Brand: L.L. Bean
Model: Microlight UL2
Why we like it: They made this bargain even lighter.
Durability: This redesign cut more than a pound from the 2012 Editors’ Choice-winning original by using wispier materials: a 20-denier nylon floor, 15-denier mesh canopy, and 15-denier nylon fly. “I questioned whether the mesh would hold up to Alaska, but the Microlight sailed through,” one tester says. Each pole’s male insert length was halved, which cut weight and our testers didn’t notice a decrease in stability.
Weather protection: The lightweight nylon fly and hubbed poles kept testers dry through four days of 25-mph winds and persistent rainstorms in Alaska’s Chugach National Forest. The 33-inch brow pole extends well beyond the tent walls, keeping the drip line away from the tent even when the vestibules are open.
Livability: The pair of vestibules and above-average 30.5-square-foot floor provide ample sprawl space, but the 37-inch ceiling height and a lack of fly vents made for condensation. “It was 35 degrees and raining and the interior mesh got so wet that it was dripping on our sleeping bags come morning,” a tester says.