Suggestions for roomy 3+ person tent

Discussion in 'Camping Toys' started by KTM Mike, Nov 15, 2019.

  1. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

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    My wife and I are planning on some extended on bike travel, camping the majority of the time, three months or longer (the full scope of our plan is actually a full year, basing from our RV...but roughly three months maybe more will be bike only). I'm looking for suggestions on a three plus person tent.

    We really like our current tent, it's held up extremely well, never a leak, reasonable but not excessive ventilation, good in cold weather. It's an Alps Mountaineering Jagged Peak "3" person. Our only hope is to find something a bit roomier. As is typical, While they call it a three person it absolutely is not. It measures up to 42 square feet. But due to its shape, it's really not efficient space. It's considered a four seasons tent, with ample mesh areas that can be opened or closed .

    Here is our list of criteria:.

    - 46 or more square feet. On the smaller end, need a large, functional vestibule. Irregular tapered shapes like our current one likely will need to be larger. I'd say we lean towards 48 plus actually. It's have to be something really special to be smaller than 48.

    - "free standing" yeah I realize that few are 100% free standing in that often vestibule must be staked out. But I want at least the main tent body free standing.

    - Reasonable weight and pack size. Our current tent is 7lbs 13 Oz. I don't mind heavier if the tent really nails our needs otherwise...though when I see the 14 pound monstrous tents like Redverz, I cringe. There are some appealing options that tempt me in the 10 to 13 lb range though. Pack size matters as we are two up, so space is at a premium.

    - NOT a primarily mesh tent body. This is a big one for us. Some is OK, but we absolutely do not want one that is mostly mesh. Ideally, like our current tent, we can zip closed the mesh panels, or a good portion of them. Yeah I know, get a warmer bag bla bla bla. We've found a good balance with our current bags, and a tent that is a bit more limited on mesh. Most of our trip will be in Canada and Alaska, so cooler temps . In general we find it's the three plus, or four seasons tents that work for us. Though some three seasons tents are a bit less on mesh and would work.

    - Strong pole structure for winds

    - functional vestibule. The larger the tent, the less critical the vestibule size.

    - of course quality waterproofing. .

    - reasonable price. We don't mind spending $700 maybe more for the perfect tent, but I'd rather stay at $400 to $500 or less. I don't mind buying used at the right price.

    Here is my short list of contenders currently. Other suggestions?

    - MSR Elixir 4. Has moderate amount of mesh, but we can get creative to close off some if needed. Elixir 3 with Gear Sheed vestibule might work, but the 4 simplifies a bit.

    - MSR Remote 3. A bit small but appealing.

    - Marmot Thor 3. There's a lot to like ...but it's a touch on the small side. I love the zip closed vents. Expensive, but I do have a line on a used one. I want to like this one if it were a tiny bit bigger.

    - Alps Mountaineering Taurus 4 AL . This one is one of the largest ones under consideration. My biggest reservations are is the pole structure and fabrics up to extended use, higher winds etc. There is the "outfitters" version which has heavier duty floor and zippers, but ironically, the waterproofing rating is actually lower than the regular version. It is dirt cheap at least. I want to like this one, but it just strikes me as maybe not up to the extended abuse.

    Eureka K2 - a big sorta heavy but bombproof option. I like how the mesh areas zip closed. I wonder about packed size. I don't like the weight. I do find it tempting.

    North Face Northstar 4 or Bastion 4. Both big heavy bombproof tents with lots to like except weight pack size and price. I have a possibility on a used Bastion.


    So... thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks in advance!

    Mike
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  2. rider1150gsadv

    rider1150gsadv Long timer

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    Hilleberg or Exped are two brands to look at as well...
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  3. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

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    Thanks Rider. Ive looked at both - both pricey, but very well built. There are a couple of models of each of interest, in particular the Hilleberg Nallo 4 or Nallo 4 GT. I am very impressed with how light weight they are for their size. There are a few used Hillebergs for sale on line that I am actively considering.
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  4. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

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    In case anyone wonders what tent I decided on, I bought a Marmot Thor 3p. I found a great deal on one on Ebay that was unused. I think it is exactly what we were looking for. The goal was something bigger than our current, but not to big. Initially I thought it might have been a bit small for us - but it is spot on perfect. We use Exped SynMat 9 Long Wide. With both pads in the tent, plenty of room besides the pads. The large vestibule is ample, the smaller one is still rather decent size. Floor dimensions are 93" long by 74" wide. It is built like a tank - which does make it a bit heavy, but manageable, has excellent specs on waterproofing. I have not packed it down into the stuff sack I normally use for tents yet, so dont have a solid feel on pack size. I am very happy with it so far - though all I have done is set it up in my living room!
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  5. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

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    Here are a few pics of the Thor 3p set up. With more typical 20" wide pads, it would actually work for 3. Our pads are 26" ish wide, fit very well with ample room remaining. Large vestibule is huge. Smaller vestibule is not bad either. Packed size not particularly small but manageable. 8" x 16" in a compression stuff sack. Pole section length of 17"

    It is clearly a true four season tent, genuinely built for hard core use. The snow skirts on the fly are overkill for my needs. I will either find a way to clip them rolled up, or might go as far as cutting them off. The huge zip out sections however offer tons of ventilation. It's not cheap at $750 , but I got mine on eBay for less than half of that. It had never been used, only set up a few times. REI currently has it on sale for $561.

    Here's a video I found that shows it well. IMG_20191121_131721091.jpg IMG_20191121_121302915.jpg IMG_20191121_132848213.jpg IMG_20191123_155400516.jpg IMG_20191123_155416905.jpg
    #5