Bergans Compact Light 3P Review

July 5, 2013
Bergans Compact Light 3P
Shoulder room
Set up

The Good

  • Fast and easy set up
  • Large vestibule
  • Dry pitch, tent hangs from fly
  • Lots of head room

The Bad

  • Only one vestibule
  • Not free standing

The Compact LT is a classic tunnel tent, so called because of the long, squashed oval shape, that impressed us with its weather shedding, overall livability and easy set up. This is one of our top choices for backpacking, especially if you often travel in nasty weather.


Shoulder room
The shoulder room is a little cramped (62 inches wide) landing the Compact LT in line with the Obi—tight but doable for three men. Added livable space is created with the huge vestibule, which can swallow three big backpacks full of gear and adds serious dry space for hanging out.

As a testament to how much tent weight has fallen in recent years, the Compact’s 7.2 pounds sounds pudgy compared to the other lightweight abodes in this test. Still, it’s just over three pounds per person. And despite its heft, it packs down to a similar size to the other tents here with the help of an included compression sack.

Set up
We think non-free standing tents get a bad rap, at least tunnel designs. Yes, they take more coordination to set up, but with little practice we find them faster and easier than a free standing tent with separate fly and tent. With the tent hanging from hooks on the vestibule this two wall tent design is effectively a single-wall. Slip the three poles—two for the tent, one for the vestibule—inside the sleeves, stake out both ends and, boom, you’ve got yourself a home. Take down is easier and faster and the tent body is never exposed to the elements. The design fits well in narrow camping spots, but is quite long, at more than 13 feet.  Weatherproof The Compact’s basic design descends from a line that includes winter and expedition worthy tunnel tents, so no surprise the LT model can handle some solid abuse—40 mph winds and two inches of rain—without a problem. It even stood tall after a surprise snowstorm dumped four inches of slush. We think the Compact LT could do light four season work.

With the usual assortment of equipment pockets, clips for clotheslines and lots of guy out points, the key needs are hit. Despite little room between fly and tent, stifling air flow, condensation didn’t tend to be an issue thanks to vents on either end that allowed a good cross breeze. It’s not the easiest tent to get in and out of, with a 90 -degree turn required.

For the same price as the Skyledge, you get a tent that weighs almost twice as much but also has almost twice as much livable space. Personal preference will determine which is more valuable—space, or weight?


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