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MSR FreeLite 2

photo: MSR FreeLite 2 three-season tent

Specs

Price Current Retail: $489.95
Historic Range: $219.73-$489.95
Fast & Light Weight w/ F&L Body 2 lbs 2 oz / 0.96 kg
Minimum Weight 2 lbs 8 oz / 1.14 kg
Packaged Weight 2 lbs 15 oz / 1.33 kg
Floor Dimensions 84 x 50 in / 213 x 127 cm
Floor Area 29 sq ft / 2.7 sq m
Vestibule Area 17.5 sq ft / 1.62 sq m
Vestibule Volume 410 liters / 14.5 cu ft
Interior Peak Height 36 in / 91 cm
Packed Size 18 x 6 in / 46 x 15 cm

Reviews

1 review
5-star:   0
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0
The author of this review received a sample of the product from the brand or its representative in exchange for a review.

The MSR FreeLite 2 is a dependable three-season tent that's designed for two people. With an easy setup and an efficient design, it's a solid option for the average backpacker.

Pros

  • Fool-proof setup
  • Both durable and reliable
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Holds up well to high-winds
  • Equipped with dual-vestibules

Cons

  • It's a little small for a two-person tent
  • It's a bit pricey

If you're someone who's looking for a dependable, lightweight tent, the MSR FreeLite 2 will do the trick. This tent is extremely reliable, straightforward, and packable. It's easy to pitch, holds up against gnarly rain and wind. And it even ventilates nicely.

Without consulting instructions, the setup was fairly logical. And after a substantial amount of testing, it barely shows any sign of wear, making me think that (if properly cared for) this tent will have a long life. 

  • MSRP: $489.95
  • Weight: 2lbs 6 ounces


DSC00393.jpg

What I like:

  • The interior pocket is a nice feature, allowing you to store important items like a headlamp or phone nearby. 
  • You can easily divide this tent into two to split the weight. Some tents sew the rainfly and the body together, making it impossible to split. But that's not the case with the FreeLite 2. 
  • It's easy to pitch tautly and it remains stable during turbulent weather. 
  • It's pretty breathable.

What I'd change: 

  • I could just be a tent hog, but when there were two of us in this tent, it felt surprisingly small. I spent the night trying not to take over my partner's area (unsuccessfully). 
    DSC00401.jpg

The above image shows the interior of this tent with just my (very very lofty) sleeping bag in it. You can squeeze two average-sized people inside. But if you're particularly tall or wide, this might not be a shareable option. 

Freestanding vs. Non-Freestanding:

As an ultralight backpacker, I'm always looking for ways to slice down the ounces. Generally, non-freestanding tents weigh less than their freestanding counterparts because you don't have to carry tent poles.

After spending a substantial amount of time with both types of tents, I'm finding myself surprisingly loyal to freestanding tents. It's worth carrying a few extra ounces for the reliability of a freestanding tent. You can set these up essentially anywhere. But non-freestanders have to be staked down in order to be reliable.

Technically, the FreeLite 2 is a "semi" free standing tent, which means it's most efficient when staked down. But you could definitely get away without nailing it to the ground. I've been able to camp in some pretty rocky areas without any issues while using this tent.

MSR FreeLite 2 Testing:

I recently camped in this tent at high elevations during a windy thunderstorm. Not only did it hold up to the wind, it also kept me and my backpack (which was stored in the vestibule) completely dry. The next day, when the sun rose, it took hardly any time to dry. 

During a different expedition, it drizzled for several hours. But, again, this tent held up to the challenge. 

Final Thoughts About the FreeLite 2:

Sharing this tent with another person for an extended period of time would make you fast friends. But it's lightweight enough for me to consider carrying it as a one-person shelter. The construction and mechanics of the tent are great. I removed a star due to the interior size of the tent and the cost, which is a bit steep for my budget. But overall, I've been really impressed with the FreeLite 2's performance in the backcountry. And MSR continues to manufacture reliable gear on a consistent basis. 

Experience

I've had the chance to spend several months testing this tent. It was predominantly used in Colorado's backcountry where we saw a lot of rain and wind. I've used a variety of freestanding tents like the FreeLite 2.

Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer (kept it)

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