Ultralight Tents Weighing 2 – 3 pounds

April 25, 2010

Part 4 of 4. In the May issue of AMC Outdoors, I highlight the different types of backcountry shelters that weigh less than 2 pounds. (Read the full article here.) This four-part blog posting highlights the specific brands and styles available in each category. In this post, I round up the ultralight tent category. (Check out part 1: Ultralight Tarps; part 2: Floorless Tents and Single-wall Shelters; and part 3: Bivy Sacks.)

A couple quick caveats. A traditional double-wall tent features both a fully enclosed tent body and separate rain fly, which significantly improves ventilation over single-wall designs. At this point, no double-wall tent truly weighs less than 2 pounds (though several come close). For this post, I’ve highlighted several of my favorite ultralight tent manufacturers that produce double-wall tents under 3 pounds. Note that listed manufacturers’ weights are trail weights (tent, rain fly, poles, stakes, guy lines, and stuff sack).

Big Agnes
Colorado-based company is currently on the forefront of ultralight tents, including the new Fly Creek UL 1 (2 pounds, 3 ounces; $299) and Fly Creek UL 2 (2 pounds, 10 ounces; $349). I’m also a big fan of their Seedhouse SL1 (2 pounds, 13 ounces; $249), perhaps the longest one-person tent on the market. (Their 2- and 3-person Seedhouse tents are also great. Check out my post on the Seedhouse SL series.)

Big Sky InternationalSmall, Wyoming-based manufacturer of a full line of ultralight tents. Many are hybrid single-wall/double-wall designs, while others are true double-walls like the two-door, two-person Big Sky Evolution (pictured; 2 pounds, 13 ounces; $349). Many are made-to-order; you can customize the fabrics and features you want to get exactly the tent (and weight) that you’re after.

Other Ultralight Tents Under 3 Pounds**One-person tents unless otherwise noted
L.L. Bean Microlight Solo (pictured; $129—Great Value!)
EMS Velocity 1 ($239)
REI Quarter Dome 1 ($199)
MontBell Crescent 1 ($229) and Crescent 2 (**2-person; pictured; $279)
Marmot Eos 1P ($225)
Mountain Hardwear Sprite 1 ($160)
MSR Carbon Reflex 1 ($449) and Carbon Reflex 2 (**2-person; $499)
Hilleberg Akto ($420)

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.