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Backpacker Magazine – January 2013

Gear Review: First Ascent Stargazer 2 Tent

The First Ascent Stargazer is a highly livable shelter for backpackers who spend tons of time in wet weather.

by: Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

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

*Bathtub Floor A tent floor that extends a few inches up the sidewalls to prevent splashing rain from entering

More Tents & Upgrades
See all the reviews from our January 2013 issue
Best All-Around
This tent’s designers set out to create a highly livable shelter for backpackers who spend tons of time in wet weather—and the result nails it. The Stargazer’s coated, 40-denier bathtub floor* (read: ultradry in wet, muddy conditions) and generous dimensions make for a comfortable haven in sustained storms. The tent balances those heavier features with light-but-strong 15- and 20-denier ripstop nylon in the fly and canopy and DAC Featherlite NSL poles. “The perfect combination of low weight, huge space, and solid performance in a wide range of conditions,” declared one tester after using the Stargazer through two seasons of drippy nights on the Olympic Peninsula and heat waves in Washington’s eastern desert. The roomiest and lightest shelter in our test also drew cheers for its ease of use.

“The Stargazer feels palatial compared to my usual two-person tent,” says one tester, praising the 36 square feet of living space and 43-inch peak height. A single hubbed pole with a center brow pole steepens the walls to near-vertical, creating space to comfortably seat four adults. But the height doesn’t sacrifice stability: “There was no wind when we set up camp, so we didn’t bother to stake out the guylines,” reports one North Cascades tester. “But when surprise 30-mph gusts blew in at midnight, the tent held strong.” The mostly mesh canopy and ample space between tent body and fly eliminate condensation. The two 8-square-foot vestibules fit packs and boots, but vestibule doors are steeply angled, making egress tight. $299; 3 lbs. 11 oz.; firstascent.com



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READERS COMMENTS

Star
Wolf
Jan 30, 2013

I have to admit the First Ascent of that design and weight is impressive. But I agree with the other comments here. There are so many other options of lighter weight, this is the best you can come up with? How about a list of all tents considered and tested or are you just playing favorites because you have been bought?

Star Star
Adam
Jan 15, 2013

Honestly Backpacker, can you step it up a little bit? How is it that the LIGHTEST tent in your reviewed lineup was 3 lbs 11 ounces?? There are so many options out there under 3 lbs, why wouldn't you seek one out and compare it? No backpacker in their right mind needs to carry a two person tent heavier than 3 lbs these days. And you really don't lose reliability for weight, I can tell you from experience.

Star Star
Adam
Jan 15, 2013

Honestly Backpacker, can you step it up a little bit? How is it that the LIGHTEST tent in your reviewed lineup was 3 lbs 11 ounces?? There are so many options out there under 3 lbs, why wouldn't you seek one out and compare it? No backpacker in their right mind needs to carry a two person tent heavier than 3 lbs these days. And you really don't lose reliability for weight, I can tell you from experience.

Star Star
Brian
Jan 15, 2013

Seriously, how is a bathtub floor such an innovative concept? An asterisk might be called for in tent reviews where there is no bathtub floor.

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