Tag Archives: three-season tent reviews

December 9, 2016 Cas9-127 Camp, Dome Glacier, day 4, Ptarmigan Traverse, North Cascades

5 Tips For Buying a Backpacking Tent

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   5 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 →

Best New Gear of the Year: My Top 10 Favorites

December 8, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
The North Face Fovero 70

The North Face Fovero 70 backpack in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains.

By Michael Lanza

Every year, I field test and review at this blog dozens of pieces of new outdoor gear and clothing—backpacks, shoes and boots, tents, shell and insulated jackets, sleeping bags and pads, daypacks, headlamps, trekking poles, water filters, backcountry cooking gear, and various other stuff that help us get out and enjoy wild spaces. (It’s a fun gig.) I only review what I’d strongly recommend and want to use myself, and 20 years of doing that has helped me develop a pretty good eye for identifying the best, most innovative and functional gear.

I give you here my picks for the 10 best of the best new products I’ve reviewed this year, a list that includes a backpack, two tents, a rain jacket, two daypacks, a sleeping bag, shoes, one high-performance and affordable headlamp, an air mattress, and a very cool water bottle with a built-in filter. Each capsule review below links to my full review of that product. I guarantee your dollars will be well spent on any of them. Continue reading →

Gear Review: The 5 Best Backpacking Tents

November 30, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
The Exped Mira II Hyperlite tent in Idaho's White Cloud Mountains.

The Exped Mira II Hyperlite tent in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains.

By Michael Lanza

The best backpacking tents on the market today only superficially resemble the tents most of us pitched in the backcountry just five or 10 years ago. Designers have thrown out ingrained notions of what a backpacking tent is, thinking outside the box to make shelters that are more livable, lighter, stronger, and include features like (of all things) built-in lights. Tents continue evolving and improving because the goal of making gear lighter long ago crossed a threshold from “the new thing” to how everyone thinks. That attitude has transformed the world of backcountry gear, especially tents.

You’ll see that trend in each of the five singularly outstanding tents reviewed below. Continue reading →

Gear Review: MSR Freelite 2 Ultralight Tent

October 27, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

 

MSR Freelite 2

MSR Freelite 2

Ultralight Backpacking Tent
MSR Freelite 2
$440, 2 lbs. 7 oz. (not including stuff sacks and stakes)
backcountry.com

How important is low gear weight to you—and what are you willing to sacrifice to hike with a light pack? Your choice of backcountry shelter can achieve the most significant weight savings and entail the greatest compromises. As someone who generally chooses lightweight gear, with its pros and cons, I took MSR’s lightest freestanding tent on a pair of backcountry trips for which tents like this seem well suited: I shared it with my wife on a mid-July rafting and kayaking trip on the Green River through Lodore Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument; and used it by myself for two nights on a mid-August backpacking trip in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. I found the Freelite 2 has distinct advantages for a tent so light, while making relatively small compromises on space and strength. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 mtnGLO and Fly Creek HV UL3 Ultralight Tents

June 1, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL3 in Panamint Range, Death Valley National Park.

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL3 in the Panamint Range, Death Valley National Park.

Ultralight Backpacking Tents
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 mtnGLO
$440, 2 lbs. 1 oz. (not including stuff sacks and stakes)
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL3
$450, 2 lbs. 15 oz. (not including stuff sacks and stakes)
moosejaw.com

As we searched for a campsite while backpacking in the canyon of Utah’s Dirty Devil River in late March, the wind picked up. Then the rain started. My wife and daughter pitched the new Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 mtnGLO in minutes without having even looked at it before—a testament to its simplicity. Once darkness fell a little while later, they turned on the lights—the tent’s built-in LED lights, that is—and I think they promptly forgot there was a storm just outside their nylon walls. Continue reading →

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