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Backpacker Magazine – January 2013

Field Test: Two-Person Tents

Whether you seek maximum storm protection, minimum weight, or highest value, we've found your perfect shelter.

by: Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

First Ascent Stargazer (Courtesy Photo)
First Ascent Stargazer (Courtesy Photo)

[Tech Talk]
Tent Poles Our top three performers use two different types of DAC aluminum poles. Pressfit poles (which Marmot uses) are the sturdiest and least expensive, with reinforced joints that “press” together, eliminating the need for glue or crimping. Featherlight NSL poles (First Ascent and Mountain Hardwear) shave weight by reducing overall aluminum thickness and expanding the diameter of the pole ends, which makes the ends (the most common stress point) 20 percent stronger than the main tube.

Home Improvements
Upgrade your shelter and camp with these next-level accessories.
  Pros Cons

MSR Carbon-Core Stake Kit
$28; .8 oz. for 4;
Featherlight carbon-fiber stakes sheathed in a durable aluminum
skin shave two ounces or more from your tent’s trail weight.
Triple the price of standard aluminum stakes

NiteIze BugLit LED Micro Flashlight
$13; .6 oz.;
Four bendable arms on this all-purpose, four-setting task light wrap around tent poles, trees, or even a hat brim (allowing for use as an emergency headlamp). Narrow beam; not bright enough for night hiking (6 lumens on high)

NEMO Transform Tarp
$170; 2 lbs. 10 oz.;
This 12 x 12-foot tarp rigs up to extend a vestibule or shade your camp kitchen, then shape-shifts into a floorless pyramid shelter with a quick zipper switch. Weighs as much as some two-person tents

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