Gear Review: REI Ace SW2 Tent

This two-person, single-wall REI tent is tough, versatile, and $300.

Best Buy

From the sandy, bake-oven banks of the Colorado River in July to the icy uplands of New Hampshire's Whites in February, the Ace SW2 reliably wowed our testers. The top reasons? Ease of setup, low weight, great livability, and rock-solid performance in high winds. This two-person single-wall has two doors and two vestibules, which make sharing a small tent much more pleasant. Two blunt-ended poles slide into webbing sleeves and a brow pole snaps across the top, creating mini-awnings over the vestibules; pitching takes less than three minutes.

"The Ace is remarkably tough for its weight. It withstood nine inches of fresh snow and 30-mph winds," said one tester after returning from a March ascent of New Hampshire's 3,155-foot Mt. Cardigan. Other testers in Utah praised the efficient use of space; the foot of the tent is narrower than the head. "The size is just big enough for two six-footers, and there's plenty of room for gear in your personal vestibule." Caveat: Testers in humid, East Coast regions reported moisture buildup, despite vents at the head and foot and adjustable vents at the top of each vestibule. $300; 4 lbs. 7 oz.;