Hands-on Gear Review

Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 Review

The Mountain Hardwear Trango 2
Top Pick Award
Price:  $650 List | $536.05 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Strong, most spacious in our review, great pockets, easy to take down and set-up
Cons:  Heaviest, bulky, inner tent's door is a little funky and at times a pain to deal with, doesn't handle condensation well
Bottom line:  This tent has proven itself on countless expeditions around the globe, whether climbing Denali or base camping.
Editors' Rating:   
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Floor Dimensions (inches):  92" x 58 in.
Peak Height (inches):  41 in.
Measured Weight (tent, stakes, guylines, pole bag):  9.81 lbs
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear

Our Verdict

The Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 is one of the best double wall expedition dome tents we've tested. How do we know? We've used it for months at a time all over the world (Patagonia, Alaska, Aconcagua, Bolivia, Kilimanjaro, etc.). If you want a top-tier mountaineering tent for trips where a bombproof design and spacious interior dimensions take priority over low weight, our Top Pick for Expedition Use is hard to beat. It's also a pretty reasonable value. This is the go-to choice for many mountaineering guide services due to its solid performance and value. For extended expedition use, we love the Trango because it's easy to pitch in foul conditions and the extra space to hang out in for extended periods of time is a bonus. We also liked the Hilleberg Tarra and think it might be marginally more bomber, but it has significantly less interior floor space, lower ceilings, and a smaller vestibule while costing $400+ more.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Four Season Tents of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Ian Nicholson

Last Updated:
Tuesday
April 10, 2018

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The Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 is built for the long haul in some of the harshest environments. It has the most interior floor space, along with an enormous vestibule. It's built to withstand the most extreme conditions on the world highest and coldest mountains. It is the heaviest model we tested, but it's also the one we would pick if we knew we were going to be forced to spend a lot of time inside.

Performance Comparison


The Trango 2 is a super tough 4 season tent built for expedition use. Denali guide services like Mountain Trip use Trangos for 160-220 days on Denali before retiring them.
The Trango 2 is a super tough 4 season tent built for expedition use. Denali guide services like Mountain Trip use Trangos for 160-220 days on Denali before retiring them.

Ease of Set-Up


The Trango is one of the easiest models to pitch. The only double wall models that were easier were the Hilleberg Jannu and Hilleberg Tarra because they both set up from the outside of the tent.


The Trango 2's inner tent has two identical doors and a large zippered vent on one side of the ceiling. When pitching the fly, line up the inner tent's vent with the corresponding polyurethane window on the fly. You can put all the ends of the poles in their respective grommet holes and then quickly attach all the pole clips on the body.

The pole clips on the inner body of the Trango 2 are strong and facilitate a quick assembly when pitching it in high winds. Clipping from the bottom up helps protect the poles from bending or breaking.
The pole clips on the inner body of the Trango 2 are strong and facilitate a quick assembly when pitching it in high winds. Clipping from the bottom up helps protect the poles from bending or breaking.

If you start at the bottom and work up, the tent stays relatively well protected, even if pitching the tent in high winds. This is also one of its most significant advantages over its main competitor TNF Mountain 25, which uses poles sleeves. The Mountain 25's sleeves are incredibly strong, but if setting it up in high winds, you have to take a lot of care to ensure that the poles aren't bent or broken. The BD Fitzroy is also more challenging to set up than the Trango and its tough to keep snow out if its nuking. This is because you have to crawl inside the tent and attach all four poles to the inside.

There are several locations to attach the fly to the poles. We don't always use this feature  especially if camping at lower elevations or in more protected areas  but it significantly increases the Trango 2's storm worthiness.
There are several locations to attach the fly to the poles. We don't always use this feature, especially if camping at lower elevations or in more protected areas, but it significantly increases the Trango 2's storm worthiness.

The Trango also has several locations to attach the poles to both the fly and the body. While we don't use them when camping in more protected areas, we always clip the fly on very thoroughly when on multi-day adventures in harsh conditions.

Weather Resistance


This tent is solid and is easily one of the most weather resistant tents in our review; it has been tested in extreme conditions time and time again in many parts of the world. While The North Face Mountain 25 and VE-25 tents are quite popular, this tent still easily outnumbers them on nearly every big mountain in the world. It's quite possibly the world's most popular expedition tent.


We gave it 10 points out of 10 here because of its strong design, quality poles, bomber construction, excellent guyline points, and solid fly-to-pole connection method that only increases its strength. We think the Trango is very comparable in strength to the Black Diamond Fitzroy, Hilleberg Tarra, and TNF Mountain 25, but is stronger than all the other tents in our review, including our Editors' Choice the Hilleberg Jannu.

Livability


If we are forced to live in a tent for two or more weeks (which tester Ian Nicholson chooses to do constantly), there are pros and cons for both The North Face Mountain 25 and the Hilleberg Tarra. The Mountain 25 handles moisture better, while the Tarra features slightly nicer materials. However, because of the Trango's 40 square foot interior and spacious vestibule, it just barely edges these two tents out to be picked as being the most liveable tent in our review.


This model is tremendously spacious inside. It has an enormous amount of floor space of all the two-person winter tents we've tested (40 sq. ft.). Three people can squeeze inside the tent, and it's not even that cramped. There are three large pockets on each side and four in the ceiling, which all provide a decent amount of storage space.

The ceiling pockets are ideal when three people are in the tent because the middle person can claim the ceiling pockets and the people on the sides can use the side pockets. Many loops in the ceiling make it easy to rig up a custom clothesline. The large and newly improved hooped vestibule is great for cooking but also easily stores two full backpacks, leaving enough room for its occupants to sneak by.

The inside of the older Trango 2 with its amazing  large and supportive wall pockets. The newer one looks very similar sans orange striping.
The inside of the older Trango 2 with its amazing, large and supportive wall pockets. The newer one looks very similar sans orange striping.

Durability


This tent is super tough, but not quite the toughest. Its fly fabric has a polyurethane coating on the inside, which is marginally more susceptible to hydrolysis (chemical breakup) than silnylon.


We've found that silnylon (nylon coated with silicone on both sides) is stronger for its weight and more durable because it holds its water resistance longer and takes longer to break down from UV exposure. That said, companies like Mountain Trip, a longtime Denali guide service who retires their tents with plenty of life left in them, still gets 8-12 twenty-two day Denali expeditions out of each Trango. To say this tent isn't durable would be an understatement.

Weight/Packed Size


Weight is the biggest disadvantage of the Trango; for two people, it weighs a significant amount - 9 lbs 13 oz. It is heavier than its closest competitors, the Hilleberg Tarra (9 lbs 8 oz), TNF Mountain 25 (8 lbs 8 oz), or the similarly designed but single-walled BD Fitzroy (7 lbs 1 oz).


If you're not going to Alaska anytime soon and want something for climbs on Mt. Rainier, Shasta or other similar locations, you might be better off with something more lightweight and packable like the Hilleberg Jannu or Black Diamond Eldorado.

Versatility


This is one of the more versatile 4 season tents in our review. If you don't mind carrying the extra weight, it will perform better than most 4 season tents in warmer, wetter, three-season conditions.


That said, it is still just an okay 3 season tent and is way heavier than tents designed for that application. It collects more condensation than the Hilleberg Jannu or The North Face Mountain 25, but performed better than most of the other tents in our review regarding moisture management and use in wet, warmer, coastal climates. If you want a strong tent that you might use for three-season trips 30-40% of the time, we'd still recommend considering a different tent like the super versatile (but less bomber) Black Diamond Ahwahnee.

Sometimes there is "almost" no place to camp: here the Trango 2 is pitched in the best place possible along a narrow beach with flooding tides. The Trango is a versatile product that will perform better than most in warm  wet three season conditions and is a superb option for extended sea kayaking where  despite low elevation  it is common to have wind-exposed camping areas.
Sometimes there is "almost" no place to camp: here the Trango 2 is pitched in the best place possible along a narrow beach with flooding tides. The Trango is a versatile product that will perform better than most in warm, wet three season conditions and is a superb option for extended sea kayaking where, despite low elevation, it is common to have wind-exposed camping areas.

Best Applications


This contender has some big advantages and disadvantages. It excels on expeditions and expedition-style mountaineering where a little extra weight is well worth it for top-notch comfort and livability. It is decent for mountaineering in the lower 48, though it is a little on the heavy side. If you like this tent, but primarily see yourself climbing Mt. Rainier or Mt. Shasta in locations of that nature, then consider the Black Diamond Eldorado, or the sweet, but expensive Hilleberg Jannu. While the Jannu a little much for most lower 48 style climbing, it is perfect for expeditions in burly and remote locations like the Alaska Range, Himalaya or the Karakorum.

This tent's primary advantages over the TNF Mountain 25 are extra space and use of pole clips, making it easier to pitch and safer in high winds. Since the Mountain 25 is over a pound lighter, it is a slightly better all-around 4 season tent. For extended expedition use, we'd choose the Trango because of its ease of pitching in foul conditions. Thanks to its livability and space, it's just plain nice to hang out in for extended periods of time.

The Trango 2 might not be the best at any 4-season application  but because of its fantastic strength and livability  it's one of the best expedition models you can buy. Photo: Another Trango on Denali.
The Trango 2 might not be the best at any 4-season application, but because of its fantastic strength and livability, it's one of the best expedition models you can buy. Photo: Another Trango on Denali.

Value


The Trango 2 is straight up the heaviest and bulkiest 4 season tent in our review. But, for the weight, it's more spacious, livable, and is among the strongest and most versatile tents in our review. There are more expensive tents on the market, but the Trango certainly isn't cheap either ($650). It's less than many single wall tents that run around $700, like the Black Diamond Eldorado, and is a lot less than the $1100 Hilleberg Tarra.

Conclusion


If you are going to buy a tent for extended expeditions, there are several good options out there. The Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 is our Top Pick for these types of trips, though we also like The North Face Mountain 25, Black Diamond Fitzroy, or Hilleberg Tarra. We prefer this time-tested model, thanks to its spacious interior, huge vestibule, and ability to handle a wide range of conditions and climates. It provides easy set-up in stormy conditions and has an absolutely bomber design that has proven itself on countless expeditions around the globe.

Ian Nicholson

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Most recent review: April 10, 2018
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