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Any suggestion on backpacking tent for 2? Been looking at Alps Mountaineering's Mystique 2 at REI Outlet for $80. I understand that Alps Mountaineering gives 45% discount to Scout and Scouters, so it makes it more attractive buy to test out. I'm also considering MSR Zoid 2 ($190), REI 1/2 Dome Plus 2 ($150), and the North Face Roadrunner 2 ($150). Any help would be greatly appreciated. Looking for light weight, durability, and water proofing. Thanks.


1Hour(This message has been edited by OneHour)

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Happy Days All


All those tents you suggested are good tents. Don't know much about the Alps brand, but I will learn because our troop is buying them for the scouts.


The quality of tents has really improved over the last ten years. Its hard to go too wrong. So maybe in choosing a tent, it helps to understanding what you want out of a tent.


I like freestanding tents that dont require stakes and cord to hold the tent structure up because I've watched those tents collapse in hard rains when the ground gets too soft to support the stake. The advantage to such tents is they save a little on weight by using fewer poles. But Ive watch more than one of these tents collapse at 3:00 am in the hard thunderstorm with 40 mph winds. That really challenges one to offer help.


I like tents that use hooks to attach the tent to the poles instead of sleeves. Sleeves double the time it takes to set up a tent and when the hard rain is coming down like it did on me in the Pecos, seconds make all the difference between getting in a dry tent or wet tent. The advantage to sleeves is they add stability in the hard winds. Hooks tend to slide up and down the poles allowing the tent to shake. Most of the newer tents are going to hooks along with providing small bungee cords to lock down the poles in place. My Sierra Design has this bungee/hook system and it held up very well in the 50mph winds at Philmont last summer.


If camping with two in the tent, two doors is nice because one person can change clothes and get in or out of the tent without disturbing the other. There are a few tents with this option. I think that REI has a nice one.


I like a big enough vestibule so that I can leave my wet, muddy, nasty smelling boots outside the tent and out of the weather as well. Some tents don't have much vestibule to save on weight. But you don't need much to protect to sets of boots.


Shorter poles. Aluminum poles are preferred because they are stronger and lighter, but I have found pole section lengths to be an important factor because long poles just dont seem to fit well in packs, especially internal frame packs. Ive notice that many of the newer tent poles are breaking down to shorter lengths now.


I like a tent where two people can sit up at the same time. I tented with a friend on Spanish Peaks in Colorado whose tent was very narrow and while the door end of the tent was high enough to sit up, the ceiling tapered down very low by the feet to save weight. When it rained, one person had to lie down while the other could sit up. That can make for a long day if stuck in the tent all day. And we found only one person could get dressed and out of the tent at a time. The other had to wait to get enough room to just get out of the sleeping bag.


These are few things Ive learned about tents styles. Im sure others have ideas too. I can say that I found several tents that I found ideal for less than $250, and a couple for less than $180. There are a lot to choose from that will fit your needs.


Have a great Christmas




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I still like the Eureka Timberlines. They come in all sizes, for the price they are not heavy, repair parts are readily available when needed and you can get vestibules that are removable or permanently attached. The design has be updated with new materials, but really hasnt changed in many years, so virtually all of your older tents can supply parts for your newer ones.


I also own a North Face Pebbles, nice little tent but what do I do when one of the poles breaks? I bought it two years ago and it is already out of production, no parts available! Throw it away and buy a new tent? Thats why I like the Eurekas!


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Personally I would stay away from a $80 tent. I have been a SM for 25 years and when I first took over the Troop we were backpacking using tents from J.C. Penny. We soon learned that money had been wasted and went to the Eureka Timberline and used it for about 20 years before switching to the the Eureka Tetragon 7, which is a dome tent. I agree with the comments above about wanting a free standing tent that uses clips. I have watched somebody take an hour to put up a dome tent that had sleeves.

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For muddy boots or dry shoes -


Don't know what they are called but some tents now have little pockets that one can insert their footwear. It keeps them out of the weather but also out of the tent. Remember those science fiction movies where someone would place their hands in the built in gloves to manipulate something in an enclosed box? The little pockets look something like that. No "vestibule" to take up weight or space but a nice place to keep the footwear out of the weather and out of the tent proper.

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  • 1 month later...

I do a lot of light-weight backpacking and my two favorite are from "INTEGRAL DESIGNS" my two man is called the Silshelter and has a weight if 1 lb, the one I like the best is the 3 man tent called the "GEORGE TARP" which has a weight of 1 1/2 lbs, has plenty of room and you can stand up inside and change your clothes with a 7 ft height. I use it every year for the 50 miler and holds up very well with the weather in the PNW. The design has been around a 100 years with the early pioneers, but do get the optional zip in bug panel, which can give you a 4 man tent with only 4 oz added to the package.

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The sleeve design is intended for areas where you'll get snow load, since the sleeves distribute weight more evenly across the fabric than clips do...time and hassle is the tradeoff. If you don't get snow where you're going, the clips are the way to go.


I have a Timberline, use it all the time, and like it very much -- mine's a 4-man, the heavy-duty version, and is a little heavy for backpacking.


Other Eureka products are tailor-made for backpacking though; in my experience, anything by Eureka is a good investment.



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I am glad this thread came up. I am thinking of buying a new tent, one capable of backpacking. I really haven't decided what my exact needs are, though I have started browsing tents from time to time.


I do know the Eurekas are good tents, but I think they may over do it a bit for the level of use I expect. Though a Timberline 2 would probably be OK. (I really like the size and durability of the Outfitter 4, but those weight too much for most packpacking.) I am also timpted by some of the bivy shelters and other small one man tents I have seen, though I haven't ever used one, and I do like my space.


Eventually I probably need two new tents- a small, light backpacker, and a larger tent for car camping. Though I don't really have the budget for two, so I will make do with my old worn out "packpacking" (yeah, right!) dome tent that I got from SAMS club for car camping. In fact everytime I go looking for camping gear I see more stuff I need, so I should probably just hold off completely until the budget expands.

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Thats OK, Proud Eagle. We all have that problem:)


Currently, I have 3 sleeping bags, two pads, and a cot.


Also, I have one tent and need another one for backpacking.


I have a backpack, but would like a bigger, better one for backpacking.


I just have gear thrown about my room:(:)

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So I took a bite and went for the Alps Mountaineering's Mystique 2 tent. With their "pro-purchase" for Scoutmasters, the tent cost $60 (regularly priced at Whole Earth Co for $139). For $60, I couldn't go wrong with the price. Like a kid at Christmas time, I quickly unpacked the tent and set it up. www.scoutdirect.com



- It only has two aluminum poles that set up parallel to each other, so pitching it in my den is out of the question. I had to stake at least the four corner in order for the tent to be propped up. So with this, I can't "shake down" the tent before folding it.


Good points:

- Inside is bigger than what I thought. The foot print is enough for two full size sleeping bag up to about 90"(not long). At the head-end, I get about 40" at the highest point. Not much other room for luggage if there are two peole.

- Outside, the vestibule on either side provide a fairly good size covered space for pack and other stuffs.

- Two D mesh doors so plenty of ventilation for the hot, dry summer days.

- Sewn in instruction! Cool! A lot of tent manufacturers start to do this.

- Fairly easy to set up. I got it up in less than four minutes (this is after I found out that I had to stake down the four corners first).


I applied the seam-sealant and gave it the hose-rain test the next day. Not too bad, I didn't see any water dropplets inside the tent. The spot where it got the direct hit of the hose blast started to condense, but then again this is to be expected. Other than that, I think that it will hold up in a good rain! So far ... so good.


At 5 lbs and 2 oz and for $60, it is a good buy, so far. It will see its first backpacking trip in two weeks.


I also have a 3-man dome tent by Eureka (6 campouts), a 6-man canvas (10 campouts w/2 major down pours), and a 8-man, 3-room North Creek (got from Kmart for $60 when they closed their store near our house)(1 Pack campout). All are doing great still.




btw: I'm not advertising nor endorsing Alps Mountaineering, Kmart, North Creek, or Eureka!

(This message has been edited by OneHour)

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My son crosses over to Boy Scouts on 2/19 and his birthday is on 2/26. I'm in the market for a tent since his troop does not provide tentage and he can't sleep in mine anymore. Does anyone have any experience with Eureka's Mountain Pass EXO? It is fairly unique in that the rainfly is suspended from the poles and the tent body clips under the rainfly. The poles are connected by a hub, so you don't have to sort poles in the dark or rain. They claim the hub makes set up 40% faster. The frame and rainfly can be set up as a shelter only by unclipping the tent body. I hope I'm expalining it well enough. It is a double wall tent, but instead of hooking the tent to the poles and then stretching the rainly over the frame; you suspend both the rainfly and tent under the frame. The tent has a door and vestibule on each side. The advantage I see to this is that so many tnts today have large mesh panels that can lead to a soaked tent during set up in wind and rain. With this tent, the rainfly is already in place. The 2 man version weighs 6 lbs 8 oz. I think it goes for around $149. you can see it here:



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One of our leaders has a 1 man Zeus EXO and has been quite satisfied with it. It's not quite the same as the one you're contemplating but it's from the same line.


As far as mesh goes, in Kentucky during the summer the heat and humidity requires ventilation, and bugs make a tent desirable. I've set my tent up in heavy rain and you are correct in that is can get quite wet. I carry a small backpacking towel which I use to dry the inside.

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This has nothing to do with tents, other than an evaluation of summer camping conditions in a few select places.


Kentucky is certainly a hot and humid place for summer camping. (Roy C Manchester anyone?)


Though I must say the interior areas in the panhandle of Florida are worse. (Wallwood)


The absolute worste I have ever experienced was a KOA campground in Alabama that was surrounded by what could best be describe as a minor swamp.


I conce thought summer camping was a miserable thing until I went to Philmont and discovered the cooler mountain temperatures and low humidity. I also don't think the hills/mountains of Tennessee are too bad. (Skymont) North Carolina has a few nice places too. (Daniel Boone)


Oh, and AP Hill isn't exactly the sort of place to find a cool mountain breeze in the summer either. Similarly southern Indiana has its own share of swamp like environments, such as a certain mosquito infested former strip mine filled with dozens of small, marshy, stagnant ponds. (Old Ben)

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What goes around comes around..


The North Face, in conjunction with Campmor has decided to bring back the Pebbles two man tent. I still like this tent, and in fact now that parts are again available for it, I like it even more! Its worth looking at!!




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