Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 Review
Cons: Heavy, bulky, inner door is a little funky, doesn't handle condensation well
Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
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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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Ian Nicholson