Tag Archives: three-season tent reviews

January 14, 2016 Campsite, Squaw Canyon, Needles District, Canyonlands National Park.

Ask Me: What Are the Best Tents For Backpacking With Kids?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Michael,

Thanks for the great stories and tips for family trips. I came across your blog as I was scoping out a family backpacking trip in the Sierra for this summer. We are taking another family out backpacking that has done a number of dayhikes, but has not been backpacking before, along with a 20-year-old, foreign-exchange student who, while fit, has also not been backpacking. The boys on the trip will both be eight—they will carry no more than eight to 10 pounds in a decent daypack (our son has an Osprey Jet that has worked well for the past couple of years). Bottom line is that I expect that I will carry some extra weight. Our tent is a Black Diamond Vista—a great tent but heavy for the Sierra in August. Any thoughts on three-person, three-season tents that are relatively durable and lighter than the Vista? I was looking at the Big Agnes Copper Spur as a potential option but figured I would ask you, with all of your experience. Continue reading →

Gear Review: The 5 Best Backpacking Tents

November 27, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO tent

Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO tent

By Michael Lanza

Looking back on many of the backpacking tents I’ve tested and reviewed at this blog, I realized this: They’re all weird. But I mean that in a good way. That is, none resemble the kind of tent most of us pitched in the backcountry even five or 10 years ago. The main reason is that the goal of making gear more lightweight isn’t “the new thing” anymore—it’s how everyone thinks, and it has transformed the world of backcountry gear, especially tents.

The other reason is that, in the very competitive marketplace of backpacking shelters, designers are innovating fast to find ways to distinguish their products from the constellation of choices out there. You’ll see that trend in each of the five singularly outstanding tents listed below. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO Tent

November 18, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO tent

Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO tent

Three-Season Tent
Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO
$350, 3 lbs. 9 oz. (not including stuff sacks and stakes)
bigagnes.com

On the last night of a family backpacking trip on the Rockwall Trail in Canada’s Kootenay National Park, our kids announced to my wife and me that they had dibs on this tent; we had to settle for the tent without internal lighting. But the LED lights built into the Big Agnes mtnGLO tent series are more than a novelty; they elevate the livability of backcountry camping. Technologies like that change the way people perceive an activity by making “roughing it” seem a little less rough. For those of us who’ve been happily backpacking more primitively, lights in a tent certainly add a lot of convenience. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Exped Mira II Hyperlite Tent

October 7, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Exped Mira II Hyperlite

Exped Mira II Hyperlite.

Ultralight Tent
Exped Mira II Hyperlite
$379, 2 lbs. 14 oz. (without the included stuff sack and eight sturdy stakes, at least six of which are needed to pitch the tent)
exped.com

On the first of two nights backpacking with my 15-year-old son in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains, I got an immediate sense of what I liked about Exped’s sub-three-pound Mira II Hyperlite (besides its low weight): With darkness and rain rapidly approaching, we pitched the tent easily in a couple of minutes. We lived and slept comfortably inside, thanks to a design that maximizes space while minimizing weight. And when it rained through the night, we stayed dry despite keeping one vestibule door wide open to help ventilate the interior. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Tensegrity 2 FL Tent

August 21, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Sierra Designs Tensegrity 2 FL

Sierra Designs Tensegrity 2 FL

Ultralight Tent
Sierra Designs Tensegrity 2 FL
$390, 2 lbs. 10 oz. (without the included stuff sack and nine sturdy stakes, which are needed to pitch the tent)
sierradesigns.com

When I first saw this tent displayed at the Outdoor Retailer trade show a year ago, I wanted to test it in the backcountry. The whole concept behind SD’s new Tensegrity line intriguingly throws out the playbook on what backpacking tents are supposed to look like: Gone are the inward sloping walls, traditional vestibules, and poles, all with the goal of making a shelter that’s not just lighter but more functional. I took the Tensegrity 2 FL on a six-day rafting trip down Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River—and mostly liked what I saw in this unusual shelter. Continue reading →

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