This is my house:
I won’t spend any time detailing the dimensions and materials because a) you would be wiser to find this information out at the website (listed below), and b) even if I detailed the materials, I don’t understand all the “ripstop”/”poly-whatever”-isms that seem to make up all ultralight gear. All I can tell you with authority and certainty is that this mf’er can take a punch. For the sake of this article, I will refer to it as “Tyson.”
Tyson has survived some nasty storms over the span of some 950 trail miles (500 this trip, 400 in 2019 on the PCT, and a weekender in Tahoe in 2018). Thunderstorms, hail, rain, wind. No matter how much my heart tries to beat out of my chest and escape down the trail, Tyson has kept me safe, thru and thru, pun intended.
Tyson is a 2-Lite Trek, designed by Slingfin in Berkeley, CA.
It’s a two-person, three-season, ultralight tent, held up by two trekking poles, a straight pole at the head and an arch pole at the footbox, and weighs in at 2.14 pounds (this is the only figure you will get from me, reader!). It is cozy, warm, durable, and, with the exception of a slight gaff just up the road from the Green Valley Market (near where Casa de Luna used to be) involving a cold fieldmouse, does a fine job of keeping out wildlife.
Every evening, I look forward to setting up Tyson, crawling inside, and jotting down the day’s events in my notebook. Every morning, breaking it down warms me up and preps me for the day’s hike. Even when I cowboy camp Tyson’s footprint keeps the sand off my butt.
I am sorry to report, however, that Tyson’s rainfly got KO’d coming into Tehachapi the other day. A vicious windstorm pummeled my poor house at Tylerhorse Canyon for nine hours before the stake loops began to snap, one by one. Tyson tried its best I place no blame on its design or durability. Slingfin makes a great tent (no, they aren’t paying me, I frickin love this tent), but 950 miles plus 60 mph winds will wear anything down—myself included. At the time of writing, I still feel the exhaustion that comes from hiking two days through a wind farm.
After packing away the rainfly in the middle of the night, the tent itself held up just fine—almost better without the fly! Lucky for me, the good people at Slingfin (in particular, a 2014 SOBO named Mrs. Dash—thanks, Dash!) are mailing some new thread for stake loops to the Onyx post office, just off Walker Pass. The fly material is in great condition, and I look forward to sharing a few starry nights with Tyson until I get there. I feel better knowing it can stand up to the toughest winds.
I love talking about Tyson with other hikers.
In almost every group camp setting I get questions about who makes it, how much it weighs, where to get it, etc. The best are the envious stares from Zpacks Duplex-ers. I tell them all that I know, which is all I’ve told you. If you are curious about the dimensions, etc, I highly recommend going to slingfin.com and checking out their product line. They also have helpful videos of how to set up their tents.
I hope that Tyson hangs in there for the rest of this trip, because I can’t imagine camping in any other tent at this point, especially after hearing about how some other tents suffered some worse wear after the windstorm. Even while recovering on a bed in a Tehachapi motel room, I can’t help but miss Tyson’s warm and cozy walls, its perpetually dirty floor, and the second nature that has come to me after almost six weeks of making and breaking camp. I believe it’s the best tent for the price point.
I’d bet my right ear.
“Our house is a very, very, very fine house…”
—Crosby, Stills & Nash
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