Kudos to the editors at Backpacker Magazine who once again have created a must-have annual gear guide. This year, they review 621 packs, 483 boots, 363 tents, 480 sleeping bags and more. As a gearhead and ultralight backpacking hawk, it’s nice to have so much of what’s available out there listed in one place.
In my initial review of listings, I applied Bruce’s 2-15 rule (I will consider no tent over 2 pounds, 15 ounces) and came up with an astounding — compared to a few years ago — 80 tents that qualify.
If you apply the 2-15 rule to freestanding tents, which are those that require no stakes to hold them erect, there are only 13 of 363 tents that meet the rule. The reason for the rule: the lighter your base, the lighter your overall pack. You should keep your base (tent, pad, sleeping bag and pack) under 10 pounds.
Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.