Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Buffalo Skipper

Alps Mountaineering vs. REI

Recommended Posts

Allegedly the tents made for Alps Mountaineering come from the same factory as REI. To find comperable tents, I guess I am comparing the REI Half-dome (169.99 with the Taurus 2AL (109.00 (scout direct price). Same height, very similar floor dims (Taurus is listed as 6" wider).

 

So how close are these two tents in features and quality? I have not actually seen the Taurus yet (maybe tonight) and I have never seen a Half-dome in person.(This message has been edited by Buffalo Skipper)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We just bought a Taurus 4FG to try out for the troop. It seems to be a very impressive tent. Two doors, full vestibule, not all mesh like some tents and seems substantial and well built. Well be buying several more in the next few weeks based upon a successful field trial.

 

I also have a Halfdome 2 for my personal use, 2 doors, full vestibule etc. Also a very good tent.

 

Cant tell if they are the same although I think they do share one component that I noticed. Its a stiffened piece of Velcro to hold the vent open. The halfdome is about 1.5 lbs lighter than the Taurus. Probably due tot eh poles. Taurus fiberglass poles are pretty hefty.

 

As I understand, there are only a few tent pole makers in the world, so it stands to reason that there are not many tent makers either.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have not compared the tents, so I can't really answer that. I do want to throw out this one caveat though. Just because they are mande in the same factory, doesn't necessarily tell you anything. There are only a small handful of battery manufacturers in the US who make all the different brands of batteries available.....but to the companies standards. They are not all the same even though they are made at the same place.

 

That being said, our troop has used Alps backpacking tents for high adventure trips and gotten good service out of them. I do know that our Jambo troops will be using Alps in 2010 instead of BSA wall tents for the first time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everything is made in china now. but just because it comes from the same factory, doesn't mean they are the same tent. Changes in materials would be the biggest factor. The Alps tent may use inferior materials to the REI one. It may share some components too. But these companies just contract out to a production run of one model, then retool for the production of another product for another vendor. The same plant may one week produce high end North Face tents, the next week a cheapo Coleman, the next week an REI model.

 

If the dimensions and weight is different on the two models, I'd be pretty skeptical that they were the same tent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buffalo,

We own the Taurus 2, Taurus 4 and REI Half Dome, and have used them all many times. In terms of quality, I can't tell any difference between them. As you mentioned, the Half Dome is a little smaller and a little lighter. The Half Dome is a little tricker to set up, in that the poles can be put on upside down, and the rain fly can be put on in a manner where the doors on the fly doesn't match up with the doors on the tent. This isn't a big deal, but just pointing out the differences.

 

The Alps goes up very simply. The tent is well vented and stays dry, even in severe down pours. The company is about as pro-Scouting as they can be - more so than any other company I can think of.

 

Between the two, you really can't go wrong. If I had to pick just one, I would go with the Alps. That little extra space helps in a smallish tent, especially as the boys get older and bigger. Again, the company is a huge supporter of Scouting, and I tend to want to support those companies in return.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting theme running through this thread. Many folks seem to believe that a particular name equates to quality. As an example, The North Face did once upon a time represent quality outdoors gear. But some time ago they were bought out by a larger entity. Today, hardcore backbackers often consider The North Face gear to be overpriced yuppy stuff. My $5 closeout fleece functions as well as those $150 fleeces.

 

Alps has lower overhead. No brick and mortar stores. Family run. It's my opinion that there gear is of better quality than anything else at their pricepoint.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your replies and PMs. The truth is that we had already bought ten Alps/SD Taurus 2. We choose the the FG poles rather than the AL (our treasurer is very tight with money and could not justify the 10 oz weight savings for a 33% price increase). So we ended up with these tents for about $85 with footprints.

 

I do have a question on the footprints, if you use them (there are no instructions with the footprints). This isn't rocket science, but I'm not planning on staying at a Holiday Inn Express tonight either. Do you feed the loops (on the footprint corner straps) throught the corner rings on the tent, and then over the pin? This seems to create a good fit, but I hate it when a footprint is hanging slightly over the end of the tent and water can pool between the footprint and the tent floor. Likewise, have you had any problems with these tent floors?

 

Also how often do you apply seam sealer and waterproofing? 1x a year? When new?

 

We are camping this weekend with these tents for the first time. We replaced Coleman 7x7 "Lantern" tents--essentially 4' high dome tents being used for 2 scouts (they were like big messy scout condos). These are 6" longer and 2' narrower, but they have vestibules for gear. They served us well for 6 years with a purchase cost of $40 each. I was working hard to steer us to a more functional tent, which for the cost was met with a surprising amount of resistance by some adults. These are actually about 2 lbs lighter than the Lanterns, which we sometimes used for backpacking, so this will be a better for the scouts, especially with the vestibule.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Alps tents feature factory sealed seams, which have worked perfectly on our tents. They don't need any additional sealing. I have used them in some real frog-stranglers, and they haven't leaked a drop. Get that rain fly nice and snug, make sure the foot print stays under the tent so it doesn't catch any run off, and you will stay dry. We have had our tents for at least 3 years and haven't done anything to do them except use them. Compare that to my high-dollar North Face tent that I had to keep sealing the seams to keep it from dripping in whenever it rained.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, I think for most situations, it really depends on which color you like, the Alps blue or the REI yellow. They are similar in function, both easy to set up, and both of high quality.

 

Both the REI Halfdome and the Alps Tarus use a coated polyester fly. The REI tent uses coated nylon for the floor and walls, whereas the Tarus sticks with polyester.

 

One feature on the Tarus I like is the zips for the windows, to close them off if it's colder. The REI half dome has more mesh, which can't be closed off.

 

Between the two items above, it explains why the Alps is a fair amount heavier then the Half Dome, heavier yet again when using the Fiberglass poles over aluminum. Which is why the Alps Tarus tent is listed on Alps' camping tent page, and not their backpacking tent page. I don't know if the extra weight will matter a whole lot, even if you do take them backpacking, depending on your trips.

 

Sounds like you have a good tent for many years to come, that the boys will enjoy. Oh, and vestibules rock! Versus Scouts throwing their gear about tent.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Narraticong,

 

We have one scouter in our troop who uses facebook and twitter. When he and his family are out and about, they like to play the "North Face count" game. They walk thru the mall or sit in a restaurant and count all the city folks wearing their North Face fleece and jackets and then he posts it on twitter and facebook.

 

My son likewise gets a kick out of all the non-outdoorsy kids at high school who wear North Face.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the idea of a "North Face Count". To go along with that, keep an eye on the Range Rovers you see in parking lots. Almost everyone seen climbing into their Range Rover will be wearing North Face fleece! That might deserve double points. Anyone ever see a Range Rover that had muddy wheel wells?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Years ago, I had a friend who was stationed at the local navy base for a few years. He was a young officer and he had a Range Rover. He was also the part-time Sailing team coach for the local university. We used to actually go off road in his. It would sometimes take us hours to get the it all clean again. His attitude was that it may look cool with all the mud, but that just couldn't be good for the car to keep it on there the whole time (he was an officer who hung out at the Yacht Club--he had an image to uphold!)

 

Dave and I had long debates about standard vs automatic transmission off road. He never did get it. But I really did like his Range Rover, even if it was designed by British engineers.

 

Back on topic. I did look over the instructions for the Taurus (don't tell my wife, it would ruin my reputation!), and I now see how the tent guys are used on the rain fly. Looks simple enough. They even provided some reasonably dececent cord and tensioner. So far, I am very impressed with the tent. We will see how the scouts do with it this weekend. I will certainly provide an update on Monday.(This message has been edited by Buffalo Skipper)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, not Monday but Tuesday; time for a follow up and update.

 

The skinny on these tents are that they are a significant upgrade over what we had were before. They are easy to set up, they are stable, the vestibule is decent. I also like the footprint, which beats the heck out of folding a tarp to fit under the old tents. The FP stuffs nicely into the bag with the tent, though the stuff sack is a little big. It even comes with decent stakes.

 

Our old tents had that sleeve for the poles, and like better built tents, these have clips. The only real complaint I have with this tent is the center (top) clip, which does not hold both poles very effectively. All the remaining clips are good. (Maybe we could replace this clip with a smallish carabiner type.)

 

As I said before, these are almost a foot narrower, but slightly longer than our old tents. This works nicely, as there is plenty of room for gear in the vestibule. The new scouts seem to like them, but don't really know any better; the experienced scouts think they are a great step up; and the veteran scouts think they are really cool. Rather than looking like a cheap square Coleman dome tent, they are much more like real backpacking tents.

 

So far, so good. Most every tent is good in the sun and fair weather. Time will tell how these work out over the long run.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last year at a Council event, our Taurus tents made it through wind and rain strong enough for the local authorities to sound sirens and advise taking cover. While we watched tents in other troop sites fall down and blow away, ours stood firm. A couple leaked a little bit, mostly due to younger Scouts not setting them up just right. But all in all, they did better than any other tent I saw weather that storm. They will do the job for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have weathered torrential, horizontial, rains, with winds that blew down trees, in my Taurus 4, and stayed high, dry, and comfy. Even though I did wake up with the back wall directly over my face!

 

The clip at the top does not go over both poles, just the top one.

 

I did not get the footprint, but use a sheet of heavy duty black plastic sheeting cut to size. It fits in with the tent nicely.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×