Richard Bucker

best of both worlds

Posted at — Jul 28, 2016

Two things that I like about hammocks are the no poles and the wide open ventilation. Living and camping in Florida has been a real pain. I currently have an 8P and a 6P tent. The 8P is huge and takes too much time to setup and break down. Every time I sleep in this tent I sweat until the temp drops. I have not tried the 6P tent yet, however, it’s supposed to be 10% cooler.I’ve been thinking about how I would design a tent and that when I saw the Escapist from Sea to Summit.It looks like it will support 2 people in a way that is comfortable in Florida. The inner tent hangs from the ridgeline and so poles are optional although pictured here. Of course you still need flat ground unlike hammocks. But in the Florida heat this might be idea. While STS seems to have put together a nice KIT it also costs $400 for the tent, tarp, ground cover … and no poles.There is an alternative and that is to assemble my own kit. STS has a nano 2P mosquito net that might be useful but there is no door and you have to enter from the corner. The horizontal bar bar could be used parallel to the ridgeline but in this configuration you better hope for dry weather.Alps has a number of tents ranging from $200 to $260 that include everything you need. In their configuration the rain fly fits snugly over the inner net frame. This is not going to provide as much ventilation as I want but a large enough tarp could make it possible.Another hindsight moment … when I’m camping alone or with the family I’m meant to be doing things. So there is no purpose to standing in the tent. Being able to sit up is nice but not necessary. Wile ALPS has a number of tent offerings I like the lightweight models because it also means that they pack smaller. Which meas less carry and less storage at home.Whatever my final decision is I have a family of 4 meaning in these configurations I’m looking at a 2x cost factor. Therefore STS is going to cost $800 before tax. And ALPS in the $500 range. My Coleman darkroom 6P tent cost $279. So for the moment I have the winner but the others are challenging.UPDATE: After speaking to Sea to Summit¬†about the Escapist¬†for my circumstances they made is clear that it was not for kids. The tent was fragile and easily damaged. So I guess I’m happy I did not spend $800 on that (I would need 2 of them). And so it’s plain to see that their tents are not “survival” and probably not robust enough for regular use. I could not imagine spending $400 for a one-use tent. And for complete transparency I asked STS for an evaluation tent and they said none were available. I could have been bitter but I’m not given the ruggedness. Lastly, the media person at STS also said that the prices were set because of the high-tech nature of the product. This is where I get my inner-bitch on. The tarp cost $200. It probably has one seam in the middle, maybe two, and then then side have been sewn with loops or grommets in 8 or nine positions. Except for the cost of the material there are many manufacturers who charge less than $50. Even if the new fabric cost $100 that means that the second $100 was profit. I’m not buying it.