REI Chrysalis UL Tent
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $78
A light and compact tent, but highly dependable. Can accommodate two small built trekkers.
- Light but durable
- A sturdy tent
Setup can be done in less than 5 mins. You have to be adapted to the hubs on the pole.
Can withstand heavy winds and rainfall.
Just have to know to set it up well to have a good ventilation and likewise to avoid condensation.
Can accommodate two small built and can stack your things in the vestibule.
Very packable, occupies less space in your pack.
Special features is the pole hubs, but one has to take care of this cause I think it would be hard to replace.
Bought this as used but not abused. Used it 4x or 5x already for the past 2 years in a tropical condition.
Price Paid: $154
I went to the REI store expecting to buy the popular Quarter Dome T1 backpacking tent. They had one Chrysalis tent left and it looked interesting and at 45 dollars less caught my attention. The REI salesman was kind enough to let me set them both up in the store so I could compare.
The T1 was like a tube, way to narrow, and the mostly mesh tent does not offer enough protection without the rainfly. With the rainfly on the ventilation seemed poor. It was hard to set up with a complicated pole pattern and I felt its only plus was the low weight.
The Chrysalis on the other hand was also an ultralite but had a quick and easy setup, lots of shoulder room where it counts, great protection without the rainfly, perfectly designed ventilation and easy to get in and out of.
I am 62 and 5'10" and I felt right at home in this tent. I will be going backpacking for the first time in thirty years next month to give it a try.
Design: three-season free-standing solol tent
Ease of Setup: Very easy
Weight: Three pounds: tent, fly, stakes, and sack only
Price Paid: $155
The Chysalis is REI's low-cost entry into the world of ultralight solo tents. I absolutely prefer going without a tent--I enjoy sleeping under the stars and carrying only a tarp in case of rain--but on my most recent trip to the Grand Canyon I expected very bad weather, so I broke down and bought this tent.
It is a big step up from my bivy sack, offering plenty of room inside to read (even though I am 6'2"), fumble with gear and clothing, and it also offers a big vestibule to keep gear out of the weather. It has a cool little hatch-like window to peer out at the weather through, too.
Over the course of four nights on this tent's maiden voyage I encountered heavy rain, hail, snow (three inches one night), and wind of up to 45mph, which proved to be a great way to test this tent.
I was blown away...not by the wind, but by this tent's performance. I stayed dry, the tent staked down solidly, and it packed up small. I only noticed one very minor problem. When I unzip the fly in wet weather it tends to drip directly into the tent (exactly where my head goes!). This was a nuisance, but not a huge drawback.
I was happy with how quickly it sets up and breaks down, how solid it was once it was up and staked, and how I felt like I was in a "tent" rather than a glorified bivy sack. REI did some good work designing this thing...I will carry it whenver I expect inclement weather, especially since mine actually weighs in at 3 pounds as advertised. Well Done!
Design: Three season
Ease of Setup: Pretty easy, takes a little getting used to.
Weight: light, whatever rei says
Price Paid: retail
I've spent about 10 nights out in this tent on a few camping trips. I'm a casual camper and I ride a motorcycle so the compact packed size is important to me.
Things I like:
Very good rain protection
Very cool single pole
Things I don't like so much:
This thing is small folks. I found that with my gear and my small dog it was a bit crowded.
It's a bit hard to get in and out of if you're over 40 like me.
I've enjoyed this tent but I really would like more room personally so I've got an MSR Fling I'm taking on my next trip. If you want a light, sturdy, and cozy tent for one person, I do recommend it pretty highly.
Design: three-season freestanding dome
Ease of Setup: color coded corners makes for easy setup
Price Paid: $99
Bought this solo tent for motorcycle trips to replace my solo Kelty tent. Used it at Bonnaroo during torrential downpours. Tent kept me completely dry, even with major wind gusts.
I'm 5'5" so the tent has plenty of room for me to maneuver and the vestibule is big enough to store some gear for the morning. Probably wouldn't recommend for anyone taller than 6'. Ventilation was as good as expected considering I stayed bone dry for all 5 days.
Design: could be free standing, or staked
Ease of Setup: very easy
Weight: 3 #
Price Paid: $129
I purchased this tent as a means to downsize and lighten my load. This tent packs down very small and compact and is very light. It sets up easy, stakes down and goes no where! With the vestibule door closed it struggles with ventilation, though it does have the roof vent, great addition! With the vestibule door open, it drafts pretty well.
I am 5'9" and weigh in at about 215, though this fits me very well, I could not imagine someone much larger than I fitting comfortably.
Holds up against rains very well and has minimal condensation.
If your looking for a great light weight solo tent, this would be it!!
Ease of Setup: Not difficult
Price Paid: $124
Best tent I've ever owned!
Where to Buy
We found the REI Chrysalis UL Tent at 1 outdoor retailer: