I'd love to hear what your favorite tents are now or ones you've had in the past?
For me....I'll always love my North Face Tadpole 23. This thing was awesome and wicked dry. It went with me all over Europe and I spent 3 months straight in this thing while in Wales. Alas, a storm finally destroyed it and I moved on.
I've been using the REI Quarter Dome T2 since about 2012? It is now at end of life and I'm looking forward to my next tent purchase
As soon as it hits the REI distribution center, I'll be picking up the new Sea to Summit Telos and am super stoked about it. I can't wait to share my adventures with you all this summer.
I still have an ALPS lynx 1. I don't use it because it's a lot heavier than the quarterdome, but it's an awesome tent for one person other than the weight (and even that's not horrible). Tough little tent, I had to replace the poles once, customer service was fast and friendly. I think the poles were about $30, it was a tough choice at the time because I'd only paid $80 for the tent LOL.
My favorite tent of all time is the Pop-Tent, the first tent that Bill Moss designed. My dad bought one for car camping back in the early 1960s. I still have it and it still works, although I haven't slept in it in years.
For a YouTube video see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11ju3-pz6Xk
My all-time favorite was the old REI Dome, from back in the early '70's. It was claimed to be a 3-person tent; if so, those three folks were much cozier than the two of us, and didn't have any gear they needed to sleep or keep dry! Bright yellow except where all the vents and screens were; taupe rain fly. And mathematically it was a true dome. Shed rain and wind like it wasn't even there. It was a sad day when we had to declare it aged beyond recovery. Here's one of the few electronic pictures of it from the rear, shortly before its Viking funeral. You can see how faded it is from several decades of use!
As a mathematics major in college, I really appreciate the phrase, 'mathematically it was a true dome'! Thanks for sharing!
You're a math major? Wow, didn't know that! That is so cool! I have an associate in math, which I got while switching between medical technology and engineering. Anytime I needed more credits, I filled them with math courses. Mostly because of my reading Robert Heinlein, who said in at least one story that you can't have too much math. "If it can’t be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion."
That's a great quote! Unfortunately, I never finished my degree, however, I definitely cannot complain about how things turned out! I have found many uses for my love of math working at REI.
This quote seems apropos:
'Nature is written in mathematical language.'
Reading through all of these responses was great! Well-loved gear is so much fun.
Like @Diesseldorf, I love my ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 2 Tent. Once when four of us were huddled in it during a storm someone said it felt like a "Hermione Tent", alluding to the fictitious one that magically opens into a 12-bedroom home when entered.
A few years back three of us slept fairly comfortably in it for ten days straight, so it certainly gets my nod of approval for ease of entry and shape. I like to think its sun-faded rain fly was hard-earned!
@REI-CarterC 4 and 3 people in the Zephyr 2! You all must be close friends, or you are now!
@Diesseldorf - You are correct on that one!
I will admit that when another friend drove down ten days later with a two-room mansion of a tent, we all happily moved from the cramps quarters of the Zephyr 2 into that one.
It's also worth admitting that we weren't even in the backcountry, but at a comfy drive-up campsite. Our tent choice had simply been made based on trunk space. The Zephyr definitely ranks as my favorite, though TBD if the best memories are from when it was supremely overcrowded or not!
My tent history
Eighties...A no name dome tent used for a few car camping adventures in particular to Yosemite, a trip that forever soured my wife on camping although that was not the tent's fault. Notable for being maroon with a silver reflective fly and ferruled fiberglass poles which eventually and inevitably failed. Very dark and exotic inside.
Nineties...A 8 person white and blue Kelty family tent big enough to park a car in (nearly). It comfortably accommodated a queen size inflatable mattress and two twins for a few family car camping adventures and was lent out a couple of times. Its space made it more comfortable but the logistical effort of family camping overshadowed any advance as far as my wife was concerned. Still in the garage but I'm dubious of its condition due to fiberglass poles and age...must be 25 years old now. Amazingly light and airy place to be.
Early 20Aughts...A 3 person REI Taj III used for car camping and my first modern backpacking trip as a shared carry...it weighs about 6lb I think. It has an odd leaning hoop pole system but the main oddness was a triangular window in the fly which I think was to encourage peeping toms...although no one every peeped at me. It has been on a number of other car camping adventures both by me and lent to others. Currently the fly is starting to get a bit sticky and one or two of the glued on guy points have come off. It has now been semi permanetly lent out. I enjoyed its subdued sandy yellowness common in REI tents of that decade.
Mid 20Aughts...A chain sports store house brand 2 person (very optimistically) "hiker biker" single wall hoop tent I got for a short backpacking trip where I needed a solo tent in a hurry. Actually very light (less than 2lbs I think) despite its fiber glass poles but most of all it was very cheap. I think $24 list and I got it on sale. It was used for various other adventures and I still have it. Dark blue and grey, it did the job I needed surprisingly well but it was basically an elevated bivvy...not a place I'd want to spend any more time that I had to.
Late 20Aughts...A Big Agnes Copper Spur 2UL Gen 1 bought using some sort of work bonus shortly after they came out. Very nice two person free standing tent for the time. I think in the low 3lb range. Unfortunately my ambitions for backpacking became theoretical around that time and this tent went underutilized for a number of years. It subsequently had various coastal, sierra and canyon land adventures and now has been permanently lent out. It got a bit of TLC on the seam taping at 10 years old although no leaks have been reported. It has a sort of dark orange/black mesh interior which I find a bit oppressive.
Late 20Teens...A Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 bought shortly after they came out. Used mostly in the Sierra. I also lent it to a couple and they used and enjoyed it for their JMT hike. A very nice sub 3lb semi-freestanding tent bought because my CS was on permanent loan and I needed something for solo carry that was more pleasant and reliable than the aging hiker biker tent. A Half Dome 2+ was available but it was over 6lbs packed and I wasn't going to carry that. I considered the more robust freestanding BA CS UL1 Gen2 which was the same weight and cost (both on sale at the time) but chose the TW UL2 for its interior space. More of a pain to set up than the freestanding CS's. I had to modify the fixed guys to make it usable other places than a lawn. It has one or two minor design irritations mostly to do with the vestibule doors. I like the interior yellowy orange brightness of this tent...makes me happy to wake up to. Probably my favorite so far.
Early 20Twenties...A Six Moons Lunar Solo...A fairly inexpensive sub 2lb 1.5P single wall hybrid single trekking pole tent. Six Moons have been making this tent in some form since at least 2005 so it is something of a classic in lightweight tents. Thought I'd try this just to see. I seam sealed it myself (bit is pita to be honest but I didn't make too much of a mess of it). I also made a Tyvek footprint to keep the dirt off although the 40D silpoly floor is otherwise up to the task without. It is much more of a pain to set up then either the CS or TW since you have to get the guy out right. Fine on a flat lawn but a rocky site tends to cause bad language. The main guy line broke from the tent the first night I erected it in the wild. Some knot tying fixed it up. I still have to get around to fixing that permanently. I don't really like the webbing guys/adjusters mostly because they are short for more challenging sites. I note they have been replaced with cord adjusters in this years crop so I'm not the only one. I may make that modification. It's very roomy for a single person tent. The CS UL1 Gen2 I tried felt coffin like but this has space to spread gear out, or a dog or even a companion in a pinch. It is a mid grey which I find a bit dull and boring to be in. While I prefer the TW's "atmosphere", this setup is about 1lb lighter so I suspect I'll be using it more.