Brand: Big Agnes
Model: Bitter Springs UL-1
Why we like it: The massive vestibule almost doubles the living space of this mansion.
Protection: Though it’s tricky to pitch, requiring 15 stakes, a pole, and two trekking poles, we found it to be a “palatial fortress” even in rain and big desert winds. Pitch it with the lower foot end pointed into the wind. 4.2
Livability: “The 12-square-foot vestibule made a killer kitchen during a stretch of sustained foul weather,” says a Continental DivideTrail (CDT) tester. “This is one of the only tents that comfortably fit me and all my gear,” says our 6’5” Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) tester. 4.9
Ventilation: The all-mesh canopy lets moisture escape in most conditions, but with no vents in the fly (a sacrifice that trims grams), our sleeping bags got damp almost every night. To alleviate the problem, leave the vestibule door open in dry weather. 2.0
Durability: The 15-denier ripstop nylon fly and 20-denier floor, along with the single 8.7mm pole, stood up to 19 (and counting) straight nights of long-trail abuse. The optional groundsheet ($55, 3 oz.) adds even more protection and gives you the option of fast-pitching with just the fly (saves 6 ounces). 4.7
Overall: 4.2 $350; 1 lb. 13 oz.; bigagnes.com