I continue to be astonished that tent manufacturers keep finding new ways to shave ounces. Surely there’s a limit to how lightweight a tent can get, but these five tents demonstrate that we haven’t yet reached that limit.
This ongoing trend was highlighted once again in the new 2013 Gear Guide from Backpacker magazine—perhaps the most striking aspect of this year’s edition—and these tents were the ones that most caught my attention.
Note: Weights are from the manufacturer and include tent, rainfly, and poles, but not stakes, guylines, or stuff sack, which typically add an additional 4 to 6 ounces.
Big Agnes Scout UL2
As the company’s web site says, this tent “is a new-school version of your old-school A-frame wall tent or tarp.” Winner of one of Backpacker’s coveted Editors’ Choice Awards, this two-person shelter uses trekking poles for support and weighs a paltry 1 pound, 10 ounces. $280
Big Agnes Slater UL2+
A great option for the tall camper, this ultralight two-person double-wall tent is 96 inches long and readily accommodates folks over 6 feet in height. 2 pounds, 9 ounces. $389. Also available in a one-person version (2 pounds, 4 ounces; $339).
Big Sky Soul
Touted as the “world’s lightest double wall freestanding tent,” this (short) one-person shelter weighs a mere 1 pound, 11 ounces. To get down to that micro-weight costs $399, though you can customize the design to use less expensive (but slightly heavier) fabrics and poles, which can slash more than $200 from the price.
GoLite Imogene UL2
It’s snug but it’s extremely lightweight. With a maximum length of 87 inches and a side length of only 78 inches, this isn’t a tent I’ll be wriggling my 6 foot 5 inch frame into anytime soon. A huge front door and substantial vestibule are nice features. 2 pounds, 7 ounces; $249. Also available in a three-person version (3 pounds, 1 ounce; $299).
Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL
This tent isn’t just light, it’s super mega ultralight. Like most of the tents on this list, it’s cut short to save weight, but the free-standing design offers a quick pitch and flexibility in site selection (2 pounds, 2 ounces; $430). Also available in a one-person version (1 pound, 13 ounces; $350).
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.