This three-season dome performs as well as tents twice its price. Credit the sturdy X-shaped frame, which proved easy to pitch even in gusty winds above treeline in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness. After setup, it barely budged. But unlike the newest (and pricier) tent designs that use a brow pole to pull side walls to near vertical, the Passage’s walls slope inward and cramp headroom. (I’m 5 feet tall, but even my head brushed fabric unless I sat right beneath the 42-inch apex.) At 34 square feet, floor space isn’t expansive, but it’s adequate—as are the two nine-square-foot vestibules, each of which holds a pack and boots. rei.com
Smallish backpackers on a budget
> Kelly Bastone
> Duration Sept. to Nov.
> Locales/conditions CO; wind, rain
> “Mesh panels on all four walls are modestly sized, but big enough to allow cross breezes and keep condensation to a minimum.”