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MSR Freelite 3

- published April 2017

89

2017

RATINGS

Shoulder Room
6
Packability
9
Setup
8
Weatherproofness
9
Features
7
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
89

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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$500.00
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THE GOOD

  • Lightest tent in set
  • Easy to set up
  • Wind resistant low profile

THE BAD

  • Most expensive tent in the test set
  • Second smallest floor space
  • Lowest peak
  • Sensitive floor

THE VERDICT

The MSR Freelite 3 is lightweight and packs down to the smallest of the tents in this test. The biggest drawback for the Freelite is its price tag. 

FULL REVIEW

Shoulder Room
The MSR Freelite has a high ridgeline, which keeps a consistently spacious amount of headroom. It has 39.5 square feet of interior floor space, which is close to the bottom of the test set, but it is a comfortable ratio of height and width. The lower parts of the walls are at a low angle, which cuts off shoulder room to the people sleeping on the outside. There is a large amount of ventilation on the body, which adds comfort. 

Packability
The packability of the MSR Freelite is unrivaled. In the minimum weight category, it is more than a pound lighter than the next, and if you look at the maximum / package weight, it’s almost a pound lighter. This tent packs down to a small cylinder, and the storage sack has a unique wide mouth for easy stowing. 

Setup
First time solo setup was 6:00 for our tester, which earned it high marks in this category. The aluminum poles are pre-connected, which speeds things up, but the fly can be hard to orient in the final stages of setup. The Freelite poles connect to the corners at small metal feet, which are more durable and fast than other feet. 

Weatherproofness
The Freelite has a relatively low profile, which helps it combat gusty conditions. The same sloped walls that hindered in the Shoulder Room category help here, as the shape of the profile is just as important as its height when it comes to shedding strong wind. It has well-positioned guy lines to help it through the worst of the windy conditions. The corners of the fly are also reinforced with extra fabric and stitching. 

Features
The MSR Freelite has two doors that are both the width of the tent, making entry and exit or vestibule access easy. The included stakes are compact and ultra light. There is also a double zipper on the fly which allows access from the top or bottom, so you can stick your head out to assess conditions without exposing the interior. 

Additional Product Specifications
Minimum Trail Weight: 2 lbs 5 oz

Max / Packaged Weight: 3 lbs 7 oz

Interior Floor Area: 39.5 sq ft

Vestibule Area: 17.5 sq ft

Peak Interior Height: 39 in

How We Tested It

The tents in this test were used throughout the spring of 2017, on multi-week mountaineering trips in the Pacific Northwest, along with additional testing in the central Sierra Nevada. The length and intensity of the trips allowed a close look at the performance of each tent, with a strong appreciation for the consequences of that performance. 

For more reviews beyond this 2017 test, check out our other tent tests, backpacking stove tests, and overnight backpack tests, along with other related hiking and camping gear tests

The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.

About the Author

Scott Morris

Scott Morris

Scott Morris guides backpacking expeditions and hiking trips for Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides throughout the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. He is a writer, traveler, and runner. Scott tests backpacking equipment. 

Shop for the MSR Freelite 3

MSRP
LOW PRICE

$500.00
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$500.00
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

RATINGS

Shoulder Room
6
Packability
9
Setup
8
Weatherproofness
9
Features
7
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
89

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