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Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Review

The great design and feature set create a comfortable, inexpensive tent, with only drawbacks in weight and material quality.
Mountainsmith Morrison 2
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Price:  $180 List | $142.91 at Amazon
Pros:  Easy to set-up, lots of features, looks good, roomy and excellent value
Cons:  Heavy, low quality poles and stakes, low vestibule doors
Manufacturer:   Mountiansmith
By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 16, 2017
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 20
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 6
  • Durability - 10% 7
  • Weight - 25% 4
  • Packed Size - 10% 3

The Skinny

Anyone looking to save some cash and still get a great tent should take a hard look at the Morrison 2. It has handsome looks, but the real pleasures are found in its comfort and design. A cinch to setup, our testers enjoyed passing time inside these spacious quarters when weather kept them put. With all of its great features, it retails for only $180, making it a great deal. With the low price tag comes some disadvantages, including inferior stakes, poles, and fabrics. This tent has a lot of features, but that does create extra weight, such as the double zip doors with mesh and nylon panels that zip almost all the way off. All of the Morrison's features make this a great tent for car camping, paddling trips, and occasional short backpacking trips.

Our review features multiple budget tents that give the Morrison direct competition. For $20 more, you can save over one and a half pounds of pack weight with the Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2, one of our Best Buy Award winners. Another great option in this price range is the Marmot Catalyst 2, which features more durability but less floor space than the Morrison for $10 less.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Mountainsmith Morrison 2 looks good with its stealthy gray and green color. It has a lot of features, comfortable livability, and a low price tag, but it is not a very lightweight tent for carrying on your back.

Performance Comparison


Packing up and moving on after a sub-freezing night in the Cordillera Huayhuash in Peru. The Morrison held up well during this 5-night backpacking trip through the Andes  although a 4 season tent would have been warmer during the frigid nights.
Packing up and moving on after a sub-freezing night in the Cordillera Huayhuash in Peru. The Morrison held up well during this 5-night backpacking trip through the Andes, although a 4 season tent would have been warmer during the frigid nights.

Comfort


Mountainsmith went out of their way to make the Morrison 2 extremely livable. It is one of the more spacious tents we tested at 92"x56", that is the same width as the Half Dome 2 Plus and just a few inches shorter. It has a comfortable two-door design, with doors that zip off almost completely for an open air feel and extra views. The doors also give you the option of extra warmth and less ventilation with a nylon panel that can be zipped up. Our testers thought the vestibule doors didn't zip up high enough, which meant they hung down below the top of the inner door openings making it harder to get in and out. The vestibule is also on the small side, and it would be difficult to fit a large pack in it.

The Mountainsmith Morrison 2 has a comfortable two door design  with doors that zip off almost completely for an open air feel and extra views.
The Mountainsmith Morrison 2 has a comfortable two door design, with doors that zip off almost completely for an open air feel and extra views.

The Morrison 2 has less mesh on the inner tent than many of the others we have tested, which has its advantages and disadvantages. It is less breathable than tents with more mesh like the REI Half Dome 2, but is potentially warmer and has more protection from splash back if it is raining. The Mountainsmith Morrison is made even more livable by its handy removable gear loft and triangular stash pockets. We also like the look of this tent. The light green and gray colors are appealing, and we think it can be very stealthy depending on the terrain you're camping in.

We thought the interior design was interesting. It seems that Mountainsmith thinks you may not like the smell of your tent-mate's breath and would want to sleep head-to-toe (would their feet really smell any better?). It is designed with the pockets at either end of the tent on opposite sides, and the door zippers zip opposite directions from each other. This is great if you indeed want to sleep head-to-toe, but a bit confusing when you are just sleeping side by side with your tent-mate, or in the tent by yourself.

Mountainsmith went out of their way to make the Morrison 2 extremely livable. It is one of the more spacious tents we tested at 92"x56"  that is the same width as the Half Dome 2 Plus and just a few inches shorter.
Mountainsmith went out of their way to make the Morrison 2 extremely livable. It is one of the more spacious tents we tested at 92"x56", that is the same width as the Half Dome 2 Plus and just a few inches shorter.

Ease of Set-up


The Morrison 2 is one of our easiest tents to set up. It has a simple, color-coded, two pole design with two master hooks at the top. It is easy to get the tent all battened down with its two end guy lines and vestibule doors. We wish the Morrison had a few more guy points and extra guy line for more weather resistance. We like the cord adjusters on the existing lines. They make it easy to tighten things down.

The Morrison 2 is one of our easiest tents to set up. It has a simple  color-coded  two pole design with two master hooks at the top.
The Morrison 2 is one of our easiest tents to set up. It has a simple, color-coded, two pole design with two master hooks at the top.

Weather Resistance


The Morrison 2 stands up to rain relatively well. It has burly fly and floor materials that withstood the moisture we encountered while testing. It would benefit from more and higher guy points to help it better withstand strong winds. It has a peak height of 43 inches, which is a lot of head room, but tall enough to catch some serious wind. Right now it only has four guy points all at the ends of the tent, plus the vestibule doors to hold it down in high winds. The Morrison is not alone in this problem, other than the Hilleberg Anjan 2, none of the tents we tested have adequate guy points. The high side walls and lots of nylon paneling are warm in cold temps and minimize splash back in heavy rains.

Mountainsmith Morrison 2 would benefit from more and higher guy lines to help it withstand strong winds better but we liked the two end guy lines it comes with and thought they were easy to adjust.
Mountainsmith Morrison 2 would benefit from more and higher guy lines to help it withstand strong winds better but we liked the two end guy lines it comes with and thought they were easy to adjust.

We have some concern with the quality of the poles Mountainsmith has provided. They are a no-name brand of an alloy that are a skinny 8.5 mm diameter. We are not sure if these would hold up well in high winds — especially without the ability to stake the tent out properly.

Durability


The Morrison 2 has the same durability issues as the other budget tents in this review. They all have a cheap, polyurethane coating that tends to degrade over time, especially when the tent is not dried out and stored properly. Check out our Buying Advice article for more about materials. Otherwise, we think the Morrison seems quite durable and well made with burly, thick materials - which unfortunately make the tent heavy as well.

Weight and Packed Size


Here is the Morrison's main downfall. It is quite a heavy package, weighing in at 5.5 pounds. It is not quite as heavy as the REI Half Dome 2 Plus and almost as large. The packed size is 7.5"x18".

Adaptability


The Morrison 2 is not particularly adaptable, its only adaptation is keeping the fly on or off. However, the two-layer doors offer some adjustability for when you are inside the tent.

We like the Morrison 2's different incarnations of its interior doors with the nylon panel you can zip in or out and the mesh pockets for storing small items like sunglasses and headlamps.
We like the Morrison 2's different incarnations of its interior doors with the nylon panel you can zip in or out and the mesh pockets for storing small items like sunglasses and headlamps.

Limitations


This tent is the exact opposite of the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2. The Morrison is a workhorse of a tent that is extremely livable and durable, but also very heavy; the Fly Creek is super lightweight and not durable at all. We would never take the Fly Creek car camping and would hesitate to take the Morrison 2 on extended backpacking trips. The main things that stand out for us as limitations of the Morrison are its low-quality poles and lack of guy lines that make it more susceptible to high winds. The vestibules are small compared to the Half Dome 2 Plus, and it is quite heavy.

Best Application


If you're looking for one tent to do it all and accompany you car camping, on short backpacking trips, and on paddling trips, then the Morrison is it. It is super comfortable and livable, creating a space that you will like to spend time in. We took this tent on horse pack supported trips, and one of our testers wanted to take it with her on a motorcycle touring trip. It could function well in all of these applications.
Tent testing: the Mountainsmith Morrison 2 surrounded by Keltys. To its left the Kelty Grand Mesa and to its right  some Trail Ridge 2s.
Tent testing: the Mountainsmith Morrison 2 surrounded by Keltys. To its left the Kelty Grand Mesa and to its right, some Trail Ridge 2s.

Value


The Mountainsmith Morrison is a great deal at $180. It is loaded with features, has a great spacious interior, and can withstand hard use for a number of years. If you want something more lightweight, the Best Buy winning Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 is also fairly inexpensive but weighs much less.

Conclusion


Although it is heavy, the Morrison 2 is an excellent workhorse tent. It will keep you dry from the rain, and you won't mind spending time in its luxurious interior. We like all the pockets and variations of its interior doors. We worry that it may not withstand high winds because it has cheap poles and lacks enough guy lines, but this is a common problem in the backpacking tents we've tested.

The Mountainsmith Morrison 2 is a good looking tent that is full of comfort enhancing features and has a well thought out design. It is easy to set up and we enjoy spending time inside when the weather is inclement.
The Mountainsmith Morrison 2 is a good looking tent that is full of comfort enhancing features and has a well thought out design. It is easy to set up and we enjoy spending time inside when the weather is inclement.


Jessica Haist