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January/February 2005

Winter Gear Lightens Up: Tent and Clothing Review

Carry less, enjoy the cold months more with the latest four-season tents, gloves, hats, and gaiters.

Ultralight isn’t just for summer anymore. With winter gear joining the lightweight revolution, there’s no longer reason to lug expedition-size loads for a weekend in the snow–and one less excuse for staying inside. Last winter and spring, our testers hiked, skied, and camped in frozen locales from Canada’s Wapta Icefield to New Hampshire’s Presidential Range. The group returned with two single-wall tents that save beaucoup weight and one that saves a boatload of money. They also liked three must-have accessories: a warm hat, versatile gloves, and weatherproof gaiters.

Mountain Hardwear EV 2
Fast-to-pitch and tough in a storm, this roomy single-wall makes good on its steep price.

©Mitch Mandel

Strength Twenty-seven clips and a bevy of guy-out points buttress this freestanding, three-pole fortress against the worst wind and snow loads. Secret weapon: The clips are sewn into panels of a nonstretch fabric called VX-02, which reduces stress on the clips and stabilizes the tent.

Ventilation After a night with temps hovering around freezing on California’s Mt. Shasta, there wasn’t a drop of condensation inside. Credit the waterproof/breathable Conduit FR fabric, plus five retractable welded-in vents–two in front, three in the ceiling.

Pitch Despite the numerous clips, it’s fast to set up, even wearing gloves.

Space With a whopping 105-inch length, a pair of 6-foot testers had space for boots and gear at their feet. Add the 41-inch peak height, and you’ll ride out stormbound days in comfort.

Weight An ounce less than 5 pounds and still all that space? This and the Marmot Alpinist are the first freestanding mountaineering tents we’ve seen that offer so many features for so little weight.

Features A zippered panel in the floor makes it easy to remove tracked-in snow (or pee without going outside).

Footprint The relatively narrow 47-inch width fits tight winter campsites.

Vestibule There isn’t one. The extended front of the tent accommodates personal gear inside, but cooking is out, and the interior gets cramped if you have to pull empty packs inside. It also makes the tent vulnerable to blowing snow when you enter and exit.

Price On the bright side, paying this much for a tent might prompt you to use it more often.

Price: $625

Size: 105" x 47" x 41"

Weight: 4 lbs. 15 oz.

Contact: (800) 953-8375;

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