Q:

Is there an expedition-worthy solo tent?

I need a good solo tent in the $200 price range for winter mountain climbing trips. It seems that manufacturers have come out with many new solo tents, but I can't tell if any of them would work for winter camping. Mike Rapid City, South Dakota

Sep 18, 2003
Outside
Outside Magazine
A: There just isn't a huge market for four-season or expedition-type tents for solo hikers and climbers, so tent makers haven't exactly stampeded into the fray with their offerings. For my money, the best "solo" all-season tent has for years been the Bibler I-Tent. It's extremely strong, roomy for one person, and very light at just over four pounds. The downside is its shocking cost: $539, which I realize is way over your budget. But it'll last for years and years, so if you look at it over the long haul, that might be the way to go (www.biblertents.com).

After that the list gets pretty short, but there is at least one option. You might take a look at the Hilleberg Akto, by a Swedish tent maker that has been in the U.S. market for several years now (www.hilleberg.com). Hilleberg makes lovely tents—very light and tough. The Akto, designed as a solo year-round tent, weighs in at only two pounds, 12 ounces. Unlike the Bibler it is not free-standing, but that's also why it weighs so little—by asking you to stake the thing out you save a pole, and the ounces that go with it. I'd recommend the Akto highly, even though at $345 it still isn't real cheap either.

Other choices: Marmot makes an affordable solo tent called the Home Alone, which is $179 (www.marmot.com). But, it's more of a three-season tent. Marmot's Eclipse, a solo tent that is being discontinued, actually looks like it would work well in wintery conditions. It's available on closeout at Campmor for $159 (www.campmor.com). And lastly, Exped, another European tent maker, sells what it calls the Solestar ($199; www.exped.com), a solo three-season tent that weighs four pounds, five ounces. There's some mesh in the canopy, but a full-coverage fly offers plenty of weather protection.

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