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I wanted to see how much weight I could slash from my two tents–an REI Half Dome and MSR Hubba Hubba–and how much each ounce cost me in dollars spent. Here’s what I did.
Ditch the stuffsacks (including pole and stake bags). Pack tent and fly loose in your pack, above your sleeping bag. Secure poles and stakes with a rubber band and stow in your pack’s side pockets. I saved 3.8 oz. on the REI/2.4 oz. for the MSR. Cost: $0
Lose the groundsheet. Select campsites carefully, clearing them of pointy debris. Or, make a groundsheet out of ultrathin plastic from the hardware store, cut slightly smaller than the tent. Saved: REI/8.2 oz., MSR/7 oz. Cost: $2.
Swap out your tent stakes for any number of lighter ones. One cost-effective method: use a variety of stakes. Left to right: MSR Carbon-Core, $7/each, 3 titanium styles from Vargo, $4/each. Saved: 2 oz. Cost: $42. cascadedesigns.com, vargotitanium.com
Save an ounce or three by swapping out included guylines for super-thin 4 mm Dyneema from a marine supply store. A tautline hitch eliminates the need for cord tensioners. 50′ is enough for guylines, plus corners. Saved: 2 oz. Cost: $10.
Employ fast-pack mode when bugs aren’t a concern. Most tents will pitch with just a rainfly and footprint, providing airy comfort, plus all of the space normally confined to the vestibules. Saved: 24 oz. Cost: $30 (for the groundsheet).
While not available for every tent, a carbon fiber poleset knocks off a ton of weight. Use care to keep this state-of-the-art poleset clean and free of nicks. Made on demand from fibraplex.com. Saved: 9.3 ounces for the MSR. Cost: $173.
Text and Photos by Allison Woods