I normally carry a sil-nylon tarp on my overnight adventures. Tarps have many advantages over tents. You get way more room, way better ventilation, and they weigh nothing. Well, mine weighs 13 ounces – not counting stakes, poles and guylines. The tarp works great on backpacking and kayaking trips into the wilderness. You can set up the tarp with either your trekking poles, or your canoe paddles, or sticks you find lying around.
It’s less ideal on bicycling trips, unless you bring along some sort of poles to set it up. On my last S24O, we stayed at a crowded State Park campground. I didn’t have very much luck finding good sticks to set it up with, and I ended up having the whole thing crash on me in the wee hours of the morning, dumping water all over me. I also had mosquitoes buzzing around my head all night.
Less than ideal.
The tarp is also less than ideal you want to change out of your bike shorts without provoking lust in every woman in the campground. You don’t get much privacy under a tarp. Not an issue on a backpacking trip to the middle of nowhere, but not so good in a campground.
So, I decided I needed a lightweight tent for biking trips in civilized areas during bug season. The problem is that I’m 6’5″ and most tents are too short, and either my feet stick out, or I have to sleep in a fetal position. Not fun.
After some Internet research, I discovered that the REI half-dome and quarter-dome series tents are available in a “plus” size, that’s 10 inches longer than a standard tent.
So, the question came down to half-dome or quarter-dome. The half dome is $100 cheaper than the quarter-dome, but weighs a pound more, and comes in unsightly “apricot” color.
This was a tough call to make based on only Internet pictures, so I drove all 104 miles to the REI in Conshohoken to see them both.
I was able to hold one in each hand, and the half-dome felt noticeably heavier. A pound doesn’t make that much of a difference on a bike, but there’s always the off-chance I might carry this thing on a hike where weight really does matter. So, I sprang for the quarter-dome. (Plus, I really disliked the half-dome’s colors.)
I got it home, disassembled it, and weighed all the parts on the gf’s baking scale.
|tent body||25.5 ounces|
|rain fly||25.625 ounces|
|Poles (in their sack)||18.125 ounces|
|stakes (in their sack)||2.125 ounces|
|stuff sack||2.75 ounces|
|Total:||~ 4.63 pounds|
I think I can live with a sub – 5 pound tent that I can actually fit into. It was after dark by the time I got home, so no pictures of the real deal yet. Hopefully I’ll be able to set it up ad snap some sometime tomorrow morning.
Now I need to find time for an s240 to see how it works in the real world.