Hands-on Gear Review
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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.
Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
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.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The tent is not adaptable, i.e. it must be pitched the same way every time.
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.
High altitude mountaineering.
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.
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
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