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      Tarp and Tent Recommendations     

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SilentPaddler
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03/26/2017 06:21PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
Hello,

My wife and I are new to solo paddling and we recently purchased solo canoes. I need recommendations for a tent and also for tarp size.

I am thinking of purchasing a 2 person tent. I would like to get one that we could use as a solo in case only one of us goes on a trip alone but is also a reasonable tent for 2 people. I am a taller guy at 6'3" so need a little extra room. Do you have a suggestion? Is there a 2 person tent that is somewhat of a standard in the BWCA that has proven to work very well so is more popular than another? I realize that there will be lots of personal preference but if one looks at REI etc. there are so many options that it makes my head spin! :)

I will purchase a CCS tarp. For one or two campers is there a size that works best? I would like to get a reasonably comfortable size without going overboard (I realize more to carry) for the times that will certainly occur when it is too stormy to paddle so we don't feel like we are sitting under a postage stamp.

My last question may sound sort of odd but tents and tarps come in many different colors. I realize that again this is personal preference. I have been wondering if it makes sense to keep colors in the BWCA/Quetico to natural colors like green, brown, etc. from the perspective of blending in with surrounding (I read a post today that this is preferred to exhibit minimal visual impact for other BWCA visitors.) - OR - if it makes sense to go with brighter colors (I read a post today that this is preferred to notify others that a camping site is taken from a distance.)?

Thank You!
 
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Alan Gage
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03/26/2017 08:24PM  
You could look into the CCS Lean. It's a different type of shelter and not for everyone but it packs small, is lightweight, and gives tons of room. A Lean 2 would be plenty of room for the two of you and not overly heavy to pack in when solo. Being a single wall shelter it will collect more condensation inside.

I have a 10x10 tarp for solo and it's fine most of the time but in hard blowing rain I wish I had a little more protection. I think 10x14 would make a nice size for tandem use and not overwhelming when solo.

As for color I bought my Lean in white and tarp in yellow. I thought the lighter colors would absorb less heat and be cooler. I was wrong. They let more light through and it feels like being in a greenhouse. This is great when the sun breaks over the horizon on a chilly morning or during a cold day. Not so good on a warm and sunny day.

A lighter colored tent/tarp lets in more natural light, which is much appreciated on a wet and windy day when you're stuck inside. On a sunny day it can almost be blinding inside the white Lean and I wish for a darker color.

A darker color blends in well with the surroundings and can be more aesthetically pleasing. A lighter or brighter colored stands out and helps you re-find camp if you went out for a day paddle or for a hike in the woods.

Pick your poison.

Alan
 
03/26/2017 08:31PM  
It's always hard to know where to begin on a post like this. Beyond the fact that, yes, there are a dizzying number of options out there, all with various trade-offs regarding size, weight, price, materials, ease and speed of set-up, weather protection, and ventilation - beyond that there's your intended use and personal preferences in terms of prioritizing those trade-offs. Is lower weight more valuable than greater space? Is a solid 3-season tent adequate for your needs? And so on and so forth.

Most people will tell you that a 3-person tent is a good shelter for 2 people and that a 2-person tent is a good 1-person shelter, but that depends on you as well as the particular tent. Some 2-person tents are roomier than others. You can look at the floor dimensions and mentally visualize your sleeping pads, bags, and the two of you fitted there, changing clothes etc. Then there is the height, and beyond that the interior volume to consider.

I mostly solo and have switched to a dedicated solo tent for that purpose to save weight and bulk, so I am not really familiar with what you are seeking. I have an old 3-person tent I use when tandem, which provides plenty of space at the expense of weight and bulk.

To start your search and get an idea of some options (far from exhaustive), take a look at the Marmot Limelight series, which seems quite popular with many canoe trippers here. The TarpTent brand is a lightweight option. The CCS Lean + is a different option, providing more space and still light weight. I have a Lean 1+, which is lightweight enough for solo, but could also shelter both of you, if you are comfortable with its trade-offs. There are many more options and others will chime in with their favorites.

Good luck with the search.
 
03/26/2017 08:59PM  
I like brighter colors, for two reasons.
Others can see that a campsite is taken, and it is easier for me to find my campsite if I'm returning at dusk in low light conditions.
 
03/26/2017 09:01PM  
I forgot to address the color and tarp size questions, but Alan has already covered them very well. I also have the white Lean and 10x14 yellow CCS tarp in 1.1 oz. sil nylon, which I selected as multi-purpose size over the 10x10, which is only 4 oz. lighter anyway.

I would add that looking into the pre-rigged ridgeline tarp set up will simplify things, especially when solo. There are quite a few posts about its advantages if you search, plus you'll eventually find a video on YouTube by wintertrekker if you search that.
 
FOG51
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03/26/2017 09:24PM  
For tarps I use a CCS yellow 10X12, this tarp works great for my solo trips and when I go with my son, when we go with 4 people I take my 12X16 CCS tarp also yellow. Yellow seems so much brighter on a gloomy day. For tents that is a really big question. When I go solo I take my MSR Hubba Hubba, it is really much more room than I need, 50 inches wide, about 7 foot long, but I like to keep my empty packs in the tent along with my clothes, I worry about mini bears getting into the packs via their own doors. Weighs around 4 pounds but I think the extra room is worth it. When I go tandem we take a Cabelas XPG 4 man tent, heavy but room for 2 and all our gear. Personally I like bright colors, figure it might save someone some extra paddleing if they are looking for a site, plus at my age it might be easier for me to find my site, if I can remember what color the tarp and tent are. FRED
 
Northwoodsman
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03/27/2017 05:41PM  
Look for a good 3 person with side walls that are as vertical as possible. I have a 3 Losi 3P that feels like a small cabin when you are in it. 2 doors are very nice to have. Height is more important than you think. The lighter the weight, the thinner the materials, so a ground cloth is essential. Look at how easy it is to set up. Jakes feet or ball clips are helpful. Also look at the rain fly opening over the door. Will water pour in the tent when you unzip the fly if it's raining or wet? Can you set up the fly, then the tent body under it if it's raining? Perhaps the new REI Quarterdome 2, the Nemo Losi 2 or 3, a Big Agnes Copper Spur 2 or 3. You can get pretty much any tent for 20% off for the next few weeks (REI, Campasever.com, etc.). There are a lot of good tents and lots of good opinions and recommendations.
 
03/28/2017 12:11PM  
Probably get some feed back on this but I have used several colors of tarps. Yellow and white seem hot under the sun, darker colors just feel cooler to me. A 10x10 had been my choice for size, but now it's a 10x12 in 1.1 silnylon, made enough difference without adding much weight/bulk. I am a flat tarp user preferring the variety of good sets obtainable over catenary cuts.
Lean+ shelters make a lot of sense if you can wrap you head around the floor (lack of a sewn in). A Lean 1+ would do well for 2.


Far as tents I do not follow the +1 for size, solo I want a 1 person, if with my wife a 2 person, storage is what the vestibules and tarp is for (my opinion).
I have a 2016 REI HalfDome2 looking for a new home,


butthead
 
quark2222
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03/28/2017 06:17PM  
I have a CCS 10' X 12' tarp, the heavier, and less costly one. I store it in my pack during the off-season. When I'm packing for a trip, it smells like campfire smoke, and I think I'm already in the BWCA. This is the right size for me for solo or up to 3-4 people. And yes, you can put it up over the fire grate and build a small to medium fire, and will not get burn holes in it. I've been on more than 25 trips with cheap tarps and the CCS, and have yet to have a single burn hole in any of them, even though they are always over the fire grate.

Tent-wise, I would always go one size bigger, i.e. a 3P for two people - unless I was with my wife, in which case I would bring one mummy bag and a 1P tent. That is very cozy - heh heh. Just kidding.

With a tent that is 1 person larger than what you "need", it is nice to be able to bring that pack inside the tent with you to keep it dry and store rain suits, extra ropes, books, etc. in the tent with you. Usually the next size up tent is only a pound or so heavier.

Tomster
 
03/29/2017 08:30AM  
quote boonie: "It's always hard to know where to begin on a post like this. Beyond the fact that, yes, there are a dizzying number of options out there, all with various trade-offs regarding size, weight, price, materials, ease and speed of set-up, weather protection, and ventilation - beyond that there's your intended use and personal preferences in terms of prioritizing those trade-offs. Is lower weight more valuable than greater space? Is a solid 3-season tent adequate for your needs? And so on and so forth.


Most people will tell you that a 3-person tent is a good shelter for 2 people and that a 2-person tent is a good 1-person shelter, but that depends on you as well as the particular tent. Some 2-person tents are roomier than others. You can look at the floor dimensions and mentally visualize your sleeping pads, bags, and the two of you fitted there, changing clothes etc. Then there is the height, and beyond that the interior volume to consider.


I mostly solo and have switched to a dedicated solo tent for that purpose to save weight and bulk, so I am not really familiar with what you are seeking. I have an old 3-person tent I use when tandem, which provides plenty of space at the expense of weight and bulk.


To start your search and get an idea of some options (far from exhaustive), take a look at the Marmot Limelight series, which seems quite popular with many canoe trippers here. The TarpTent brand is a lightweight option. The CCS Lean + is a different option, providing more space and still light weight. I have a Lean 1+, which is lightweight enough for solo, but could also shelter both of you, if you are comfortable with its trade-offs. There are many more options and others will chime in with their favorites.


Good luck with the search. "


Just to add my two cents to boonie's, I have an 8x10 silnylon for soloing and a larger Kelty flying diamond at I believe 10'x16' for family and group trips.
 
jfinn
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04/01/2017 06:25AM  
Tarp-I have a 10x10 CCS. While it is sufficient, I would do 12x10 if I got a do over. Green for me, I like it to look more natural in the site.. If I can't find my site, well.......... Get the 1.1oz anyway.

Tent; many many options. I do like my BA Copper Spur 2 for solo and 2 person trips. It isn't as tight feeling as other 2's and has a great fast pitch option for shoulder season w/o bugs. The length has plenty of extra for me at 5'9, different for you likely.

The CCS leans are very appealing for being the tent and tarp options all rolled up in one if one so chose to. Especially with your height, I would think this is likely your best option. If you are in MN, deal with Dan directly. Great guy with great gear.

Good luck, fun stuff.


John
 
04/01/2017 03:14PM  
I'm interested in the last two replies from jfinn and HighnDry. I have the 10x14, 1.1 oz. CCS tarp, which I got thinking I'd usually have people with me, but I'm more often solo and have considered getting a smaller, lighter one for that purpose.

I'm interested in why you chose the sizes you did and why you'd go from a 10x10 to a 10x12? Obviously, there's the weight difference (in 1.1 oz.) at 14 oz. for the 8x10, and 20, 22, and 24 oz. for the 10x10, 10x12, and my 10x14, respectively. I'm wondering how much, if any, I save on the rigging? How much I save on bulk? How much I gain in ease of handling it solo? What do I lose in coverage and usefulness?

Any thoughts on those?
 
04/01/2017 08:37PM  
Can't answer for jfinn and HighnDry. But I Had been using a 10x10 1.9 Campmore VersaTarp for a long time, till it split in high winds. Replaced with an Equinox 10x12 1.1 and never looked back. The extra square footage worked so much better when strung as an a-frame shelter and was much more pack friendly than the 1.9.


I have set some 14 footers and 15 square, all 1.1. The 14 was ok but noticeably larger package, the 15 was BIG and a handfull for 1. Neither interested me for my usage.

butthead
 
04/01/2017 09:43PM  
It presents a real quandary for me in that going down from the 10x14 1.1 oz. CCS tarp that I now have to a 10x12 in 1.1 oz. is only going to weigh 2 oz. less and likely not be much different in packed bulk or ease of use to warrant the switch. Even though I'm not going to use it as a shelter for sleeping like you pictured butthead, the 8x10 and possibly the 10x10 may not offer enough coverage to be useful, especially for late-season use. It would seem the 10x10 is likely my best compromise if I decide to go that route, but is 4 oz. and the lesser bulk worth it? Do I need a middle tie-out on each side along with the 4-corners? Is it that much easier to handle solo, assuming I'm using a ridgeline set-up? I just can't seem to make up my mind about these things . . .
 
Alan Gage
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04/02/2017 10:50AM  
t would seem the 10x10 is likely my best compromise if I decide to go that route, but is 4 oz. and the lesser bulk worth it? Do I need a middle tie-out on each side along with the 4-corners?

In my opinion, yes, the middle tie out is a near requirement most of the time, even with a 10x10, if the weather is threatening at all. If I'm confident it won't rain or the wind won't blow I'll just do the ridge line and 4 corners but most of the time I use the center tie out too. Otherwise I can't get it to shed wind and drain like I want it too. It's simple enough to do. I use a short cord running nearly straight down, either staked or held by a rock, to make a trough in the middle of the tarp. Either that or I'll use a stick to raise the center loop a bit and then tie out with a rock or stake, creating a ridge that will drain to either side.

As for dropping in size from a 10x14 to a 10x10 or 10x12 I wouldn't bother unless the 10x14 was causing you problems. For a few years I've felt my 10x10 was a little smaller than I wanted for solo use but it wasn't worth doing anything about it until I recently found a good deal on a 1.1oz 10x12.

Alan
 
04/02/2017 02:09PM  
Thanks, Alan-

I was assuming I'd still need all the same cordage for guying it out and consequently no additional savings there. Losing 40 sq. ft. of coverage to gain 4 oz. and not much else seems like something I might regret. Several seem to suggest that 10x10 is sometimes just not quite enough, so losing 60 sq. ft. with an 8x10 seems almost certain to not really be enough. The 8x10 with a gain of 10 oz. and probably enough bulk to make it worthwhile in that regard, seems almost certain to be too small a good amount of the time.

I'll probably just stick with the one I have; most of the time it's not needed and I don't put it up. When it's needed, I'll have good coverage. When I take my Lean 1+ instead of the small solo tent, I may just leave the tarp behind and let it function as both.
 
jfinn
distinguished member (246)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/02/2017 08:06PM  
Quote "I'm interested in the last two replies from jfinn and HighnDry. I have the 10x14, 1.1 oz. CCS tarp, which I got thinking I'd usually have people with me, but I'm more often solo and have considered getting a smaller, lighter one for that purpose."

I purchased the 10x10 thinking that I could match it up with a second tarp if need be, at some point. I find the 10x10 fine solo and just adequate for two. I tend toward a lean set up, especially on windy/rainy days. Half my trips are with 3+ for a 10x12 would give me more flexibility.

+1 On what Alan said. No point in changing unless something isn't working.



John
 
04/02/2017 08:23PM  
My CCS 10x10 1.1 has been just fine for solo, you just need to be careful how much of your gear you store under it. I keep my main pack stuff under my hammock tarp, and the kitchen pack under the CCS. It gets a bit tight with 2 people. The one thing I don't really like is it isn't long enough to make an effective wind screen without losing too much head coverage. We now take a 10x14 for two of us. This summer I will take a 10x10 and 10x16 for a group of 6. The little one is great for a dedicated gear storage area. It leaves lots more room under the big one.
 
SevenofNine
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04/06/2017 01:08PM  
I had a 9 x 12" tarp from REI fail me when a grommet pulled out. When I had used it with three people I felt it wasn't wide enough. After the tarp failed I went with a 10 x 12" CCS 1.1 ounce tarp and am quite happy with it solo or when my wife is along.

If you are considering a tent there are a lot of features to think about but a quality tent from the big manufacturers would have most of what you need. If you have any previous experience with a tent I would make a list of features you like and dislike about your old tent.

I like Tarptent for the price to weight to features he has. Single wall or hybrid tents like he sells do have some draw backs like any other tent but I like the idea of dropping weight on a full fly tent. Plus, you have the full support of a smaller shop that will make things right.
 
Alan Gage
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04/06/2017 01:57PM  
quote SevenofNine: "
I like Tarptent for the price to weight to features he has. Single wall or hybrid tents like he sells do have some draw backs like any other tent but I like the idea of dropping weight on a full fly tent. Plus, you have the full support of a smaller shop that will make things right."


I just got a used Stratospire 2 from TarpTent. They're not just single wall tents anymore. This is a full double wall that can be used with either a mesh or solid nylon interior for colder weather. Looking forward to putting it to the test this year.

Alan
 
04/06/2017 08:31PM  
Thanks for the replies, guys - food for thought.

Alan-

Did you get the mesh or solid inner with the Stratospire? Plan to use it with trekking poles or the optional pole set? Solo? Looks like it would make a nice roomy solo.
 
Alan Gage
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04/07/2017 06:36AM  

Alan-

Did you get the mesh or solid inner with the Stratospire? Plan to use it with trekking poles or the optional pole set? Solo? Looks like it would make a nice roomy solo."


Mine came with both inners and the optional pole set. Have only set it up in the backyard so far but it looks like a nice tent. I'll be using it as a solo+dog and while it's roomy for a 2p tent to me it seems a little small coming from an open tarp and Lean 1. But I think it will do nicely. Looks to be a well thought out tent. Nifty pitch.

The optional poles are pretty flimsy and I don't think I'd want to use them if I thought the wind might pick up. Bad weight compromise, IMO.

I plan to use site cut poles, same as I do with my Lean. I carry them with me until I either forget them or come to a portage I don't want to carry them over. Then I cut a new set. They're kind of nice in the canoe as they go under the packs and help keep them up out of the bilge water.

I also plan to sew some sort of rock flaps to the fly at the stake points to give me another pitching option where there isn't enough soil for stakes.

Alan
 
04/07/2017 11:23AM  
I hope it works out well for you, Alan. I assume you have another long solo planned late summer/early fall . . . ?

I have looked hard at the Scarp1, especially after the recent revision.
 
Alan Gage
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04/07/2017 11:39AM  
quote boonie: "I hope it works out well for you, Alan. I assume you have another long solo planned late summer/early fall . . . ?
"


Nothing real long as I have friends getting married in mid-August. Thinking of doing the Berens River after the wedding. Maybe 3 weeks.

Lately I've been wondering about just bringing the mesh inner and setting it up under my tarp instead of bringing the whole tent. Will have to do some playing around this summer and see how that works.

I picked up my TarpTent from the classifieds at backpackinglight.com. Can't believe the amount of gear that comes up for sale there and some good prices.

Alan
 
Minnesotian
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04/18/2017 10:22AM  
quote Alan Gage: "

Lately I've been wondering about just bringing the mesh inner and setting it up under my tarp instead of bringing the whole tent. Will have to do some playing around this summer and see how that works.

Alan"


That is what I did on my last Quetico solo. It was wonderful. I will probably keep doing this in the future. I got to see the sunrise easily every morning, see the stars, not feel claustrophobic when I had to flee to the tent to avoid mosquitoes, and just feel more in the woods. I recommend it.
One thing of note: I liked to set my tarp up as high over the tent as possible, but this meant that if rain blew through, I would need to get up in the middle of the night to adjust the tarp, to prevent any rain from blowing into my tent. Your ideas may vary.

I used this method with a 2008 REI Quarterdome and a 10'x10' CCS silnylon tarp, outfitted with a ridgeline.
 
04/18/2017 01:11PM  
quote Alan Gage: "Lately I've been wondering about just bringing the mesh inner and setting it up under my tarp instead of bringing the whole tent. Will have to do some playing around this summer and see how that works.
Alan"


Been using a Sea To Summit Nano light weight and inexpensive but without an attached floor. Kinda considering an upgrade to Standard Pyranet 1 Door Side
I can use it with my Chinook or 10x12 CCS tarp, hang it from the tarp and ditch the poles.

butthead
 
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