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Small tents review

We review 14 small tents, ranging in price from $110 to $500. Essential camping gear tested.
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01 .Introduction

Small tents lead

The pleasure of looking at a great scenic vista can be compounded by planning well for your trip. Whether hiking to your favourite lookout, making your way to some unique area never visited before, or are a regular at weekend-long music festivals, the tent you pack can make the experience much more pleasant. But which tent should you buy?

For more information on camping and hiking see Outdoors.  

Tent capacity is based on the number of sleeping bags that will fit in, rather than storage space for luggage and other camping gear. Good camping retailers have samples of their tents erected in store so you really know how much room you will have. Visit when buying and try the tent out see how you fit inside the tent; this will give you an idea of just how tight the fit is and if you need a larger sized tent. You'll find our review of larger tents here.

Brands and models

Black Diamond Mesa 2
Black Wolf Grasshopper 2
Denali Squall Hike 90035904
Diamantina Explore 2
Exped Mira II
Koda Gear Inspire 3V
Macpac Apollo 11262-IPB-OS
Mountain Designs Eureka Taron 2
Nemo Obi 2P
Outdoor Connection Gunya 2
Oztrail Classic Crossbreeze 3V DTC-3V-D
Roman Tracker 3VD
Snowgum Swift 2P
The North Face Rock 22

How we test

Usability Our tester, Peter Horvath, rates the tents on how comfortable they are to live in and use, taking into account the usable area of the inner tent and vestibule (height and floor area), access to the tent, the number and size of doors and windows, and ventilation.

Ease of carrying Based on the weight of the tent, this is a critical performance characteristic if you'll be carrying the tent on a long hike.

Ease of assembly He measures how long it takes to put the tents up and take them down. Times range from 8–20 minutes to put up and 5–15 minutes to pack up. Peter sets up each tent once to get familiar with it, and then times and scores the second attempt. These times are only a guide because they’re based on the times of experienced users putting the tent up in ideal conditions. Times will vary depending on experience, weather and ground conditions.

Rain test The tents are also assessed for water resistance, in this case by an artificial downpour using a sprinkler on all tents. We then check the tents for any leakage. 

Other tests The tents go through moderate gusts of wind throughout the testing period. 


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