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Application to test - REI Arete ASL tent - Ray Estrella

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  • Ray
    Please accept my application to test the REI Arete ASL tent. I have read the BackpackGearTest.org bylaws v. 0609 including, but not limited to, Chapter 5. I
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1 8:41 AM
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      Please accept my application to test the REI Arete ASL tent. I have read the BackpackGearTest.org bylaws v. 0609 including, but not limited to, Chapter 5. I agree to comply with and exceed all requirements.

      Tester Information
      Name: Raymond Estrella
      Age: 51
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6' 3" (193 cm)
      Weight: 220 lb (100 kg)
      Email address: rayestrella@...
      City: Moorhead
      State: Minnesota
      Country: USA
      Date: November 1, 2011

      Backpacking Background:

      I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave.

      Test plan

      I live in frigid northern Minnesota and spend about six months backpacking in snow. I always bring a 4-season tent on every trip. So if chosen to test the Arete it will see a lot of use backpacking, all of it on snow.

      Things I look at with a 4-season tent is 1; strength. Will it hold up to strong winds (we get heavy winds) and snow loads. 2; ease of set-up. Working in extreme cold with bulky clothes on is hard enough without fighting my tent. 3; usefulness of the design. Is it a livable, comfortable space? Is the venting scheme well thought out? Is the vestibule useful? Is it placed to protect the opening during bad weather?

      Conditions expected. I was just at 19 F while hiking this past weekend and the temps will only go down from here. During the test window I expect low temps to be from 10 F to -20 F, maybe even lower.

      We get snow from anytime now (we got a little but it melted back off) until April. I get out at for at least one multi-day trip a month, usually two. I just said that I would go to Voyageurs NP again (Canadian border) in the heart of winter, where we saw -31 F last January.

      I will use it for backpacking as a solo shelter, something I do with all 2P tents because of my size. My son (who got his first taste of snow camping last year) has told me that he wants to sleep in the snow a lot more this winter so he will test it with me, but it will not be on backpacking trips, just campouts. (It is too dangerous to take them out in winter here.)

      I have three tests in progress at this time. The drink mix is in LTR stage and the
      Spirit X multi tool and TEC pants are in FR stage.

      Here is a link to my tester page.


      I have one other application in at this time for the REI jacket. They would save on shipping by letting me test both. ;-) If having to choose between the two I would rather have the coat, but I will do whatever BGT needs help with the most of course.

      My involvement with BGT includes active duty as Editor, Test
      Monitor, and occasionally Mentor.

      I have completed a lot of test series.

      I have written around 150 Owner Reviews, one last week.

      My reports and reviews can be found at:


      Thank you for your consideration of me for this test,

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