PaddleWise Discussion on Tent Brands

A big thanks to Hank Berger for organizing this PaddleWise discussion on tents for this website.


IMHO, Kelty makes a good  quality tent - I would guess that the Windfoil 
and the Zen are also well made.

Will Jennings: I also have a Moss Titan. It's a very roomy 3+ season tent with zip off screen panels that allow you to turn the tent into a veritable screened in porch, or zip them closed, pitch the fly and have a word-truth bomb-proof shelter. Lots of room for gear, a hooped fly, light colored w/o being garish, and absolutely built tough to take whatever you or the world can dish out. I've been through sustained 65 mph winds above tree line, hail storms, heavy snow, torrential rain, rain and winds that lasted for days, dreadful humid and hot calm, etc. and slept safe and comfortable. The downside to the Moss line is that they err on the side of heavy-duty and therefore heavier, and they cost. Look for them on sale on the net. Walrus and Mountain Hardwear make nice tents as well. I've found Kelty gear to be a bit lax in the detail work and with some design flaws, especially in their smaller and lighter weight tents.
Dirk Barends: Remember also... unless the tent has completely "taped" seams, you have the additional time and expense of sealing them. My Hilleberg tents never needed this kind of treatment, while the seams of these tents are not 'taped'. Personally I wouldn't buy a tent that needed sealing (as long as I can afford it of course!). Shouldn't it be possible for tentmakers to design and make tents that are waterproof (enough) without the user being forced to seal the tent themselves?
John Looze: The best tents, with the best warranties (hardly need this because made so well) are Moss. You do pay a premium for these premium tents. I have one for family car and flat water touring. It was purchased 17 years ago for ~$500 and is now sold for way more than that. At the other end of the scale I use a knock off of the Megamid for self support river trips. If you are not familiar with this shelter it is simply a square piece of cloth with a center pole and a zipper in one side for ingress and egress. No windows, and no floor. Good for foul weather and winter camping because it is easy to cook and sit inside. If real wet, sandy or snowy, a ground is a must for your Thermarest and bag. I found mine in Wyoming River Raiders catalog. It was only $50, but came with a steel center pole. I replaced that with an aluminum pole, (~3/8" and shock corded). It weighs next to nothing.
John Looze: ..needs to consider that when you take the family it is too dangerous to cook in a tent with a floor, you need more space than for solo self - support, touring allows greater loads than running Class IV - V with your gear, and most wives and kids want floors and windows. As to worrying about getting an expensive tent dirty, if it is a good tent, and Moss is probably the best, it cleans easily, and Moss repairs damage for free.
Kerry Doubleday: I don't think a Bibler would be the best choice for kayak camping. They are designed primarily for mountaineering and are made of a proprietary waterproof/breathable fabric (much like Gore-Tex) that depends on a temperature differential to expel moisture. Venting is an absolute must if you don't want to wake up in a puddle. I have used one in the mountains of South America. Worked like a charm at high altitude but suffered severe condensation at lower altitudes (warmer and higher humidity). On the upside, you can just crawl in and setup from within the tent. The single wall makes for a very light shelter. Excellent workmanship and bomb-proof design also.
Dave Kruger: No experience with Bibler, but be aware they are all single wall, hence susceptible to condensation on the interior -- especially in wet maritime climates.
Chip Hazard: IMHO, Bibler Tents are the finest that money can buy; sometimes, they have great sales on their web site