Posted by: davepidgeon | January 26, 2009

Feeling Sprite-ly

The package was so featherlight I tossed it in the air effortlessly for celebration. My new tent had finally come. Happy 30th birthday to me!

After some research, I settled on the Mountain Hardware Sprite 1, a single person two-wall tent that weights 3.5 pounds, has plenty of mesh for stargazing and a well-regarded rain cover¬†should the heavens open up. I dig it’s “L”-shaped layout, unusual for single-person tents but advantageous without adding too much weight. Basically at your head there’s a tiny alcove where you can put your book, pocket knife or anything you plan to keep inside with you. This tent has length, too, measuring in at a bomber 7 feet 6 inches. I think that’s enough for my 6-foot-2-inch frame to fit inside and roll around. In all, the Sprite 1 has 17.5 square feet of space. Awesome.

I couldn’t pass up the price, either, for a quality single-person tent. While you may shell out $250 for a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 or $225 for a Marmot Eos, the Mountain Hardware Sprite 1 retails for $150, and I found it at Campmor for just $127. I’m on a budget so I need to find bargains where I can. A great tent for half the price of other single-person shelters, and my only sacrifice is the Sprite 1 weights one measly pound more compared to the Seedhouse (it’s a few ounces more than the Eos).

One set back: The Sprite 1 is not a freestanding tent. So taking it out in cold weather when there’s either snow or the ground is frozen presents a problem with staking. Probably won’t be taking this tent out to the beach, either. Another setback: Only one door, which is common for single-person tents. Call me nuts, but for safety purposes I dig having two doors, which you commonly find on two-person tents.

Now, the real test will come in the backcountry. Can’t say for certain, but hopefully within the next month this tent will get its first backcountry test.

Can you start your day off any better than when the UPS guy knocks on your door with a package of gear? I think not.

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