The Fjallraven Abisko Shape 3 tent is much like other Scandinavian brand tents in many ways, with its tunnel style, external setup, and huge vestibule. What really surprised me was how light it was. Weighing in at 6lbs (with all the packing materials) this four season tent weighted less than some 3 season tents we have tested. How would the ultralight materials hold up to wind, rain, and snow at treeline in Colorado?
Enter the Abisko Line of 4 season tents
Fjallraven has been cranking out top-notch outdoor gear to the European market since 1960, so they have had some time to refine their gear. This Swedish manufacturer named the Abisko tent line (there are several tents in the lineup – Abisko Endurance 2, 3, and 4, Abisko Lite 1, 2 and 3, Abisko Dome 2 and 3, Abisko View 2 and the Abisko Shape 2 and 3) after a National Park in northern Sweden, 195km above the Arctic Circle. The Abisko line of tents all feature the same materials and are lighter than the Keb series of tents. Triple Ripstop 20D fabric that has been coated with 4 layers of silicon create an outer tent with 3000mm waterproof rating and a tear rating of 15kg. A 40D version of the same fabric is used for the bottom of the tent and 15D Ripstop for the inner tent. The use of these thinner materials allows the tents to be lighter than other tents of similar design. When I first unpacked the tent, I was in disbelief that this was a four season tent – with its thin materials and sub 6lb weight.
Thinner materials mean less weight.
The 20D and 40D materials and the use of DAC Featherlite poles (two 9mm and one 9.6mm pole) allow the Abisko tents to weigh less than other Scandinavian tents. Even though the tents weigh less, they did not skimp on standard features. The Abisko Shape 3 tent is still a fully functioning four season tunnel tent. There are zippered vents at the front and back of the tent, study pole sleeves with genius plastic caps at one end (this allows you to use the second set of poles to increase strength in harsher conditions. The stuff sack is well thought out with a clip to attach to the pole bag and compression straps to synch things done. There are even instructions written on the stuff sack. Bonus – Fjallraven includes pole and tent repair kits. The stakes (20 total) are very nice and have a reflective cord attached to them, making them visible in the dark and easy to pull out. You will want snow stakes for full-on winter camping though.
Setting the Askibo Shape up
Set up of any tunnel tent is fairly simple. Simply stake out the rear of the tent, slide the 3 color-coded poles in the corresponding pole sleeves, then stake out the front of the tent. This is one of my favorite setups as it allows you to pitch the tent in bad weather while keeping the inner tent dry. The inner tent is suspended from the outer tent and can be fully removed to create a large shelter. Headroom is not that great in the Shape tent, but it is not intended to. The shape of the Shape tent is lower profile than the Abisko Endurance line. This lower profile is beneficial for wind resistance and lowering weight. If you seek more headroom and space, go for the Endurance tents. The Absiko Shape 3 is 40″ (100cm) at peak height and tapers down to 31″ (80cm) in the rear. Width is 57″ (145cm) in the middle and 45″ (115cm) at the rear. The massive vestibule is 66″ (170cm) by 62″ (160cm) creating a lot of usable storage space!
Putting it to use at tree line
The conditions we camped in were the 30s during the day and upper teens at night. Freezing rain and a small amount of snow greeted us overnight. Condensation was not an issue in the tent, though the vestibule and outer tent were soaked. The inner tent is suspended kept this freezing water and ice from affecting our sleep. The vestibule is HUGE! It is nearly as large as the sleeping area. Plenty of room to store your gear, and probably someone else’s gear too!
Footprint for extra protection
We had the optional footprint set up during our test and found it very helpful for providing a dry area in the vestibule and extra protection from the rain and snow. Two great features of the footprint are 1) it covers the entire tent and vestibule 2) it can remain attached to the tent – so that you can set the entire tent up quickly. Additionally, you can keep the footprint attached AND still fit the entire tent, tent stakes, and repair kit in the provided stuff sack. Very impressive.
The Fjallraven Abisko Shape tent proved to be a very lightweight tent that was capable of withstanding some decently strong winds and rain – all while being very backpack friendly. Compared to other Nordic tents, this Abisko is a bit lighter (thanks to lighter fabrics) and stuffs up fairly small – making it a great choice for weight conscious backpackers, hunters, backcountry skiers and anyone looking for an easy to set up winter worthy tunnel tent. If you would like a bit more space, check out the Endurance tents. If you need more robust materials for the most extreme conditions – check out the Keb tents. The entire setup we tested weighed just at 7lbs and fit into the provided stuff sack.
What was tested in this review:
Fjallraven Abisko Shape 3 Tent MSRP $800 Weight 5.6lbs
Footprint MSRP $120 Weight 1.4lbs