Where We Tested
The majority of testing occurred from 2008 through the present, although reviews include our testers' experience with tents before then. Locations include all major ranges in the Lower 48, Canada (primarily in Alberta and British Columbia), Aconcagua, Alaska, Antarctica, Patagonia, and various other countries for shorter travel trips, like Turkey. More than a dozen people provided testing and feedback, as well as guide services, giving input on longevity and durability.
Weight and Packability
We spend the time weighing the components and total weight (ounces) of each tent to give you insight into how many ounces each will add to your backpacking set up. We also note if the tent can be modularized or stripped down. We also pack each up and measure how small it can get, and how it fits into a backpack.
Weather Storm Resistance
We take these tents to the stormiest places in the world. Patagonia and Alaska are just two among the many. They've been precariously placed on ridgelines and endured some of the toughest winds, snow, and rain you can imagine.
Can you live inside for days on end? Here, we look at the headroom, length, and if each can easily be transformed into a kitchen. To test this, we camped out in each for days on end, noting which have better livability than others. We made sure to camp with our friends just to see how compatible space is for more than one person.
In addition to reading online reviews, we assess and search for signs of wear and tear after our time with each tent. We also look at the construction and make-up of each and note if some require more care or maintenance than others.
Where can you set up your tent? When faced with rocky ridgelines and uneven footprints, we know that a versatile tent that can be set up anywhere or through any season is important. To test this, we erected each tent in some of the weirdest and wildest locals you can imagine.