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Old 12-19-2017, 01:55 PM   #1
tenderfoot
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Hot Tenting

I have been trying to get into this for a while. I enjoy cold camping in winter, and have gear rated to cold temps. But it would be oh-so-nice to have the option to warm up, cook in comfort or dry off gear.

There are options for us hammock campers but I think I would be happy with just a warming tent to get out of the cold, cook, relax a bit before turning in. I would not hot tent without a sleep system rated for the temps w/o hot tent. Seek Outside has some nice low weight options and Lite Outdoors has a low weight stove. I also see people modding a $200 Mountain Guide Tarp.

The Winter Trekkng people swear by SnowTrekker tents but they are a bit expensive. I see other wedge tents and cabin tents and even bell tents made of fire retardant canvas.

I understand that you'd have to feed the stove so wandering around trying to gather and process enough wood would need to be included in planning. But again - if only for a warming tent, not expecting stove to stay lit 8 hours.

So my question is who has what and how do you like it?
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Old 12-19-2017, 03:11 PM   #2
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I'll chime in. Hopefully more knowledgeable folks will as well. For what it's worth, I actually have 3 set-ups; two of nylon and one Snowtrekker. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages to me which is why I have all of them.

The first set-up I got is a Seek Outside 8 person tipi with their collapsible XL titanium stove. I got this large shelter so I could go with friends and hopefully induce my grandsons to join me from time to time. While I love the low weight of the entire set-up (tipi & stove together are only about 13 pounds), it's a lot to put up when I'm alone; which seems to be more and more the potential norm for me as I don't have any friends who live nearby that want to camp in the winter anymore. You do have some condensation issues when the stove goes out but I find they're manageable by getting the stove going again once morning arrives. The last time I used it the outside temperature was in the single digits but I was sitting in shirt sleeves on a small chair reading my book in complete comfort. Overall, it's a great shelter and stove combination.

The second shelter I picked up is actually a Snowtrekker. I purchased it used from an acquaintance I met on a canoe forum. She was getting out of winter camping due to some health related issues. I purchased both the tent and the Kni-Co stove she had with it. Honestly, although I didn't need anything like this, the deal was too good to pass up. I was even lucky enough that she delivered it as she drove through my area on her way back to her home in Maine. I've only set the shelter & stove up for a demonstration in a state park but it was easy to set up by myself. With the external frame, the entire process is a matter of putting up the frame and then draping the tent over it. Everything fits in place very easily and setting up the stove is straightforward as well. That being said, you will also need to set up some external heat reflector between the stove and tent wall so you don't have a potential fire hazard; with the Seek Outside tipi the stove sits in the middle of the shelter so it's not near any side walls.

While the Snowtrekker tent & accompanying stove are more bulky and heavier than the Seek Outside set-up, it's ease of "assembly" makes it worth the extra heft to haul. This shelter, with the stove in place, will easily fit 2 or 3 people.

The last hot tent I have is an old Mega-Mid that I had retrofitted with a stove jack, vent and added short side walls to. The total tent can be stuffed into a stuff sack that would hold a typical 3 season down sleeping bag; in other words, it's small! I think the total weight for the shelter is less than 5 pounds. Since I can use the Seek Outside titanium stove in this shelter as well, that brings my total weight to under 8 pounds if I weighed it correctly. Even if it's a bit more, it's all manageable by one person; which is why I had the shelter retrofitted. While I can fit two people in it with no issues, it's light & small enough for me to go alone.

If you're not familiar with the Mega-Mid, it's a pyramid shelter made of nylon. You put a single pole in the center and, like the Seek Outside tipi, the stove sits in the middle of the shelter so there's no need for a heat shield. One other adaption I had added to the shelter is a loop on the peak so if there's a convenient tree around, I can hang it instead of using the interior pole; which opens up a bit of room inside. Bottom line, if I couldn't pull my gear on a sled behind me, I could still get this shelter into my pack along with the collapsible stove so it gives me lots of options.

If you're interested in pursuing hot tenting, I would encourage you to check out the Seek Outside, Snowtrekker and Bear Paw Wilderness Designs websites. The first two you may already be familiar with. The last group makes a shelter (I believe it's call the "Luna") that's a lot like the Mega-Mid so that type of option is still available to you if you're interested in it.

I think that's all for now. Take care, best of luck in finding what you're looking for and until next time....be well.

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Old 12-19-2017, 04:24 PM   #3
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I have a Seek Outside 8-man tipi and a hill people gear stove (no longer in production). The stove had the best weight to volume ration that I could find. I like it well enough, but I haven't used it in winter as often as I thought I would. (ETA: I also have the half liner for the tipi to prevent condensation, but I've never used it. It adds weight and I can't be bothered to bring it along.)

I've tried the stove with good beech and maple blowdown that I sawed to length and split at camp as well as whatever scrap hemlock and spruce I could find. I think it's easier to run the stove with whatever I could snap off and break down by hand or a well-placed boot. You burn through stuff quicker, but it's quicker to gather up as well. I think the smaller stuff runs a lot hotter which is helpful when all you have is a thin piece of nylon separating you from the cold harsh night.

Kifaru makes some high end hot tents as well - the material is a bit more advanced, but comes with a higher price tag as well. Jimmy Tarps is a cottage retailer that makes a range of tarp type shelters. It's really a one-man show (Jimmy) and the prices are a bit lower.

Last edited by Fly Rodder; 12-19-2017 at 04:59 PM.. Reason: addition
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Old 12-19-2017, 06:33 PM   #4
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I have 2 Snowtrekker tents, a Whelen lean-to tent, and a hammock sleeping system, 2 wood stoves (a Four Dog Ti and a Kni-Co, I prefer the Four Dog), 3 Black River toboggans, and a slew of additional equipment. I use the tents and stove year round and the sleds when appropriate. Winter is my preferred time of year and I'll be out this New Years eve camping next to a stash of seasoned maple I bucked up and split last year. I'll be burning it in my Four Dog stove while enjoying a good Audible book, Milo (my lab), and the view out the vinyl door:

https://youtu.be/WaI_8EyS4_4

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Old 12-19-2017, 07:25 PM   #5
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We have a 3-4 person Snowtrekker and find it comfortable, and without condensation issues experienced by the synthetic tent options mentioned before. 23 lbs vs the 8 lbs for the synthetics however. wonder how the synthetic tee pee will handle a snowload? Your choice depends on what is important to you. However, sitting in your little cocoon in light poly while it is 10 below outside is not to be missed. Get cold, stand up for a bit where it is 90 degrees at the ridge line!
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Old 12-19-2017, 08:28 PM   #6
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Thanks, for some great responses.

Familiar with Seek Outside. Was looking at their cimarron as a space / cost compromise.

Will watch for killer deals on Snow Trekkers - seems a lot of people end up there. And the frame is interesting.

Was looking at Wedge style canvas tents from 'blocaderunner'. The specialize in re-enactor tents but standardize on fire retardent canvas. The kicker is I inherited a canvas cabin tent in my early twenties but stored it improperly.

I find the 4 dog stove attractive - seem best made but a tough hall. The Kni-Co's are nice too. Less fiddling with tiny pieces with cold fingers.

The Mega Mid is intriguing in itself, but also because it seems an easier pattern - four triangles if I wanted to duplicate it in canvas or sil nylon. I see the cat cuts too but I think I have seen some well done DIY pentamids and pyramids.

Familiar with Bear Claw too.

Bioguide, I watched your youtubes last year. Your clear door is the epitome of how I'd like to spend a fire side evening in the ADK's.
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Old 12-19-2017, 08:28 PM   #7
Pauly D.
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I have a 2 person Snowtrekker EXP Basecamp, small KniCo stove, and 2 sleds. One is a Pulk sled and the other a 9 foot Black River toboggan. I really like the setup but can't compare to the Seek Outside Tipi. I know those are popular too. The nice thing about the EXP model is that I can stand up inside it. I am tall and that's always a problem for me.

If you're curious about the Snowtrekker equipment please call Duane at Snowtrekker. He helped me a lot when choosing the correct tent and stove. Bioguide also has plenty of videos on his YouTube channel that helped me a ton before my first outing.

Best of luck Tenderfoot!
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Old 12-19-2017, 09:13 PM   #8
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Well, after reading posts on wintertrekking and seeing other tents I grabbed a canvas tent on craigs list for $15. Then I grabbed another one for $25, it was a 1980's-90's Sears tent that has an external frame that is made up of about 16 pieces! I bought a stove jack online for about $30 I think and my sister sewed it in place.
I then bought a kni co Trekker stove and set it up in the tent. It has a plastic floor and I covered it with a fireproof tarp. It was fun but tough to set up alone. Took it last year with Bio, snapper and others for a weekend.

Then I decided on a Snowtrekker 9-11 shortwall I believe it is. I feel that it is safer and easier to set up. I upgraded to a larger kni co Alaskan jr stove for the heck of it. One day I would like a light weight TI stove.

I also bought a 9ft Black River sled, plus my Paris Pulk I made last year.

If your near the LOJ next week stop by for a view, I also made a vinyl door but need to fix it a bit, made it to narrow.. stupid me..
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Old 12-20-2017, 04:58 PM   #9
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Looking at Seek Outside Titanium box stove, Lite Outdoors Titanium Cylinder stove, Kni-Co Trekker and Four Dog Stoves 2 Dog model. All have great reviews. I have not used any of these but am making a few observations, would appreciate feedback on what I may have wrong.


Kni-CoTrekker
> About $195 plus $30 shipping
> 10x10x19
+ Fire Box already set up, no nuts to lose, less seams to leak
- Heavy, 17lbs
- Boxy for packing (car camping or pulk)
+ Flat surface to cook on
+ Snow friendly legs (2 D shapes rather than 4 sticks)
+ Robust

LiteOutdoors
> $268 (added spark arrestor) plus $23 shipping
> 8" diameter x 18" length
+ two seams really sinc ethere is overlap with roled cylinder
+ Titanium, which they say radiates heat better(?)
- Not sure about cooking on a rolled foil. Videos of a small kettle being ok.
+ Under 2.25lbs!
- Firebox requires assembly. Small parts
- Less robust

Seek Outside Medium
> $260 plus $25 shipping
+ Titanium, which they say radiates heat better(?)
+ Under 2.25lbs!
- Firebox only 10" long. 8.25x8.25
- Firebox requires assembly. Small parts
+ Flat surface to cook on
- Lots of seams (maybe this is not an issue)
- Less robust

Two Dog Camp Stove
> $300 plus $65 shipping
+ Baffle, probably longest burn time, advertised as all night burn
+ Fire Box already set up, no nuts to lose, advertised as air tight
- A total pig at 50lbs. Even with a pulk this one might be car camping only.
+ Flat surface to cook on
+ Robust (a tank)

So if I was considering just a car camp base camp and considering sleeping in tent with fire that Two Dog really shines but maybe not enough to offset the weight.

If the titanium ones really radiate more heat with less wood that is attractive too.

Leaning towards lite outdoors because it is more conceivable to carry it in farther. Set up camp next to bioguide (kidding, would not intrude on that oh-so-beautiful solitude you have found). The small bits and pieces scare me a bit - I find my IQ seems to drop a bit cold weather camping, "Simple" tasks become complicated. I like the 18" fire box length. We often avail ourselves of locally sold wood.
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Last edited by tenderfoot; 12-20-2017 at 05:00 PM.. Reason: added Four Dog
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