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  #1  
Old May 20th, 2008, 10:12 AM
traveltoad traveltoad is offline
Aaron Shrier
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: San Fernando Valley
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Bibler Tents

Ever since the Dusy Ershim trip I have been casually thinking about getting a Bibler Tent (now Black Diamond). On that trip I checked out John's I-Tent and I really liked the build quality,the idea of a one piece tent (no rain fly) and the internal pole system. However, I want one tent that can be used in as many climates as possible and the I-Tent's seemingly limited ventilation prevented me from pulling the trigger.

On our Snow 101 trip I used my same old 3-season tent (I can't even remember what make it is). This tent has proven itself in very warm (lots of mesh) to chilly temps and from blazing sun to moderate rain, however on the Snow 101 trip it's weaknesses were shown to be much more serious then I had previously thought.

Even though the rain fly comes down most of the way to the ground it still allows wind to get between the fly and the mesh tent wall. In cold, wet windy weather that allows near freezing water to get onto the mesh and drip onto the occupants. Waking up cold and wet with everything inside the tent wet is not much fun. As our trip was only one night this did not really cause more than an inconvenience, but on a longer trip or more extreme weather things might have been different. The mesh tent wall with rain fly is also a nusance in warm weather as it allows a significant amount of dust to get into the tent with any wind at all.

So I came back to the Bibler Tent for another look... and I found the Ahwahnee.
TENTSIDE.jpg

The Ahwahnee is a little larger (90 x 53 x 45") than the I-Tent (82 x 48 x 42") which makes it plenty roomy for Gabrielle and me and comfortable when Evan joins us. The Ahwahnee is built with the same waterproof and breathable ToddTex as the I-Tent, but both sides have mesh-covered full-size side doors that can be opened all the way up for entry/exit and for ventilation for warm weather.

I have used the tent twice thus far and I am very happy.

The first was with Gabrielle and Evan in warm windy weather. The tent moved very little even with strong gusts and with the windward side door zipped closed there was no dirt ingress throughout the night. As an added bonus the tent was noticably quieter then my previous tent, I believe because there is no rainfly flapping. Space was as I had planned, cozy for a family that gets along.

This past weekend I was up in Big Bear and while it was far from cold, it was chilly. I set up the tent with the temp around 70 degrees, I climbed into the tent at around 9:30pm with a temp of 48 degress and arose at 6am with a temp of 40 degrees. This was enough of a temperature variation for me to play with the side doors for temperature control. The advantage of the waterproof and breathable ToddTex without a rainfly was imediately evident. If the doors are closed there is very little air interchange with the outside, and with the doors open you are sitting in a mesh walled shelter. The occupant(s) have a lot of control.

TENTCAMP.jpg

NIGHTTENT.jpg


I also like the idea that the top and the two narrow sides are not mesh. If needed I can also use the tent as a shelter from the sun while still allowing maximum air movement.

I have yet to use the tent in anything even close to an extreme environment, but I have no reason to doubt that this tent will be up to the task.

As an aside, this tent has published packed dimentions of 8" x 19" but realistically will be a bit larger and a weight of 6 lb 15 oz which is not light. I purchased this tent for the truck so packed size and weight were lower on my priority list.

Last edited by traveltoad : May 21st, 2008 at 12:06 PM.
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  #2  
Old May 20th, 2008, 10:53 AM
Bruno Bruno is offline
Bruno Tome
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Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the Ahwahnee, Aaron. I considered it for a motorcycle tent but bought the HiLight instead.

Even though the HiLight is substantially lighter, and that's important to me, i'm starting to think i might have been better off with the Ahwahnee.
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  #3  
Old May 20th, 2008, 10:58 AM
traveltoad traveltoad is offline
Aaron Shrier
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I have not seen a HiLight in person, but on paper it seems to be a better motorcycle camping tent. I agree that on the m/c weight is much more of an issue.

In fact, as I look at it more I think the HiLight might be a great compliment to the Ahwahnee for the m/c. It is a smaller, lighter version of the Ahwahnee.

Last edited by traveltoad : May 20th, 2008 at 11:02 AM.
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  #4  
Old May 20th, 2008, 12:47 PM
Bruno Bruno is offline
Bruno Tome
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveltoad
on the m/c weight is much more of an issue.

Yes, it is.


  #5  
Old May 20th, 2008, 12:50 PM
dmarchand dmarchand is offline
David Marchand
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They seem to be the very best in construction and design. Nice write-up. I own both a Tempest and the Tripod bivy. I actually prefer the bivy when driving solo. I'm 6'3" and fit quite nicely inside. It has never let me down in foul weather and deals with the wind far better than a tent (of course). You can't beat the weight and simplicity of assembly (and storage).

Picture from two weeks ago in Vermont (fine VT spring weather):


The funny thing is, most folks I travel with gave the bivy very little love. However after a few trips I've begun to hear the classic: "man my tent cot takes up so much room, that bivy seems like a better deal" or "that wind kept me up all night, did you hear anything in the bivy?"
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  #6  
Old May 20th, 2008, 01:01 PM
traveltoad traveltoad is offline
Aaron Shrier
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The bivy requires stakes, correct? Another requirement for me was a free standing tent. Obviously, everything is more secure with stakes, but I did not want a tent that required them.

Where in VT?
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  #7  
Old May 20th, 2008, 01:03 PM
traveltoad traveltoad is offline
Aaron Shrier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno
Yes, it is.



Don't try that with an R1150GS Adv!!! lol
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  #8  
Old May 20th, 2008, 01:11 PM
dmarchand dmarchand is offline
David Marchand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveltoad
The bivy requires stakes, correct? Another requirement for me was a free standing tent. Obviously, everything is more secure with stakes, but I did not want a tent that required them.

Where in VT?

Aha. Yes, the foot of the bivy at the very least requires a stake. Though you could tie the end to a rock, tree or otherwise.

Barnard, west of Woodstock.
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  #9  
Old May 20th, 2008, 01:16 PM
traveltoad traveltoad is offline
Aaron Shrier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmarchand
Barnard, west of Woodstock.

I know it well. Byjesus.
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  #10  
Old May 20th, 2008, 01:27 PM
dmarchand dmarchand is offline
David Marchand
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Perhaps you need a vacation in November for our annual?

http://www.vtxs.org/tvtx.htm

It will certainly bring you back..
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  #11  
Old May 20th, 2008, 01:48 PM
traveltoad traveltoad is offline
Aaron Shrier
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Location: San Fernando Valley
Posts: 2,628
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmarchand
Perhaps you need a vacation in November for our annual?

http://www.vtxs.org/tvtx.htm

It will certainly bring you back..

Hmmm.... we will be due for a trip back east...
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  #12  
Old May 21st, 2008, 10:32 AM
mtnrovr mtnrovr is offline
Ryan Tolentino
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 174
I always liked the simplicity and designs of the single-wall tents, but having a rainfly staked out to providing a vestibule dedicated for gear and cooking is such a luxury for me to have. Maybe things have changed now, so some research is now in order.


Last weekend in the John Muir Wilderness / Mt. Whitney Area. It was still somewhat early in season so there were hardly any people. It was beautiful.









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  #13  
Old May 21st, 2008, 10:44 AM
traveltoad traveltoad is offline
Aaron Shrier
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Great pics Ryan. Have you ever been to the oshram just south of the Mt Whitney trail head (east side)?

FYI there is a vestibule attachment for both the I-Tent and the Ahwahnee. I agree that a vestibule is nice and I may get one for the Ahwahnee in the future.
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  #14  
Old May 21st, 2008, 11:35 AM
mtnrovr mtnrovr is offline
Ryan Tolentino
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Thanks Aaron.

Quote:
Originally Posted by traveltoad
Have you ever been to the oshram just south of the Mt Whitney trail head (east side)?

Can't say that I have. But I wonder if it's something I'd be interested in doing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by traveltoad
FYI there is a vestibule attachment for both the I-Tent and the Ahwahnee. I agree that a vestibule is nice and I may get one for the Ahwahnee in the future.

Good to know that a vestibule attachment is available. With the tent that I currently have (Sierra Design Omega), there is the option to just setup the fly and poles. I occasionally do this for quick hikes/climbs and during the summer months, and at an identical weight as your BD Awahnee (6lbs. 15oz.), it saves me plenty of weight to utilize this configuration. It's partially free-standing, the vestibule still need to be staked/planted out (which is a pain).
Just looking at the Awahnee, it seems like I would have to carry the tent and the additional vestibule to have the shelter that I need. I looked at the specs for the I-Tent, and man that thing is light. Maybe this would be more viable option for me.

Totally dig the internal pole system.
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  #15  
Old June 12th, 2008, 11:03 PM
chris snell chris snell is online now
Christopher Snell
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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I'm reluctant to take my Ahwahnee on any trip where it might rain. The last time I used it was at Capitol Peak near Aspen. It was a miserable trip. Started raining when we hit the trailhead and didn't stop until we got back in the car three days later. It was so bad that we had to cook dinner under a tree. The Awahnee's Todd-Tex is about as good as Gore-Tex in the rain, which is to say that you will get soaked after a few minutes in a downpour. My tent was soaked, my bag got soaked, and I got soaked. When I got home, the first thing I did was order a MSR Hubba Hubba and it's been great. Significantly more weather-resistant and really easy to put up.

I'm not sold on the single-wall tent thing. Not as much flexibility for warm, dry nights and they just don't cut it in a rainstorm.
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  #16  
Old June 13th, 2008, 05:09 AM
ronward ronward is offline
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Location: Columbus, GA
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I know this thread is about the Bibler tent light weight bike/backpack tents but I have to throw in a vote for the Cabela's Alaskan Guide model tent I got a year ago. I went through a number of small and lightweight tents and had some very good experiences.

My camping trips are a lot like what I read about here. Truck-based trips for wheeling and cooking. So weight isn't a big consideration for me except for when my belt gets too tight.

Two things set the Alaskan Guide tent apart from others I see my friends use. One, the fabric is very thick. And two, the rain fly comes all the way to the ground. I've lived through some awful rain storms (MAR 2005 AND 2006) and while my friends paddled around in their tents, I was bone dry and warm.

Sure it weighs 25lbs and is a bitch to set up in the dark alone, but once it's up it's heaven. Just my $0.02 worth.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Alaskan Guide Tent.jpg (9.2 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg Alaskan Guide Tent II.jpg (60.1 KB, 9 views)
____________________
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  #17  
Old June 13th, 2008, 07:37 AM
JMH JMH is offline
Jonathan Hanson
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Tucson, more or less.
Posts: 274
Look for a review of high-quality lightweight tents in the next Overland Journal. Hilleberg, Kifaru, Stephenson, MSR, and more.
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  #18  
Old June 13th, 2008, 09:19 AM
montanablur montanablur is offline
Sinuhe Xavier
yes
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Neither here, nor there...
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I'm currently the owner of 4 different tents. Each with it's own ideal purpose, yet I always come back to my Mountain Hardwear Skyledge 2. It packs up tiny and sets up quicker than it takes to boil water. It's really the perfect desert camping tent, the only caveat being that in a windy situation no matter how tight that fly is dust, sand and grit is going to get in there.



The Black Diamond Skylight. This is a great tent that is really lightweight with a single wall design yet has a vestibule and nice ventilation. My only gripe with it is the entry way. There is only one and you have to crawl over your pillow to get in. This will be my lightweight bad weather tent, and the tent I will be using next summer when I climb Rainier.

The North Face Kestrel. This is my oldest tent, has to be 10 years now. This is the one I bring out if it looks like we are going to be having any undesirable weather. The mesh doesn't go all the way to ground so it helps keep wind out while still having a lot ventilation. The base is actually a single piece without a seam until 8 inches off the ground... So, though I've never tried, water can be up to 4 inches around your tent and you will still be dry.

The Big Agnes Royal Flush 3. This tent replaces my North Face Mountain 24/Bibler setup. It is a little bigger for car camping yet absolutely bomb proof. This was the tent I used in Utah over this past January. Night time temps hovered around 0 with light winds. With the fly tied down it was a cozy affair inside. Big Agnes sports the quality you would expect from a small boutique manufacturer, think The North Face 1982.

I have to agree with Ryan about the vestibule, a necessary feature, weight wise it doesn't add much and the convenience factor is an all time high. I also think simplicity is something overlooked quite often. There is an MSR tent that has these erector est type connectors on them, during a trip in Yosemite in 2003 I broke one of these connectors and the tent was worthless. Even a pole breaking can be repaired with duct tape and ingenuity, but these little complex pieces can't.
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  #19  
Old June 13th, 2008, 10:36 AM
mtnrovr mtnrovr is offline
Ryan Tolentino
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by montanablur
The Black Diamond Skylight.This will be my lightweight bad weather tent, and the tent I will be using next summer when I climb Rainier.
Damn..I've been wanting to climb Rainier for a while now. Hopefully that will come to fruition next year as well.



Rainier hiker sacrificed himself to save his wife
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  #20  
Old June 13th, 2008, 11:23 AM
montanablur montanablur is offline
Sinuhe Xavier
yes
 
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That is such a sad story. That mountain is nothing to take lightly, it is an island in the sky that creates it's own weather.

I've actually been on it twice before, once climbing and another a climb to ski. Here are the only pics I have from the ski trip, although I did just get off the phone with Andy Dappen and he is sending me a disc of images from that adventure. I haven't seen any of those pictures in 15 years, I'll be sure to post them up when I get them.


My Bibler at work on the Western flank of the Wilson Glacier. June 21st 1994.

Skiing down the Wilson Glacier after a long day.
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  #21  
Old June 13th, 2008, 12:14 PM
Mike_Rupp Mike_Rupp is offline
Mike Rupp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montanablur
That is such a sad story. That mountain is nothing to take lightly, it is an island in the sky that creates it's own weather.


That's the issue with Mount Rainier. On paper it doesn't look bad. Its only 14,410 feet. There are plenty of mountains in the lower 48 that are higher.

The fact that its covered with glaciers means that the slightest moist breeze off of the Pacific can cause a shitstorm up there. Anyone that has lived in the Seattle area knows that the weather in June is iffy. Iffy in Seattle equals bad news on Rainier. Recently we had some marginal weather in the area and they were getting a foot of snow in the cascades at even 3k feet. Things only get worse as you go higher.

From all of the local news reports, the guy was an experienced climber and I'm sure he knew the risks. Sometimes shit happens.
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  #22  
Old June 13th, 2008, 01:19 PM
mtnrovr mtnrovr is offline
Ryan Tolentino
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_Rupp
Things only get worse as you go higher.

From all of the local news reports, the guy was an experienced climber and I'm sure he knew the risks. Sometimes shit happens.

I totally agree with you Mike. But damn whenever I leave base camp for my ascents, I always try to anticipate the "shit happens" scenario. I was surprised with the climber's experience, no provisions to bivouac were brought, just in case the weather came in or someone in the climbing party was injured and had to be left behind. Understandably he still did the best he could, for himself and the others.
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  #23  
Old June 16th, 2008, 10:14 AM
mtnrovr mtnrovr is offline
Ryan Tolentino
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 174
Yesterday did some local canyoneering over at Eaton Canyon.
So sad to see that even these beautiful areas are prone to graffiti. What a disgrace.

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  #24  
Old June 16th, 2008, 01:38 PM
montanablur montanablur is offline
Sinuhe Xavier
yes
 
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That's awesome I had no idea that was right here...
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  #25  
Old June 16th, 2008, 02:52 PM
mtnrovr mtnrovr is offline
Ryan Tolentino
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by montanablur
That's awesome I had no idea that was right here...
Sinuhe, It's a great day trip that's so easily accessible. Some guidebooks state that the falls have a maximum of twelve abseil points; the most we had during our outing were five. Why abseil when you can slide down on polished rock or jump 15 to 25 ft. down into a pool of frigid cold water?

Didn't have a photo of first abseil, so here is the second one.:


Third optional abseil, or dive:


The fourth:


The fifth and final abseil my camera battery died, so no shot. Here are some photos along the canyon:








LA Times - A long wait at Henninger Flats - The falls are just passed Henninger Flats.
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