I've used a number of tents over the years and have always liked the basic pup tent or A frame style. They are easy to set up with only two poles, plus you can use rope between two trees or sticks to replace the poles if you have to. Dome tents are fine, but replacing a pole in the middle of no-where is not as easy.
This tent is a 5 feet x 7 feet, green, two man tent. That's two man without gear or one man with gear. I have a brown tarp that I can place under the tent as a ground tarp. It is a bit larger than the footprint of the tent which allows the edges to be turned up to help keep water out. I have a camo tarp that is larger than the tent that I use as a rainfly, shade and to get extra dry storage space for firewood and other things. Everything is kept in a basic compression bag available at any sporting good store for about $10.
The contents as shown below weighs 5 pounds. Not quite an ultra light, but light enough for long distance hiking. The two tarps I keep as part of my tent setup can be used for any number of things on their own - to keep things dry, improvised shelters, etc. The pack length is 23 inches which is about average.
Although this tent is a 2 or 3 season tent, late spring to early fall, the tarps plus the addition of 2 or 3 "thermal blankets" such as the one from Coghlan's #8544 Thermal Blanket will make this tent function in any season. The tarps help keep the tent and everything in it dry and if placed close enough to the ground will help deflect wind. In an ideal situation the rope is tied to two trees and the camo tarp put over the rope.
I've thought of getting a new tent that packs into a smaller package like the Eureka Zeus 2LE, Eureka Backcountry 1 or the Eureka Spitfire 2 with pack lengths of 15 to 17 inches... perfect for putting across the back of a backpack or attached to a butt pack on a set of webbing.
The tent in its carry bag
Out of the carry bag
- tent wrapped in brown ground tarp
- camo cord (2 spools - 200 feet total)
- camo rope (50 feet)
- camo tarp (rain fly)
Out of the carry bag without rope
Tent stuff sack
- on top of brown groun tarp
- stuff sack contains tent and lots of stakes
The entire tent laid out
Ground tarp laid out
Tent staked out on ground tarp
The tent set up with door closed, from the front
Door open, front view
Window closed, back view
Window open, back view
Door and screen open, front view
Camo/green fly next to tent
Camo fly set up, front view
Camo fly set up, side view
Camo fly set up, rear view
The camo/green fly can be moved around for the best protection from wind or rain and helps keep the tent cool during the summer. The thicker rope included in the tent bag can be strung over the tent so that the tarp can support pine boughs or other insulation.The ground sheet and the fly tarp can be user with or without the tent poles (or sticks) as a quick shelter, see the Survival Shelter link for examples of shelters. For extremely windy conditions the thicker rope can be used over the fly and anchored with pegs to keep it from billowing and flying away.
The simple design of the basic A frame tent means that the thicker rope I carry can be strung between two trees and through the loops the tent poles pass through, if the tent poles are ever damaged the tent can still be used; it also means that two branches can be used if needed. This is a fairly basic and inexpensive tent, it wouldn't stand up to much use and abuse on it's own. The tarps take the brunt of the weather which means all the tent really needs to do is keep the bugs out.
The same principle I use; extra rope, stakes and two tarps, can be used with any tent. The extra cost is low, the items are readily available and the benefits are great. If you want to see how effective the principle is you can set your tent up in the back yard and put a tarp over it. You will see that the tarp keeps you cooler in the summer, it absorbs the heat from the sun and creates shade for your tent. In colder weather it blocks wind which can rob you of valuable heat. The tarp will also block most of the rain or snow by creating a barrier between your tent and the precipitation. The ground tarp will block moisture from seeping through the bottom of your tent and will help protect the bottom of your tent from pine boughs or other insulation you may place under your tent as well as from rocks and sticks on the ground.
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