CDT thru-hike tent choices


I will share a tent.  Should we squeeze in the Stratosphire1?  I have a Squall2 but I hate the “dog door” entry, esp. with two people.  Nope, I can’t do it on a long hike.  I need two side entry doors for many reasons:  pee in the night, rifle thru my pack on MY side of the tent…. The Stratosphire is freakin tiny but we fit; the two side entries and vestibules accommodate our gear – plus we can both make our own coffee and oatmeal in the morning at the same time.  Love that.  It is a killer tent (I do love TarpTent) but we might need something more… rugged.  Great weight savings for two.  But small, would be tight in storms and some gear is bound to get wet.

The CDT.  We will have storms.  There will be snow.  There will be rain, hail, thunder and lightning, and wind.  It’s more of a 4-season experience, apparently.  Choices…

The idea of a freestanding tent is always appealing, but the UL in me can’t abide.  I saw lots of MSR Hubbas.  I was jealous at the quick set-up, no stakes, and mesh tent star-gazing options.  But the 2p is 4 POUNDS. EEEEK!  It’s terrible, I know, but I don’t like to cowboy.  Bugs bite my head.  They love me.  I’m delicious.  Then my ears are like Dumbo and my eyes are swollen shut.  Stargazing would be nice, so the mesh tent with rain fly/tarp is appealing.

Right now this SixMoons Haven Tarp and Mesh Tent look like the best compromise.  Two side entry doors.  Two pounds.  Sets up with trekking poles and stakes.  I want a closer look.  Here’s a review:


About wanderingdot

Thru-hiking the PCT 2011, CT 2014, Ice Age Trail 2017 Artist/sculptor, professor, master fabricator
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8 Responses to CDT thru-hike tent choices

  1. Scott says:

    My girlfriend and I are doing the CDT in 2013, too, and we’re probably taking our SMD Haven. It’s really spacious. We’ll find out if it’s up to the wind and all.

    • wanderingdot says:

      cool! Have you used the tent much? What do you think about its footprint and setup time (esp in weather/bugs)? If you have a blog or something, pass it on. See you on the trail!

  2. Mark (marknholly) says:

    Hi Dot, Holly and I liked the Tarptent Double Rainbow. 40 oz. 2-side doors. We didn’t have much for rain but, did OK. It was great to get out of the bugs and set up easy (6 stakes and a center pole) Side vestibules to make your own coffee (Not that we know anything about that!), that pull to the side for star gazing. Have a great hike

    • wanderingdot says:

      hi Mark! It’s great to hear from you! Yes, your rainbow looked pretty good. I don’t really remember the side vestibules… I love the Tarptent brand, Henry is such a good guy. I’m concerned that there’s lots of storms on the CDT, and we’re sure to get dumped on with heavy rain and snow at least sometimes. A freestanding tent would be great sometimes, I’m looking for a really fast setup with not too much stake-outs. So many choices….

  3. Rockin' says:

    Hey there, so I assume you ARE hiking with a partner??? I would love to know what tent you decide on. You are braver than I picking a tent that requires 2 tent poles. Maybe with 2 helping it is easier when tired and it is windy and cold. What water filter are you planning on taking? The inline? The water in places on the CDT is just plain cow water, at least that is what I have read. 😦

    • wanderingdot says:

      It’s gonna be awhile before we decide on the tent. Filterwise, on the PCT I loved my Sawyer in-line filter with a Platy Big-Zip. The 3L one worked really good with it as a gravity filter (so I could have filtered water for cooking and flavored drinks). I like having a platy with a sip tube because it makes sure I stay hydrated which I might not do if I have to reach around for a water bottle and open it… I would like to get one of those little bungee loop thingies for holding a bottle on my front pack strap.

      I recently bought the new Sawyer Squeeze filter but I’ve only used it on one backpacking trip so far. I’ll post a review once I’ve had more field time with it. And I’ll probably pack Aqua Mira too for super skanky water. The “cow water” thing is mostly just New Mexico, and as I’m going SoBo, I know from experience that towards the end of a hike, I can handle anything!

  4. Hello – my GF and I just completed the CDT SOBO. We started with a TarpTent Doublerainbow and then switched to a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2. Its a little heavier but it was well worth it. The Double rainbow underperformed in the rain (this prompted the switch) and the BA felt much roomier despited the stated dimensions. You can’t trust the dimensions of the DR. Due to the steep walls at either end the DR feels like a very small tent.

    • wanderingdot says:

      Hi there! Thanks, this is useful. Yes, harsher weather on the CDT. That BA tent looks good, we’re interested in a possibly free-standing mesh tent w/ separate rain fly. It’s heavier than I’d like, for sure, but worth considering. Many pros and cons, and you never know what you’ll be in for weather wise. I figure we’ll go extreme one way or the other- UL tent like the Six Moons Design or sturdy and heavy like your BA tent.

      Do you have a blog, gear list or anything? I have Mike and Naomi’s soBo hike bookmarked to read, maybe you met them.

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