The Arete 2 is a small, and lightweight 2-person tent, based on a single, extendable pole in a T shape, with the cross bar giving some structure at the door end. It needs to be pitched inner first, with the outer stretched over the pole structure to get it to full rigidity, as some of the pegging points feature on the outer only. This means you can use the inner only in dryer climates for bug protection, but you risk getting the inner wet putting it up in sometimes less than ideal UK conditions.
It has an easy to open, O-shaped inner door and 3 small pockets inside. The porch works well and has 2 way zips, and so you can – with care – cook inside while venting steam and reducing the risk of gas build up. The weight sounds fairly miraculous for 2 at 1.35kg, but it would be very cosy for two inside, especially in bad weather. There’s a tradeoff for those lightweight Yuan Eco alloy poles. Strong but thin, they tend to bend, not break! As you can see from the image, it served me well enough at altitude, but the tail of the T (generally in these shelters, you sleep with head to the door) can and does get caught by crosswinds. During my test run in some gusty weather at 800ms, the guylines also slipped and needed fully tying off. The shelter is secure and the fabric and components well-made and tough, and I was not concerned for safety, but it does move around in higher winds.
To my mind, the impressive weight, small pack size and inner first design mean that this is ideally suited for lower level excursions. It would make an excellent bikepacking shelter.
► Verdict: Light but small inner first tent – excellent for bike-camping.
► Best for: 2-3 season conditions with less wind and rain.
Review by David Lintern @