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Gear Review: Brooks-Range Foray Tent

Brooks-Range Foray

Brooks-Range Foray
$425, 2 lbs. 10 oz. (tent, fly, poles)

This sub-three-pound, two-person tent defies preconceived notions of an ultralight tent: it has comfortable space, is strong and dry inside in rough weather, and versatile. I found the Foray especially perfect for backpacking with a kid who’s too young to carry much, if any, gear, because living space assumes a lower priority when your companion is a child, while having a lightweight, low-bulk tent makes a huge difference when you’re carrying most of the gear. Backpacking with my 10-year-old son for three nights in the Tetons and two nights in Idaho’s Sawtooths, I found the Foray’s 30 square feet of living quarters and 39-inch peak height adequate for him and me—or for two average-size or small adults, for that matter—and you can squeeze two mid-size packs into its six-square-foot vestibule. I also used it as a solo tent on a four-day, 56-mile hike in the Sawtooths, because it’s light enough, I like having the extra space, and it’s as compact as a solo tent when packed away.

Tents this light sometimes compromise on stability; not the Foray. In the Sawtooths, we got a night of hard rain and shifting winds hitting the tent broadside at times. The Foray never even bent under the onslaught, nor did gusts of 25 to 30 mph in the Tetons phase it, thanks to the low, aerodynamic profile, hubbed poles, and ample staking and guying points. Taped seams kept rain from penetrating the rainfly. The Foray also has a design detail that some tents lack: a front door that tilts slightly outward, and a vestibule whose top extends beyond the tent doorway, so that rain doesn’t drip inside when you come and go. The tent pops up and breaks down quickly thanks to quick-release clips. Ventilation is good, due to all-mesh walls and rainfly vents. I got a little condensation under the rainfly on a night that dipped below freezing in the Sawtooths—to be expected in calm, freezing conditions—but nothing inside got damp because the pole structure keeps the rainfly off the mesh canopy walls. Granted, headroom is good only at the front end, and it’s not for big people or anyone who likes a lot of elbowroom. That said, the Foray is one of the better lightweight tents out there.

—Michael Lanza

About The Author

Michael Lanza

A former field editor and primary gear reviewer for Backpacker Magazine, Michael Lanza created The Big Outside to share stories and images from his many backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, as well as expert tips and gear reviews to help readers plan and pull off their own great adventures.

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    Review by T. Craw for Rating: The tent arrived on sculdhee, and in time for us to set it up and get familiar with it before our Labor Day camping trip. Right out of the box the shock cord in one of the main tent poles was broken. Not a big issue, as it is easily fixed, just frustrating. After ordering a replacement shock cord on Amazon for $10, we had the pole usable. The tent is a nice size and was actually a downgrade from my 16X10 Coleman. The 12X10 size is perfect for my two queen sized mattresses. There was about 8 inches between the two and about 2 feet of space left at the foot of the beds. Plenty of room to store bags and such. This size is also more convenient than some of the larger tents, as it will fit on standard tent pads better. We had beautiful weather, so I can’t testify to how well this tent will hold up in rain. After setting this tent up in my yard, however, I used a waterproofing spray on it, just as an extra precaution. The tent fabric and pan do seem to be quite a bit thinner than other tents I have owned, so this may be a point of concern later down the road. I would recommend using a small tarp underneath the tent. Ventilation is awesome with the top, door, and window vents. It kept us from being stuffy, yet with all the windows and door closed it helps keep you quite cozy on those nights that it gets cooler. The rain fly hangs low, and obstructs the front doors. I did not care for that as you have to bend down to get in and out, but it isn’t a deal breaker. Also, the zippers are not well thought out, and can be frustrating when trying to get in or out of the tent in middle of the night. Unlike other tents I have owned, the door and screen zippers on the front entrance are separated, meaning you have to unzip both to get in or out.Even with the few issues I have with this tent, it is still a decent tent for the price.


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