Sierra Designs High Route 1 FL Tent

Sierra Designs High Route 1 FL Tent Review

Used without the inner-nest, the Sierra Designs High Route 1 FL Tent deserves a serious look as an innovative, 2-PERSON pyramid shelter. But if you frequently use the outer shelter and inner-nest together, you might consider other options. E.g. lighter 1-person shelters like the TarpTent Notch, or Mountain Laurel Designs Solomid XL; or roomier, freestanding 2-person “true-tents” like the REI Quarter Dome 2 or Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 Tent. Even so, the outer shell alone is a very nice pyramid shelter and Sierra Designs and Andrew Skurka deserve a lot of credit for thinking outside the box.

Quick Spec’s

  • The High Route 1 FL is a one-person, two-part shelter. An outer shell (pyramid shelter) and an inner-nest (bug net and floor). When combined they are the equivalent of a double walled tent.
  • Shelter has no poles. It uses two trekking poles for structure.
  • 2 lb 10 oz for: Outer shell, inner-nest, 8 stakes, 2 stuff sacks and cordage.
    2 lb 5 oz min. trail weight (less stakes & stuff sacks)

What is the Sierra Designs High Route 1 FL Tent?

The Sierra Designs High Route 1 FL Tent is really “a pyramid shelter with an inner-nest option.” More specifically, it’s a 2-apex pyramid, meaning that two poles support the shelter at two “pyramid peaks.” A 2-apex pyramid (vs. single apex) provides more vertical walls and therefore more usable living area (in this case enough room for two people). If you want, you can attach the inner-nest, which gives you a floor and mosquito protection. The downside is that this reduces living area (down to 1-person), and significantly increases the time and complexity of setup.

Sierra Designs High Route 1 FL Tent

Product shot that shows the integration of outer shell and inner-nest. The back of the “tent” is a mirror image of the front.

What’s Good

  • Used separately, I like the outer shell and even the inner-nest. A lot of thought went into their design.
  • In particular, the outer shell is an innovative pyramid shelter with lots of room. It could easily sleep 2 in a pinch. The vertical walls greatly increase usable room.
  • The High Route has one of the best implementations of using trekking poles to support a pyramid shelter. I really like that the poles are snug against the outside walls. This keeps them entirely out of the living area and door area. In addition it adds to the structural integrity of the vertical walls.
  • The dual doors and, two peak vents provide good ventilation.
  • Properly guyed out*, the High Route does well in strong winds. (*due to the vertical walls it’s a good idea to anchor the peak guylines with strong Y-stakes solidly in the ground)
  • It’s fairly easy to pitch due to its rectangular shape and using standard height trekking poles. (True only for the outer shell when used alone, i.e. no inner-nest.)
Sierra Designs High Route 1 FL Tent

The inner-nest (floor and bug netting) for the High Route can work as a stand-alone, stargazing shelter. The picture also better shows the dual apex design of the shelter. Note how the trekking poles are completely clear of the doors and living area.

What’s Not So Good

The High Route is less attractive when you combine the inner-nest with the outer shell

  • The combination is heavy for a 1-person non-freestanding tent that uses trekking poles for support.
  • In fact, the 1-person High Route is comparable in weight to some 2-person freestanding dome shelters that have a lot more interior room than the High Route and are easier setup. E.g the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 Tent or even the comparably priced REI Quarter Dome 2 Tent. (Both have a newer steeper walled design that improves living area.)
  • And there are lighter 1 person pyramid with inner-nest shelters like the 27 oz TarpTent Notch, or Mountain Laurel Designs Solomid XL with InnerNest.
  • The High Route inner-nest halves your living area and increases overall weight. It also leaves scant “vestibule” area between the inner and outer tents.
  • I found attaching the inner-nest a bit awkward, fiddly, and time consuming. There’s lots of clipping and then tension adjustments at every point, since no shock-cordage is used. All this is done crouched on your knees, many times reaching across the tent.
Sierra Designs High Route 1 FL Tent

Oblique view of the High Route showing the near vertical front wall, and the two apexes of the shelter. The rear wall (not visable) is a mirror image of the front wall you can see. Due to the vertical it’s a good idea to stake out the front guyline to the apex (lower left guline in photo) with a solid Y-stake if you expect strong winds.

Summary

When used without the inner-nest, theSierra Designs High Route 1 FL Tent is worth a serious look. It is an innovative pyramid shelter that would likely work for two people. It even has dual doors! It’s made roomier by vertical walls and getting the trekking poles out of the living area. At about 12 oz per person (body less stakes is ~24 oz), it’s a reasonably light option for two people.

It’s a shame that Sierra Designs doesn’t sell just the outer shell (pyramid shelter portion) separately like other manufactures, e.g. Hyperlite Mountain GearMountain Laurel Designs and TarpTent. But if you can get the High Route on sale at around $240, you could just buy the whole thing and leave the inner-nest at home.

But, if you think you’ll use the  High Route outer shelter and inner-nest together most of the time, you might consider another shelter. Either lighter pyramid shelter with inner-nest combos from Hyperlite Mountain Gear, or the 27 oz TarpTent Notch and Mountain Laurel Designs Solomid XL with InnerNest. Or just getting a 2-person, freestanding, double-walled dome tent like the  Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 Tent or the REI Quarter Dome 2 Tent, which is the same price, sleeps two and is only ½ pound heavier.

Detailed Technical Specifications

My measurements

  • 2 lb 10 oz for: Outer shell, inner-nest, 8 stakes, 2 stuff sacks and cordage
  • 24 oz Outer Shell (pyramid), 15 oz Inner-Nest
    _____________________________________

* Technical Specifications (Sierra Designs)

  • Minimum Weight: 2 lbs 5 oz / 1.05 kg
  • Packaged Weight: 2 lbs 12 oz / 1.25 kg
  • Number of Doors: 2
  • Number of Gear Closets: Internal Storage
  • Gear Storage Area (Tarp Area – Nest Area): 17.3 ft2 / 1.61 m2 (more of a narrow area around the perimeter than a vestibule)
  • Interior Area (Tarp): 36 ft2 / 3.34 m2
  • Interior Area (Nest): 18.8 ft2 / 1.75 m2
  • Internal Peak Height (Tarp): 48 in / 122 cm
  • Internal Peak Height (Nest): 43 in / 109 cm
  • Awning Height: 38.5 in / 98 cm
  • Length (Tarp): 108 in / 274 cm
  • Width (Tarp): 48 in / 122 cm
  • Length (Nest): 90 in / 229 cm
  • Width (Nest): 30 in / 76 cm

* from the Sierra Designs Site, on the “TECH SPECS” tab

The Big Three

Quick ways to reduce backpack weight

Quick ways to reduce backpack weight

Moving fast and light along the spectacular ridge line of the GR20 in Corsica. A minimal pack (and good pre-trip training) enabled Alison and I to do a 16 day trip in under 8 days. Pictured – the award winning Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Pack

Quick ways to reduce backpack weight. A few may surprise you…

  1. Look at The Big Three: Backpack, Tent/shelter, and Sleep System (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and ground cloth). You stand to loose a bunch of weight from these: as much as 10 to 12 pounds.
    1. Take a Backpack that weighs less than two pounds
    2. Take a Tent/Shelter that weighs less than two pounds
    3. Take a Sleeping bag that that weighs less than 1.5 pounds
  2. Look on The Backpacking Food Page to save a ton of weight at zero cost
  3. Get a weather report (the NOAA hourly weather graph is among the most informative and accurate)—then pack for those conditions! Since 90% of backpackers take 90% their trips for 3 days or or less, this weather report should be quite accurate for the short time you are out. This will let you pack a tent, clothing, and sleeping bag appropriate for actual conditions. It will also deter you from taking inappropriate, “what-if-the-worst-happens!” gear, e.g. 6 pound tent, and a +10F sleeping bag for a balmy weather trip on the Appalachian Trail.
  4. Don’t take extra clothing. e.g. don’t take any more clothing than you can wear at one time.
  5. Take less: Be disciplined and leave a few items at home that you haven’t used in the last three trips. Put stuff like sunscreen and trail soap in smaller containers.
  6. Extra Credit: Browse The Gear Lists Page for other ideas and examples to save weight. This will give you a good examples of what type of gear is available and what is a reasonable weight for that type of gear, e.g. around 6-8 ounces for a rain jacket, or around 1.0 ounce for a pocket knife. Think hard if your gear is 2 to 3x heavier than the examples on these lists.
  7. Read my The Best Hydration — Drink When Thirsty. Use a Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter to drink at the source (lake, stream, etc.). Then only carry a sensible amount to get to your next known water source. I.e. it makes no sense to carry 3 liters of water, almost 7 pounds, when your next water source is only two hours away.
  8. Remember to have fun! That will at least, lighten your spirit and mood.

How Do I Start?

  • Ground yourself in reality: Get all your stuff together and weigh it. If you’re like most conventional hikers, your equipment will weigh around 30 pounds, possibly higher.
  • Get individual weights for your heavier items like tents and backpacks. For stuff in the range of a few pounds or less you’ll want to buy an inexpensive digital scale that weighs up to 10 pounds.
  • See what you can leave at home. Anything you don’t bring is free weight reduction. Think hard about this one. Do you really need it?
  • Put together a spreadsheet (or at least a list) with all your equipment weights. This is an indispensable analysis tool.
  • Try to figure out where you’ll get the most “bang for the buck.” e.g. figure out how much a new item costs and divide that by the amount of weight it will save you over your old equipment. Target the items that give you the most weight loss for the fewest dollars.
  • Don’t try to purchase all your new equipment right away. Many items regularly go on sale or are closed out, e.g. Sierra Trading Post. Watch carefully over the course of a year and you could save 30 to 70 percent on your equipment.

Recommended Tents, Tarps and other Shelters

Recommended Tents, Tarps and other Shelters
Possibly the best all-around, lightweight shelter is a pyramid shelter. I have used Pyramid Shelters on trips to Alaska, Patagonia, the Sierras, major European treks and around the world. (Picture of Alison in a Mountain Laurel Designs DuoMid XL on the G20 in Corsica. Considered to be the toughest long distance trek in Europe, the GR20 is legendary for its violent weather.)

Recommended Tents, Tarps and other Shelters

Why would I not take a conventional tent?

Pyramid SheltersTarps and Shaped Tarps are lighter and better ventilated than most Conventional Tents, yet give excellent wind and rain protection. For instance a pyramid shelter with a palatial 65+ ft2 floor area and 5+ feet of headroom can weigh between 1.5 to a only pound depending on fabric (43ft2/lb to 65 ft2/lb). A well-known 2-person backpacking tent is almost 5 pounds for 47 ft2 floor area and 3+ feet of headroom (9.6 ft2/lb). So the pyramid shelter has between 4.5 to 6.8 times more room per pound than a conventional backpacking tent—put differently it is a larger storm-worthy shelter that weighs 4 pounds less!

See Shelter Weights and Stats for a detailed comparison table of Tents, Tarps and other Shelters.

Quick Answers for Tent and Shelter Selection

1) I just want to get the best all-around shelter and be done: Look at the Pyramid Shelters Page

supermid-dry-inside

Pyramid shelters are light and keep you dry!

Consider pyramids from Mountain Laurel Designs, Hyperlite Mountain Gear or My Trail Co. Pyramid shelters give you huge floor area and great storm protection for the minimum weight. Many of the pyramid shelters have an optional insert which has full mosquito netting and a bathtub floor, effectively making them a tent when needed. But giving you the option of leaving the insert at home, saving both weight and pack volume.

 


2) I want a conventional Tent from a major retailer like REI: Look at the Tents and Tarptents Page 

Consider lightweight tents like the REI Quarter Dome 1 Tent, or the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1 Tent. (If you want to save a bit more weight, look at the Tarptents, altho these will not be from REI.)


3) I feel adventurous & want to go really light: Look at the Tarps and Shaped TarpsPyramid Shelters Page

Recommended Tents, Tarps and other Shelters

The 7.8 ounce MLD Cuben Fiber Grace Duo Tarp was our choice for the Wind River High Route: Don and I weathered a strong thunder and hailstorm at the back of Cirque of the Towers. Exposed at over 10,000 feet in a mountain meadow, it kept us and all our down gear dry.

Consider one of the pyramids without an insert and/or in Cuben Fiber. Or consider Tarps (like the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Tarps, or Mountain Laurel Designs Tarps) and Shaped Tarps if you backpack in places with occasional rain (Summer in the Sierras or the desert of Southern Utah) and/or camp in more sheltered areas (below treeline, behind large rocks, etc.). Tarps and Shaped Tarps far more floor area but a bit less headroom than a pyramid. They are significantly lighter than pyramids. e.g. a 2-personMountain Laurel Designs Cuben Fiber Grace Duo Tarp  is 8 oz vs the 16 oz for the DuoMid XL. (Note: that some skilled and adventurous backpackers use Tarps above treeline in the high mountains and other exposed areas that get appreciable wind and precipitation. Some even winter camp under a tarp!)

 


Shelter Types and Stats

These shelters are listed by weight (high to low). In general they are also listed in increasing floor area (ft2) per pound (lb) of shelter weight (ft2/lb) . That is a conventional 4 pound tent provides only 5 square feet of floor area per pound of shelter weight, while a Cuben Fiber tarp provides an astonishing 100 to 130 square feet per pound of shelter weight—over 20x floor area per pound.

LbFt2/lb Type of Shelter ExamplePros and Cons
Tents and Tarptents
4 5.0Conventional
retail tent
REI Passage 1Pro: low price, readily available, full floor and bug protection, freestanding Con: heavy, low ft2/lb area & headroom
2.6 8.2Lightweight
retail tent
REI Quarter Dome 1 Pro: moderate price, readily available, full floor and bug protection, semi-freestanding Con: heavy, low ft2/lb area & low headroom
2.114.3 Tarptent TarpTent Squall 2Pro: OK price, full floor and bug protection Con: not available at major retailers, not freestanding FYI: requires trekking poles
Pyramid Shelters
1.7 18.2Pyramid shelter
silnylon w innernet
Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMidPro: full rain & wind protection, large floor area, 4+ ft high, full floor and bug protection, modular – take innnet only when needed Con: moderately expensive with innernet, not available at major retailers, not freestanding FYI: requires trekking poles
 1.129Pyramid shelter
silnyl w/o innernet
Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMidPro: moderate price, great ft2/lb ratio, full rain & wind protection, large floor area, 4+ ft high Con: no floor or bug netting, not available at major retailers, not freestanding FYI: requires trekking poles
.7 46Pyramid shelter
Cuben w/o innernet
 Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid Pro: Exceptional ft2/lb ratio, full rain & wind protection, large floor area, 4+ ft high Con: High price, no floor or bug netting, not available at major retailers, not freestanding FYI: requires trekking poles
 1.1 57.3Pyramid shelter
(Cuben Fiber)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2Pro: Exceptional ft2/lb area, full rain & wind protection, large floor area, 5+ ft high Con: Expensive, no floor or bug netting*, not available at major retailers, not freestanding FYI: requires trekking poles, *can get optional floor/bug net insert
Tarps and Shaped Tarps
 1.9 38Flat tarp with innernet & beak
(Cuben Fiber)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo II UL Shelter SystemPro: better rain & wind protection than plain flat tarp, large floor area, full floor and bug protection, modular – take “insert” or beak only when needed Con: Very expensive, not available at major retailers
 1.240Shaped tarp
Silnylon fabric
(Cuben 0.7 lb and 72 ft2/lb)
Mountain Laurel Designs TrailStarPro: Great ft2/lb area, moderate price, good rain & wind protection, huge 50+ ft2 floor space Con: (vs. a pyramid; less headroom, somewhat less rain & wind protection), no floor or bug netting*, not available at major retailers FYI: *there is an innernet for the TrailStar
 0.8 80Flat tarp
Silnylon fabric
Mountain Laurel Designs Grace DuoPro: High ft2/lb area, moderate price, decent rain & wind protection, huge floor space Con: (vs. a pyramid; less headroom, somewhat less rain and wind protection), no floor or bug netting*, not available at major retailers FYI *can get optional innernet, 7.8 oz in Cuben
0.6 115Flat tarp
Cuben Fiber
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo II TarpPro: Exceptional ft2/lb area, decent rain & wind protection Con: Very expensive, (vs. a pyramid; less headroom, somewhat less rain and wind protection), no floor or bug netting*, not available at major retailers FYI *can get optional floor/bug net insert
 .5 130Flat tarp
Cuben Fiber
Mountain Laurel Designs Cuben Fiber Grace Duo TarpPro: Exceptional ft2/lb area, decent rain & wind protection, huge floor space Con: Very expensive, (vs. a pyramid; less headroom, somewhat less rain and wind protection), no floor or bug netting*, not available at major retailers FYI *can get optional innernet,

 

The Big Three – Recommended Backpacking Gear

The Big Three

Moving fast and light along the spectacular ridge line of the GR20 in Corsica. A minimal pack (and good pre-trip training) enabled Alison and I to do a 16 day trip in under 8 days.

To save as much as 10 to 12 pounds with with the minimum of effort, look at The Big Three.  1) Backpack, 2) Tent/Shelter, and 3) Sleeping bag (or quilt). The lighter versions of these are just as functional as their heavier counterparts. They will carry your load and keep you warm and dry. The only thing you stand to lose is a bunch of weight off your back.

And most people do not enjoy being a pack mule. It is rarely the highlight or happiest memory of a trip. Alternatively, unburdened from the misery of carrying a heavy pack, folks become joyful and alert—in the best state of mind to appreciate everything around them—the reason they went backpacking. The Big Three is the fastest way to achieve that goal.

The Big Three

1) Take a Backpack that weighs less than two pounds
(see Recommended Backpacks)

Recommended Backpacking Gear

2) Take a Tent/Shelter that weighs less than two pounds
(see Recommended Tents, Tarps and other Shelters)
Recommended Backpacking Gear

3) Take a Sleeping bag that that weighs less than 1.5 pounds
(see Recommended Sleeping Bags and Quilts)
Recommended Backpacking Gear

 

Recommended Pyramid Shelters

Recommended Pyramid Shelters

A pyramid shelter is likely your lightest effective shelter, unless the weather forecast is for constant, pouring-down rain or there are going to be a bunch of bugs (and there is an optional Innernet to handle that). This is the collective wisdom of literally decades of experience by most of the people I hike with.  I know that many readers may still be unconvinced on this point. If so, you can jump to the Tent and Tarp Tents sections.

Recommended Pyramid Shelters

Pyramid shelters give you the maximum coverage and storm protection for the minimum weight. Consider the palatial 65+ ft2 floor area and 5+ feet of headroom for the 1.5 pound Mountain Laurel Designs DuoMid XL (only 1 lb if you get it in Cuben Fiber). If you like to sleep out under the stars you can leave these shelters at the bottom of your pack, greatly reducing the time to setup and breakdown camp and without the weight penalty of carrying an unused conventional tent. (A two-person tarp weighs 8-12 oz and takes up virtually zero pack volume.) Many of pyramid shelters and shaped tarp shelters come with an optional “Innernest” which has full mosquito netting and a bathtub floor, effectively making them a tent when needed. But giving you the option of leaving the Innernest at home, saving the weight and volume.

supermid-dry-inside

MLD SuperMid kept Don and I sheltered and dry from a freak and exceptionally violent Sierra storm at 11,000 feet. For a couple of hours we had 50mph winds, tons of rain and horizontal hail up to the size of quarters.

Mountain Laurel Designs produces some of the finest Pyramid Shelters anywhere. Of note are the 11 ounce MLD SoloMid 2016, and for two people the DuoMid XL, or their largest shelter the SuperMid. I have used all these MLD Pyramid Shelters on trips to Alaska, Patagonia, the Sierras, major European treks and around the world—with good results even in challenging circumstances. These pyramids use your trekking poles for a center pole like a circus tent. Like many shelters in this section you have the option of Cuben Fiber, which while expensive (especially for larger pyramids) is light, incredibly strong, and waterproof. Cuben Fiber also doesn’t stretch, even when wet which means you don’t have to constantly re-tension guylines if it’s raining or just damp and dewey overnight. My Solomid 2016 is in Cuben, but my DuoMid XL is in the more cost effective Pro Silnylon.

hmg-mid

HMG Pyramids use Cuben Fiber and are exceptionally strong and light.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear produces excellent and light Cuben fiber Pyramid Shelters. They make two pyramid shelters, the 1 pound UltaMid 2-Person, and the 1.3 pound UltaMid 4-Person. Both have an optional bug mesh and floor insert. HMG shelters are only available in their CF8 Cuben Fiber. “Cuben Fiber is lightweight, highly durable, and is 50-70% lighter than Kevlar, four times stronger than Kevlar, and allows flex without losing strength. It also weighs less than Silnylon, it floats on water, is 100% waterproof and has high chemical and UV resistance.” While this provides exceptional performance and low weight, it is also expensive. There is is no lower cost Silnylon option for HMG shelters.

The My Trail Co pyramid shelters are a good deal at since their price includes with everything you’d ever need: inner nest, pole, states and stuff sacks.

My Trail Co Pyramid 4 and Pyramid 4 Shelters (by founder of GoLite) are other options for pyramid shelters. If you want both the pyramid and inner nest they are a great deal.

 

Recommended Tarps and Shaped Tarps

wrhr-tarp-slide

The 7.8 ounce MLD Cuben Fiber Grace Duo Tarp was our choice for the Wind River High Route: Don and I weathered a strong thunder and hailstorm at the back of Cirque of the Towers. Exposed at over 10,000 feet in a mountain meadow, it kept us and all our down gear dry.

Tarps and Shaped Tarps are significantly lighter and have more floor area than pyramid shelters. e.g. a 2-person MLD Grace Cuben Grace Duo tarp is 8 oz vs the 16 oz for the DuoMid XL. For many backpackers, Tarps and Shaped Tarps are more suited to places with occasional rain (Summer in the Sierras or the desert of Southern Utah) and/or for camping in more sheltered areas (below treeline, behind large rocks, etc.). Although some skilled and adventurous backpackers use them above treeline in the high mountains and other exposed areas that get appreciable wind and precipitation.

waiting_out_the_storm

Tarps work! Blizzard in the Wind Rivers – a 15 degree night under a tarp & 1 lb down quilt.

True Tarps have the advantage of being simpler, less expensive, lighter and having more pitching options from “close to the ground for storm protection,” to “airy lean-to pitches with great views.” Shaped Tarps tend to be a more storm resistant, but are are designed be pitched only one way—usually lower to the ground with less headroom and views. Note: I do not recommend a solo tarp—for just few ounces more you get almost double the coverage for a 2-person tarp.

 

mld-trailstar

The light and storm-worthy MLD TrailStar

Mountain Laurel Designs True Tarps of note are the Grace Duo Tarps in either Silnylon or Cuben Fiber. The 7.8 ounce MLD Cuben Fiber Grace Duo Tarp is a personal favorite and where I think the upgrade to Cuben Fiber makes sense. Don and I shared one on our Wind River High Route.

Mountain Laurel Designs Shaped Tarp of note is the award winning and perennial favorite TrailStar. Like the pyramid shelters it has an optional innernet.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear True Tarps of note are the 8′ x 10′ Flat Tarp and the Echo II Tarp. Both have an optional bug mesh an floor insert. HMG tarps are only available in CF8 Cuben Fiber.

hmg-echo-system

A modular approach for Shaped Tarps: HMG Echo Tarps have an optional Beak (a front end/vestibule add on) and an an optional bug mesh & floor insert. Combine all three for a flexible and very light “2-walled tent.”

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Takes a modular approach for Shaped Tarps. The Echo Tarps have an optional Beak (a front end/vestibule add on for the tarp) and an an optional bug mesh an floor insert. Combined all three for a Echo Ultralight Shelter System (an extremely light “2-walled tent.”) But you have the option to take only the components needed for a particular trip.

For Tarps available off-the-shelf from a major retailer, look at the Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp Shelter from REI or a MSR E-Wing 2 Person Shelter. But realistically tarps are not seriously carried by major retailers and you are better off getting a tarp from one of the manufacturers above (or other well regarded cottage manufacturers).

For a Bargain Tarp: look at Etowah Gear’s Basic $75 8×10 Silnylon Tarp.

 

Recommended Tents and Tarptents

A two-pound TarpTent on the Alaskan tundra

A two-pound TarpTent on the Alaskan tundra

  1. Look at The tents and shelters listed in my 9 pound gear list. It has recommended Tents and TarpTents in the “Sleeping Gear and Tent/Shelter” section.
  2. And then take a look at the recommended Tents and Tarp Tents below.

 

Here are a few suggestions for Tents and TarpTents

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Mountain Hardware Direkt 2 Tent – $550 at REI

This is one of the lightest freestanding four-season tents on the market. While it’s made for fast and light alpine climbing, it could be just as good for fast and light… anything. At least anything where you need to stay out in crazy conditions safely! This tent can be staked out to handle huge winds, and is more comfortable, lighter, and stronger than the previous best-in-class alpine tent: Black Diamond’s FirstLight.


bd845230-579e-4871-9e29-096066939066

REI Quarter Dome 2 Tent – $300 at REI

Okay, not everyone needs a siege-proof alpine four-season beast of a tent. REI’s long-time favorite Quarter Dome Tent is a great option for those looking for a reasonably priced lightweight free-standing backpacking tent. If ultralight tarps seem too daunting, this will still help you cut weight, weighing just over 3 lbs, but the Quarter Dome remains comfortable with ample head room, and plenty of space for two backpackers. The increased room/livability from extremely vertical walls is what sets tent apart from most of its peers.


27190748-d212-449c-ac88-6b6ce963294a

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 Tent – $450 at REI

If you want to cut a little weight, but keep lots of space, Big Agnes has you covered with the high volume version of their Copper Spur UL 2 freestanding tent. It comes in at 2 lb. 12 oz on the trail, and can be pitched even lighter using just the fly. This is one of the most spacious 2-person tents out there, which is great if you are going to be stuck in your tent playing cards for a while in bad weather, or just prefer highly livable tents.


nt-10

Tarptent Notch 1-Person Shelter – $285

Tarptent has been around for ages with a great reputation in the lightweight backpacking community. As the name suggests it combines the best aspects of a tent and tarp. That is, low weight combined with a fully waterproof floor and mosquito protection. The Notch is a great 1-person shelter, that sets up with two trekking poles, and includes a full inner bug netting and a bathtub floor. The Notch will keep you and your stuff dry in a rain storm, and there is ample headroom to sit up and wait out the foul weather from dry comfort inside! The shelter weighs in at 27 oz, which is a fair bit lighter than even the lightest free-standing tents!


motrail_1

Tarptent MoTrail 2-Person Shelter – $259

This is a light shelter with plenty of room for two to sit up side by side and eat dinner looking at the view. This Tarptent MoTrail is more like a traditional tarp setup with a ridgeline held by two trekking poles in the long direction of the tarp. The tarp has a mesh inner, and a Silnylon outer with a Silnylon tub floor to keep you dry even in a total downpour. Inside is space for two people to sleep comfortably without a trekking pole between them. At 36 oz, it’s just over 1lb/person, and it’s less expensive than the 1-person shelters like the Tarptent Notch or MLD Solomid!


The following Pyramids are fully storm worthy shelters

All can be ordered with an Inner Nest if you need a floor and bug netting


2016duomidxl

Mountain Laurel Designs Duomid XL – $365

This is the pyramid shelter against which all others are measured. These have been used by thru hikers on the longest treks, deep in the wilderness of Alaska, on glaciers and high peaks, and even occasionally as car-camping tents! The design is flexible, durable, functional, livable, and light at 21 oz for the SilNylon version. It can withstand serious storms, and open up on nice nights. It is spacious and comfortable for two backpackers and their gear. Of course, for the gram counters, this tarp also comes in the much lighter cuben fiber (Dyneema composite fabric) version, weighing in at 16 oz even, and costing about $700 depending on the color of fabric used. Note Asym design: one of the few ‘Mids that allows a couple to sleep side-by side without a center pole between them.


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Mountain Laurel Designs SOLOMID XL 4.5′ X 9.2′ – $265

This is the upgraded version of the shelter Andrew Skurka took on his epic Alaska-Yukon Expedition. It’s a 1-person version of the Duomid with all the same great features, but it’s lighter and less expensive! It fits 1-person with ample room for gear. This SilNylon version comes in at just over a pound (17 oz). The Cuben fiber (Dyneema composite fabric) is a svelte 12 oz, but costs $465. For such a versatile, lightweight shelter, it’s a bargain! Note: new 2017 Asym, single pole design with 70% of the user space behind the one center pole and the front 30% functions as a vestibule. This offset design allows entry and exit in rainy conditions to help keep the sleep side of the shelter dry like the DuoMid XL design.