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MSR FreeLite Range

Posted by Andy Neil on May 16, 2024

FreeLite™ Ultralight Backpacking Tents

MSR has gone back to the drawing board with one of their market-leading tents, the MSR FreeLite. Originally released back in 2018 the updated FreeLite is lighter (226g lighter in fact), has more headroom (3 inches), and is overall a more enjoyable, liveable space to relax and take shelter in than its predecessor. For context, we are comparing the 2 person versions of the FreeLite, but the changes apply both to the 1 and 3-man versions of these tents.

More Liveable Space

It’s not until you see the 2018 tent next to the 2022 tent, that you fully appreciate how much more liveable space has been added to the tent. Only 3 inches of headroom have been added, but the high-sided wishbone tent pole creates a much steeper, and roomier area. The original tent had a fantastic space to “bed down”, but the New FreeLite is a great place to “hang out”. The steep mesh walls provide excellent ventilation and impressive vistas if you choose not to attach the rainfly, perfect for stargazing.

 

This more homely feel is accentuated by the interior pockets and overhead gear lofts, which not only provide lots of storage for head torches, power banks, sunglasses, etc. they also include Cable ports on all of the pockets for easy cord management. This all makes for a more liveable and organized camp.

DAC NFL Poles

MSR has moved away from the use of Easton Syclone poles on the FreeLite range in favour of the market-leading DAC NFL Poles. Super strong, lightweight aluminium tent poles, which have reduced the weight but not the stability of the poles by 95 grams.

Improved Ventilation

The inner of the 2018 FreeLite and the New FreeLite both use the same 10D nylon micromesh and 15D Ripstop Nylon 1200mm Durashield polyurethane material for the bathtub floor. However, the strategical placement of this Durashield and the predominant use of the micromesh in the high-sided mesh walls shaves off weight (109 grams), but also vastly improves the airflow through the tent, minimizing condensation.

Doors and Accessibility

The new no-curved doors on the inner of the tent not only shed weight but also make for more graceful entering and exiting of the tent. The two zips will always meet in the same place, so you will always know where they are. No more fiddling about and potentially disturbing your tent buddy in the night. The main reason for the move away from curved zips is for the longterm durability.

Lighter Flysheet

Both the 2018 and updated FreeLite use the same 15D ripstop nylon 1200mm Durashield polyurethane & silicone material, which provide excellent weather protection. Again this has been strategically used by MSR, cutting a large section away from the head end of the tent, which not only saves weight (70g) but improves airflow.

Extra Stability

By providing extra guying out points over its predecessor and having Velcro loops to fasten the flysheet to the wishbone pole structure, the tent performs much better in windy conditions.

 

Overall, it’s a big improvement on its predecessor and I would have no hesitation in recommending one if I was looking for a spacious, yet very light 3-season tent with nice liveable features.

  
Andy Neil
 

Andy has been a keen long-distance hiker and wild camping enthusiast since he completed the Cleveland Way in 2015. Since then, he has walked thousands of trail miles all over the UK and is an active member of the Wild Camping UK community, being an admin of the largest wild camping community on Facebook. He strongly advocates for responsible wild camping and believes it is important to leave no trace when camping in the wilderness. He joined the UOG team in 2021 and works as a website developer and content creator.

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MSR has gone back to the drawing board with one of their market-leading tents, the MSR FreeLite. Originally released back in 2018 the new 2022 FreeLite is lighter (226g lighter in fact), has more headroom (3 inches), and is overall a more enjoyable, liveable space to relax and take shelter in than its predecessor. For context, we are comparing the 2 person versions of the FreeLite, but the changes apply both to the 1 and 3-man versions of these tents.