Tent Pictures

I set up my new tent in the back yard today, and crawled around in it. It wasn’t too hard to set up. I didn’t really get the rain fly attached very well, so there’s wrinkles and stuff.

Here she is with no rain fly. Other than the floor, the whole thing is mesh, so on a nice night, you can see the stars without getting eaten by bugs. The door is cool, too. It’s only attached at the very top of the teardrop shape, so it doesn’t flop onto the floor when you’re getting in and out. There’s a pocket in the roof to stick the door into if you want to keep it open.

There’s a door on each side so you can get up to go pee in the middle of the night without having to crawl over your tent mate.


naked tent

Here’s an overhead view from my deck, showing my sloppy pitch of the rain fly.

Tent

The moment of truth. I was able to get into it and lie down without my head or feet touching the ends. With a big fluffy winter sleeping bag, I might touch. It was too warm to try it today. Unlike most other tents sold as “2 person” tents, I think I could actually share this with somebody and not end up wanting to kill them in the middle of the night.


Feet fit!

There are vents in the top of the rain fly to let out condensation, farts, etc. You can open and close them from the inside, so you don’t have to go out in the rain. That’s pretty nice.

Vents

There are little orange tie-out points all along the perimeter. I suppose you could tie it out really well if you were expecting a blizzard or something. I doubt I’d ever use them. The vestibules are fairly small. You could probably fit your shoes and a few odds and ends in them with no problem.


tent

This is first tent I’ve ever owned that wasn’t some piece of shit from Wal-Mart, so I’m probably a little bit more excited about this than a sane person would be. I’m looking over my maps for bike-camping opportunities. I’ll hopefully get a chance to field-test it soon!

New Tent: REI QuarterDome T2 Plus

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.

Tarp

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.

Tarp setup for an s240

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.

REI Half-Dome T2
The REI half-dome T2 plus

The Quarter-dome weighs a pound less, costs a hundred bucks more, and comes in a nice green / gray color.

REI Quarter-Dome T2 Plus

REI Quarter-Dome T2 Plus

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.

Carlisle’s New Bike Lanes

I was in Carlisle today, and I got to see the new bike lanes!

Carlisle Bike Lane

There’s some signage around, too.

Carlisle Singage

Two people rode by while I was out snapping the pictures, so it looks like they’re being used. They’re a bit more narrow than I was expecting. It is not possible to stay out of the door zone while riding in the bike lane. The street is definitely more bike-friendly than when it was a 4 lane highway, but I still think I’d try to find a quieter parallel street to ride on.

I counted three bikes at Farmers on the Square. All had racks and were getting loaded up with fresh veggies and whatnot.

I think the revolution has finally begun.