Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ultralight Tents Weighing 2 - 3 pounds

Part 4 of 4. In the May issue of AMC Outdoors, I highlight the different types of backcountry shelters that weigh less than 2 pounds. (Read the full article here.) This four-part blog posting highlights the specific brands and styles available in each category. In this post, I round up the ultralight tent category. (Check out part 1: Ultralight Tarps; part 2: Floorless Tents and Single-wall Shelters; and part 3: Bivy Sacks.)

A couple quick caveats. A traditional double-wall tent features both a fully enclosed tent body and separate rain fly, which significantly improves ventilation over single-wall designs. At this point, no double-wall tent truly weighs less than 2 pounds (though several come close). For this post, I've highlighted several of my favorite ultralight tent manufacturers that produce double-wall tents under 3 pounds. Note that listed manufacturers' weights are trail weights (tent, rain fly, poles, stakes, guy lines, and stuff sack).

Big Agnes
Colorado-based company is currently on the forefront of ultralight tents, including the new Fly Creek UL 1 (2 pounds, 3 ounces; $299) and Fly Creek UL 2 (2 pounds, 10 ounces; $349). I'm also a big fan of their Seedhouse SL1 (2 pounds, 13 ounces; $249), perhaps the longest one-person tent on the market. (Their 2- and 3-person Seedhouse tents are also great. Check out my post on the Seedhouse SL series.)

Big Sky InternationalSmall, Wyoming-based manufacturer of a full line of ultralight tents. Many are hybrid single-wall/double-wall designs, while others are true double-walls like the two-door, two-person Big Sky Evolution (pictured; 2 pounds, 13 ounces; $349). Many are made-to-order; you can customize the fabrics and features you want to get exactly the tent (and weight) that you're after.

Other Ultralight Tents Under 3 Pounds**One-person tents unless otherwise noted
L.L. Bean Microlight Solo (pictured; $129—Great Value!)
EMS Velocity 1 ($239)
REI Quarter Dome 1 ($199)
MontBell Crescent 1 ($229) and Crescent 2 (**2-person; pictured; $279)
Marmot Eos 1P ($225)
Mountain Hardwear Sprite 1 ($160)
MSR Carbon Reflex 1 ($449) and Carbon Reflex 2 (**2-person; $499)
Hilleberg Akto ($420)

Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.