Winter Camping: Garuda Emeishan


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Outside magazine, March 1995

Winter Camping: Garuda Emeishan
By Douglas Gantenbein

Freestanding tents long ago cornered the market thanks to their strength, stability, and convenience. But what’s often overlooked is that tents that must be staked and guyed can be just as strong — and are almost invariably lighter because they use fewer and lighter poles. Add single-wall construction, which requires no fly to keep winter or summer weather out, and you wind up
with a very packable tent. The two-person, four-season Emeishan is the latest such tent from Garuda Mountaineering; it weighs less (six pounds, two ounces) and sets up more solidly in snow, where a few ski poles or snow anchors quickly lash it down (with just three anchor points), than most of its freestanding equivalents.

From the inside, the Emeishan’s most distinctive feature is its roomy vestibule, which has two large doors for easy access, ventilation, and views. Unlike most vestibules, it has a partial floor — as well as a built-in drying rack for soggy socks. Zip up the door behind you and the proprietary waterproof-breathable fabric, along with ventilation ports in the rear of the tent,
assure virtually no interior condensation or ice formation. Its four-pole design gives you a center pole to handle heavy snow loads — or the option of leaving it home for summer outings to trim the Emeishan’s weight. My only quibble is the slightly too-snug floor plan: The Emeishan is adequately roomy but by no means generous.

That said, one can’t heap enough praise on Garuda’s attention to detail. The Emeishan is handsomely made, with thoughtful and practical touches such as dual-size netting pockets (much like the divided front pockets of your jeans) in the corners to keep doodads sorted. A custom ground cover to protect the tent floor is available for an additional $40. Although it’s expensive,
the Emeishan is best regarded as a lifetime investment. It’s a no-compromise tent for the serious adventurer.

$585. From Garuda Mountaineering, Box 24804, Seattle, WA 98124; 206-763-2989.