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Comprehensive Tent Design Review

Comprehensive Tent Design Review


Postby westonfront » Thu Jan 21, 2021 8:22 pm

I went looking for a comprehensive, evidence based, review of light weight / backpacking tent designs and found only poorly written clickbait. So with 35 years experience and access to great contacts I thought I'd write my own. Tent choice is highly personal so I hope I've written this without too much unhelpful bias. Everyone has an opinion, what I hope I've written is an objective review which will help those new to the sport to more quickly get to an evidence / design principle based shortlist of the shelter which will work best for their use and personal preferences.

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You can find it at bit ly / 2YeyRhz. (season with your own dots :D )

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I hope this proves helpful
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Re: Comprehensive Tent Design Review

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:12 pm

Useful and indeed pretty comprehensive. Would definitely help somebody trying to work out which general design might work for them. I guess some of the examples you give will change and be replaced, but its a great starting point and maybe you can update those.

Some further feedback on "Y-Hub" designs, as you mentioned. I've a Luxe Outdoor Habitat with a full mesh inner, which is basically a Hubba Hubba copy.
The pros are; internal space for weight is good, freestanding, very quick to erect, good porch space.
The cons are; performance in the wind is definitely not the strong point. I've had it out in 60mph gusts and at that point it was turning inside out on my face, but survived with a bent pole. However even in 20-30mph winds, the struts above the porch tend to push inwards quite a bit and a lack of guys doesn't help. Flysheet is cut for warmer climates so a bit draughty. Just about 3 season.
It is, though, my favourite tent to spend time in. That's because its a freestanding mesh inner, and in summer I just use that, or have both flysheet porches tied right back.

As to whether you've "missed any" designs, there's maybe an argument for a sub-category of single trekking-pole tents that are much more advanced than the traditional pyramid. I have a Six Moon Design Lunar Solo which is an example of those. Fully sealed, with a mesh inner door and porch, but otherwise single skin. I think they're a good option for proper lightweight trips and it certainly withstands wind well. Have only tried it for a few nights so far though.
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Re: Comprehensive Tent Design Review

Postby Marty_JG » Fri Jan 22, 2021 3:35 pm

https://westonfront.wordpress.com/2021/01/21/backpacking-tents-a-comprehensive-design-review/

Great article.

That said, the old triangle of "low weight, lost cost, high quality - pick two" becomes "pick three" thanks to 3F UL Gear and Naturehike.
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Re: Comprehensive Tent Design Review

Postby westonfront » Sun Jan 24, 2021 1:14 pm

Thanks for the feedback Mal. Much appreciated Looks like I'll stick with my view that the best compromise design is still the dome. 60 mph is pretty harsh though and uncommon even on fell tops. At that point I'd either have a geodesic or be finding a wall or boulder to pitch behind
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Re: Comprehensive Tent Design Review

Postby westonfront » Sun Jan 24, 2021 1:22 pm

Marty_JG wrote:https://westonfront.wordpress.com/2021/01/21/backpacking-tents-a-comprehensive-design-review/

Great article.

That said, the old triangle of "low weight, lost cost, high quality - pick two" becomes "pick three" thanks to 3F UL Gear and Naturehike.


Thanks Marty - perhaps I should have made it a square and put 'ethical' on the final vertex. It is very tempting to buy copies of products made in the Far East, but where would European design and manufacturing be if we all chose to buy products from companies playing fast and loose with intellectual property and benefiting from R&D that they have not themselves invested it?
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Re: Comprehensive Tent Design Review

Postby Marty_JG » Sun Jan 24, 2021 2:17 pm

The reason those companies exist is the western countries were making zero effort to sell the the Asian mass market. MSR (etc.) made no effort to reach and support markets of untapped hundreds of millions of people. 3F UL Gear were surprised when they started getting a lot of tall Americans asking for bigger models. Their target audience was 5'7 on average, even the tallest under 6'. They designed their 'pro' models larger due to US feedback. Naturehike started a Spanish warehouse (might have others now) due to unexpected European sales.

And some of the western manufacturers have clearly been taking the ****. Footprints in the £100 to £150 mark for a rectangle of silnylon? Naturehike was kicking out silnylon flys mesh inner, poles pegs, and yes a footprints, for £80. Just checked on a current site, an 80 gram Nemo gear loft for £50?

If direct-clone Naturehike is a bit on-the-nose one can still consider 3F UL Gear. Their stuff is like an amalgam of SMD, Zpacks, Tarptent, Gossamer Gear, but with their own R&D too; and lets face it all those four have an eye on the other three during their R&D phases.
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Re: Comprehensive Tent Design Review

Postby AyrshireAlps » Tue Jan 26, 2021 11:23 pm

It is very tempting to buy copies of products made in the Far East, but where would European design and manufacturing be if we all chose to buy products from companies playing fast and loose with intellectual property and benefiting from R&D that they have not themselves invested it?


What if lots of those western companies have been using the far eastern labour market for years, paying buttons in the process?.

People will always buy branded stuff, I'm sure they'll be fine.
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Re: Comprehensive Tent Design Review

Postby westonfront » Sat Jan 30, 2021 12:17 pm

Hello again

A number of fine folk (from here and via other routes) asked if I could follow up my article on tent design with something similar on tent fabrics. It took some research, but my first draft is now available. My aim, as before, was to give an objective overview of all the options which is free of marketing hype and BS. It turns out that my 8 years working with the material science of powders (mostly their wetability and water holding capacity) had a lot of cross over into the world of waterproof fabrics. Perhaps I should not have been surprised.
Here it is:


https://westonfront.wordpress.com/2021/01/30/tent-fabrics-an-objective-summary-of-the-21st-century-options/


As before I'd welcome feedback.
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