Tag Archives: three-season tent reviews

December 14, 2014 Cas9-127 Camp, Dome Glacier, day 4, Ptarmigan Traverse, North Cascades

5 Tips For Buying a Backpacking Tent

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

There are a lot of tents out there. How do you choose between them? Backpackers come in different sizes and have different needs and preferences in a tent. In testing scores of backcountry tents over the past two decades, for reviews in Backpacker Magazine and this blog, I’ve seen the best and the worst—and gotten a sense of what to look for in a tent and how to help people pick out one they like. Here are my five simple tips for finding a tent you’ll love. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp

September 30, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp

Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp

Ultralight Tarp
Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp
$199, 12 oz. (large)
Sizes: Large 10 ft. x 10 ft./3x3m, medium 6 ft. 6 ins.x8 ft. 6 ins./2×2.6m ($169, 9.5 oz.)
seatosummit.com

When rain began falling while a friend and I were sleeping under the stars in Yosemite National Park’s Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River, we grabbed our gear, pitched this tarp in just a few minutes, and had dry shelter for the night. Besides using the Escapist Tarp on that four-day, 85-mile, backpacking trip, I camped under it with my son in Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve, where the tarp held up well throughout a windy night. For late-summer and fall trips where I won’t encounter bugs, there’s no need to carry the weight and bulk of a tent. The Escapist tarp provides a sturdy, spacious, and durable ultralight shelter from rain, acts as a wind break, and on calm nights will keep you a little warmer than you’d be sleeping under the stars because it traps some warmth. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Flash 3 Tent

April 1, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Sierra Designs Flash 3

Sierra Designs Flash 3

Three-Season Tent
Sierra Designs Flash 3
$400, 4 lbs. 15 oz. (tent and poles only)
sierradesigns.com

Backpacking with my kids amplifies a challenge any backpacker faces: finding a tent that provides good living space and stability without being a burdensome weight or filling your backpack. My kids are young enough that they carry just personal gear (bag, pad, clothes, snacks, water). So on a recent overnight trip with my kids in the Needles District of Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, without my wife or another adult to share the family food and gear load, I took the Flash 3 for a test drive and was blown away by the amount of space it has for a sub-five-pound, freestanding shelter. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Big Agnes Slater UL 2+ Tent

August 14, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Big Agnes Slater UL2+

Big Agnes Slater UL2+

Tent
Big Agnes Slater UL 2+
$390, 2 lbs. 11 oz. (tent, rainfly, poles)
bigagnes.com

My first impression of the Slater UL2+ was formed before I even pulled it out of the stuff sack: I couldn’t believe a two-person tent could possibly fit in such a small package. Given that I often backpack with my family—with my wife and I shouldering most of the gear because our kids are young—low weight and bulk take top priority with us. But any concerns about that low weight affecting the Slater’s sturdiness in weather were erased after backpacking and camping trips in Utah’s Coyote Gulch (two nights) and Capitol Reef National Park (two nights), Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness (four nights), and Idaho’s White Clouds Mountains (two nights) and City of Rocks National Reserve (two nights). This tent stood up to strong gusts repeatedly, including sustained, steady winds over 40 mph in the White Clouds and Capitol Reef, without even bending slightly. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Flash 2 Tent

March 4, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   5 Comments
Sierra Designs Flash 2

Sierra Designs Flash 2

Three-Season Tent
Sierra Designs Flash 2
$340, 3 lbs. 15 oz.
sierradesigns.com

As a violent thunderstorm ripped the skies open in Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness, on the second day of a five-day August family backpacking trip, I had to pitch this tent in a hurry. It was one of those moments when I really appreciate good gear design. With the Flash 2’s “external pitch” integral rainfly attached to the interior canopy, I was able to keep the interior dry while pitching the tent in a downpour. And thanks to having clips instead of pole sleeves, it goes up very quickly. Continue reading →