Consider this the family-size version of the Altai (below left), only lighter. It’s a floorless tunnel that serves as mess tent, minimalist winter shelter, or both. “It sleeps up to four and seats eight comfortably for a poker game,” says one tester who used it on James Peak, in Colorado. “But it’s so light, it’s also packable for a twosome that wants beaucoup space.” The easy-to-pitch, three-pole design has a 46-square-foot floor and eight-square-foot vestibules at each end.
Zippered vents on the vestibules allow plenty of airflow (condensation was never a problem), and long, vertical door zippers make entry and exit easy, even for tall guys. “We guyed it out like mad with 14 anchors, then built an 18-inch snow wall around it,” says our tester. “That thing was not going anywhere.” It served as his cooking, dining, and socializing tent (dig down to create benches along the edges) in 20-mph winds. “Our group loved piling in here at night. The floorless design meant nobody had to take off boots or worry about spilling food.
And at bedtime, I rolled out a tarp below my pad and stayed warm because I had buried the bottom six inches of the sidewalls to keep out drafts and spindrift. “But don’t venture into serious exposure,” he says, “or the broad sides will catch the wind, and the poles will get stressed.” The siliconized nylon showed no signs of wear, but needs to be seam-sealed. $500; 4 lbs.; integraldesigns.com