My own feeling is that what you want is a good all-purpose three-season or "convertible" tent. Convertibles include Mountain Hardwear's Muir Trail ($380; five pounds, eight ounces), a tent that is at home either on a casual hike or on most climbs short of expedition work. Ditto for MSR's new Fusion 2 ($300; six pounds, 11 ounces) and Sierra Designs' Omega CD ($289; six pounds, two ounces).
In a straight three-season tent, the classic has for years been the Sierra Designs Meteor Light CD ($279; six pounds, 12 ounces) and it's still very hard to beat with its roomy interior and big side-mounted door for access and ventilation. And there's the Dana Design Mojo ($359; six pounds, 1 ounce), which has front AND rear doors and a big vestibule. So, plenty to choose from.
Keep in mind that from the standpoint of sheer sturdiness there's not a whole lot of difference between a three-season tent and a mountaineering tent. The higher-end tents may add a pole for better snow-loading capacity, but the main difference is that mountain tents have less ventilation, may have more floor space to accommodate bulky sleeping bags, and often have larger vestibules to facilitate storage and even cooking. Basic materials - fabric and poles - and construction are essentially the same.
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.Contribute to Outside →