MSR has been busy innovating all kinds of new gear porn lately, from stoves to water filters to tents. The DragonTail tent is their single-wall hoop-style expedition solution for two people, svelte both in packed volume and in packaged weight at 5lb 5oz.
It folds up into a nicely-designed rope bag style pouch with two cinching buckles and a drawstring (with a grommet that will tear out almost immediately, but you can live without it), and the bag even has the pitching instructions sewn into it. Pitching is simple with just three equal poles; just find the capped end, slide it through the open side of the sleeve until it seats in the sewn end, and fit the free end in the grommet. Although the hoop design won’t deflect wind and snow quite as well as a low-profile dome, the 18 guy points give you plenty of options to stake it out and tie it down.
The upside of the hoop design is the cavernous interior that easily sleeps two tall people. There are plastic d-rings at each corner in the ceiling to clip stuff to, storage pockets on either side at the head and overhead is a truly cool feature: a mesh panel creating a wind tunnel from end to end. Zippers at each end on the inside let you adjust the openings or use it as a gear loft for your skanky socks. It’s a clever solution to the condensation problem that can bedevil single-wall designs.
There’s just the one door, but the tent proper opens all the way to the integrated vestibule (no separate piece to buy!) so you can skootch through without too much fuss. The vestibule zipper is waterproofed, the seams are taped and there are other nice touches like reflective guy cords and poles anodized without the use of harsh chemicals. Overall the DragonTail is a highly livable design that travels well in the mountains.