Embracing Closeness (or The Process By Which I Came To Own Three Tents)
Captain Indecision, here. Recently, I wrote about how terrible I am at making decisions. A few weeks ago, I seriously questioned my Six Moons Designs Lunar Duo that came with me on my shakedown hikes. So, I ordered a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2. Then, I ordered a REI Quarter Dome 3.
Now, I have three tents. Only one of these tents is coming to the AT! I am just going to cut to the chase and break the suspense: Big Agnes is the winner. Philip and I did some testing (i.e. pitching the tent in the living room and crawling in), weighed the pros and cons, and ultimately decided on the ‘just right’ option for us.
I am no gram-weenie, but I definitely subscribe to the idea that lighter pack weight = happier hiking. That is the reason we ended up with a single-walled, non-freestanding tent in the first place. By switching to a freestanding tent, we take a weight penalty. The good news is that Philip and I can divide the shelter weight between our packs, which is a more equitable arrangement. Here is the weight breakdown between the SMD Lunar Duo and BA CS UL2 (without any crazy modifications to save grams):
SMD Lunar Duo – 51.1 oz
- Tent body + stuff sack – 38.6 oz
- Poles – 3.1 oz
- Tyvek footprint – 6.4
- MSR stakes (6) – 3 oz
BA Copper Spur UL2 – 57.5 oz
- Tent body & poles – 28.9 oz
- Rainfly – 17.5 oz
- BA CS UL2 footprint – 7.1 oz
- MSR stakes (8) – 4 oz
How many times have you heard someone say ‘A two-person tent isn’t really made to hold two people?’ Answer: all. the. time. A recent survey indicated a good amount of couples opt for 3-person tents. I genuinely panicked after ordering a 2-person tent, convinced that I would need to cut my body in half to make it work.
When we crawled into the BA CS UL2, something miraculous happened: Philip and I both fit. It wasn’t even miserable. Yes, it is a bit like Tetris to get both packs inside. But, at least one pack can fit inside the tent comfortably. In addition, this tent is well-equipped with vestibules to hold extra gear.
Yes, when we lay down our arms touch. That’s not a big deal though…I mean, nobody forced me to marry this guy. This whole marriage deal wouldn’t work out if we hated touching each other. Closeness is inevitable, and it;s part of the reason why we are looking forward to doing the trail together.
The hubbed poles and color-coded set-up allow a quick, tight pitch of the BA CS UL2, every time. Almost no extra fiddling is required for proper tension! This aspect alone will save us so much bickering and frustration. We have unhindered views up to the sky, which will be great for clear nights. My one gripe with this tent is the seemingly thin floor material. Most people recommend the use of a footprint, so I purchased the BA version (which weighs more than advertised and is quite spendy). However, I have heard good things about Polycryo and I might purchase a piece to help cut ounces. Thoughts?
Choosing a tent was basically like choosing an ice cream flavor….they are ALL good, but one is bound to be your favorite. Here are the reasons I didn’t choose the lightest or the biggest tent.
SMD Lunar Duo
I am glad that I bought this tent. It is lightweight, and spacious compared to the Big Agnes tent. It works great with our dog. However, getting the pitch is tricky and condensation is a consideration. Combined with a relatively shallow and slippery floating floor, this tent is just a hair out of my comfort range.
REI Quarter Dome 3
I bought this tent because I didn’t want to feel boxed in. There is PLENTY of room for two people in this tent. Compared to the Big Agnes tent, the pole system is a bit more complex and the materials have a different ‘feel’ to them. There is an opaque bit of fabric at the top of the tent, which makes star-gazing challenging. There is at least a 16 oz weight penalty, even if we didn’t take the 11 oz footprint. As a couple, Philip and I decided the space didn’t justify the weight. Thankfully, this tent can be mailed to us if we change our minds!
Are there any other couples out there who are opting for a 2-person tent? If not, why did you opt for the 3-person option? Share your thoughts!
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