Brand: Big Sky International
Model: Evolution 3P
At a tick under five pounds, this freestanding dome is already lighter than most three-person tents. And the removable, 15-square-foot vestibule lets hikers go even lighter by leaving three ounces at home: Just zip off the vesti and zip in the waterproof door panel (included) when rain is unlikely or mileage high. Or turn the entrance into a full-blown front porch with the optional Trekking Pole Vestibule ($130, 1 lb.), which uses a staff to support the ceiling of a 24-square-foot vestibule that’s big enough to seat four people or stash a pair of bikes (with front wheels removed).
Setup is straightforward: “The color coding made it easy to pitch, even in blowing, miserable sleet,” reports one tester. Hammered by rain and snowstorms in Colorado’s Gore Range, the three-season Espri held firm—and stayed quiet, reports our tester. “We slept soundly as others were kept awake by rattling tents,” she notes.
Ventilation is better than most, thanks to big mesh panels and a rear fly vent that enhances airflow: Testers only saw condensation in subfreezing temps when seven people lounged inside. The 89-inch length and 40-inch height made it comfy for campers up to 6’1”, the width accommodates three sleepers, and the large door provides easy exits from anywhere in the tent. $390; 4 lbs. 15 oz.; nemoequipment.comAvailable with AL or DuraLite(TM) ultra light composite poles. Available in different colors, fabrics, stakes, etc.
Note: longer 91in (230cm) interior for 2012.