Looking for good middle priced backpacking tent/gear

Corinne Nyman

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May 8, 2013
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I am looking to get more into backpacking. I did one 36 miler last year and loved it, shared a tent and all gear with other person. I'm now looking into gear.. I have tried to research what is good but there are so many different things out there. I'm just going to ask all of you.. I was looking at the MSR Nook 2 tent, the MSR Sweetwater microfilter and the JetBoil Zip. What are your suggestions etc.. Thanks for any info you may have!!
 

Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
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Henry Shires Tarptent. Hiker Pro filter. Micropur tabs instead of filter. Reactor stove is better than Jetboil, but I use a Crux foldable, MSR Kettle, 8 oz canisters.....weighs a lot less, cheaper and heats plenty fast. Backpack look to Granite Gear approx 3800 ci, bag I use a Ultralamina 15 synthetic, pad NeoAir. Base weight for my stuff is 8.6 lbs (pack, bag, pad, tent)
 

Dan

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Feb 24, 2012
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There are so many good options, it's hard to point to any one specific piece of gear and say it's the best. Probably the best place to start is asking where you plan on backpacking. Are you in Utah? Extended trips, or just overnighters? What is your experience level? Budget? Will you be solo, or will you share some gear with another person?
 

TannerT

Hike Hard, Tread Lightly
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May 15, 2013
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Look into each of those pieces of equipment. I have two first gen jetboils and they run great 7 and 8 years later. We usually just eat backpacker meals so the jetboil is sufficient, but we are starting to dabble with backcountry cooking. So we've purchased the add-ons for the jetboil to use pans and pots that are bigger.

We also use a katadyn hiker water filter. I've never had a problem. Just make sure to air it out back at city home.

Definitely shop on the big purchases: Tent, Sleeping bag/pad, footwear. REI is making a great middle of the road product that is not only respectable but functional as all get out. We've been very impressed with the REI gear that we have. We have two REI tents, the quarter dome and the basecamp 6. Both have been stellar.

So I guess when you're shopping keep three things in mind - Where are you going? When are you going? Why are you going? And, of course, your budget should keep you in check. I would do some research and then just get into it. You can always upgrade as you go. Just getting started should help you realize what you want.

Alright quick run down of the "usual" gear: Backpack (Osprey Aether 85), Tent (Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 3), Sleeping bag (Big Agnes Fishhawk 30), Pad (Big Agnes insulated air core), stove (jetboil 1st gen), Filter (Katadyn Hiker pro), footwear (Chaco Z/2 or Brooks Cascadias), Outerwear (REI rain jacket, Marmot Precip rain pants, Sherpa Puffy coat, REI sahara shirt). The rest is just odds and ends. I do have three tents, 7ish packs, 4 sleeping bags and doubles of a lot of things. This doesn't include my wife's gear ;). She has just as much.

Good Luck and let us know what you decide on, it's always exciting getting new gear, because that means you get to use it! :lol:

Salud!
 

baltocharlie

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Dec 21, 2012
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Since you are a beginner I would go cheap. Try buying used and light. Then once you have some miles under your belt I would get what I "need".
Tent: huge amount of possibilities here. Hammocks, tarps and tents as well as tent/tarp combos. The first 2 are very light. Regular tents are the heaviest. What are you comfortable with. Tarps are open to the world for all to see, hammocks need trees and you gotta like sleeping in one. If you don't like those options then go with a tent. I am not familiar with the tent you posted as I am a tarp camper. Hexamid is the brand I have used in recent years. They have a tarp/tent model with bug netting that is similar in price to the one you posted and lighter.
Water filters: Sawyer is looking like a current favorite and inexpensive. I have no experiences with it but am eying it up. I currently use an antique Katadyne. Works flawlessly but heavy , very very heavy:(
Stoves: The canisters are easy. Jetboil is what I have used for years. It is so simple, light enough and very fast and fuel efficient. Cheaper these days, one can easily score a lightly used one on backpackinglight. Lighter are the alcohol and Esbit stoves. They are slow and messy(at least to me).

Dan makes good points. The more specific you are about your needs the more info folks can give you.
 

Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
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Buy good the first time.............. buy to fit as well................... Think bulk as well as light................. Think dual duty too ..................
Big 'advertised' names are not necessarily the best............

I'd steer clear of alky stoves, messy, and subject to fire bans (can't turn them off)
What ever you decide, someone always thinks a different best.
 

Corinne Nyman

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May 8, 2013
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I have only done the one 36 mile trip. That was 2 nights. I will mostly be in warmer weather since I'm not a fan of the cold- def fair weather person. I moved to st. George just for that reason:) I will mostly pack the dehydrated food things since it is quick and easy. I will most likely hike with others.. I may need at times to carry all my own stuff.. but I don't require much. Other times hopefully my bf or someone will be with me and we could split all the stuff to pack. I do have a backpack and bag that work quite well for now. Will buy used pad thing from a friend. I would rather have a tent, not a huge fan of idea of sleeping where things can get to me. So tent I guess is my main ?. I will look at some of the suggestions above.. Thanks!!
 

baltocharlie

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Dec 21, 2012
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I am a little reluctant to give advice since I tarp not tent but will tell you what I have read(NOT EXPERIENCED) while looking at tents/tarps over the last year or 2.
Seems the UL tents have a much smaller footprint. Thus many hikers are using the 2 person tents like a 1 one person tent plus gear. If you will be camping with another person most of the time you might want to make sure the footprint fits the both of you. Might need a 3 person tent. If you will be alone most of the time then a 2 person should be good enough. Also some of the UL tents do not fit tall people(over 6ft) so measure your needs. Often the lighter the tent the weaker the fabric so care is needed.

Here are some tents that I was close to buying. My needs were views, ventilation and weight:
Big Agnes FLy Creek UL: free standing netting offering night views and no insects, only use fly when it rains (you might need a UL3 or 2)
Tarptent Rainbow: great view through the front door, single wall construction (you would need a double Rainbow)
Lightheart: good ventilation, good views, easy to cover with fly when rains come (you would need a duo)
Big Sky Evolution: Similar to BA. Long wait if you order new but I did see a used one on backpackinglight late last month in almost new condition.
Hexamid tarp/tent w/ bug netting: very light, well vented, views decent though not stellar.

Last night I did some reading about the Sawyer water filtration, squeeze and drip. I think one of these is the way to go. It is cheap, light and easy. Usually you only get 2 of those choices. Since I am in the market for one I feel a purchase is going down soon:)

Bob mentioned bulk. I wholeheartedly agree to keep it small. As a bike tourer I really try to keep my gear tiny(thus the tarp). By keeping my gear small I am able to tour without the huge/heavy panniers.

Good luck in you pursuit.
 

Bob

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Single Rainbow fits two people, unless they are big. Mine would fit two of me! The Dbl rainbow is really roomy.
 

HomerJ

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Jan 19, 2012
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I have the Fly Creek UL 1. It's a nice tent, but I think I prefer the side entry tents to the top entry tents like my Fly Creek. Not a huge deal, but something to consider...
 

pstm13

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Dec 27, 2012
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My personal solution to the same issue was the Eureka Midori 2
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BL5N19A/?tag=backcountrypo-20

The full tent works well in bad weather and has an extended rain cover for gear or cooking.

For a tarp version/backpacking I use a wal-mart ultra lite tarp, the poles, and the rain fly. I just put the poles in the grommets, tie the pole tops together, and rig the ends of the fly to the bottom of the poles. The velcro holds the fly to the poles. I also use a couple of stakes for the rain fly. It is about 2 lbs. and works great.
 

Bob

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Tarp = eaten by bugs unless you do some netting. Rainbow, side entry, weighs in at 2 lb 2 oz and fully contained (including poles, stakes, footprint), can be free standing with hiking poles ! In the $200 range tho. Well worth it IMHO. Mine has handled the Grand Canyon to the Wind Rivers.
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
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For middle priced gear I've liked the Alps brand for pads, tents & packs. I do most of my shopping on Amazon and
in the comparison that I've done they've got as good or better prices. Get a gravity filter - I've got a Katadyn and
I love it. For sleeping bags you can save some money by getting a 20 degree bag and getting a liner, which adds
another 10-20 degrees of warmth at a lot less than buying the equivalent bag.
 

steve

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Dec 11, 2013
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Lots of great suggestions. I've been bit by the ultralight bug, and it's addictive. I'm every bit as comfortable as when I had a 40 lb pack, but now I'm usually at 13-7 lbs for an overnighter, and 25-30 for longer trips (that food gets heavy).

Check out this book, it has a great philosophy with some great tips, great recipes, and free ways to shave pounds off your pack weight. Super easy and fun to read too!

http://www.amazon.com/Ultralight-Backpackin-Tips-Inexpensive-Lightweight/dp/0762763841/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387490043&sr=8-1&keywords=mike clelland


Also, I reference this site a ton:
http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Backpacking-Tent-Reviews
 

steve

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Dec 11, 2013
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Here's a quick overview of Mike Clelland's setup (the guy who wrote that book).



 

steve

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Dec 11, 2013
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Here's my approach to gear you need:

For the ultralight mentality, you want your 4 key items to weigh less than 3 lbs each.
- A good light pad that's warm. I use a Thermarest neo air X-therm. Some people love 'em, others hate 'em. I love mine.
- A good light sleeping bag. I like down, but you have to make sure it stays dry. I have a western mountaineering megalite that I love for temps above 20*. It's not the lightest thing out there, but it's not bad
- A good light backpack. The golite jam 50 is a fantastic pack for $109, and superlight
- A good light tent (this is a lot tougher to do). I splurged here, but there are some great options out there for cheap, especially if you go used.


I've got my base weight (pack, pad, bag, tent) down to 90 oz (5.6 lbs)!

I used to hate hiking, but now that i've got my pack weight down so much, I enjoy it more than ever!



Here are a few other items I love:
- Sawyer Mini water filter. Super small, barely over 1 oz, and you just squeeze the water bag and it comes out purified. Very similar to a gravity system
- alcohol stove. These aren't for everyone, but I'm a huge fan. this is the one I have: BS 2.0 silver kit
- lightweight cook pot. I'm weird about aluminum and the effects it has on your body, so I opt for titanum. I have a MSR titan pot that I love. My stove, fuel, and matches all nest inside it.
- Layered clothing, and not too much clothing. I used to take 2 extra pairs of jeans, 4 extra socks, 3 t-shirts and 2 hoodies for a 3-day trip. Now I've learned how to layer and I only have one of everything I need (except for underwear and a second pair of socks for sleeping)

My approach won't work for everyone, and I'm sure lots of others will argue that their stuff is better (which it may be), but this is what works for me.


Best of luck. Just remember that you don't have to spend tons and tons of money for a decent lightweight setup (that's what the book is all about). Happy hiking.
 

steve

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Dec 11, 2013
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Single Rainbow fits two people, unless they are big. Mine would fit two of me! The Dbl rainbow is really roomy.


These are great tents, especially for the price and weight.

I also have a quarter dome T3. It's not super light, but I've put it through the ringer and it's held up extremely well. I'm very happy with that tent. It's my go-to car camping tent. That being said, I wish I had known about the double rainbow before I bought the REI tent.
 

baltocharlie

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Dec 21, 2012
Messages
324
These are great tents, especially for the price and weight.

I also have a quarter dome T3. It's not super light, but I've put it through the ringer and it's held up extremely well. I'm very happy with that tent. It's my go-to car camping tent. That being said, I wish I had known about the double rainbow before I bought the REI tent.

Tents are the single biggest weight factor in going ultralite. Bob makes a good point about tarps and bugs. I use a Hexamid tarp and bivy combo. Works for me in most situation except the hot humid times. Then I use an inner net under the tarp and leave the bivy behind. This was a bit pricey. To rationalize my purchases I compare my gear to motel rooms.
Sleeping bags, down all the way. Back in the day we use to use down, then came the poly fill bags. Everyone bought them fearing a wet bag. Well in 50 years of camping I really never had a soaked bag, damp yes soaked never. So I bought an Enlighten Revelation down quilt. I used it on my recent trip to Utah. It took a few days to get use to it(strap adjustments for cold spots) but worked really well. I was toasty and did not feel confined. This bag was not expensive but ultralite.
Sleeping pad...crap shot. Whatever works for you.
 

steve

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Dec 11, 2013
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2,140
I have a hexamid as well. Mine is the new duplex with the cuben floor, rather than the mesh floor. Joe makes some great gear. Well worth the money if you get out a lot.
 
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