User Review: REI Chrysalis UL Tent
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!