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Backpacker Magazine – November 2008

Little Big Houses: Three-Season, Double-Occupancy Shelters

At right around two pounds per person, these three-season, double-occupancy shelters do everything but weigh you down.

by: Kelly Bastone, Photos by Brooks Freehill

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6
Black Diamond Mirage
Black Diamond Mirage
Kelty Corrie 2
Kelty Corrie 2
The North Face Vario 23
The North Face Vario 23
Nemo Nano
Nemo Nano
Big Sky International Convertible 2P Shelter
Big Sky International Convertible 2P Shelter
Mountain Hardwear Helion 2
Mountain Hardwear Helion 2

Best All-Around | Storm Ready | Top Single-Wall | Big-Guy Favorite | Customizable | Lightest

The North Face Vario 23




Single-walls and hybrids like the Vario offer smart weight savings when used in relatively dry climates: You benefit from the lightweight construction (less fabric) without suffering much from the unavoidable penalty (more condensation than with a double-wall tent). That made the Vario, with its roomy interior and stable, gust-busting pitch, a favorite for trips in the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest, where prolonged wet weather is unusual. Setup is fast, and the pitch is taut: "I could do it at night and in the rain; once up, 40-mph gusts barely fluttered it," said one tester. Two D-shaped doors conveniently hang to the side–not on the floor–and each camper gets a small but functional vestibule. The easy pitch and convenience of twin doors and vestibules elevated the Vario above some larger digs, but it's hardly tiny: The spacious floor and 41-inch-high ceiling are plenty roomy for a pair of six-footers. And packed into its compression sack, the Vario squashes down to the size of a gallon jug. Just note that condensation is fierce in humid locations and long storms. Testers in the drippy Northwest had problems even with only one occupant. Reader service #103


  • Floor space 32 sq. ft.
  • Vestibules Two (6 sq. ft. each)
  • Weight 4 lbs. 2 oz.
  • Price $289
  • Info

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6

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Clven Troy
Jan 27, 2009

hi to all of you... i am clven troy.. a local guide to the highest peak in the philippines.. MT.APO!!! if ever you want to come and experience the Majestic Mt.Apo this APRIL-MAY season climb, just contact me... take care!!!

Jan 26, 2009

Hi, Although i'm a gear nut i think that there are far lighter and better tent out there for the same or less money that where not included in this survey- also better versions- The North Face Spectru 23 is far superior and lighter than the Vario- Just a thought-

Being able to travel far and fast doesn't mean you have to sleep on the cold, damp earth. Weighing just over four pounds, the Spectrum 23's lightweight design allows outdoor enthusiasts to remain unencumbered by bulky equipment but retain the comfort of protection against harsh elements. Withstanding winds of 130.2 mph, you'll be blown away by how resilient this tent just is.

Features Wind-tunnel-tested for those on the move
DAC Featherlite™ NSL aluminum poles using reverse-combi technology
Two Nano-Knuckle™ swivels
Fusion pitch with ultralight MicroClip™
Fully seam sealed canopy
Fully taped ultralight floor
Freestanding design with pull-out vestibule
High-low venting with overhead vents and zip closure
Ultralight 1' pole sleeve
D-shaped door
Color-coded poles
Reflective guyline and zipper cording
Compression stuffsack included

skip shephard
Jan 25, 2009

Hi, I just wanted to say that I really enjoy the Backpacker Magazine on line. I am 64, love the outdoors and have learned a lot from your many informative departments. I live in Tucson,Az and enjoy the dessert climate and learning about all of the different aspects of this area.


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