Brand: Mountain Laurel Designs
Split this shelter’s weight among four people—which its dimensions easily accommodate—and you’ll carry just 12 ounces per person. That’s less than a full water bottle, which makes a huge difference on gear-intensive winter trips.
The secret: silnylon everything (except Dyneema-enhanced pole guides) and a pitch that utilizes two pairs of skis rather than tent poles. “It goes up quickly, but wind loading would slowly drive the skis into the snowpack and cause it to flap,” says one tester who used pickets to secure the tent on snow during a five-day winter tour of Baxter State Park’s Chimney Pond and Roaring Brook, in Maine.
With a massive 96-square-foot (floorless) area and 70-inch peak height, the Circus Tent can fit up to seven. “It makes a great communal or kitchen shelter on backcountry ski trips,” our tester says. The dual-peak design easily sloughed off snow, but with more material than some sails, it’s best for weather-protected routes.
3 lbs 7 oz
UltraLight Spinntex EXP, Shield Silnylon of Cuben Fiber fabric pyramid shelter. Lightest fully enclosed single wall shelter available. Used by Andrew Skurka on his 4700mi Alaska-Yukon Solo Expedition.