Jack Wolfskin Mistral
Design: free standing dome
Ease of Setup: Very easy, 3 poles through one way sleeves
Price Paid: $100
First of all it actually weighs 9.5 lbs. Aside from the understated weight this is perhaps the best tent purchase I have ever made. It is very similar to the marmot swallow/hoot with two doors and two huge roof panels that zip out to expose mesh and incredibly functional roof and door vents. The polyester fly is tight as a drum and the huge front vestibule is large enough to actually cook in. it has numerous guy lines and adjusters and a really cool stuff sack that rolls down from the top like a dry bag. The three pole design is the same as the marmot's with two poles crossing at the top and a third arching across the front to support the vestibule. It is also huge (44sqft). The fly is a light taupe color and lets in plenty of light.
Two small complaints. It does not have a foot print (I plan to make one from a poly tarp) and i wish that it had a gear loft or at least loops for one in the ceiling. Retails for $300, but because Wolfskin (a great company with great products) is leaving the US for good I got it for $100.
Design: four season freestanding dome
Ease of Setup: easy
Weight: not a two person backpacking tent
Price Paid: $280
Very well designed tent, a lot of bells and whistles, after using it about 50 times I really like it a lot. Nice interior space for two people, can handle three ok, four people would leave little room for gear on the inside.
A lot of tie down anchors in the fly, with velcro tabs on the under side that can lock around the tent poles, and three tent poles, so it can be secured very well in heaving wind. Probably not exactly an expedition level tent, but it can handle four seasons. The fly fabric is polyester, of an in-between weight, not the cheap thin stuff some manufactures use, but then not quite as strong as say North Face. It's possible to ventilate the tent really well.
Zippers slide very smoothly. Sets up quickly with tent pole sleeves (vs those pesky plastic clips that actually make a weaker structure).
The easiest way to feed the poles into the sleeves is to set the two rear corner tent stakes first (i.e., the stakes at the closed ends of the sleeves). Then as you start to slide the pole into the sleeve, gently pull the tent fabric tight against the far stake. This straightens out any folds in the tent fabric that could catch the pole as it's being pushed through the sleeve.
Same concept when taking the tent down; leave the far tent stakes in the ground, take the tips of poles out of the grommets to collapse the tent, then gently pull the tent fabric tight against the rear stakes to straighten the sleeve material and more easily slide the poles out.
Where to Buy
The Jack Wolfskin Mistral is not available from the stores we monitor.
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