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Brooks Range Foray Review

Brooks Range Foray
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Price:  $424 List
Pros:  Strong in high winds, no drip front door, most guy points in its class, supportive pockets, lots of vents!
Cons:  Fabrics are less durable and less strong than silnylons and cuben fibers used in ultralght shelters, heaviest lightweight front door self supporting double wall tent, Jake's Feet are less reliable than grommets, bright yellow color is not stealthy
Manufacturer:   Brooks Range
By Chris McNamara and Max Neale  ⋅  May 10, 2015
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47
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Livability - 20% 4
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 5
  • Durability - 10% 4
  • Adaptability - 10% 1
  • Weight - 20% 5
  • Packed Size - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Brooks Range Foray is a mid-weight, three-season tent with many strength-enhancing features found on four-season tents. It has the most guy points and vents of any tent tested here, and it guys out to be a strong and stable mini-fortress for serious three-season storms. At 48.6 ounces, it's not ultralight, but it is one of the stronger backpacking tents we've tested.

See how this tent compares 23 others tested in our Backpacking Tent Review and consider a floorless shelter, found in our Ultralight Tent Review, for serious ultralight backpacking.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Livability


The Foray lies in the awkward area between an ultralight front-entrance tent and a lightweight two-door tent. It has more interior space than the lightest tents, and a slightly more voluminous vestibule, thanks to the "no drip front door," but's its not as livable as two-door tents like the 42-ounce Tarptent Double Rainbow or the 58-ounce Nemo Obi 2. The Foray's taller vestibule is significant advantage over single door tents with low profile vestibules because it can store more and is much easier to sit up inside.

The Foray has two vents (that work in the rain) above the vestibule that help to combat condensation. The Terra Nova Solar Photon is the only other similar tent tested with a front vent.

Brooks Range Foray. Note the foot cross pole at rear (adds strength  livability  and weight) and how the primary pole extends beyond the top of the front cross pole (creates a more voluminous vestibule.
Brooks Range Foray. Note the foot cross pole at rear (adds strength, livability, and weight) and how the primary pole extends beyond the top of the front cross pole (creates a more voluminous vestibule.

Weather Resistance


We give the Foray a 5 out of 10 for weather resistance (9 is the highest score awarded) because it's the most weather resistant single entrance tent we tested under 58 ounces. The main difference between the Foray and many of its lighter competitors is the number and quality of guy points. Here, the Foray blows the competition away. Or rather, most of the competition either blows away or collapses while the Foray remains standing. The tent is covered in top quality reinforced guy points that allow you to guy it out in an incredibly taught pitch that resist serious winds. Orienting the slimmer rear end into the wind is confidence inspiring in a way that only a few of the 24 tents tested are. This is a huge advantage over many other underbuilt tents. For example, we believe the Foray has the best mid-level wall guy points of any tent tested, see photo below.

At the same time, the Foray uses an ultra thin 15 denier ripstop that likely has the lowest tear strength of any tent we've tested. Brooks Range told us that the warp break strength is 7 lb/in, whereas the silicone impregnated (two sides) nylon on Mountain Laurel Designs tents breaks at 15 lb/in, and the Hilleberg Anjan and Rogen fabric breaks at 22 lb/in. Stronger fabrics are less likely to tear if they get punctured. The Foray's fabric is not confidence inspiring — this author ripped it with his bare hands — and looks especially fragile compared to similarly light non-woven dyneemas that break around 150 lb/in! Nonetheless, the Foray's abundant excellent guy points serve to minimize the amount of stress placed on any single guy point. Our test model has performed very well so far, but we don't believe the Foray will stand up to long-term abuse like other tents of higher quality materials may.

Sidewall guypoints are often a tent's weakest guypoint. Left to right: Brooks Range Foray  Terra Nova Solar Photon 2  and Big Agnes Fly Creek. We suspect the Foray's is the strongest.
Sidewall guypoints are often a tent's weakest guypoint. Left to right: Brooks Range Foray, Terra Nova Solar Photon 2, and Big Agnes Fly Creek. We suspect the Foray's is the strongest.
Rear view of the Brooks Range Foray (4 strong guy points)  Mountain Hardwear SuperMega (3 guy points)  Terra Nova Solar Photon 2 (3 guy points)  and Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum (2 guy points).
Rear view of the Brooks Range Foray (4 strong guy points), Mountain Hardwear SuperMega (3 guy points), Terra Nova Solar Photon 2 (3 guy points), and Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum (2 guy points).

Weight and Packed Size


On our scale the Foray weighs 44 ounces without stakes. The lightest tent tested weighs 31 ounces without stakes.

Poles 12.6 oz.
Fly 16.1 oz.
Body 13.8 oz.
Guyline 1.4 oz.
Stakes 3.6 oz.

Pole, stake, and primary stuff sacks: 1.1 oz.

Consider an ultralight tent for cutting edge ultralight backpacking.

Adaptability


The Foray can be "fast-pitched" with the poles, fly, and an optional footprint. For reasons stated in our Buying Advice Article we do not believe this is a viable setup for serious backpacking. Therefore, the tent has very limited adaptability and must be pitched in the same manner regardless of environmental variation.

Limitations


The Foray uses Jake's Feet, a plastic accessory from DAC (the firm that makes the Foray's poles) to connect the poles and outer tent to the inner tent. We've had mixed results with this feature, which is used on many other tents, and prefer the simple and reliable grommet over Jake's Feet because we believe they are more reliable and more durable. Although we've never broken a Jake's Foot, the Foray has no method to replace one if it were to break. Nemo tents have a lightweight webbing closure that allows you to replace them if they do break.

The tent comes with good quality DAC V stakes. If you're serious about saving weight, consider upgrading to a lighter stake, such as one of those on the right side of the photo below.

Tent stakes : MSR Cyclone (35g) Toughstake (33g)  MSR Snowstake (22g)  DAC Y (14g)  Easton Nano Nail (9g)  DAC V (11g)  MSR Mini Groundhog (9g)  Hilleberg Tri-peg (8g)  Vargo 6.5" Titanium (8g)  MSR Carbon Core (5.5g)  Easton Full Metal Jacket (5.5g).
Tent stakes,: MSR Cyclone (35g),Toughstake (33g), MSR Snowstake (22g), DAC Y (14g), Easton Nano Nail (9g), DAC V (11g), MSR Mini Groundhog (9g), Hilleberg Tri-peg (8g), Vargo 6.5" Titanium (8g), MSR Carbon Core (5.5g), Easton Full Metal Jacket (5.5g).
The Brooks Range Foray's Jake's Feet  a DAC accessory. We believe traditional grommets are more reliable in serious storms and more durable in the long-term. The Foray does not provide a way to replace Jake's Feet  unlike on Nemo tents.
The Brooks Range Foray's Jake's Feet, a DAC accessory. We believe traditional grommets are more reliable in serious storms and more durable in the long-term. The Foray does not provide a way to replace Jake's Feet, unlike on Nemo tents.

Best Application


Lightweight three-season trips.

Value


Although the Foray is a top quality tent, we believe others are a better value. See Price versus Value Chart.

Other Versions


Brooks-Range Invasion Tent
Brooks Range Invasion
  • Cost - $600
  • Weight - 3lbs 7oz
  • Very lightweight 4-season tent
  • Spacious 2 person tent


Chris McNamara and Max Neale