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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2012

Editors' Choice 2012: L.L.Bean Microlight FS 2

Score an ultralight tent for two—for less.

by: The Backpacker Editors

L.L. Bean Microlight FS 2 (Andrew Bydlon)
L.L. Bean Microlight FS 2 (Andrew Bydlon)

Initially, testers who received the Microlight feared for their comfort—and safety. “No way a tent this cheap and light can offer adequate space and real weather protection,” declared one tester, who then went out and promptly proved himself wrong by pitching the Microlight in Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness, where it easily withstood 25-mph winds. That performance elevated the tent to a rarefied class: less than four pounds and less than $200, but with two doors, legit floor space, freestanding convenience, and three-season weatherproofing.

“Thanks to curved pole segments that maintain even tension on the fabric, the fly and tent body pitch without a ripple, so it doesn’t sag or flap noisily during gusts and heavy rain,” reports one tester. Setup is quick, with two Y-shaped hubbed poles and a brow segment that raises the crown. Two vestibules (each big enough to shelter two huge black Labs) deliver exceptional storage space for the weight. All-mesh walls virtually eliminated condensation, even on nights in the 30s in Idaho’s Sawtooth Wilderness. For additional ventilation in rainy weather, testers unzipped vestibules halfway (the design prevents rain from dripping in through the door). The 31-square-foot floor is long enough for six-footers, and the 39-inch peak height, while not the tallest in this category, let two testers sit up for a game of cards. Nitpick: You get just two small internal pockets. $199; 3 lbs. 15 oz.; llbean.com

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READERS COMMENTS

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Art "Lobo" Wray
Sep 11, 2012

2:15 pm - Thanks Backpacker ! I just received the L.L. Bean Microlight FS 2 ! I needed a tent with this weight/capacity spec. Looks like a great piece of equipment ! Now " I'll Never walk alone !"

Jay Lee
Aug 01, 2012

Where to buy? Says available 08/26?

David Classen
May 17, 2012

I bought both the fs2 as well as the fs1. The latter is as good as the former in quality but the peak height was too low for me to sit up without rubbing my head against the fabric. I'm 5'10". So I returned it. If a person didn't mind bending at the neck while getting dressed or undressed, it would be an outstanding solo tent.

Joe
Apr 25, 2012

What do you guys think of the microlight fs 1? I imagine it's comparable in quality.

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