I bought the Mountain Hardwear Sprite solo tent when I realized I was facing a summer of 3rd wheeling it.  With each weekend adventure, my coupled friends’ enthusiasm for sharing their tent with me was dampening.  Affordable with a sleek design, the Sprite seemed like the perfect shelter for me. It was a real tent after all, not a Bivy sack! I may sleep alone, but I do have gear I’d like to keep dry, and a canine companion.

As it turns out, for my 5”3’ frame, the tent is just roomy enough. The clever design allows for a bit of interior storage space right near my head where water bottle, book and headlamp fit neatly, with a mesh wall pocket for smaller essentials. In its most basic form, the all-mesh tent is perfect for mosquito-free star gazing. With the (super bomber, PU-coated polyester) rain fly, steep, taut walls shed snow and keep the rain out, and a window lets in morning sun.

The 3lb, 7 ounce tent is not for the ultra-light, but it’s ideal for the ultra-convenient. Tent, rain fly, ground cloth and poles pack up neatly in a slim cylinder, and the extra weight is a small price to pay for the space: the design offers a 5-foot square vestibule that fits my pack, boots and a few extras.

Please, harbor no delusions that the Sprite can fit two, despite how cozy you may claim to want to be. Unless you sleep as a stack-able, this will not be possible. Even my pint sized corgi sleeps on my chest.

The tent’s one inevitable downside is that it’s not freestanding. Every corner must be staked out- the more stakes, the drier you’ll be.  This has been a pain on tent platforms and paved camp grounds. You can always rig it up with ties, rope, rocks, and tree branches, but I’ll admit to sleeping in the back of my Subaru on a few occasions rather than bother.  Ultimately, the Sprite performs. I love that feeling of self-sufficiency when I crawl into my own space every night. And my hiking companions, who get to sleep without an intruder in their tent? They’re pretty happy with the Sprite, too.

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