Buying Guide
By Austin Parker
on 5.8.14

You’ve got your new favorite sleeping bag, your trusty fly fishing rod, and the perfectly broken in pair of hiking boots. You’re ready to head out on the trail for a few nights under the stars — but not “under the stars” in the perfectly literal sense. Whether it’s a weekend getaway at the lake or a two-week trek in the Rockies, these are the tents you’ll need for your adventures this year.

MORE CAMPING GOODS: Best Sleeping Bags of 2014 | Best of Outdoor Retailer 2014 | Best Daypacks

Backpacking Tents

Portable, light and spacious.

Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5

Mountain-Hardwear-Gear-Patrol

Best Tent With a View: The first thing you’ll notice once you climb inside a new Optic tent from Mountain Hardwear is a panoramic view. Instead of going with the typical layout (i.e., doors across from each other), the Optic 2.5 features adjoining doors in an almost continuous opening for 180 degrees of open space. When you factor in feather-light DAC aluminum poles, internal gear storage pockets and mesh construction, it’s easy to justify hiking a few extra miles to wake up with a view of your favorite mountain.

Easton Kinetic Carbon 3

Easton-Kinetic-Gear-Patrol

Best Ultralight Tent: New for 2014, the Kinetic series from Easton combines extra space with lightweight materials for a three-person tent that weighs in under 3.5 pounds and is big enough to be your personal backcountry getaway (two person sleeping bag, bottle of wine and significant other not included). The secret is the carbon fiber pole system, which maximizes livable space by maintaining steep walls and an extra large gear vestibule.

Hilleberg Anjan 2

Anjan-Gear-Patrol

Best Tent for Summer Storms: Swedish-based Hilleberg has been making tents since founder Bo Hilleberg took an inspiring ski vacation in 1971. Since then, their proven designs have become a favorite of mountaineers and serious backpackers. The Anjan 2 carries the same bombproof pedigree as Hilleberg’s four-season basecamp tents bur with less than half the weight (it’s just under 4 pounds). The unique two-pole arch design can withstand 80 mph winds, and the Kerlon outer fabric can take any storm you hike into.

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