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Gear Guy

What's the lightest three-person tent available?

I'm hiking the Chilkoot Trail next fall with two companions. What's the lightest three-person tent available? Mike Doherty North Vancouver, British Columbia

A: The lightest three-person tent would be one of the four following candidates, which we here at the Academy of Tents, Gear, and Other Good Stuff are pleased to announce:

First, a charming little three-person put out by the good folks at Sierra Designs. The Clip 3 CD ($249) is a tough, veteran performer, a stake-supported tent that saves weight by eliminating the third pole needed by free-standing tents. It's a classic, and deservedly so.

Next, a classy offering from Kelty called the Cyclone 3. This roomy tent (48 square feet of floor space) has two big doors and vestibules for quick exits and plenty of gear storage; $340.

Third, the only single-wall tent among our nominations, the Bibler Juniper. Built with wateproof-breathable Todd-Tex, this rugged tent will last many, many years. And it's not even outrageously priced, as single-wall models go: $445.

Lastly, an under appreciated tent from Noall, an under appreciated company that has been making fine tents for many years. This company's Tranquility Mega Dome ($339) is the biggest of our four contenders, with a whopping 64 square feet of floor space.

And may I have the envelope, please? Thank you, Britney. And the winner is...

THE SIERRA DESIGNS CLIP 3 CD. Wild applause!! Roars of approval! Roses tossed on stage by the bushel-basket. And it's true, at a paltry four pounds, ten ounces, the Clip 3 easily wins this competition, even beating the single-wall Bibler (six pounds, 11 ounces) by a hefty margin. Next closest, in fact, was the Noall, at five pounds, two ounces. Heaviest was the Kelty, at seven pounds, ten ounces.

So there you go. As a bonus, the Clip 3 also is the cheapest of these tents. And it's plenty sturdy-perfectly suited for your Chilkoot trip.

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