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Lighten Your Tent by 22 Ounces

Six easy ways to lighten your tent load.
Text and Photos by Allison Woods
  • I wanted to see how much weight I could slash from my two tents--an REI Half Dome and MSR Hubba Hubba--and how much each ounce cost me in dollars spent. Here's what I did.
  • Ditch the stuffsacks (including pole and stake bags). Pack tent and fly loose in your pack, above your sleeping bag. Secure poles and stakes with a rubber band and stow in your pack's side pockets. I saved 3.8 oz. on the REI/2.4 oz. for the MSR. Cost: $0
  • Lose the groundsheet. Select campsites carefully, clearing them of pointy debris. Or, make a groundsheet out of ultrathin plastic from the hardware store, cut slightly smaller than the tent. Saved: REI/8.2 oz., MSR/7 oz. Cost: $2.
  • Swap out your tent stakes for any number of lighter ones. One cost-effective method: use a variety of stakes. Left to right: MSR Carbon-Core, $7/each, 3 titanium styles from Vargo, $4/each. Saved: 2 oz. Cost: $42.,
  • Save an ounce or three by swapping out included guylines for super-thin 4 mm Dyneema from a marine supply store. A tautline hitch eliminates the need for cord tensioners.  50' is enough for guylines, plus corners. Saved: 2 oz. Cost: $10.
  • Employ fast-pack mode when bugs aren't a concern. Most tents will pitch with just a rainfly and footprint, providing airy comfort, plus all of the space normally confined to the vestibules. Saved: 24 oz. Cost: $30 (for the groundsheet).
  • While not available for every tent, a carbon fiber poleset knocks off a ton of weight.  Use care to keep this state-of-the-art poleset clean and free of nicks. Made on demand from Saved: 9.3 ounces for the MSR. Cost: $173.
I wanted to see how much weight I could slash from my two tents--an REI Half Dome and MSR Hubba Hubba--and how much each ounce cost me in dollars spent. Here's what I did.
Image 1 of 7

I wanted to see how much weight I could slash from my two tents--an REI Half Dome and MSR Hubba Hubba--and how much each ounce cost me in dollars spent. Here's what I did.


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$7 for a tent stake?!?! Apparently the strategy is to lighten your wallet as well. If you wanted to go ultralight, whittle a stick into a stake.
— Scott

So for about $300 you saved 22 ounces. I think for that $300 and the $300 that the tent cost in first place you could find a really nice ultralight tent.
— BigWaterJim

Or I could just spend 200 and ditch my double wall rei qtr dome and replace it w a single wall non-free standing tub bottom like the go-lite single @ 1lb 17 oz. still sold on my own plan.
— Matt

This defeats the purpose of a groundsheet. It is suppose to protect the tent. What good is a piece of "ultra-thin" plastic going to do to protect the tent.
— John

"4 mm Dyneema"
Four mm is pretty thick. You sure about that dimension?
— Yaan

$258 for the entire refit that comes out to almost $12/oz. BUT, 1.4 pounds is a good chunk from the weight you carry. I have had a Stephenson's Warmlite 2R for over 15 years and I guess at 2.75 lbs for a very large 2 person (single wall) it has amortized the original cost of around $475 several times over just is sweat carrying it around. That is about $11/oz total cost. The tent is a bit more expensive now and fully tricked out will cost you around $12.7/ oz. Cup of coffee went to $3 over same time period
— Anonymous

Yikes! My entire tent weighs less than 22 ounces!
— hikerGuy

To really save weight, switch to a tarp or tarptent. They let you re-use your hiking poles instead of a separate poleset.
— RevLee

The goal of this was to keep the Hubba Hubba in service. Like a lot of you folks, I have a single-wall tent that gets used a lot of the time. In shoulder seasons, the single-wall's a bit chilly, and the two-wall comes out.

Considering this tent's performed for me for this many years now (I think I bought it in 2006 IIRC), I don't have issue with the cost--this tent tricked out for a couple of bills is good to go for a few more years. Also keeps it out of the landfill. I personally own high-quality gear and only ever rarely replace it.
— Allison Woods

I like to use one of the larger light-weight survival blankets as my ground cloth for my 3-man tent.. double duty in the event of an emergency! I've also completed several marathons and received a 'space blanket' after each which fits my 2-man perfectly. As for protection.. I watch where I set-up and it's never been an issue.
— RichardC


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