BearPaw tents

any good?

14 messages
10/07/2011 at 15:49

hi folks, would anyone have any thoughts on the bearpaw AT1 tent, for 2-3 season  uk use. it's available here weighs 625 grammes, packs up to 12" by 4" and is $159 which seems very good value, particularly as i nearly always use walking poles and i also have a relative in america, who could forward it to me. there must be a downside, right? i can't find any reviews of it, so wonder if anyone has any experiences good or bad with bearpaw? (the pyratent looks quite interesting as well.) cheers, VH.

Edited: 10/07/2011 at 15:53
10/07/2011 at 18:35

I've only read good things about Bear Paws. 

A few folk on here have had  inner tents for various shelters made by him.

fixed the link for you:   Bearpaw AT1

(got your boxes back to front)

Edited: 10/07/2011 at 18:39
11/07/2011 at 10:07

cheers Mole! think i will get in touch with bearpaw and take a punt on this, particularly as i don't want to go down the tarp route. it's cheaper, airier and a lot lighter than my laser comp, which will go on ebay! condensation could be a problem but i could leave the front open in mild conditions.

11/07/2011 at 10:32

looks like you can always raise the canopy for more ventilation .

if you do get it, do post a review on here ?

11/07/2011 at 19:19
will do! the more i look at it the more i think it could potentially be a great uk summer shelter for a reasonable price. bathtub floor and you can lower it's height to help with wind protection.
15/07/2011 at 10:22
Not sure I'd fancy it much in a blow, but it all depends how you intend to use it.
I've got a mesh inner with silnylon floor from Bearpaw and I've been pleased with the build quality and the customer service (original item lost at customs).
15/07/2011 at 12:06
richard - true, but i'll put extra guys on each side, which should help. plus i only intend to use it when the forecast is reasonable. i also have a scarp for poor weather conditions, and a laser comp which i will have to sell on the boss's orders! anyway, i've ordered it, just have to wait for it to be made and then delivered. they were very promt replying to my queries, so will see how it goes. the shelter itself looks very similar to the tarptent contrail - hopefully i will be as happy with it as i am with the scarp. americans really seem to be producing incredible kit at the minute, would be nice to see a british company doing similar things.
15/07/2011 at 13:54

pegged down tight, with double guys from the end peaks (is it possible to do this with the hanging loops - I'd make sure it was with Bearpaw) and good pegging all round , it should be fine in a blow IMO.

It's not much different looking from a Saunders Jetpacker or a Golite SL1 in profile. Certainly just as likely to stay up as many other lightweight backpacking tents.

of  the  folks who camped on the night of the 100mph 'on the tops' on the recent TGO, I  heard of only one tent being blown down - that was an inadequately pegged single hoop (like a TN Solo/ Macpac microlight in shape)

of course, the Scarps were the most solid

02/08/2011 at 18:38

well, it arrived and me and my pooch Paddington managed to take it out to the black mountains for a test run. I wanted to dip my relatively inexperienced toes into the holy grail of backpacking - 'going light' whilst not spending too much money. i appreciate that for many experienced OMer's shelters such as this are probably 'old news'! so this is not meant to be an exhaustive review at all, just my inexpert thoughts based on the above criteria. not being sure where to post a 'review' i will state a few initial thoughts here if thats ok.

BearPaw AT1 $159 + $25 postage.

first of all, dealing with BearPaw was as painless and hassle free as you can get in ordering anything from america. it took about 3 weeks from ordering to arriving and i managed to avoid any 'extra' costs regarding postage, wahey!

according to BearPaw the silnylon  AT1 weighs 625 grammes, which i am unable to verify, though that seems about right. It does not come with pegs or poles although both are available as optional extras if required (i have a fair selection of various  pegs anyway, saddo that i am!) and i tend to use walking poles anyway. It is basically a single skin 'tarp tent', with a 30 denier groundsheet and flysheet seperated by about 6-8 inches of no-see-um mesh and a no-see-um mesh inner door as well. The groundsheet feels very delicate and it certainly requires careful checking of the pitch area for stones etc as i suspect it would rip quite easily (Bearpaw do offer a 70 denier groundsheet for the same price but more weight.) I would say though that the 'bathtub' style groundsheet seems to consist of a lip no more than an inch high, rather than the traditional style i am acustomed to, again, careful pitching is required to avoid potential water ingress.

pack size is very reasonable as shown below, and if i had the money, i would invest in a lighter, smaller rucksack than my osprey talon 44. but i aint. so i can't.

the AT1 is an odd looking thing to my eyes at least, but what i like about it is it's simplicity. simply peg out the corners, pop in the poles and adjust the guylines as required, its very simple really - even i can do that! it's a shelter, nothing more, nothing less! i also like the fact that i can raise the fly to aid ventilation or lower it to help deflect side driven rain, depending on the conditions. i can also raise or lower the poles, which again, could be useful in strong wind, though it was used in very still conditions on this particular trip. (note: also available in stealth green - for some inexplicable reason i like the grey colour.)

02/08/2011 at 18:38


i decided to add extra guys and linelocs, one on each side and an extra one at the front, and once i did so, it definately felt more stable, although i will still be careful about the weather forecast and, ideally, will pitch it in relatively sheltered spots - this is not a  shelter for a real brecon beacons hoolie in my opinion.

theres plenty of space for one inside, and it's also exceptionally long - this tarp tent would suit tall people, who i suspect may often struggle to find an ultralight shelter due to (lack of) inner space.

the porch is small but will fit a rucksack or a smelly pooch and at 5'11" i can just about sit up at the front of the tent and do some cooking in bad weather.

   As expected, i experienced a significant amount of condensation over night, particularly as it was such a humid, still evening, and a foggy humid morning. however i never once touched the sides of the tent and it tends to run down the sides and then simply drip through the no-see-um and out, so i didnt find it a problem other than i was unable to dry it properly before packing it away. It rained heavily at about six in the morning for a couple of hours, but there was no water ingress at all, as best as i could tell through the condensation lol! This is no doubt helped by the fact that BearPaw actually seam seal all their shelters free of charge, which i'm pleased about as they make a far neater job of it than i would have done.

 In conclusion, after one nights use - Pros - very light; relatively cheap; beauty in simplicity; simple and quick to pitch; ability to adjust height, fly sheet etc   Cons - condensation prone; ideally suited to calmer conditions only; have to order from america, requires careful looking after, particularly the groundsheet. Cheers, Steve.  
08/05/2012 at 17:09

I've had an incredibly bad experience with John at Bearpaw.  I called him because I was torn between a Pyra and Bearden and I wanted some modifications.  I wanted a light single wall tent with a full net door and floor so that I could have the doors open for ventilation and still be protected from bugs.  I was set on a Pyra but he convinced me that a Luna was better suited for me as it already had the full net door and he could easily modify the floor so it was full.  He also said it would weigh about 16 oz.  I got the tent, weighed it and it was 26 oz not 16.  I emailed him to ask why.  He said that he had never made a Pyra with a full net door so wasn't sure about the weight and it was what it was.  I was floored... I ordered the Luna.  He insisted that I didn't... apparently he failed to note that I ended up wanting the Luna and so made me the Pyra which weighed way more than he said it would.  I will admit I didn't notice that on the invoice, in the notes, that he put Pyra.  I honestly thought I was getting a Luna and didn't notice the mistake.  I thought he knew what he was doing.

 He refuses to admit his mistake, so now I'm out over $400 and stuck with a tent that is only a few ounces less than my current one.  I've contacted the BBB but I don't think it will help.

 I would stay away from Bearpaw until he gets his stuff figured out.  His website is a mess and it's hard to figure out what's what on there. 

09/05/2012 at 10:34
My experience with BPW has been excellent.

The complaint from Maxine House has been covered in another gear post on this forum and also on at least one other US forum.

As long as you make clear to any company exactly what your requirements are and get confirmation of that, which is simple common sense, then there is absolutely no reason to be wary. Phone calls don't count in this regard as clear communication, emails do. Which is no problem for UK based prospective purchasers.

BPW have some lovely looking items on their website. If I was looking to buy some new stuff, I would go to them without any hesitation. Their delivery times are also unbelievably quick.
09/05/2012 at 11:24

I would concur with steady eddie, my personal experience with BearPaw was good and the build quality was reasonable. I asked John a number of questions and he replied promptly. in fact i'm thinking of buying a Luna 2 off him when i can afford it (MLD just take too long and its also available in a nice green! and Beapaw neatly seam sealed mine for free as well) so i would say to anyone thinking of using BearPaw not to let one persons bad experience put you off completely - I would happily buy from them again. cheers, steve.

PS Looking at the Bearpaw AT1 mini review above, i'm cringing at how badly i pitched it, now ive used it a fair bit since, i pitch it with the poles set higher, which creates the bathtub floor, whilst improving ventilation and the bath tub prevents water ingress. I was in the brecon beacons the last couple of days and really enjoyed using it, the wind was gusting at around 20-30 mph and it stood up to it surprisingly well (so it should do though) - i would recommend it as a reasonably cheap way to go 'light.'

09/05/2012 at 16:17
BearPaw Lair review here for those interested.
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