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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    California (at the moment)

    Default Ultralite tent camper in inclement weather

    I have a small 4 cylinder vehicle so my enhanced-vs.-purely-tent camping options are limited at this point. I am considering an ultralite tent camper. This would be used mostly for solo weekend trips and a few longer excursions. In a few years I'd like to do a major road trip but expect I will need more elaborate equipment for that type of outing. I have looked at Quiksilver. Another brand that could work is Jumping Jack. I know that there are some brands targeted to the larger motor cycle market that might work but most seem to lack any living space besides beds.
    1) Does anyone have experience with how these perform in wet, rainy and cold conditions? Has any one ever put a rain fly on one of these? Having lived many years in the Pacific Northwest, the importance of moisture proofing is not lost on me.
    2) If you have recommendations of other brands, I would appreciate hearing about those.
    3) any other tips on the realities of this type of equipment would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A new product

    Quote Originally Posted by cfc View Post
    2) If you have recommendations of other brands, I would appreciate hearing about those.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! We were contacted by a new (potential) advertiser and their tents might be a perfect fit for you. The name of the company is Eldorado Outdoor Products --- here is some more information. Here is a field report on a motorcycle-sized tent. I have used a variety of ultralight tents over the years -- with good results. Here are some more ideas from other "tenters" on this forum.


  3. Default Tents

    I've never handled a lightweight tent that's been specifically designed for motorcycle use, but I've used lightweight tents from a variety of companies -- Jansport (yes, that old...), Eureka, REI, ALPS, Sierra Design, and a few others. I've done a fair bit of tent camping, usually car based, but also mountaineering/ backpacking. I've seen (but have no direct experience with) a brand of motorcyle tent that used the frame of the bike as part of the support for the tent, but that was only in passing at a campground.

    My experiences with very lightweight tents has been sort of a dual experience..

    - You can get very light weight, and pretty inexpensive tents from a variety of places. (I have a $29 backpacking tent that weighs less than 4 lbs, and is lightweight, with a rain fly...) But the materials seem to be pretty lightweight, and I'm not expecting it to last very long. They're also not necessarily super easy to set up -- require staking out with guy lines etc, to get the maximum volume. And to get minimum weight, they usually cut way down on the volume of the tent.

    - You can get very light weight, and pretty expensive tents from a variety of companies, particularly those for mountaineering aad backpacking. Some of these tents are marvels of design and have some really exotic materials to cut the weight down. They appear to be pretty durable -- some are very well made, and designed for very harsh conditions (snow, ice, hurricane level winds), but they aren't cheap. Some are pretty roomy, as they're designed for several people and gear, and to remain habitable if you're stuck inside in a blizzard for several days. But not cheap in price.

    As a off the cuff suggestion, you might go check out your local backpacking/ climbing store and see what they have, and how small it packs down, and how easy it is to set up. A good store ought to have some set up that you can climb into and check out, and ought to have some suggestions about volume and weight and durability. Go for integral seam sealing for weather proofing, the bathtub bottom, and a GOOD rain fly.

    On the rain fly, I like a fully length rain fly. I've seen too many cheap tents that have a handkerchief sized rain fly that just covers up the top of the tent. That works OK in light rain, but I've seen too many get blown loose, or have water blown up under it and into the tent.

    I'd also for for an integral dome-type tent that doesn't need to be staked out before it holds its shape. I want to throw the tent up, and then throw my gear in ASAP if its raining -- I don't want to have to measure out and stake out guy lines to hold it up, in the rain.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default teardrop

    If you're just looking for a small trailer that you'll easily be able to pull behind a car, have you considered a teardrop trailer?

    I've never used one, and really only know of them through the various articles on this site, but I've always thought they look like a good option for quick easy camping. They also are small and lightweight, so even a run of the mill 4 cyl sedan should be able to pull it with no problems.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default I second the teardrop trailer!

    I have friends who drive a 4-cylinder who have towed their teardrop trailer cross-country several times. It tows well and has been a lot of fun for them.

    There are lots of options but you'll want to find one of the more lightweight ones, if possible. Check out this teardrop website with manufacturer's, used teardrops for sale, plans on how to build your own, etc. Check out the photos. There are tons of interesting options.

    Another good option for 4-cylinders would be Aliner's Alite trailer. It weighs about 450# and folds down while driving but pops up into a hard-sided a-frame shaped trailer.

    I love my tent but I'm a fairweather camper. I would love to have one of these to extend my roadtrips to 4-seasons.

    As for tents....I camp on Washington's Olympic Peninsula all the time with a very cheap tent. It's 8 years old this year and going strong. Strong winds and rain coming in virtually sideways on a camping trip to Kalaloch was especially memorable. But we didn't get wet and the tent held up just fine. It doesn't require stakes and is dome-shaped. Very easy up/down. I paid about $35 for it in 2000. I have had more expensive tents from places like REI that haven't performed any better. You do need to shop around though.

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