Brooks Range Tension 30

I admit I was dubious at first. The fabric is so lightweight, and the single-pole design seemed sketchy. Yes, it is seductively light (less than 2.5 lbs.) and very compact for a tent with 30 sq. ft. of floor space, but I worried how it would stand up to rough ground, wind, weather. Then I took it on a trip and got hammered by two days of hard rain and some stiff gusts of wind. After that, I was sold. The Tension 30 is a winner. The pole system (one long pole and two short support poles) holds up admirably and provides plenty of headroom with two occupants. While there is no real vestibule, the Tension 30 has enough of a ‘porch’ out the door to stash a couple of clothes bags. On nice nights, the all-net walls are a treat, and I was impressed by how weather-proof the Tension 30 was when the thunderstorms rolled through with big winds. While I’m convinced on the tent’s ability to withstand the elements, I’m still particular about only pitching it on ground picked clean of any abrasion-causing branches and making sure nothing rubs against the fly fabric. My only gripe is that the cross poles are tough to undo (they mean it when they say tension!). I find that the best strategy is to loosen the middle notch holding the cross-bar in place so you can arch the pole to relieve some tension and free the end.

Intel: weight – 2 lb. 7 oz., interior dimension 30 sq. ft., $420; www.brooks-range.com.

Brooks Range Tension 30

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