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Gear Guy

What's a good tent for two people and a dog?

Can you recommend a three-season tent that is well configured and roomy for two people and a dog? Tom Miller San Francisco, California

A: Yes, I can. But the key question is: How big a dog? And where does he/she sleep? If a big dog that gets to sleep with Mommy and Daddy (surveys show that 80 percent of all pet owners view themselves as their pet's "parents"), then you might as well get a three-person model. The REI Taj ($239) is a good example of a three-person tent that is fairly light (six pounds, 13 ounces) but plenty roomy. It's also very weatherproof, and has a small vestibule for boots, dog dish, and so on. Sierra Designs' Comet CD ($369) is another extremely good three-person, three-season tent, albeit a bit expensive.

If the dog is medium-sized, or willing to sleep in the vestibule, then your options change. The North Face's Peregrine ($319) has vestibules on both sides—one for your gear, one for the dog. Or, take a look at Mountain Hardwear's Mountain Wing 2 ($275), which borrows TNF's wings-out design for a vestibule on each side.

Pack a sleeping pad for the dog, too—a light Ensolite pad or similar is fine. And if your hound is accustomed to sleeping in a warm, snug house, consider their warmth when camping as well as yours. The pad will help, but you might also take a small Polartec blanket. That will weigh only a pound or so but may obviate having to share a sleeping bag with Astra, or Buddy, or whatever his/her name is.

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