Author Topic: Tent choice for Northern tier  (Read 4122 times)

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Offline Manilishi

Tent choice for Northern tier
« on: March 06, 2017, 03:35:51 pm »
I have a choice to make between my two tents , a eureka backcountry 1 = green ( great for stealth camping) roomy and spacious, freestanding 3 pounds 14 ounces  and my new one , a big Agnes fly creek high volume 1 = bright yellow and silver - definitely not stealthy- roomy enough to sit up and change clothes in but not spacious, not freestanding -a svelte 1 pound 14 ounces.  I am thinking there's not a lot of need for stealth camping on the northern tier and I like to travel fast and light. I don't plan on spending much time (awake anyway) in the tent.  I also have a feeling since I won't be pitching it in beach or desert sand the freestanding won't really come into play.  I plan on taking the Big Agnes - any advice from Northern tier veterans?

Offline dkoloko

Re: Tent choice for Northern tier
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2017, 10:33:48 am »
I've ridden the entire Northern Tier. I rarely stealth camp. Tent I took on the Northern Tier was not free standing. I don't consider free standing that necessary. My current tent is advertised as free standing, but is only usable with number of stakes.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Tent choice for Northern tier
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2017, 11:38:58 am »
When in doubt, go light.
May the wind be at your back!


  • Guest
Re: Tent choice for Northern tier
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2017, 01:10:08 pm »
Veteran from more than 15 years ago. We never "stealth" camped once. In fact, several parts of the route offered no real opportunity since they pass through fenced off, open ranch land and farm lands, including many miles of corn fields. If you are good with the space, I'd go with the BA. (I have been using a Fly Creek UL2 for the last two years.) The only downside I see is that it might not pitch well if you have the opportunity to sleep under something like a picnic pavilion with a concrete floor to escape rain. Then again, maybe it would pitch well enough.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Tent choice for Northern tier
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2017, 03:15:19 pm »
All things equal, I prefer a free-standing tent. But I wouldn't pay two pounds for it! I've used both. I don't think stealth camping or not is a deciding factor. I don't see anything about stealth camping that speaks for or against a freestanding tent. Besides, stealth camping is not a binary thing. Many campsites are quasi-legal.

Freestanding tents still do much better if you can add a few stakes, and non-freestanding tents don't necessarily need stakes (you can substitute rocks, picnic tables, trees, etc.).

I did the NT in 2012. The NT is pretty heavy on camping. I spent 49 of my 64 nights in my tent.

As long as your okay with the room, take the lighter one.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 03:20:40 pm by John Nelson »

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Tent choice for Northern tier
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2017, 07:14:20 pm »
I would say: If you are racing across America, take the light one. Otherwise not.

The NT was my first long distance trip. I had the Hilleberg Nallo 2 person tent which is a non-freestanding tunnel tent. With all the possibilities of setting up my tent on convered concrete slabs etc (impossible with the Nallo), after completing the NT, I went out and bought a free standing tent for all my oncoming trips. Has been one of my best investments.

Biggest advantage of freestanding tents in my opinion - when setting up on a concrete slab or something similar indoor: Especially on the NT, you will have cool nights. The result is heavy condensation on the inside of the fly. This is particularly a big problem when setting up on grass/lawn. In the morning I would try to wipe down the moisture with my towel - but I was never able to get rid of all the water. I had to pack the moist tent and get going. During my lunch break I would take ou the tent and dry all parts in the sun. That would take only 5-10 min. But it is annoying to unpack and pack the tent 2 times a day just because of this. NOT unpacking and fully drying the tent will result in unpleasant smells and to me an "uncomfortable" tent each evening. So when camping somewhere I would always look for a covered place because I know it will save me a lot of time the oncoming day.

The above rarely occurs on the Transam: Here the temperatures are much higher during the night and you often never reach the dew point.