Nearly all of the gear we rent and sell - including tents - at our retail store in Tempe and to our customers around the country has been tested on actual hiking or backpacking trips by the LowerGear owner and/or staff. For anything we haven't taken out ourselves, we consider user reviews and evaluations in outdoors magazines and relevant credible web sites before adding it to our offerings.
To help you make the best camping and backpacking gear choices for your next trip, feel free to give us a call for our recommendations. If you prefer to do your own research, read the product descriptions on each item, check out our selection of videos and informational pages, and read other user's reviews and descriptions of the backpacking and camping gear we carry.
Below are user reviews on some of the tents we offer for sale or rent. If we didn't find a review on the exact item we carry, we include one on a similar product that will give you a close feel on what to expect. We scavenged these reviews from other sites out on the big world web, so we don't really know the folks that did the write-ups. But, it never hurts to hear a second or third point of view. If it just gets confusing, you can always give us a call for clarification.
Alps Mountaineering Meramac Tent
This is a rather hard to find size for a non-backpacking style tent and is ideal for single (car camping) or two person use (split between two when backpacking or also for car camping). Weighs 9#. It's small enough to fit in a 27" checked bag since I often fly to camp at the national parks. It's easy enough to find a 3 person backpacking tent, but I've found backpacking tents to be difficult to get in and out of and just don't provide the type of ventilation I seem to like. This is a great solution at a great price. The color scheme is not the same as what's in the picture - it's even more pleasing to the eye, blending in nicely with a natural colored background scheme. The picture shown here doesn't show it, but at the bottom of the fly there is a tab midway through to use with a guy line. It helps secure the tent a bit more and the ventilation increases dramatically when used with the guy line. By the same token a guy line isn't necessarily needed if it's getting into autumn and you want to retain more warmth inside. The two door design is great too, esp, with 2 users or if you want to increase the ventilation even more via the windows. With the other 4 guy lines midway up the fly attached I think this could deal with some pretty significant wind gusts with no concerns. The carrying bag easily holds the tent, poles, 10" nail stakes (wrapped carefully in a hand towel to prevent puncturing the tent) and rubber mallet with room to spare for a few large kitchen bags in case you have to take this down in the rain. Sturdy, stable and affordable. A solid 3 season tent.
Much like other tents, the stakes that come with this are a joke and are more like paper clips if you ask me. I'd recommend different stakes such as the 10" nail type that has a separate hole to connect the fly. They are rather heavy by comparison with other stakes, but perfect for use with this tent and a very inexpensive purchase since you only need 4. Another thing I found a bit annoying was the very small amount of velcro on the fly to use to wrap around the pole. It was difficult to get ahold of and so small that unless your fingers are spindles you have to really work at wrapping it around effectively while managing such a small amount of velcro. There are enough guy lines, but it would have been nice to have 2 of the 6 be smaller for use with the tab at the bottom of the fly. Some reflectivity of the lines would be nice too. I wish a custom ground cloth was available for it, but a blue 6x8' tarp you can get at that big chain store for less than $5 works great when folded under about a foot. Given the other factors above which I find to be more important, the few negatives I've mentioned here wouldn't warrant lowering my star rating to 4 and are easily remedied for about $20.
If you've been thinking to yourself that a 2 two person tent isn't big enough but a 4 person tent might be too big, then get this tent - it's the perfect compromise between the two and really is a rare size to find with that has such high standards (i.e., 1500mm coating). I would not think too long though if you're thinking of buying it. I am a member of an national outdoor gear company that was selling this tent at a slightly lower price. I waited too long and it sold out. I prayed that Amazon would have it and thankfully they did. It was worth the few extra dollars to have found it.
UPDATE: Just returned from several rainy days at Aspenglen Campground at Rocky Mtn. National Park and wanted to report that the inside of my tent and all my possessions were bone dry at all times. Before getting in and out of the tent in the rain I found it helpful to very gently pull the rainfly up and down a couple of times by the fly rod so the water sitting atop wouldn't end up on me since the peak height is 52" and I'm 66" tall and am going to somehow make bodily contact with the fly. It was a gentle, steady rain so when I opened the windows now and then no water even came near the windows at all, though a good wind-driven rain might cause some problems, but that's not the fault of the tent as much as it would be Mother Nature coupled with the position at which the tent was pitched. I had to take the tent down while still wet and luckily had a large hotel room in Denver. I simply spread the tent across the floor and hung the fly from the top of the bathroom door and both were bone dry the next morning. I continue to be very pleased with this product and it's the only tent I used through several camping trips.
SD Lightyear Tent
I usually don't give reviews of my stuff, but for this tent I have to!
Looking for a light weight one person tent, big enough to sit in and have space for my 60l pack and gear, I thought I never find one for my money.
And I did! Absolutely stunned by the great built quality. Set up within 5 min. Used it in gale winds with few pegs only. Pegs did not move and tent withstood battering wind without any problems.
Used in snow and heavy rain and again, tent performed great. Condensation is no problem at any weather. Love it!
I seam sealed this tent before I took it out on the trail. There was a torrential downpour all night long and I was inside, perfectly dry. No water inside the tent at all. It is a little heavy for a single person tent, but a good value for money. The construction seems very high quality. The ventilation was good. The gear vestibule is a little small and my 49L pack does not fit in there very well. Water did splash into the vestibule area soaking all my gear and boots, next time I will take that stuff into the tent to keep it dry. Pitching the tent is really fast and easy and that does matter when its raining. I would recommend this tent.
SD Clip Flashlight Tent
Light, easy to set up and waterproof.
This weekend was spent in Michigan's lake country. saturday night a huge thunderstorm hit us. We were dry as a bone in the AM.
Two adults and a dog in one tent and three boys in another. We own two of these tents and have used them extensively on hiking trips.
The best hiking-tents we have owned and for the money we paid ($144 each) a huge bargain too!
I am a backpacking gear junky...love new gear. When I bought this tent I thought I would probably need a new one in a few years. I've been using this one for about almost 10 years now. Its made a lot of backpacking trips, camp outs and now motorcycle trips. I waterproofed it this year and not sure how well it work. It does get condensation on the floor and it does leak on the corner once in a while. Plenty of room for one person and very light weight to carry backpacking. Highly recommend it.
SD Vapor Light
Got caught in 6 hours of heavy thunder storms in the Forrest with this, it goes up quick, which was nice, me at 6' 4, and my friend, (also not a small person) jumped in and threw both our packs in. We were able to unpack sleeping bags and situate gear, even cook dinner with one arm out the door and stayed bone dry while it was poring outside. So that speaks wonders for a 2 man tent if u ask me. Of course breaths great being almost all mesh.
This is the second tent I've owned by Sierra Designs (the first being their Comet CD). As always, Sierra Designs put out a great product that was definitely worth the extra cost (compared to some of the cheaper alternatives that aren't anywhere near as durable). I purchased this tent as a graduation present to myself (I got a degree in Parks, Recreation & Ecotourism, so I'm somewhat of an outdoor junkie; subsequently this seemed like a fitting gift for the occasion), and have been updating my gear from "car camping" equipment to ultralight backpacking gear for the past few months. This tent was exactly what I needed, as it was lightweight (not even 4 lbs!) and folded up quite small. It is easy to and quick to assemble, and the clip/snap technology to attach the poles and the rain fly is handy (and pretty cool too). The space is actually rather roomy, considering that I'm 6'1 and usually have a hard time finding appropriately sized gear, and can fit me and another camper snugly but comfortably. I'm looking forward to taking this out in the Catskills on a weekend backpacking trip to test it out further. The shipping was quick (came in 3 days) and arrived in perfect condition. I would continue buying Sierra Designs and would order from this seller again!
Pros: Light, durable, free-standing design, fast shipping.
SD Lightning 3
Short and Sweet
This tent appears to be a well-designed piece of equipment and I feel that I made a good choice with this purchase. Trail weight (tent, rainfly, poles) 5lb 2oz (2.33Kg). Ten tent stakes 4oz (115g), guy lines .5oz (19g), bags 2.5oz (73g), total 5lb 8.5oz (2.51Kg)
Typically I do not do a review until I have used the product for at least a few months or in this case a few camping trips but because there is only one other review at this time I will share my initial impressions. I was quite excited to receive this tent (I always am with new equipment) and set it up by myself shortly after the tent arrived. It took less than seven minutes and no instructions were required. The second time, again by myself, was accomplished under five minutes. In other words, the setup is quick, intuitive, and can be done solo. All of the seams were correctly double stitched and sealed in the proper locations, I was quite pleased.
What I was looking for
I wanted a three season tent with space for two plus enough room for extras like my dog, gear, etc. I needed one that was a little longer because I am 73" (186cm) and in some tents I would be touching the ends. Additionally, I wanted it to be light weight with plenty of mesh and have a door that could be used without disturbing those sleeping next to you.
Why I chose this tent
I narrowed it down to two tents, this one and the REI Quarter Dome T3 Plus. The T3 Plus trail weight (tent, rainfly, poles) is stated as 5lb 7oz (2.46Kg) and the Lightning by my scale is 5lb 2oz (2.33Kg) so the Lightning wins right? Not quite, if you are not over six feet than you probably could go with the T3 standard length which weighs in at 4lb 11oz (2.12Kg) making that one the weight winner. Also both have lots of mesh with the Lightning winning in that regard by a hair. With respect to the doors in my opinion the Lightning has an advantage here as well. By placing the doors at the foot and the head of the tent, obstacles on three sides just means that everyone goes through the same door. However if you were either of the T3s someone would have to climb over the other. As far as warranty coverage REI wins with their awesome warranty and if you live close to an REI there is no shipping cost, just bring it in. The deciding factor for choosing the Lightning was the price. The price of the Lightning is considerably lower than the T3 Plus. I was even able to pick the Lightning up while it was on sale making it less than half of the price of the T3 Plus, I jumped on it.
What I have found
There are almost always idiosyncrasies that can make or break a product and most of the time you are unable to determine these by reading the manufacturers description. That being said, I can make no further comments on the T3s but I can say that I think that I am going to truly enjoy the Lighting. Some of the things that I really like about this tent are things which I did not think would be a big deal. The H frame poll design is very straight forward and easy to set up. The whole tent is mesh so you have an unbroken view of the sky without becoming insect food. The D style doors are easy to open with one hand. The high sloping side walls create ample headroom. And finally, with the vestibules positioned as they are, if you sleep with your head or feet touching the mesh you will have plenty of clearance between yourself and the rainfly. This ensures that you and your bag will remain warm and dry.
A big smiling thumbs up and four stars. I reserve five for things that I consider revolutionary (to my world at least) so don't get the impression that I have any qualms with this product. The design is great, the workmanship is what is should be and I cannot wait to put this thing through its paces and let everyone know (hopefully) just how great this tent preforms in the field. If you have any questions about this product, leave a comment and I will answer you to the best of my knowledge.
Initial impressions are very good and I think that this tent will last many backpacking trips. Happy trails.
I have taken this on two weekend trips now and this tent is great. Tons of headroom and I was right about the vestibules keeping you dry even when touching the netting. The first trip I was able to sleep without the rainfly. Sleeping with a clear view of the stars minus the bugs was so nice! Two nitpicky things that I have found. The rainfly doors are a mirror image, ie they both open on the right side as you enter. Why is this bad? Suppose that you could only orient the tent in a North South direction but there was an amazing view to the NNE. You would miss it due to the doors. The second thing is probably just me not being used to modern tents but the fly creaks in the wind as it moves over the poles.
Want to learn more about other types of backpacking and camping gear? We have broken out our gear reviews by major equipment category. In addition to the tent reviews above, see our other gear review pages:
For more information, see our full line of tents for sale or rent.