Lewis Perdue Brings Us “Worst Tent, Best Tent in the World”

Granted, these probably aren’t the best or worst tents in the world, considering the multitude of designs that show up each year, but the author’s reasoning is sound nonetheless. Other then the fact that this came from Lewis Perdue, the ‘winners’ of the two categories certainly caught my eye. In my experience, REI tends to put out a good product. And, I remember Early Winters from my youth. They were one hell of a company, having marketed the very first Gore-tex garments.

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4 Responses to “Lewis Perdue Brings Us “Worst Tent, Best Tent in the World””

  1. Rich H. says:

    Just want to comment so readers don’t write off REI generally from what admittedly sounds like a bad tent. The key variable in Perdue’s review is that this particular tent is not/not a free-standing tent; therefore, it is extremely frustrating to set up. REI in general is recognized (repeated Backpacker Magazine editor’s choice awards, etc.) for producing high-quality camping gear at a fair price. I personally recommend getting a free-standing two-person tent for solo trips; for minimal weight difference, one can keep all one’s gear inside the tent and enjoy the benefits (stability, ease of set up) of a free-standing REI tent.

  2. Lewis Perdue says:

    Rich H – you are correct that REI makes some great great gear, but the more extreme your trek, the harder it is to find suitable things, especially tents. This is the third, one-person REI tent I have bought and is the least-suitable of all for tough, higher-altitude trips.

    One of those REI tents was a two-person, worked a bit better but still not worth the extra weight. As a search and rescue volunteer, I tend to overpack safety gear, so keeping things under 50# is a challenge I haven’t succeeded at yet since I also pack MREs instead of dehydrated food which doesn’t reconstitute well at higher altitudes where water boils at such a low temperature.

    I wonder if anyone knows what happened to Early Winters.

  3. karabi says:

    It’s true REI sells a lot of low-priced, Chinese-made items that work decently well for 70% of people. However, in a forum for gear-minded people who often have a higher standard for durability, for quality, and are a bit more immune to marketing hype, I think you could do better.

    I have always heard Hilleberg tents are the best.

  4. corsair says:

    “I wonder if anyone knows what happened to Early Winters.”

    Last I heard, they had been purchased by Orvis…which lately has morphed itself into a fly-fishing lifestyle shop/brand.

    For a really good 1-person tents, consider the following: MSR Hubba, Big Agnes Fly Creek-1 & Seedhouse-1, and Marmot Eos-1. An interesting brand that’s been innovating in the ultralight market is Six Moon Designs, they’ve got some interesting set-ups.