Brand: NEMO Equipment, Inc.
Model: Nano Elite
Get lightweight, ballroom-size shelter with this spin on the classic pyramid, says our tester, who used it while backpacking in canyon country and as an emergency shelter for seven during a thunderstorm in the Rockies. Instead of four sides, like a typical pyramid, the Pentalite uses five walls to create more interior space and also has a vestibule/canopy option: Zip in the Wedge ($140; 2 lbs. 1 oz.; pictured above), a mesh insert with a zippered door, and you get 69 square feet of bug-protected space and an eight-square-foot vestibule.
Without the Wedge, the tarp provides 77 square feet of shelter suited to snowy sites or bug-free conditions. Four people sleep comfortably around the included DAC pole. Three vents on the tarp walls prevent the interior from steaming up. And the 72-inch peak height makes the Pentalite a comfy place for sorting gear and even playing charades—campers 5’5” and shorter can stand up inside. Extending the monopole and planting the eight stakes (for the corners and vent guy-outs) takes just a few minutes. The steep walls effectively shed snow during an early-winter snowstorm in Colorado. Our only wish: a tauter pitch—the walls tended to sag slightly without retensioning. $370; 3 lbs. 5 oz.
When you need to cover long distances in the backcountry fast, every ounce counts. You want your tent to pack down small, weigh almost nothing and set up in a snap, even when your mind is a blur. Meet Nano Elite Made from NEMO’s new OSMO Elite super light waterproof/breathable fabric, it weighs a paltry 2.8 lbs. and takes up less space in your pack than a climbing helmet. The front door is reversed from the typical design; the mesh door is on the outside so the inner door can be used as a vent in dry weather. Also, the mesh door can be unzipped completely from the tent to save a few ounces. A large internally deployable overhead vent, along with guy out vents down low on either end of the tent further help combat condensation.