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Gear Guy

What's the perfect tent for sea-kayaking trips?

I'm looking for the perfect sea-kayaking tent. Currently I'm using an older The North Face Geodesic three-person tent: it's great but is on the large size and tends to leak when not staked out. So, I'm looking for something that packs into a small size, can hold more than one person's gear, sets up easily, doesn't require much staking (sand doesn't hold stakes very well), and is very waterproof. Marshall Watkinsville, Georgia

A: Lots of tents would work for you. One good example: the Mountain Hardwear Skyview 2 ($295). It's got a very stable three-pole design that withstands wind well, plus extremely good rain-shedding abilities. Technically it's a "convertible" tent, for three- or four-season use, but I can see this feature being useful for sea kayaking, as the tent would have a little more wind resistance than a regular three-season model.

Another tent that would work well is Marmot's Equinox ($289). It's a three-season tent, but very sturdy and weatherproof. I particularly like its door design, which has two front-end openings, plus a third small door at the back of the tent.

Both of these tents are "free-standing," so you don't need to do much staking. But, of course you need to do some, so here's a suggestion (and maybe you've already heard of this trick): Pack with you a couple of small nylon bags. At your campsite, fill them with sand or rocks. Attach a guy line to the bag with a mini-carabiner or snap-link. Then dig a hole in the ground and bury it. That creates a "dead man," which is a great anchoring device in sand or snow. Your tent will stay on the ground, where it belongs, even when the wind is screaming.

Check out the REI website for The Mountain Hardwear Skyview 2 and Marmot Equinox tents.

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