What solo tent is tough on rain yet light on the pocketbook?
I looking for a lightweight solo tent that is particularly well-suited for wet conditions. My budget extends to $150. Aaron South Shore, Kentucky
Hmmm. Your somewhat constrained budget does put a little hitch in my usual stream of advice-consciousness, but I think I can manage.
Besides, it’s an interesting thing: Solo tents used to be rare-to-nonexistent creatures. Now a whole slew of tent makers are offering them. Anyone care to explain the significance of this? Are more people sick of everything—their friends included—and seeking ab-so-loot solitude? Some kind of breakdown in society? Increased sensitivity to other campers’ body odors? I’m just the Gear Guy; check in with Dr. Phil for further hypothesizing on the above.
So, to the gear. One good choice is Cabela’s XPG Solo tent—and it’s cheap into the bargain (www.cabelas.com). It’s just $100, and although the floor is a little skinny, it’s tall enough for comfortable sitting, reading, or dressing/undressing. Very weatherproof. It’s a little heavy for a solo tent, though—just over four pounds. Another good choice for a little more green is REI’s Roadster, which sells for $129 (www.rei.com). It’s an impressively light three pounds three ounces all told, but is perhaps a little cramped. So if this is your choice, try to sit in one that’s set up before you buy. Stretch out in it, too—tall folks might feel squeezed. Finally, there’s Eureka’s Zeus 1EXO ($149; www.eurekacampingctr.com). This is an interesting little tent; a single-wall tent with an “exoskeleton” (the poles go outside the tent and are hooked to the tent body with little snap-links). The Zeus lands between the Cabela’s and REI tents weight-wise, and has a reasonable amount of space; center height is three feet six inches, so that’s plenty for moving around.
If you can spend a little more, take a good look at Mountain Hardwear’s Waypoint 1. It’s a very light (two pounds two ounces), very weatherproof tent, which also deploys a single-wall design. But, cost is $195 (www.mountainhardwear.com). Then there’s Sierra Designs’ good ol’ Clip Flashlight CD ($169; www.sierradesigns.com), a smallish two-person tent that’s palatial for one. Better still, it weighs just under four pounds so isn’t a ton to carry. In a lot of ways, it would be my first choice. After all, maybe you’ll meet some other solo camperette and decide that two in a tent is better than one! (Hint: Pack some of that spray-on Right Guard—you know, so you smell better than the great unwashed.)
Read “Friendly Confines” from the September 2004 issue of Outside for a review of the newest and best solo shelters on the market.