/ For you Tent experts - Which of these is the best
Hey - I am a fairly well experienced Hiker, and I am now looking to move up to proper solo backpacking and wild camping. I have been buying the appropriate gear, however I have gotten stuck on the right tent. I am not made of money, but I recognise that a tent is something I should probably invest a good amount of cash in to - especially since I am plan on camping throughout the winter in the Brecon beacons (Although not the worse possible conditions such as snow and storms). I am looking for a one man tent, which is light and durable (I am also fairly tall at about 190cm). My budget is up to about £400
I have narrowed it down to probably the Terra Nova Laser Competition 1 or the Nordisk Telemark 1 LW.
Many recommend the Hilleberg Akto but I am afraid its a bit out of my price range. I have been leaning towards the Telemark 1 so far, however I'm not sure I am entirely confident in its durability in high winds. If you have any alternative recommendations they would be welcomed
Thanks in advance for the advice :D
Also Vango’s F10 Helium UL tents worth a look and lightwave's offerings.
People do complain about excessive condensation in the Nordisk if you read around.
Vango Banshee 200 or 300. Plenty of room in both for a single person and gear.
I suspect you're after something which doesn't exist.
There's an old saying about tents: light, strong, cheap; choose any two. Your problems seem to stem from wanting to camp in high wind, if your concerns about the Telemark 1 are an indication (but not storms. Good luck with the distinction), so strength is an issue, but so is price with an upper limit of £400. So, strong and cheap which excludes lightness. But . . .
. . . I suspect that you've fallen for a bit of marketing here. Why do you want a tent that's made out of tissue paper and weighs no more than a politician's promise? You can get something that's still a perfectly portable weight and that's both stronger and easier on the pocket if you compromise on the weight a little. So ditch the Laser competition and every other tent you've looked at that is designed to pander to saving every fraction of a gramme and go back and look again at the ones that weigh a little more and probably cost a little less. You'll find a great deal more choice.
Maybe also have a look at the Tarptent Scarp 1, not quite as light as the two you have narrowed it down to but much roomier and very well regarded on some other UK based backpacking sites. Also has the option of adding cross poles to make it freestanding and capable of snow loading.
Additionally, it may seem obvious but I'd also look for something that you'll fit into. If you're fairly tall you want an inner that's 220 cm long and an inner height that's no less than 95 cm, ideally 100 cm so you can sit up inside. One way that grammes have been shaved off tent weights is by making them less generous in their proportions, which can be a limiting issue for taller people.
Not being able to stretch out or sit up might be possible for a night's camping in good weather when you'd be sitting outside anyway; but in wet weather, you want a tent you can fit into without hunching over to brew up.
I use a Banshee for backpacking and I really have no complaints. It isn’t ‘ultra’ light but it’s very light, keeps the weather out and could be got a few months ago for 120 quid.
I’ve become quite attached to it.
I'd avoid the Atko if i was you. I has one and it was hopeless for me. I'm 5''11' and there's simply not enough foot and head room to stop the sleeping bag from getting wet overnight (touching sides). Condensation was a problem too even fully vented. Competition may be very similar size wise.
I saw a MSR elixir ( i know it would probably be too heavy) at a show this summer and was blown away with the internal space and headroom. I've got a Freelite 2 and its pretty good so the 1 may be an option.
Tarptents are good but you have to factor in the duty that has to be paid on them. Another cottage industry tent maker worth looking at is Trekkertent, made in Scotland so no import duty and fantastically good tents. I have a Phreeranger and find it great for one, lots of room and only 1.3kg.
> I suspect you're after something which doesn't exist.
> There's an old saying about tents: light, strong, cheap; choose any two. Your problems seem to stem from wanting to camp in high wind, if your concerns about the Telemark 1 are an indication (but not storms. Good luck with the distinction), so strength is an issue, but so is price with an upper limit of £400. So, strong and cheap which excludes lightness. But . . .
> . . . I suspect that you've fallen for a bit of marketing here. Why do you want a tent that's made out of tissue paper and weighs no more than a politician's promise? You can get something that's still a perfectly portable weight and that's both stronger and easier on the pocket if you compromise on the weight a little. So ditch the Laser competition and every other tent you've looked at that is designed to pander to saving every fraction of a gramme and go back and look again at the ones that weigh a little more and probably cost a little less. You'll find a great deal more choice.
Wow! That is a great post. Wise and sage like. Tremendous, well done.
Especially the light, strong, cheap bit. Let’s weedle out the marketing hype.
My tent is a Terra Nova Solar 2, 19 years old, one new pole, 2.2 kg. Cost £300 and has slept 2 and 2 collies in relative comfort.
Ah this is very helpful, I am happy to compromise on weight, as long as it is still still portable enough to carry as one man! I've always thought the emphasis on the grams was a bit excessive lol. Appreciate the help - I will have another look around at my options
Thanks for the heads up! I did notice a few people complaining about the condensation - I just figured every tent has at least one downside to it. I will have a look at Vango's range
Hm does seem like a good option - sacrifice some weight but save a lot of money
I do like the look of this one - Plenty of room, and still pretty light all things considered. On top of that the added crosspoles look like a good option if I did end up particularly bad weather. This one is certainly going to be up there in my considerations
Appreciate the help mate
Another good point I'll take in mind. I have been looking at the lengths making sure there is enough space for me to lay down and get some gear inside, however I haven't been thinking about height really. I guess I just considered it unimportant. Come to think of it with bad weather this should be something to look out for. Will keep this in mind going forth
-Thank you yet again for another useful bit of info
Sounds solid - cheers
Hm Good to know on the size issues.
In terms of the MSR tents - I've seen them recommended a couple of times but I was a bit concerned about their complexity and also a bit concerned on the fact that a lot of them seem to be inner first - with no outer first option. This is a bit of a deal breaker as I would rather not get the inner so wet with rain, which is bound to happen with Welsh weather
Ah, good point about the import duty. I haven't heard of Trekkertent before, and will give them a look now
-Thanks for the pointers
Yeah overall - I perhaps didn't make this clear in my original statement, but I am happy for the tent to be a bit heavier. I'm a strong hiker and can manage some weight, and really tbh the tents I mentioned at the beginning were even lighter than my expectations. The only requirement in terms of weight/packing is that I need to be able to carry it solo.
-Thanks everyone for the help and advice so far
I've used a Laser Comp on the Lakeland and Pennine hills in winter for several years and it's stood up to some pretty harsh weather, including winds I could only just stand up in. That wasn't the most comfortable night, but I survived and so did the tent. I've not tested it in a Cairngorm blizzard, but then I wouldn't be out if that was forecast.
I have a Macpac Microlight. It is tight but claims max 220cm length and 100cm in very middle. Tough groundsheet. 1.6kg. Just adequate space to cook under fly. It has survived very high winds. I think it has had modifications since I bought mine.
hm yeah, the idea is to look at the forecast and avoid the worst of the weather - fingers crossed
I haven't heard of this one - will give it a look now, thanks for the testimony
Wild Country Zephros might be worth a look. I have one of their tents which I am happy with but not that particular one. Mine is old so you might want to check out some recent reviews. Same company as terra nova but the cheaper end. I'd go durable over light personally in terms of fabric. You can always upgrade to nice pegs separately.
My CRUX X1 Assault is a 1,5 kg 2 person single wall tent, and it has stood up to harsh weather in Greenland and Scandinavia. While there can accumulate drops of condensation on the inner pole the x-tex fabric remains dry to the touch.
I've had a laser comp for c. 10 years. Light and packs down v small. Has survived some v. windy summit pitches but very flappy. But I'm 6 foot and it's very small inside...and it sounds like you're taller than me. I now use my trailstar or macpac minaret (minus the fly) most of the time instead - lots more room.
I'd really recommend seeing a tent pitched before you buy...you get a much better sense of how much room there is.
I went wild camping with someone who had a Nordisk that was marketed as a 1/2 man tent - it was tiny! I guess ok on a mountain marathon in good weather but miserable if wet...
What overall weight of your pack are you looking at? Don't forget that you will need a footprint for any tent otherwise the floor will wear out quickly. The Big Agnes tents are another lightweight choice. We have a Big Agnes 3 man Copper Spur which has stood up to a 10 hour thunderstorm with gale force gusts. We could see water flowing between the floor and footprint with no leaks.
I've used a Laser Comp for 6 years. A good tent, decent porch, o.k. headroom. My complaint is the pole hood. This is required for high winds, but is a real pain (especially with cold wet hands) to attach.
Now looking at the Hilleberg Enan as a replacement. The problem with this tent seems to be the cost!
I only use a footprint for car camping.
> Don't forget that you will need a footprint for any tent otherwise the floor will wear out quickly. <
I chose a tent known for its tough groundsheet (Macpac Microlight) and only sometimes take a light sheet for the cooking/storage area. Don't know if the current model has the same groundsheet however.
The Macpac Minaret is a solid little tent. Robust groundsheet and good in the wind. Its classed as a two man but really its a large one man tent.
I had a microlight for many years, the stitching failed in the end. I looked into getting another but couldn't find anyone who sold them in the UK.
Needle Sports stock them: https://www.needlesports.com/Catalogue/Camping/Tents/Macpac-Microlight-Kiwi-MAC-MICROLGRN
> I had a microlight for many years, the stitching failed in the end. I looked into getting another but couldn't find anyone who sold them in the UK.
The x1 Assault is a great winter tent (got one too) , with three poles. Mine weights 2kg (the official weight is 1.95kg.) Maybe you meant the X1 Raid (1.48kg.) But they are expensive and might be too short for taller folks.
You are correct about the weights of course, and its 220cm might be too short for some. I'm 1.78cm and find its length just right for me. It is quite narrow too, 120cm wide tapering to 110, and this limits your choice of sleeping pads. Two standard size Neoair is just fine though.
> I had a microlight for many years, the stitching failed in the end. I looked into getting another but couldn't find anyone who sold them in the UK.
Quite a few places stock them now. I've had mine about a year and used it on west highland way, east highland way and Cape wrath trail. It's a really nice tent, very spacious for a 1 man and nice sized porch. It does have a few issues though such as a sagging inner and the pole sleeve being in the inside seems to provide no advantage but makes things more awkward. I'd compare the tent to the Atko in quality and strength.
Yes getting the inner tight took a bit of playing around with the tension of the bungees on the pegging points. My old tent eventually went along the seam of the pole sleeve but it was twenty plus years old.
I now have a Trekkertent Phreeranger and a Tarptents Notch so I don't really want another tent, thanks.
How do you find the phreeranger?
Excellent one man tent, light 1.3kg I'm 180cm tall (5ft 10ins) and find it plenty long enough. The short cross pole gives it good headroom, I can sit up in it with ease. Laying down there's enough space at the side of me for clothes book etc without laying on them. The two vestibules are a good size, enough space for wet kit one side and cooking the other.
The standard inner has mesh side/door panels and solid fabric for the rest. I had one made up with no mesh for winter but as it's only 50g heavier I use it all the time, not a big fan of mesh.
In high wind it can be a bit wobbly so it does need careful pegging out, I've added extra guys to the middle of each door panel, without these the fly tends to touch the inner. Other than that minor grip I'm well pleased with it.
I have an X1 raid and even at only 5, 6" I find it tight! definitely not a 2 person tent, but perfect size for 1 short person. One downside is that in high winds the sides are a bit flapy so any condensation that has built up ends up on your face, having said that their remarkably breathable for a single skin tent and can pack down very small.
I have a Telemark 1 ULW and a Scarp 1. The scarp is a palace compared to the telemark and I happily put up with the weight for the comfort and ability to dress and pack inside the tent. If I was getting another telemark I would go for the 2 as there is not much difference in weight for much more room.
The Telemark is great at what it does but just be aware of the limitations. It is stronger than it looks but very noisy and bendy-I have had the fabric on my head during windy weather. Doesn't make for a good sleep.
Keep an eye on some of the facebook groups, the for sale section here and ebay for used tents.
Previously owned the Telemark 2, very light and packs small. ventilation is terrible and not great in high winds or rain. my biggest issue was that the outer would sag and touch my sleeping bag foot box. so ideal tent for someone short, uses synthetic bags and thin foam mats.
Now own a TT Scarp 1, love it, a bit heavy (but lighter than an Akto), but absolutely bomb proof, the corner struts add so much stability. very spacious for 1, could sleep 2 at a push. ideal for taller people. Though sometimes wish I'd gone with the notch for something a bit lighter.
Big Agnes are not warm enough for UK winters. The inner has a lot of mesh so is very draughty. A close weave inner is required to keep heat in.
The tent also need to be big enough to cook in and have room to move about. There is a lot of darkness in winter.
My old lazer comp has stood up to some pretty strong wind to the point where my mate looked like he'd been vac packed when we were watching in strong winds from the safely of our heavier tent. My other tent is a Ford Transit, not too light but great in strong winds.
The MSR elixir is a brilliant tent, except for the fact that you need to pitch it inner first and it being an arse to put up in the wind!
The wild country zephyros is just a cheaper but slightly heavier/ more robust version of the Laser Competition. I've had more than 100 nights in mine, I need to repair the main zip and have had to replace a pole section but I've had many happy adventures in that tent!
I have had a Hilleberg Niak for 2 years after having TN laser which was always a pain to pitch well while wildcamping and very noisy in high winds. The Niak i can pitch in 5 minutes or less , rock steady loads of room for me and the dog and weighs 1.9kg not super lightweight but i prefer a bit of comfort , 0 condensation due to door which is mesh but when i use in winter i made a cover than can velcro on top to stop to much wind coming in and yes there expensive (i did tell the wife i bought it seondhand ;-) )but it should last you a long time, and you could double pole if you where worried about camping in snow and storms.
I like the look of the Phreeranger, but think I'd need to see one in the flesh, or at least see some videos of one in use, before taking the plunge. I think they could do a much better job with their marketing, as I'd never even heard of them before!?!
> In terms of the MSR tents - I've seen them recommended a couple of times but I was a bit concerned about their complexity and also a bit concerned on the fact that a lot of them seem to be inner first - with no outer first option. This is a bit of a deal breaker as I would rather not get the inner so wet with rain, which is bound to happen with Welsh weather
There's nothing complex about MSR Tents, they go up really easily! The inner pitch first is definitely an issue and one reason I'm looking for an outer first system. Finding a suitable compromise is tough though, as I love my Hubba Hubba for Summer camping. I don't think it'd be any good later in the year though, as it's generally a very drafty tent.
I've just got an MSR Access; although it's not the way the instructions prescribe, it is possible to put it up with the outer first with a bit of lateral thinking.
> I like the look of the Phreeranger, but think I'd need to see one in the flesh, or at least see some videos of one in use, before taking the plunge. I think they could do a much better job with their marketing, as I'd never even heard of them before!?!
Yes his website is dire, to be fair it's a one man operation making tents is his thing rather than selling.
Likewise with the MSR Hubba Hubba - not too much of a problem to put it up flysheet first.
> Yes his website is dire, to be fair it's a one man operation making tents is his thing rather than selling.
I've got a Stealth 1.5 and it is superb. Better in almost every way than the Laser it replaced.
I also don't think he needs to spend much time marketing as it looks like he's already running at capacity.
good to see the phreeranger design still going- still using my battered old phoenix with taped holes and bust zip from 30+years ago but need replacing. i could have used my banshee for recent alpine trek but thought it a wee bit too heavy, so chose just the phreeranger outer with a bivvy bag for more flexibility.
> Ah this is very helpful, I am happy to compromise on weight, as long as it is still still portable enough to carry as one man!
then the vango banshee recommended above would be great value as a starter tent. i reckon it would cope with high winds pretty well (no direct experience yet tho) and no great loss if you decide to upgrade-always good to have a spare tent..
> I've just got an MSR Access; although it's not the way the instructions prescribe, it is possible to put it up with the outer first with a bit of lateral thinking.
Yes. Apparently, if you have a footprint, you can do Fly first. I haven't used the footprint yet, but will give it a go at some point. I'm assuming that's the same method for the Access?
Re Banshee in wind - I camped near one near the Garb Corrie refuge a couple of years ago.
I was carrying my rather bent laser photon out at 4am whilst the Banshee looked to have stood up pretty well.
No, just put the ends of the main pole through the fly first. Then put the base of the inner on them too (so its like a footprint). You have to crawl inside to get the waist pole in, then connect the tabs onto the poles.
that's good to know about the Banshee- it has a TBS (tension band system) to stop the big hoop bending too much in sidewinds
> No, just put the ends of the main pole through the fly first. Then put the base of the inner on them too (so its like a footprint). You have to crawl inside to get the waist pole in, then connect the tabs onto the poles.
Ah! Same concept. I'll have to give it a go, if we ever get a dry, wind free day again!
If you are considering a macpac microlight I might be getting rid of mine which is only a year old
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