Q. Please help, Gear Guy! I like to camp and hike but I always get slowed down by my heavy tent. Can you help me find a lightweight AND affordable backpacking tent?
—Tentless Joseph, Eugene, Ore.
A. If you plan on backpacking regularly, you ought to be shopping for a lightweight two-person tent that weighs around five pounds or so. Sure you can go lots lighter, but the lighter you go, the more you’ll have to spend. One way to make sure your pack stays light is to share the load with your tentmate—he carries the poles and fly; you carry the tent body. That way, you each are carrying just a couple of pounds. Simple.
O.K., now for some recommendations. Here are a few lightweight tents that might fit your budget:
- Mountain Hardwear Drifter 2 ($165; mountainhardwear.com) This new freestanding tent weighs in at 4 lbs. 12. oz., has lots of good ventilation and a large vestibule.
- Eureka! Forte SQ 2 ($130; eurekatent.com) The Forte is a new A-frame-style tent that’s very affordable for its 4 lbs. 8 oz. weight.
- Big Agnes Lynx Pass 2 ($200; bigagnes.com) The 5 lb. 8 oz.-Lynx Pass is a cool freestanding tent with the option to pitch the fly as an awning using hiking poles or sticks.