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Thread: Backpacking tents for sheep hunting

  1. #1

    Default Backpacking tents for sheep hunting

    I realize this topic has probably been discussed a time or two or ten.... But with new tents hitting the market fairly often I thought this might be a good topic worth re-visiting.

    What do you guys carry?

    I'm looking for a 2 person, 3 season tent that is lightweight (4-5 lbs max). I've looked everywhere and found some great ones. Just looking for your opinions on what you carry and why you carry it....


    I like the 2 door, 2 vestibule approach and it has to be lightweight. I cannot afford a Hilleberg but will not purchase a Walmart special tent either.

    Thanks in advance.

    Brian

  2. #2
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    To each their own, but to me my tent is one of my most important gear items. I have a MSR Mutha-Huba great tent has a vestibule on each end. This tent has kept me warm and dry in some heavy rain and wind conditions.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...7P1NDV95KA7ETT

    Steve

  3. #3
    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    For two man- I'm going with the Nallo 2 this year.....hope it helps with success for me and my kid.

  4. #4

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    Being as you are wanting a 5 pound 2-3 man tent with 2 doors and 2 vestibule it is going to cost ya somewhere likely in the neighborhood of $300-$400. Considering a hilleberg 3 man 5 pound double vestibule tent runs over $750 the tents listed below are a relative bargin (just not 4 season, which may or may not be needed) A single door/single vestibule will lighten a tent or lower the cost of a tent with the same floorspace, but having 2 doors and vestibules does have advantages if you are willing to pay the premium.

    I have a Hilleberg that has a 37 sq ft. sleeping area and they call that 3 person and I have fit 3 in there, but were all relatively small people (me being the largest at 5'9). So if you want to fit 3 guys in a pinch in the tent I would say you would at least want 37 sq ft.

    Here are a couple tents that meet your criteria and $400 or less:

    Mountain Hardwear Skyledge 3-$345

    Big Agnes Copper Spur UL3-$400 (if you use the 20% off coupon for this site)

    I really like the looks of that Big Agnes tent. Gives you 44 sq ft plus two vestibules and doors for only 4.75 pounds is pretty impressive and nearly half price of a hilleberg is pretty attractive as well.

    As you might find moving up to a 6 pound tent limit or going to one door/vestibule will open up a lot more tents and likely save you $150 or more, but every pound counts right.

  5. #5

    Default Thanks Alaska Lanche--

    thanks Alaska Lanche,
    I like the looks of both of those tents. I've been eyeballing them already!! Thanks for the link to the site, as 20% off can save ya quite a bit of greenbacks!!

    This is why I like to post stuff on this site as you always get quality answers from folks who use the gear!!

    Brian

  6. #6
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Does anyone have an opinion on the Big agnes Fly Creek ultralights?

    I like the idea of a 2 (ish) man tent that weighs under 3 pounds...light enough to carry on solo hunts and marginally big enough for two guys without having to lug a 5 pounder on light, fast hunts...

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by USMC RET View Post
    thanks Alaska Lanche,
    I like the looks of both of those tents. I've been eyeballing them already!! Thanks for the link to the site, as 20% off can save ya quite a bit of greenbacks!!

    This is why I like to post stuff on this site as you always get quality answers from folks who use the gear!!

    Brian
    Yeah 20% off $500 ($100 savings) isn't nothing to sneeze at for sure. I do collect a 25% commission on what I help people save.

    Let us know what ya end up with and tell us whatcha think of it after a few trips.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    Does anyone have an opinion on the Big agnes Fly Creek ultralights?

    I like the idea of a 2 (ish) man tent that weighs under 3 pounds...light enough to carry on solo hunts and marginally big enough for two guys without having to lug a 5 pounder on light, fast hunts...
    If you are set on a freestanding tent then the fly creek is pretty hard to beat for that weight.

    However, tarptent.com, mount laurel designs, six moon designs, and golite all have some pretty sweet setups as well that well give you A LOT more room for the same amount of weight or less.

    For example, I have a golite SL5 with a mount laurel designs duomid bug net. I connect my two trekking poles together to give me a 6'4" center pole saving me 13 oz or roughly the weight of the bug netting. This gives me a 90 sq ft sheltered area with 30 sq ft of floored sleeping area for 2.9 pounds. Plus I can stand up and get dressed in it even if it is pouring down rain.

    Like I said though if you are set on freestanding the fly creek is a pretty sweet setup.

  9. #9
    Member mjm316's Avatar
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    Barneys is having a sale on Hilleberg tents.
    Might be worth checkin out

  10. #10

    Default Some other options

    I like the 2-door & 2-vestibule tents as well like your original posting mentioned...

    What I went with a couple of years ago was the Marmot Aura 2P tent --it had won Outside magazine's gear award in the year I bought it (2008)--this tent fits in at your weight parameters--not too spendy and thus far has served me well--no complaints at all and sure like the light-weight vs. what I had been lugging around previously--I think when I bought it the attic and footprint might have been included in the deal--think I bought it from Campmor. I was buying it for solo-use--decided to go with the 2P model tents so I could spread out my gear inside on hunts and was willing to up the overall weight a bit to get this added room--and if I needed to cram in another hunter it could work in a pinch for that as well. This tent was an overall good fit for what I felt I required in a tent at the time and what I had budgeted...

    Here is the tent at REI--read the reviews on the tent--and check out the video too--pretty well-liked tent: http://www.rei.com/product/762564

    Some other options include the REI brand tents--the price point and return policy REI has makes these some great tents.

    Their 2010-model REI Half-Dome 2P won a Backpacker Magazine 2010 award--here is the link (including a video as well): http://www.rei.com/product/794294 This tent is a tad bit heavier than the Marmot I got and the vestibules are a bit smaller--but it is quite a bit cheaper--I decided to spend more for the Marmot and thus far am happy --although I probably will upgrade sometime to a Hilleberg in a few years time based on everybody lovin' on their tents on this forum.

    REI does make a "Plus" model of this tent: http://www.rei.com/product/794296 ---it ups the weight a bit but also the sq. footage inside and vestibule sizes increase--I think this might have been what my brother went with in 2008 as well--this or the Quarter Dome or maybe the 3P version of one of these tents.

    In doing my research a few years ago I heavily relied upon the REI website to read the reviews of the tents and then also found good info and reviews in both Backpacker and Outside Magazine and their websites. Recommend you check these sites out and read the user-reviews...tent technology keeps advancing and I am sure there are some real nice newer models out there that would also meet your requirements--as was posted by others--let us know what you get and how the tent works out for you...

  11. #11
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    Never been on a sheep hunt, but I just got a TarpTent Double Rainbow this Spring and will give a try this summer in the mountains. Uses your trekking poles to set up the ends and has one pole over the top and is freestanding. Not a good 'base camp' tent if you plan on taking your trekking poles out that day for a hike/stalk. very lightweight. needs to be seam sealed

    http://www.tarptent.com/products.html

  12. #12
    Member 454casull's Avatar
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    Smile Wind

    Some of the tents mentioned would be very marginal at best in serious wind. This is the biggest problem when trying to find an ultralight sheep hunting shelter. Tents that are supported with trekking poles WILL NOT survive some of the strong "windstorms" I have often encountered in the Alaska mountains in the fall. In my experience, these tents have no place in Alaska sheep hunting. I understand all to well the "got to get lighter" problem. Nevertheless, your bag and your shelter has got to withstand anything mother nature is going to throw at it, because it could become a matter of survival on a fly out backpack hunt. I have personally seen wind destroy a tent of this nature that my partner insisted taking on a goat hunt. The storm had driving rain and if I had not taken a solid tent, it could have been ugly. The storm lasted three and half days without relenting. A guy could really be in trouble if your shelter is gone and everything is soaked clear through and the storm doesn't relent for multiple days. Go with a tent that has some good structure and good guying. I think most midrange priced tents ($200-$400) nowadays will keep a guy dry (from most rain scenarios) but not all are built well for a lot of wind. Sometimes you can find natural wind breaks or make one but sometimes you can't.

  13. #13

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    Kelty "Wind-Foil Lite".

  14. #14

    Default What do you recommend?

    454 Casull,
    If you were to pass up some of the tents we have been discussing, what do you think is a better tent? I don't want to skimp and take the chance of having problems with the weather.

    Thanks.

    Brian

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 454casull View Post
    Some of the tents mentioned would be very marginal at best in serious wind. This is the biggest problem when trying to find an ultralight sheep hunting shelter. Tents that are supported with trekking poles WILL NOT survive some of the strong "windstorms" I have often encountered in the Alaska mountains in the fall. In my experience, these tents have no place in Alaska sheep hunting. I understand all to well the "got to get lighter" problem. Nevertheless, your bag and your shelter has got to withstand anything mother nature is going to throw at it, because it could become a matter of survival on a fly out backpack hunt. I have personally seen wind destroy a tent of this nature that my partner insisted taking on a goat hunt. The storm had driving rain and if I had not taken a solid tent, it could have been ugly. The storm lasted three and half days without relenting. A guy could really be in trouble if your shelter is gone and everything is soaked clear through and the storm doesn't relent for multiple days. Go with a tent that has some good structure and good guying. I think most midrange priced tents ($200-$400) nowadays will keep a guy dry (from most rain scenarios) but not all are built well for a lot of wind. Sometimes you can find natural wind breaks or make one but sometimes you can't.
    I have to disagree here. Just because it uses a trekking pole support does not mean it will not work well in high winds. For example Kifaru, GoLite, and TI Goat Tipis all use a single pole support (trekking poles at times) in high winds and their hex shape allows them to shed wind quite well.

    Granted I have had 3 season tents break on me in the middle of a windstorm in the middle of the night, but that was mainly due to me not being smart enough to pitch my tent not right on a ridgeline. A couple hundred hundred yards on either way had great windbreaks that would have been fine.

  16. #16
    Member 454casull's Avatar
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    Smile Tents

    I cannot speak for any of the "tipi" style tents because I do not have any personal experience with them. I have read reports of good wind shedding capabilities that they have. Having looked closely at a Ti Goat set up one time, I just don't see how it would hold up in some of the storms I have been through. I am not discounting some of the tents mentioned here and I do believe a three season is the best for most sheep hunts because of the lack of weight and improved breathability compared to a four season. There are a few three season tents in the midrange price range that are built pretty good to hold up to heavy winds. Terra Nova Wildcountry, MSR, Big Agnes, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, Black Diamond, and The North Face all have good quality tents that meet the criteria that we are talking about. You can't go wrong with Hilleberg but their price is a deterrant to some. I am not trying to claim that I know everything there is to know about tents because that would be far from the truth, but I have spent quite a bit of time in tents in the mountains and have formulated some fairly strong opinions on gear based on my own experiences. I firmly believe that Tarptent, Six Moon Designs, Mount Laurel Designs, Go Lite and many ultralight single wall tents, although built well and work well for what they are intended for, have no place in the mountains of Alaska on fall backpack hunts. A guy might get lucky on a few hunts and not encounter severe weather, but that would be the exception not the rule. I am just trying to get people to think about the true storm (primarily wind) capabilities of a tent before a purchase is made. As light as possible is good, but I am just suggesting that a guy should look beyond that and make sure that the shelter is going to do just that.....shelter you in time of need.

  17. #17
    Member 454casull's Avatar
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by USMC RET View Post
    454 Casull,
    If you were to pass up some of the tents we have been discussing, what do you think is a better tent? I don't want to skimp and take the chance of having problems with the weather.

    Thanks.

    Brian
    http://www.terra-nova.co.uk/Product_...oyager_XL.html

    This might be a little on the high end of what you are looking for but I would suggest a look at this tent. Excellent quality, a good weight, will hold up to all the wind you throw at it, and fairly roomy. AMH carries them. If they don't have one they can get it for you.

  18. #18
    Member 454casull's Avatar
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    Default Windbreaks

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska_Lanche View Post
    I have to disagree here. Just because it uses a trekking pole support does not mean it will not work well in high winds. For example Kifaru, GoLite, and TI Goat Tipis all use a single pole support (trekking poles at times) in high winds and their hex shape allows them to shed wind quite well.

    Granted I have had 3 season tents break on me in the middle of a windstorm in the middle of the night, but that was mainly due to me not being smart enough to pitch my tent not right on a ridgeline. A couple hundred hundred yards on either way had great windbreaks that would have been fine.
    Natural or manmade windbreaks are definately a priority when seeking a good tent location but there will come a time or should I say scenario when there just might not be anything available. A guy has to plan for that.

  19. #19
    Member icb12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 454casull View Post
    I cannot speak for any of the "tipi" style tents because I do not have any personal experience with them. I have read reports of good wind shedding capabilities that they have. Having looked closely at a Ti Goat set up one time, I just don't see how it would hold up in some of the storms I have been through. I am not discounting some of the tents mentioned here and I do believe a three season is the best for most sheep hunts because of the lack of weight and improved breathability compared to a four season. There are a few three season tents in the midrange price range that are built pretty good to hold up to heavy winds. Terra Nova Wildcountry, MSR, Big Agnes, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, Black Diamond, and The North Face all have good quality tents that meet the criteria that we are talking about. You can't go wrong with Hilleberg but their price is a deterrant to some. I am not trying to claim that I know everything there is to know about tents because that would be far from the truth, but I have spent quite a bit of time in tents in the mountains and have formulated some fairly strong opinions on gear based on my own experiences. I firmly believe that Tarptent, Six Moon Designs, Mount Laurel Designs, Go Lite and many ultralight single wall tents, although built well and work well for what they are intended for, have no place in the mountains of Alaska on fall backpack hunts. A guy might get lucky on a few hunts and not encounter severe weather, but that would be the exception not the rule. I am just trying to get people to think about the true storm (primarily wind) capabilities of a tent before a purchase is made. As light as possible is good, but I am just suggesting that a guy should look beyond that and make sure that the shelter is going to do just that.....shelter you in time of need.
    You might be surprised. My golite tipi held up to everything Kodiak could throw at it on a goat hunt last fall. I was worried going in, and I worry no longer. If it could take kodiak I won't hesitate to take it sheep hunting. It sheds wind very well.

    My three favorite tents:
    Black Diamond Ahwanee- 4 season, single wall, two door, double vestibule. Minimum weight around 5 lb with aftermarket carbon fiber poles. Max is around ten with both vestibules and stock poles and lots of stakes. This thing can be a base camp palace or a one man semi-lightweight show.
    Hilleberg Unna- I would love to take this anywhere and have near unlimited versatility for one man or two if you're comfortable buttholes to belly buttons. Lack of vestibule at all is tough to get around, but with one guy, it works.
    Hilleberg Allak- Same principle as the BD ahwanee but more versatility, and I feel a little more complexity. A little lighter than the BD, and essentially the same price after you buy both vestibules for the BD. (perhaps cheaper)

    The price was right on the tipi, and I thought I'd give it a try. Personally, I love going floorless. Hence why the two above hillebergs apeal to me; option to go with just the exo.


    Edit: Note that Black diamond used to make a lighter weight version of the Ahwanee. it was called the Lighthouse. It only had one door and one vestibule and dimensions a **** hair smaller. Its reviews are about 50/50 with half saying that it gets saturated and useless very easily and half very impressed. Reviews dependent on location I'd guess. Me.. dunno, if it had two doors and two vestibules I'd be rocking one- after all I went to Kodiak with a single wall tipi.. call me crazy.

  20. #20
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    I agree with 454Casull. Wind is what I'm most concerned about. Most any 3 season backpacking tents will keep a guy dry. And if you can pitch it somewhere with a wind break will probably do ok in high wind. If the teepee type shelters are pitched properly it sounds like they do okay as well. But, personally, I want an expedition quality 4 season tent for when the fecal matter hits the oscillating rotor. On a walk-in or fly in remote sheep hunt I figure my life could depend on it. These are expedition hunting trips. Gail winds and wet heavy snow can roll in quick, and for days. I pack a Hilleberg Tarra. Free standing with 2 vestbules, 4 season tent. It weighs a little over 8 lbs. 4 lbs for 2 guys is no biggie in my mind. About what a solo tent and bivi would weigh and guys have no problem packing it. I'll shave weight somewhere else. I can pitch it anywhere at any angle to the prevailing wind, stake it and if it's exposed it will handle anything any tent can handle. Some guys like the tunnel tents. I've been in spots where I had to pitch and a tunnel would not have worked. They can handle the wind, that's for sure, a little noisy. I just wanted a free standing exoskeleton for quietness, strength and flexibility of pitching. Personal preference.

    They are expensive but to me it's worth it. Guys will spend $1500 plus on Swaro binos and 200 bucks on a 3 season tent. Crazy to me. each to his own.

    Hillebergs are handmade and have a lifetime guarantee. No seam sealing required either because of how they are made. I say save a few more bucks and get a 4 season expedition quality tent. Hilleberg or equivalent, single wall Bibler, etc. Get a tunnel if you want to shave weight.

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