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Tent, mattress, sleeping bag & stove question?

Question:
We are two avid kayakers. We would now like to take kayaking past the 1 day trip. What tent would you recommend for 3 season (live in Northeast for April - November that would work well for 2 people, 5' 6", comfort, space, weight, ventalation is a concern? I don't think trips would be longer than 1 week but you never know later.

Also, what sleeping bags and mattress would be a practical solution?

What is the difference between using gas and liquid fuel for a stove.

Thank you

Philip

Answer:
Phillip,

One of our crews favorite tents for two people is the Mountain Hardware Room with a View (RWAV). I recently reviewed this tent at http://www.gearreview.com/roomview.asp. The tent is not the lightest 2 person tent around, but the roomy interior and great overhead window more than compensate for the little bit of extra weight. If you split up the tent--one carries the poles and rainfly, the other the stakes and tent body--then you are each carrying about the same as a standard single person tent, say 3.5 pounds. Another small drawback of the RWAV is the small vestibule. That only becomes a problem when you are waiting out long rainstorms.

If the weight and vestibule size are key issues for you, then perhaps another tent to consider is the Quest Preying Mantis (QPM) (http://www.gearreview.com/mantis.asp). It is lighter than the RWAV, and has perhaps the largest vestibule of any two-person tent around--a great asset when you are tent-bound. The drawbacks here are slightly less interior room than the RWAV. If you know your tentmate well, and neither are especially large individuals, then the Preying Mantis has enough space.

Another drawback of the QPM is that it is more complicated to set up than some other tents. Personally, I found it pretty easy (as indicated in the review), but Quest told me that was their biggest complaint/question called in to the Quest Customer Service.

If you choose the QPM, make sure you get the three season version of the Preying Mantis, not the four season model. Also, make sure it is a current year model. About two years ago Quest changed the hub system, making it easier to keep the poles separate from the tent body. Prior to that, it was best to leave the poles attached to the tent when you took it down. It was ok, but the new system is much better.

As for mattresses--I assume you mean sleeping pads--our entire crew swears by Therm-A-Rest from Cascade Designs. There is a review of the various choices at http://www.gearreview.com/padcompare.asp. Basically, it comes down to which Therm-A-Rest to get. After testing the pads, our three crew members each chose a different Therm-A-Rest pad. Jeff has broad shoulders and likes the 25" wide 1 1/2" thick LiteFoam XL Long (2 lbs 11 oz). It weighs more than the others, but only slightly and he says the extra width makes him sleep better. I prefer the 1" thick Litefoam Ultralight Long, the lightest Therm-A-Rest pad at 1 lb 7 oz. I don't notice much difference in my sleep with either a wider or thicker pad, so I go for lightweight. Finally, Rhett goes for the 2" thick LE Long at 2 lb 5 oz. He says the extra thickness is worth the 14 extra ounces. Which pad you pick, you'll do best with a Therm-A-Rest.

As for sleeping bags, I'd recommend a synthetic fill. Down doesn't work well in wet environments. LL Bean makes a nice bag in their Summit series at a reasonable price. Sierra Designs also makes good bags at a fair price.

Hope that helps.

Steve Mann
Editor
GearReview.com



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