I buy a lot of gear, not because I simply want to collect gear, but because each piece of gear tends to have specific features that are well thought out and make me think it would be perfect for me.
But sometimes, I gain enough experience that specific features come to mind and I start seeking them out.
With tents, what’s become clear is that the specific set of features I want doesn’t exist yet:
– Fairly simple design
– Ability to put the pole system up first, then the rain fly, and then the innernet, to keep the innernet dry
– An innernet that takes up only half the floor space of the rainfly covered area
This is important because of rainy environments. In a perfect setup, a tent should have a dry innernet that is never disturbed or risky of getting wet when getting into and out of rain gear, or doing some light cooking. or just relaxing when staying out of the rain.
This would also allow dirty gear like a wet poncho or rain pants, wet backpack, dirty muddy boots, and the like to be protected from the elements while keeping the innernet clean and ry for comfortable sleeping.
– A two layer rain fly that allows windows and doors revealing nosee-um mesh. This would allow bug protection while changing clothes, good ventilation while doing some light cooking, and just getting a little shade while enjoying a pass-through breeze in sunny environments while being protected from mosquitos.
The closest I’ve found to meet these criteria is the MLD duomid or supermid. But these require the use of hiking poles and are not free standing.
Another one that comes close is the hubba hubba with gear shed. But even here, the door is so large that when open, it doesn’t provide much rain protection. Also, the MSR hubba hubba with gear shed is not really designed for a lot of structural integrity, nor is it designed to stand without being guy’d out.
To this end, I really like the Hilleberg Staika. In a perfect world, the Hilleberg Staikas’s innernet would take up only half the floor area.
A design that I like would be to have three poles, where for each pole, 3 of the pole components would be orange, the middle section would be grey, and the other three would be green.
When setting up the tent, the very top cross where these three poles intersect would not all be centered (my drawing clearly needs work here, but I was lazy). The poles would cross to create a triangle. And the intersection between the three poles would create a triangle at the top. The grey pole sections would make that crossing triangle. And then it would always be green under orange. This would seem the greatest structural integrity to me, instead of having all three poles intersect at the same point.
The innernet tub would have a top ridgeline about 6 inches off the ground. This prevents any rain bouncing up to get in. then the rest can be no-seeum mesh. You wouldn’t worry about having any extra protection or modesty panels since the rest is inside anyway.
One more thing:
The poles would anchor on a strap system first (6 point strap web), not the rainfly, not the groundsheet, and not the innernet.
Setup: In rainy conditions, the poles would be first setup with the strap system on the ground. Then the rainfly can be attached to the poles (hanging under, or thrown over), not sure which design is better. Once the rainfly is up, you could get all the rest of your gear inside out of the rain, placed on the vestibule side, and take the innernet and groundsheet out of your pack and set that up first. You would also have plenty of space to take out the sleeping pad and inflate it without your butt sticking out of the rainfly because of all that vestibule space. With the rain pouring outside, your innernet and sleeping pad and bag/quilt setup in completely dry conditions, you can then setup a pad chair, small table, open up some venting from the ground and maybe a rain protected vent flao up top, and bust out a small stove to make a nice cup of tea and wait out the storm.
Usage: When going inside while wearing rain protective clothing, you have a large vestibule area where you can setup your pack, take off your wet outer wear, hang it up or get them out of the way, and now you can get into and out of the innernet while staying completely dry. What’s more, during breaks in the rain, it’s easy to go gather some water and maybe branches off dead trees and store them in the corner for protection from rain.
(sidebar: with other tent setups, you have to scrunch up the innernet and move it out of the way to make space for these kinds of activities. But that makes no sense, because with a sleeping pad and bag in the innernet, it becomes cumbersome to do this. With this new design, you’d also be able to leave the innernet as is and also leave more dry stuff like clothing, dry towel, hygiene kit in the innernet since you don’t have to scrunch it up).
In the morning, your outerwear might still be wet, and it might still be raining outside, but no worries, you can first get out of your dry innernet, and move to the vestibule area, where you can get your protective outerwear on without worrying about dirtying the innernet, get all bundled up, and head out into the rain.
Packing up: Because the entire pole structure is anchored by the strap system, you have the luxury of being inside the tent, with plenty of space to pack up the pad, bag, miscellaneous items, the innernet, and the ground sheet all first. Get your protective gear on, closeup and cinch up your pack so it’s nice and waterproof, and once that’s all done, exit the tent, remove the rainfly and attach it to the outside of your pack and bungee it down, then, last, take down the poles and the anchoring strap system, tie the poles together using the anchoring strap web and attach that to the outside of your pack as well.
Tadaaaaa, you managed to pack up your tent and put everything away in the rain without getting the contents of your pack soaking wet or dirty, and you and your clothes stay dry as well!
Now….if only someone would make this!
Ideally the weight of this tent would be about 6lbs (not including the ground sheet). Maybe 6.5 lbs, but then I would want the tub of the innernet to be pretty darn good.