Q:

Which tent allows for good ventilation even with the rain fly on?

I do a lot of camping on float trips, and the river canyons can be awfully hot. I’m looking for a tent that provides maximum ventilation even with a rain fly on. The Quest tent I use has good air flow, but it doesn't hold up to high winds. Is there any hope? Sue Great Falls, Montana

Jul 27, 2007
Outside
Outside Magazine
Sierra Designs Asp 3

Asp 3 Tent

A:

Wow, a Quest tent! That’s sort of an antique. I reviewed Quest tents a few times for the Outside magazine Buyer’s Guide—the Viper, as I recall—but haven’t seen one in a store for years. My understanding is that they quit production three or four years back.

But, yeah, I see your point. You want good ventilation, and you want it even when the fly is left on the tent. The main thing you need is a tent with two doors, either on the sides or front to back. That way, you can try to aim it into the prevailing breezes when you set the tent up, and get some flow-through ventilation.

An excellent example: Sierra Designs’ Asp 3 ($369; sierradesigns.com). It’s a three-person tent—really roomy for two—that has a canopy entirely made of mesh on the upper half of the tent. Plus, it has a big vestibule door that takes up much of one side of the tent, and a slightly smaller door on the opposite side. Open both up, roll back the vestibule and tent fly over the doors, and let the breezes flow. Then in no time you have complete shelter should the T-storms hit. It’s very light (about six pounds), in case it needs to go into a backpack at some point.

MSR’s Mutha Hubba ($399; msrcorp.com) is also a three-person tent with lots of ventilation. Its canopy is almost entirely made from mesh (just a small strip of ripstop across the top). And big doors front and rear again give you lots of flow-through ventilation. It’s a little bigger than the Asp 3 and weighs about seven pounds.

If a three-person tent is too big, and the $360-plus price tag a bit steep, take a look at Marmot’s new Bise ($269; marmot.com). It’s a great shelter for two, with doors and vestibules on each side. That makes it really easy for someone to get into and out of the tent without disturbing his or her companion. Plus, with the vestibules tied back, it’s almost like sleeping completely outdoors. Molto ventilation. And it’s a very tough little tent, so you can manage storms easily.

Lastly, REI’s Quarter Dome UL ($219; rei.com), offers a very similar design to the Bise at a very compelling price. Like the Bise, it’s a two-person tent, and each camper gets a private vestibule and enormous door. Keeping cool is easy. And so is keeping dry.

Hope that helps! Happy camping.

You’ve seen our picks for 2007 Gear of the Year, and now the entire Outside Summer Buyer’s Guide is online. Check out this year’s more than 400 must-have gear items, including tents.

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