Jil ! I hear you load and clear…been searching for that ultimate tent for years.
Buy a 2 person tent. 1 persons are too small.
Consider side entry over front entry…side entry much much easier to get out of…especially if you share the tent.
MEC wanderer 2..used to be tull fabric..7lb good quality. Does not pack down as little as a lightweight tent though
MEC Volt 2…see if you can find the older version…all fabric. The new one has mesh I think. 2 side entry vestibule. A fairly low tent. Only reason I did not buy was bc it is not ultralight weight (under 3 lb.) I think it was 3 1/2 or so.
For a Mesh tent that is good quality reasonable price roomy 3 season….check out the REI quarter dome….was my second choice by 2 ounces. You might even score an older version for a bargain on REI outlet still….weight difference….if you only kayak then you won’t care about a 4 Oz weight reduction… you might even like the 1/2 dome…slightly bigger. If you are a new REI member you get 20% off your first purchase.
Stay away from too cheap rents….those black poles that you see on a lot of the Coleman tents will snap in high winds. Often the fly is only partialike as well. Plus they are heavy.
..unfortunately there are not that many options out there. To keep sand out you need a full fabric tent……I camp on the desert as well and can tell you that even small amounts of mesh will let in sand …a lot of it in a full blown 60mph sandstorm.
4 season tents are usually full fabric…but they are heavy. ..up to 11 lb and expensive. Also often front entry. I have one…a Hilleberg nano at 5Lb but it’s not free standing. MEC Carries a few others. One feature of 4 season tents is that the vestibule while great is in the front….which makes getting out of the tent a bit awkward….reason they are like that is that they take up less space than tents with side vestibule and are more aerodynamic
Mesh inners . ..personally not much problem up here in either snow or beach….important to have a full fly. You can always bury the fly in the sand or so if really needed.sacrifice breathability though.
So in the end I bought the copper spur 2 for we reasons….I climb so every ounce matters. , roomy and good for 3 seasons….OK for some snow and higher winds. The floor is frightfully thin. Make a good ground sheet.