Tents.. who knew?
I just spent most of the morning trawling through Exped’s web site. Those guys really know their stuff. And I realise now that the stuff we saw at the camping stores we visited last year really wasn’t anything near what it could’ve been. Anticipating needing a tent for last year’s CQ, we bought a Coleman Lakeside 4-person tent (with vestibule!). CQ carries all our stuff, so 14Kg, though heavy, wasn’t a barrier. But then again, it kind of was. With a per-person limit of 22Kg, we would’ve had to split one tent between the two of us, leaving each of us with only 15Kg of other stuff. Now, I know I say “only” 15Kg, but CQ is a fully supported ride. So we don’t need the lightest of everything. And we can bring things that we might not end up using and not have to worry about the weight. It’s about having fun without spending too much money. Not about counting grams.
Anyway. The Coleman is good for what it is, but it’s not going to cut it for an unsupported weeks-long tour. It turns out that Exped makes a very similar tent, the Andromeda II Plus. Lots of room for us and all our crap, a big vestibule, and.. whoah… only 3.95Kg!
That is, of course, if we want to both be in the same tent. If we don’t, there are much smaller (and lighter) options available. Have you noticed that their absolute heaviest tent is 6.1Kg? Looking around for touring tents (as opposed to CQ tents) has really opened my eyes. Lesson learned. BTW, check out Exped’s YouTube channel. These guys have realised that the way to reach a global market is to demonstrate their products. Nice work!
MSR also make great tents. Check out the Mutha Hubba HP:
This one is free-standing, meaning it doesn’t need guy lines to keep things taut. It can be pitched on a hard surface (eg concrete) if need be.. for example under a picnic table shelter etc. If we absolutely must have a vestibule, one can be purchased as an add-on, but I think if we want one we should just get a tent with one to start with.
MSR also make smaller tents eg the Asgard (hee hee, I giggle like a schoolgirl when I say it out loud), so if we decide to use two small tents instead of one big one, that’s also an option.
I’m still making my way through it, but this ACF/BNA forums thread is definitely worth a look through: This Tent Is Made For Camping.