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jared_j

3 - 4 Season convertible tent for Cascade summers?

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I'm interested in this tent:

 

http://sierradesigns.com/tents.display.php?id=65

 

This tent appeals to me because it is relatively spacious for its weight, and the 'convertibility' option is nice for ventilation and the occasional sub-alpine backpacking trip.

 

An experienced friend of mine suggested that most sturdy 3 - pole designed dome tents with a taut pitch and internal stabilizers (as this one has) would be adequate for summer mountaineering in the Cascades (e.g. Squawk Glacier on Baker, Kautz Glacier on Rainier in July). Do ya'll agree with this assertion?

 

I know that for utter bombproofness, I should be looking at something like the Trango 2, and for utter elegance, something from Hilleberg. But my budget isn't that big, and I'd like some versatility since I'm not spending every weekend in my tent.

 

Opinions about the above assertion as well as specific input in regards to this tent are very welcome. Thanks!

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I used a Sierra Designs 3 season tent up here for years. I was happy with it, but eventually the seams busted through. Mind you, I didn't do anything in the way of care for it beyond the occasional airing out.

 

I have found since then that I really don't need a tent all that often for summer trips here. I bring a tarp (a la Ray Jardine) for emergencies and that's it. But then, I am a very warm sleeper and bugs don't seem to like me much.

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I will never buy a sierra design tent again. The first time I took out mine I was sliding down a mountainside because wind gusts had ripped the guy lines off the tent. Granted the were strong winds but it can happen. Buy quality not the imitation of quality.

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I use a Black Diamond Betamid for 4 season mountaineering in the lower 48. It has been very adequate and has withstood some fairly strong storms on Rainier, Stuart etc. For the cost ($99) and the weight (2.2 lbs) it is hard to beat.

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I think for primarily summer use you should go with something cheaper and lighter. I guess the "fastpack" weight (whatever that means) isn't too heavy but why bother with a convertible tent for the summertime? If you're feeling brave buy a really light shelter (BD Megalite, for example) and save some serious weight.

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I already have a Ray Jardine - style tarp for super lightweight camping. That said, sometimes I have a preference for a true tent with floor.

 

Given this preference, I'm looking for versatility with an eye towards the structural integrity for dealing with possibly harsh conditions on the big volcanoes at high camps. Still, I'd like to be able to bust it out, say, for backpacking with my girlfriend (who isn't into tarp camping) or any condition when I think weather will push me to opt for more substantial shelter than a lightweight tarp.

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I have an Omega. They're great...for sea kayaking. You probably don't want to lug one around on your back.

 

For light alpine shelter that'll take a REASONABLE (not hurricane) wind, look up the Tarptent Squall. 2 persons, 2 lbs complete (pitched with your ski pole), single wall, full floor, full bug netting.

 

Is your criterian light weight, or bombproof durable? You'll need to decide this before buying if you want a full tent with netting and a floor.

 

FOr more durable 2 person shelter, I'm looking to pick up a Black Diamond Firstlight or Hilight with vestibule; roughly double the weight of the tarptent, and probably double the durability.

 

 

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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If you are just asking "Is a convertible 3/4 season tent adequate for summer mountaineering in the Cascades" then the answer is yes, in fact it's overkill.

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I have the Omega CD - bought in ~ 1998, and hasn't really been used since 1999. It might be light for it's strength, but I found it heavy enough to not want to haul it around. It's also quite bulky, so doesn't fit well into a smaller pack. The convertible option adds both weight and bulk, and it's a big 2 person....we squeezed 3 on Rainier, so pretty overkill for most stuff I do. The vestibule is also not particularly roomy (a common flaw of most SD tents).

 

Bottom line....too big and heavy to be a great summer tent, and the vestibule is too small to be a great winter tent. I've always regretted trying to get gear to cover a wide spectrum of applications as it doesn't tend to do anything really well, and I end up getting the more specialized stuff later.

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I already have a Ray Jardine - style tarp for super lightweight camping. That said, sometimes I have a preference for a true tent with floor.

 

Given this preference, I'm looking for versatility with an eye towards the structural integrity for dealing with possibly harsh conditions on the big volcanoes at high camps. Still, I'd like to be able to bust it out, say, for backpacking with my girlfriend (who isn't into tarp camping) or any condition when I think weather will push me to opt for more substantial shelter than a lightweight tarp.

Ah, so you are looking for a love shack. That's different.

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My criteria is bombproof. I already have a lightweight tarp, so in my 'system' approach a sturdy more bombproof structure is chosen at the expense of greater weight is preferred. That the convertible has the option of also being a decent car - camping tent or even a 'compromise' backpacking option where a sturdier shelter is preferred makes it desireable.

 

Looking for versatility for:

-summertime high camps on volcanoes

-car camping ease for timid girlfriends/other friends who don't wanna do the tarp

-possibility of stripping down for occasional overnights where the security of a full shelter is preferred

 

Bottom line: I don't want to get way deep into owning N! (N factorial) different tents and this looks like a good option.

 

Sounds like what I'm hearing is this structure will be more than adequate for my needs.

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My criteria is bombproof. I already have a lightweight tarp, so in my 'system' approach a sturdy more bombproof structure is chosen at the expense of greater weight is preferred. That the convertible has the option of also being a decent car - camping tent or even a 'compromise' backpacking option where a sturdier shelter is preferred makes it desireable.

 

Looking for versatility for:

-summertime high camps on volcanoes

-car camping ease for timid girlfriends/other friends who don't wanna do the tarp

-possibility of stripping down for occasional overnights where the security of a full shelter is preferred

 

Bottom line: I don't want to get way deep into owning N! (N factorial) different tents and this looks like a good option.

 

Sounds like what I'm hearing is this structure will be more than adequate for my needs.

 

Interested in a used one?

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Dude, the tent you are looking at is way too much for your stated uses. Why do you want a four season tent for summer mountaineering and car camping? Buy whatever you want but I don't get why you're asking for advice.

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Everything I read and many experienced folk with whom I speak say that you need a serious 4-season tent for summer climbing on the volcanoes in the area; that at least a 3-pole design is necessary to deal with the high winds. and possible snow loads. Is this not correct and/or overkill?

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Overkill. It would be rare to deal with heavy snow loads (which would be forecasted) in peak (summer) season on a volcano. High winds can happen, but there are a number a lighter tents, including 2 pole hoop designs, that will take those winds. You also always have the option of digging in if conditions kick up.

 

Checking the weather forecast is probably a better strategy than lugging around a tent designed to take a direct nuclear strike. For $150 more you'll get a tent that is more durable than the Omega, has a full vestibule, and weighs half as much. Your choice.

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Can you give me some suggestions that fall into this category besides the single - walls you recommend? Thanks!

Edited by jared_j

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I have the larger Alpha and like it for what it is. A great car camping tent, in "light weight" mode to pack my entire family (4 of us) into for back packing in bad weather or bad mosquitos, or if I every need a strong tent on a mountain. I just did Baker two weeks ago and took my 2 lb Six Moon Designs ultra light. The other two guys were looking for some shade and my partner and I were relaxing in the evening shade of our tent while sipping our margaritas. I find I almost always grab that dinky little 2 pounder.

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For that REI tent I could pack 3 of my 6 Moon Designs. Or even better, 1 Six Moon Designs and 4 pints of margarita mixin's. As I age though I am just taking the light tent and letting my pack get lighter and lighter...

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search Ebay for the Sierra Designs Hyperlight. It is very light, sleeps two snugly, and quality is very good. I am a mostly 3-season mountaineer, and a good 3-season tent staked out properly can be quite survivable even above the treeline. Most of my fellow climbers choose not use their "bomb-proof" 4-season tents in routine 3-season climbing in the Cascades.

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