Mountainsmith Bear Creek 2
Model: Bear Creek 2
Our take Backpackers who prefer to save dollars instead of ounces will love the Bear Creek. Fortunately, heavier in this case also means roomier and burlier. This two-person shelter with an above-average 30.5-square-foot floor can withstand abuse, thanks to the 68-denier polyester used throughout. The real compromise for the low price? The tent can handle moderate rain and wind, but even fully guyed out, the two-pole structure isn’t stout enough for the full brunt of bad weather.
The details There’s an absurd amount of headroom (48 inches), even for our 6’2” tester. He and his wife (5’5”) found the living in this two-person tent to be easy, and they slept well even when their 50-pound dog joined them inside. The tent has only one door, but since it’s at the head of the tent neither person needs to crawl over the other to exit. Bummer: The tiny vestibule (5 square feet) feels disproportionately small compared to the spacious living quarters; store boots out there, but the rest of your gear either has to come inside or stay out in the weather.
Trail cred “Rocks, roots, branches: The Northeast is brutal on tent floors and this one doesn’t even have a scuff,” said our tester after eight nights in the Adirondacks.