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M State of the Market Report: Family/Group Backpacking Tents

by Damien and Renee Tougas

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Article Summary:

Much of the ultralight tent market is focused on solo or two-person shelters. Even when traveling in groups, many ultralight backpackers prefer to bring their own gear instead of going down the communal road.

There are times, however, when sleeping in a shared space makes sense: families with children, group trips with kids and youth (i.e. Boy Scouts), expedition base camps, and any other trip where group interaction or dynamics are important. Larger shelters can also offer economies of scale, bringing the overall group gear weight down than if more smaller shelters are used.

In addition to regular backpacking trips, another common use for large shelters is the base camp scenario. In this scenario, the group carries their gear to a central location to establish base camp from where day trips or lighter trips are launched. Tents used in a base camp are selected more for their space, features, and comfort than they are their absolute lightest weight. That being said, the tents selected for this report are still considered suitable for backpacking. Tents of this size also make good candidates for car camping.


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