|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – November 2008
At right around two pounds per person, these three-season, double-occupancy shelters do everything but weigh you down.
Mountain Hardwear Helion 2
If you want an ultralight shelter that disappears in your pack, this is your tent. Stuffed, it's no bigger than a bike helmet. The double-wall Helion trims ounces with a fly made of superlight (and super-strong) hollow-core ripstop nylon. But the Helion's dimensions are Spartan: Placed side by side, two 20-inch-wide, standard-length sleeping pads overlap at the foot. ("If you use this as a tent for two, one of you better be tiny," said a tester.) If the size works for you, you'll love the performance. The sturdy three-pole frame held strong against stormy winds and easily shed the worst rain we experienced, and the ultralight fabrics were unscathed after encounters with sandstone and volcanic rock. The all-mesh interior provided outstanding ventilation in all conditions, and the forward-angled pole around the head area kept the entryway dry even when the vestibule was unzipped. Besides the cramped quarters and hefty price, the only other downside is a fussy pitch: feeding poles through tiny weight-saving rings (in lieu of clips) is slow. Reader service #106