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Backpacker Magazine – 2010 Editors' Choice/Gear Guide

Gear Review: REI Cirque ASL 2 Mountaineering Tent

A weather worthy two-person tent

by: Kelly Bastone

REI Cirque ASL 2 (Brooks Freehill)
REI Cirque ASL 2 (Brooks Freehill)

Bargain
Need a shelter for moderate—not arctic—conditions? This freestanding, double-wall tent offers an affordable option that won’t leave you wishing for summer. It withstood a pummeling in Colorado’s Chicago Basin—yet it’s lightweight and priced to move. Key features: Strong and light DAC Featherlite NSL poles, and a new “airlift vent” on the fly that's designed to channel wind upward and dissipate its force.

“When 40-mph winds hammered our exposed campsite, the tent didn’t fold and no snow crystals got blown in beneath the fly,” one tester reports. Bummers: The two vestibules are small—7.6 square feet—and didn’t quite contain packs. Similarly, the 40-inch ceiling and 31 square feet were cramped for two six-footers. And condensation accumulated on subfreezing nights (it wasn't a problem in mild conditions). Bottom line: You won’t find a more versatile year-round shelter—light enough for summer, warm enough for winter—for the price. $309; 5 lbs.

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