Is a solo tent big enough for a dog as well as one person?
For a few years I have been using a Macpac Microlight tent, perfect for me and my pack. However, I'm now looking for a slightly larger tent to also accommodate my dog. Finding that Macpacs are not sold in this country and mail order prices are exorbitant, I was wondering what you'd recommend that's comparable in durability, waterproofness, weight, and quality, hopefully for a more reasonable price. Jennifer Seattle, Washington
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The Microlight is a nice-looking tent, basically a solo tent with room for two in a pinch. You sure you can’t find one in the U.S.? Because I could, at Backcountry Equipment (www.backcountry-equipment.com). They even have it on sale right now for $199. Which might not be a bad way to go.
Still, to some extent a tent is a tent. Macpac makes highly regarded stuff, but they don’t use particularly exotic fabrics or other materials in their tents. Basically, it’s the same stuff used by U.S. tent makers in slightly different configurations. So you likely could find a good tent from a domestic supplier as well. Marmot makes a very sturdy little solo tent called the Eclipse ($179; www.marmot.com), which employs a two-pole design for excellent wind resistance. It’s truly a one-person tent, but unless your dog is really, really large I’m sure the two of you would fit inside comfortably. Your pack could go in the covered vestibule. The North Face Canyonlands, also $179, uses a one-pole design very similar to the Macpac and comes with a big side door (www.thenorthface.com).
You could also bump up to a lightweight two-person tent. The classic in this category is the Sierra Designs Ultra Flash ($239; www.sierradesigns.com), a newer version of the Clip Flashlight that employs lighter materials to cut the weight to under four pounds. It’s a great little tent. Or, you might take a look at Mountain Hardwear’s Waypoint 2 ($250; www.mountainhardwear.com). It’s a single-wall design, which can lead to some condensation in certain conditions. But I’ve used it and it works extremely well, plus it weighs only about three pounds. No vestibule, but it would be very roomy for a solo camper, with room for a dog or three inside. I’d suggest you pack a large plastic garbage sack and use that for a pack cover.
All these tents are well-made, very weatherproof tents that should give you years of service.