Model: Ultralite Solo Tarp
We don’t know why this three-pound tent is called the Kilo. No matter. Here’s the math that counts: one pound per person for a three-person shelter. And unlike some ultralights, which employ futzy trekking-pole setups or wispy fabrics, this three-season dome achieves its low weight by using innovative carbon-fiber poles with connectors that use short monofilament tethers rather than one long piece of elastic cord. Ergo, best-in-weight-class stability.
Pitching the Kilo takes two minutes, and even without guying, it withstood 30-mph gusts in the Sierra. Headroom is adequate, with a 40-inch peak height that lets campers play cards without crouching, but the 43-square-foot floor was a snug fit for three thru-hikers on the John Muir Trail.
Downsides: The 4.5-square-foot vestibule shelters little more than three pairs of boots. Condensation dampened testers’ bags with just two campers inside, and in rainy conditions, the fly sagged onto the mesh, further compromising airflow. (Update: Easton says Velcro attachment loops have been added to the inside of the fly to improve stability and reduce sag. We didn’t test the new version.) $499; 3 lbs.; eastonmountainproducts.comThe Brooks-Range Ultralite Tarp is the perfect shelter for professional mountain and ski guides, as well as the recreational backcountry travelers, hikers, and hard-core backpackers. All Brooks-Range tarps are made with an amazing lightweight fabric available only in Brooks-Range Ultralite products. This high-tech, water-resistant, rip-stop nylon fabric delivers an unparalleled strength-to-weight ratio. Each Ultralite Tarp is designed for maximum flexibility, with a centrally-placed weather resistant pass-thru patch for rigging to a hard anchor, along with several nylon webbing loops sewn to the corners and along the edges to facilitate multiple configurations using trekking poles, trees or tents. The tarp is available in four sizes, making it compact and light enough to take on any trip, where it can be used as a shelter, tent, ground-tarp, awning, wind shelter or gear storage shelter.