Two or three to a tent?
This has been a highly debated topic for a long time, be it on social media or on our feedback forms.
So we thought we’ll open this to all of you.
With the response to a survey we conducted last week, the results of which are given below, we are seriously considering offering two to a tent. But we aren’t entirely convinced and we’d like you to share your thoughts on it.
So far, here’s our justification for having three in a tent:
1. The current size and shape of our tents are perfect for all weather conditions. They are dome tents specifically designed keeping the wind, rain, snow and sun in mind. Any smaller, they’ll get too airless, any bigger, they’ll not withstand the weather. We experimented with slightly bigger tents and we lost three of them as they flew away in heavy winds.
2. It reduces the resources we use. For a batch of 20, we currently need around 7 tents (this is discounting the staff members that come along). If there are two to a tent, that means 10 tents for each batch. We’ll also need two back up tents in case of any damage. This means we need at least another mule to every batch to carry the extra tents. Consequently, we are leaving behind a fairly larger carbon footprint – which is against everything we stand for.
3. Aesthetically, it’s never nice to see too many tents at a campsite. Lesser people in a tent means more tents, and it’s not nice to see too many tents in the middle of the wilderness of the Himalayas.
4. Too much luxury goes against the spirit of trekking. From what trekkers tell me, they want our current expedition tents to be two-man tents. But tents are not meant to be rooms – they are mere roofs over our heads. In the larger scheme of things, trekking is supposed to be about minimalist living. We don’t like the idea of ‘glamping.’ (glam camping).
5. It’s warm with three people. When the temperatures outside are dipping to sub zero, it’s always better to huddle up. If there’s empty space in the tent, its colder.
What have trekkers said?
To give you some numbers, I received 553 responses over email within two hours! People are still responding and now I have over 800 opinions regarding this in my inbox.
I have put together some numbers from the emails.
Out of the 812 responses so far
442 (54%) trekkers are comfortable with three in a tent.
Their justification is on the lines of these comments.
I agree with all the points you have mentioned plus staying together there is a bonding and support . When someone is not keeping well and also it’s an independent self help team.
– Vishwas Patil
I totally agree with you, unfortunately, I have experienced it myself in chopta. As the 2 of the group members canceled at end moment I stayed in the tend with only one more and during the night when the temperature dipped it was much colder in our tent than those who had three.
– Harshit Jain
I am a behaviour facilitator by interest and an HR professional by education and experience. Trekking and camping out together as an activity brings you closer to the people with you and as you share u r experiences and your space( in a tent) with them u build connections. This is another outcome of a trek and of having to stay with others, albeit cramped in a tent if at all.
“Wanting to have my own space” kind of thinking goes against the purpose for which one has undertaken the trek. In the mountains as u achieve heights u end up defeating ur notions and fears and step out of u r comfort zones, camping also is akin to the same. “can i be a bit more accommodative to the 2 others in my tent?” is fundamental to understanding oneself and being able to overcome our own “self” and preferences.
In conclusion, am sure you would have guessed, i am all for 3 in a tent.
– Gautam Nabar
Completely agree with the points enumerated in the mail. I have joined Indiahikes for the trek to Roopkund. During my trek, I also felt that the campsites are crowded. Increasing the number of tents will further reduce the available area.
I am a fairly huge person (98kg, 5 ft 10 inches) and so was one of my tent mate (over 6 ft 1 inch). The third guy in our tent was of medium size. And I should say, not once did we felt that it is congested inside the tent.
Also, we are not going for trekking to enjoy a luxurious travel. I believe that the idea of trekking itself is to sacrifice the comforts of our home, cooperate and sacrifice for your team mates, gain the courage to face all the difficulties one will meet and know more about oneself by pushing the limits.
– Jithin M
175 (21%) trekkers prefer two in a tent.
This is their line of thought:
On the night of my fist campsite, two hours in and I woke up with a claustrophobic attack and heavy suffocation. After that episode, first two campsites of my Hampta pass trek, I slept in the dining tents.
Since a few had to decend in the following days, I slept alone in a tent on the third, later on the last two day another person joined me in the extra tent. Considering this episode, where I had experience of sleeping in different tents in different combinations, here are my views.
1. I found two people in a tent to be less suffocating- relatively.
2. I still find tents like the dining ones to be better (high roofs). I know they can’t hold well in colder camps.
I had a claustrophobic attack and hence thought it’s worth sharing. Hope this is a useful feedback.
– Pruthvi Reddy
The quality of tents is undoubtedly good. But if you look into it carefully , it’s not just three people huddled up in there. It is their baggage, shoes, backpacks , offload luggage and of course sleeping bags also occupying space. If it’s raining outside , you can not keep any of these things outside the tent. With all this inside the tent , it is difficult for three to move, change clothes, fold sleeping bags in a tent. In this scenario I don’t take two in a tent , a luxury, but it’ll in fact improve efficiency.
– Sangeeta Mahajan
I strongly vote for 2 persons in a tent. My reasons are as follows:
1. For a person of above-average height (5 feet 9 or above) its impossible to stretch the feet in a linear manner in the current size of tents that are being used and therefore such persons may prefer to stretch diagonally. I have experienced this myself. That is impossible with three in a tent.
2. Often we do not quite go to a trek in a ‘group’ of our own. In fact, quite a few trekkers had come to our Roopkund Trek with Indiahikes as solo trekkers. Therefore, not all have familiar persons or acquaintances in a group. Therefore, sharing a tent (which is definitely a personal space at the end of the day) with a complete stranger is a tad difficult, but I understand that’s what the spirit of trekking is all about! However, having three persons may be a bit too much to expect from the largely urbane trekkers. Although I may add here, both my tent mates were wonderful persons and we had tentloads of fun (none of us knew each other prior to the trek)!!
3. It is absolutely impossible for a person of my height (5 feet 11) to turn/ change the posture with 3 in a tent.
– Kinjal Ghose
59 (7%) trekkers say that we should have an additional fee for two in a tent.
Here’s what they have to say:
Yes, agreed, 3 in a tent is good for all the reasons mentioned. However, I think people should get the option to be 2 for a tent, for a fee, especially if they are a couple.
– Lea Maguero
I have done the Rupin and Hampta Pass treks and I for one, have never had a sound night’s sleep when I had slept three in a tent. I kept twisting and turning those nights while my tent mates fell asleep. And once my tent mates used to fall asleep and start snoring, that made it even more difficult for me to get to sleep. I would wake several times at night as not being able to fall asleep makes me hit the rest room more frequently.
I understand that trekking is about minimalist living and we should keep in mind that we will be dealing with these issues while signing up for it. For that reason, I have never complained about this as I’ve always seen this as an individual specific problem (the individual being me). But it seems like the issue is just not specific to me and plenty of trekkers face the same issue.
All in all, I think it would be great to have this option at an additional fee. I would never pay to unload by backpack because I’m perfectly capable to carrying it on my own, but I would pay to have only one other person in my tent if I could as that is something that would make my life easier on me. But to tell you the truth, even if I don’t have that option, I would still put up with it and go out for treks with Indiahikes.
– Debdeep Chattopadhyay
Definitely 2 per tent. Especially if u r a couple. Also for older trekkers wher we need a bit more comfort and maybe space. Our tired bones cant remain in one position for the full nite. I think the additional fee is an inbetween fair option. I resolved this by carrying my own tent
– Tejas Parekh
I felt the tent for 3 was bit too stuffy..
1. Many a times when we had to get ready in the morning there just wasn’t space for more than one person to pack things at a time.
2. Secondly on a personal note, one of the guys i shared the room with snored a lot. With the current tent size, he was snoring right next to my ear and it was really bothering me..
3. In two of the campsites, the land below was pretty uneven and almost caved in a bit. This meant both the guys on my side were sliding towards the middle and cramping me..wasn’t a good experience there..
Of course i enjoyed this as a trekking experience.. But if there was a way i could pay more and get a 2 person sent, i would definitely go for it.
Many have pointed that the going can get tough in bad weather.
Rains. I hate rains, probably because my part of Delhi gets submerged in water in that season. But rains in mountains are a norm and should always be expected. When we reach a camp site and we have 3 people in a tent, we are left with:
1. No space for bags inside the tent since there is hardly space to fit 3 people with back straight.
2. Bags are anyways wet by then and keeping them inside would make the place more worse.
3. No space to dry out clothes for later.
Comfort. I am saying it is comfortable with 2 in a tent and not a luxury. Maybe it’s just a perspective difference. For city dwellers like us (and most of your target audience) trek is quite different from our usual lives already. Expecting some space to lie down after walking a whole day should be considered a necessity instead of luxury. 🙂
– Ayush Goel
IMHO, having 3 in a test is nice because of the following :
1. It goes with the spirit of minimalism as a way of life. High altitude treks a great way to learn about how to declutter life.
2. It helps improve camaraderie among trekkers.
3. It’s resource-efficient.
However, having 3 in a tent becomes difficult when it is raining outside and water starts seeping into the tent. The tent is supposed to keep not just 3 trekkers but their bags also. We faced this issue during our trek to Hampta Pass last year. It was raining all night and water started coming into the tent because it was bulging from all sides. That made sleeping in the tents very uncomfortable. We had to trek with tired bodies for want of sleep. In such situations, having 2 in a tent becomes a necessity and not luxury.
– Abhishek Somani
Now the debate is open to you. What do you think we should do?
We would ideally like to take a collective opinion before taking a final call because at the end of the day, as a trekker, it is going to affect you.
So drop in your comments below and let us know!