I use a Big Agnes mummy shape sleeping (air) mat and love it. What are you using?
Great pictures and Post, this is what I was looking for when I started the thread and it's going GREAT. I love seeing these kind of pictures and getting some back-story as well.
I love seeing camping pictures and equipment threads too. This is a good one.
For my sleeping pad I have the Therm-A-Rest Trail Lite. It packs small and is under 2 pounds. I have friends - the bad back guys - that won't have anything but a thick air mattress. As they say, it's all about your comfort level.
I don't have any pictures of my own to share, but I do love my tent. I bought it new in 1999 or 2000 when I was in high school. I can't remember what I paid for it, probably too much, at REI, with that North Face name on it. But considering I've beat the **** out of it for this long, and have never once thought about getting a new one to "upgrade", I don't regret spending whatever I did back then.
If I had one complaint, it's a little heavy, around 7.5-8lbs. for a 2 man tent. It takes maybe a little longer to setup because it has 3 poles. But I bought it for the layout, and I can't count the number of times I've been glad to have the extra room inside.
We always camp in a tent on free NFS ground when we go fishing, to the extent possible. We have had a Eureka! Tetragon 8 4man tent for about two or three years now and it is the best tent I have ever used by far.
It survived 13 straight hours of rain during a nasty monsoon on the mogollon rim without leaking a drop.
It kept us relatively warm when I camped on the Mogollon Rim with a buddy during a late december snowstorm. Relative because it is a three season tent, a foot of snow fell that day on top of the three existing feet of snow. The wind chills that night dipped to -7. We were not warm, but we were not freezing, either,
During 50 mph wind gusts at 10,000 feet in Colorado it held up and sheltered us well. The poles have not fractured, the stitching has not been compromised, nothing on it has broken (other than a malfunctioning zipper, one of the zippers still works fine, though)
Really it has stood the test of time and whatever mother nature throws at it.
I'm in the Alaskan wilderness every year, where a tent, sleeping bag, a lighter and matches, and a satellite phone are just about the most important pieces of gear you have. I have several REI tents these days and they are great. Had one day a few years ago where it rained every day fo most of the day. The tent stayed perfectly dry. If you buy an REI tent, wait for the big sale in the spring.
I love my down sleeping bag, but down is not a good idea in AK. I recommend the Big Agnes Encampment - and it is a modified rectangular bag, so you have more room than the mummy bags. They save weight by not insulating the bottom - you slide a Big Agnes pad into a slot in the sleeping bag and that is your pad and insulation. Campsaver often has very good prices on these bags.
I saw some other mention of these Eureka Tetragon tents. This one has seen my fishing partner and me through some nasty stuff. For the $$$ these are really good car camping tents.
Believe this was October at 9,700 feet 3 years ago. It was a little chilly.
Well, sad to say we had a serious zipper issue on this last trip. Thankfully we were down at lower elevation (7,200 ft) and weren't too worried about the cold or bad weather. Not sure if Mike is going to contact them as I advised...but the self healing zipper on this tent didn't.
Our primary tent is an older version of the Alps Mountaineering Taurus 4, when they had a little heavier material and utilized aluminum poles. Its 8.5x 7.5 x 4 4, shown here with its fly in place.
We tend to set camp in disbursed areas or near trailheads that lead into upper elevation waters, then day pack or mountain bike ( when legal to do so ) in to fish alpine lakes and streams. Other times, we simply hit the car camping sites near fly waters.
The Alps tent looks like it'll stand some wind and that is a good thing. I have been trapped in my Expedition 25 when winds reached 80+ mph and was very concerned. The tent was (at times) pressed down to about 24 - 30" of inside hight by sustained wind but it sprang back up as the velocity dropped. I only use it for extended camps because it takes a long time to pitch correctly. You must attach all the exterior guy lines and have everything really tight if a storm is in the future.
I love our Kelty Trail Dome because I can stand in it but have had to replace many sections of the poles because of them being severely bent when winds collapsed the tent several years back. That was a hard lesson for me, it involved packing gear back to my vehicle and driving 50 miles to the nearest town where I found a vacancy at a motel and stayed for 2 days till the storm petered out. The good news was that when I returned to my former campsite the tent was still there because I had placed large rocks on all corners and a log across the center of the downed tent. Under the tent was a dry footprint for me to pitch the North Face on and so I weathered it out for another 7 days.
I would rather not have to crawl in & out of a tent but the jury is back and the verdict is in, tall tents go down. I was able to have a good idea of wind speeds because I was camped close to the coast and the Coast Guard reported the wind speeds on the WX channel that I was able to listen to from my motel room........
The storm that I described where the NF tent was pressed nearly to the breaking point happened the following year in exactly the same place and during the same month. Some guys just don't get it! I haven't been back there for 2 years now so maybe I did.
I grew up with my dad only buying Eurekas. My wife and I each have our own Colman tents from before we got married. When it come to winter camping we just build debris shelters with smoke blankets to stay warm. One winter morning I woke up with three feet of snow on the top of my shelter and coyote tracks all over it.
This weekend will be the maiden voyage for an REI clipper tent that I bought a couple years ago. We are heading up to the white mountains and the temp is expected to drop to 22 degrees tomorrow night so we will see how this little 2 person, 3 season tent holds up. I am excited to push it to it's limits on its first trip out! Pictures will come after the weekend.