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A few years ago I had a 2-3 person dome tent which allowed to first install the outer tent, and then clip the inner one to it from inside. It was also possible to disassemble and pack everything without going from under the outer tent including poles.

For the context I'm planning to use it in a region with a cold weather and long (like a few days in a row) rains.

What I'm looking:

  • Is there any specific term for such tents?
  • What features should I look for?
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Certainly from UK suppliers and reviewers (example reviews) "outer first" is the term most commonly used. I've also seen (probably) US sources using this term. Terminology does vary, as in the UK the outer is also called the "fly sheet" while in some other countries "rain fly" is used.

You might also consider "all-in-one" designs, where the inner and outer are clipped together (almost) all the time and go up together. That's how mine (a 20-year-old version of this one) works; combined with shock-corded external poles it's up and solid in 5 minutes with one person. The downside is you can't split the weight so evenly.

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  • The example review I've linked as a demonstration of the terminology may suggest a couple for you, even though it's 2 years old. – Chris H Jun 10 at 15:10
  • thanks - that's exactly what I was looking for! – Vladimir Jun 10 at 22:56
  • fast fly and Fast pitch are used in the north american market [possible marketing terms] – wanna-beCanadianPilot Jun 11 at 4:31
  • @wanna-beCanadianPilot I don't know if it's yet another transatlantic difference but over here fast-pitch seems to mean the same as all-in-one, or perhaps going a step further, with hinged poles semi-permanently fitted to the fabric (like Khyam's "Quick Erect") – Chris H Jun 11 at 7:34
  • I could be wrong, come to think of it my mountan hardware might be dry pitch? I can't rember – wanna-beCanadianPilot Jun 11 at 8:01
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There are quite a few possibilities to pitch the fly sheet without the inner tent. Easiest are of course those tents which are specifically designed for this purpose, and this is what in my experience works flawlessly to keep your stuff dry over weeks in bad weather.

However, as far as I can see the reason that you have to pitch the inner tent first with so many tents is that the poles are attached, e.g., to the corners of the inner tent. So the inner tent can be replaced with a ground sheet, as demonstrated in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjFvXHWg9M8

Then you can keep the inner tent in a separate drybag until you need it.

Another possibility can be seen in this video (no idea what the man in the video says, my point is only about the attached strings):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TF5zz5tBlY

The groundsheet is replaced by a set of strings, seems custom-made to me. I have no experience with this possibility, but it seems reasonable to me. [Update: I have realized that using strings to hold the outer in place is a solution used by Hilleberg at least for their Anjan 3 GT tent, so it can be assumed to work well under most circumstances. I hope you can see it in this photo.]

So my take-home message is: Even for tents which are not designed specifically to be pitched without the inner tent, you might be able to make up a simple, but working solution. A recommendation for a certain brand or tent is therefore not strictly necessary.

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  • Thanks for the video, looks like it could be a fall back if the outer first is unavailable! It bugs me that even with the prepared footprint the man spends quite a lot of time under the rain while with the proper outer-first you could simply duck under it and do everything being relatively dry. – Vladimir Jun 14 at 22:03

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