All about touring, whether you are a local or visiting from overseas.
Interesting. I like the look of that Exped Venus II, however I am not sure I can stomach the $660-700 price when there are other options out there for half the price. It just seems too excessive for a tent. I notice the 2 person Exped Mira 2 is a bit less expensive at ~$450-80.
Ideally my max budget is around $450 AUD (inc shipping costs). I can't accept that it isn't possible to get a well-designed, durable and reasonably light 2 person tent for that price.
I do like the design, weight and price of the Tarptents though. Scarp 2, as mentioned above by Aushiker, at $369 USD plus shipping (I assume around $80 from the US). This is more my price and feature bracket.
Any thoughts on the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 or UL 3 tent? Super light (~1.5kg for the 2p version), extremely well-reviewed across many different sites and the 2p version can be had for $370 +p or $450 +p for the 3 person version. The main downsides of it is the single entrance, slightly saggy sides, small vestibule and a few other minor points.
I'll have to keep hunting around. I really have no idea about the features and what to buy when it comes to touring tents, and there's an overwhelming amount of options so I am pretty much flying blind here.
Last edited by elStado on Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
In honesty and with hindsight I should have gone with the Tarptent Moment instead of the Tarptent Scarp 1. Lesson learnt ... do one's research properly. That said as you are looking at a two-person the other option is the Double Rainbow but I think you might find this a bit too minimalist. The Double Rainbow with the clip in breathable liner (I guess adds about 100 grams or so to the weight) makes this a very nice lightweight two person tent but one needs to be comfortable with the lightweight approach.
Last edited by Aushiker on Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
$US745 total for my Venus 2 from Moontrail.... but that also included an Exped Synmat, plus enough bonus points for a second Synmat and some MSR Groundhog pegs. All of these extras have an Australian-sourced value of close to $400, so the tent was a bargain
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
It's been a while since I've looked into it, and all of these tents look very good, but I'm very happy with my MSR Hubba Hubba. Bought from Moontrail ages ago with a footprint.
- Currently US$299 and now with a green fly (mine's yellow).
- Free standing
- Can setup fly first so the inner stays dry if it's raining
It's held up to heavy downpours for hours without drama. The vestibules aren't massive, but we can fit four front and two rear panniers under one side easily and cook if need be under the other. We keep our clothes rear panniers and handlebar bags inside at our feet, but I'm 177cm so not super tall. I reckon you could do the same up to 185cm or so easily enough.
I'll be taking this tent around the USA and Japan for 3 months in June. Some rodent tried to chew into it at the end of the last dry season but it was easily patched and now I have spare patches.
You'll find it in most of the tours listed here
Yeah the HH is on my short list still. I like the design, features and the price is palatable ~$380 delivered, maybe a bit less with the exchange rate).
Very popular and well reviewed tent too all across the interwebs. Downside is that you have to go through the hassle of a shipping forwarder, as US based companies won't ship MSR gear outside of the US. It is $500 locally at a store and around $450 online locally.
Any thoughts on the Terra Nova Superlite Solar 2.2? It's another 2p, 3s, sub-2.5kg freestanding tent in the ~$300 range (on sale from $399). Again it is well designed and well reviewed. ~$390 delivered (however I just noticed they are out of stock ). Another small downside is that you don't get any bonus points for it at Moontrail as it is on sale. You get pretty good gear with those points I have noticed.
It's amazing how many options there are out there. So many different features and technologies to compare and learn about. This is both a curse and a blessing.
The reason I bought from Moontrail is because they would send MSR to Australia where the other sellers wouldn't. I just tried to order one then and it asked me where it was being shipped to; I entered Australia and it said "cool, eighty bucks ta".
I've only made one order with them and it was a few years ago, but it was a good experience. The reason I haven't made another order is because all that gear is still going strong...
Ah, maybe they have changed. They have a notice on their website saying they will not send any Cascade Designs gear (Therm-a-Rest, MSR etc) outside of the US (including Canada).
I do see that that they offer a freight option, so maybe they just say that on the website to keep CD happy and then ship it internationally anyway.
I need a sleeping mattress, sleeping bag and a stove too, and they have some pretty good gear at cheap prices. Even with shipping taken into account it is cheaper than anywhere else, even ebay.
I like the double rainbow, however it seems to be more designed as a hiking tent that a cycle touring and general use tent. I'd prefer something a bit more freestanding and versatile like the Hubba Hubba.
One thing about the Tarptents is that they all seem to thread the pole through, rather than just clip onto the poles like with the Hubba Hubba et al.
Last edited by elStado on Tue May 01, 2012 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Check out http://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/ . Once you deduct the VAT (20% so divide the price by 1.2) and take into consideration postage you may find they beat MoonTrail and you have quicker postage and no hassle with MSR gear. I am looking at a Western Mountaineering sleeping bag and there is a nice saving via http://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/ over MoonTrail.
Thanks for the link. That website is actually quite cheap for certain items, such as Exped mattresses. About the same price for MSR gear and are fine to ship OS. I also noticed that although their shipping is about the same as Moontrail for larger orders (4-5 items), they have a much lower single item shipping fee (around 10 pounds, instead of around $50 USD from Moontrail). Ultralight aren't the best place for tents though, their range is a bit more limited and prices are a bit higher than Moontrail even after removing VAT and taking shipping into account. I think I will get a tent, cook wear (via points) and maybe sleeping bag from Moontrail, and I will get my mattress and stove from ultralight. I've got around $1200 worth of stuff to buy, which is quite hefty.
I've looked around for cheaper 2nd hand gear but haven't had any luck with this sort of gear. Looks like I will just have to write it off as a long term investment, which is how I justified the cost of my Ortleib Back Roller+ panniers and Tubus Cosmo rack (both of which I have already gotten lots of use and have zero buyer's regret!).
Back on topic of tents for touring, I have heard many positive comments on the latest Big Agnes Copper Spur UL. It's light (1.56kg packed for the 2 person), costs ~$399 (plus postage) and very well designed in terms of interior space, vestibules etc. However I just realised that the skin is an off-cream kind of colour, and the new 2012 version seems to have large sections of orange skin too. So this isn't very good for wild camping. Bit of a pity really that it doesn't come with a forest green skin option. I considered a camo net to go over it for wild/stealth camping, however this just seems like an extra hassle and bulk considering that there's lots of other good tents out there in more natural, subdued skin colours to choose from (e.g. Terra Nova Superlite Solar, MSR Hubba Hubba & Exped Mira which are all on my short list). I also noticed that the Tarptent Scarp 2 has a silver fly, which again isn't the most ideal colour for wild/stealth camping where you want to keep a low profile.
Exped downmat 9 LW 143.55 quid incuding shipping from ultralightoutdoorgear
Exped downmat 9 LW $259 available from mainpeak available locally and no warranty hassles if there is a problem
End result save $34 if you buy from them. Is it worth it if there is a problem?
Masi Speciale CX 2008 - Brooks B17 special saddle, Garmin Edge 810
Good point. Mattresses are actually quite reasonably priced here at major retail stores. E.g. Exped SynMat 7 Ultralight is ~$134 (80 quid) delivered with ultralight, or $139 for the same thing with free delivery and local store to claim any warranty issues with Mainpeak.
I actually went to Mainpeak and Mountain Designs here in the CBD the other day to have a look at their range and prices, however I noticed they are very expensive with tents and have limited choices. Additionally the Mainpeak store didn't have any mattresses in stock to have a look and feel (what is the point of a retail store then?). I also went to Mountain Designs looking to check out the Hubba Hubba however they didn't have any avaliable (although they said they had 3 on the system so they should be floating around somewhere). I'm hoping to get some gear locally when they have a sale or stocktake next month. I leave late July so I have some time to pick up bargains.
With tents it's a bit of a different story for certain models, however it is worth checking local prices as they might be surprisingly competitive once you add it all up. E.g. you can get the Exped Mira 2 for ~$450 AUD (depending on your exchange rate) from Moontrail (plus 50 bonus points to use on a variety of decent gear or a $50 cash discount), ~$496 delivered ex-VAT from ultralight (however this IS an expensive example, ultralight are not the cheapest choice for some items), or $479 from Mainpeak online which includes GST and free shipping. Moontrail in this example is quite a bit cheaper, $80, however this isn't as mbig of a price difference as one would expect. For some people it might be worth spending the extra $30-80 to contribute to GST, keep money in a local company, and have that warranty backup if anything goes wrong (it shouldn't with such an expensive item, but you never know).
I guess it really comes down to picking you items and always checking the local prices. I think most people (myself included I do not deny) have a mentality that anything sold from an Aussie store will be excessively expensive, and anything from the US or Uk will be significantly cheaper. As I've realised here this isn't always the case with some gear, especially as it seems with trekking gear which must have a bigger market in Aus than cycling gear which IS horrendously expensive compared to OS (Ortlieb pannier bags and Tubus racks for example!).
I actually purchased mine from Mainpeak online site unseen. I was going to get it from moontrail and then factored in shipping and spotted the price at mainpeak.
I believe Aushiker has the Exped synmat, and I've got the Exped downmat 9 M if you wanted a comparison. I believe the cottesloe store has exped mattresses in stock, might pay to call them and find out as they had them when I went in a year ago
Masi Speciale CX 2008 - Brooks B17 special saddle, Garmin Edge 810
+1 excellent link.
However on the subject of Moontrail you can do something about the cost of shipping. I've bought a ton of stuff from them and have it sent to http://www.shipito.com/. They have a number of locations in the US - select the LA office. Moontrail doesn't charge for shipping inside the US. Once the goods arrive at Shipitto their system generates multiple quotes from all the major freight companies. In my experience the cheapest is always TNT Express (which is only available out of the LA office).
When comparing costs don't forget to factor in Moontrail's points - I got an Exped mattress for N/C using them.
BTW - it was Moontrail that put me onto Shipitto when the issue of selling MSR gear to an Australian arose.
Yep I got the Exped Synmat UL7S from Mainpeak for $108. You are welcome to have a look at it if you can be bothered coming to Fremantle.
Can anyone give me some pointers as to how I choose a dry bag capacity/size to hold my tent, sleeping bag, pillow and mattress? Does this all go in the one bag or do I break it up into multiple bags?
I would recommend a 30-40L drybag*. You don't want to go too small - sometimes you may need to add things into it eg. extra shopping, loading extra items in when travelling on buses/ferries/planes.
My personal habit - the sleeping bag always goes in one rear pannier (legacy of the days when I had no dry-bag and the tent and thermarest were strapped on top, but the down bag needed secure, dry storage). The drybag carries tent, tent footprint, sleeping mat, camp stool and waterbag(s); except when travelling with SWMBO - I carry the larger tent, she gets to carry the two sleeping mats.
* What I have here, underneath all the washing
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
I'm looking to get an Alpkit Gourdon 30L (the largest size) as they are pretty well priced and well reviewed/recommended around the place (plus you can use them for a general day bag or even an seat). This should hopefully be enough. I think going larger than smaller will be a better idea, as it is easier to roll it down to get rid of excess rather than trying to pack extra into a small bag. Hopefully I will be able to pack all my camping/sleeping gear into the one dry bag that will be mounted on top of my rear rack. If not I'll just have to redistribute the gear into other sections of my pannier bags. I'm pretty keen to order some more gear this week (payday this Thursday), so I can start playing around with how everything will pack together and weigh in preparation.
I spent many more hours last night reading reviews and options for a suitable tent.. I'm still looking at the MSR Hubba Hubba due to the bang-for-buck it represents compared to other options. It also ticks my boxes when it comes to size, fly colour, design, weight and price. It's around $270 USD plus shipping from Moontrail (after using the points). The Exped Mira 2 is also on my list, however I don't see how it is worth the extra ~$70 over the Hubba Hubba as they are both very similar in weight, floor space, features, packed size etc. Maybe the Mira 2's pole system is a little more durable than the Hubba Hubba system.
The Tarptent Scarp 2 is still on my short list as it is evidently a better design than the Hubba Hubba, albeit at a considerably higher price ($270 after discount vs $369 plus shipping). The price of the Scarp 2 isn't totally out of my budget though, and it is extremely well reviewed in backpacking circles from what I have read. One issue I have with the Scarp 2 is the colour of the fly. Ideally for stealth camping (something I intend on being able to do while touring) the fly should be a more subdued, natural colour. From the pictures the Scarp 2 fly (as most/all of the Tarptents) the fly is a grey/silver colour, not quite the natural, forest green I was hoping for. I emailed Henry at Tarptent to enquire about the 'stealth' of this colour, and if it was possible to get the fly made in a more natural colour.. here is his response:
Hrrm. Stealth camping will only be a minor/emergency component of my touring, so maybe I'll be ok with the standard fly from Tarptent? I was also thinking of taking a small, lightweight camo net to put over the bike if camping, so I could always through this over the tent too if I think I need extra camouflage?
This in the wild:
The Scarp 2 really is a beautiful piece of equipment though. Seems strange to say that about a tent of all things, but there's obviously a lot of thought put into the design.
I'm not so sure that I'd worry too much about the colour of the tent, either for stealth camping or between green and grey. If you're stealth camping and worrying about being seen due to the colour of your tent, you're probably not very well hidden. If you choose the right spot, you should be able to stealth camp in just about any coloured tent I reckon. I've stealthed it in my yellow Hubba Hubba without problems by choosing my site carefully.
Green or grey would be fine I reckon. Just for the record though, I had a great weekend camping in my Hubba Hubba at Edith Falls near Katherine on the weekend. I noticed that the seam sealer was lifting though after 3 years of reasonable use - I'll have to look into recoating it.
I stealth camp in places I probably shouldn't around the shoreline of the Gippsland Lakes and have done since I was a kid. Even with a green coloured tent (my new one is bright red) it is very hard to blend into the background unless I push deeper into the bush, completely out of sight rather than camouflaged. There are lots of shades of green in the bush and this summer I noticed that my dark green tarp I'd set up just near the beach, set back slightly into the scrub stood out very clearly against the lighter green vegetation. Thinking about it, a grey tarp would probably blend in better as the greenery is up higher in the tree and shrub canopy and the lower, shaded layers of grasses, sticks and tree trunks would probably hide a grey tarp or tent better. My point is that one shade of green isn't going to cover all bush types, grey might be a better option.
I'm a bit of a TarpTent fanboi, narry a bad word to say about my Scarp1 after about 12 months of ownership including bushwalking here and in Tassie and bike touring in France.
That's a pretty sharp price for the HH though, IF Moontrail will ship MSR products to Aus... You'd need the 'HP' (solid inner) version for comparible 4-season performance to the Scarp though (likewise the Scarp might be less stable than the HH without the crossing poles - though personally I've found it rock-solid in some pretty ordinary conditions without them).
I considered the Hubba HP before buying my Scarp 1; aside from being more expensive than the TT at the time I didn't much like the single vestibule or odd pole setup - neither issues with the HH. But AFAICT both Scarps are a fair bit roomier inside than their MSR opposite numbers. The Hubba felt like a coffin, whereas the Scarp1 is a tight but manageable fit for two.
Stealth isn't really a consideration for me, but the Scarp does blend in well to Australian bush, it would probably stick out a bit more in European forests.
Can any existing TT owners offer comment on the inner? I am going to be camping in possibly wet and windy conditions, min temps hovering around 4-8 degrees C most days. I originally though of just getting the mesh inner (if I were to get the TT) as it would be more suitable for Aussie temps (especially here in WA). Surely if I have a good mattress (Exped Synmat 7 UL is on my short list) and sleeping bag I should be OK with the mesh inner in temps above 0 degrees C?
Also can any TT owners advise on what comes with the tents and if they need any more work? I read something about the tent needing extra sealant, though I am not sure if that was regarding a TT or another brand. What type of pegs do they come with as part of the standard package? I see they also sell Ti pegs as an optional extra on the main TT website but no mention of what accessories come with the tent on the product page. Should I consider the Ti pegs? What about a stuff sack, repair kit etc? Does it all come with the basic kit, or do you have to buy it extra?
Considering I am planning to go to Scandinavia because it is less populated and wild camping is legal, this should be even less of an issue. As Tim mentioned grey should be just as low-key as the green, at least it isn't bright orange or yellow like the older Hubba Hubba tents were.
I reckon you'd get away with the mesh inner in those temps no probs - really as you say it depends on your other gear.
OK, so you need to seam-seal the fly - this involves setting the tent up then painting the seams on the fly with a slurry of turps and silicone. TarpTent can do this for you for a price but it's pretty straightforward and easy to do yourself - about a two-hour job. It's also worth painting some patches on the inside of the tent floor as it's quite slippery.
You get everything you need to store and set up the tent including stuff sacks for the tent and pegs. The pegs are pretty heavy-duty (though not heavy), I'm not sure of the brand but they're about 8mm diameter and aluminium alloy. They do recommend you add two extra guylines to the guy points on the pole; if you wanted to do this you'd need two extra pegs and a bit of guyline. Personally I haven't bothered but might at some point... No repair kit, but I believe Henry will supply fabric scraps at no cost on request.
The only other thing I've bought is some Tyvek to use as a groundsheet, you can buy this from TarpTent already cut to size or track down a scrap and cut it yourself. Probably not strictly necessary unless you're camping on very sharp rocks or thorny bushes etc, but also helps to keep the tent clean.
I have the solid interoir but that was purchased mainly because I will be doing a fair bit of camping in sandy conditions so hope to keep the sand out a bit better. My previous tent, a Big Sky International had a mesh interior and it was fine in the winter in the south-west of WA.
I have done this based on Franco's recommendation. I have also seamed sealed mine (completely). Solid interior, seam sealing and guy ropes/pegs has added 140 grams to the weight of my Scarp 1. Seam sealing is really easy ... hint: pitch the tent with the fly inside out. Makes it really easy to seal from the inside then, so not quite hte way Franco is doing the Moment in the video.
I also got the Tyvek from Tarptent. Still need to run it through the washing machine but.
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