Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3 Review
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Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3
|Price||$299.95 at Evo|
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|Pros||Super light, very quick to pitch, amazing views with and without the fly, multi-use capabilities||Tall and spacious, large and versatile vestibule, footprint included||Spacious, easy to pitch, great views, inexpensive||Simple, quick to set up, lightweight||Super easy set up, good views, very nice price|
|Cons||Small square footage, guyline stakes not included, very low ceiling||Not ideal in strong winds, odd back door, footprint doesn’t stay in place||Fiberglass poles, small pockets, lack of ventilation with the rainfly on||Cheap poles, bad door zippers, small footprint||Low headroom, poor overall construction|
|Bottom Line||A simple tent just big enough for car camping but arguably light enough for the occasional backpacking trip too||A great summer tent with open views, great ventilation, and an awning-ready vestibule, all wrapped up in quality material||Wherever this tent falls short in quality, it makes up for it in size, features, and overall value||A classic lightweight 4-person dome tent that gives a little extra headroom and has a few nice features||This tent is fast, easy, and inexpensive, though it falls short in some key areas|
|Rating Categories||Mountain Hardwear M...||The North Face Sequ...||Kelty Wireless 6||Kelty Tallboy 4||Coleman 4-Person Ca...|
|Space and Comfort (35%)|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Family Friendliness (15%)|
|Specs||Mountain Hardwear M...||The North Face Sequ...||Kelty Wireless 6||Kelty Tallboy 4||Coleman 4-Person Ca...|
|Weight||7.1 lbs||13.0 lbs||17.2 lbs||11.0 lbs||18.2 lbs|
|Max Inside Height||4' 0"||6' 3"||6' 4"||5' 10"||4' 11"|
|Floor Dimensions||7' 6" x 5' 8"||8' x 7' 6"||9' 10" x 8' 10"||7' 1" x 8'||8' x 7'|
|Floor Area||42.5 sq ft||58.1 sq ft||86.9 sq ft||57 sq ft||56 sq ft|
|Windows||Mesh top||Mesh top||Mesh top||Mesh top||3|
|Number of Doors||2||2||2||1||1|
|Vestibule Area (total)||37.5 sq ft||27.6 sq ft||28 sq ft||N/A||N/A|
|Packed Size||7" x 25"||27" x 10" x 8"||27" x 8" x 8"||24" x 7" x 10"||39.5" x 8" x 8"|
|Floor Materials||68D ripstop polyester||140D polyester||68D poly 1800mm||68D Poly 1200mm||150D polyester|
|Main Tent Materials||40D polyester mesh, 75D ripstop polyester||150D polyester||68D poly 1200mm, 40D No-see-um mesh||68D Poly 1200mm, 40D No-see-um mesh||150D polyester|
|Rainfly Materials||68D ripstop polyester||75D polyester||68D poly 1200mm||68D Poly 1200mm||Polyguard 2X|
|Number of Poles||2||3||3||3||4|
|Pole Material||DAC Pressfit||Aluminum||Fiberglass||Fiberglass||Aluminum|
|Extras||Fly rolls back and secures halfway for stargazing, footprint included||Footprint included||Pole pockets for easy setup||Lightweight||Integrated rainfly protection|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Mineral King 3 is a jack of all trades. We pitched it in 4 mins 30 seconds, it weighs only 7.1 pounds, and it easily fits into a pack. It also is extremely well made, and nearly the entire tent is 40D polyester mesh for wicked clear views. The tub floor is made of 68D ripstop polyester, and the poles, while small, are DAC Pressfit aluminum. All great choices that balance weight and quality. Ease of use and quality does come at a cost, though. This is our smallest tent, with just a little over 40 square feet of floor space — you could squeeze a family of four in here, but it will be a bit of a snuggle. And with only 4 feet of headroom, changing clothes is a sit-down occasion.
Space and Comfort
This is a three-person tent, and it is much smaller and more compact than all others in our lineup. But size isn't the only factor in our space and comfort metric. Two massive doors and an all-mesh design give the small space a roomy vibe. There are five storage pockets in the tent, enough to be helpful, although a few additional would be nice. The more-than-adequate dual vestibules allow you to keep most of your items out of the main tent area. Mountain Hardwear also added a second pole that brings out the corners and gives some extra height to the tent's walls.
The Mineral King 3 sports 42.5 square feet of floor area, a hearty amount for two but a very tight squeeze for four unless some folks are still wee-size. Luckily, it has two well-sized vestibules measuring 18.75 square feet each, adding well over 50% more space to the total footprint. Fitting a small table for some morning coffee is tight but totally doable should you be stuck inside, avoiding inclement weather.
Height, on the other hand, not so much. The Mineral King 3 has a max height of only 4 feet. Yeah, you read that right. This is a super low tent. Thankfully, the center pole helps keep the walls vertical, giving you a little more comfort. On the flip side, when you compare this to many of our backpacking tents, the height feels grand.
The fly comes equipped with two tie-downs, allowing you to enjoy the pure openness of the tent while still being quick to deploy should you get too cold or rain starts to fall — a feature we really love. And you can even open only one side if you want the best of both worlds.
The Mineral King 3 is well equipped in this area, scoring at the top of the pack. Thanks to its size and dome-style shape, if the stakes are in solid ground, you can leave the tent alone with confidence. Wind, rain, warm days, cold days, this tent performed extremely well in all of our tests. It comes with two additional guylines, but unfortunately, you will need to provide your own stakes if you plan to use them. The six stakes included with the tent are super light but still strong, and the same can be said about the aluminum poles.
The rain fly clips to the tent easily, and with the added straps, you can roll one or both sides up for great views and easy deployment. The high cut on the fly leaves about six inches of clearance, giving the tent solid ventilation when on. There are also two unique vents on each of the vestibule entrances, a smart way to keep from needing a vent on the top of the fly.
You will not get wet in the Mineral King 3. Rain slides off the 68D ripstop polyester, and with the full coverage fly, even the windiest of storms isn't going to get inside. Add to that the full tub floor and sealed seams, and rest assured you will stay dry.
We do love it when small tents use a full mesh design. It allows for added comfort, security, and bug-free night gazing with great ventilation. The only downside to a full mesh tent is ensuring you are safe from dust and avoiding too much sun exposure.
Ease of Use
The Mineral King 3 took two people 4 min and 30 seconds to fully pitch and stake. This puts it in the top three of our lineup, and thanks to the hub setup, you can pitch this solo quite easily too. The only trouble we had was knowing what direction the hub needed to face. Once that was known, we shaved another 15 seconds off the pitch time. That said, this is a very small, three-person tent, but this is still a respectable pitch time, even considering the small size.
The teardown was just as easy as the setup, and everything fits into the bag without frustration. The poles are snappy and easy to push through the sleeves and the center clip. This could be a weak point for breakage if you're not careful, but the system sure is easy to use. The Mineral King is also the lightest tent in our lineup at only 7.1 pounds. And if you are backpacking with this tent, the minimum trail weight can be shaved down to 6.2 pounds.
A family not afraid of close quarters stays together, right? Being the smallest in our lineup, it's easy to think this isn't a great family tent. But actually, the Mineral King 3 is the perfect family addition, especially if you are looking for a multi-purpose tent with just enough features to get the job done.
You likely won't be happy trying to squeeze four people into this tent, but it can handle three, as the name dictates. Does it have good storage options? Not quite, but it has enough. In a storm, can you and the family function? You can, and as long as you packed your deck of cards and tea, it might even be a trip to remember. We found the best option is to bring a queen and enjoy a nice date night or embark on a father-daughter campout complete with stars and an open breeze. Because in the end, time outdoors just makes life better.
Mountain Hardwear is well known for quality. That said, they were clearly concerned with keeping the weight down on this tent — the poles are smaller than most others in our lineup, and the tent material is thinner as well. All are still very high quality; just know the components are not nearly as robust as others. The stakes are strong and light, and the bags are simple but very well made. We share some concerns with the plastic hub and the plastic clip, but so far, reports have been good.
All and all, you can expect this tent to hold up to the weather and the abuse a tent gets in the wild, and you don't need to be afraid to bring pets, assuming they won't scratch at the mesh to get out.
Should You Buy the Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3?
The Mineral King 3 is our most versatile tent. Car camping, backpacking, backyarding, this tent can do it all. It is lightweight, has unobstructed views, goes up fast, and comes down even faster. The price point is very fair for the quality and features. As long as small doesn't scare you, this is a great multi-use tent.
What Other Camping Tents Should You Consider?
If small is your jam and you want options, the Mineral King 3 is your winner — you can stop looking now and go get one. But if you want a little extra headroom, we recommend you look at our favorite 4-person tent, the MSR Habitude 4. If you don't mind the lower top of the Mineral King but want a little extra space, check out the very stout and highly rated Marmot Limestone 4. All three of these tents are well-built and overall great choices.
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