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Backpacker Magazine – 2010 Editors' Choice/Gear Guide

Gear Review: MSR Carbon Reflex 3 Tent

Weather-worthy three-person tents don't come any lighter than this one.

by: Kelly Bastone

MSR Carbon Reflex 3 (Brooks Freehill)
MSR Carbon Reflex 3 (Brooks Freehill)

Some tents shave weight by shrinking dimensions. Not the Carbon Reflex 3, a freestanding dome that’s actually bigger than MSR’s standard-setting Mutha Hubba—and almost two pounds lighter. Real world translation: This three-season shelter proved a comfy haven for three guys during a wintry storm in Wyoming’s Wind Rivers—the tallest (6’7”) could unfurl completely—yet split three ways it weighs less than a liter of water for each.

The ultralight Easton Carbon FX poles (responsible for much of the Reflex’s weight savings) feature small plastic bushings at connection points to keep the fibers from splitting, and the carbon fibers wrap horizontally around the pole to further inhibit the spread of any cracking. The poles’ geometry also trims ounces: They’re positioned in parallel arches with a brow pole in between, an arrangement that brings the walls past vertical and creates outstanding headroom, with a peak height of 46 inches.

With two 10-square-foot vestibules, our trio of Wyoming testers could hunker down inside, store all of their gear on one side, and cook in the other. Big wind and rain barely budged it (though the vestibule flapped noisily). Ventilation was excellent during all conditions, and poles and materials proved plenty durable during a season of camping. But a dearth of interior pockets bugged some testers, and the dazzling space-to-weight ratio doesn’t come cheap. $600; 4 lbs. 7 oz.

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Reader Rating: -


Nov 05, 2011

This tent retails for over $1400 in Norway. You lucky bastards!

Aug 28, 2011

Just vouching for this tent. I bought one in Toronto canada, where I live. Its a really great tent! very secure and with a real nice balance of air flow and warmth. You dont feel as encapsulated as with some other tents because its so open. but the way the fly draps over the mesh inside wall also keeps heat in too. its a good size and the dual doors and ample vestibules are an awesome addition. this thing weights only 2kg! incredible. yes its expensive but if you need a solid, roomy, very well made and ultra light weight tent the carbon reflex 3 is definitely worth the money.

Nov 14, 2010

Your math about similar size doesn't add lol:

Floor Area 41.5 sq. ft / 3.8 sq. m (220 X 170 cm)

is different then

[area] 34sq ft (3.1sq m); 86 x 50in (218 x 127cm)

Also the Spectrum's single wall doesn't seem to deal well with rain/water, as opposed to Reflexe's fly...

Jul 21, 2010

TNF Spectrum 33 is a single wall tent, is it not?

May 25, 2010

I'll stick with the North Face Spectrum 33 (3 person/3 season). Same weight, similar size and is only $200 on backcountry . com:

May 25, 2010

Someone forgot to tell MSR there was a recession out there. For that much money it should come with a porter too


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