BEST FOR: Tall campers. THE TEST: Two doors and vestibules? Check. Around four pounds? Check. Under $300? Check. The Arx XL hits two-person, three-season backpacking-tent benchmarks—and adds a lot of nice details. Testers liked the roomy, no-drip vestibules and unique pole configuration, which increased vertical space. The mostly mesh body and the pop-up vent on the fly prevented condensation even on a sloppy Washington night, and the asymmetrical floor plan saves weight by reducing floor space. But one six-foot-three tester noted that while he was comfortable, Stoic’s claim that the tent is long enough for a six-foot-eight sleeper is—with apologies—“a bit of a stretch.” THE VERDICT: Great balance of weight, livability, and cost. 4.2 lbs
Carbon-fiber poles, like the Arx's brow pole and those on the Gear of the Year-winning Easton, are more durable than aluminum and generally weight a third less. The downside: they cost quite a bit more and are virtually impossible to repair in the field.