Gear Guy

Is there an expedition-worthy solo tent?

I need a good solo tent in the $200 price range for winter mountain climbing trips. It seems that manufacturers have come out with many new solo tents, but I can't tell if any of them would work for winter camping. Mike Rapid City, South Dakota


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There just isn’t a huge market for four-season or expedition-type tents for solo hikers and climbers, so tent makers haven’t exactly stampeded into the fray with their offerings. For my money, the best “solo” all-season tent has for years been the Bibler I-Tent. It’s extremely strong, roomy for one person, and very light at just over four pounds. The downside is its shocking cost: $539, which I realize is way over your budget. But it’ll last for years and years, so if you look at it over the long haul, that might be the way to go (

After that the list gets pretty short, but there is at least one option. You might take a look at the Hilleberg Akto, by a Swedish tent maker that has been in the U.S. market for several years now ( Hilleberg makes lovely tents—very light and tough. The Akto, designed as a solo year-round tent, weighs in at only two pounds, 12 ounces. Unlike the Bibler it is not free-standing, but that’s also why it weighs so little—by asking you to stake the thing out you save a pole, and the ounces that go with it. I’d recommend the Akto highly, even though at $345 it still isn’t real cheap either.

Other choices: Marmot makes an affordable solo tent called the Home Alone, which is $179 ( But, it’s more of a three-season tent. Marmot’s Eclipse, a solo tent that is being discontinued, actually looks like it would work well in wintery conditions. It’s available on closeout at Campmor for $159 ( And lastly, Exped, another European tent maker, sells what it calls the Solestar ($199;, a solo three-season tent that weighs four pounds, five ounces. There’s some mesh in the canopy, but a full-coverage fly offers plenty of weather protection.

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