The Eureka Solitaire 1-person tent is the perfect tent for a MicroAdventurer who wants a little more protection from the elements (or the mosquitos) than just a tarp can provide, while sacrificing very little in terms of weight or space. This little tent easily packs up into a bag 4 inches across and 17.5 inches long – small enough to fit in carry-on luggage or your frame pack easily. And at 2 pounds, 9 ounces it probably weighs less than your pack.
I’ve spent up to a week in this tent in the Idaho backcountry, and never felt that I needed more room. I’m 5’6″ tall, and found that I was able to fit comfortably on a full-sized Thermarest with my winter-weight sleeping bag, and still have room to slide my pack in the door after me and zip it inside the tent. There was even one overnight trip that involved a series of cascading mishaps until I ended up sharing this tent with a similarly-sized hiking partner. There wasn’t room for our bags, and I’m not going to claim it was comfortable, but we did both stay warm and dry and even managed to sleep through the night.
Setup is quick and easy – just two poles and a couple of stakes. Note that this is not like a bivvy sack and it does require stakes to stay upright. After my first trip to the desert with it, I upgraded to more sturdy stakes. I found that the flimsy ones it comes with weren’t up for taking on the rocky desert floor. The poles have lasted like champs and the tent fabric is in good shape after much use. I reseal the seams each year with some seam sealant and have never had any leaks.
The rain fly is integrated, so you can’t take it off completely, but you can roll it back for stargazing. Note that mine is an older version without the zipper along the top of the netting. I can see how this would be useful for sitting up and getting organized in the tent, but I’ve also never felt like I needed it.
In terms of pushing your boundaries as a MicroAdventurer, I found this tent to be the perfect transition for me. I felt safe and comfortable in giant car-camping tents, and I wanted to be able to go completely lightweight, with no tent at all. This tent gave me enough protection from bugs and wind and the scary things I used to imagine in the night that I could feel comfortable enough to sleep. The next more minimal step down from here is to a regular bivvy sack, or even just throwing your sleeping bag out on the ground. But if you aren’t ready for that yet, then I highly recommend the Eureka Solitaire, which has served me well for years.