Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $349
Pros: Inexpensive, large gear loft.
Cons: Awkward rear entry, unnecessary partial vestibule floor, vents catch wind, weak stakes, flimsy guy points, vestibule attaches with grommet not clips.
Best Uses: Budget winter camping.
This tent was discontinued. If you want a good value winter tent see the REI Arete ASL 2.
Check out our complete Four Season Tent Review to compare all of the 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.
We've left the REI Mountain 2's review intact below in case you find one for cheap somewhere, just note that the review is outdated and no longer accurate.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The REI Mountain 2 is a budget tent for winter camping. It borrows design elements from the Mountain Hardwear Trango and other tents to form a five and a half pole structure. This is the greatest number of poles used in any of the four-season tents we've reviewed. The pole structure starts with two connected poles that cross from corner to corner. Then, two U-shaped poles cross over the front and rear. Finally, the fifth pole supports a 10.4 sq. ft. vestibule and a half pole lifts the fly to create an awning for two vents on either side of the peak. The pole structure is strong, but very heavy. Two doors make entry and exit easy and steep walls shed snow.
The Mountain 2 comes equipped with four generous pockets and the largest gear loft of any tent we've ever reviewed. Storage options are abundant. The tent also has a 44.5 inch peak height – the second highest of all four-season tents – which makes it easy and comfortable to stand up. A large PU window in the vestibule allows you to get a good view of what's going on outside. Door stuff pockets also allow you to quickly stash the door without rolling it up and clipping it, a trick borrowed from REI's three-season lineup.
While the Mountain 2 includes some excellent features like a large gear loft, it has many that are unnecessary and/or detrimental. First, the pole structure leaves the center portion of the walls completely unprotected. This is bad because the walls are steep and more like a sail than a torpedo. Without a pole in the center, they blow in and flap loudly in heavy winds. The top vent, which is supported by a short pole that runs perpendicular to the tent, also catches air and lifts the tent up in heavy winds. It's possible to remove the pole and let the vent hang loose, but this, too, flaps annoyingly. Similarly, the Mountain 2 has two nylon flaps that tie together to form a partial floor inside the vestibule. This is the only tent that has this feature. We think it's useless and detrimental; if we owned this tent we'd cut them off immediately.
Another drawback is the way the rain fly attaches to the inner tent: with grommets. These are much worse than clips because they're harder to install and come undone easily. Grommets only work when there's an upward force. When attaching the fly, or in strong winds, we found that the pole would come out of the grommet, thereby disconnecting the fly from the tent body. The Mountain 2 includes soft, cheap stakes, the kind you'd expect on a WalMart tent. We'd prefer to pay an additional $5 and get functional stakes.
Budget winter camping, basic mountaineering.
This is the cheapest four-season tent we've reviewed, but also the worst.
REI Arete ASL 2
REI Half Dome 2
REI Quarter Dome 2
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: August 18, 2013
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