Gear Guy

Is the Stephenson WarmLite the lightest three-person tent?

In answering the question, "What's the lightest three-person tent available?" a few weeks ago, you missed by far the lightest candidate: the Stephenson WarmLite! It can weigh as little as 3.25 pounds and has 52 square feet of space! Dave SteinerNew York

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Guilty as charged. The Stephenson tents are such niche products that I sometimes overlook them. Not that being a niche product is a bad thing! Not at all! And the WarmLite is a tent that's well worth considering. It's a hoop tent, meaning it has two semi-circular poles, one at each end. This is a lighter construction method than a freestanding tent, although obviously you have to stake the ends out tightly. The poles are pre-bent for greater strength and combined with very lightweight fabric to make an extremely light tent-three pounds, 12 ounces for the model 3R, which sleeps three. In an interesting construction feature, the WarmLite is a double-wall tent in which both fabric layers are waterproofed. By adding a heat-reflective coating to one layer, the inner layer stays relatively warm and so does not cause as much condensation as in other tents. And the tents can be ordered in a range of colors and with several door and design options. See for more info. The only drawback to Stephenson tents, really, is the price. The 3R is $635 in the basic configuration; the slightly smaller 2R is $499. Options can boost that even higher. Still, I don't regard either price as too extreme for such light but well made tents.

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