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HomeNewsMSR’s Ultralight Tent Still Provides Plenty of Room for Two

MSR’s Ultralight Tent Still Provides Plenty of Room for Two

My backpacking experience My desire to lose as much weight as possible is constantly in conflict with my desire for comfort.

Recently, comfort has been defined as good food. This is real food and not just the dehydrated, cook-in-a-bag, or backpacking food. If I can carve a little weight out of my basic kit—tent, sleeping bag, pad, clothes, and such—I can bring bacon and eggs without overloading myself. MSR Freelite was what piqued our interest.

With a weight of just 2 pounds, the Freelite two-person model is 9 ounces lighter than its predecessor, yet it remains spacious. It’s well-ventilated, features plenty of storage pockets and gear lofts, and unlike many tents at this weight, offers two doors with two vestibules.

Ultralight, but not too tight

The three Freelite models that are currently available include a single-person model, the 2-person version I tested and one for three. All are made of 15D ripstop nylon with MSR’s 1200-mm Durashield polyurethane and durable water repellency (DWR). The 15-denier (15D) polyurethane and silicone-coated nylon isn’t quite as heavy as the 20D used in MSR’s popular Hubba Hubba tent (see our guide to the Best Tents for more comparisons). As with any lightweight tent, you’ll want to treat it with care. To extend the durability of your tent, I recommend that you take a footprint. Tent’s upper mesh is made of 10D micromesh, which is quite typical for lightweight tents.

MSR bills the 2-person model I tested as a “semi-freestanding tent for backpacking pairs.” I think what MSR means by that is that this tent is great for two people who don’t mind being, well, close.

Freelite measures 50 inches wide and will fit a 25-inch inflatable pad. The Freelite was tested using the Sea to Summit and Nemo Tensor pads.

One of my favorite aspects of the Freelight is that there’s no taper. Freelite truly is rectangular. The width of the Freelite at the feet equals the width at its head. This tent measures in at 82 inches. The inner walls of the tent are high, so it is suitable for those who are more tall. I am 5’ 11”, so it’s a little tough to truly test, but I would think it would be comfortable for people up to 6’ 3”.

While it’s just wide enough to accommodate two, there isn’t much room left over. For couples, or if, like me, you’re backpacking with kids, this is the perfect amount of sleeping space. It was spacious enough to share with my 10-year old daughter. If you don’t want to be right next to your hiking partner, you might want to look at the three-person model ($480), which adds 12 ounces but is over a foot wider.

Photo by MSR

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