Q:

Will an ultralight, single-wall tent keep out condensation?

Hey, Gear Guy, I've pruned some ounces by getting the Osprey Aether 45 pack, Marmot Arroyo bag, Optimus Crux stove, Seychelles water filter, and also by cutting off useless straps and the like. But for an ultralight one-man tent that can handle three-season Sierra weather, what do you recommend? I was looking at the new Mountain Hardwear Waypoint. Is this any good at keeping out condensation? Jake Irvine, California

Feb 13, 2004
Outside
Outside Magazine

Ultra Light Year

A: Wow, you're dropping some coin on this endeavor. But I suppose that's what you have to do to go light—you need to replace the main items (the pack, the tent, the bag) to slash pounds.

In recent years lots of new tents have come out with the ultralight market in mind. One is Mountain Hardwear's Waypoint 1 ($195; www.mountainhardwear.com), which packs down to right between two and three pounds. That is light—not much more than a bivouac bag. And it's an excellent tent. Alert readers know that last year I was using (and liked very much) the two-person version, and I was extremely impressed: easy setup, excellent weatherproofness, minimal condensation for a single-wall tent with an impermeable wall. Really, on the condensation front, it seems on par with an ordinary double-wall tent. The Waypoint is not an inexpensive tent, but it's well made and full of exotic materials, such as superlight fabric and lightweight poles.

On the downside, it has no vestibule. And on a rainy day, getting in and out results in a minor waterfall over the doorway, but that's true for many tents.

Other tents on the shortlist should include MSR's two-pound, five-ounce MicroZoid ($160; www.msrcorp.com); REI's two-pound, ten-ounce Roadster ($129; www.rei.com); and Sierra Designs' two-pound, nine-ounce Ultra Light Year ($189; www.sierradesigns.com). I'll single out the Roadster for its vestibule and relatively ample headroom. But all will work well.

Also, I can never resist recommending Sierra Designs' wonderfully retro Clip Flashlight CD ($169). OK, it's heavier at just under four pounds, but it's also a two-person tent that would be palatial for one. Just a thought if you want to treat yourself.

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