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Outdoor Retailer: Four-Season Backpacking Tents

by Dave MacLeay
August 18, 2008

Although Outdoor Retailer Summer Market is generally a showcase of spring/summer products, I saw several new four-season backpacking tents being unveiled. That is, tents build to withstand cold temperatures and winter snow loads, but not necessarily the high winds or cramped conditions associated with high-altitude mountaineering. These spring 2009 tents were designed more with the average winter backpacker in mind:

Mountain Hardwear Taurine 2

Mountain Hardwear’s new Taurine 2 anchors the manufacturer’s “Mountain Performance” line of tents. Designed to fill the niche between the company’s expedition tents and 3-season “all mountain” tents, the four-season Taurine 2 combines high-end features like an internal guy system and lightweight webbing and buckles with creature comforts such as dual doors and vestibules and mesh storage pockets. The 33 square foot Taurine 2 weighs 7 lbs. 15 oz. and will retail at $475.

Hilleberg Kaitum GT Hilleberg’s Kaitum 2 GT and Kaitum 3 GT build on the company’s lightweight, four-season Kaitum tunnel tents. The GT models feature extended vestibules, adding 12 square feet of full-height vestibule space to the 2-person model and 17 square feet to the 3-person version. The $845 Kaitum 2 GT provides 31 square feet of interior space and 38 of vestibule at 6 lbs. 4 oz., while the $895 Kaitum 4 GT provides 44 square feet (plus 45 square feet of vestibule) at 7 lbs 4 oz.
Kelty Foxhole The Kelty Foxhole 2 and Foxhole 3 feature welded, waterproof seams, two doors and two vestibules. Both tents include ample ventilation options, including mesh doors with solid panels that can be opened or closed to control airflow, and several hooded vents in the fly. The $380 Foxhole 2 offers 35 square feet of living space at 7 lbs. while the $420 Foxhole 3 is 45 sq. ft. and 9 lbs 4 oz.
Terra Nova Superlight Quasar

On the lightweight end of the spectrum, British tentmaker Terra Nova is bringing its full line of tents to the U.S., including several two-person, four-season backpacking models weighing less than five pounds. The 4 lb. 15 oz. Superlight Quasar is a lightened version of Terra Nova’s Quasar four-pole mountaineering tents.  The 4 lb. 10 oz. Voyager features a minimalist 3-pole design, while the 4 lb. 15 oz. Voyager XL adds a sizable vestibule with a dedicated hoop-style fourth pole.