If spring finds you in the market for a tent that's lightweight and bombproof, check out this two-person, two-door, three-season shelter.
Setting up the Arx is simple and intuitive. The carbon fiber brow pole helps to pop out the side walls, adding more usable space. An all-mesh tent body allowed outstanding cross-ventilation on a spring night near Washington's Saddle Mountains.
With a footprint of less than 28 square feet, and a slight taper at the foot end, seen at right, space is at a premium. Changing clothes is a one-at-a-time affair. Just shy of 85 inches long, the Arx best fits hikers under 6'.
Here's a look at what the brow pole does to the interior space. The height of the tent is 41.5" at the ends of the pole, allowing for a couple of friendly campers to sit and play an evening game of Yahtzee. A small gear loft, seen here, is included.
The brow pole, while critical for providing elbow room, made for a clumsy roofline when the rainfly was rolled up. A better solution? Unhook the fly from the brow pole and roll it all the way up to the long poles.
A two-way zipper on the vestibule doors allow you to peek out at the weather without getting wet and create a high-low venting system to optimize airflow on sticky nights. Twin doors allow stealth exiting for the inevitable midnight bio break.
The two vestibules are smallish, but there's room for a 50-liter pack and your boots. The steepness of the vesty walls can make for a damp exit, so give the door a good shake if it's raining.
The Arx pitches taut, and stays that way. Winds howled down Crab Creek at a steady 25 mph, but the siliconized nylon fly didn't flap. Corner tensioners allow for raising the fly to allow airflow and keep the interior dry and cool in high humidity.
The Arx is a solid bet for two smaller hikers who want 3+ season weather protection at a good weight and pack size. Best if you can catch it on sale (check online at backcountry.com). Larger campers should look elsewhere for more floor space.
The Specs: Stoic Arx XL 2 $269 (goes on sale regularly, various prices as low as $161) 4 lbs. 5 oz. (on BACKPACKER scales) Length 84.5 in., head width 51 in., foot width 43 in. backcountry.com