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On the CHEAP- 1/2 person tent that's okay in rain?

When I first started hiking (I'm a mountain biker, and have been since I moved here in 1998), I eventually decided I should have a small tent.  So, I bought a really small Wenzel 1-banger (Lone Elk).  At the time, I didn't know anything about tents, and what features for which to look. I think I paid like $30 or so for it.  It's VERY VERY lite...but that's about it.  It's 1-piece shell, so no screen and attachable fly.  Also, the ventilation is a little lacking, so I builds up condensation, which snows back down on your later in the night.  All in all, I'm a BIG BIG Wenzel fan. Their stuff is extreme-low priced...but very often pretty nice quality.  I have their 35 (ish) litre day-pack; and it's extremely nice (though no loops on the bottom to hang a back and/or pad).

So....I'm looking for recommendations from anyone who can perhaps offer advice for a bargain tent, that can hold up in the event of a serious rain.  I think my new bag and down jacket plus other accessories should be able to keep me warm.  So now I'm just concerned with a decent tent that will last, isn't heavy, and will keep the rain off  me if that happens.  

Any ideas?  Again.....I am really looking for a bargain, if there is such a thing. Rolling Eyes   Maybe this is an area where a "great bargain" isn't in the cards?

Make one of these with Tyvek

Or something like it, Tyvek is cheap, waterproof and durable

FWIW my opinion on tent rain / storm worthiness is only established in the field.

My Tarpent Contrail held up reasonably well in the one storm I used it it. It is a single wall tent with all the limitations that come with that form factor.

For heavy day long rain... You will need a tent with a fly

Thanks Matt.  Yea, I could drop $200 or so and get a reasonable tent, that comes with a rain fly.  I know that.   But like many things in life, there are often cheaper ways to skin the cat.  

I'll check out the site you provided, and do some more research.  One of my buddies has a Big Agnes that is perfect; but, I'm pretty sure he paid $350 or so.  I'm just not looking to spend that much.  My other buddy has a nice Marmot dome that may be a good option; but, I suspect it's pretty heavy for anything but car camping.

My two-person tent is the REI Camp Dome, which has full-zip doors and a rain fly. Kept me and another person dry when it rained/snowed during a trip to Grand Canyon. It's 99 bucks and actually a little roomier than the highly-regarded Half Dome, but without any vestibules. Might be a little heavy for backpacking but I carried it until this year when I finally broke down and got a solo tent.

thanks Jeff.  So, I'm gathering that any tent without a separate rain fly (single wall) is probably not going to be reliable in the event of a serious rain.  If that's the case, I need to find the best fit for me, that also has a FULL rain-fly (seen several with just a little "hat" on top....that they call a fly).

One low cost alternative I have used is a tarp I can deploy over the tent.

Of course you have to have a camp where you have something to use to support it

Being from New England and camping extensively there. I have spent days in heavy rain when every sane person has left. (WIMPS!)

Staying dry is tough if your equipment isn't up to the task. The misery index will escalate rapidly when you and everything you have is soaking wet.

It really sucks when your choices are stay and be miserable or move and at least be somewhat warm.

I'll toss one out.

I picked up an Alps Mountaineering Mystique 1.5 about 8 months ago and couldn't be happier with it. It's wider than a solo so you don't have that coffin feeling and is more than long enough for my 6' frame. Two vestibules as well. I've had no condensation problems with the fly on down to 20 degrees and without the fly you've got a ton of mesh to enjoy the night.

It's not freestanding but the materials are excellent. And if you use your own compression sack, or just fold over the bag it comes with, it packs down really small. And considering I only paid $115 for it it was a steal.

With the fly, tent and poles it comes in at about 4 lbs. Spending a couple of hundred more to shave a few ounces wasn't even a consideration.
Frugal Hiker

I've got a North Face Lunar Light I picked up on Craigslist for $75 and I've used it for about a year now.  Think TNF replaced it with the Tadpole, but it's a great tent.  I've used it in rain, snow and have been dry as a bone.  Craigslist is a great place to find good gear for cheap.  

I'm also in process of making my own two man Tarptent.  Only made the tarp portion so far but the thing is awesome and weighs less than a pound.  My Lunar Light is about 4 lbs, with poles.  

You can check out my tarp write up on my blog


On the CHEAP- 1/2 person tent that's okay in rain?

Just recently got back into hiking after a 8 year hiatus.
The one thing I've noticed is that the lighter you go the
more expensive it gets. Forum Index -> Gear & Fitness
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