Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Waterproof-breathable fabric, good ventilation, only single wall tent with vestibule.
Cons: Vents catch wind, pole design is not as strong or as durable as other single wall tents.
Best Uses: Alpine climbing, ski touring.
The Marmot Alpinist 2 is a good quality and versatile single wall tent. The DAC Featherlite NSL Green poles and a strong three-layer ePTFE membrane fabric are high quality. As is the construction and some features. The shelter has average ventilation, a small vestibule, a spacious interior, and two functional pockets.
Though it excels in creating a comfortable space, we feel the Alpinist lacks strength and durability found in many other single wall tents. Guy points along the corners, stronger pole clips, and ditching the awnings would make the tent significantly more storm-worthy. Our favorite single wall tents are the Mountain Hardwear Direkt 2 and Nemo Tenshi.
Check out our complete Four Season Tent Review to compare all of the 24 models tested.Also consider a floorless tent—our testers’ favorite type of shelter for 99% of fast and light trips—found in our Ultralight Tent Review.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Marmot Alpinist 2 is a well-rounded and versatile tent. Unlike most other single walled shelters, the Alpinist has a small vestibule (8 sq. ft.) that covers a pack and makes entry and exit more comfortable. The pole structure is similar to the Black Diamond Ahwahnee in that two poles cross corner-to-corner and a third half-length pole supports two ventilated awnings and serves to steepen the walls. This makes the tent more spacious and more comfortable to spend time in.
The Alpinist has two mesh pockets that hang down just below the two vents. This design is better than laminating the pockets to the wall (like many other single wall tents do) because it provides more support. The only downside to this design is you cant roll over in bed and reach the pocket; you have to sit up, at least partially. Overall, the pockets are better than those of most other single wall tents weve tested.
The Alpinists door is also unique in its construction because it has a partial mesh panel at the bottom that allows cool air to flow in from the bottom, forcing hot air out the top vents. This works well.
The Alpinists most similar competitor is the Black Diamond Ahwahnee. We prefer the Alpinist primarily because its pole pitch from the outside, making setup easier and faster, and youre also less likely to get snow or rain in the tent. The poles are better (DAC Featherlite NSL Green) and stronger, too. The fabrics are roughly equal, but the inclusion of a vestibule and significantly lower weight (by 23 ounces!) make the Alpinist a better shelter for light and fast missions. The Alpinist however is not as good for base camping (theres only one door).
The Alpinist 2 is $100 cheaper than similar single-walled shelters. This lower price, however, has tradeoffs (see below).
While the Alpinist 2 is well rounded and well made, it occupies an odd niche in the four-season tent market. Its neither as strong nor as light as other single wall tents, but it is more versatile and more comfortable. Is the added comfort worth it? We think not.
Although the poles are high quality, the plastic clips that attach to them are not. Marmot uses a U-shaped clip that attaches to the pole in two places. This is the same clip thats used on their budget three-season Marmot Limelight 2 tent. We believe the Alpinist deserves stronger clips that alternate, left, right, left, right.
Another area of concern is the webbing strap that guys out the four corners. These attach to the poles with a thin metal ring and extend a foot or so to the ground. No other tent weve reviewed uses this design and were not impressed. While it didnt break during our test period we believe its considerably weaker and less durable than traditional grommets and the far superior partial pole sleeves used on the Hilleberg Tarra and Jannu. The tent guys out with reinforced points in the center of both walls and the rear wall, but not along the poles. This is a serious oversight because strong winds will put all of the force directly on the walls, not the pole structure. The points that exist are good, but adding one to each corner would make the tent much stronger.
The combination of larger awnings, flimsy webbing corner guy points, and a lack of guy points higher up on the pole structure reduce the Alpinist 2 from a top quality tent to a less than bomber, but still versatile and well made shelter. We prefer other single wall shelters, namely the Mountain Hardwear EV 2 and Black Diamond Firstlight.
Alpine climbing, ski touring.
— Max Neale
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Most recent review: November 23, 2013
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