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Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 Review

Proven on countless expeditions around the globe, whether climbing Denali, Mt. Everest, or being used as a base camp
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $700 List | $700.00 at REI
Pros:  Strong, spacious, great pockets, easy to take down and set-up
Cons:  Heavy, bulky, inner door is a little funky, doesn't handle condensation well
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 15, 2020
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 12
  • Weight - 27% 2
  • Weather/Storm Resistance - 25% 9
  • Livability - 18% 9
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 9
  • Durability - 10% 8
  • Versatility - 10% 6

Our Verdict

From Antarctica to Mt. Everest, the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 has been used on remote expeditions the world over and taken to the ends of the earth. More at home in the world's most extreme environments, it's overkill for summertime mountaineering, but a bit too heavy for multi-day ski touring. 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.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 is built for long trips in the harshest of environments. It has a great deal of interior floor space, and an enormous vestibule. The vestibule was recently made even bigger, making it ideal for spending time with another person, or storing large amounts of gear. This combination of factors makes it an excellent choice for mountaineering guide services, thanks to its solid performance and value.

Performance Comparison


Continuing to improve the lastest Trango 2 is built with expeditions  long term living  and some of the world's fiercest weather in mind. A little heavy for weekend trips in your local mountain range but perfect for extended trips where strength and livability superseed weight in level of importance.
Continuing to improve the lastest Trango 2 is built with expeditions, long term living, and some of the world's fiercest weather in mind. A little heavy for weekend trips in your local mountain range but perfect for extended trips where strength and livability superseed weight in level of importance.

Mountain Hardwear has recently updated its tried and true expedition shelter. They significantly upgraded the materials, making them lighter and more fire-resistant, while also making the doors larger. They've also increased the vestibule size while dropping the weight. This basically makes the world's most popular expedition tent even better. How do we know? We've used it for months at a time all over the world in Patagonia, Alaska, Aconcagua, Bolivia, Nepal, and Kilimanjaro.

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 fly is also permanently attached to the body, and doesn't require you to toss the fly over the tent and clip it down like most tents.


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.

This model pitches with five poles  with four for the body and one for the vestibule. The poles are nicely color-coded for easy identification and match their corresponding clips.
This model pitches with five poles, with four for the body and one for the vestibule. The poles are nicely color-coded for easy identification and match their corresponding clips.

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.

One of our favorite design aspects of the Trango's clip-up design is it protects the poles more effectively if pitching the tent in windy conditions
One of our favorite design aspects of the Trango's clip-up design is it protects the poles more effectively if pitching the tent in windy conditions,

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. It's relatively easy and quicke to pitch, regardless of conditions.

These clips don't spread out the force quite as effectively as a pole sleeve but are still very strong and this difference is minor. On the plus side  all of the clips completely close  meaning a pole won't come unclipped even in the middle of a rowdy storm.
These clips don't spread out the force quite as effectively as a pole sleeve but are still very strong and this difference is minor. On the plus side, all of the clips completely close, meaning a pole won't come unclipped even in the middle of a rowdy storm.

Weather Resistance


This tent is rock solid and incredibly weather resistant in the most extreme conditions. While The North Face Mountain 25 is popular, the Trango easily outnumbers The North Face model on nearly every large mountain in the world.

This fly is covered in reinforced guyline points  giving you plenty of options and opportunities to secure it in preparation for an incoming storm. The middle three guy points are pre-equalized to help further strengthen it and it has a slick  low profile design.
This fly is covered in reinforced guyline points, giving you plenty of options and opportunities to secure it in preparation for an incoming storm. The middle three guy points are pre-equalized to help further strengthen it and it has a slick, low profile design.

There are no-doubt a few reasons for this, including livability and ease-of-pitching, but likely the biggest reason is its stormworthiness and ability to shed heavy snow and resist strong wind. Heck, it's even good in the pouring rain of Patagonia or the coast of British Columbia where you can pitch it in a puddle and remaind dry.


It has a strong design, quality poles, bomber construction, excellent guyline points, and a solid fly-to-pole connection method that only increases its strength.

One of the biggest changes to the current Trango 2 is its large hooped vestibule. This space easily fits two packs while still having just enough room for a person to squeeze past them.
One of the biggest changes to the current Trango 2 is its large hooped vestibule. This space easily fits two packs while still having just enough room for a person to squeeze past them.

Livability


If we are forced to live in a tent for two or more weeks (which tester Ian Nicholson chooses to do constantly), the Trango's 40 square foot interior and spacious vestibule make this tent incredibly liveable.


This model is tremendously spacious inside, and it has an enormous amount of floor space. Three people can squeeze inside, 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.

With 40 square feet of interior space  this is the biggest two-person tent in our review. Heck  it is so big you can squeeze three people in with three full-sized Therm-a-Rest pads - just barely fitting without overlapping. This makes it ideal for extended trips or for cold weather expeditions where its occupants are likely to have bulkier sleeping bags and jackets.
With 40 square feet of interior space, this is the biggest two-person tent in our review. Heck, it is so big you can squeeze three people in with three full-sized Therm-a-Rest pads - just barely fitting without overlapping. This makes it ideal for extended trips or for cold weather expeditions where its occupants are likely to have bulkier sleeping bags and jackets.

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 Trango is covered with internal pockets. Both of the lnger walls are covered with several deep mesh pockets  which help you stay organized on extended trips. One of our favorite pockets is its twin roof pockets  which are an extra easy place to keep frequently wanted items close at hand.
The Trango is covered with internal pockets. Both of the lnger walls are covered with several deep mesh pockets, which help you stay organized on extended trips. One of our favorite pockets is its twin roof pockets, which are an extra easy place to keep frequently wanted items close at hand.

One thing to note is it doesn't have a particularly high ceiling, which allows it to function in high winds. While it hardly feels cramped, the ceiling is a bit lower than comparable models. If you're six feet tall, you'll be able to sit up no problem; if you are taller than six feet, you can sit up in the very middle and will have to slouch if you're facing your buddy and playing cards.

The fly attaches to the body via heavy  albeit very secure plastic buckles and metal rings as seen here.
The fly attaches to the body via heavy, albeit very secure plastic buckles and metal rings as seen here.

Durability


The Trango is super tough. Its fly fabric has a polyurethane coating on the inside, which is more susceptible to hydrolysis than silnylon. It's also not quite as puncture resistant as the ePTFE Todd-tex models from Black Diamond, like the El Dorado.


We've found that silnylon (nylon coated with silicone on both sides) is stronger for its weight (Like the Hilleberg Tarra and Jannu) and more durable since 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.

This model is unquestionably built for expedition use where your shelter is an integral part of your lifeline. It's built with longevity and durability in mind. The vestibule zipper is protected by a plastic buckle to keep it from getting blown open in the wind  where it could potentially become a sail or risk filling the interior with snow.
This model is unquestionably built for expedition use where your shelter is an integral part of your lifeline. It's built with longevity and durability in mind. The vestibule zipper is protected by a plastic buckle to keep it from getting blown open in the wind, where it could potentially become a sail or risk filling the interior with snow.

Weight/Packed Size


Weight is the biggest disadvantage of the Trango; for two people, it weighs a significant amount - nine pounds, 10 ounces.


If you're not going to Alaska anytime soon and want something for routes on Mt. Rainier, Shasta, or other similar locations, we'd recommend looking for something that's lighter weight or more packable.

At 9 lbs 10 ounces  this is one of the heaviest 2-person tents in our review. Its worth its weight on expeditions where its strength and interior room are critical.
At 9 lbs 10 ounces, this is one of the heaviest 2-person tents in our review. Its worth its weight on expeditions where its strength and interior room are critical.

Versatility


If you don't mind the weight, this is one of the more versatile four season tents in our review. It performs better than most four season tents in warmer, wetter, three-season conditions; however, it's 2-3 times the weight of your average 3-season backpacking tent and 2-3 times the packed volume.


This model is 100% geared towards expeditions to the world's most extreme environments.
This model is 100% geared towards expeditions to the world's most extreme environments.

Value


The Trango will cost you a pretty penny. For folks truly embarking on longer trips to remote regions, this model is easily worth the cost, even though it's one of the heavier and less packable models.

This model is our choice for the best expedition tent. Time tested over-and-over again in some of the harshest conditions in the world  you can take this shelter anywhere.
This model is our choice for the best expedition tent. Time tested over-and-over again in some of the harshest conditions in the world, you can take this shelter anywhere.

Conclusion


There are several good options to choose from when searching for the best expedition tent. After extensive group deliberation, we settled on the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 as our Top Pick for Expeditions. It has spacious interior floor dimensions, easy set-up, a huge vestibule, a bombproof design, and the ability to handle a wind range of conditions.

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 certainly on the heavy side. The Trango'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's 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 bottom line is the Trango is perfect for expeditions but overkill for most mountainous trips in the lower-48 or Southern Canada.

This tent is hardly cheap but is 1000% worth the money for extreme trips.
This tent is hardly cheap but is 1000% worth the money for extreme trips.

Ian Nicholson