North Face VE-25 – A Tent by Any Other Name

I’ve had my old, but durable REI standard for about 12
years now, and while I still love it and will probably use it until the seams unstitch, I am keeping my eyes open for
something new, durable, light and that will handle the elements. Way back when, I was hiking in Chile with a buddy and
the winds one night came so hard and mean that we nearly got blown off the mountain where we slept. Part of the problem
was that the tent didn’t have much aerodynamic form, nor was it really designed for harsh conditions (not to mention
we’d chosen a lousy place to camp). Not that you need to consider how you might pitch camp on the wing of a 747,
but it is always good to consider the worst situation you might be in when camping. So, looking around for something,
I turned to Consumer Reports
and found some sweet recommendations for both the high-end adventurer and the thrifty weekend outdoorsman. First, the

North Face VE-25
wins a lot of plaudits as a great, durable extreme conditions tent.  But at $500 it
isn’t too cheap. However, if you want to go cheap, you probably can’t go wrong with the

REI Half Dome 2
. As always, it depends on how much you want to spend. Either way, I looked around a bit and these
two tents consistently came out as winners.