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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2012

Gear Guide 2012: Mountain Laurel Designs Cricket Tent

Stable and light, this three-season minimalist tent offers minimal flapping and a quick setup.

by: Kelly Bastone

Mountain Laurel Designs Cricket (Andrew Bydlon)
Mountain Laurel Designs Cricket (Andrew Bydlon)

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[minimalist]

Your rain shell probably weighs more than this tent, which hits the sub-pound weight class without major compromise. It lacks poles, but unlike some trekking-pole tents, stability doesn’t suffer. Thanks to catenary seams (they’re curved, not straight, which creates a supertaut pitch), the three-season, double-wall shelter let our tester sleep through 30-mph winds with minimal flapping.

Setup is easy, reports an AT thru-hiker who routinely pitched it in less than four minutes (mark your poles with the correct lengths to speed the process). There’s one D-shaped side door and an eight-square-foot vestibule that adjusts in height. Shorten the support pole for more wind protection; lengthen it to increase ventilation. One 5’3” camper found the 18-square-foot interior adequate, but six-footers deemed it “cozy.” Fabric options let you choose between ultralight (silnylon) and crazy light (Cuben Fiber*). After 2,200 miles, the Cuben Fiber looked worn but worked fine.

Tradeoffs? Hard rain occasionally bounced inside through the mesh despite the fabric panel designed to repel it, but it was rare and little moisture came through. $295/1 lb. 3.5 oz. (silnylon); $500/13.3 oz. (Cuben Fiber, standard version, as tested); mountainlaureldesigns.com

*CUBEN FIBER Superlight and superstrong (and superexpensive) fabric made by sandwiching reinforcing fibers (typically Dyneema) between two layers of polyester film

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