Yay! Let's build tent city in the back yard. With Lisa's kid's cooking camp out this year we had the opportunity to set up a few of our tents but not all of them. Usually the girls sleep in the Dome workshop and the boys sleep in their Slumberjack six person tent. This year however, while I was on night duty as usual the girls were freaked out by some spiders or roaches that crawled on them while they were sleeping on the dome shop floor. So I rendered immediate assistance by pitching the Mountainsmith Genesee Four Person, Three Season Tent and my old Coleman Cobra Peak 1 two person tent. These are the three tents shown in photo above and each has been an excellent tent for the price. We purchased the Mountainsmith tent for the girls to sleep in with a couple of friends for car camping trips and it performed just as well as our REI Passage 2 two person tent that me, Lisa and the dog slept in under thirty to forty mph gusty wind conditions. However these are not tents for bike touring unless of course you are riding with a support vehicle such as with some bike tour companies.
Consisting of a single pole design the tent naturally needs to be staked out. This has rarely if ever been an issue even when I used it at a Walmart parking lot where I pitched it where folks let their dogs crap. How in the world I avoided pitching that tent on a pile of dog shit is a mystery. When I woke up the next morning I had to carefully step to avoid the dozens of piles on the grass. The all mesh body of the tent is excellent for summer camping and provides a wonderful airflow, the best of any of the other tents. Although the Vango Banshee 200 two person tent is a two pole design it requires stakes and has the same common complaint as my old Coleman. "That's a one person tent"! Lisa refuses the idea that it's actually a two person tent which is probably why we only slept in it together once. Folks are saying the exact same thing about the Vango Banshee two person model, so whatever, it's a very nice tent for bike touring and camping. Solidly built, excellent in heavy winds and rain, even in snow where the old Coleman was popular with winter enthusiasts and is how I heard about the tent being of such excellent quality for the price.
When using the rainfly and when in very windy conditions it is necessary to stake the tent out. Single entry with vestibule it is a very nice tent that absolutely cannot be beaten for the price. I could criticize it in comparison to the Coleman Cobra Peak 1 tent where I have two entries, two storage vestibules, built in roof pockets and more compact pack size. However, after getting an Outdoor Research 5L dry bag for stuffing the tent body and rainfly into I pack the longer poles and stakes in their own bag inside my thermarest mattress on rear rack so it is not an issue.
Another option with this tent and the next two tents is ability for a "quick pitch" or minimalist shelter. This is where you simply pitch the rainfly and foot print or ground cover. It's not an option with the Vango Banshee or Coleman Peak 1 tents due to their inherent design of needing to be staked down. Having a minimalist shelter option is nice to have when you just need or want some shade. In New Mexico while riding across vast open areas of desert with no shade at all it's a nice option to avoid heat stroke or if you get sun burned.
Heavy wind and rain and it didn't even flinch and I suppose this can be attributed to the pole frame design. Although it is a bit more complicated to set up,which is Lisa's only criticism of this tent. However, it is very spacious for a two person tent, dual entry, two vestibules, very lightweight at just over three pounds and I was also able to fit the tent body and rain fly in the Outdoor Research 5L ultra dry sack for carrying on my front rack with poles and stake tucked inside my air mattress on rear rack.
It's impressive how much extra room and storage has been provided by the tent's innovative pole frame design. There are some rather odd functions to the design that I don't prefer and that is the plastic holders on the ends of the poles.
I will get some more photos of this tent and get another post made for this with more descriptive photos and information when I have an opportunity to use this tent camping or on a bike tour. After all, we know how much I love my tents, eh honey?
As much as I like this tent it is a bit cost prohibitive priced at three times what I paid for the Alps tent but not much more than the Vango Banshee 200 two person tent. Also, this tent is free standing, well ventilated and a couple pounds lighter than the Vango Banshee.
There are lots of reviews touting the Vango Banshee two person tent as an excellent choice for bike touring but I have to say for the price and features of the REI Quarter Dome 2 I preferred to spend the extra money not only because it's a lighter weight tent but one that is more spacious knowing that Lisa will be much happier with the dog not sleeping on top of her. Click on any of the links or photos for information or to purchase. REI Quarter dome 2 is only available at REI.
Links related to this topic
Alps Lynx 1 Person Tent
Thermarest Sleep Travel Products
Cookstoves for Bike Camping
This is the type of tent for two person bike touring where each person carries a portion of tent to help with excess weight and bulk of packing. For example I heard of a couple who loved having the extra space of a larger tent so while he packed and carried the tent body and poles, she carried the rainfly and tent stakes. They love having what they referred to as "a palace of a tent" compared to whatever smaller lighter weight tent they had previously used. Aaron's Mountain Hardwear Drifter 3 Tent is shown in photo and I wanted to share his enthusiastic appreciation of his tent by including it in this post.