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Gear Review: EMS Velocity 1 Tent

A bargain solo tent.
GG11_EMS_VELOCITY_445x260EMS Velocity 1 (BP Photo Department)

[best all-around]
EMS Velocity 1
With tents, as in politics, it’s tricky to be all things to all people—but the Velocity comes close by avoiding the extremes: It’s neither ultralight nor ultraroomy. Rather, a centrist approach emphasizes convenience, adequate space, and excellent three-season weather protection, all in a reasonable sub-three-pound package. DAC Featherlite poles and a hubbed geometry trim weight, but durable, affordable fabrics (rather than cutting-edge ultralight material) keep the cost reasonable.

The freestanding dome pitches fast, thanks to a central arch supported by sturdy forked pole segments that are color-coded at the head and foot—in Texas’s Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, it withstood 30-mph winds and hardly flapped. A brow pole* stabilizes the ceiling and creates steep walls; those vertical sides, paired with a 39-inch peak height, created expansive headroom for a six-foot-tall tester sitting upright. And unlike some solo tents, the Velocity’s floor doesn’t feel coffin-tight: It measures 37 inches wide at the shoulders—almost twice the width of a standard sleeping pad—and tapers to 22 inches at the foot, where testers didn’t mind sacrificing space for weight savings.

Campers up to six feet tall found the 88-inch length comfortable. “And there was zero condensation,” says one, “since the all-mesh walls and ceiling improved airflow.” Sturdy fabrics, such as a 40-denier polyester ripstop fly and a 70-denier nylon taffeta floor (ultralight models tend toward 15- and 20-denier), hold up to rough weather and abrasion—no TLC required. The side door and nine-square-foot vestibule provide easy access and ample storage for weekend gear. $239; 2 lbs. 14 oz.

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