Some of these look very impressive (both weight and price). They should be worth a go if you are in the market for a cheap, light tent. A$50 (delivered) for a tough 2 person ultralight shelter is hard to beat!
This 740 gram single person tent which is very similar to this one costs only US67.05 (less $10 if you are a new customer) plus about $15 shipping to Australia – so around $100 all up, not bad at all. There is plenty of room for one person and their gear, and you can set it up with a verandah as I did the Big Sky tent. It is a fully lined tent with a waterproof floor.
This one person floorless mid is pretty spectacular at 410 grams and US$32.37. Length: 7’6” – 230cm Width: 4-5’ 120-160cm Height: 4’ -120cm. I figure you could easily erect it with a couple of bush sticks. Della nd I could both fit in there. A piece of Polycro for a groundsheet and you have a pretty good hunting camp under 500 grams. The freight on this one is US$11.13 making a total of US$43,50 or A$ 59.98! You can get an inner tent to go with this for another US $38.25. It is unclear how much it weighs (less than 550 grams anyway – package weight). I would go just with the fly and a groundsheet myself.
This two person tent is interesting. It is just a fly (at 500 grams) but is 8’6” long by 5’6” wide and 4’6” high (265 x 170 x 135) and weighs 500 grams. US$58.65. You could easily add some Polycro as a groundsheet. Certainly plenty of room for two people and a lot of gear.
This is a copy of the MLD Trailstar but only costs US$35.71 for a huge two person shelter weighing 760 grams. A pity it wasn’t a lighter nylon really (weight-wise), but this piece of gear looks pretty bulletproof to me. You can’t even buy a tarp for that! Again you would have to add eg some Polycro for a floor. I think this is cheap enough I would risk a fire to warm it out the front for a deer-hunting camp winter shelter, though sparks would no doubt burn small holes in it over time. You could repair them with this.
The price includes free shipping to Australia, so total cost is A$49.24 delivered. I would seriously think about trying one of these out! I think most hunters could afford to leave a cheap tent like this up the bush in a drum (as I do). Once you get a bit of kit together at a camping spot it certainly makes for a lighter carry-in and out, and means it is easier to take more food and to stay longer. After a while you will have a complete cache with a couple of nested aluminium billies, a light fry pan, plastic plates, cutlery, a fishing kit, saw, etc. The canoe drums have a handle so that they can be relatively easily carried to a new spot should you have eliminated every deer in the vicinity!
Here is another Trailstar in a lighter fabric (590 grams) and US$48.99 and US$15.11 delivery to Australia. (ie. US$64.10 = A$88.39).
They have many others. It would certainly be worth giving one a try. Mind you when you figure China can sell you a complete tent delivered for much less than you can buy the material (even from them) it goes to show that there is no such thing as ‘free trade’ to them. There must be massive government subsidies to their export industries over there to allow them to do this. Tough if you are a small American manufacturer like MLD and these guys basically steal your award-winning Trailstar (US$230) and pretty much give them away!
PS: Some of these tents need seam sealing. Either buy a tube of McNett seam sealer or follow the advice here
Update: I ordered the 410 gram mid and the 760 gram Trailstar on the 2nd September. I arrived home today (13th) from having my back operation and they were waiting for me. 10 days from China is pretty good. They both came with pegs and guys by the way. My initial impression is that they are excellent. I will see if Della can help put them up tomorrow then I will post an initial review about them. I suspect many budget hikers are going to be very pleased with these cheap tents.