The Alps Mountaineering Trail Tipi is a low-cost (MSRP $149), single-wall pyramid tent suitable for use by a single adult under 72″ in height or two youths up to 56″ in height. It has a trail weight (minus stakes and stuff sack) of 3 lbs 1 oz and requires a single trekking pole to set up. The tent has a single front door with a large vestibule, adjustable corner guy outs, two peak vents, 1 vestibule vent and a floating floor with 2″ of perimeter insect netting, like a tarp tent. While it’s not as buff as an ultralight backpacking pyramid costing 5-7 times as much, it’s perfectly suitable for campground or jamboree camping in good weather and is even lightweight enough for backpacking use.
Specs at a Glance
- Trail Weight: tent and pole jack (only) 3 lbs 1 oz / 1389 g
- Also included: 12 steel stakes, extra guylines, patch kit, stake sack (9.9 oz / 282 g) and tent sack (2.3 oz / 65 g)
- Trekking pole: Not included, height of 51-54″ recommended
- Seam-taped: Yes
- Minimum number of stakes to pitch: 6
- Vents: 3
- Doors: 1
- Materials: Fly is 75D 185T polyester with 1500 mm coating; Floor is Polyester taffeta with 3000 mm coating
Lightweight backpacking gear has gotten outrageously expensive these days, so I’ve been on the lookout for lower cost alternatives for my readers. The Alps Mountaineering Trail Tipi caught my eye because its outfitted like many ultralight pyramid tarps, but is made with heavier, more conventional fabrics to keep its price down.
The Trail Tipi has a six-sided rain fly with a five sided internal floor that requires a single trekking pole, 51″-54″ in height to set up. The tent requires a minimum of 6 tent stakes to pitch. There’s one guyline for each “corner” that is connected to both the fly and the floor, so you tension both with a single stake. Line loc tensioners are included, which makes this a very simple process. When setting up the tent, you want to stake out all the corners loosely, insert the center pole and then walk around and tension the corners.
The peak is reinforced, but I still like to position the trekking pole handle up to prevent tearing it. A pole jack is included with the tent. This is a just a piece of plastic that fits over the other end of the pole to prevent damage to the tent floor. It’s very easy to loose, but you can replace it with anything from a piece of foam pad to a paper plate.
There’s a vestibule at the front of the tent, which closes with a two-way zipper so you can leave it partially unzipped for airflow. The zipper is positioned in the middle of the vestibule and there are door tiebacks on either side if you want to roll one open for the night. If you roll both doors open, I would recommend running an extra guyline from the peak for added stability because the tent will sag a bit if you remove the stake anchoring the door or one side of the vestibule. There are extra guy out points around the tent for this purpose.
The Trail Tipi also has three vents: two large vents in the peak and one in the vestibule. All three vents have insect netting behind them and kickstand vents to remain open. However, you still have to get out of the tent to adjust them if required.
Since this is a single wall tent, you want to maximize ventilation at night by keeping the front vestibule open and both peak vents as well. This helps prevent a temperature differential between the interior and exterior of the rain fly which is the cause of tent condensation. In addition to the mesh door, there is a 2″ band of insect netting between the walls and the floor for additional ventilation. It is covered by the rain fly so rain will not drip inside.
The position of the pole is 22″ behind the front mesh door, which makes it hard to orient 2 people inside unless they’re quite short and both less than 56″ tall when lying down. There’s no way two adults can fit inside unless you stack them on top of one another.
Practically speaking, the tent will only fit one adult under 6′ in height or one adult and a dog, with plenty of interior space for gear storage. That adult can lie behind the pole on a diagonal. That’s how I’ve used it.
Being a pyramid, the tent ceiling slopes down which limits the amount of headroom at the sides. I’m 5′ 10″ and didn’t wake up with tent fabric in my face, but it’s nothing like the spacious interior of a dome-style tent in terms of ceiling height. If you want more headroom or living room in a pyramid tent, it helps to get one that has a much larger footprint and a higher center pole.
One of the interesting things about Tipi Tent is that it is configured as a single wall tent with a built-in floor. Most ultralight backpacking or conventional pyramid tents are floorless and have to be coupled with an inner net tent for insect or moisture protection (or used with a bivy sack). This can make them prohibitively expensive as well as heavy.
While the Alps Mountaineering Trail Tipi has a pyramid shape, which is usually quite wind and weather worthy, the pitch is a little sloppy and the tent has a noticeable sag after 30 minutes despite its polyester rain fly. That coupled with the difficulty of fitting taller individuals makes me pause in recommending it for use except in good weather. If price is your main concern, I’d recommend picking up one of the 10 Best Budget Tents under $250 that we recommend, which include some low weight options and as well as models that can fit two adults quite comfortably.
Still, this Alps Mountaineering Trail Tipi Tent was definitely worth trying, if only to steer you to better alternatives.
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