Another Tent Thread (2man, trekking pole, ~3 season)

lerman

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
29
Hey all I've been crawling rokslide looking at tent threads and just wanted to make one to address/compare what I consider the top contenders for 2 man non-freestanding 3/4 season tents.

Background is I have an old sierra designs 2 man that is heavy as hell (even if comfy) so I've been using my OR Alpine bivy a lot lately. I recently had a bear scare (false alarm) and was really frustrated by how slow the bivy is to exit plus my inability to sit up, look around, and draw my pistol. The bivy also has other drawbacks including condensation and lack of comfort for extended stays plus no vestibules.

Now I'm in the market for something around the same weight (or lighter) than my bivy while providing 2 man+ room, vestibules, and the option to run a mesh liner and floor. Looking at non-freestanding designs that use trekking poles specifically. The three top contenders I'm seeing are:

-Seek Outside Eolus ($405, Sil/PU 30D nylon, 42oz, 62/30 sqft)
-Dan Durston X-Mid 2 ($300, Sil/PEU 20D Polyester, 39oz 62/32 sqft)
-Tarptent Stratospire Li ($640, DCF, 29oz, unknown/27 sqft)

Obviously these all run the gambit in terms of price as well as significant weight difference, but functionally they are all very similar and structurally they all use a similar principle of trekking-pole-supported fly and optional liner. What's going to make a decisions for me is:

- weight (favors stratospire Li @ 29 oz)
- price (favors X-Mid 2 @ $300)
- storm resilience (I believe favors Eolus)
- waterproofness (favors Stratospire @ 8,000mm)
- durability (favors Stratospire with DCF)
- late season serviceability in cold/snow (I believe favors X-Mid 2)

I'm just looking for opinions and first hand experiences with these shelters. Qualitative traits matter like ergonomics, small features, ease of set up and customer support. There's a lot of people raving over the little features in the X-Mid 2 and it's ease of set up. I'm ok with spending the extra $200-$300 on a shelter if it gets me a significantly better shelter but if it's kind of a wash I'd rather save the money. Primarily will be used for colorado remote backpacking and remote bowhunting. I'm open to other stuff too, I see hexpeak is doing cool stuff too and I'd eventually like a hot tent for similar uses.

Any input?
 

Voyageur

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
864
Good to see a Tarptent in your list of candidates.
The only thing I would "question" about your decision making process is your assumption about the durability of the Tarptent DCF option. In my recent communications with Tarptent, as I decided between a Li model or a standard model, Henry told me the standard fabric lasts roughly 1/3 longer than the DCF. I'm not saying you're wrong, maybe I misunderstood him, but it is something worth looking into further.
Hope this helps, and let us know what you find out.
 

snel6424

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2020
Messages
75
The X-Mid is absolutely fantastic by all accounts, but be aware that it requires quite a large area to set up for the 2 man. Larger than you would think. So if setup space is an issue, might not be the best choice.
 
OP
L

lerman

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
29
Good to see a Tarptent in your list of candidates.
The only thing I would "question" about your decision making process is your assumption about the durability of the Tarptent DCF option. In my recent communications with Tarptent, as I decided between a Li model or a standard model, Henry told me the standard fabric lasts roughly 1/3 longer than the DCF. I'm not saying you're wrong, maybe I misunderstood him, but it is something worth looking into further.
Hope this helps, and let us know what you find out.
Do you know what criteria he was assessing for durability? As far as abrasion resistance and UV stability it's my understanding DCF is tippy top, but I've also heard people say not to fold it. Is DCF like fiberglass mesh in that folding it irreparably damages fibers?
 

Voyageur

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Feb 12, 2020
Messages
864
Do you know what criteria he was assessing for durability? As far as abrasion resistance and UV stability it's my understanding DCF is tippy top, but I've also heard people say not to fold it. Is DCF like fiberglass mesh in that folding it irreparably damages fibers?
I do not know to what he was referring. I think I phrased my question something along the lines of "which tent will last longer, the Li model or the standard?"
I do know that if you emailed Tarptent customer service they are very good about responding promptly with detailed answers.
I wish I could be of further help.
Let us know what you find out.
 
OP
L

lerman

Junior Member
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Jul 1, 2021
Messages
29
Here's what I got back from tarp tent

Dyneema has roughly 2/3 the lifespan of silicone coated nylon. Dyneema is a laminate fabric and a very different animal than a coated nylon or polyester. Dyneema has excellent UV resistance but what happens with Dyneema is that over the long hall the inevitable hard creasing during storage starts to shear the laminate apart. Easy to fix at the outset with Dyneema tape but eventually it stops being worth it. We tell people that a typical Dyneema will last on the order of up to two hikes — so, ~ 2 x 120 nights with increasing patching along the way— whereas a silnylon tent will last 3 thruhikes or more.

Now silnylon/polyester is making more sense to me considering this made up arbitrary metric I just invented: Weight/longevity. The DCF tarptent is about 10oz or about 25% lighter than an equivalent Seek Outside/Durston tent, but the sil tents will allegedly last 33% longer (or at least tarptent's silnylon will, and tarpent and seek outside both use 30D silnylon while durston uses 20D polyester).

Considering the DCF tarptent is almost double the price as the Eolus and will likely last 2/3 the time (excepting accidental damage) but only 25% lighter, the Eolus seems ideal. Still the x-mid 2 is hard to pass up considering it's price and ~identical weight although availability is an issue right now.

I think it will be whatever I can get a deal on first between the x-mid 2 and the eolus that i'll end up splurging for.
 

Voyageur

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
864
Here's what I got back from tarp tent



Now silnylon/polyester is making more sense to me considering this made up arbitrary metric I just invented: Weight/longevity. The DCF tarptent is about 10oz or about 25% lighter than an equivalent Seek Outside/Durston tent, but the sil tents will allegedly last 33% longer (or at least tarptent's silnylon will, and tarpent and seek outside both use 30D silnylon while durston uses 20D polyester).

Considering the DCF tarptent is almost double the price as the Eolus and will likely last 2/3 the time (excepting accidental damage) but only 25% lighter, the Eolus seems ideal. Still the x-mid 2 is hard to pass up considering it's price and ~identical weight although availability is an issue right now.

I think it will be whatever I can get a deal on first between the x-mid 2 and the eolus that i'll end up splurging for.
Thanks for sharing.
 

bigbuckdj

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 29, 2019
Messages
168
This isn’t very helpful but I have an x mid 2. It’s the only trekking pole tent I’ve ever had so I can’t say it’s incredible comparatively but it’s light, it packs up tight and it has a ton of room. If you can get your hands on one you certainly will not lose money, they sell for well over MSRP on the durston fb pages or eBay everyday. Good luck!


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docdb

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Joined
Jun 19, 2012
Messages
233
Location
Atlanta
I have a ton of shelters and have had even more that I have sold. I keep coming back to one shelter. A Mountain Laurel Designs Supramid with a half liner (inner net). I hike and camp with a dog and it’s plenty of room for both of us and all my gear. It’s very light, very well made, and easy to set up. I have all sorts of Hilleberg’s and have a seekoutside red cliff in DCF that I havent set up yet, but wanted to try out more room. I’ll likely try it this winter with a stove
 

mtwarden

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Oct 18, 2016
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Montana
I wouldn’t worry too much on dcf longevity, my Aeon Li is going four years with roughly 20-30 nights/year and it looks pretty much the same as when I got it.
I recently purchased a Stratospire 2 Li (much of it based on my experience with Aeon Li). I looked at a lot of shelters, but a few things stood out with the Stratospire- first it was double walled with the inner attached- very nice feature when setting up in rain/snow. Second two doors and two vestibules, with two a must, but even with one a nice feature. Third probably the best design for wind of the two trekking pole design. When fully guyed out, by all accounts- very bomber.

Weight- mine with 12 stakes weighs 1 lb 11 oz, that’s pretty damn light for a two person, 3+ season shelter :)
 

mtwarden

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Oct 18, 2016
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Location
Montana
I'll have a more detailed report in a couple of days- heading out with the Stratospire tomorrow, but 25 mph winds today didn't hardly wrinkle it- going to be very roomy for one and two good sized vestibules to boot.

Under two lbs and that's with the longer 8" Easton stakes (8 of them) and the extra guy lines- pretty damn svelte! :D

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