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I was hoping to get some thoughts on what you think about quality tents and sleeping bags. What do you look for when purchasing these items?

Are there durable, all season types?
 

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The main failure that I have encountered on both of these products is zippers, so the first thing I look at is zippers.

You will need a sleeping bag for your seasons a 40 below bag will stink in the summer as will a 40 above bag in the winter. The army has a sleep system but I have not used it
 

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I was hoping to get some thoughts on what you think about quality tents and sleeping bags. What do you look for when purchasing these items?

Are there durable, all season types?
The main failure that I have encountered on both of these products is zippers, so the first thing I look at is zippers.

You will need a sleeping bag for your seasons a 40 below bag will stink in the summer as will a 40 above bag in the winter. The army has a sleep system but I have not used it
the army sleep system is pretty good its a lil hevier than some of your civy stuff but durable the best component in mho is the bivy bag as it makes everything waterproof as long as the zipper is above water

and with thents I have several but if im getting a tent for just me for solo trips i carry a two man tent so i can keep my gear in the extra space and kept dry I usualy use my pack as a pillow
 

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I would like to suggest the one which the army has as it is very durable. The quality of the army tents are just the best.
army tents? hell no those things suck there heavy as hell first off even the gp smalls and there a pain in the ass to set up ill take a poncho over a army tent any dayunless i have a truck to haul a gps or gpm around
 

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Synthetic bags are more durable. Down is MUCH warmer and lighter. Synthetics still keep some insulation value if they get wet, especially if you wring them out real good. Get down wet and you're a dead duck. Still, most deep wilderness backpackers and mountaineers prefer the down and are careful to keep it dry. (OTOH rafters and trail guides usually go with synthetic.) The down of the Eider duck is the very best there is and costs a bundle.

Hollofill 2 and Polarguard are the two synthetics on the market today. For my money Polarguard is a bit more rugged and better when wet, Hollofill 2 is lighter and slightly better insulation.

No such thing as an "all season" type. Either you will be cold in the winter or too hot in the summer. It is easier to get a lighter bag and add layers according to how cold it gets. Things like wearing a sweat suit, using a vapor barrier bag liner, an external bivvy sac, a space blanket, a thicker insulated ground pad and a good tent all add to the heat retention value of a bag. You can also carry a lightweight down blanket to spread over the bag.

For maximum heat retention the only part of you exposed to the cold should be your nose. Breathing inside a bag to warm it up is not a good idea because of all the moisture you introduce.

A good tent should be low in profile, no bigger in footprint than is necessary, waterproof and wind resistant but still ventilated. A bathtub design prevents leaks if you unexpectedly end up in a puddle. Preshaped aluminum tubing is much superior to standard flexible tent poles in strength and ease of use. I also like to see a vestibule where you can put a camp stove you can access without having to leave the tent.
 

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i go on amazon and search by the best feedback and read those. many have used the items dozens of times and post how they stand up. you can have 50 or more different people giving you some great info on the products
 

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I like dome tents with a fly, in the summer I put a space blanket over the top of the tent to reflect the sun. it keeps the tent a lit cooler but it makes it look like a Hershey’s kiss.
 

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For good bags go to cabela's and look at the Alaskan guide series.

I would rather be warm in the winter.. so I'll suffer through being hot in the summer besides you can cover with a sheet or something in the summer...

You need to be more specific on what you need your tent for. If you want to be mobile and move every day is one thing.... being set for a period of time with the ability to move heavy stuff is another.
 

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Maximus
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I was hoping to get some thoughts on what you think about quality tents and sleeping bags. What do you look for when purchasing these items?

Are there durable, all season types?
There are certainly different levels of quality. Your price-range makes a difference though. For example the ceiling of quality will be higher for a 400$ tent than the ceiling of quality for a 100$ tent. But there are quality 100$ tents and sleeping bags out there. You just will expect a lot more quality out of a 400$ tent or bag.

Some of the things to look for are no-snag zippers, tape sealed or double-stitched seems, ripstop materials, durable poles, overall finish.

Again when looking at a high end bag I will expect these things. When looking at a less expensive item, I will not expect all these. Ultralight items will also boost up the price-tag.

I would recommend to inspect the stitching and materials as a starting point though. Those are the two most expensive areas so those will be the ones to pay attention to closest.
 

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Start by deciding what you need the gear to accomplish.

Someone planning on backcountry camping needs different gear than someone planning on weekend camping with the kiddos. The reason there are so many different tent types is because they are each designed for different applications.

As for sleeping bags, you will need a medium weight bag for spring and fall. In the summer, I sleep on top of the bag, using it for extra padding and take a sheet or light weight blanket in case the nights get chilly.

For winter camping - a bag rated to at least zero degrees is a must. I have a nylon synthetic mummy bag which I paid $$$$ for and a military surplus cold weater bag which I paid $35. The synthetic is half the weight of the millitary bag - useful if you have to pack it any distance, but the military bag is warmer. I took the boy scouts camping last month - it was 7 degrees with wind chill at -13 and I got hot in my military bag, and had to partially unzip it in the middle of the night.

I agree with TMcArthur - there is no such thing as a all season tent - you either burn up in the summer, or you freeze in the winter. Better to have multiple tents each suited to the seasons. When deciding on any tent look at two things first - the zipper and the poles. Ninety percent of all tent problems fall into one of those two areas.
 

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Have you ever thought about an indian teepee? They are high enough to stand in and that's not a small detail. Also, if you do it right you can have a small fire in it. There aren't a lot of complex parts just some straight poles and what ever fabric you are going with.

I've been in army tents and wasn't all that impressed. It might work ok for them but I'll pass on it. My only tent is a six man, three season A-frame tall enough to stand in. If I needed a tent for more than about three days I would be thinking of a teepee.

Good luck.
 

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Are there companies known for making expedition quality tents? I'm looking for a two man. I have a nice Coleman but I'd just consider it a fair weather tent.
 

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Its all about zippers and seams. I like a welded bottom. For bug out purposes three man tops for weight. (If I need to sleep 5 people i'm erecting a shelter or kicking in a door)

I always include the price and weight of two light-weight tarps that are the same footprint as the tent for my bag.

Now if you are talking family shelter tent that is packed in a pickup for a long term situation? GP small (teepee) or if your site is decent enough a GP medium all the way.

Never skimp price wise on your tent. Not much use to have a tent that deseams and all the zippers break after a couple takedowns - and there are a TON of these out there... TONS! Be careful and don't go cheap, otherwise you may as well buy a bunch of tarps and duct tape, that will hold up much better than a cheapo 3 man sub $100 dollar tent.

For personal individual use? I love tarps... I mean - I just LOVE them. 2 8x8 tarps are pretty versatile and when I'm camping in nice weather, that is what I pack to construct a shelter. If it came down to brass tax and a little thought, I could stay dry in a downpour with 2 tarps, some rocks and 550 cord for a long period of time.
 

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