Why we like it: In dry weather, this pole-free shelter is perfect for keeping insects out.
Packability: At just 9 ounces, the Escape Pod is half the weight of other poled bug shelters, and it packs down to the size of a small grapefruit. The key is an inflatable (by mouth) 2-inch diameter rib that provides structure in lieu of traditional poles. Additionally, it’s only two-thirds the length of a standard bivy (a drawstring closure cinches around your sleeping bag to seal out bugs). Tradeoff: It costs twice as much as many other structured bug shelters.
Usability: The 24-inch-tall arch that supports the mesh is shorter than most, so don’t expect to sit up. There’s no door: “You have to worm into your sleeping bag and awkwardly scoot your way in through the mesh sleeve,” said one tester after a weekend trip in the Adirondacks.
Protection: No-see-um netting and a loose elastic near the base kept bugs out (no way to escape the buzzing), and the guyouts kept the tent stable in light (5 mph) winds. But this isn’t a tent; pair it with a tarp and groundsheet if you’re expecting weather.