MSR Backcountry Barn

True all-season performance–without a weight penalty.

Brand: MSR Gear Reviews

Model: Backcountry Barn


Many four-season mountain tents are either cramped (using weight-trimming dimensions to counterbalance heavier materials) or so specialized that they’re overkill for anything but winter use. The single-wall DragonTail breaks the mold with a roomy interior and true all-season performance—without a weight penalty. Credit its spaciousness to the three-pole, hoop-style geometry—which, while not freestanding, pitches easily and creates vertical walls with an airy, 41-inch peak.

The 90-inch length ensures ample space for tall hikers, and the enormous, 14-square-foot vestibule allows plenty of room for cold-weather gear and cooking. “It feels more like a three-person tent,” says one tester. And it ably handled standard winter conditions: “During a Sierra snowstorm with 30-mph gusts that dislodged tree branches, it stood firm and shed wet snow,” reports our tester. (Caveat for gear abusers: While we experienced no durability problems, the DragonTail’s 40-denier fabrics are not as heavy-duty as the 70-denier stuff typically used in expedition tents.)

Ventilation is good; only slight condensation built up on nights below 30°F. Drawback: It has just one door. $480; 4 lbs. 12 oz.Sleeps 4-5 people plus gear and packs down to the size of many 3-person tents. The straightforward design allows for easy set-up. This big, livable shelter features a 74-inch (188 cm) center height, large windows at front and rear and awnings to allow for ventilation in any weather. A detachable bathtub floor allows customized use of interior space. 2 doors, 2 awnings.

Livable Volume (body + vestibule): 9797 L / 346 cu. ft.

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