I'm interested in learning about what tents (or other kind of sleep system) the folks in this community use for their backcountry trips, and why? Do you like your tent because it is free standing and easy to put up in inclement weather? Do you like it because of the vestibule room or inside dimensions? Or do you simply trust the brand and know it will hold up over many years?
For me, my current tent is the Tarptent Moment DW. I would consider Tarptent a cottage company that Henry Shires started many years ago when he was in search of a lightweight backpacking tent that was also highly functional....he couldn't find any, so he decided to make one! I enjoy using this tent because the rainfly is attached to the inner walls but you can still remove the fly if you desire, it has an all mesh interior (accept the bathtub floor), it can be free standing that doesn't require stakes or guylines (this is possibly my favorite feature but it does require the addition of a crosspole), it has two adjustable vestibules to create additional room inside the tent or to increase the vestibule's square footage, it is considered a lightweight tent at 36 oz, and it won't COMPLETELY break your bank account compared to an UL tent from Big Agnes or Zpacks.
Your turn...ready, go!
I have a one person Roadster (REI model) and a two person tent, also from REI.
Whenever possible, I prefer to camp without a tent, carrying a bivvy sack and a tarp if dew or light rain is in the forecast. The very best is a nice rockshelter, open and airy, but offering protection from the elements.
When the elements are raging, nothing beats a North Face VE 25, but it is rather heavy for routine backpacking use (at least for just one person).
I love my REI Quarter Dome 1 person, lightweight, three season backpacking tent. I purchased it in March 2018. I have used it while bike touring as well as backpacking. It is lite, roomy, and easy to set up. It really kept out the rain during two days of nearly constant downpour on a bike touring trip in May 2018, the trip I bought the tent for. I especially like the large side vestibule, I think extremely large for a single person tent. The tent is freestanding but the fly needs to be stakes out to take advantage of the vestibule. As much as I like this tent, however, I would not trust it above tree line or in the winter. I would go with with a four season mountaineering tent.
I also use the Quarter Dome 1, I bought it to replace the Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1 that I've had for years. The QD is lighter, a few inches taller ( I can sit on my 3.5" pad with room to spare) and more vertical sides. The Lynx 1 is probably a sturdier tent in wind, but I haven't found any wind that the QD can't handle. Both are freestanding, but I always stake them down anyway.
I have a much loved 20ish year old MacPac Minaret (MacPac is a more-obscure-in-the-US New Zealand company producing high-quality gear.
As it is a two person alpine tent, although really a roomy 1 person. Designed for squelching across NZ with, I love the Minaret for many of the reason @tadoerner mentioned: rapid integrated tent/fly pitch if needed, low profile (almost bomb-proof), very sturdy multi-ply silicone bathtub floor, a vestibule that can be increased by uncoupling the inner tent and pulling it further under the fly, and very warm (I get cold easily). These well outweigh the shortcomings (not free standing being the biggest, weight, poor ventilation leading to condensation), although I am keeping my eye out for a fair-summer-weather tent to compliment it.
She is getting a bit long in the tooth, I just re-sealed the fly seams, and corners of the tub, and expect to relaminate the floor and possibly fly (some early stages of delamination on the latter). But I will happily add some sealant weight and take the time to keep the venerable old lady standing strong 🙂
I took her out to Shenandoah last weekend specifically to test the new seams so naturally it rained in DC (where I live), and I had lovely weather in the mountains!! 😛
@Philreedshikes That’s what I’ve heard about the longevity of Zpacks....but it doesn’t make me want the Altaplex any less!
I’ve started spraying it with a silicone spray from Walmart and so far so good
@tadoerner hey...I forgot to mention I've had my Tarptent Notch for years, and absolutely love it.
That said, I was using it on the John Muir Trail and came across the zpacks duplex and was blown away with its floor space and weight, and in all honesty, they did tout it as lasting just '1 thru hike'.
So when the notch zipper doors started coming loose in high winds, I used that as an excuse to get the duplex. (about 3 1/2yrs ago).
The duplex started leaking big time over a year ago, the threads actually spreading sending daylight via dozens of pin holes, which led to patching and spraying (not giving up on that expensive a tent)
So 2 weeks ago, the duplex actually started shredding apart at the tension corners where it's staked down (video).
So I've been searching and just got the durston x-mid 2 ($290, 40oz (my scale), 32sf floor), twice as heavy as the duplex (20oz), but I expect I'll have it MUCH longer. Just got it this week, it's been raining here, so will put up this weekend)
@Philreedshikes - appreciate the update! I'll have to do some research on the durston x-mid 2. Curious question though....did you reach out to Zpacks explaining the product issues on their duplex? I wonder what type of warranty or customer service they stand by?