Gear Guy

Q:

Can you help me find a one-person tent for some solo hiking?

I'm planning to do some solo hiking this summer and would like to take along more than a bivy bag for shelter. I'm looking for a three-season tent that maximizes room (I'm six-feet tall) and minimizes weight. Perhaps a Walrus Microswift or the Sierra Designs Ultra Light Year? I'm not finding too much information or many reviews on the Net, and those that I do find are outdated. Any advice? Don Sherwood Park, Alberta

A:I'm with you. Bivy bags sure have their place, but the thought of camping in one for multiple nights is not a pleasant one.

Several tents would work. Good candidates certainly include the Microswift, now called the MicroZoid and made by MSR (www.msrcorp.com). It sells for $160 and weighs two pounds, five ounces. You might also look at the MSR Zoid 1.5, which is slightly larger, weighs three pounds, eight ounces, and sells for $190. Still small, still light, but a bit more comfortable in case you get stuck in the thing during a prolonged storm. Sierra Designs' Ultra Light Year, $190, is also a good little tent (www.sierradesigns.com). Like the MSR tents, it's a tube design, meaning you stake out the ends, insert a tent pole, and you're home. These designs are inherently long, so you'll fit just fine.

There are two other tents I suggest you take a look at. One is the Marmot Home Alone ($179; www.marmot.com), a cleverly designed tent that employs two angle poles for better mid-tent support than in tube-style tents. Lots of ventilation, too. Weight is pretty frugal at three pounds, four ounces. Another tent is the Exped Solestar ($199; www.exped.com). From a German company that has made a foray into the U.S. market in recent years, it's an exceptionally weatherproof tent, with a big vestibule and a fly that rolls up for some easy nighttime star-gazing.

Have a great hike!

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