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Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two

Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two


Postby Paul Webster » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:42 pm

In his latest comparison review, Walkhighlands' gear editor Phil Turner pitches in on backpacking tents:

Phil Turner wrote:The mainstay of the backpacking tent market, a two-person model is the ideal combination of living space and weight for the backpacker that wants one tent for use (almost) all year round. As a plus-six-footer most one-person tents are too small for me, even if they have a long enough living area my feet invariably end up touching a sloping wall. A two-person tent may not be much longer, but the extra width allows me to sleep diagonally, or even share...


Click to read the full backpacking tents review.

What tents have you used? Agree with Phil? Let us know what you think.
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Re: Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two

Postby gaffr » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:07 pm

Must confess I don't know of any of these tents and haven't used any of them. The only one that looks and perhaps functions a bit like my Saunders Spacepacker is the Coleman in your survey. Also must say that care has to be taken with the single pole tent when deciding on a pitching spot....i.e. a sheltered spot. :) I don't think that many in this country would pay out shed loads of cash for a tent that pitches the inner first though? That is if they were wise. :)
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Re: Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two

Postby basscadet » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:31 pm

My folks swear by their hubba hubba, but I have always found it a bit poor. The inner pitch first makes for much faff time and after a long tiring day I kinda want something that takes 2 ticks instead of long enough to generate a bad mood :lol: Annoyingly, the door doesnt prop open very well with a walking pole either, which is more annoying than it sounds :roll:

I have a robens mythos duo as my 2 man tent, which is small and light enough for me not to notice carrying it instead of my usual laser competition. It has 2 porches, loads of storage, great ventilation, a washing line inside (yes really :lol: ) but not much headroom, and I definately wouldnt like to weather out too fierce a storm in there.. :?

The search for the perfect 2 man continues, as none of the reviewed look like the perfect one for me :(
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Re: Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two

Postby Rudolph » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:43 pm

basscadet wrote:The search for the perfect 2 man continues :(

:shock: :D
We could play with this for a while.....

Back on topic, we ended up with a Mountain Hardware Skyledge 2.1 after trying a few in the shop (ultralight outdoor gear who are just up the road). Seemed to have the best combination of room, vestibules and weight.

Not sure how good it would be in a real blow but it is certainly waterproof. There being no such thing as a perfect tent I'd got a Quasar in the hope of going out in some foul weather but it is heavy, expensive and the vestibules are tiny. And I haven't been able to get out to play with it in the rough stuff.

Both of these are inner first pitching which I like because it allows the tent to be split into smaller units which makes packing (and sharing the weight) a lot easier.
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Re: Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two

Postby rockhopper » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:31 pm

Granted it's a wee bit on the heavier side at 2kg but I've been more than happy with my Banshee 200. Use it for 1 person, enough space inside for rucksack etc, decent porch, pitches as one in 5ish minutes and so far (touch wood) has coped with the cold and wind. Am currently looking at changing various bits of kit but not planning to change the tent. In sales think it can be bought for around £80 as well.
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Re: Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two

Postby Rudolph » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:45 pm

The banshee 200 is great but it is a tight squeeze for 2. It was our standard before the skyledge but the vestibule was just too small for foul weather.
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Re: Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two

Postby rockhopper » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:53 pm

Rudolph wrote:The banshee 200 is great but it is a tight squeeze for 2. It was our standard before the skyledge but the vestibule was just too small for foul weather.
yup - don't think I'd like to sleep in it with another person as it'd be very tight - ideal for one though
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Re: Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two

Postby mrssanta » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:45 am

Rudolph wrote:Both of these are inner first pitching which I like because it allows the tent to be split into smaller units which makes packing (and sharing the weight) a lot easier.

this is a subject upon which we argue :problem:
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Re: Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two

Postby squidfish » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:41 am

My dad and I used to backpack a lot. After a horrendous night of horizontal rain, our cheap blacks tent was demolished, we were soaked and the trip was called short. My dad decided to buy the best tent money could buy at the time (this is about 20 years ago) and got a wild country quasar. We used that tent in some truly awful conditions and it stood up to anything. So, when wild country (terra nova) released the quasar superlight I didn't think twice. Its half the weight of the original for a truly enormous 2 person tent (have slept 3 big blokes in it once, twas cosy but doable). Fabulous tent, and a doddle to pitch (although not quite as quick as the original quasar since it has clips instead of sleeves for the poles). It has been pitched in very heavy rain and the inner has always been water repellant enough that no water got in for the few minutes it was uncovered. I haven't tried many of the other tents here apart from the banshee, which looked cramped but not too bad for the money.
Last edited by squidfish on Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two

Postby cbas104 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:42 am

I have a Northface Tadpole. Weight 2.3 Kg. It isn't the very lightest, but I have carried it through Knoydart, over the Mullardoch Hills, into the Fisherfields along the south Cluanie ridge, over the mamores and various other wild camping exploits and it has never let me down. Incredibly solid in high winds -it barely flaps at all - and snug and waterproof. It comfortably takes two and has a reasonable bell end. The inner pitches first with a flysheet to go over it. Easily split down to share the load if two are using it. The only down side is that I'm a little nervous about cooking inside it as the bell end tapers quite rapidly and doesn't have as much clearance as I'd really like. RRP is about £230, but you can get it for around £160.
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Re: Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two

Postby Rudolph » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:02 pm

squidfish wrote: So, when wild country (terra nova) released the quasar superlight I didn't think twice. .


Good to hear that the superlight is as rigid as you say. TN won't recommend that version as a truly bombproof tent (which i guess has more to do with protecting their reputation) and would instead suggest the ultra quazar or the normal which (I think) have increasingly heavier flysheets and possibly groundsheets. The inside of these is huge but that's needed because the vestibules are not big enough for a large winter pack as well as 'using'.

I'm a bit tempted by the ETC option which replaces the normal Quazar flysheet with a one which includes a biggger porch and the extra hoop neeeded. All adds to the weight though and is well out the budget I've been set. Maybe one can fall off the back of Mr Santa's sleigh.
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Re: Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two

Postby NickyRannoch » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:19 pm

rockhopper wrote:
Rudolph wrote:The banshee 200 is great but it is a tight squeeze for 2. It was our standard before the skyledge but the vestibule was just too small for foul weather.
yup - don't think I'd like to sleep in it with another person as it'd be very tight - ideal for one though



depends how well you know each other.

I thought it was fine for myself and the good lady but she moaned about it so now have the 300. TBH not that much extra weight or space to carry but appreciably more space in the tent itself.
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Re: Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two

Postby k9rst5n » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:25 pm

I'm still a fan of the Vango Helium 200. At 1.4kg (original version)c. £200, one pole and 5 pegs and it's up in just a few minutes. No guys to trip over, clings to the ground like a limpet and is wind resistant. Tight for 2 and a bit low on headroom, but it does the business. Mine has been used for at least 60 nights over the last 5 years and is still going strong.
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Re: Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two

Postby philwatson » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:37 pm

Great review on tents. I have been using an Esprit Esquire which has served well for single-handing, 4 season. Now my wife is coming with me we needed a palace so broke the bank on a Hilleberg NalloGT2. Fantastic bomb proof tent, and so easy to erect. It has oodles of space for storage in the extended vestibule (wife's 'palace' requirements). I discarded the footprint after camping in the rain for the first time as it just gets puddles on it, making it worse the wet grass, and also adds about half a kilo. The tent weighs in at 2.7 kg, a touch heavy but for the amount of space when two up, well worth carrying. For solo camping, I have recently bought a Luxe Minipeak II, using a walking pole as the central support. This is so simple and easy to use, and light: 1.4 kg complete but can be sub 1 kg if the inner is not used. A recent (Nov) camp in the Southern Cairgorms was cut short from a 4-day wild camp exped to day walking from a backpackers lodge in Pitlochry. The one night under canvas would have been okay, but sub zero together with 12 hours of darkness meant I was in the slug for too long!
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Re: Gear Review: Backpacking Tents for Two

Postby Peter277 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:17 pm

No scarp2 ??? the scarp1 is a cracking tent can only assume that the 2 is the same :D
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