concrete , but the spitfire is easy to pitch because it only needs to be staked or tied out at the ends so tying it between two picnic tables or posts or even stakes that are off the edge of the concrete.

Other tents that can pitch with just the ends staked out would work equally well.

On the size issue...  I find tents to generally be fine at their rated capacity since I leave my gear on the bike at night.

Offline Rick.in.AZ

Re: tent for transam
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2012, 12:26:32 pm »
Thanks folks.  I am also thinking that another possibility is to clean up my janSport and replacing the dying and heavy fiberglass poles with new lighter and shorter segmented aluminum poles. That tent really can pitch w/o stakes and while a bit heavy, provides real privacy w/o the fly. My guess is that with new poles it would be 4 1/2 # total. Does that seem high?

Offline HONDO

Re: tent for transam
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2012, 01:23:57 pm »
You could just keep your old tent and purchase a lightweight tarp and set it up only if it rains. equinox makes some light ones.

Offline Rick.in.AZ

Re: tent for transam
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2012, 02:39:05 pm »
Hondo,
Do you mean replace the fly with a Leigh tarp?  That's another interesting idea. I could easily make a silicon impregnated fly for it as the shape is simple. Since the poles and fly are half the weight I might be able to cut the total to 4 #.  That seems decent for what would then be an almost no compromise tent. Interesting idea...

Offline HONDO

Re: tent for transam
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2012, 03:33:10 pm »
I learned the hard way about tents. I bought a cheap walmart tent, even sprayed with it silicone but it couldnt hold out the big rain one night and I was soaked inside and out. With tents lighter equals more $$. Had I had a tarp I could have set it up as a 2nd fly and probably been ok. I guess it just depends on how much money you want to spend . Ive watched eBay but a good lightly used tent gets pretty competitive with the bidding.

Online staehpj1

Re: tent for transam
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2012, 04:02:29 pm »
provides real privacy w/o the fly.
Not sure what the weather will be for your TA, but on ours I would have rather had more mesh than more privacy.  All mesh would have been fine with me.  It was an exceptionally hot year though.

Also I am a bit surprised by your comment that the tarp tent was "ok for 3 wks is a no for 3 months".  I always figured that whatever is OK for a few weeks is fine for a longer trip.  I am inclined to use the same gear regardless of the trip length.  If anything I'd watch the weight more closely on longer trips.  I guess it is personal preference thing though.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 04:04:27 pm by staehpj1 »

Offline Rick.in.AZ

Re: tent for transam
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2012, 05:20:51 pm »
@ staehpj1 - my ok for 3 weeks comment is that I was getting tired of the cramped tarp tent after 3 weeks but put up with it. I think I'd hate it after 3 months. The temp comments are good - that's the kind of info I need. I can tolerate heat better than most as we Arizonans sleep at 80* in the summer as normal, but "it's a dry heat"  None the less, I want to sleep at night!  On cost, if I have to pay more then I will. I just don't want to waste or overspend uunnecessarily.

Offline Rick.in.AZ

Re: tent for transam
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2012, 08:13:42 pm »
Did some research, and visited my local REI (20% off this week for any 1 item) and read here a bunch - a few tents that catch my eye that I wonding if any of you have input on:

Big Agnes Fly Creek 2           $370.00  2 lbs. 10 oz. Pack size: 6.5 x 19"    Floor: 86 x 52"  Peak: 38"
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1  $350.00  2 lbs. 12 oz. Pack size: 5.5 x 16"    Floor: 90 x 42"  Peak: 37"
Eureka Spitfire 1                   $130.00  3 lbs. 4 oz.   Pack size: 5.0 x 22"    Floor: 96 X 42"  Peak: 40"
REI 1/4 Dome T1                   $219.00  3 lbs. 7 oz.   Pack size: 6.5 x 19.5" Floor: 85 x 39"  Peak: 37"

The Spitfire is mentioned here a couple times as a good, light, cheap choice, but is not freestanding

The Fly creek is in stock at REI and while the spendiest, is the lightest by a bit - it is well reviewed by backpackers, but little tourist comment

The Copper spur is a bit cheaper, but more totally freestanding, and more roomy. It also has shorter poles (16") which will fit better on a rack

Not much comment on the quarter dome - it's a bit heavier, but quite roomy (it's a square footprint)

Then of course, I can clean up and keep my JanSport -
LOTS of room, but even with new poles (~$50), a new fly (~25 fabric) it will still weigh ~ 4 #.

Thoughts??

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: tent for transam
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2012, 09:23:39 am »
If you're over, say, 5'10", I'd head back to the REI when they're not too busy, set up each tent, and lie down in them.  I eliminated a number of tents because of my height -- if your bare food brushes the tent wall in the Tetons, the mosquitoes will find it and bite through the tent.  Not much fun.

Also, beware too low a mesh panel.  If you camp in the rain, it's amazing how easy it is for that one stake you didn't set out to allow a drip from the fly right into the floor of the tent.  One more reason to sleep with your head facing uphill, I guess.

As for selection, the difference between the lightest and heaviest of your selections is one full or empty 24 oz water bottle.  It's your money, so you get (have?) to make the call.

Offline dkoloko

Re: tent for transam
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2012, 12:12:57 pm »
" I can clean up and keep my JanSport -
LOTS of room, but even with new poles (~$50), a new fly (~25 fabric) it will still weigh ~ 4 #."

Four pounds is not a lot for a lightweight tent for 1-2 persons. Yes, I know there are lighter tents, but in my experience, that'll be about average for 1-2 person tent weight (inc fly, poles, etc) of other bicycle tourers you'll meet.

Offline John Nelson

Re: tent for transam
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2012, 12:28:41 pm »
Also note that what a retailer says a tent weighs and what it really weighs can be different.