Alpine Design Hiker Biker II Tent
I recently purchased the Alpine Design Hiker Biker II one man tent for $27.99 and had a chance to break it in this weekend. The main tent has a "bathtub" floor and bug netting for walls. It's not no see um netting which is on the door, but it works. It also comes with a rain fly for add protection from the elements. The tent over all is light and sturdy. I was able to sleep comfortably in side, but there is very little head room for sitting, the tent is not designed for some one over 5'8". I read several reviews (non of them good), before buying this particular tent, and it seemed everyone had the same complaint; They all got wet! The first rule with any new tent is seam seal and water proof before using it. And not just the rain fly, water proof and seem seal the floor as well, the point is to stay dry after all. This should be done immediately with any tent whether it cost $25 or $400. I spent the weekend camping in mixed weather conditions, properly preparing this tent paid off. It rained pretty hard Friday night and not a drop made it into the tent. This tent also ventilates very well which was another complaint with the original Alpine Design Hiker Biker. I think the improved design of the Hiker Biker II has a lot to do with this. I did not experience any issues with condensation. As with all tents a good ground cloth is also essential. You can use plastic, Tyvec or a tarp to protect the bottom of the tent. There are a few things that I would recommend upgrading if you decide to purchase the Hiker Biker II.
First -Stakes: The stakes supplied are cheap steel, replace these with aluminum or titanium to cut down weight.
Second - Guy-Lines: replace the guy-lines with something a little easier to see. Boy Scouts don't always watch where they are walking, and quite a few tripped over the guy-lines of my tent. I tied various colored ribbon to the guy-lines and the scouts still managed to trip on the lines.
Three - Zipper Pulls: The zippers are a little tough when closing the door. The D-Ring holding the Zipper Tab to the zipper opened up. I had my leather-man so it was easy to fix. But I would replace the pulls with something a little stronger.
Finally four - Tent Poles: The tent comes with to very thin fiberglass poles, and biggest compliant about this tent has been the poles breaking, especially during late fall and early spring. I can see this happening with the poles that have been supplied. I luckily didn't break mine. I would recommend replacing them with aluminum or titanium. There are sites like Tentpole Technologies that you can purchase replacements from.
I know that it may seem crazy to spend money upgrading a $30 tent, but I believe that the Alpine Design Hiker Biker II tent will last a good long time with a few upgrades and proper care.
Sorry no photos from this weekend, I pulled the camera out and set it aside to back in my pack, and left it sitting on the table.
Thanks for your review on this excellent little tent, I'll add my two cents as well, because I saw some bad reviews as well which are undeserved.
I have the same tent but the model with solid walls, i used it for eight days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and had constant rain, I also seam sealed everything, I also beleive in using a tarp over any tent, whatever the price or quality, a tarp keeps me warm and dry no matter what. I also replaced my poles with Easton Aluminum poles, tentpole technologies did an awesome job for me, and I already had aluminum stakes which I used as well. All together the tent in this form weighs under two pounds. The fiberglass poles would have been more acceptable if they would not have had sections that were 24 inches long, that length sticks out of my setup no matter where I put it, nothing is 24 inches long on anything I carry, so my criteria for my pole builder was to make the sections each no longer than 12", which he pulled off very well.
The bundle is much smaller and lighter now and fits under the flap on my swiss military rucksack very well. I use a very light mylar blanket as a ground cloth, which is absolutely impermeable and also does double duty in reflecting back my heat from under the tent when temps were in the 30's.
I am 6'2" and got fit enough before the trip to crawl around inside this tent well, I don't want to sit in my tent, I sleep in it and change clothes, which I can do fairly well. I pitch this tent under my 8x10 tarp, and hang my hammock right next to it, still under the tarp, I can recline in the hammock, make some coffee under the tarp, or go inside for a nap.
Good living, I didnt get tired of this tent in 8 days on the water, setting up every day but two. Easy set up and takedown.
Above is the little bundle the tent packs into carried on top of my pack that day, I made a durable canvas bag to hold it in instead of the flimsy bag it comes in.
Thats me above sittin' in front of my tent under the tarp with my laudry drying out over my hammock.
I plan on using the same setup next may/june when I go back. Excellent cheap kit with a little modification in my book.
I agree - great little tent. Sealed my seams and will be looking into some new poles now. Thanks guys!
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Things have really changed over the years I guess, I've tent camped most of my life up until about six years ago, the last ten years of that in two tents made by The Tentsmith from NH., before them was an array of wall tents, umbarrella tents, and cabin styled tents, and never did I have to seam seal or waterproof my tents, I had one instance where we bought a new tent and the seams leaked in a two day rain, I contacted the manufacturer and they exchanged it for another new one that didn't leak.
In my opinion tents are supposed to be water proof from the factory, I can see where after a few years of use a leak may develope that needs to be tended to, but a new tent should not have to be treated by the customer, I'd send i back with a nasty note.
So, by the time all the mods were made, how much did it cost?
Originally Posted by Moe M.
Not sayin' but I'm just sayin' that there really are no waterproof tents, most all tents today and of yesterday are "water resistant" old canvas tents have to be re-treated every so often just like your favorite oilsking jacket.
The new tents assume some good practices, and seam sealing is part of good preparation for the field, many tent manufacturers send a bottle along with a new tent. In may ways you probably use good practices too if you never had to seam seal anything and i really didnt need to seam seal mine because my Dad showed me to always use a tarp and you will never have a bad night or morning.
I think the naysayers are people who dont use a tarp and wonder why their old canvas tent leaks after days of heavy rain everywhere you touch it.
Last edited by jackjack; 08-26-2011 at 10:49 PM.
Originally Posted by dducey
For me, I think I paid another thirty bucks for the poles, for a tent that is $60
My other tent is a eureka solitaire, excellent little tent, but it weighs more than my hiker biker because it still has the fiberglass poles, and my hiker biker is two person with a lot more room. I think the solitaire gos for close to $80 now.
I have the original Hiker Biker.
If you want to pay the money, you can get tents with seams that are 'taped' at the factory to prevent the seams from leaking. Kelty, Big Agnes, Eureka, etc make high quality tents for backpacking, mountaineering etc. that are well regarded. These are somewhat expensive though.
realizing this is an older thread. But i too am a proud Alpine Design Hiker Biker fan. I believe the "original" was orange and gray in color. I picked it up at sports authority for 25 bucks 5 or 6 years ago. Still have it. Still use it. Love that one person and my gear can be stored in the tent (I'm 6ft tall).
to cheaply address pole fracture issues i added some black electrical tape around the poles for support. while it's not as bomb proof as aluminum, it's held up decently enough. and I picked up a 5$ can of water proof spray to coat the rain fly and base/bottom.
can i ask if you still have the data on new poles. if so could you share? since i would love to cut the weight with new poles.
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Here is the name of the tent pole supplier I used http://tentpoletechnologies.com/ they were excellent to deal with. I did not want any poles longer than 12". The 24" length that comes standard is just annoying. I just used the tent agin memorial day. I am thinking of getting the new one as well that seems to be all screen mesh with a solid fly.
Originally Posted by bushstew
They bent a few of the poles to make the short radius work for both poles, but you can't tell when you pack them away. The shock cording is first rate. It turned my tent into a supr lightweight, super packable condo for one, or me and my son, and I am 6'1" 220.
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