When you hike multi days then you want a good place to sleep and rest up. Sometimes it means you might have to carry your shelter with you if there is no accommodation available. This then throws a whole new light (no pun intended) on your carry weight. You are also carrying food, water, clothes, cooking equipment and then a shelter as well!
There are so many styles of shelters out there to choose from and do you want a tent or a tarp or a Bevis? How do you decide what would work for you? We will try to break it down and look at what I have tried and hopefully it might give you a few ideas in what direction you can go. Do be aware though I have only used two brands here and it is only because I have found they had what I was looking for. This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the other brands I just havn’t tried them yet, I wouldn’t rule them out either and if or when I get the chance to try other brands I will be sure to share my review.
Sea to Summit Specialist Duo
This is my latest tent that I’m using at the moment. I will start telling you how I came to the decision to get this one and it was a hard choice but the weight won me over in the end.
I was looking to upgrade from my old tent to something that wasn’t so heavy but gave me the protection that I needed. I also chose the Duo because I like a bit of room and if I need to share at any time I could. I have always carried a 2-person tent.
I have a new trip coming up where I will be walking and living on a bush trail for 53 days. This trail is in my home state and I live in a relatively warm place and it doesn’t rain a whole lot, so I wasn’t looking for a tent that could withstand any extreme conditions and, on this trail, there is an option of using the camp shelters if I need to. Also, I will be carrying a fair bit of gear with me and need to be very aware of my weight in my pack.
How to choose the right tent for you? I will add a link soon to this as I write a new ‘How to Choose’ section and we can break it down for you but in short look at what you need it for, how many people and the weight.
Sea to summit have two in this series the ‘Solo’ and the ‘Duo’. Like I mentioned I have the ‘Duo’ but will give you the features on the ‘Solo’ as well.
These tents Sea to Summit say are great for the ultralight backpacker, sea kayaker and cyclists and I will tend to agree as they are compact and very light to carry.
- The shell has a 20D ‘Pertex®Endurance’, a nylon coating that supposed to incorporate an ultra-thin air permeable coating that is breathable, water and wind resistant as well as protects any insulation from the elements to retain the warmth. (20D is the thickness of the fibres, D=Denier)
- Also, a 15D waterproof Nylon fibre for the walls, floor and vestibule
- Ultra-light weight Solo (1 person), 625g (22oz). Duo (2 person), 846g (29oz)
- Solo has one entrance so only one vestibule and the Duo has two (great size for your boots but not much more)
- Has 2 x 7075 alloy poles and 6 x hard anodized 7075 alloy pegs, they say you can also pitch these tents with your trekking poles to save more weight but seriously the weight is so minor I wouldn’t go so far
- Has double stitching and bar tacked in at all stress points for extra strength and endurance
- Reflective guy lines, (really do they shine so bright!) and fully taped seams
- Internal pockets for storing stuff, I use these they are a great size
- There is an optional lightweight Tyvek® ground sheet (I would recommend this to protect the base of the tent)
I took a few times with the tent before I fell in love with it as it is very different to my last tent. This is a ‘Single Skin’ tent so do be aware it isn’t designed for harsh conditions like snow and constant rain and I also wouldn’t recommend it for high humid areas. If you do choose to use it in those conditions you will be disappointed and I would suggest using a tarp over the top and hope for the best. If you know you are going into harsh conditions, look for a different style tent like the ‘Second Arrow’ from Wilderness Equipment. When using it in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, I experienced quite a bit of condensation but while using it in Western Australia I haven’t had that problem.
Not only is it extremely lightweight it is also extremely compact in size! This is great for a hiker especially if you are on a trail for a long time. It is very simple to erect and just as simple to pack up as well.
- Without a doubt the weight! It is so good not to lug a heavy tent
- Also, the size as it fits so nicely in the base of my pack with room to spare
- The set-up, the easiest and quickest tent I have ever set up
- The pack up, also the easiest and quickest tent I have ever packed up
- The inside pockets, not a lot of light weight tents have these and they are a size that is good to fit my bits in so they are not rolling around in the tent and easy for me to find.
- The Fluro guy lines, I was worried I would trip but they are so bright you might want your sunglasses on at night!
The Not So Good
- It does get condensation easily but it is only a single skin so I will deal with it.
Second Arrow Tent– Wilderness Equipment and Sea to Summit
This without a doubt my favourite so much so I even named my tent ‘Sunshine’. There is an updated version I believe and only through Wilderness Equipment. Sunshine has been everywhere with me and served me well though now not used so much as she isn’t the lightest but still lighter than most. I will give you the features of the new version as that is what is on the market right now.
- Double skin expedition tent.
- 5 season tents
- Lightweight and designed harsh weather conditions like snow and exposure to severe weather
- Good ventilation so works well in summer and tropical conditions
- Compact 2 persons, tapered tunnel style
- Weight packed 1860g (1.86 kg) or (35.27oz) my old one was 2080g (2.08kg) or (73.37oz)
- Outer fabric is Siliconized 30D Nylon 66, 3000mm HH sil/sil coating (This is basically to give the out tent the best possible protection from conditions while providing a lighter weight)
- Inner tent is 20D air-permeable rip-stop nylon with the 20D mesh doors
- Poles are DAC Featherlite NSL™
- Pegs 7×4 flute HT Aluminium
As I said earlier I have the old model but the newer on is supposed to be lighter and better performance. If that is the case it’s a winner as the older one was fantastic. I have used mine in most conditions and couldn’t be happier. I feel safe and secure inside.
- Weight is good especially if you are sharing with someone else and you can split the poles and tent between the two for less weight
- Easy to erect once you look at the instructions
- Brilliant for all-weather conditions and cosy to hide away from the elements
- Good size for two as you are not so cramped though need somewhere else to put the pack
The Not So Good
- Not anything I can think of.