MSR udpated this tent since our test period. Details below.March 2020
MSR Advance Pro Review
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MSR Advance Pro
|Price||$626 List||$759.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$500 List||$449 List|
$449.00 at REI
|Pros||Bomber, light and compact, small footprint lets it be pitched anywhere||Versatile, lightweight, double wall design works far better in rain than single wall models, handles condensation well, big vestibules, easy to pitch||Versatile, handles moderate snow loads well, giant vestibule, roomy interior, easy to set-up, the vestibule is removable and can be left behind to save weight, handles condensation well||Lightweight for a double wall tent, inexpensive, versatile, easy set-up, interior fabric handles condensation well, and longer-than-average dimensions make this a better option for taller people||Crazy lightweight, most packable in our review, fits anywhere two people could lay down, features bug netting|
|Cons||No bug netting, not very breathable, only 24 square feet of interior space||Isn't as strong as other 4-season models, offers a good but not excellent packed size||Respectable size and weight for how spacious it is||Tiny vestibule, one of the weakest 3(.5)-pole designs in our review, only one door||Not waterproof, not as strong as many other options we tested, small interior living space|
|Bottom Line||Perfect for trips where weight and packed volume are at a premium||The ski and summer mountaineering focused design perfect for almost any trip you can dream up||It converts nicely in both 3-season and 4-season conditions, and has a huge vestibule and spacious dimensions||A solid 4-season shelter at an excellent price. Great for summertime mountaineering or winter camping near treeline||A fantastic bivy tent for alpine climbing or multi-day ski touring, as long as the weather is decent|
|Rating Categories||MSR Advance Pro||MSR Access 2||Sierra Designs Conv...||REI Arete ASL 2||Black Diamond First...|
|Weather/Storm Resistance (25%)|
|Ease of Set-up (10%)|
|Specs||MSR Advance Pro||MSR Access 2||Sierra Designs Conv...||REI Arete ASL 2||Black Diamond First...|
|Minimum Weight (only tent, fly & poles)||2.88 lbs||3.80 lbs||5.88 lbs||5.75 lbs||2.8 lbs|
|Floor Dimensions||82" x 42 in||84 x 50 in||84" x 55 in. (at head) x 49 in. (at feet)||88 x 57/60/44 in||82 x 48 x 42|
|Peak Height||44 in||42 in||43 in||43 in||41 in|
|Measured Weight, with tent, stakes, guylines, pole bag||3.22 lbs||4.1 lbs||4.1 lbs||6.25 lbs||3.15 lbs|
|Type||Single Wall||Double Wall||Double Wall||Double Wall||Single Wall|
|Packed Size||6 x 18 in||18 x 6 in||7" x 15.75 in.||6 x 6 x 20 in||6 x 9 in|
|Floor Area||24 sq ft||29 sq ft||30.3 sq. ft.||32.9 sq ft||27.3 sq ft|
|Vestibule Area||0 sq ft||17.5 sq ft||16.4 sq. ft.||8.7 sq ft||N/A|
|Number of Doors||1||2||0.32 in.||1||1|
|Number of Poles||1||2||1||4||2|
|Pole Diameter||9.3 mm||9.3 mm||9 mm||8 mm|
|Number of Pockets||Side: 2 Ceiling: 0||Side: 2 Ceiling: 0||Side: 2 Ceiling: 0||Side: 2 Ceiling: 2||Side: 2 Ceiling: 0|
|Pole Material||Easton Syclone||Easton Syclone||Yunan UL Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum|
|Rainfly Fabric||20D ripstop nylon 2 ply breathable 1000mm||20D nylon ripstop||20D Nylon Ripstop, Silicone/1200mm PeU||Nylon ripstop||NanoShield|
|Floor Fabric||30D ripstop nylon 3000mm Durashield polyurethane & DWR||30D nylon ripstop||68D 210T Poly Ripstop DWR/2000MM PeU||Nylon taffeta||70-denier polyester|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Advance Pro Updates
Since our test cycle with this Top Pick winner, MSR has tweaked the design a bit. There are now side vents, which can be see in the first photo, below. The second photo shows the model we tested.
Since we haven't tested the model with the updated vents, the review below still tells our account of the previous version.
Hands-On Review of the Advance Pro
The MSR Advance Pro is a bomb-proof bivy tent with a minimal-weight focused design. It's one of the lightest tents in our review and has the smallest interior floor plan, with only 24 square feet in which to lay down. There are not a lot of extras, such as a bug mesh screen on the door.
Ease of Set-up
The Advance Pro is the easiest bivy-style tent to set up in our review.
Unlike most 2-3 pole single wall tents, you don't have to crawl inside the tent to set it up. You won't find yourself battling to find pieces of Velcro or plastic twist-ties as the tent blows around in your face.
Instead, simply unfold the poles that are pre-attached in the center, slide one half of each pole into pole sleeves and then clip three plastic tabs to hold the pole in place. Not only was this set-up quick-and-easy, but it was also bomber.
Weather and Storm Resistance
This is one of the most stormworthy 2-pole models in our review. If we were expecting to get blasted by strong winds or heavy snow, then this is the bivy tent we'd lean toward.
The Advance Pro has two poles that cross in an "X," a design that's fairly typical of lightweight bivy tents; in this case, they are always connected using a hubbed design, which adds a great deal of structural integrity. The fabric is pretty robust for a sub three pound tent.
The Advance Pro has six guylines that are reinforced where they attach to the tent, far more so than with other sub four pound models. There is also a seventh reinforced tie-in point, where an additional guyline (or the rope) can be attached to both the tent and the intersection of the poles, adding a tremendous amount of strength.
Weight and Packed Size
With a minimum weight of two pounds 14 ounces, (just the tent itself and nothing else) and a packed weight of three pounds three ounces (packed weight is tent plus guylines, pole bag, and stakes) the Advance Pro is one of the lightest in our review.
The Advance Pro keeps the weight low but maintains its status as one of the most stormworthy tents in our review because of a few factors. It was the only model with two carbon fiber poles that permanently intersect at the peak of the tent. It also has no mesh door and has the smallest floor area.
Livability and Comfort
At only 24 sq ft of interior floor space, the Advance Pro has the least amount of square footage of any tent in our review. If you are 5'10 or taller, both your head and feet will touch the walls all the time.
While small in square footage, MSR didn't just cut off the length, which our taller testers appreciated. There is only one small vent for ventilation, and the fabric was only okay for breathability. Even with the door left halfway open in the humid air of the North Cascades, we'd see condensation develop with two folks sleeping inside.
The Advance Pro earned a relatively high score for durability. All of its components are solidly made; however, when going so light, you sacrifice a bit on long-term wear, and this tent may not last as long as the beefier 4 season tents in this review.
Adaptability and Versatility
The Advance Pro is not a particularly versatile tent; instead, it offers a very focused design toward creating a strong and weather-resistant design with minimal weight and packed volume. This leaves little room for compromise.
This tent breathes poorly in the rain, features no bug netting, and would be a bummer to hang out in for any length of time.
It is best used as an alpine, mountaineering, or ski touring tent, where its minimal weight and packed size, combined with its stormworthy design, will be appreciated.
The Advance Pro is in line with other similarly designed bivy tents. It's an excellent value for how much storm protection you get for the weight.
The MSR Advance Pro is fantastic at what it's designed for - to provide a stormworthy place to sleep while weighing you down as little as possible during the day. It's one of the lightest models in our review, but it's one of the most storm-resistant and weather-proof of the sub-3.5 pound models. It isn't versatile and doesn't even have a bug mesh door, nor is it comfortable to hang out in, but it is light, and it is bomber.
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