Gear Guy

What’s a good tent for ski touring?

I'm looking for an ultra-lightweight three- to four-season ski touring tent for spring in the Sierra, though it'd be nice if it could handle some winter weather also. I HATE carrying a lot of weight ski touring. Any ideas? David Hunn Long Beach, California

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Yeah, extra weight on skis is hard to manage. But it’s also a drag to pack TOO light, and freeze your can off. Still, a lot of tents should suit you about right. I’ll assume two people, and that you want the tent really for all-season use, with those spring Sierra trips the design target=.

If cost is no object but weight is, then the choice is pretty clear: A Bibler Ahwahnee. It’s a very roomy tent, adaptable for summer or winter use (in winter, you can add an optional vestibule for storage), and extremely tough. Weight is a mere five pounds, four ounces, and even with the optional vestibule it’s just a few ticks over six pounds. But the cost is shocking—$698 for the tent, plus another $149 for the vestibule.

What it comes down to is this: Is it worth saving $300-plus to save two pounds? That’s a question for you to decide. There are good alternatives. MSR, which recently took over the Walrus and Moss brands and is making them under the MSR label, has a tent called the Convertible Fusion 3 ($359). It’ll hold up to three people, and has a roomy pole-supported vestibule. Weight is about eight pounds. Mountain Hardwear’s Skyview 2 ($415) is another great tent for all-season use, with a big vestibule and a rugged three-pole design, but at about nine pounds, it’s getting up there in weight. I also like Marmot’s Swallow ($359), which is another tent that can manage all-year conditions, weighs a bit less than eight pounds, sleeps two, and has good storage space.

There are lighter tents out there. But I think tents such as the Sierra Designs Orion 3 ($289) are a little too well vented for winter trips.

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