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Mountain Hardwear EV2 Review

   

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  • Currently 3.5/5
Overall avg rating 3.5 of 5 based on 5 reviews. Most recent review: December 15, 2013
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Pros:  Strongest 2p single wall tent, most comfortable 2p single wall tent, pitches quick from outside
Cons:  Poor ventilation in calm conditions, heavier than ultralight bivy tents.
Best Uses:  High altitude mountaineering.
User Rating:     
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 (2.3 of 5) based on 4 reviews
Recommendations:  50% of reviewers (2/4) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ August 17, 2013  
Overview
The EV 2 was conceived of by Mountain Hardwear designers and Ed Viesturs, the first American to climb the world's fourteen 8000-meter peaks. This is our second highest rated single wall tent. It strikes a fine balance between low weight, superior strength, and above average comfort. This is a stellar expedition tent for bold winter pursuits, namely high altitude mountaineering. The EV 2's primary advantage over other single wall tents is its longer length and increased strength from a third pole. With the exception of low-lying vents that can collect spindrift, the tent performs very well in severe winter conditions. We recommend this only for use in below freezing temperatures.

Check out our complete Four Season Tent Review to compare all 24 tents 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.

Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >

  • Photos
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Performance Comparison
Ease of Setup
The EV2 uses three DAC Featherlite NSL poles that pitch from the outside with 38 locking and non-locking plastic clips. Pitching the tent from the outside is easy and quick. We prefer this design to tents that pitch from the inside because it's much easier in high winds and the interior remains drier. We give the EV 2 a 9 out of 10 points in this category.

The caveat is that the tent is designed for use on snow and is hard to tension properly when pitched on dirt. We find that it's best to tie the mid level side panels out at an angle that's close to horizontal. Use lots of cord on these points.

Weather Resistance
This is the strongest single wall tent we've tested. Like on the Mountain Hardwear Direkt 2 the EV 2 uses Dimension Polyant X-PAC TX07 fabric to reinforce all of the seams. This increases strength and lets light in, thereby reducing claustrophobia. The tent is bomber in high winds.

Like many expedition style mountaineers, Ed Veisters likes to establish a high camp and leave gear inside a tent, then sleep down low and return later. Similarly, he also likes to leave a tent pitched while he rockets off (read: slogs very slowly) on a summit attempt. On such occasions it's very important that a tent remain in place in the side of the mountain. If it doesn't a climber might die. This is what the EV 2 is designed for. It's super bomber.

Unfortunately, the tent's lower vents can let in a considerable amount of spindrift. For this reason we recommend pitching the tent with the rear end into the wind. When the wind changes direction, like it often does, we often rush to close the low vents to stymie the incoming spindrift.

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Mountain Hardwear EV2. Notice the burly 3 pole design with locking clips at pole intersections and reinforced translucent panels.
Credit: Max Neale
Livability
The EV2's integrated vestibule is a key feature that separates it from the competition. By incorporating the vestibule into the main tent body, the EV2 shaves off a few ounces and makes the interior much more spacious. Thirty-one square feet of floor space provide ample room for two people. The integrated vestibule also adds crucial length that makes the tent more comfortable for tall people and provides a space to store boots and other gear items. (The EV2 is 105 in. long and most other single wall tents are around 90 in. long)

So, too, is the tent reasonably tall. A near horizontal roofline allows two people to sit up and face each other. The EV2 feels much larger than other tents with the same floor area. Four pockets provide ample storage and a watertight port in the floor can be used to remove frozen condensation and snow. Two windows and the translucent TX07 panels let in a tremendous amount of light and allow you to check up on the weather. The EV2 is the cheeriest, most livable single wall tent we've tested. This is by far our favorite single wall tent for tall people.

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The Mountain Hardwear EV2 is one of the cheeriest single wall tent we've tested. The Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite, our Best Buy sleeping pad, is also pictured.
Credit: Max Neale
Durability
The EV 2 is super tough. We give it an 8 out of 10 in this category. It us much more durable than superlight tents like the Mountain Hardwear Direkt 2. Our comparative scoring includes double wall bombshelters that that are tougher than the EV 2 and take the 9 and 10 point scores in this category; The EV 2 is about as tough as single wall tents get.

Weight/Packed Size
A 2013 update to poles and fabrics reduced weight slightly. The tent now weighs 4 lb. 14 oz. without the stakes. This is very light considering the tent's abundant space and bomber weather protection.

Weight is generally the number one priority for climbers and it's becoming more common to use an even lighter and less durable tent for climbing exploits, particularly those done alpine style. For this reason, our testers much prefer the Mountain Hardwear Direkt 2 over the EV 2.

We find that a lot of people purchase a single wall climbing tent for backpacking but we do not recommend this. Instead, consider one of the tents found in our Backpacking Tent Review or, if saving weight is your top priority, even for winter ski trips, consider a model in our Ultralight Tent Review.

Adaptability
The tent is not adaptable, i.e. it must be pitched the same way every time.

Features
This tent is dialed in and has fantastic features. Some might complain about insufficient ventilation but we've found that when the tent is used in alpine conditions the "pumping" effect of wind hitting the tent serves to circulate air well. Condensation might only be a problem in still, calm conditions. Then, we suggest opening the door part way so moisture vapor from your breath can escape. The EV is not intended to be used in above freezing conditions.

Some other single wall tents are more versatile because they have a removable vestibule that can increase comfort (see Nemo Tenshi and Sierra Designs Convert, etc.). We find that feature to be useful in some situations, but for actually getting down to the business—the climbing—the vestibule is the first thing to be left at home.

Some other tents have points for you to tie into the wall and sleep in your harness inside the tent. If you're after a techy high-risk route that feature is likely worthwhile. See the Nemo Tenshi and Rab Latok Ultra.

Best Application
High altitude mountaineering.

Value
The tent performs very well at one activity and relatively poorly at all others. Due to its limited versatility we feel that other tents are a better value than the EV 2. However, if you're going after some seriously high peaks then this tent could be the bomb.

Conclusion
The strongest single wall tent for high altitude mountaineering.

Other Versions and Accessories
The larger Mountain Hardwear EV 3 fits a third person and has an additional pole that makes it even more bomber.

The EV 2 Footprint, $55, can be used with your tent to extend its longevity.

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: December 15, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (2.3)

50% of 4 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
5 Total Ratings
5 star: 20%  (1)
4 star: 20%  (1)
3 star: 20%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 40%  (2)
Sort 4 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Dec 15, 2013 - 11:11pm
fieldtestpro · Hiker · UK
I have just returned from my first trip with this tent to Scotland in the UK. The tent was used on several exposed hills at around 2000ft as well as some lower altitude / sheltered locations. I found this tent to be completely unsuitable for UK / European weather. We did not have particularly heavy or persistent rain on this trip, just the occasional shower now and again. However, due to the way this tent is designed and the materials used, it proved impossible to keep equipment dry, and by the end of the trip my down sleeping bag was completely saturated along with pretty much everything else. The tent provides no shelter whatsoever for cooking in snow or rain – attempting to do so inevitably leads to the sealed inner filling with water and/or snow (which will then melt).

If the vents are open, a considerable amount of cold wind can blow through the tent (making it far colder than even a cheap double walled tent). If the vents are closed, condensation build up is considerable to the point that pools of water formed from drips from the roof. The material may well be breathable, but, the performance is notably impaired once the outside of the tent is wet from rain etc; the build-up of condensation and pools of water inside the sleeping area accelerates.

I fully accept this tent may perform well at 8000m+, and as other reviewers have noted it has originally been designed specifically for this purpose. However, the purpose of my review is simply to comment on the fact that it is an exceptionally bad choice for any kind/season of camping in the UK and, I would expect, any climate in which rain is a possibility.
I have in the past used various other comparable geodesic/semi-geodesic tents, including a Hilleberg Jannu, Tarra and Savio, as well as a Terra Nova Quasar and a Force 10 Vortex 200 – all of which have performed significantly better.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jan 4, 2013 - 01:26am
Papa Hari · Sailor · Seattle, WA
My wife and I have the EV2 and use it for multi night winter ski touring in the Washington Cascades. I generally agree with the reviewer's opinions and share these comments:

Likes:

The gray panels under the poles are magical in that they are so translucent that they let starlight in. In the dead of night you can "see" inside the tent by the light coming in through the gray panels. In a fullish moon, the tent is almost too bright to sleep.

Great choice if you are tall. The tent is long enough for me (6'2"), my empty pack at my head, and my ski touring shells at my feet; all inside the tent.

The tent is easy to set up, even in the dark and in the wind.

Dislikes:

The interior pockets are too small. They are big enough for your headlamp but not much else. Winter nights are long (we recently spent 13 hours in the tent) and the pockets always seemed overflowing with stuff. The pockets would be more useful if twice the size.

The fabric is not breathable enough. After a cold, 5 deg. F, but calm night, with all the vents open, 3 on top, 2 lower, by morning the interior of the tent is covered with frost. Flip open your down bag and make contact with the tent walls and your sleeping bag is immediately wet. Tap the wall of the tent and the "snow" from the ceiling falls over everything inside the tent. After 2 or 3 nights this water build up becomes a significant winter hazard. Using the tent for a single night assault, or in a windy location (which might increase ventilation) may minimize this issue.

It is difficult to cook inside this tent. We have opened to front door a bit (for extra ventilation) and suspended the jetboil from the center ceiling loop, but in temps below 10 deg. F the jetboil is not very effective. Because the vestibule has a floor, it is not conducive to white gas stoves. In foul weather you will likely have to cook/melt snow outside.

Other:

The stuff sack that comes with the tent is way too large. Get one 75% of the size or cut down the original one.

The side panel tension taps (right under the "Hard Wear" logo) are much more effective at applying even wall tension if pulled out horizontally rather than down to the ground. Tie the cord to your ski, ski pole, or ice axe and the tent wall will behave a lot better than the review photos.

Bring 4 – 6 snow tent stakes; the kind with holes you can bury like a dead man. The tent stakes that come with the tent are fairly useless in the snow.

The waterproof floor zipper near the door is a good place to empty your pee bottle.

Overall: We like the tent because it is light, bright, feels "tough" and is easy to set up; thus the "Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend". We don't care for the excessive condensation and difficulty cooking inside; thus the 3/5 star rating.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 21, 2012 - 09:39pm
highcamp · Climber · Boulder, CO
First, no disrespect to the reviewer from SF, but this tent was never designed to be used in the rain. MH specifically targets and markets it as a "high altitude mountaineering" tent, where the air is typically extremely dry, even when snowing. Using a double wall as a comparison is apples and oranges, since the point of an assault tent is ultra-lightweight simplicity (and yes, a pound matters).

As for a review of the EV2, as a 6'4" guy, I really liked the fit of this tent. The BD tents are definitely lighter and have a smaller footprint for tight ledges, but for folks that need more length inside, the EV2 is tops. Whereas with the BD/Bibler tents the foot-box and hood of my sleeping bag are compressed (read, insulation isn't working when compressed), with the EV2 I can be stretched out. The added room inside makes everything easier inside - from cooking, to bringing gear inside, to waiting out storms. Breathability-wise, it's average to above average for a single wall. I've used it in the Himalayas and in the Rockies and in both instances frost covered the inside. That's a single wall for you. I do have to say the vents help out a lot, so use them when you can. In terms of strength, the tent is beefy and has held some serious wind. I agree with Supertopo's review that it is taunt in some places and a little slack in others, but when staked out (snow pouches or ice screws) it isn't as bad.

All around great assault tent.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 15, 2012 - 09:19am
matti · Backpacker · san francisco
After lots of research, i decided to dish out the cash and buy what sounded like a great tent. In wind and snow it behaved well, but on one night when it rained and when the wind was absent, the condensation was so bad that all my clothing and gear (inclding my sleeping bag!!!) were wet. i had to leave the tent to sleep in a friend`s. DO NOT BUY THIS TENT!!!!!! I could have spend less money for a 2 wall, adding a pound more, but staying dry. Once again, DO NOT BUY THIS TENT!!!!! I cannot trust to take this out on any hike since it might fail this utterly again. In cold weather I can`t trust a tent that gets my gear wet. I don´t know how they even allowed this to get out the door.
VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osNo0T1BCzA

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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Mountain Hardwear EV2
Credit: Mountain Hardwear
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