Helter Shelter

Publish date:
Updated on
Outfitter, April 2005

Different situations demand different digs, so we tested three types: bivy sacks, ultralight shelters, and four-season tents.

Check out the slideshow below for the results.

Going for a long tour, but not necessarily planning on a night under the stars? Pack a lightweight, waterproof-breathable bivy.

For overnights, augment your bivy with a tepee-style ultralight. With just a single pole and no floors, it's surprisingly stormproof—and can be pitched on uneven terrain. But if you're expecting foul weather, high winds, or an exposed campsite, you'll want the security and comfort of a four-season tent. Heavier and sturdier than three-season versions, it'll generally have a spacious vestibule, steep snow- and wind-shedding sidewalls, and, thanks to additional poles, stout structural integrity.