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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2004, 11:29 pm 
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Joined: August 19th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1879
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
Huge difference. It’s mostly all about wind and horizontal rain. If you are travelling in the Barrens, you need high end wind-firm tents, or the tent will be shredded. The wind will fold and collapse the tent, snap poles, and tear the tent in weak points. The canoeing literature is full of stories of collapsing and shredded tents, and people spending hours or days sitting up against one side to keep the tent from folding and collapsing. Low end tents do not belong in the Barrens, or open Taiga. Once your tent is shredded, then you will be at the mercy of billion of flies, as well as the weather. For long trips, shelter from the cold and wet, and relief from the flies is about survival, not convenience.

Horizontal rain is for real. If you have never experienced it, you are in for a surprise one day. Many low end and cheap tents will flood because much of the inner tent with all its seams and zippers is exposed to direct rain when it is horizontal. Also ask yourself if your tent will stay dry if it rains hard all night and all day. My standard is that my tent must stay dry (after seam sealing), or it is no good and I won’t buy it.

UV degrades nylon very fast. You get about 30-40 days of full strength out of the best coated ripstop fly, and then it significantly degrades. UV burns the coating off. You can push the life of the fabric with water proofing treatments, but the fibers and structure do weaken, and will leak along areas in contact with the poles. Much of the wind-firmness is in the fly, with stress points focused on the guy-out points. A cheap fly and inner tent will tear. For high end tents, expect to buy a replacement fly after 50-60 days of use in full sunlight, such as experienced in the Barrens. Some companies will replace a fly for free, since they guarantee the tent "for life", and in the case of UV, life means less than 60 days in the full sunlight conditions.

Lower end and cheap tents never have enough guy-out points on the fly. I have rigged many times with 6 lines along one aide of the fly to hold it, with shock absorber bungie loops in the lines. A typical high wind rig on the Barrens will involve 8-10 lines. The stress has to be distributed in order to keep the tent from tearing. Low end tents simply don’t have the design for guying out properly.

Windfirmness requires high end aluminum poles. The tension to shed wind in the tent design itself puts enormous force on the poles. Don’t even think of cheap tubular aluminum or fiberglass for the Barrens. Even Easton 7075 (top of the line), will start to crack after 60-80 days of use in the high stress sections. I have also had to have pole replacements, and again the company replaced them for free. Also carry pole repair sleeves (tubes) on trips for emergencies. The newer pole designs have bent mini sections to address the former problem of high bend areas that tended to crack.

If you camp a few days or weeks per year, in the trees, you can get by with a lower end tent, since you can find sites out of the wind. You can compensate for a cheaper fabric with waterproofing treatments. However these will make the tent heavier and stiffer, and thus bulkier to pack. More trees means more shade and less UV, and longer fabric lifespan. Ironically less expensive tents used in sheltered forest type camping will outlast many higher end designs use in the Barrens. However, inevitably you will be faced with a bare rock or open beach camping situation, where the tent will have to face the elements full on. Cliff Jacobsen provides some neat tips in his books for adding custom features to lower end tents, such as more guy-out points.

Two doors will add cost, but when serious bugs are involved, it sure is nice piece of mind to know that if one zipper fails (and they do), that it can be sewn up, and the other door relied on to keep the mosquitoes out.

I buy high end, and take the hit in the wallet. Its worth every penny, since I travel for a month or more on some trips, and I absolutely need a tent that can face any situation and stay dry. For most trippers who stay in the trees and more shade, the mid-range tents will serve you well, as long as they have flies which go low enough, and shelter the door enough. Low end tents should be avoided, in my opinion.


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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2004, 8:57 am 
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Joined: May 21st, 2003, 7:50 am
Posts: 2400
Location: Mapping Wabakimi PP!
I purchased the North Face Evolution 45 two years ago. I got it on E-bay for half the price as listed at an outfitter. This tent is a bomber tent and design to withstand 80 miles an hour wind. (though I never tested it) The construction is very well designed with a tub floor, multiple doors, tape sealed, good ventilation top and bottom and a fly which has many guide points. (3 per corner)

Image

It's well worth the weight at 10Lbs if your stuck in a storm! Or out in the open like here on the Wisconsin River which can be very gusty.

Boneli

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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2004, 9:01 am 
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Joined: July 30th, 2003, 8:15 pm
Posts: 50
Location: Ottawa, ON
As usual, HOOP has some great advice. I'd just like to point out that everything has its purpose: if you're backpacking in the mountains, then you need something that is light AND very strong, and that only exists in the high end price range. However, the same tent might be worse than one of those big, cheap 6-man domes in a family campground.

A lot of high end tents are also somewhat specialized and can be inferior for the most common uses. My Hilleberg Nallo 3 is a great cold weather tent: it's got a fly that goes right to the ground -- not 2 inches from the ground, but right against it. The inner can be fully zipped up with no mesh left exposed (ie, a 4 season tent). It weights only 5 pounds. It has a lifetime warranty. It's also no match for my homemade tarp in the summer.

Shawn


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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2004, 10:11 am 
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Joined: January 14th, 2003, 7:00 pm
Posts: 214
Location: Milwaukee, WI USA
I would think a tent that spends 2 -3 weeks a year in the field should last longer than 4 - 5 years. What is causing the tent to need replaced after 4 - 5 years?
And even $120 is not something I would consider a cheap tent.
I have a North Face solo (they say it's a two person but...) that I used for eight years straight about 30 nights each year. I finally bought a larger tent last year but the small tent is still good to go. About ten years ago I paid $135 US for the North Face, which I considered a major investment.
The three person that I bought last spring is an REI knock-off of a Mountain Hardware tent. I spent $175 on sale, regular would have been $259. My buddy bought the original Mountain Hardware about the same time. His tent is better made and includes a very nice vestibule. It also weighs 12 lbs while mine comes in at 6.5 lbs. He paid over $350 for his and that was on sale also.
I think if you shop the sales and talk around, like you are doing, you can find a really good tent within your budget.


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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2004, 12:10 pm 
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Joined: May 2nd, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 264
Location: London, Ontario Canada
Last year I replaced my highend, 25 year old tent. My wife (bless her) purchased another highend tent (Northface) for my birthday. I (she) would only buy highend tents for all the reasons listed in previous comments. I've had the rain come straigth across, had the wind blow like crazy. I've never had any trouble with my old tent and the same with my new tent. Buy quality and enjoy.

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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2004, 1:19 pm 
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Joined: November 24th, 2003, 10:39 pm
Posts: 136
Location: Guelph, Ont.
Tale of 3 very different tents:

In 1972 I bought a hi-end Camp Trails 2 man, light (3 pounds) backpacking tent for $125 back then and used it almost every day on a 6 month long cycling trip around Europe. Although only used the odd year since, it also served us well on a 2003 backpacking trip on the West Coast Trail.

For the teenagers on the Vancouver Island trip we also bought a $39 Canadian Tire 3 man tent (with vestibule and fly) on sale in the late summer ... made in Bangladesh ... and yes, we did seam sealing aplenty until we stopped all leaks the garden hose could inflict. Although it was about 7 - 8 pounds, it served the purpose for the limited use we had in mind...it stopped some pretty good rains and had lots of ventilation and window options to watch the sun go down and so forth. And the kids found it a breeze to put up and take down and pack. Our low expectations (1-time serviceability) for this tent were greatly exceeded. Also, our decision was aided by the fact we had sunk megabucks into the best of boots and packs and felt we should try to save somewhere!

We will use both in hiking Killarney this summer.

(We also paid about $600 for a 6 man, 22 pound Eureka that has gotten somewhat limited use since we don't do car camping any longer.)

Operative question then: just how much use, and what kind of use are you wanting to get from your tent, and you have answered your question.

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PostPosted: March 24th, 2004, 6:03 pm 
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Joined: April 16th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1488
Location: Ontario, Canada
Some very interesting and informative points to consider, and I'll consider them well. Thanks for the friendly tips and also the kind email from Gerald G.

I've always want to buy a higher end tent but was concerned about whether it would provide the value for the money. I now have some good info to use as I scout out a new one.

Thanks a Bunch!

Dave

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PostPosted: March 27th, 2004, 6:48 pm 
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Joined: January 15th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 113
Location: Waterloo, Ontario Canada
Here's my story...

Bought a Sierra Design, Meteor Lite, tent back in 87 or 88 for around 280.00, including tax.

Have enjoyed this light weight tent (pretty good design too) every summer since, for about 10-15 days a year. What's that, around 16 years!

Last summer the front door zipper finally failed and 2 corners where starting to separate from the floor. I sent it back to Sierra's Canadian maintenance shop (for ontario) this winter. They replaced the zipper and re-stiched the corners for FREE!

Now I'm a family guy and couldn't afford to replace that tent, at today's prices, but I'm glad I bought quality.

P.S. Never had a wet night in this tent.


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PostPosted: March 28th, 2004, 6:46 pm 
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Joined: January 30th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 483
Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Sierra Designs stuff is great. If you ever, have any problem with their stuff they take it back (unless it's blatant misuse)... Normal wear and tear is covered though - they warrant everything for life. and fix it or replace it free.

-ben


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PostPosted: March 29th, 2004, 1:24 pm 
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Joined: March 24th, 2004, 4:58 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Oakville, Ontario
I've had an Outbound 3-man dome tent since 1994 - GF (now wife) paid about $300 for it. It is in perfect condition and only leaked when we set it in a hollow that filled with water during an all-night rain (I think it was due to have some fresh seam sealer). Recently the poles started to warp - I sent them to Outbound and they replaced and/or fixed them free of charge.

This tent has seen, on average, 20 nights a year and, like I said, will do another 10 years.

Money can get you a rugged, leak-proof tent from a company that will stand behind it for a lifetime.


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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2020, 9:21 am 
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Joined: June 15th, 2020, 11:43 pm
Posts: 1
yes you are right. Now a lot of people are preferring different varieties of tents for various purposes. But as you have mentioned you only use tent for family trips. In this regard, I have found an awesome place to get the best suitable for you. you will not regret your decision as i have experienced this before and it was quite good.


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PostPosted: June 25th, 2020, 3:25 pm 
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Joined: July 12th, 2016, 3:01 pm
Posts: 167
I have strong opinions on tents and gear in general.. but I will leave those aside (for a bit).
TLDR:
My general rule of thumb for gear is - buy the absolute best you can afford. But make sure it is suited to your activity - thankfully the internet is full of information. So you should be able to make the right decision

IMHO:
I have done way more hiking than canoeing so my primary criteria for gear selections was weight. Regardless of price I wanted/needed the lightest option available. I generally hike about 12 hours a day when I am doing trails so every gram saved is crucial to the point that my full gear set up for a 7 day trip (including food and the weight of the pack empty) is 32 lbs. I found out on my first canoe trip that I actually needed to put ballast in the canoe because it was riding too high and the wind could spin it around WHEEEEEE!!!!

My tent cost 800.00 CAD and weighs 20oz (that's right it's just 4 oz over one pound) it is a two person tent and it is quite frankly the roomiest two person tent I've ever had. It has two vestibules and has been through numerous downpours and I never have experienced and leaking or seeping through the floor - I've never used a ground sheet with it and don't need it.

All this to say at a certain price - above 500 a lot of the tents are going to be geared towards more niche needs like ultralight hiking or mountaineering (word of advice do NOT get a mountaineering tent they are 1000.00 or more and are designed for wind and high altitudes but are crap in rain)


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PostPosted: June 29th, 2020, 12:07 pm 
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Joined: September 21st, 2006, 8:41 pm
Posts: 153
Location: Southern Ontario
As someone who has a problem in that I collect sleep systems, I can honestly say that it really boils down to material and workmanship more than price point. I have a wide range of tents (12 of them to be exact) ranging from $1000 dollar Bibler (now BD but nowhere near the same quality when Bibler owned itself. ) to $99 dollar Costco. Not counting the hammocks, bivy sacks and tarp set ups I have as well.
The best tent I ever owned was the $99 dollar Costco one, it has seen the absolute worst that nature can throw at it from heavy snow to the tail of a hurricane where water was so deep it was like sleeping on a water bed for 3 days and to this day it has not leaked a single drop of water inside, never seam sealed other than factory and 20 years of wear, tear and UV and still going strong. Only replaced a zipper pull. Yes it is heavy at 8lbs but for a 3p with a vestibule equal to the tent, a guess not bad. It has been rock solid and never failed me. With that being said, I have had expensive tents that fell apart and expensive tents that were strong and durable and the same for cheap ones. I will say that expensive tents are lighter, I have yet to have a durable cheap one weigh sub 4 lbs like my expensive ones. I mainly just look for a few key things that I expect to see on a quality built tent irregardless of the price. I always go with the best bang for my buck and never pay full price, I have no issues buying a later model at 70% off. I have yet to have a Moose complain about me using last years model :D

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