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Gear Review: MSR Carbon Reflex 3 Tent

Weather-worthy three-person tents don't come any lighter than this one.
gear guide 2010 carbon reflext tent 445x260MSR Carbon Reflex 3 (Brooks Freehill)

Lightest
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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