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  1. #1
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    Tent for Florida and Texas

    I am looking to buy my first real tent. Right now I live in Florida where it is rainy and humid, but I plan to move to Texas in the next year where I assume it is dusty.

    The tents I am looking at are the Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 and the Big Agnes Fly Creek Ul2.

    On my most recent camping trip I borrowed a Sierra Designs Zolo 2 which ended up being a really nice tent, but packs way to big for the bicycle. The reviews of the Clip Flashlight are great and its at least $120 cheaper than the Fly Creek, but I have a few worries. How it will handle dust with a full mesh inner? How small does it pack? The specs show that it packs smaller than the Fly Creek, which is hard to believe. And how do you pitch it in the rain?

    I got to check out the Fly Creek Ul2 at my local travel country, and I was completely blown away by this tent. It was crazy light, it packed crazy small, and set up very fast. I also like that it can be pitched with just the footprint and the fly. The higher solid walls also seem better for dusty Texas, but I am worried that it would not breathe enough for Florida.

    What do you guys think? Is it worth it to drop the extra cash on my first tent? That's another $120 that could go towards a sleeping bag and pad. My total budget for my camping set up is about $700, but I will be getting some gear, including the tent, at cost.

  2. #2
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    a good shelter is worth some coin. the general rule is to spend the most on your shelter, sleep gear, and pack. The other stuff can be had on the used market much easier, with less likelihood of it being beat up.

    You say Texas, but you don't say what part of Texas. It matters. I lived in East Texas for 4 1/2 years and while it would get dusty if it hadn't rained for awhile, I was only one county away from Louisiana and it could also be very wet and swampy. Things would be different in South Texas, or West Texas, or up in the Panhandle. It's a very big state with a lot of ecoregions.

    I found in East Texas that a hammock was preferable. Hammocks tend to be cooler in the heat and East TX had more than enough big trees to hang from. Obviously, that's not going to be the preferred shelter when your "trees" are scrub with barely anything bigger than your arm or when you're in the middle of the shortgrass prairie of the panhandle without a tree for miles.

    I tend to want my shelters to ventilate more the more humid it gets. In Texas, it gets pretty humid everywhere from the hill country east for large parts of the year. You will also find that throughout most of Texas, it gets hotter in the summertime than you're used to in Florida, but snow is also not unheard of across much of the state in winter. I think the only places you'll need to worry about dust are in the westernmost parts of the state that are bona fide desert. The rest of the state, meh. Don't worry about it. It will be there, but not enough of an issue to do anything about.

  3. #3
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    i live in the austin area and go camping at some of the local riding trails i have not done a bikepacking trip yet but i bought my gear with it in mind.
    here is a rundown of my tent and sleeping bags my tent is an rei chrysalis and i have two bags my summer bag is an REI Travel Sack +55 Sleeping Bag which you can sleep in like a regular mummy bag or unzip and use as a blanket it is also wearable.
    my winter bag is an north face +15 blue kazoo which is probably overkill as i have never seen it get anywhere near that where i live.
    as far as tents go i think you would be fine with either i have never had a problem with dust and dirt. i think i would go with the one that packs down into your bikes bags or trailer the best, and has the room you need inside for your gear and other stuff you might want to store in your tent with you. i am actually thinking of getting a bigger 2 person tent for the extra room incase i want to store my gear inside or one of the kiddos wants to go. i picked up a bob trailer cheap so i have a little extra room for a 2 person tent. here is some pics of my tent and bags these are from the internet not my pics but you can get an idea of what they look like.




    surly karate monkey
    surly ogre

  4. #4
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    I just bought one of these. Fairly inexpensive and light.
    Eureka Solitaire Bivy Tent - Sportsman's Warehouse

  5. #5
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    Dang, coulda got it for cheap here: BACKPACKING TENTS Department

  6. #6
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    IMO, it seems like tarptent and six moon designs are dominating the bikepacking tent market. Personally I have been researching tents and I am leaning strongly twds the rainbow or moment tarpent.
    "Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement." -- Mark Twain

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzattack View Post
    IMO, it seems like tarptent and six moon designs are dominating the bikepacking tent market. Personally I have been researching tents and I am leaning strongly twds the rainbow or moment tarpent.
    I have been using the tarptent Contrail and it is a very good, light (26 oz) tent that is quick to set up (less than 2 minutes w/practice). It has plenty of room for one - I am able to bring in my bags inside, no problem. Just make sure to stake it out well, particularly if expecting wind or rain. I use the 4 stakes it came with but am considering adding 2 more stakes, one for each side. I would also recommend using the seam sealer inside to paint 2-3 thick lines across, which will help prevent your pad from sliding down to the bottom.

  8. #8
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    I am totally excited to see your post FTC rider! I just came here to report back and let you guys know that I ordered a Tarptent Contrail yesterday!

    I am not really worried about the condensation on the single wall because I ended up having to wipe the inside of the double wall tent i used anyway. I figure I am better off just picking up a SOL Escape Bivvy to protect my sleep system from moisture.

    Now I am trying to pick out a sleeping bag/quilt/or fleece liner to pair with the bivvy. I am not really sure what i need as far as sleeping bags go and i am on a budget, so I don't want to waste money on a cheap bag that will break down or not pack small. I don't expect to be out in temps below 30F, and the bivvy is apparently good to 40deg so i think i could get away with that and a fleece bag or the thermarest tech blanket and have a very packable (most important to me) sleeping bag for about $100. Once i find a decently priced sleeping pad (suggestions please, i have no experience with these) my sleep system will be set.

    Everything else should be easy to pick out. (Cooking, clothes, and bike bags)

    I was wondering about clothing though. When commuting use a nice thin trek windbreaker, and also carry a frog togs rain jacket. Would it be too redundant and a waste of space to bring both on a camping trip? I know the frog togs could serve as a windbreaker, but it is definitely on the larger side. The trek winbreaker fits better and has more options for venting.

  9. #9
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    can't go wrong with a tarptent. I've had a Cloudburst 2 for many years now. the nice thing about tarptents is that if you set it up correctly, you shouldn't have much condensation as they ventilate well.

    as for the rest of your sleep system, don't skimp here if you can avoid it. you mention a fleece blanket, yet that packability is important to you. fleece is the opposite of packable. it does not compress well at all. for the best packability, you want a high lofting down like an 800 fill or higher. that does tend to come at a price. there are some nice synthetic fills out there that aren't TOO bad if you want to keep some room in your budget. I also would not bother with a bivy in your case. a bivy is sorta intended to be used by itself, or at most underneath a minimal tarp. combining a bivy with a more complete shelter is a little overkill.

    as for a pad, how important to you is comfort? do you need as much cush as possible? or can you sleep on any surface comfortably? the primary objective of the pad is to keep you warm, and comfort is a secondary consideration. if comfort is high on your list, look at the inflatable pads from Exped, Big Agnes, or Insul-Mat. Don't need so much, but still want some cush, look at Thermarest self-inflating pads. comfortable sleeping anywhere, then look at a closed-cell foam (CCF) pad. You will find pads with a variety of insulating abilities in all of these categories.

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