Even ultralight minimalists that cut their utensils in half to save a few ounces in their pack are usually pretty happy when a 2-person 3-season backpacking tent weighs in around two to three pounds. Of course, to save more weight they could use a tarp or bivy, but getting the full-sheltered protection only a tent can provide while adding just 2 1/2 lbs. to the pack makes for a happy day on the trail.
At least it used to. Recently the game-changing Brooks Range Rocket Tent entered the market and redefined lightweight. The aformenetioned tents were 3-season, but the Rocket Tent is a 3 / 4-season convertible.that weighs in at a back-saving 1 lb. 6 oz in its winter configuration. That means it's designed to hold up to high winds, snow, sleet and whatever the mountain throws at you, while weighing less than a pound and a half.
Okay, a one-pound difference may be huge to outdoor enthusiasts, but may not quite translate to the average invention aficianado. However, the Rocket Tent's intrigue goes beyond its minimized spec sheet. This particular tent was designed by Dick Jackson a renowned mountain guide. Jackson and Brookes Range put some innovation into eliminating redundant gear, throwing out traditional tent pieces that could be replaced by equipment that is already packed.
Instead of tent poles, the Rocket Tent pitches with a 3-meter avalanche probe--an item that's already in the backpack of anyone traveling in the backcountry in winter--and two ski poles. The tent includes poles for summer/3-season use, which add a little weight, but the tent is still barely over 2 lbs. It also includes a probe extender (2.8 oz.) for those who use a shorter probe. The tent packs down to just 6 x 10 x 2 inches.
The Rocket Tent body is crafted from ultralight but rugged CT3 sailcloth, saving weight without compromising durability. The reflective fabric helps to keep body heat in during cold winter nights and reflect outside heat in the summer. The shape and guyout system of the tent provide stability even in harsh winter weather. Three zippered vents provide air circulation. The tent sleeps two and includes one door and one vestibule.
The Rocket Tent is currently available at the Brooks Range website for $600. While that might sound steep, it's comparable to other four-season tents, and assuming the tent performs well, will be worth every penny.