: How quickly can we pitch the tent in a 25 mph wind gust?
: Can two burly six-foot men fit inside the thing without touching thighs?
: Will it leak when we put it on a pickup truck’s bed and send it through a car wash?
1. Nemo Morpho AR – $395
Lowdown: Go camping future-style under this tent’s acid-green canopy: Its design scraps poles for inflatable structural beams. Blow it up to get the tent erect!
Speed: Raising the neon beast took six minutes and 62 foot pumps—the slowest in our test.
Comfort: Our two tall testers found the 40 sq. ft. of floor space ample enough to Indian leg wrestle. Nothin’ weird about that.
Waterworks: We doubted the single-wall setup would survive the car wash. Surprise! Even though it’s the only tent on our list without a rain fly, our man stayed bone-dry.
Verdict: It is the coolest-looking tent in our test and can take a beating, but it’s pricey and packs big.
Rating: 3 stars
2. REI Quarter Dome T2 – $259
Lowdown: A mostly mesh design makes this a choice tent for stargazers and exhibitionists.
Speed: Despite our man-made maelstrom and the tent’s funky asymmetrical structure, color-coded poles and tent seams helped our tester get this set up quicker than Marion Barry. Time: 3:30.
Comfort: Our testers dug the breezy canopy and “straight-up side walls,” which provided enough room for two very large heads.
Waterworks: We had doubts, but the tent’s rain fly, “bathtub” bottom, and raised door zippers kept our testers moisture-free.
Verdict: Like a mesh busch gardens cutoff T-shirt, you can see through it, but it’s tough as hell.
Rating: 4.5 stars
3. Copper Spur UL2 – $400
Lowdown: The lightest tent in our test gets sciency on our ass: Anodized aluminum poles and thin nylon keep weight under four pounds—so you can haul more Lunchables!
Speed: We had the hubbed setup standing in 4:30, thanks to instructions sewn into the bag. Genius!
Comfort: Though it has 30 feet of floor space, testers felt “too snug.” Their favorite feature? Double side doors that make bailing easy.
Waterworks: The “Bible-page thin” walls kept our tester un-touched after a car wash dousing. He brazenly asked to remain inside while we ran out for lunch.
Verdict: A super-tech, ultralight tent disguised in hearing-aid beige. Only for the hardcore.
Rating: 4 stars
4. Eureka! Timberline 2 – $120
Lowdown: Remember that A-frame tent you pitched as a pizza-faced Boy Scout? Eureka! still makes it. And you still have zits.
Speed: Our tester freaked after finding no instructions inside the box, but he had this ageless wonder flapping in the wind in five minutes, thanks to its simple design.
Comfort: Testers praised the 38 sq.ft. of floor but bitched about the “awkward head space” and lack of side windows. Spoiled brats.
Waterworks: Fail! Our subject left the car wash with wet corduroys and a bruised ego. Water entered through an ill-mounted zipper right at the floor crease.
Verdict: Retro is cool—unless it’s raining in the present.
Rating: 2.5 stars