Ultralight Floorless and Single-Wall Tents Under Two Pounds

April 18, 2010

Part 2 of 4. In the May issue of AMC Outdoors, I highlight the different types of backcountry shelters that weigh less than 2 pounds. This four-part blog posting highlights the specific brands and styles available in each category. In this post, I round up floorless tents and other single-wall shelters. (Check out part 1, ultralight tarps, here.) Note that included weights are from the manufacturers; they typically include the shelter and any poles (other than trekking poles) but do not include guy lines or stakes.

Go Lite
Offers the Shangri-La line of floorless tents, which includes the A-frame style Shangri-La 1 (pictured; 16 ounces, $200), Shangri-La 2 (21 ounces, $250), and just-over-two-pounds pyramid-style Shangri-La 3 (36 ounces, $275). Go Lite also sells a series of “Nests” for each of these (pictured inside Shangri-La 1; 15-28 ounces; $75-$125), a separate element that fits inside and provides a bathtub-style floor and full mesh protection from bugs.

Black Diamond
Utah-based gear maker sells the Beta Light, a two-trekking pole, floorless 2-person shelter (19 ounces; $180). I have to highlight their Mega Light (pictured) as well, even though it weighs over 2 pounds—it’s one of my favorite shelters. For years, Black Diamond sold the classic Megamid, a wonderfully spacious (up to 4 people) and ultra-simple four-sided floorless pyramid tent. With the advent of siliconized nylon, they upgraded to this lighter weight fabric to create the Mega Light (2 pounds, 5 ounces; $260). It comes with a carbon fiber center pole or you can use the included “Pole Link Converter” to join two trekking poles together as the support and get the weight below 2 pounds.

This company only makes tents, including their ultralight two-person Rajd (pictured; 2 pounds, 3 ounces; $365), a tarp-tent hybrid that features a full floor and bug protection.

California-based company specializing in a wide range of ultralight shelters designed around trekking poles for pole support. Offerings include the ultralight one-person Sublite (18.5 ounces, $179) and Contrail (24.5 ounces, $199).

Gossamer Gear
This specialty gear maker focuses on ultralight equipment for fastpacking. The 1-2 person Squall Classic is one of the classic designs (24.6 ounces, $325) and a collaboration with the founder of Tarptent (above). Though originally a floorless design, the 2010 model includes a bathtub floor and screen door, making it fully bug proof as well. Hard to top for the protection versus weight.

Integral DesignsI featured the SilDome (26 ounces, $200) as my pick in the May/June “Gear Watch” column of AMC Outdoors. I love the no-trekking-pole-required design and head room.

Other (European) OptionsThe British company Terra Nova Equipment makes a line of superlight tents.

The German company Vaude offers their Power Lizard UL.

Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.