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Backpacker Magazine – November 2010

Time-Tested Gear: Tents

A-frames, domes, party tents–we've tested them all.

by: Alex Geller and Kristin Hostetter

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
The North Face VE-25 (Courtesy Photo)
The North Face VE-25 (Courtesy Photo)

Tried and True
The North Face VE-25

Of all the categories of gear we test, tents have undergone some of the most dramatic changes over the last few decades. Poles have gotten lighter and tougher, fabrics have gotten more weatherproof and packable, and designs have been revolutionized by hubbed pole systems that increase strength and space for the weight. That’s why the VE-25 is so astounding: It’s virtually the same tent we tested in the 1970s (it was called the VE-24 back then), and it still stands out among competitors.

Back when most tents were hoop or A-frame affairs that tried testers’ patience when it came to setup or wild weather, this sturdy, freestanding geodesic dome was a revelation. After pitching the 2010 version on 12,000-foot ridgelines in Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness, our current tester says it’s as bomber as ever. “It’s spacious for three, well-vented, and reasonably light considering the absolute protection it provides.” Our prediction? We’ll be writing about it again 20 years down the road. $569; 9 lbs. 12 oz.;

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

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Sam Farrington
Jan 23, 2011


Robert Speik
Jan 18, 2011

I purchased my VE24 in 1982 and used it well for a few years. Then we moved to the beach and mostly cruised a Cal 30. In 1992 we retired to Bend Oregon and I dug out my wonderful family fort. Alas, the floor was sticky. I returned it under the TNF Warranty and soon received a new VE25. I also have a solo favorite, the Black Diamond Firstlight at 2,11.

Jan 18, 2011

You gotta love SD tents and I'm happy to see at least one model reach the H.O.F. For many years, my first generation Lightning 2 had been my "go to" 3-season tent. Although I've recently gone more lightweight with my Tarptent Rainbow 1, my SD Lightning and SD Stretch Dome 4-season create a pretty good, personal tent inventory.


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