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Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2 Review

Light, roomy, and versatile for modest four season conditions
Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2
Photo: Mountain Hardwear
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Price:  $600 List | $600.00 at REI
Pros:  Lots of headroom, long internal length, lightweight, versatile, easy to pitch, handles condensation well, water resistant
Cons:  Not strong enough for expedition use in the greater ranges
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 15, 2020
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 12
  • Weight - 27% 7
  • Weather/Storm Resistance - 25% 7
  • Livability - 18% 7
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 8
  • Durability - 10% 7
  • Versatility - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2 is a lighter-duty 4-season shelter for more modest 4-season type adventures. It sacrifices some strength for weight savings and isn't suitable for traditional expedition use. It's perfect for summertime mountaineering or multi-day ski tours in places like the Cascades, Tetons, Sierra, or the Canadian Rockies, where it's strong enough to endure modest storms, but isn't so heavy or cumbersome that it's overkill.

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Price $600 List
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Pros Lots of headroom, long internal length, lightweight, versatile, easy to pitch, handles condensation well, water resistantBomber, great durability, compact footprint, lighter than average weight, fantastic balance of strength, weight, and livability, ample guy pointsVersatile, lightweight, double wall design works far better in rain than single wall models, handles condensation well, big vestibules, easy to pitchInclued hooped vestibule, lightweight, excellent ventilation, good headroom, compressible, robustLightweight for a double wall tent, inexpensive, easy set-up, interior fabric handles condensation well, longer-than-average dimensions make this a better option for taller people
Cons Not strong enough for expedition use in the greater rangesPoor ventilation, slightly tricky setup, insufficient guy lines includedIsn't as strong as other 4-season models, offers a good but not excellent packed sizeExterior fabric isn't as breathable as other models and absorbed moisture, guylines are light dutyVestibule is tiny, fine for most four-season applications but one of the least bomber 3-pole designs in our review, only one door
Bottom Line Light, roomy, and versatile for modest four season conditionsAll-around uses are this model's forte, but it's still robust enough for when the weather turns gnarThe ski and summer mountaineering focused design perfect for almost any trip you can dream upIt's perfect for shorter trips, is versatile, and is packed full of featuresA solid 4-season shelter at an excellent price, great for summertime mountaineering or winter camping near treeline
Rating Categories Mountain Hardwear O... Black Diamond Eldorado MSR Access 2 The North Face Assa... REI Arete ASL 2
Weight (27%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Weather Storm Resistance (25%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Livability (18%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Ease Of Set Up (10%)
8.0
7.0
9.0
10.0
9.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Versatility (10%)
7.0
7.0
9.0
5.0
7.0
Specs Mountain Hardwear O... Black Diamond Eldorado MSR Access 2 The North Face Assa... REI Arete ASL 2
Minimum Weight (only tent, fly & poles) 4.8 lbs 4.5 lbs 3.80 lbs 3.24 lbs 5.31 lbs
Floor Dimensions 83" x 50 in 87" x 51 in 84 x 50 in 82" x 45 in 88" x 60 in
Peak Height 41.5 in 43 in 42 in 42 in 40 in
Measured Weight, with tent, stakes, guylines, pole bag 5.25 lbs 4.9 lbs 4.1 lbs 3.62 lbs 5.87 lbs
Type Double Wall Single Wall Double Wall Single Wall Double Wall
Packed Size 7" x 24 in 7" x 19 in 18 x 6 in 7" x 22 in 6" x 20 in
Floor Area 30.6 sq ft 31 sq ft 29 sq ft 27.3 sq ft 32.5 sq ft
Vestibule Area 13.1 sq ft 9 sq ft (optional) 17.5 sq ft 10 sq ft 9.1 sq ft
Number of Doors 2 1 2 1.5 1
Number of Poles 3 2 2 3 4
Pole Diameter 9 mm 8 mm 9.3 mm 9 mm 9 mm
Number of Pockets Side: 2 Ceiling: 1 Side: 4 Ceiling: 0 Side: 2 Ceiling: 0 Side: 2 Ceiling: 0 Side: 2 Ceiling: 0
Pole Material DAC Featherlight NSL Easton Aluminum 7075-E9 Easton Syclone DAC Featherlite aluminum DAC Featherlite NSL aluminum
Rainfly Fabric 30D Nylon Ripstop 2000mm 3 layer ToddTex 20D nylon ripstop 50D DryWall durable ripstop polyester Coated ripstop nylon
Floor Fabric 30D Nylon Ripstop 4,000mm Unknown 30D nylon ripstop 40D ripstop nylon, 3000 mm PU coating, silicone water-resistant finish Coated nylon taffeta

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Mountain Hardwear Outpost is a relatively light model geared towards summertime mountaineering, multi-day ski tours, and casual snow camping trips. It offers excellent headroom, but does sacrifice some strength for these attributes; as such, it isn't a shelter we'd want to use in fierce winds, heavy snow loads, or extreme conditions.

Performance Comparison


A light and relatively spacious 2-person shelter that hits the sweet...
A light and relatively spacious 2-person shelter that hits the sweet spot for a lot of people. Sturdy enough for modest 4-season use in places like the Cascades, Tetons, Canadian Rockies, and Colorado Rockies, but still light and versatile enough for 3-season backpacking or similar uses.
Photo: Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2, 4-season tent review

Weather/Storm Resistance


This tent provides modest strength. This strength is adequate for summertime mountaineering or shorter multi-day ski trips in the lower-48 or Southern Canada. It isn't strong enough for expedition use on peaks like Denali or Mt. Logan, nor is it a great basecamp tent for use in places like the Ruth Gorge or on higher peaks like Aconcagua.

This tent is solid enough for above treeline camping on summer...
This tent is solid enough for above treeline camping on summer mountaineering trips, spring ski tours, or below treeline snow camping but we certainly wouldn't want to take it to a place like the Alaska Range, Aconcagua, or Antarctica. It just isn't strong enough for anything but the most modest 4-season applications. This is, of course, the trade-off of the Outpost; its comfortable to hang out in with its high ceiling and it is relatively light but with its high peak height and very few guy points this shelter is only built for light-duty 4-season objectives.
Photo: Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2, 4-season tent review

It offers decent headroom, which makes it more susceptible to damage from higher winds. It also has fewer guy points than most similar-sized tents, and very few of the guyline attachment points were very high, minimizing their effectiveness.

The Outpost's features twin vents that can be vaulted open to...
The Outpost's features twin vents that can be vaulted open to increase airflow. Best of all this feature can be set-up or taken down from the inside. While small we felt these vents could manage a pretty reasonable amount of moisture and helped make this tent more suitable than most for 3-season applications.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

The Outpost is mediocre at dealing with heavier snow loads and is truly a softer 4-season design. It's effective at keeping its occupants dry in the pouring rain, but if it snows more than six inches and there are significant winds, you'll want to frequently knock off access snow. It will also be beneficial to spend extra time ensuring the guylines are taught.

Despite not being a "hooped" (or vestibule supported by a pole) this...
Despite not being a "hooped" (or vestibule supported by a pole) this model's vestibule was large and could easily fit two full-sized packs inside with just enough room to crawl past. When reasonable, you can leave the internal door open and the vestibule closed, making the tent "feel" much bigger.
Photo: Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2, 4-season tent review

Livability


While the Outpost isn't one of the stronger 4-season models, it does offer nice headroom. With a 42" peak internal ceiling, it's unique in that it keeps its peak height for the majority of its length.

With nearly 31 square feet of interior space, this model "feels"...
With nearly 31 square feet of interior space, this model "feels" bigger than that because of its longer length high ceiling and twin doors. Here are two full-sized Therm-a-Rest pads for scale.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

We felt the livability was a major advantage over the MSR Access 2, which is slightly lighter but far less roomy feeling.

Despite being one of the "lighter" double-wall four-season tents in...
Despite being one of the "lighter" double-wall four-season tents in our review, we liked that it featured two doors. Its second door is much smaller, with its vestibule just big enough for boots.
Photo: Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2, 4-season tent review

The Outpost 2 is one of the more comfortable models to hang out in. Its peak height traverses the length of the tent, making it feel roomier than its dimensions might lead you to believe.

The Outpost uses color coded poles to make it easier to identify...
The Outpost uses color coded poles to make it easier to identify which pole is which as well as where they go.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

Ease of Set-up


The Outpost uses a combination of sleeves and pole clips. Its two cross-length poles have to be inserted in a specific direction so the third pole can clip to a junction point with a snap/clip for strength. There's a slight learning curve in making sure the cross-length poles are inserted in a specific direction, but overall, it was pretty straightforward.

Similar to other models from Mountain Hardwear and The North Face...
Similar to other models from Mountain Hardwear and The North Face, the Outpost uses a cool two-part hub system that securely clips onto the clear plastic hub in the photo.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

On the other side of the hub is where it locks the second pole in...
On the other side of the hub is where it locks the second pole in place, making sure it can slide in either direction. This is done by slotting the black piece of plastic that separates the red and blue poles into the middle of the clear plastic hub. The black plastic flap on the hub then closes the system, securely locking everything into place.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

Durability


The Outpost is respectably durable, offering a coating that helps its fly stand up to the alpine sun. It also has a floor that is thick enough to resist puncturing.

Besides the six points where the fly attaches to the body and the...
Besides the six points where the fly attaches to the body and the three total points to stake out the two vestibules, there are two additional big adjustable lopos that give the user more options to lash the tent down.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

Versatility


The Outpost is extremely versatile and can be used for most backcountry trips. It's ideal for lighter duty 4-season trips, such as summertime mountaineering in the Cascades, Tetons, Sierra, or the Canadian Rockies (or other similar ranges). It performs well for summertime mountaineering objectives, and is light and comfortable enough for most 3-season backpacking trips — a combination that many outdoor enthusiasts are looking for.

In reality, the Outpost works great for the types of trips most...
In reality, the Outpost works great for the types of trips most people do. This tent is great for summer alpine climbing in the lower-48 and Southern Canada as well as for spring ski tours. It has enough ventilation and is light enough to totally take on three-season backpacking trips. These are the types of trips that most people are looking at 4-season shelters for. It is NOT a good expedition tent where it could be exposed to strong winds or heavy snow loads.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

We like how compact and light it is, and enjoyed using it on multi-day ski tours. It's okay for casual snow camping, but it isn't strong enough that we'd want to endure a true midwinter storm in a place exposed to higher winds or deeper drifts. It also isn't strong enough to use on higher peaks such as Denali or Mt. Logan, nor would it be our first choice for use even as a base camp tent while trying to climb the lower peaks in Alaska.

For this tent being on the lighter side, we were impressed by how...
For this tent being on the lighter side, we were impressed by how large its front vestibule is.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

This model is in line with several other lighter-duty double-wall...
This model is in line with several other lighter-duty double-wall 4-season shelters, though it is less expensive than heavier duty expedition focused models. It doesn't offer anything exceptional as far as strength goes but it is spacious, has long dimensions, and is a good option for taller folks.
Photo: Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2, 4-season tent review

Value


The Outpost is on par with similar lighter-duty 4-season tents. Its versatility for use across three and four seasons applications adds to its value, and its price reflects that.

Perfect for modest 4-season adventures, the Outpost is a versatile...
Perfect for modest 4-season adventures, the Outpost is a versatile option the works well across a range of climates. It also provides a spacious interior and reasonable weight. It isn't quite expedition worthy but it is also a lot lighter and more compact than shelters designed for the extreme.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

Conclusion


Perfect for modest four season adventures, the Outpost is lightweight and worthy of above treeline camps, as long as conditions aren't too burly. It gives up some strength for improved weight and packed size, and has a taller internal height with lots of headroom across the length of the tent. It has the ability to cross over for use on backpacking trips and is a roommy four season shelter.

Ian Nicholson

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