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Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 2 Review

This comfortable tent is great for stargazing while car camping or on a road trip
Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 2
Photo: Mountain Hardwear
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Price:  $250 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Spacious, massive doors, lots of mesh
Cons:  Footprint is too small, zippers hard to open, poor ventilation
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 24, 2021
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 14
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • Weight - 25% 5
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 6
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 6
  • Durability - 10% 6
  • Packed Size - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Mountain Hardwear Mineral King is one of our favorites for a weekend under the stars. It has features that make it extra livable, including an entirely mesh canopy, which is for great skyward views; it also boasts massive doors that run almost the whole length of the tent. Though it is one of the heavier models in the bunch, we found that it is worth its weight in comfort. It is ideal for a pair that wants to spread out and doesn't mind carrying the extra ounces. The quality of its weather resistance is mixed, so we think it would perform best in drier environments. However, this easy-to-pitch, spacious tent is one worth considering.

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Pros Spacious, massive doors, lots of meshTwo side doors, easy to pitch, large vestibulesLots of headroom, large vestibule, easy to pitchLightweight, easy to pitchSetup with fly attached, flexible vestibule configuration, below average price
Cons Footprint is too small, zippers hard to open, poor ventilationHeavy, not so stable in high windPoles pinch together under fly tensionSmall interior, single door and vestibuleSingle door, can't remove fly while keeping tent pitched
Bottom Line This comfortable tent is great for stargazing while car camping or on a road tripThis basic tent is easy to set up and provides comfortable nights of camping on a budgetThis inexpensive tent is just a good as a 1P as it for twoA budget tent for those who want to minimize weight and don't mind sacrificing a fair bit of comfortThe unique design and really reasonable price of this tent have us finding new ways to enjoy it again and again
Rating Categories Mountain Hardwear M... REI Co-op Passage 2 REI Co-op Passage 1 Big Agnes C Bar 2 Slumberjack Nightfa...
Comfort (25%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
4.0
7.0
Weight (25%)
5.0
6.0
6.0
9.0
5.0
Weather Resistance (20%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
Ease Of Set Up (10%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Packed Size (10%)
6.0
5.0
5.0
8.0
5.0
Specs Mountain Hardwear M... REI Co-op Passage 2 REI Co-op Passage 1 Big Agnes C Bar 2 Slumberjack Nightfa...
Measured Packaged Weight 5.89 lbs 5.23 lbs 4.21 lbs 3.96 lbs 5.68 lbs
Floor Area 33 sq ft 31 sq ft 20 sq ft 28 sq ft 31.4 sq ft
Packed Size 6 x 24 in 8 x 18 in 7.5 x 17 in 6 x 19 in 6.5 x 21 in
Dimensions 88 x 54 in 88 x 52 in 88 x 36 in 86 x (52 x 42) x 41 in 85 x 52 x 39.5 in
Vestibule Area (Total) 18.3 sq ft 19 sq ft 9.5 sq ft 7 sq ft 9.3 sq ft
Peak Height 43 in 40 in 40 in 41 in 39.5 in
Number of Doors 2 2 1 1 1
Number of Poles 2 2 2 2 3
Pole Diameter 9 mm 8.5 mm 8.5 mm Not provided Not provided
Number of Pockets 3 + 2 door stash pockets 2 1 3 2
Gear Loft No No No No No
Pole Material Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum DAC pressfit aluminum 7001 aluminum
Guy Points 6 4 4 7 4
Rain Fly Material 68-denier ripstop polyester 2,000mm polyurethane/polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester taffeta 68D polyester
Inner Tent Material 40-denier polyester mesh/75-denier ripstop polyester/polyester Polyester Polyester Polyester & mesh 40D Polyester No-See-Um Mesh
Type Freestanding Freestanding Freestanding 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.

Performance Comparison


This tent is spacious and weather resistant.
This tent is spacious and weather resistant.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Comfort


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.

Two large side doors open up the entire sides of the tent and the...
Two large side doors open up the entire sides of the tent and the lower walls of the floor make it easier to enter and exit.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

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.

There is plenty of headroom all the way from front to back.
There is plenty of headroom all the way from front to back.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

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.

Weight


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.

The all-mesh canopy helps reduce weight somewhat, but even so, this...
The all-mesh canopy helps reduce weight somewhat, but even so, this model is still hefty.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

If you are looking to cut some weight from the package, you can always leave behind the footprint and save a few ounces.

Weather Resistance


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.

The kickstand at the top of each vestibule creates some ventilation...
The kickstand at the top of each vestibule creates some ventilation, but it can get pretty stuffy inside if you have to close it.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

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 top hub is easy to attach and creates the peak height that makes...
The top hub is easy to attach and creates the peak height that makes this tent such an attractive option.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

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.

Durability


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.

The fabric and hardware are plenty durable, but no matter what order...
The fabric and hardware are plenty durable, but no matter what order we pitched it in, we could never get the footprint (loop being pulled at the bottom) to fully align with the tent.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

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.

Packed Size


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.

Be sure to leave some space in your pack for a hefty tent and fly.
Be sure to leave some space in your pack for a hefty tent and fly.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

The vestibules have multiple configurations, making this model...
The vestibules have multiple configurations, making this model slightly more adaptable.
Photo: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Ben Applebaum-Bauch