Gear Army: MSR Skinny Too Tent

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The first thing out of my mouth when I set up this beast was, "This thing's freakin' huge!"

MSR’s latest addition to its fast-and-light series of tents, the Skinny Too ($250), is a lightweight yet roomy two-person tent for adventures of all types. Did I say roomy? Perhaps generously voluminous, would be more accurate.

Comparable in packed weight (a dainty 4.6 lbs) to its similarly-sized, single-walled competitors, this tent just feels bigger than most. It's hoop design has almost completely-vertical walls which made me feel like I was getting every last inch of its marketed 25 square feet. It's nice to have reprieve from the sloping walls of a dome-style tent too.

Single wall construction not only means guaranteed weather protection, it also scratches weight (no fly) and makes for easy set-up (again, no fly). It does result in nixing one of my favorite things, though: star-gazing on clear, warm nights. It also tends to make for a lot of condensation but, unlike other single wall tents I've used, the Skinny Too had no problems with moisture as long as a vent was open somewhere (even mid-summer in Michigan's Upper Peninsula).

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While breathability was a bonus, the vestibule situation was not. First of all, there was only one which made for a crowded entrance and exit. Had it been a little larger (it's eight-and-a-half square feet), there might have at least been passing room amidst our gear. But, I guess that's where the weight-savings comes in.

The Skinny Too kept my wife and I bone dry on a recent through-hike of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and there was plenty of room for both of our sleeping pads and a little extra gear within its confines. I would recommend this tent to anyone looking for a lightweight and reasonably-priced single wall tent that will deliver performance when needed.

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--Dan Smith is a student by day, but moonlights as an outdooraddict. His longest trip, a week in Michigan's Porcupine Mountains,hardly rivals his recent summer schedule: a 25k run, backpacking in Colorado'sElk Range, volunteering in Panama, and hiking Pictured Rocks NationalLakeshore.

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