Get lightweight, ballroom-size shelter with this spin on the classic pyramid, says our tester, who used it while backpacking in canyon country and as an emergency shelter for seven during a thunderstorm in the Rockies. Instead of four sides, like a typical pyramid, the Pentalite uses five walls to create more interior space and also has a vestibule/canopy option: Zip in the Wedge ($140; 2 lbs. 1 oz.; pictured above), a mesh insert with a zippered door, and you get 69 square feet of bug-protected space and an eight-square-foot vestibule.
Without the Wedge, the tarp provides 77 square feet of shelter suited to snowy sites or bug-free conditions. Four people sleep comfortably around the included DAC pole. Three vents on the tarp walls prevent the interior from steaming up. And the 72-inch peak height makes the Pentalite a comfy place for sorting gear and even playing charades—campers 5’5” and shorter can stand up inside. Extending the monopole and planting the eight stakes (for the corners and vent guy-outs) takes just a few minutes. The steep walls effectively shed snow during an early-winter snowstorm in Colorado. Our only wish: a tauter pitch—the walls tended to sag slightly without retensioning. $370; 3 lbs. 5 oz.
Five sides are better than four. That was our conclusion after brainstorming the possibilities for a single pole pyramid-style tent. Compared to conventional square pyramid designs, Pentalite offers a full vestibule and significantly more usable space. Convert Pentalite into a full tent by adding the optional Wedge inner mesh tent and floor. With side guy out vents, a vent up high in the back and the ability to keep the vestibule doors rolled back, this isn't your standard pyramid tent. Pentalite uses a waterproof/non-breathable 30D PU Nylon for the body.