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October 2005

Tent Review: New-School Shelters

Slash weight, not weather protection, with this year's top new ultralight tents.

©Mitch Mandel

GoLite Eisenhower Tunnel

Score: 3.1

This single-wall doesn’t scrimp on sleeping or storage space.

Like most hoop-style tents, the Eisenhower has an excellent space-to-weight ratio. My 6′ partner and I never so much as bumped each other while sleeping; only the Tarptent Rainshadow has more floor space. Headroom is more limited; the ceiling’s sharp slope allowed us to sit up only at the door. Though it’s not freestanding, the Eisenhower pitches nearly as fast as the Seedhouse and Quarter Dome, thanks to its single-wall construction (no fly to affix) and dead-end pole sleeves. And its aerodynamic shape (plus 13 guyouts) helped the two-pole shelter ride out violent thunderstorms in Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness. A highlight is the vestibule–by far the test’s biggest–with room for packs and boots or careful cooking. On the downside, a storm-stable pitch requires 13 stakes, and it still flaps in wind and needs occasional restaking to maintain tautness. Ventilation is good for a single-wall, thanks to full-length side mesh panels and two hooded vents, but on calm, near-freezing nights, we saw significant condensation. The poles are tight in their sleeves and grommets, so taking down the tent can be a wrestling match. And the tent suffered some wear and tear: The mesh at the foot sustained a 2-inch hole, and the reflective taping started peeling off the webbing loops. $300; 84″x60″x42″; 3 lbs. 10 oz. (888) 546-5483; www.golite.com.

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