No, free-standing is NOT worth the extra weight and pole. Im all for free-standing tentsI use them a lotbut part of their rationale is ease of use and the ability to set them up in a stormand on a showroom floor, for that matter. To stay upright they must have enough poles to form a self-supporting tripod.
For the most part, the lightest tents out there still need stakes for full support (keep in mind, so do freestanding tents, so they dont blow off in the wind). That would include a tent such as Mountain Hardwears Sprite 1 ($150), a so-called tunnel" style tent that has two hoop poles and stakes at the end. By eliminating a third pole, weight is cut to three pounds. Sierra Designs Light Year is almost identical in size, price, and weight.
REIs Quarter Dome T1 ($179) is a self-supporting tent that is competitive with tunnel tents in weight, mainly by using lots of mesh in the canopy (not so good in cold weather). The two-person version, the T2, is $259.
I think youre best off getting a two-person tent for the two of you. If you got a T2, youd be looking at just under two pounds per person. Same for a tent such as the Marmot Aura 2P ($299). Plus, its easier to find one tent site than two. And you have the chance to share warm thoughts with each other during the long nights.
But if a one-person tent is the decision, get a Sprite 1 or Light Year.
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