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Gear Reviews

The Backpacker Gear Hall Of Fame: Tents

A look back at the tents we've loved for years are still at the top of their class.


Couples willing to forgo dual-door convenience get affordable livability with this freestanding dome, which offers good headroom, 33 square feet of…

Couples willing to forgo dual-door convenience get affordable livability with this freestanding dome, which offers good headroom, 33 square feet of sprawl-space, and a generous, 10-square-foot vestibule that’s more functional than most (thanks to a strut pole at the perimeter that boosts volume). $150; 4 lbs. 7 oz.; eurekatents.com

A 2010 Editors’ Choice Award-winner, this ultralighter still leads the pack for lightweight, freestanding convenience: It sets up fast, offers legit…

A 2010 Editors’ Choice Award-winner, this ultralighter still leads the pack for lightweight, freestanding convenience: It sets up fast, offers legit space and weather protection for two, virtually eliminates interior condensation—and all for less than a pound per person. $390; 1 lb. 15 oz.; bigagnes.com

Reasonably lightweight and supremely livable, this affordable favorite offers plenty of head- and elbowroom for two, which is why it won both…

Reasonably lightweight and supremely livable, this affordable favorite offers plenty of head- and elbowroom for two, which is why it won both Editors’ Choice (2002 ) and Gold (2010) awards. $189; 5 lbs. 2 oz.; rei.com

Ridiculously light—yet rock-solid in storms—the two-door Obi Elite eliminates condensation, “even on humid nights in North Cascades National Park,”…

Ridiculously light—yet rock-solid in storms—the two-door Obi Elite eliminates condensation, “even on humid nights in North Cascades National Park,” reports our tester. Tradeoff: Interior space is trim, while the pricetag is anything but. $500; 2 lbs. 4 oz.; nemoequipment.com

This floor less, trekking pole-supported shelter offers lavish space for two--54 square feet--and a vented window minimizes condensation. It stood…

This floor less, trekking pole-supported shelter offers lavish space for two–54 square feet–and a vented window minimizes condensation. It stood strong through 30-mph gusts in California’s Sierra Nevada, and durable 40-denier silnylon requires no TLC. $130; 2 lbs.; mountainsmith.com

If you want a solo tent with maximum weather protection for minimum weight, consider this bomb shelter: It repelled sideways rain and howling wind in…

If you want a solo tent with maximum weather protection for minimum weight, consider this bomb shelter: It repelled sideways rain and howling wind in Utah’s High Uintas, and a generous drip line keeps the interior dry during wet-weather exits. According to one tester, the 17-square-foot interior isn’t luxurious, but it’s “plenty big for a tired backpacker.” $350; 1 lb. 13 oz.; mountainhardwear.com

Thanks to cavernous headroom (43-inch peak) and the 92-inch length (even a 6’5” guy could stretch out), “it feels more like an RV than a tent,” raves…

Thanks to cavernous headroom (43-inch peak) and the 92-inch length (even a 6’5” guy could stretch out), “it feels more like an RV than a tent,” raves our tester. But despite the lavish living space, the Firefly’s taut pitch proved surprisingly sturdy through 50-mph winds in Colorado’s Park Range. $319; 5 lbs. 9 oz.; marmot.comm

Bargain gear doesn’t always deliver reliable storm insurance, but this 2012 Editors’ Choice Award-winner withstood rain and wind, offers two doors…

Bargain gear doesn’t always deliver reliable storm insurance, but this 2012 Editors’ Choice Award-winner withstood rain and wind, offers two doors and vestibules—and weighs less than 4 pounds. $239; 3 lbs. 14 oz.; llbean.com