Gear Review: REI Arete ASL 3 Tent

If you dip your toes in winter camping this tent is for you.

[shoulder-season bargain]

You: Flirt with the rougher edges of spring and fall, and the occasional mild-weather winter trip. Your tent: the three-person, double-walled Arete. It earned huge props right out of the bag for its no-brainer setup, with color-coded dead-end pole sleeves and an “insert this pole first” decal. “My eight-year-old twins popped it up on Mt. Hood in less than three minutes, including the fly,” says one tester.

The asymmetrical dome shape shed rain and withstood 20-mph winds in Norway and high on Mt. Rainier, but the tent’s three-pole structure isn’t strong enough for serious snowloads. And ventilation is excellent. “Zero condensation,” reports one tester, “thanks to the mesh doors and vestibule vents.” Space (38 square feet) is adequate for two plus gear or three smaller campers, but pinched for a trio of XLs. The vestibule covers the single door and holds boots and wet shells, but not a lot more. Bonus: affordability. $239; 6 lbs. 5 oz.;