Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 2 Review
Cons: Footprint is too small, zippers hard to open, poor ventilation
Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
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Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 2
Check Price at REI
Check Price at REI
Check Price at REI
|$159 List||$200 List|
|Pros||Spacious, massive doors, lots of mesh||Lots of headroom, large vestibule, easy to pitch||Two side doors, easy to pitch, large vestibules||Headroom, large tent doors, ventilation||Lightweight, easy to pitch|
|Cons||Footprint is too small, zippers hard to open, poor ventilation||Poles pinch together under fly tension||Heavy, not so stable in high wind||Heavy, unsteady in high wind, cheap stakes||Small interior, single door and vestibule|
|Bottom Line||This comfortable tent is great for stargazing while car camping or on a road trip||This inexpensive tent is just a good as a 1P as it for two||This basic tent is easy to set up and provides comfortable nights of camping on a budget||This spacious tent makes the most of its dimensions and offers plenty of features that will have you camping in comfort||A budget tent for those who want to minimize weight and don't mind sacrificing a fair bit of comfort|
|Rating Categories||Mineral King 2||REI Co-op Passage 1||REI Co-op Passage 2||The North Face Stormbreak 2||Big Agnes C Bar 2|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Ease Of Set Up (10%)|
|Packed Size (10%)|
|Specs||Mineral King 2||REI Co-op Passage 1||REI Co-op Passage 2||The North Face...||Big Agnes C Bar 2|
|Measured Packaged Weight||5.89 lbs||4.21 lbs||5.23 lbs||5.89 lbs||3.96 lbs|
|Floor Area||33 sq ft||20 sq ft||31 sq ft||30.5 sq ft||28 sq ft|
|Packed Size||6 x 24 in||7.5 x 17 in||8 x 18 in||7 x 22 in||6 x 19 in|
|Dimensions||88 x 54 in||88 x 36 in||88 x 52 in||87 x 50 x 43 in||86 x (52 x 42) x 41 in|
|Vestibule Area (Total)||18.3 sq ft||9.5 sq ft||19 sq ft||19 sq ft||7 sq ft|
|Peak Height||43 in||40 in||40 in||43 in||41 in|
|Number of Doors||2||1||2||2||1|
|Number of Poles||2||2||2||4||2|
|Pole Diameter||9 mm||8.5 mm||8.5 mm||Not provided||Not provided|
|Number of Pockets||3 + 2 door stash pockets||1||2||4||3|
|Pole Material||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||DAC pressfit aluminum|
|Rain Fly Material||68-denier ripstop polyester 2,000mm polyurethane/polyester||Polyester||Polyester||68D lightweight polyester taffeta, 1200 mm PU||Polyester taffeta|
|Inner Tent Material||40-denier polyester mesh/75-denier ripstop polyester/polyester||Polyester||Polyester||68D polyester taffeta, 1500 mm PU coating||Polyester & mesh|
|Type||Freestanding||Freestanding||Freestanding||Two door, freestanding||Freestanding|
Our Analysis and Test Results
With 33 square feet of floor space, this is one of the largest two-person tents in this category. Its extra-wide 54 inches is plenty for two people and a furry friend.
From its extra wide dimensions to its excellent headroom, we love almost everything about the comfort features of this tent. Two people will have no problem sitting up together to play cards or tell stories. The two side doors are some of the widest we have ever seen. The bottom zipper runs almost the entire length of the tent, which makes for great, unobstructed views (so long as the bugs are willing to cooperate), and the doors stash in pockets at each end of the tent. They open in opposite directions, so sleepers can orient head-to-toe.
The canopy itself is almost entirely mesh, which makes for incredible stargazing. Admittedly, the downside to this is that there are no privacy panels on the sides, should you find yourself at a crowded campsite. There is one decent-sized pocket at each sleeper's head, as well as a third one overhead for shared items or to hold a headlamp at night.
On top of all of this, it has a peak height of 43 inches, which in reality is just slightly above average; however, the pole architecture makes it feel much roomier. Rather than coming to a point at the top, pre-bent poles and a wide cross-pole maintain a large volume. Similarly, its 88-inch length is fairly standard, but its width makes it possible for each person to lay at a slight diagonal, which provides additional space for tall folks.
At just under six pounds, this tent isn't winning any awards for its low weight. For this reason, we recommend it for adventures that don't require carrying it long distances. Considering everything you get with it, we would be happy to take it on paddling trips or car camping. It is an especially practical choice for spending a night in the backyard.
If you are looking to cut some weight from the package, you can always leave behind the footprint and save a few ounces.
Though the fly is durable and provides plenty of coverage, we still recommend this tent for drier climates. The polyester fly withstands rain from all sides. Typically, rain flies provide excellent coverage over the doors but leave the head and foot of the tent somewhat exposed; this is not the case with this tent. We really appreciate how low the fly runs all around. This really limits splashback, which is especially necessary with so much mesh in the canopy. The vestibules provide sufficient coverage for gear, and the zippers come with protective flaps to keep rain from seeping through.
Having said that, this tent is not well-ventilated. Though it does have a kickstand built into each vestibule to prop them open, it doesn't facilitate a ton of airflow, and if it is raining, you have to close them to prevent your gear in the vestibule from getting wet. Other than those modest openings, there aren't any additional vents, so the tent is liable to get damp from condensation.
Ease of Set Up
This tent has a standard pitch. It comes with six hook stakes (one for each of the four corners of the tent and one for each of the two vestibules). Each pole segment in the primary pole structure is connected with an elastic cord that runs through the middle, so they all click together relatively quickly and easily. The tent and poles are symmetrical from head to toe, so there are two (both correct) ways to orient the poles, making it easier to set up.
The cross-pole also slides into two grommets at the top of the tent perpendicular to the main frame. This second pole not only provides additional headroom inside but also some extra rigidity. Clips secure the tent to the poles, and a large hub at the apex creates the peak height. The fly connects with buckles at each corner and a stake for each vestibule. The whole thing is simple for one person to pitch in just a few minutes.
The Mineral King is made with plenty-durable materials. The 75D floor and 68D polyester fly are both hearty on their own; on top of that, the tent also comes with a bonus footprint that helps protect the floor from abrasions. For the most part, the other components are as sturdy as we would expect for a tent at this price point, especially the webbing at the corners of the tent, fly, and footprint.
However, there are a couple of noteworthy experiences that we had that could impact the longevity of the Mineral King. When getting in and out of the tent, the door zippers would sometimes get stuck when moving them around the curved portion as well as along the bottom. The concern is that a few of the zipper teeth will eventually get bent out of shape, causing them to misalign, not lock into place, and ultimately end with the zipper separating when it is meant to be closed — a less than ideal situation on trail. The other issue that we encountered was with the size of the footprint. Though the tent floor itself is plenty durable, the footprint isn't large enough to stake out at each corner along with the tent, leaving some of the floor exposed to the ground.
Since it tends to move hand-in-hand with weight, it is no surprise that the packed size of this tent is above average. More durable materials translate to thicker, bulkier ones as well.
Though the poles and stakes are surprisingly compact given their size, it is the fly that stands out as a volume hog. The tent is as well, to an extent, but it also includes a fair bit more mesh than other similarly sized models.
In a value-centric category, this tent delivers. The included footprint adds to its value, as does its versatility as a weekend or backyard camping companion. It is fairly priced for those who prioritize space and headroom above all else and want a tent that could also squish in a third person (or pet) if the situation called for it.
The Mountain Hardwear Mineral King is a comfortable and roomy tent with large doors, great star gazing potential, and parts that are easy to pitch. It's heavy, but with just a couple of small tweaks to some of its components, it could be a runaway top option for a long weekend in the backcountry.
— Ben Applebaum-Bauch