Gear Guide: More Tester Tent Picks


Ease of Setup 1 / 5
Weatherproofing 1 / 5
Ventilation 1 / 5
Living Space 1 / 5
Capacity 1
Number of Poles 0
Diameter of Poles (mm) 1


Floor Space (sq ft) 0.5
Length (inches) 0.5
Width (inches) 0.5
Interior Height (inches) 0.5
Vestibule Front Area (sq ft) 0.5
Vestibule Back Area (sq ft) 0.5


Eastern Mountain Sports Velocity 1
A drum-tight pitch and excellent ventilation turned testers into devotees of this freestanding dome. The spacious, 9-square-foot vestibule offers more than enough space for a pack and boots. And it barely budged during 30-mph winds in Colorado’s Park Range. $269; 2 lbs. 8 oz.;

NEMO Gogo Elite
“An ultralight backpacker’s dream,” declared our tester after thru-hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail, where this single-wall shelter stood firm through torrential rain and 40-mph gusts. An inflatable airbeam (instead of aluminum poles) and ultralight 10-denier fabric make for a low weight, as do trim dimensions (more like a bivy than a traditional tent, the 27-inch peak height doesn’t allow sleepers to sit up fully). Gripe: Condensation collected in rainy conditions. $430; 1 lb. 4 oz.;

REI Quarter Dome T1
Generous headroom and a side entrance make this freestanding dome feel surprisingly spacious, given the sub-three-pound weight. “I’ve always had to carry much heavier tents to get this kind of head and shoulder room,” says our 6’3” tester, who found it a stable refuge in 20-mph wind and rain in Colorado’s canyon country. Bummer: The smallish door contorts exits. $219; 2 lbs. 14 oz.;


Cabela’s XPG Dash Duo
Solid performance in wind and a super-easy setup earned props for this freestanding dome. Floor space is “a little tight, but reasonable for the weight,” concludes our tester. Gripe: There’s just one door. $190; 5 lbs. 8 oz.;

Exped Mira II
This all-arounder achieves a sub-four-pound weight without compromising durability or interior space. The 70-denier nylon floor resists punctures, dual doors and vestibules provide convenient exits and ample storage, and storm performance is tops: It kept our Washington testers cozy during an epic, only-in-the-Olympics deluge. $379; 3 lbs. 14 oz.;

L.L. Bean Microlight FS 2
This two-person tent hits all the right notes: Less than four pounds and just over $200—but with two doors, legit floor space, freestanding convenience, and three-season weatherproofing. $219; 3 lbs. 12 oz.;

NEMO Obi Elite 2P
Most tents this light don’t offer two doors—but the Obi gives each occupant his own exit and 9-square-foot vestibule. The trick? Weight-saving fabrics (10-denier for the fly; 20-denier for the floor). Durability proved solid, but interior space is tight. $500; 2 lbs. 4 oz.;

Marmot Firefly 2P
“So much headroom, it’s like sleeping in an R.V.,” says one tester. The 92-inch length lets tall campers (up to 6’5”) stretch out, and the 26 square feet of storage (in two vestibules) provide ample real estate for packs, stoves—even a St. Bernard. Though heavier than many two-person tents, the Firefly is also bigger and (slightly) cheaper, thanks to cost-saving polyester fabric and DAC Pressfit poles. $319; 5 lbs. 9 oz.;

Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL 2
Despite its skimpy weight, this dome easily handles big weather. “The bathtub floor was waterproof enough to ‘waterbed’ during Canadian deluges, and the well-designed overlap between floor sidewalls and rainfly kept out 30-mph winds,” one tester reports. $450; 2 lbs. 2 oz.;

MSR Nook
Hikers who prefer racking up miles to lounging in camp praised this lightweight, one-door tent, which merely shivered in howling wind in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains. Downside: small vestibule. $400; 3 lbs. 2 oz.;

The North Face Mica FL 2
Weight-conscious hikers praised this freestanding, two-door dome, which kept our testers dry through light snow and sleet in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. The 28-square-foot floor is just big enough for two smallish hikers, but storage is ample (thanks to two 10-square-foot vestibules). Bummer: Condensation collected in chilly, 30°F temperatures, and testers wished for a tauter pitch. $379; 3 lbs. 2 oz.;


Big Agnes Seedhouse SL 3
Despite the gauzy materials (which make this freestanding dome as light as many two-person tents), the Seedhouse survived rough handling on Utah’s Green River. Setup is simple, and the all-mesh walls and ceiling facilitate stargazing. Correctly rigged and oriented, it endured 30-mph winds. $400; 3 lbs. 8 oz.;

Exped Gemini III
“It’s one of the sturdiest freestanding tents I’ve ever used,” raves our veteran tester, reporting that it withstood 20-mph winds (with gusts approaching 40 mph) in Washington’s Alpine Lakes Wilderness and barely shuddered—even without full guyouts rigged. Ventilation is excellent, and durable, 70- and 30-denier nylon fabrics withstood careless treatment. $499; 5 lbs. 9 oz.;


Eddie Bauer First Ascent Katabatic
What makes this three-person tent an award-winner is its no-compromise blend of stability, livability, and a reasonable carry weight. With steep walls that actually give three adults and their gear plenty of headroom, this double-wall fortress proved a comfy bunker in foul weather—including howling 50-mph winds at 23,500 feet on Mt. Everest, where its weatherproofing impressed testers, to say the least. Said one, “This is the best four-season tent I’ve ever used.” $599; 10 lbs. 5 oz.;

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL4
Huge headroom and a generous, 57-square-foot floor make this four-person, three-season dome so spacious that, in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park, eight testers squeezed in for dinner and a card game during a snowstorm. Yet weight is low, and ventilation superb. $600; 5 lbs. 5 oz.;

Brooks-Range Invasion
Alpinists who value weight savings above elbowroom loved this two-person single-wall, which barely shook in Tetons snow and gusty winds at treeline in New Hampshire’s Presidential Range. The 30-square-foot floor just fit two climbers, but entrances require a commando-crawl, and condensation collected in most conditions. $570; 3 lbs. 7 oz.;