Reader Test: Ultralight Backcountry Tents

Our team of hunters and anglers hits the backcountry to test four ultralight tents for portability, ease of use, and all-night comfort. Here's how they ranked.

Eddie Bauer Stargazer 2
$369; eddiebauer.com

Eddie Bauer

SPECS Weight: 4 lb. 5 oz.
• Size: 2-person, 36-sq.-ft. interior
THE LOWDOWN Testers loved the color-coded poles and webbing. "It takes all the guesswork out of pitching," Young said. He also liked the luminous zipper pulls and the compression straps on the stuff sack, "which reduce the tent to minimum volume."
Cole said that the "sturdy stakes and a loop-and-grommet system make the tent easy to strike and plenty secure for prolonged use."
Davenport liked the "good, high ceiling" and added that "having both a door and a vestibule on either side is nice; one camper can crawl out without waking the other."
HITS "Cutting-edge design." —Felsch
MISSES "The tent's beach-party colors." —Young

MSR Hubba Hubba NX
$400; cascadedesigns.com

MSR

SPECS Weight: 3 lb. 7 oz. • Size: 2-person, 29-sq.-ft. interior
THE LOWDOWN The NX is the new version of the Hubba Hubba 2, which our team praised (in a long-term test, sometimes products get outdated). This iteration is 9 ounces lighter with improved airflow and a new StayDry door with rain gutter. Otherwise, it's the same tent. Felsch said, "The poles nearly assembled themselves."
Young liked that the tent "requires no flying guy lines. This makes walking nearby less of a tripping hazard." He felt the zipper pulls were "short and flimsy," but raved about the high-viz, hard-gripping tent stakes. "They are the best I've ever seen."
HITS "Four good interior pockets." —Davenport
MISSES "Smallest interior space of the four." —Young

Big Agnes Seedhouse SL3
$400; bigagnes.com

Big Agnes

SPECS Weight: 3 lb. 9 oz. • Size: 3-person, 44-sq.-ft. interior
THE LOWDOWN It was the largest tent of the group and drew kudos for its living space. Young said, "It appeared a little flimsy at first, but a more careful examination revealed that the tent uses beefy construction along the seams and on stress points, and light-but-strong fabric elsewhere to save weight." Cole noted that its high-profile design caught the wind. "It seems to work best as a base-camp tent in more protected areas." The tent's versatility impressed Davenport, who said, "The rain fly alone can be installed over the footprint for a super quick and easy shelter."
HITS "Exceptionally light and easy to pack." —Cole
MISSES "Plastic hardware seems fragile." —Felsch

Sierra Designs Mojo 3
$400; mountainsports.com

Sierra Designs

SPECS Weight: 3 lb. 8 oz.
• Size: 3-person, 40.5-sq.-ft. interior
THE LOWDOWNThis tent has an integrated rain fly, which the testers felt was useful but limited setup options. It is also dependent on stakes, and Cole said this forced him to pitch on "soft ground only." On the plus side, he called the ventilation system and single-wall, one-piece design "state-of-the-art."
Young said this was the easiest tent to pitch and strike. Felsch appreciated the amount of interior room and said that the tent "rolled up tight and very compact. It fit nicely in my pack." He also gave high marks for the innovative frame and ventilation system.
HITS "Great size-to-weight ratio." —Cole
MISSES "A seam near the ground is never a good idea." —Young