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View Full Version : CHEAP, lite tent



Joker
2009-07-03, 21:40
Reviewer: Joker
Age: 46
Height 5-8

Ok, so being out here in California, I have to worry about the weight of the BIG 5 (not 3 or 4). These include pack (GoLite LiteSpeed), Sleeping Bag (10 y/o LL Bean Down Bag @ 3 lbs that I'm looking to replace), Sleeping Pad (Good ole Wally-World Blue Foam Pad), Bear Can (Bear Vault since I'm not willing to shell out for a Bearikade), and finally Tent (2-man, 4 lb, 6 y/o boat anchor of a "backpacking" tent).

So I've been shopping around for a replacement for the Bag and the Tent for many weeks. And I know I'll hear the chorus of "use a hammock", but that doesn't work as well out here in California where trees may not be all that plentiful on some trails. Example, a LOT of the John Muir Trail is above the treeline and I don't like being caught without shelter. Now the good news about my old tent was that I could reduce weight by taking only the rainfly, stakes, and poles - Almost like a freestanding tarp since I could erect the rainfly as a single wall, no-floor tarptent pretty easily, but then had to deal with BUGS.

So anyway, had been looking at sewing my own tarptent based on one of the many designs that utilize trekking poles for set-up when I chanced into a Big 5 Sporting Goods out here in California.

As part of their 4th of July sale, they had a Hi-Tec (aka Made in China) 2-man VLite2 tent for sale for $29.99. Ok, I had to think about this one for a while. On the one hand, I had been researching various tarptent designs for quite a while, and had put together my shopping list of parts, material, patterns, etc that I would need to make the PERFECT tarptent for me. On the other hand, this tent, which could be erected using a trekking pole instead of the supplied pole, weighed 3.5 lbs (according to the box), AND WAS ONLY $29.99.... ok, so I succumbed to the temptation and bought it.

After getting it home, I proceeded to downsize the tent. Took out the included pole and its carrying bag. Took the tent out of its accompanying carrying bag (which had extra straps AND A ZIPPER????), and then threw the remainder on the ole kitchen scale. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I had a full tent that now weighed in at 2 lbs-7oz. Ok, I could DEFINITELY live with that since most of the designs I'd been researching were projected to weigh in the vicinity of 2lbs even, cost more just for the materials, and required me to know what I was doing around a sewing machine.

Next test was to pitch the tent in the backyard. Well this was pretty easy. It went up like a charm, uses 8 stakes, and one trekking pole. Its basically a rhomboidal design that has about a 5 ft x 7 ft "tent" portion with a 5 ft x 3 ft "vestibule" and is about 42 in high at the pole. Its a single wall design with foot and head no-see-um screening, but no side vents, and a generous bucket floor. Ok, I'd hardly call this a 2-man design unless you are REAL CLOSE to your hiking buddy, but its probably more than some solo hikers need. On the other hand, I happen to like a little room. I couldn't find the design online, and haven't got a picture of it, but it looks a LOT like the Contrail design from tarptent.com.

Basically I think I'm happy with the purchase. The real test comes in 2 weeks when I have the week off to go out in the backcountry for several days. I'll update this post then (and hopefully include some pics).

In the meantime, if anyone is looking for a CHEAP, LITE tent, this one doesn't look too bad.

Best Wishes All, and on this 4th, may we all remember those that serve and have served this great nation,
Joker

chimpac
2009-07-05, 16:12
A tarp is best for all seasons with an inside wood stove. The chimney is only 1lb, which is well worth the extra weight on cold windy days. It is not written that man has to cook out side in the wind. Cooking inside without a chimney is dangerous in many ways. The price of your new tent is hard to argue with, if it is what you want you done good . Have a look at my ideas on my other posts.

Pappyhighlife
2009-07-06, 13:01
Joker you will have to let us know how the field test goes.

Joker
2009-07-28, 19:33
Ok, found out why this tent was so cheap, there's not a single seam on the damn thing that is properly sealed!!!!

I probably wouldn't have noticed if I'd been hiking in the California area, but I had to come out to DC for 2 months, and brought my gear with me.

So I spent last weekend tramping around Shenandoah NP. Anyone out in the VA area will know that there were a couple thunderstorms this last weekend.

Well,......the seams starting leaking about 15 mins into the rainstorm.

This may be fixable. I got a big ole bottle of seam sealer, and am going to treat the whole tent to some basic maintenance before I take it out again.

If it fails me again,....its time to start sewing.

Joker

Pappyhighlife
2009-07-29, 11:38
Well brother it's like the man said "You get what you pay for" Unless the material is just real bad the seam-sealer should work. Damn good thing you field tested that puppy first.

If the condensation level in that rain held, then you should be okay.

:banghead:

gg4scouts
2010-12-10, 01:25
Wow, Joker is like the only person to write about this Hi-Tec tent online and his story of purchase is identical to mine, however Big 5 Sporting Goods is charging $35 for it here in Santa Cruz, CA, December 2010. I had been looking for an inexpensive lightweight tent like this that I could set up with my hiking pole. I have a picture I could post of the tent, but don't think you can do that at this website. Based on this thread I think I will reinforce the seams before field testing. My last 2 backpack trips this fall included some pretty heavy rain.

GeneH2001
2011-02-25, 03:46
I JUST had to look this one up. At that price, how can you lose unless it falls apart of the material doesn't stand up to rain at all. By looking at the picture and seeing where the tent fails by sagging, (at least the pic I saw and read about) you could take in the 2 top seams into a canteray (spell??) curve and / or add 2 guyouts to the sides, properly seam sealed. Under 3 lbs, lots of room, big vestibule, and cheap. I mean really, $10 a pound is pretty cheap for equipment.

I bet you could talk someone into doing the sewing for you too since it's just 2 seams, and it's just being taken in, like a shirt that's too wide.

Hooch
2011-02-25, 10:49
Old thread, but you may have cheap or you may have light. You may not have both. :bootyshak

MonkeyBoy
2011-02-25, 11:14
Sure you can.

I hike with a Walmart youth tent. Weighs less than my hammock and cost me a whopping $15.00.

Superman
2011-02-25, 11:21
Sure you can.

I hike with a Walmart youth tent. Weighs less than my hammock and cost me a whopping $15.00.

In 2000 when we got up north there were a bunch of thru hikers that bought those little, cheap tents. There were guys buying them that were over 6' tall. I asked one of them how he could sleep in the tent since they are only 6' long. His answer was "$15."

MonkeyBoy
2011-02-25, 11:35
I sleep at a diagonal. It is 5' deep X 6' wide. It's about 6'6" on the diagonal.

Gives me enough room to sleep at a diagonal, put my pack on one side and my boots and water bottle on the other.

Actually had enough room so that when my daughter hiked with us last year, she slept in her mothers tent and they put their packs in with me.

So I had enough room for myself and three packs.

Superman
2011-02-25, 11:44
I sleep at a diagonal. It is 5' deep X 6' wide. It's about 6'6" on the diagonal.

Gives me enough room to sleep at a diagonal, put my pack on one side and my boots and water bottle on the other.

Actually had enough room so that when my daughter hiked with us last year, she slept in her mothers tent and they put their packs in with me.

So I had enough room for myself and three packs.

2403 Here's one of your Floirida guys with one. He hadn't carried a tent the whole way until her got to NH. He was always cold. As soon as he could he'd hunker down in his walmart tent.

MonkeyBoy
2011-02-25, 11:46
Yep. That's the tent.

Like I said, don't sleep longways. Plenty of room on a diagonal.

Superman
2011-02-25, 11:47
Yep. That's the tent.

Like I said, don't sleep longways. Plenty of room on a diagonal.

How is it in the rain?

MonkeyBoy
2011-02-25, 11:53
No problems so far.

Spent an extra $5.00 for a can of waterproofing.

Other than that, no worries.

Superman
2011-02-25, 12:00
No problems so far.

Spent an extra $5.00 for a can of waterproofing.

Other than that, no worries.

That picture is the guy that got married on 10/10/10, which was why Pat and I were in Florida and met you.:beer:

GeneH2001
2011-02-25, 13:18
Oh good grief!!! I didn't see how old the thread was, so when I read, "...old thread..."


Ugh. And they let me drive a car. *sigh*


Still, if Joker is still around, now would be a great time to find out how it held up.

Wise Old Owl
2011-03-06, 20:45
No problems so far.

Spent an extra $5.00 for a can of waterproofing.

Other than that, no worries.


don't expect much from the silicone waterproofer- some relief- keep in mind it's not silicone UV teated - so for the money its disposable.