To Hot Tent or to Bivy?

tomengineer

Active member
Joined
Jan 14, 2019
Messages
161
I tent camped on two separate hunts this year down to -2 (Late Nov and Jan). Nothing got damp. The temp diff from the stove heating the air and cooling is what cases a lot of moisture problems.

Hot tents can be great for certain hunting styles, they also totally suck for others. I've hunted in a number of places where a floor-less and/or tipi style tent would suck.

My recommendation would be to buy a good traditional floored tent, good pad, good bag. This setup is the most beginner friendly and idiot proof, it's also the most versatile.
I would go:
Hilleberg (Best-Most expensive)
MSR/Big Agnes (Good tent - Medium cost)
Sierra Designs/North Face (Still good tents, heavier - best price)

Thing to keep in mind for the OP, I would bet you $100 none of the guys on this thread who are recommending hot tents started off backpacking with them. Will I probably get one at some point, probably... an 8 man, and I would use in on trips with pack stock or if I'm planning a base camp style hunt.
Thank you for the advice. I have a feeling we’ll know what fits us after this trip. Hard to judge without any backpack hunting under our belts.
 

tomengineer

Active member
Joined
Jan 14, 2019
Messages
161
So have you ever done a backpack hunt before? I don’t know anything about you guys or your abilities, but I would probably look at a good base camp setup before I looked into a good backpacking setup. I think you’ll be able to hunt more efficiently from a good basecamp than backpacking in for 10 days if it’s your first time. I’m far from what I would consider a hardcore or badass backpack hunter but I’ve been on my fair share of tough hunts and I think 10 days would be tough to accomplish for your first time. Not trying to be a downer but it’s not as easy as people think. Especially being your first time.

But to answer your question, for three guys a hot tent is the way to go in my opinion. Don’t rely on the stove to keep you warm as they have short burn times so plan accordingly with your sleeping bag. I would go a minimum of a 6 man tipi and would lean hard towards the 8. I have a 6 man seek outside and it gets tight with three guys, a stove, and wood. Make sure you set it up several times and burn the stove before you go. On the side of mountain is not the place to learn the ins and outs of your gear.
Thanks for this. We are thinking of spike camping so not really a true extended backpacking hunt. More like a couple nights at a time a few miles back .
 

ntodwild

Active member
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
364
Location
Washington
Where I live has a pretty similar climate. I feel very lucky if I am out all day and I don't get rained or snowed on for at least an hour or two during hunting season. That is the exact reason why I love my tipi and stove. Before I got my current setup, I spent many a miserable morning putting on frozen clothes and boots. It is unbelievable how much more peasant it is to wake up and fire up my stove, let it warm up a bit then prep for the day in a comfortable warm glow. I have found that I hunt harder and my mind is in the game more when I go to bed dry and warm and wake up dry and warm. My tipi and stove weigh less than my older 2/3 man backpacking tents. I use a sheet of tyvek for a ground cloth when the ground is wet or snow covered and if it is just me or the conditions are dry I use an ultra lightweight tarp that is just big enough for my sleeping pad to sit on. Haven't had much more of an issue with moisture buildup than I get in a regular tent, and the moisture goes away pretty quick once the stove is going whereas it never goes away in my regular tents in the usual conditions around here. For the early season when bugs are an issue, I had a local seamstress sow a 4" sod skirt around the base of my tipi. That was I can seal the base down to the ground with rocks, sticks and dirt. I actually have an interior floor/liner for the tipi but since the sod skirt seals it up pretty good, I haven't felt the need to use it yet.
Nothing like a nice warm fire in the AM to kick start your day. Mostly for the purposes of the original post are you backpacking with this setup (run and gun), packing it in and setting up a spike camp or basecamp?
 

wllm1313

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
6,704
Location
Aurora, CO
Thank you for the advice. I have a feeling we’ll know what fits us after this trip. Hard to judge without any backpack hunting under our belts.
Exactly. I've posted on a number of these hot tent threads, and I feel like I'm coming across as the dude on the forum who just hates them period. That's 100% not the case I'm just more of the mind that you should recommend good general gear and tactics to folks getting started in any sport.

Do fat powder skis have a place 100% but if someone asks for advice on what their first skis should be that's not what I'm going to tell them to get.

If you plan on doing a number of western hunts and trying stuff out I would get something that is all purpose. You want something that is going to work on a pronghorn hunt where it's windy, a high elevation deer hunt where you want something with a small foot print as often flat spots are hard to find, a desert hunt where its super cold at night-hot during the day- and no wood to burn, and an Alaskan hunt where everything is wet.

You don't want to have to make a big tent purchase next year when you decide to do a different hunt.
 

theat

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 28, 2010
Messages
649
Location
NW Montana
Nothing like a nice warm fire in the AM to kick start your day. Mostly for the purposes of the original post are you backpacking with this setup (run and gun), packing it in and setting up a spike camp or basecamp?
A bit of everything. I probably have at least 15+ different kinds of tents and shelters in my shop. As far as hot tents go, I have never actually bought one (other than wall tents), but I have put stove jacks in a couple of lightweight tipis and a tarp setup. If it is just me and I decide the conditions warrant bringing a stove along, I usually bring either my smaller tipi or tarp. If there are 2 or more, I bring my Golite 5 man tipi(really only good for 2 or a tight 3). I also have a Seek Outside Courthouse tent that is basically an ultra lightweight wall tent. I have planned on using it a couple times on backpack hunts with 4 or more people, but those trips didn't pan out. I have used it on a fly in moose hunt in Alaska where we had a 60lb/per person weight restriction. Also love that tent for rafting trips. I also have several different sizes and styles of titanium stoves.

I have sat around a ton of fires to warm up in the woods, but it is tough to really get your gear and yourself dry, even around a fire, when it is pouring down rain.

I love my hot tent setups but I don't always use them either. I have no problem going out for a few days without any kind of shelter if conditions are for sure going to be good. I have spent a lot of nights out like this or with less.
DSC09853.jpg


As far as what someone who is brand new to western backpack hunting should get...wllm is right. Unless you have plenty of disposable income, enjoy tinkering with gear, and have time to take that gear on real world trial runs... a decent sleeping pad, a good sleeping bag, and a decent standard backpacking tent are probably going to be your best bet for your first time out.
 

beginnerhunter

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2016
Messages
884
A bit of everything. I probably have at least 15+ different kinds of tents and shelters in my shop. As far as hot tents go, I have never actually bought one (other than wall tents), but I have put stove jacks in a couple of lightweight tipis and a tarp setup. If it is just me and I decide the conditions warrant bringing a stove along, I usually bring either my smaller tipi or tarp. If there are 2 or more, I bring my Golite 5 man tipi(really only good for 2 or a tight 3). I also have a Seek Outside Courthouse tent that is basically an ultra lightweight wall tent. I have planned on using it a couple times on backpack hunts with 4 or more people, but those trips didn't pan out. I have used it on a fly in moose hunt in Alaska where we had a 60lb/per person weight restriction. Also love that tent for rafting trips. I also have several different sizes and styles of titanium stoves.

I have sat around a ton of fires to warm up in the woods, but it is tough to really get your gear and yourself dry, even around a fire, when it is pouring down rain.

I love my hot tent setups but I don't always use them either. I have no problem going out for a few days without any kind of shelter if conditions are for sure going to be good. I have spent a lot of nights out like this or with less.
View attachment 132783


As far as what someone who is brand new to western backpack hunting should get...wllm is right. Unless you have plenty of disposable income, enjoy tinkering with gear, and have time to take that gear on real world trial runs... a decent sleeping pad, a good sleeping bag, and a decent standard backpacking tent are probably going to be your best bet for your first time out.
Maybe too in-the-weeds but could you give a little info on the stoves you're using? What has/hasn't worked well?

I've kept things really simple for a few years but thinking of experimenting a little more.
 

theat

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 28, 2010
Messages
649
Location
NW Montana
Maybe too in-the-weeds but could you give a little info on the stoves you're using? What has/hasn't worked well?

I've kept things really simple for a few years but thinking of experimenting a little more.
I have a Titanium Goat small round stove and bought the parts necessary to convert it to the medium size which is 18" long. The small is 12". The owner of Ti Goat passed last year and one of his employees has taken over under a new name Ruta Locura. Not sure if they are still making stoves but I was able to order parts for my conversion last summer. I also have a large Kifaru box stove that I use in my wall tents when I am trying to conserve weight and bulk. I have also used a couple seek outside box stoves.

All small titanium stoves are going to be a bit finicky compared to standard large steel wood stoves. Due to the small size they can be a bit difficult to get them to draw well right off the bat if atmospheric conditions are bad. This usually isn't much of an issue and I have found that by angling the stove pipe so that the top hole is facing away from the direction the wind is coming out of keeps this from happening for the most part. Also helps to start the fire more towards the back of the stove closer to the pipe exit. Once the stove builds up some heat it isn't an issue.

Since they are small and are made of very thin sheets of titanium, you can't really expect them to hold coals for long periods of time with most types of wood. They will get a tipi or small wall tent very warm while they are going. I have sat around in my tipi in my boxers while it was 10 degrees and blizzarding outside. With the right size and kind of fuel, I have had enough coals 7 hours later to get a fire going.

I really don't think you can go wrong with any Ti stove from a company that has been around for awhile. Some are made to be bare bones and as light as possible and some focus on strength and functionality. Depends on what you want out of it and how much you want to spend.

All the stoves that I have used are a bit challenging to set up the first couple times, but once you get the hang of it, its pretty easy. They are a bit delicate, but as long as you don't drop a log on them or step on them they hold up pretty good.

Depending on what you have available for fuel, they can pump out small sparks out of the end of the pipe that sometimes fall down onto the outside of the tent and occasionally burn holes in the tent. Because of the drafting issues most companies don't recommend a top of the pipe spark arrestor, but I have been using one lately along with a slide in arrestor at the base of the pipe and haven't had any issues and it seems to help with the sparks. I keep a small roll of tenacious tape with my tent to patch any burn holes. I also often pack along a small folding saw to cut larger branches to the right length to fit the stove. This isn't as much of an issue with 16"+ stoves but for my 12" stove I had a hard time getting large branches broken to a short enough length.

This is the 12" Ti Goat stove the first time I set it up. These stoves are pretty bare bones but very light. I have been happy with it.
DSC00332.JPG

This is my Kifaru large stove set up in my Seek Outside Courthouse tent on a fly in moose hunt in Alaska.
IMG_1556.jpg

DSCN6231.jpg
 

dgc1963

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2019
Messages
311
I go to Idaho In september central Idaho and have never had a hot tent but if I was going with a group prob would just due to sharing the load late sept can bring weather changes kinda quick
I also have a great bag rated well below than I need Id rather open it up than be cold, trying to get back this sept and at 57 have thought about a hot tent but prob wont pull the trigger
just my 2 cents
 

beginnerhunter

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2016
Messages
884
I have a Titanium Goat small round stove and bought the parts necessary to convert it to the medium size which is 18" long. The small is 12". The owner of Ti Goat passed last year and one of his employees has taken over under a new name Ruta Locura. Not sure if they are still making stoves but I was able to order parts for my conversion last summer. I also have a large Kifaru box stove that I use in my wall tents when I am trying to conserve weight and bulk. I have also used a couple seek outside box stoves.

All small titanium stoves are going to be a bit finicky compared to standard large steel wood stoves. Due to the small size they can be a bit difficult to get them to draw well right off the bat if atmospheric conditions are bad. This usually isn't much of an issue and I have found that by angling the stove pipe so that the top hole is facing away from the direction the wind is coming out of keeps this from happening for the most part. Also helps to start the fire more towards the back of the stove closer to the pipe exit. Once the stove builds up some heat it isn't an issue.

Since they are small and are made of very thin sheets of titanium, you can't really expect them to hold coals for long periods of time with most types of wood. They will get a tipi or small wall tent very warm while they are going. I have sat around in my tipi in my boxers while it was 10 degrees and blizzarding outside. With the right size and kind of fuel, I have had enough coals 7 hours later to get a fire going.

I really don't think you can go wrong with any Ti stove from a company that has been around for awhile. Some are made to be bare bones and as light as possible and some focus on strength and functionality. Depends on what you want out of it and how much you want to spend.

All the stoves that I have used are a bit challenging to set up the first couple times, but once you get the hang of it, its pretty easy. They are a bit delicate, but as long as you don't drop a log on them or step on them they hold up pretty good.

Depending on what you have available for fuel, they can pump out small sparks out of the end of the pipe that sometimes fall down onto the outside of the tent and occasionally burn holes in the tent. Because of the drafting issues most companies don't recommend a top of the pipe spark arrestor, but I have been using one lately along with a slide in arrestor at the base of the pipe and haven't had any issues and it seems to help with the sparks. I keep a small roll of tenacious tape with my tent to patch any burn holes. I also often pack along a small folding saw to cut larger branches to the right length to fit the stove. This isn't as much of an issue with 16"+ stoves but for my 12" stove I had a hard time getting large branches broken to a short enough length.

This is the 12" Ti Goat stove the first time I set it up. These stoves are pretty bare bones but very light. I have been happy with it.
View attachment 133035

This is my Kifaru large stove set up in my Seek Outside Courthouse tent on a fly in moose hunt in Alaska.
View attachment 133036

View attachment 133038
Wow thanks for the detailed assessment!

I've always thought they looked comfy. But then I picture myself gathering and chopping wood lol. But with a few people probably could get it licked quickly.
 

buffybr

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2009
Messages
251
Location
BozAngeles, MT
...This is my Kifaru large stove set up in my Seek Outside Courthouse tent on a fly in moose hunt in Alaska.
View attachment 133036
...
That looks like A LOT of gear for two guys to backpack very far into the mountains.

I have a stove very similar to this one shown that I used on many hunts including quite a few in sub zero temps, but I had horses to pack them. Weight is everything when backpacking, and when I had to carry everything in on my back, I warmed up by a campfire outside.
 

pre6422hornet

Active member
Joined
May 21, 2015
Messages
241
Wow thanks for the detailed assessment!

I've always thought they looked comfy. But then I picture myself gathering and chopping wood lol. But with a few people probably could get it licked quickly.
It's not really chopping wood per se with these little stoves. Its more breaking dead limbs or using a folding saw to get some wrist sized "logs" for when you go to bed, turn down the dampers, and go to sleep. We use it in the evening and morning usually, but if one of us wakes up in the middle of the night, we throw in a few sticks to keep it coaling.

Here is a pile of fuel for a couple nights worth of burns last fall in NM. It literally took us 10 minutes to grab that pile, saw/break it up, and then move it into the Hudson. We usually would boil water on the MSR, pour into mountain house, and then go grab the wood while we waited for dinner to re hydrate.

We ended up using some rocks that were laying around to build a little foundation for the stove. Not only did it create a barrier between the Tyvek and the stove, they actually held some heat and made the heat last longer.

My setup weighs 3 pounds 10 oz total. Hudson is 1 pound 8oz and the stove is 2 pounds 2 oz.

IMG_0120.jpg
 

Matt Dworak

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2017
Messages
34
Location
Fort Collins, CO
Like others, I own a PILE of tents. Bivy sacks, lightweight backpacking, dome, outfitter, tipi with stove-jacks and backpacking stoves (Kifaru). For our September elk hunts in Colorado I typically use the tipi and take the stove. Most years the stove doesn't even get assembled. When it does is after multiple days of rain/snow and then it's worth it's weight in gold. Being able to get out of the weather and get dried out is huge, physically and mentally.

For a group of guys new to backpacking I'd focus on a nice truck camp setup with the ability to bivy/spike out for a few days at a time. I almost always make my plans these days when I have a good grasp of the weather forecast for the upcoming week, then I throw in the appropriate shelter and/or change plans accordingly and know the weatherman has about a 50% chance of getting it right:p. My $.02.

20160923_133923.jpg
 

theat

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 28, 2010
Messages
649
Location
NW Montana
That looks like A LOT of gear for two guys to backpack very far into the mountains.

I have a stove very similar to this one shown that I used on many hunts including quite a few in sub zero temps, but I had horses to pack them. Weight is everything when backpacking, and when I had to carry everything in on my back, I warmed up by a campfire outside.
It is. If you had read my first post, you would have read that I don't pack that Courthouse tent in for two people. I haven't used it on a backpack trip yet, but if I did it would be on a trip with at last four people. Split between 4, the tent and stove would be less than 3.5lbs per person. Mostly it gets used on long float trips.
 
Top