Since the beginning of winter, I’ve been thinking of the first camping trip I would take in the spring. I like it in the winter too – but it’s not quite the same. Let’s just say that when I looked up the forecast and saw bluebird weather in the horizon for the weekend near Lake Placid, it didn’t take me long to call up my friends and organize a trip in the Adirondacks.
Another reason why I was excited for spring was because of the new MSR’s FreeLite tents: and ultra-light series of 3-seasons backpacking tents that came out in 2016. I had a FreeLite 3 packed in my bag and was ready to hit the trail. On Friday at 5pm, we left the office, packed up the car and took the road towards South. We got to the Adirondack Loj at night with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons blasting. The weekend vibes were ON.
|Our review of this product|
|8.9 / 10|
The pros are:
Light & compressible
Easy to set up
The cons are:
Tight for 3 people
To begin, the tent was very easy to set up – even in the dark. As a freestanding tent, everything holds up with a unique 7000 series aluminum pole. In the span of 3 minutes, we were ready to move into the tent with our sleeping bags and sleeping pads. We went to sleep and I took a better look at it the following morning, with a view of Heart Lake.
The tent is made to accommodate 3 people, but it will soon enough make you think of a pack of sardines. However, it’s still very doable – when every ounce is calculated. We were four people on this trip, so the FreeLite 3 was perfect for two people to be ultra-comfortable. Compared to a good amount of other backpacking tents, this one gives you lots of head space – thanks to the extra cross-pole going on top. You can sit and hang out comfortably.
Made out of 15D 1200mm ripstop nylon Durashield (polyurethane and DWR), the tent is very solid and resistant against the elements. A silicon reinforced tarp also assures waterproofness. Sadly for the review, we had great weather all weekend – so we weren’t able to test the limits of the FreeLite 3. However, the 10D micro-mesh polyester kept the air circulating inside the tent day and night.
Bonus: you’ll find pretty large storage pockets inside – which can be pretty rare on ultra-light tents.
Adding to the interior space, the two doors each have their own vestibule – creating a great place to store gear and packs at night. It also makes it more easy for campers to move around.
To finish, one of the features that impressed me the most with the FreeLite 3 was its capacity to compress and its super light weight: 3lbs and 4oz. This is a huge deal for me when looking for a tent to carry around for many days.
Here’s the size once it’s packed up: 46cm by 15cm. Not bad!
For my most laidback trips – a.k.a when I have easy access to my car – I like to sleep in my Mountain Hardwear’s Optic Vue 3.5, which offers a panoramic 180 degrees view. #fancycamping
However, on my more intense travels or longer trips, I’m pretty sure I just found the right fit with the FreeLite series. It’s the beginning of a great love story – I can feel it.
Pictures: Ariane Simard-Picard