/ tough mountain tents- quasar vs crux bomb

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eschaton - on 13 Aug 2012
I am going to buy a mountain tent for all year round use in the UK and alpine trips, something along the lines of the terra nova quasar or the crux bomb, i.e. geodesic design, very sturdy and I would like opinions from people who have used either or both of these or could recommend an alternative.

Ideally it will be fairly fast to pitch and if not outer pitching first (or all in one) then the inner should be able to withstand a bit of bad weather until the outer goes on.

I like the look of the crux bomb as it seems a very low and stable design, and the weight is really low (3.35kg max) however I wonder if the 7000m groundsheet would be able to handle being pitched on boggy ground or snow without any seepage coming through. However this seems to be not very well known and finding user reviews even on here is tough so any first hand opinions would be valued.

The Terra Nova Quasar seems to be the choice for many people who all give it a bit of abuse, however there are so many variations (ultra quasar, super quasar, quasar, all with the subsequent heavy duty variations - argh!) that it all gets a bit confusing as to which one would be best suited for me.
Something that people have mentioned with the Quasars is the trick of cooking in the main porch without letting in the elements or producing masses of condensation, surely this could be combated with a little common sense and proper ventilation?

Other tents that have caught my eye are the MSR Fury and the Macpac Plateau. I am wary of MSR tents as having used them in the past I found they almost always couldnt handle heavy rain due to low HH levels, whereas Macpac tents seem to have a reputation for being completely impermeable - especially the groundsheets but does this affect the weight too much? (4.2 kg for the Plateau, split between two people isnt so bad.)

Any help appreciated, cheers guys.
Alex Ekins - on 13 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton:
Have a look at the Alpkit tents http://www.alpkit.com/shop/cart.php?target=product&product_id=16654&category_id=253
The Kangri is similar to the Quasar. I used a Zhota in the US for two months and it was utterly bombproof.
Alex Slipchuk on 13 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton: have a look at Ortiek Jetstream. Utterly bombproof. Some really clever features. Especially whe way it can be held down by snow and/or rocks. Brilliant venting.
Scott_vzr on 13 Aug 2012
In reply to The Big Man:

Agreed, they are on display in go-otudoors, looked very impressive, very waterproof.
eschaton - on 13 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton: hmm two complete surprise entries there, cheers for the tips i'll check them out now.

@ Alex Ekins what were you using the zhota for in the US, presume something big or remote for two months worth of use.

@ The Big Man have you used the Jetstream yourself? you mention the ability to be able to hold it down with snow or rock, do you mean the snow valances/skirts around the porch area? I agree with you on the venting, good idea that though I wonder how easy it would be to adjust the opening from the inside.
There seems to be a crazy amount of crossover points, it must be really stable, if youhave used one how did you find putting it up?
AdCo82 on 13 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton: have you not considered any of the Hilleberg range?
eschaton - on 13 Aug 2012
In reply to An Triubhas: I have, they look very nice actually, the two I have looked at were the tarra and the jannu models, however at 780 and 685 respectively I dont think that I can afford them, much as I am tempted to splurge out.
kirsten on 13 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton: second vote for alpkit, use kangri and zhota...you can try before you buy.
argybargy - on 13 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton:
I have used a Macpac Minaret and a crux Storm.
The Minaret is a tunel design, very quick to put up, it seems waterproof on the groundsheet, and it survived high winds at 6000m on Mount Aconcagua. Only bad thing is it's a bit cramped for me at 6'2.
The Crux Storm has more headroom for the same weight as the Minaret. It's tricker also to setup because of the separate inner and outer sheets. It performs well in the wind but down in a city camp site the pole ferrules snap! I spoke to Crux who said that forces build up when the tent is static and that I had a dodgy batch of poles. I've been sent new poles and so far all OK.
marsbar - on 13 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton: Have you looked at vango vortex? I haven't tried that particular one, but my brother had a much earlier vango geodesic and it was great.
Simon Caldwell - on 14 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton:
Do a forum search, you'll find a few people with bad recent experience of quasars (including me). They're not as good as they used to be. Though I suppose they may have improved again, but I'll never know as I bought a Hilleberg instead.
Sambo - on 14 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton: I have had a standard Terra Nova Quasar for close to 10 years, slept all over the world in it, up at 5000m and on a beach, quite simlpy it is amazing.

I would never buy another tent! I had all the seams re-taped for free by Terra Nova under their warranty about 3 years ago.

I think in total I have slept in it for a about 1 year over 3 big trips and numerous smaller ones. it is super durable, I never use a second ground sheet, never re-waterproffed it, just seem grip on the stitching and try to pitch it in the shade if I can.

Hope this helps

Alex Slipchuk on 14 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton: i have a jetstream. Original voyager (wild country) and akto. The jetstream has a gap between inner and outer. You could place boulders or pack snow onto the connecting tape, this would hold it down. It has over 12 hanging points and a ledge. The ledge means when two kip mats are used there is no cold bare floor area. The vents are easily adjusted from inside (you could easily pee in a bottle and pour out, the doors also have a good handle on zip which means no fabric snagging, so many clever design fatt to mentio. As far as pitching. Not as quick due to 7 poles (it has 3 setups to make pitching easier and carry less weight (i can pitch on my own in Poor weather in under 15 mins no prob. Ps I've seen someone do a plank on roof. Utterly bombproof. I can email pics if you wish.
Sam Dewhurst - on 14 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton: 1 Word. Hilleberg
James91 - on 14 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton: mountain hardwear trango 2? on sale in a couple of places at the moment, hell of a tent.
deanstonmassif on 14 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton:

I don't know any of the other tents mentioned, but have owned an Ultra Quasar since 2000. I would (and have done) trust my life to it. It is the lighter weight version of the quasar, and I think comes in at 3.1Kg. 5000m in the Andes, severe mountain storms, heavy snowfall, no problems. Cost a bit, mind you.
MJH - on 14 Aug 2012
In reply to James91: Having used a Quasar and a Trango 2 in the Andes I wouldn't bother with the Trango again. In fact we stopped taking the Trango with us (just left it at our base camp) and took the Quasar.

The Quasar just seemed much, much simpler to pitch in difficult spots.
almost sane - on 14 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton:
I have a Vaude Power Odyssee. You can get one for under 270 if you shop around.

Pros:
taught pitch, so no flapping fabric.
Very strong
Pitches outer and inner together using clips, so is very easy to put up on your own on a windy day, and even easier to take down with very little risk of it blowing away.
Very good headroom.

Cons:
No through ventilation (but you would have same problem with Crux Bomb) which may be an issue at some sunny camps.
Small porch.
A bit tight for two big campers to share
In reply to eschaton:
> I am wary of MSR tents as having used them in the past I found they almost always couldnt handle heavy rain due to low HH levels

Do you mean it leaked? I've used my Hubba in some miserable weather without problems. It's not a great all-year design because of the mesh inner, but I knew that when I was buying it. I can't really imagine the fly of any decent tent these days leaking through. You can get all sorts of other problems from condensation, wind etc. etc. but waterproof nylon when it doesn't need to be breathable is clearly easy and cheap to make.
professionalwreckhead - on 14 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton: I have a Super Quasar that I use for everything from camping at the beach at Glen Brittle in summer to munro tops in winter.

Great bit of kit.

I did a fairly lengthy review of mine a while back if it's any use. I've had it some time since I wrote the review and it still impresses.

http://www.professionalwreckhead.com/?page_id=105
Jim Walton on 14 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton: I have the Ultra Quasar (), the inner is still the original and is in fine fettle. I had to replace the Fly as it got UV damaged after numerous seasons in the ALPS (Why I used to use the smallest tent I own as my Valley tent is beyond me now...)but I bought a new one from the Tera Nova Web site.

It really is a superb tent, the inner can withstand quite a bit of rain before it gets uncomfortable. The Double Zip Fly makes entry and exit really easy. Infact it has the added advantage of a little cowl above the zips which means you can open them in a rainstorm to allow air to flow through without worry of getting wet.
I bought the Mtn Fly (in a funky red) for it and this has been a God Send in Winter. Absolutely bombproof. We have sat out a few hideous storms in Scotland where others in the same valley in different tents have had to make a run for it.

On the negative side;
The Ground Sheet on the Ultra Quasar is a little 'Light'. You really must buy the separate groundsheet protector. It feels a bit annoying t have to do this but The extra weight is worth it for the extra life you will get out of the tent.
The tent is an 'inner pitch first' but I have never had a problem with this.


I love mine. But as I've never needed to buy another I don't know how much tent design has moved on.
Got a job rob - on 14 Aug 2012
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to eschaton)
> [...]
>
> I've used my Hubba in some miserable weather without problems. It's not a great all-year design because of the mesh inner, but I knew that when I was buying it.

Thats why MSR made the HP version. it has a fly that get closer to the floor and a not so much mesh inner. I love my one.
In reply to Got a job rob: > Thats why MSR made the HP version. it has a fly that get closer to the floor and a not so much mesh inner. I love my one.

Yep, exactly - which is why I'm sort of surprised to hear that one of the MSR mountain tents wasn't good. All the bits of MSR stuff I've owned down the years has been just very well designed.

I have actually used my Hubba in deep snow a few times! If you build a wall around it it's fine, but if not windblown snow can get under the inner and through the mesh inner.
eschaton - on 16 Aug 2012
Thanks for all the replies, I'm checking all of the models out at the moment, before deciding which to go for.



In reply to TobyA: I used the Hubba Hubba, the flysheet contracted and sagged loads due to temperature differences and rain levels, the surface dwr seemed almost to wash off and as a result the fabric soaked up water and started to leak through, on top of this the groundsheet seeped a massive amount and I generally wasn't impressed with the performance.

However I would be willing to give the fury a go as I would imagine it is made to a higher spec due to its intended use.
eschaton - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to TobyA:
> Yep, exactly - which is why I'm sort of surprised to hear that one of the MSR mountain tents wasn't good. All the bits of MSR stuff I've owned down the years has been just very well designed.

I should have made the wording in my original post a little clearer, I have never used the Fury but I would give it a go, the tent I used (Hubba Hubba) is not from the mountain line, I have several other pieces of MSR equipment I am very happy with (2 stoves and water filter).
maria85 - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to Jim Walton:
I've had an Ultra Quasar since 2004 and have given it tons of abuse, eventually have given it away after it fell to pieces, however the groundsheet is the one thing that has never given out, still totally watertight and no rips. I've never used a groundsheet protector or similar, and not been too careful with what I pitch it on either!
However, everything else about the tent.... I wouldn't buy another one. I've had numerous poles snap, mainly the shorter ones, both whilst pitching the tent and while it's standing. Had a few replaced under warranty from Terra Nova (who were always great about it), but then moved abroad so couldn't do the warranty thing quite as easily.
I also found the inner and outer tended to touch quite a bit in strong wind or snow, never had too many problems from this but it's a bit disconcerting.
Condensation is pretty bad, though this may be due to the fact I had snow valances on it which stopped as much air circulation? (definately recommend having snow valances by the way, more for pitching with rocks than with snow!)
I found the porches a somewhat un-useful shape, and bad weather does tend to come in through the top of the door into the inner tent.
The outer eventually decayed, but I managed to make it last a little longer myself using regular waterproof spray on the whole thing, and silicon sealent on the outside of the seams as the tape had peeled off on the inside.
Eventually it's met it's end on a 3-month patagonia trip, with 2 more broken poles, a shredded outer from the granite, and totally bust zips (I think from just being in a windy, dusty environment). Read this thread with interest as I'm not sure yet what to get next.
Fultonius - on 16 Aug 2012
Got caught in a big storm in Norway a couple of years ago.

I was in a Vango TBS Spirit 200+ and my mate was in his MSR HUbba Hubba. Hi got flattened (bent poles, ripped fly) and mine was fine. A bit flappy in a side wind but solid.

I'm not recommending the Vango (as it's a tunnel, not a geo) but just giving some more info on the MSR.


In reply to eschaton:
> I used the Hubba Hubba, the flysheet contracted and sagged loads due to temperature differences and rain levels, the surface dwr seemed almost to wash off and as a result the fabric soaked up water and started to leak through, on top of this the groundsheet seeped a massive amount and I generally wasn't impressed with the performance.

Did you complain? As that sounds pretty bad. My little Hubba has kept my dry and warm through a pretty miserable night high up Glen Nevis, as well as some less windy but rainy nights here in Finland so so far (I've had it a couple of years) I've been very happy with it. But yours sounds a bit of a turkey.
ohsmeg on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to Sambo:
I too have had a quasar (an ultra quasar) for 15 or so years and would never consider changing it for anything else. It has never let me down, never needed repair and is absolutely bombproof.
Quasar - way to go!

Simon Caldwell - on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to ohsmeg:
I had a quasar for over a decade and thought the same. So when it eventually wore out, I replaced it with a Super Quasar. Despite relatively light use compared with the original, the groundsheet started leaking after 3 years or so, but TN said there was no problem. A couple of years later one of the poles snapped (while just stood in a windless field) - they eventually agreed to replace it on the basis that they couldn't prove that I'd snapped it myself.
Perhaps I was just unlucky, but both build quality and customer service had taken a major turn for the worse since my previous tent.
Carolyn - on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton:

We've had both a Trisar and Ultra Quasar since probably the mid-90s. Trisar is giving up now (coatings going "sticky"), Quasar still going strong. Had a few pole sections replaced on the Quasar, variously under warranty or at cost from what I remember - but I have a feeling there may have been a faulty batch somewhere.

I agree, it's well worth using a ground sheet protector, at least selectively. A cut up orange survival bag does a pretty good job if you don't want to fork out for a real one. I'd tend to use it if weight isn't a huge issue or I expect to be camping on nasty ground, but leave it behind if weight's particularly important.

They pitch inner first, though you can either do that with the fly over the top, or just be fast. It's never caused us significant problems.
ballsac - on 18 Aug 2012
In reply to eschaton:

i'd echo the votes for the Alpkit Kangri - it seems extremely well made using high end materiels, has some some very well thought out features, and it comes with Alpkits reputation for customer service. i'm very, very happy with mine.

my experience with the Ultra Quasar has been mixed - i bought it in 1998 and for many years it was great. then a pole snapped and TN's customer service was somewhere between uninterested and dire, and eventually the grounsheet just died. fixing all the problems at TN would have got to 200+.

i owned a Ortik Jetstream for a day - it seems brilliant, and i'm aware that i only owned it for 1 day - however i found it an utter pig to pitch. as i was floundering after 20mins in still conditions i was very fortunate to find 2 fecking great holes in it which meant i could take it back and not be lumbered with a tent i couldn't pitch...



Alex Slipchuk on 18 Aug 2012
In reply to Sam Dewhurst:
> (In reply to eschaton) 1 Word. Hilleberg

for sure. I was always a fan of inner first, till i got an akto. It's brand new (wife bought me it, i think she may have been trying to tell me something), and although it's only been pitched a couple of times, all weather and up to munro height in strong wind and rocks for pegs, I'm very impressed . The're certainly the most practical, well thought out tent designs (not to mention the overall quality). If someone made me an offer for a mint Ortiek, I'd put the cash towards a two man hilleberg mountain tent in an instant!

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