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shelters and tents for car camping or alpine 4 season use

ultralight hiking tents

heavier more storm-proof tents

  • 3P tents are generally 30cm wider and 5cm taller than their 2P equivalents

2 man 2.5-3kg 3 season options

  • Macpac Apollo
    • freestanding with dual vestibule with dual lined doors - nylon / mesh towards one end and vents only on the 1500mm rated fly at these points
    • fully 40D nylon inner to seal out the wind (no mesh apart from doors)
    • 8.5mm poles which thread through tunnels but no cross pole makes for relatively narrow vestibule rain protection when opened
    • floor: Torrentwear™ XP 100% Nylon (70D/210T with PU coating) — 10,000 mm Hydrostatic Head
    • 1500mm rated UV75™ PU 100% Polyester with Silicone/PU coatings fly
    • 210 x 130 x 115H (cm); 56 x 21 (cm) — packed;
    • 2.8kg;
    • $AU320 on special

2 man 2-3.5kg "4 season" winter / storm proof options

  • Big Agnes Copper Spur HV2 Expedition tent
    • beefed up 4 season version of the HV UL with bomber architecture for greater wind resistance
    • freestanding
    • 2 large doors with addition of unzippable nylon layer (only has a small area of mesh at the top - not enough ventilation for a hot Australian summer's night!) for added warmth and quick stash door keeper when unzipped
    • Large closable ceiling window/vent and ceiling fly vent provides venting as well as optional storage space
    • Velcro tabs connect fly to pole structure
    • pre-cut Dyneema guy lines and tensioners attached to fly.
    • Fly is silicone-treated with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating
    • 10,000mm waterproof floor
    • DAC Featherlite NSL pole system
    • 10 interior mesh pockets, 2 media pockets & 10 large DAC aluminum J stakes
    • optional footprint
    • Fits the Triangle, Trapezoid, Large Trapezoid, Wall and Large Wall gear lofts - sold separately.
    • 2.1kg (2.41kg packed to 20x46cm)
  • Mont Dragonfly 4 Season 2P Tent
    • one of the best 4 season 2P hiking tents although the Exped Orion II has bigger vestibules, better door rain protection, taller internals but is heavier, more expensive and does not have the nice additional features of the Dragonfly such as 2 roof pockets, 2 internally accessible vents and 3 baby carabiners to clip stuff to on the ceiling, the ability to peg open the vestibule doors at quarter intervals to fine-tune ventilation, and little things like zips on the doors go away from each other to close (instead of meeting) which allows better control of ventilation, plus the doors are designed to open in opposite directions.
    • darkish forest green freestanding, symmetric, spacious tent with yellow inner
    • 2 dual nylon/mesh or zipped open roof vents on the inner which align with the fly vents - could be handy for bird or wildlife photographers to use as a bird hide
    • floor is the most waterproof on the market - 70D 10,000mm nylon with a market-leading WaterBloc™ 25,000mm+ lamination which is also more durable, still ultra-lightweight, more resistant to chemical damage (sunscreen, fuel etc) and almost impervious to hydrolysis
    • 30D silPU 2000mm fly
    • 20D nylon inner in 2021 version (2020 version was only 15D which is where the weight savings were made so you needed to be careful with it).
    • DAC 9.6mm Featherlite aluminium poles which crossover twice towards each end secured via click-lock system at each crossover, so each pole plugs into the same side, not opposite sides as is usual, plus the additional short ridge pole for vestibules
    • 2 77cm vestibules with drip free entrances and handy peg sites to allow partial open pegged down and folded back, but they do need to be pegged down well in strong winds.
      • when vestibule fly is fully folded back it lies within the inner tent's wall which should allow improved visibility to the sky but will mean the inner will get very wet in the rain if inadvertently left in this position
    • full dual nylon/mesh large doors for warmth or ventilation and improved ingress/egress
    • 140x220x110cm giving 3.18m2
    • packs to 44cm x 18cm with poles at 45cm
    • 2.35kg (2.5kg packed)
    • optional footprint $89 which should allow setting up fly, poles and footprint in the rain then attach inner which clips to the poles
    • $AU999 Bogong $AU899 for members at Paddy Palin but seems they are selling the inferior 2020 version.
    • free-standing, inner pitch first
    • 75d ripstop polyester fly, dwr face, tape-sealed, 3000mm PE back coating
    • Light Grey 40d air-permeable ripstop nylon,
    • Black 40d nylon mesh door panels, with full fabric zip down covers to upper half only - lower half doors are fabric
    • Suspended tub design floor, 100d nylon with 8,000mm HH PE coating
    • packs to 40x16cm
    • vestibules 2x 0.84sq.m
    • 3.22-3.63kg
    • $AU629 Bogong
    • wedge-shaped assymetric with free-standing full fabric inner with external pull-down door covers to top half, bottom half of doors is fabric not mesh
    • Two innovative outer tent vents at ridge height
    • can invert your walking or ski poles and make them part of the Space 2 framework
    • connect up the tent's internal hub-to-hub tension strap as well and the Space 2 achieves a level of stability only seen in heavy, multi-pole geodesic tents
    • 30D sil nylon fly
    • 5000mm PU floor
    • 1.96kg
    • $A749 Bogong
  • EXPED ORION II Extreme 2P Tent
    • tall, steep sided roomy 4 season 2man freestanding tent based on tunnel design but with a ridge pole as a dome/A-frame for better snow performance and strength
    • aerodynamic flat pole sleeves - need to watch video on how to set up!
      • must put poles in the correct order (ridge pole last but the 1st to seat into grommet)- they are numbered 1-3 for this as well as color coded
    • The poles integrate directly with the fly, and the inner part stays attached the entire time. So, even in the pouring rain, you could throw the tent down and slide the poles in without exposing the inside to any weather.
      • setting up without fly is possible but more difficult and does not use the ridge pole so you do need to use 2 guy lines instead attached to peak of each pole - see
      • can be set up as fly only
      • guylines attach directly to the pole sleeves (and therefore the poles) increases the strength in rough conditions
      • the main ridge pole reaches the ground on either side, you need the ground you’re on to be level for at least eight feet across. If the ground is concave or you’re on a slope, it’s nearly impossible to set the tent up correctly. This is especially in issue when you need to also consider orientation to wind.
    • 40 D ripstop nylon, silicone coated fly 1500mm water in the Extreme version more resistant to strong UV but more prone to sagging when wet and takes longer to dry than the standard PU version and there is also an UL ultralight fly version
    • 30 D ripstop nylon tent
    • 70 D taffeta nylon, PU coated, factory seam taped floor 10,000mm water
    • cord stuffpacks
    • two 95cm vestibules totaling 2.3 sq.m with 2 wide doors but as the wind end of the fly door incorporates the ridge pole this cannot be retracted open
    • pack to 42x16cm
    • 2.8-3.1kg
    • $AU1199 Bogong
    • tough, heavy 3.55kg, long (385cm), narrow (113cm wide internal), geodesic design with snow skirts
    • if you don't mind the weight it is great for alpine/snow camping, but there are arguably better lighter and more compact other tent options for most hikers and it does not have enough ventilation for hot summer camping
    • ingress/egress is cramped and tunnel-like
    • good zip design
    • ?50D PUe nylon 5000mm orange and bright red fly which clips in via buckles
    • ?40D nylon inner
    • ?100D 10,000mm waterhead nylon floor
    • 4x ?9mm DAC poles all slide through tunnel sleeves on the inner much like a Macpac Apollo but with 2 extra poles which need their ends pegged
    • 2 long sloping vestibules each 0.74sq.m
    • ceiling side vents are zipped and can be useful for limited star gazing with the fly removed
    • doors are at each end and have a zippable mesh upper 1/5th for ventilation
    • ceiling central gear loft plus 2 corner small ceiling pockets
    • can be pitched without fly
    • campers will need to ensure vents are open to minimise condensation especially with 2P sleeping
    • inner is 230 x 113 x 108cm high
    • pack size 65 x 20 x 20cm
    • $AU899 but usually can get it on sale at 40% off as with most Kathmandu gear

3 man 2.5-4kg 3-4 season storm proof options

    • see as for Orion II
    • standard version has PU fly and is best if you expect long periods of wet weather which this tent is fantastic for as it provides plenty of space and protection to sit out the wet weather.
    • Extreme version has more UV protected silnylon fly but sags more and takes longer to dry out when wet
    • can be used as fly only or inner only
    • Both canopy doors are large and allow two campers to sit side by side
    • Ventilation hoods protect both doors which are more central than on the MacPac Polaris
    • doors unzip and roll up at middle of tent towards wind end (opposite to Macpac Polaris)
    • vestibules extend 95cm (Macpac polaris only extend 75cm)
    • 130cm height inside (10cm higher than the Macpac Polaris)
    • 160cm wide (20cm narrower than the MacPac Polaris)
    • 9.1mm and 9.7mm poles (MacPac Polaris poles are 8.5mm)
    • inner tent 30D nylon (MacPac Polaris is 40D)
    • floor is 70D PU coated taffeta nylon with 10,000mm waterhead (MacPac Polaris is similar ratings)
    • fly 40D PU nylon (MacPac Polaris is silnylon)
    • packed size 48x18cm 3.8kg (minimum 3.3kg)
    • $AU1299
  • Big Agnes Copper Spur HV3 Expedition tent
    • beefed up 4 season version of the HV UL with bomber architecture for greater wind resistance
    • freestanding
    • 2 large doors with addition of unzippable nylon layer (only has a small area of mesh at the top - not enough ventilation for a hot Australian summer's night!) for added warmth and quick stash door keeper when unzipped
    • Large closable ceiling window/vent and ceiling fly vent provides venting as well as optional storage space
    • Velcro tabs connect fly to pole structure
    • pre-cut Dyneema guy lines and tensioners attached to fly.
    • Fly is silicone-treated with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating plus an additional coating on the face of the fabric to increase tear strength and UV resistance.
    • 10,000mm waterproof floor
    • DAC Featherlite NSL pole system
    • 10 interior mesh pockets, 2 media pockets & 10 large DAC aluminum J stakes
    • optional footprint
    • Fits the Triangle, Trapezoid, Large Trapezoid, Wall and Large Wall gear lofts - sold separately.
    • 2.49kg (2.8kg packed to 20x51cm)
    • compared to 2 man version 390g heavier, 5cm more headroom, 5cm longer, 56cm (42%) wider
  • Marmot Fortress 3P Tent
    • more affordable than the Copper Spur but smaller door, less features
    • unlike the Copper Spur the centrally-placed doors have full dual layer design - nylon and mesh
    • unzippable meshed lower vent
    • corner ceiling pocket for headlamp
    • poles clip on rather than threading through
    • Marmot Tungsten 3P is similar but doors are single layer with nylon bottom and mesh upper while one half of the tent has more mesh than nylon
    • floor: 68D polyester taffeta 190T 2000mm F/R
    • fly: 68D 100% polyester taffeta 1500mm F/R
    • 2.7kg (2.89kg packed to 20x56cm); 117cm x 168cm x 229cm
    • issues:
      • the roof vent unzips to open but there is no mesh to stop insects but this may potentially be useful as a bird hide
      • the 2nd door has less mesh (fixed nylon bottom) and the vestibule door is smaller and hard to get in/out
    • $AU420 on special at Paddy Palin
  • Macpac Polaris 3P
  • OnePlanet Wurley 3 nylon
    • designed for school groups and 4 seasons
    • standard design two cross-over poles and one short ridge pole provides nice vestibule size and door cover
    • the two triangular centre-based doors appear to be dual mesh/fabric but seem a touch small and zip to the centre with extra large YKK zips
    • blue 75D polyester fly
    • yellow inner
    • 210D 5000mm floor
    • 106cm high, 195cm wide, 225cm long
    • vestibules 90cm
    • 3.5kg
    • $AU649 (“snow” version adds snow valances to fly and is $AU799)
  • Zempire Trilogy
    • semi-geodesic tough design for school groups; 120cm tall inner; 200x210cm 4.2 sq.m; 90cm vestibules;
    • YKK Door Zippers; Anti Grit Reversed Zips; clip on 75D 150D / 210T Polyester Ripstop 5000mm fly; Ultra Light Mesh Inner with 40D nylon; 10,000mm 150D floor; 8.5mm aluminium poles;
    • 4.75kg; packs to 56x18x17cm; can be packed to 3.6kg;
feature MacPac Polaris Marmot Fortress OnePlanet Wurley 3 Exped Orion III
price on sale $AU459 $AU499 $AU649 $AU1299
season usage 3-4 season 3-4 season 3-4 season 4 season and still good in summer although consider Extreme version with silnylon UV fly
best for.. 3 school kids or or 1 adult 2 young kids hiking; 2 adults hiking; car camping; 2 adults or 1 adult 2 young kids hiking; car camping; kid tough 3 school kids hiking tall people; 2 adults hiking; unprotected sites eg. Iceland, alpine base camps; high rain/wind cool-cold climate areas; car camping for those with bad backs
weight 3.5kg 2.89kg 3.5kg 3.8kg
storm / wind proofing good OK OK very good
livability in prolonged rain 1-2P OK OK OK excellent
set up in rain without inner wet no yes? yes? yes
ingress/egress OK ?OK smallish doors excellent
pole attachment 2 threaded, ridge clipped all clipped, will bend a lot in high winds clipped all threaded
poles 8.5mm T6 ? 9.1 and 9.7mm T6
colours blue with white inner orange with grey inner blue with yellow inner red or green with yellow inner
inner tent 40D 40D ? 30D
floor 70D 10,000mm 68D 2000mm 210D, 5000mm 70D 10,000mm
fly silnylon 68D 1500mm 75D polyester 40D PU
inner height 120cm 117cm 106cm 130cm
internal width 180cm 165cm 195cm 160cm
internal length 217cm 219cm 225cm 220cm
internal area 3.6sqm 3.8 sq.m 3.5sq.m
vestibule width 75cm 85-90cm 95cm
vestibule area 1.6sq.m 1.8sq.m 2.5sq.m
dual layer door full, rolls up to non-wind end 2nd door has less mesh (fixed nylon bottom) and the vestibule door is smaller and hard to get in/out ?full rolls up to centre of tent full, rolls up to centre of tent
ridge pole to ground only across top only across top to ground
ability to open wind end vestibule yes, unclip from pole yes yes? no, unless remove ridge pole and use guy ropes
door position triangular starts at non-wind end central D doors central small triangular central D doors
door rain protection with fly open OK only seems OK seems good good
fully nylon sealed inner dust proof mode yes no, lower mesh vent can't be closed yes yes
zippable open inner vents only doors doors and ceiling vent but no mesh on this only doors only doors
can set up without fly yes yes yes yes but more difficult and need guy ropes
can set up with fly only no ?no ?no yes, easy

4P 5kg tent with extra height

    • two large vestibule with large doors having nylon lower 1/4 and the rest mesh
    • inner has mesh ceiling
    • 254 x 218.44 x 154.94H cm
    • 4.9kg
    • $AU340?

tallest 2-3P tents

  • EXPED ORION III Tent 130cm
  • EXPED ORION II Tent 125cm
  • Macpac Polaris 3P 120cm
  • MacPac Apollo 2P 115cm?
  • Marmot Fortress 3P Tent 117cm
  • most other 2P are around 107cm and 3P 112cm

full fabric tents with dual full mesh and full fabric doors

  • Macpac Apollo 2P
  • Macpac Polaris 3P
  • Mont Dragonfly 4 Season 2P Tent
  • Marmot Fortress 3P Tent but 2nd door has fabric on bottom part
  • EXPED ORION II Extreme 2P Tent 125cm tall
  • EXPED ORION III 3P Tent 130cm tall
  • ??EXPED Venus II Extreme 2p tent 105cm tall

full fabric tents with dual part mesh and full fabric doors

  • Sea to Summit Telos TR2 PLUS

tall dome touring tents

  • many models available and these are generally more aerodynamic in strong winds than most fast setup framed touring tents
  • much heavier and larger than hiking tents and usually have an awning or front vestibule
  • some are full mesh inners with ability to fold back half the fly to allow stargazing (eg. OzTrail Stargazer)

fast set up touring tents, tall but large packed size heavy tents

  • these can be set up very quickly thanks to their heavy duty aluminium pole structures and they are tall enough to stand in but the price you pay is that they are very heavy (20kg plus) and the OzTents pack to at least 2m long which is too wide to fit width-wise inside cars and most will carry them on roof racks although it will easily fit longways inside a station wagon such as a Subaru Outback if you run it over both rear and front seats, other brands have much shorter packed sizes
  • these may not be ideal in very strong wind conditions given they are not aerodynamic and they are tall so you should always find a sheltered site and ensure the guy ropes are well staked out - you don't want those frames to be damaged!

tents with large unzippable sky view mesh windows

tents with fixed ceiling mesh windows under the fly

tent without ceiling windows

yurt-like "bell" camping tents

  • popular for small groups of young adults and trendy “glampers”
  • these are generally circular tents with a central pole and vent, and a single framed entrance door while windows are close to the ground
  • they are usually made of 340gsm polyester cotton canvas blend with a 520gsm PVC floor and are very heavy starting at 20kg for a 3m tent to 60kg for a 6m tent and prices generally start around $AU600 for a 3m tent and $AU1400 for a 6m tent
  • some have zip removable floors
  • some have a stargazer roof optional accessory such as

roof top tents

  • not recommended for most people (especially the soft shell tents) even though they sound a good idea for the following reasons:
    • theoretically keeps you away from larger animals on the ground such as crocodiles as well as reduces risk of spiders, snakes, wombats, etc
    • keeps you off the flooded ground
    • hard shell ones are generally faster to set up than tents as all bedding can be already set to go
    • reasonably comfortable
    • hard shell tents are good in the rain
  • roof top tents are probably best when they are hard shell ones mounted on trailers, NOT on the vehicle rooftop.


  • very expensive
  • big and heavy and significant wind resistance when driving
    • more petrol usage
    • issue with roof capacity for your roof rack system
    • risk of it ripping off and damaging cars travelling behind
    • increases centre of gravity and risk of rollover
    • can be too heavy to constantly remove from or install onto the roof with only one person
  • you can't drive once you have it set up unless on a camper trailer - very restrictive!
    • can't have your camp site reserved and then drive to your sunset destination
    • if you do drive to sunset you need to set up tent in the dark
  • you have to climb up a ladder
  • actually take longer to set up fully than most 2 man tents
    • hard shell ones are easier
  • they are harder to close down as the top is high
  • you need to deflate mattresses when folding up
  • you have to level the vehicle
    • restricts location and requires leveling options
    • may require damaging environment to get a level spot
  • must sleep where you park - this can be dangerous from other traffic or very dusty
  • they get really dusty
  • take longer to dry out
  • very noisy in the wind
  • catch more wind as higher up and strong winds can kick up the bottom while you try to sleep
  • often have openings large enough for mice to get through
  • sun will hit you earlier and you get less sleep ins
  • can't use a roof rack for other things unless the tent is designed to carry things as well
  • choice of site may be restricted due to height clearance issues
  • generally colder in winter than a swag or 2 man tent
  • are likely to result in condensation UNDER your mattress

tarp as shelter

gazebo and gazebo-like shelters

  • most of the lighter gazebos will be destroyed in strong winds!
    • eg. Repco Dusc SUV awning
      • poles invert and become distorted in strong gusts, persistent winds create holes in the fabric and a strong gust can rip the corner eyelets out
  • most require 2 people to set up

car camping tarp easy one person set up shelter kits

    • 28kg, 3.6m x 3.6m Tornado LITE Tarpaulin with 6 support poles plus side structure rails
    • packs to 1.62m long, takes “20 minutes” to set up
australia/carcamping_shelters.txt · Last modified: 2021/12/13 23:38 by gary1