Friendly Confines

The solo tent has become a roomy palace of personal space

Sep 1, 2004
Outside Magazine
The Pragmatist Kelty Crestone

Tech Smarts: Thanks to the Kelty Crestone's elegant design, you'll only pound two stakes to hold it in place.    Photo: Steve Stankiewicz

Single-occupancy shelters—once cramped, claustrophobic dens for the lonely and misanthropic—are now a brilliant way to go fast and light, get a peaceful night's sleep, and enjoy the benefits of group outings without the downside of forced intimacy. What's behind this happy evolution? Smart design. Tent makers are finally taking full advantage of the latest featherweight hardware and fabrics to reinvent and dramatically expand the interior architecture of solo tents.

THE PRAGMATIST Kelty Crestone, $100
Field Notes: It took just a minute or two to pitch the Crestone on a moonless night high in Utah's La Sal Mountains—and that was without a headlamp. Credit the fumble-free clips that marry the tent body to this shelter's two ultralight aluminum poles. Factor in the blue-light-special price tag and you end up with the most sensible model in this lineup. There are no bells and whistles to futz with or pay for—just solid performance with plenty of interior space at three pounds and change. But: You can't erect it without staking it out. Contact: 800-423-2320,