Your #1 source for kayaking and canoeing information!               FREE Newsletter!
my Profile

Advice, Suggestions and General Help New Topic Printer Friendly Version

  Best tent for Vancouver Island
  Posted by: elkhermes on Oct-26-13 11:24 PM (EST)
   Category: unassigned 

I'll looking at spending a few weeks this spring paddling the San Juan islands and up part way Vancouver Island.
Can anyone recommend the best 3 season 2 person tent to use for that area? I was thinking of the MSR Hubba Hubba because I'd like to use the same tent for when I hike a section of the John Muir trail this August.
Any recommendations welcome.

 Great Products from the Buyers' Guide:

Cartop Kayak Carriers

Adventure Sailrigs

Touring Sprayskirts

Fishing PFD's

Dry Tops

Table of Contents

Messages in this Topic


  ask these guys
  Posted by: gobsmacked on Oct-26-13 11:46 PM (EST)
This kayaking forum is local to Vancouver Island and can provide the experience and answers you're looking for. It's worth your time to post your question there too.

  No contest: Black Diamond Ahwahnee
  Posted by: jsmarch on Oct-30-13 12:03 PM (EST)
Pricy, but nothing better...
  Your Hubba Hubba.....
  Posted by: chodups on Oct-27-13 12:22 AM (EST)
.....will do fine. Not sure about what is best but I use that tent and it works fine.

  I spent three weeks in a Hubba Hubba
  Posted by: johnysmoke on Oct-27-13 7:12 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-27-13 7:19 PM EST --

In Patagonia, in some pretty knarly conditions. Lots of rain and bursts of wind easily in the 50 knot range. The Hubba Hubba (HH) handled it just fine, got blown flat a few times and would just spring back up. Plenty dry with all the wind and rain. If I had to do it all over again I'd find an utlra-light solid wall tent (like a HH HP if they sold them in the states) or get a tent like a Hillberg single wall tunnel tent. But for Vancouver, where the beaches are big and there's room to hide in the rain forest, the HH should be just fine. Have fun, sounds like a great trip. Some of the best paddling I've done has been in British Columbia, starting out of Bella Bella Canada.

  hubba hubba
  Posted by: emanoh on Oct-27-13 10:51 PM (EST)
I own one, good tent, packs light, easy up. My only knock is all mesh means it is not the warmest tent I own.
  True that
  Posted by: chodups on Oct-27-13 11:06 PM (EST)
  Nights aren't that cold
  Posted by: pikabike on Oct-29-13 12:06 AM (EST)
A mesh-bodied tent with solid fly should be adequate.

Still, I really liked that the Mountain Hardwear Hammerhead (solid-bodied tent with full fly) was so dry inside that I never even noticed it had poured rain in the wee hours. Not one drop of condensation in that tent. It was a "convertible" type, meaning that a solid panel could be zipped out leaving a large mesh area, if so desired. But it weighs more than the HH.
  Thanks y'all for the help :)
  Posted by: elkhermes on Oct-27-13 11:12 PM (EST)
  Check out the paddling accessories
  Posted by: roanguy on Oct-28-13 9:26 AM (EST)
here on P-net.
I saw a good deal there and it looks like about half price
I think it is the lightest and smallest that exists.

  Posted by: ppine on Oct-28-13 5:23 PM (EST)
Any quality tent with a fly that is in good repair will work for that country. The San Jauns are not as wet as lot of other areas nearby like the West Coast of Vancouver IS. Always bring a large tarp on boat trips in the islands. WA DNR campsites usually have a frame over the tables at their campsites. Maybe the Gulf Is site do too.
  It's nice when...
  Posted by: ByronWalter on Oct-28-13 5:41 PM (EST)
... the rain fly and the inner tent go up together. If you get stuck in rain, which you likely will, the inner tent will likely get very wet if the fly goes up afterwards.

I've had very good luck with a Hilleberg tent. I've set it up in rain and all the inside stuff has stayed nice and dry.

Exped also has some offerings where the fly and inner tent go up as one.

Good luck on your quest.
  Bring a Tarp..
  Posted by: johnysmoke on Oct-28-13 6:34 PM (EST)
And set up the tent under the tarp. Actually with the Hubba Hubba you can set up the fly and then add the body in underneath, and do the same to take it down. Takes longer though...
  eurekea outfitter
  Posted by: baldpaddler on Oct-28-13 8:53 PM (EST)
Cliff Jacobson recommends them and I personally have seen them hold up under the abuse of our scout troop.
I have used the timberline (2 man ) set up on top of snow on Roan Mountain and in Algonquin Provincial Park. I have and still use a Eureka Timberlite(2 man ) as a solo when I go out. Not saying they are the best
  Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 2
  Posted by: WaterBird on Oct-28-13 10:55 PM (EST)

How it compares to the Hubba Hubba 2:

4 oz. heavier (4 lbs 12 oz, which is considered backpacking weight)
A bit larger
Sturdier materials
Roomier at the head
Huge door
Very easy entry due to straight sides and fly configuration
Less than half the price

The Hubba frame might be sturdier, but dozens of reviews of the Zephyr report no frame problems.
  Tents and prices
  Posted by: dc9mm on Oct-28-13 11:43 PM (EST)
The price of tents has puzzled me quite a bit. I just started camping EVER, kayak camping and bought a Kelty tent about 100 bucks, worked fine on 2 trips, one trip had rain over night, no problem. But I see tents that go up to the in the $700 range. I just took a quick look at one of the suggestions above the Hillberg tents. Crazy expensive. I look at the specifications and it doesn't look any better than the Zepher from Amazon link above. I read the reviews and they don't seem to last much longer but even if they lasted 3 times as long there still not worth those crazy 500 and up dollar prices. I guess Iam missing something?

I get it for backpacking if there lighter but there not lighter Hilleburgs weigh the same or more than my 100 dollar Kelty Grand Mesa 2. Had mine out in quite a bit of wind too again no problem. Must be a reason Iam just not seeing it.
  Posted by: kayamedic on Oct-29-13 7:54 AM (EST)
are designed for extreme conditions that would tear a Hubba Hubba apart. On the tundra or on the shoulder of an alpine mountain , they are the best.

I have a four season mountaineering tent and because of the increased number of poles and beefy clips and sturdy floor ( 10000 mm hydrostatic pressure) and ventilation capability in subzero conditions and ability to withstand snow load goes over $700. Four season tents are not light. Usually double stitched especially at stress points.

I hsve a first gen Hubba Hubba and the poles are flimsy and several spiral cracked. Its bent in winds and torn the mesh in a couple of places (sewn in more mesh) and the fly is not long enough to get close to the ground. But its light. Is it a good summer tent for fairly dry conditions and backpacking? Sure. The rules change a bit when you are backpacking..

I believe the HH has been improved on since I got mine.
  Good post...
  Posted by: johnysmoke on Oct-29-13 11:25 AM (EST)
The solid wall mountaineering tents do handle wind and bad weather a lot better than the 3 season hiking tents. You can set them up so they are really taut, you don't have the sensation of your tent flapping around you all night, giving you the impression it might blow off at any minute. Also the solid walls keep the wind off you a lot better than the mesh tents, and if you're on a sandy location, you don't wake up in a sandbox. The huge vestibules also are a great place to get out of wet clothing so you don't track water into the tent, a great place to keep gear so it doesn't get wet, and a place to cook if needed. Would be interesting to see if someone could design an cold weather specific sea kayak expedition tent?

Kayakmedic, might be worth sending that old Hubba Hubba into MSR to see if they can "repair" it for you. Sometimes they will just send you a new tent. That's something else that is incorporated into MSR's premium price, premium customer service. Have often heard of people sending things in to get repaired and just receiving a brand new item. Might be worth a shot...
  single wall
  Posted by: jesse59 on Oct-29-13 2:14 PM (EST)
Just to clarify for folks who may not know the jargon; By "solid wall" i believe johnysmoke means "single wall". It is still a fabric, not a solid material. Single wall designs forego the double wall rainfly/tent concept for a single layer of fabric that is waterproof and breathable to various degrees.

Personally, I have a couple of each; single and double wall tents. My favorite is the Black Diamond Skylight, a light and roomy hybrid single/double!
  Posted by: kayamedic on Oct-29-13 2:42 PM (EST)
solid wall tents have no mesh. Just nylon. They can be and double walled like my Trango 3.1

Single wall tents are rather specialized and yes are a subspecies of the solid wall tent.

  Posted by: jesse59 on Oct-29-13 3:53 PM (EST)
I'm on the same page with you now. I've just never heard anyone use the term solid wall...could be a regional thing.
  Varies by model
  Posted by: pikabike on Oct-29-13 7:53 PM (EST)
I have the Unna, which uses two long poles for structure. Tents with 3 or more poles have greater stability in wind, as seen in the higher-priced models...all other things being equal, which they never are.

More poles add more set-up time and weight, so need to balance those factors against whether the added stability is likely to be needed.

All the Hillebergs seem designed for cold-weather use, as they don't have even one mesh-bodied tent, or at least they didn't last time I looked. I'm not too fond of mesh-bodied tents myself, since they let desert sand and silt in galore, and they're not warm. (I love how the Unna sets up fly-first, or fly and body at the same time. Definitely was a great feature when I had to set it up in a thunderstorm.)

Price doesn't always tell the story, though. My first tent ever was a modestly-priced SierraWest (the original ultralight brand) 1-person tent. Not freestanding, it used two short hoops that held a low, mostly-mesh tunnel taut, covered by an integral coated-nylon full rain fly. Weighed only 2.5 lbs and held up to heavy continuous Hawaiian rain that lasted all night, and another night of extremely high winds, also in Hawaii. I awoke to the tent being closer to my face than it had been the night before, but it was still holding the body up and still staked down. All the other tents in the campground had been either trashed or were flattened completely.
  Materials, structure, marketing
  Posted by: WaterBird on Oct-29-13 10:59 PM (EST)
I don't know Hillebergs at all so I won't comment on them. Four-season mountaineering tents have superior materials (poles, fabric) and designs to withstand severe conditions that your Kelty Grand Mesa wouldn't hold up in.

A better comparison might be Alps Mountaineering, Kelty, and Big Agnes. And to be fair, you should compare the same class of tents, like 3-season medium weight, versus ultralight. Here are some 2P tents in that class:

Alps Zephyr: Can often be found for less than $100
Kelty Grand Mesa: Often around $100-$120
Kelty Trail Ridge: A very well-designed tent, same materials as the Grand Mesa but much more practical, around $150
REI Half Dome: $189. Heavier than the preceding tents but sturdy.

Big Agnes Jack Rabbit SL 2: $300. Now, what do you get in the Jack Rabbit that makes it two to three times the price of the Alps and Kelty Tents? Not much, in my opinion. The Jack Rabbit is 7 oz lighter than the Zephyr (significant for a backpacker maybe but irrelevant for a kayak camper). The floor area of the Jack Rabbit is below average (27 sq ft) and the volume is less than the Alps and Keltys. The waterproof coating on the floor and fly are better in the Alps and Kelty tents.

Big Agnes mysteriously does not publish the fabric weights of their tents, making comparisons difficult. A lot of hunting won't readily turn up the weights, although the Backpacker Gear Guide says it's 30D, which is less than half the weight of Alps and Kelty fabrics. In other words, the Jack Rabbit manages to weigh about the same as the Zephyr yet is smaller, has thinner fabric, and a thinner waterproof coating . . . for three times the price.

For my money, the Alps Zephyr and the Kelty Trail Ridge are better tents than the Big Agnes. There may be nothing at all wrong with the Jack Rabbit, but I'd rather spend the $150 difference on a sleeping bag or a fabulous mattress like the Exped Synmat 7. Plus, Alps makes some tents that can stand up to some pretty heavy weather, like this one for just $120:

One thing that contributes to tent price is the marketing strategy. Apparently Alps has a reputation for selling tents at cut-throat prices through internet drop vendors, making other sellers complain about undercutting. You won't get any service from a drop vendor, and returning a tent will be costly. Kelty, though, uses conventional marketing and still manages to make good tents for half the price of Big Agnes.

I'm a big fan of gear that is both cheap and good. Alps Mountaineering is very good in that category. Their tents can be found for dirt-cheap prices, but in this case the quality is way above the price. The Zephyr 3 was on Steep and Cheap last week for just $89.

  Fan of Kelty
  Posted by: jimx200 on Oct-30-13 12:20 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-30-13 12:24 AM EST --

Love Kelty as I have yet to have one leak (on third one). Got back 3 weeks ago from our North Coast of California for some camping/mt biking and on two of the nights, it poured! We got 2 inches one night and 1 1/2 the next..and not a drop in the Kelty Trail Ridge. It's a 4 person and we slept on a queen air mattress, with a Border Collie and a Mini Doxy thrown This tent (like all good ones) has sealed sew panels, waterproof raised floor, and easy to put up.
Here is the tent:

Check reviews on their 2 man to give you a idea of performance. Good luck!
Found the 2 man:

  Design flaw on the Trail Ridge 4
  Posted by: WaterBird on Nov-01-13 10:58 PM (EST)
They weren't thinking straight when they made solid doors on the 4P, versus the mesh doors on the 2P and the 3P. The solid doors cut down considerably on air flow and block the view. Really unnecessary for privacy---for that you can close the fly door.
  Leaking Kelty
  Posted by: weed on Nov-08-13 4:16 PM (EST)
We just got back from Fl. with our Kelty. I've always pitched it under a tarp but my wife didn't want to listen to the tarp flap in the wind. When the rain came it leaked every where the poles touched the rain-fly. The water ran down the sides to the seam where the floor is sewn then it wicked inside. A trip to WalMart for a free standing shelter saved the night. What can I put on the tent to cure this?
  Paint some of this on...
  Posted by: johnysmoke on Nov-08-13 7:50 PM (EST)
Takes a while, but works well.
  V I weather
  Posted by: trout on Oct-30-13 6:08 PM (EST)
I was on V I in Oct ..rain...rain...rain ! so make sure the tent is waterproof.
  Some suggestions
  Posted by: salty on Oct-31-13 1:04 PM (EST)
I've paddled these waters for years and camped many a night in all seasons in this country. I think there are many good tents out there and so long as the tent can withstand strong winds and has decent ventilation you'll be fine. Best to pitch tent on gravel or sand in heavy rain, as drainage is good. Ive actually moved out from the tree canopy in torrential rain due to puddling and lack of drainage. Sand gets messy but drainage critical. Ground cloth is good but dont let it exceed tent floor edges

The trick to staying dry!!: Tarps. On Alaska and BC expeditions I carry two nylon tarps with cord pre-attached at grommets. These stuff into a sack that goes in front of feet in cockpit. Once I pull in for the eve I pitch tarps FIRST. One tarp covers tent area, the other dinning area. Once tarps are up boat is emptied by tossing small sacks into big net duffel. Tent is pitched under tarp and I then change, eat under dinning tarp. All the while staying totally dry.

Reverse process for departure. Doing this Ive stayed dry for days in horrible weather. It's a system and it works. Not having a tarp over your tent means it will get soaked and packed wet. Some care and thought can mean the difference between comfort and misery.

Lastly. Tent needs to be big enough for you and some gear but not too big. Hard as it may be to believe, pitch-able sites can be rare on the west coast at times.

Safe travels
  salty nailed it...
  Posted by: jmden on Nov-02-13 10:29 AM (EST)
...he obviously has done this quite a bit. I follow the same procedures. Tarps are key to enjoying the area. One over your tent and another to cook, etc. under or one very large one to cover all. You need to make sure you have very robust staking and many guy out points, especially for large tarps. A tarp over the tent will keep you much dryer and happier during a trip.

My biggest concern with the current crop of MSR tents is a obviously greatly lacking in ventilation near the top of the tent. There are several Marmot tents out that combine all of the attributes, including good top ventilation in the fly, that are important to be as dry as possible.
  Best advice yet.
  Posted by: elkhermes on Nov-07-13 9:22 AM (EST)
Thanks salty. That's some of the best advice I've had for camping up in the Northwest. Very valuable info.
Most of my camping experience is in the deserts of the southwest. Rain usually isn't an issue, just wind and sand/dirt.
I'm really really really looking forward to my trip to the San Juans and Vancouver Island this spring.
  Before you come this way
  Posted by: salty on Nov-09-13 12:39 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Nov-09-13 12:41 AM EST --

email me and I will help you if needed. I know the coastline very well. I make my living as a commercial mariner. I work in Valdez Ak month on month off but am more than happy to help with staging area, charts, local knowledge etc. My home is in Bow Wa right near the San Juan Islands. Take care..

  Will do. Thanks.
  Posted by: elkhermes on Nov-10-13 11:05 AM (EST)


Follow us on:
Free Newsletter | About Us | Site Map | Advertising Info | Contact Us


©2015 Inc.