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If you’re car camping or sticking relatively close to the trailhead or put-in, a bigger tent with higher ceilings and ample storage compartments is a worthwhile luxury.
No matter where you’re going, the little things count.
Think of features like suspended pockets and oversize vestibules the way you do built-in shelving and a killer garage.
After all, those are the things that will transform your tent from a shelter into a home.
MSR dropped 25 ounces from the previous iteration by replacing the rain fly’s zips with Velcro (we hardly noticed) and using only two Easton carbon-fiber poles to prop up the non-freestanding design.
The result weighs about a third of the next lightest option here. The Test: Last year, Big Agnes won Gear of the Year for integrating LED lights into a superb backpacking tent.
“It was fantastic.” Suspended lofts and pockets provide additional organizational options, while the vestibules act like mini garages: our testers fit ropes, climbing gear, two pairs of shoes, a duffel, and a backpack.
Just make sure to crack the two large side windows to prevent condensation. Spending the night outside just got brighter, cleaner, and easier.
Two of our testers took it for a trial run to Mexico’s Nuevo León sport-climbing area and came back insisting that it was bigger than their bedroom at home.
“We had space on either side of the bed for all our gear,” said one.
When selecting a tent, look at the same factors you’d scrutinize when buying a house: location, size, and amenities. The deeper you lug gear into the woods, the more weight matters.
If you’re heading into high-alpine environments or anywhere you might encounter serious weather, you need something with thicker fabric and more poles.