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Gear Review

5 5

One of all time favorite pieces of gear

This is a great tent and a lot better than the specs might suggest. It doesn't come loaded with all the latest features and it isn't the lightest weight tent you can get. What it is is a well performing tent that is easy to use and live with. This tent feels like it was built by folks who spend a lot of time outdoors, not a bunch of folks who spend a lot of time in meetings discussing marketing.

Don't get me wrong, this tent is full of features. They just aren't the kind that make great ad copy. Take the color, for example. You may or may not like the bright (almost neon) orange color. But it serves a real purpose - it makes sitting out bad weather a lot less miserable experience. I find dark colored flys to be claustrophobic and depressing. The orange feels like you have lights on inside and it really picks up the mood. Plus, the color doesn't distort skin tones the way blue and green fly's do - who wants to share a tent with Frankenstein and Dracula.

The doors are another nice touch - you don't have to crawl out of the tent and stretch to reach the outer door zippers. I absolutely hate doing this with other tents because you have to use two hands - one placed on the ground for balance and the other to work the zipper. I don't know about you, but I don't want to climb half-way out of my tent and then place my hand on the cold wet ground just to zip the door of my tent. With the Oasis, the door zips are right there next to the tent body zippers - super easy.

Another cool thing about the door design is that you don't crawl into the tent, you step in and then just sit down. Tents with doors on the side require a gymnastic move that inevitably means you'll hit the roof on your way in and shake a bunch of condensation off the walls and onto your sleeping bag and tent partner. And speaking of condensation, I've had this tent Redwood NP, where it rained every day, all day, and on San Francisco's Angel Island with fog so thick you could only see a few feet in front of you - in each case, there was only a minimum amount of buildup.

The Oasis also feels more spacious than the 30 sq. ft might suggest because the area is concentrated around your head and shoulders. There is so much space up above your head it feels like you could stretch your arms up above your head. This thing feels huge. What's also neat is that the triangular shape of the floor plan means that, if you align your bag with the outer wall, you aren't facing your tent mate directly in the face - I don't want to wake up making lovey dovey eyes with a dude (not that their is anything wrong with that).

One more feature I'd like to call out is that the upper portion of the tent isn't all mesh. This provides some privacy if you ever have to camp in a crowded campsite and want to leave the rain fly off. However, if you scoot up near the front of the tent, you can still see out of the tent through the corner near the door where the solid wall angles down into the corner.

I obviously really like this tent, and highly recommend it to anyone really into backpacking and spending lots of time in the outdoors. If, however, you judge a tent by how little it weighs in hand (you won't notice the difference in your pack), or square footage you can't actually use, then this isn't your tent.