Bibler Escalante Juniper
This is NOT going to be one of those " My brand ____…
Design: Three Season dome
Ease of Setup: Relatively easy. 3 poles, no sleeves, inside setup.
Weight: 6 1/2 lbs (tent+poles)
Price Paid: $649; footprint $55
This is NOT going to be one of those " My brand ____ tent is the bomb because I bought it and by the way, anything else out there bites in comparison, even though I have slept only 10 hours in my tent" type reviews that people seem to be so fond of leaving at this web site.
That said, the Escalante Juniper has been the best all-around tent I have owned or used. It isn't suitable for winter use due to the mesh sidewalls/doors, but it handles anything else with aplomb. Even though I own or have access to four other tents made by 'name' manufacturers, this is the one I tend to use to the exclusion of the others.
The Juniper is a single/doublewall hybrid design. The main body walls are made of ToddTex PFTE laminate, the sidewalls and inner doors are mesh, the roof vent and vestibule areas (which form the two outer sidewalls) are coated nylon. Sounds complicated but it isn't. The result of this design is a tent with a spacious 42 square feet of usable area, with two 6 sq. foot vestibule areas. Each side has its own door, with the result being that no-one has to climb over anyone else to enter or exit the tent. It also has a 48" height, which makes using the large D-shaped doors a breeze. There are six netting pockets on each side wall; a gear attic(loft)is optional. The coated nylon vestibule walls can be rolled up, leaving almost each entire side with mesh walls open for great ventilation and great views.
Like any freestanding design, the Juniper must be staked out to be secure. There are multiple tie-down webbing loops around the tent. These should be used to prevent the Juniper from turning into a $649 kite.
I've slept in the tent in all conditions (except a blizzard) in the two years or so that I've had it and have never had one single drop of condensation. No leaks,either.
Any drawbacks? Maybe a couple: 1) even though this is a lightweight tent, since it is effectively a single wall design, it takes some space to pack. With a double wall design, you can split the body, the fly and the poles into parts and make someone going with you carry part of the tent. This tent only divides into the tent and the poles.
2) you will have to seam seal the tent. Bibler says the seams are not factory sealed to keep the price down. Whatever - I hated the task. If you are careful, it will take you a few hours to do the job. Then, you need to leave the tent set up for a day so the sealer can cure.
I chose this model over an Ahwahnee (which is a great tent) for three reasons: about ten square feet more room inside, and the fact that the vestibule is built into the design. (If you add a vestibule to the Ahwahnee, you get an additional 16 sq. ft, but also have to carry a pound and a half more weight). Finally, I preferred the D-shaped doors of the Escalante to the Awahnee door which runs the entire length of one side of the tent.
If you see anyone using either the Juniper or Pinon (the same design in a smaller size), ask them how they like their tent. I think you'll hear compliments, not curses.